Friday, October 29, 2010

Blogger's Quilt Festival - Fall 2010

"Forgotten Charms" is the name of my latest finished quilt and my entry for the Blogger's Quilt Festival - Fall 2010.

Several years back, I purchased a charm pack that I fell in love with at the LQS.  At the time, I was thinking of making the fabrics into a patchwork bag or a cushion cover.  I didn't have many quilting cottons in my stash at that point, and I didn't have the budget to buy coordinating yardage to make my charms into something bigger.   Waiting and dreaming about what  I would make with the charms, they were put aside.

 Years passed and I would feel guilty that I still hadn't used those charms.   This past spring I joined Jacquie's Spring to Finish Challenge and these charms made their way onto my "to-sew" list.   I stumbled upon a scrap bag at the LQS that had fabrics that would co-ordinate with my forgotten charm pack and I started to dream up how I would stitch them all into a quilt.  Rather than cutting up the charms, I decided to frame them with the scrap bag strips.  However, this left me with a small quilt.  I turned to my friends in blogland to ask for their suggestions in how to proceed and received more than advice, I received an offer of more charms!  Amazingly, it just so happened that my lovely friend, Nicolette, had purchased the same charm pack years ago and she had some leftover she would share!  My finished quilt includes charms from her -  making this quilt extra special to me.  Thanks, Nicolette!

Leftover pieces from the front were stitched together to add the piece-y strip I love so much, to the quilt back.

Unfortunately, progress stalled out when I reached the quilting stage because I wanted to come up with my own design for it.  I didn't want to quilt it with straight lines and I didn't want to just default to stipple quilting.   I knew I wanted a curvy line design and I drew up my idea on paper. My trouble lay in transferring my design onto the quilt top.  I machine quilt on my domestic Janome and other than using painter's tape for the initial straight line guide for large quilts, I don't mark my quilts, I just freehand machine quilt.  I have a fear of using a marking tool that will not be temporary (even if it promises to be removable), so I was testing different ways of marking on fabric scraps to find something that worked.   I gave up.
Deciding that it was time to just finish this quilt, I began machine quilting a continuous, curlicue type design.  It's whimsical and I am pleased with how the curvy quilting offsets the linear design of the blocks and the texture it has added.  The surface texture I love, will only increase after I wash and dry my finished quilt.

Quilting complete, I wanted to keep up my finishing momentum - without another trip to the fabric store.  Determined to find something in my stash to use for the binding,  I pulled out some decorator weight cotton from the special  (otherwise known as the fabrics I bought that I have a hard time cutting into) stash.  This heavier weight fabric has a larger and more textured weave to it than the cottons used in the quilt, so I think it adds a little extra dimension to the binding. 

Finished just this week, Forgotten Charms will  now be the quilt I snuggle under to watch movies. 

Monday, October 25, 2010

Plaid Perspective

Sometimes to see if you're making any progress on a project,
 you have to take a step back,
 change your perspective,
 otherwise it starts to seem rather endless.
* Did you notice the one "wonky" plaid hexagon in my first photo?  It wasn't intentional, but I've decided to let it be.  Sometimes a "mistake" can add a extra touch of interest, don't you think?  The perfectionist in me wanted to change it, so this is an exercise in letting go or changing my perspective.  ;o)  Funnily enough, until I pointed it out, my "oops" went unnoticed - at least by my family.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Canning, Cooking, Cutting, Quilting....

I've been a bit busy on the home front within the past week or so.  Which means I've not been online as much as usual...which you may or may not have noticed. ;o)  Anyways, here's a glimpse of some of the activities that have been making me happy...
Canning salsa!  I was thrilled to find everything I needed for salsa, at one of the local farmer's markets in the city.  I hadn't planned on making salsa, I was there to buy some veggie staples to lay up for the winter months ahead. However,when we finished off the last jar of homemade salsa last week, there was considerable moaning from my menfolk over it.   Apparently, store bought salsa doesn't measure up.  Did I mention that it's taken us three years to consume all the salsa I canned back in 2007? (I kinda went overboard in my salsa making that year.  Pounds of hot peppers were used in my quest to produce a "make your eyes water , nose run, lose your voice" kind of salsa... the way my hubby likes it.  Dozens of pint jars were filled with salsa that year and honestly, as much as we like salsa, you really can't eat it three times a day... although I think my youngest son would be up for that challenge. LOL)

 Now along with the salsa making, I've been cooking like crazy.  I've been trying out new recipes practically daily.  Mostly, from this book.   I spent so much time cooking, I didn't find time to take pictures of all that I made, so you'll just have to trust me on this, okay?  I mean, honestly, with the amount of food two hollow legged teenagers and one grown man eat, it's a wonder I have time to do anything besides cook.  ;o)  Whew.   So, today, my stockpot has taken a break from cooking soups or chili and has been put into action in another way.  I've loaded it with some of my retro linens in an attempt to whiten them a bit.  Prepping them for a project I have in mind.
 Lucky for me, my kitchen and crafting space are side by side, which means that I can slip from cooking something over to cutting something.  Yes, I'm chopping up more of those plaid shirts in my stash.  It's amazing how much fabric is in them.
 Finally, a peek at a new quilt top I'm working on.  No need to guess who this quilt is for. LOL   My oldest son knows that any plaid project on my work table is destined for him.  The two other males in this household don't share his affinity for plaid.  At. All.
That's my week in a nutshell.  Now, I need to catch up on what you've been doing!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Made by me

from concept to completion and ready to be sent to my baby niece (insert a huge sigh of relief and satisfaction ;o).   I will admit that I had moments where I wanted to walk away from example of such a moment was when I had unpicked my quilting THREE times because of inconsistent tension.  Tension worked fine on test samples but messed up on my quilt. Grrr.
 This is the final result - after being laundered.
 I'm quite happy with all the crinkle-y goodness that resulted from all my machine quilting.
Initially I knew I wanted to free motion quilt a continuous flower design onto each of the six improv blocks, but I got stuck after that.  I ended up making the "flowers" grow until they touched one another and went right to the edges of the whole quilt top.  I think it worked.  Especially for the backing. .
 Click on the two photos below to see the difference in texture that laundering gave the quilt back. The first picture is the "before"...
 and this is the "after".
 What a thrill to have completed a quilt that was completely of my own making.  I usually start with a quilt design or a pattern inspired by someone else.  Then I go on to make it mine by "tweaking" a pattern.  This time it was mine from the inception.  I WILL be doing this again.

Friday, October 8, 2010

The Homestretch

 Finally, I'm down to the last details in finishing the baby quilt for my niece. It's time to handstitch the binding and 
weave in the thread tails left from machine quilting.  I consider this the homestretch... even though I've yet to make the quilt label and when that's attached, I'll still need to wash and dry the quilt. Okay, so there's a few steps left in the process, but I'm soooooo close with this being completed.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

More making it up as I go along

I finished the  "making it up as I go along" quilt top today and then had to manage something similar for the backing. 
 The fabric I based my whole quilt idea on was the large rose print in Tanya Whelan's Ava Rose collection.  I only had a yard of it to make the backing, so I grabbed all the scraps left from designing the quilt top and did some piecing.
 I sewed two strips of random patchwork onto the main floral piece to have enough to make the quilt back  (I've even left the selvedges on  until I'm done with quilting - can't afford to cut any off this one yard piece!).
Why is it that I'm happiest when I'm grabbing every scrap I can and working out a fabric puzzle?  Making it up as I go along, is a patchwork style that seems to suit me. ;o)

Saturday, October 2, 2010

"Making it up as I go along"

could end up being the name of the quilt I'm designing for my newest niece.  I started by sketching out two different quilt designs.   I wanted to  do some improv style blocks and make a baby quilt that is somewhat unconventional in design.   So, it's been a combination of cut, piece and play, really.  Which means while I've been having fun, I've now made some blocks that are destined for another quilt.  It's all a part of the design process.  Try some ideas, see what you like, change things, try other ideas, see what you like... change things... until you arrive at something you REALLY like.

I'm making headway and keeping track of any changes as I go.   Just in case I ever want to make the same design again. ;o)

 Here's what I've decided to keep.  Each of these blocks are unique and if you can ignore the bit of painter's tape (my key to sewing the finished blocks in an order that I like) you will see that I made use of some tiny fabric scraps in several of the finished blocks.
I have a few more blocks to add and likely a bit of tweaking to do before the quilt top is complete.    I can't say that this is the fastest way to make a quilt, but it is fun!
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