Thursday, September 30, 2010

Circles

Today's happiness: Perfect little yellow circles, ready to be appliqued onto my Three Generations quilt.

Twenty of 'em, ready to go! Aren't they cute?

I used this tutorial to make my circles. (For what it's worth, I don't have the mylar circles mentioned in the tutorial. I made my own circle template out of sturdy cardboard and found that worked just fine.)

Monday, September 27, 2010

A Brand New Plan

So I have completely scrapped my original plan for the Three Generations quilt.

I made some of the alternating blocks (as shown in my digital "sketch" in this post). Somehow those blocks were both too plain, and took away too much of the focus away from the vintage pinwheel blocks. I'm not sure how it was possible to do both at once, but leave it to me to come up with something that doesn't work in any respect. : )

(In retrospect, I think my mistake was that I got lazy and only scanned in one of my grandma's original blocks for my digital design plan. As a result, my "sketch" didn't accurately reflect the colorfulness of the real quilt.)

This is a special project, so I want it to be right. And the star of the show has to be the curved pinwheel blocks, especially the original five that my grandma hand-pieced all those years ago. So once I decided to scrap my original plan, I spent a lot of time thinking about how to better showcase those blocks. I also did some looking around online, and eventually came across this quilt from Red Pepper Quilts:

Pinwheel Baby Quilt by Red Pepper Quilts

Now, those whirlygigs really pop. So, with this quilt as my inspiration, I decided to frame out all my pinwheels in the same blue retro print I bought for the back of this quilt, and then sash it all in some sort of neutral, probably beige. (I love the putty color used on the Red Pepper quilt, but my mom and grandma aren't big fans of anything even close to gray.) Then I'm going to fill it out with a pieced border or two to make the whole thing queen-size, so that my grandma can use it on her bed if she wants.

Of course, the new design plan calls for more pinwheel blocks, so I spent my weekend making eight more colorful curved pinwheels. Now the big push is on to finish this top—I've set myself a deadline on this one, and I'm determined to meet it!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Fall Equinox

The equinox was yesterday (or today, depending on where you are in the world), and what better way to celebrate fall than by finishing a quilt top in some lovely autumnal colors?

My Fat Quarterly Quilt Along top is done! And I completely love it! I was a few blocks short of what was needed for the larger size, so I kind of did my own thing as far as that goes. And I know many people decided to alternate the blocks so that some seams were vertical and others horizontal. I decided to stick with the all-one-direction layout because I like the extra dose of orderliness it gave to an otherwise chaotically colorful quilt.

I'm judging my first quilt along experience to be a big success, because:

1. I completely love this top.

2. I finished it in record time–six days! Seriously, SIX DAYS. That's crazy fast for me. Obviously staying caught up with the group is a good motivator!

3. These are not really my usual colors, and I never would have done a quilt like this if not for the quilt-along. As a graphic designer, I've done some of my best work while either collaborating with others, or using parameters set by someone else. That often forced me to exercise my creativity a little more. This quilt-along made me realize the same may be true for my quilting.

(Note: I'm adding this post to Fabric Tuesday on Quilt Story! Check it out!)

Monday, September 20, 2010

The Fabric Fairy

So my 4-year-old and I walked down to the mailbox together on Friday, and oh happy day, there was fabric in there. It was the "Doe, a Deer" custom bundle from Fabric Worm. (I'm trying to collect enough pink and green fat quarters to make a bed-sized quilt for my daughter.)

As I pulled that nice fat envelope out of the mailbox, I said to Miss E., "Hey, isn't it great when we get fabric in the mail?" Her reply: "Yeah! But how do they know what you want? Do they just guess?"

I had a good laugh over that one. If only it really worked that way. I'm picturing some sort of fabric fairy who randomly sends yummy prints to people through the mail, just out of the kindness of her heart.

Then I realized something. Maybe there really is such a thing (kind of). I just signed up for my first swap: Gen X Quilter's Ho-Ho Holiday Swap. Real life doesn't often emulate something from a 4-year-old's imagination, but in this case, someone actually will "guess" what fabric I might want and then mail it to me. Plus, I get to play fabric fairy for somebody else! Who wouldn't like that? Why did it take me so long to start participating in these things?

Friday, September 17, 2010

Knocking Out Blocks

Got some work done today on my Fat Quarterly Quilt Along blocks. I'm really liking the solid colors I chose (there will also be blocks with printed centers and solid on the outside). I'm not really planning anything out. Whatever feels right at the moment becomes a block, and I'll just have to wait and see how it comes together in the end!

And these little guys are piecing up at lightning speed! I just might catch up after all.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Thanks

Thank you to everyone for your nice comments about my Single Girl quilt! When I started this blog I wasn't sure if anybody would be interested enough to read it—there are just so many wonderful quilting blogs out there, it's hard to imagine my brand new little blog would catch anybody's eye. So I've really enjoyed the comments and feedback.

As far as the quilt, the more I look at the bubble quilting, the happier I am with it. I think I questioned it because it doesn't look quite like I had originally envisioned it. But just because something is not exactly how I pictured it in my head doesn't mean that it's bad or wrong (in fact, sometimes quite the opposite). That's a lesson I've had to learn over and over since I started sewing and quilting. :) One of these days it might even sink in!

Quilting Along

I'm jumping on board a little late, but I've decided to do the Fat Quarterly Quilt Along. My first quilt-along! I'm looking forward to it!

I'm using a jelly roll of Wildwood by Erin McMorris, along with solids in greens, oranges, and yellows. Believe it or not, in addition to being my first quilt-along, this is also the first time I've ever used a solid color other than white. I love the fresh, clean look of a quilt with a lot of white, so that's always my first instinct when looking to add a solid. But since this is my first quilt-along, I decided I might as well really branch out.

Of course, since I'm starting late, it'll be a miracle if I actually catch up. So I might not really be quilting along—more like quilting behind. Better late than never!

Monday, September 13, 2010

A Little Retro

I picked out these prints as supplemental fabric for the Three Generations quilt. I especially like the daisy print. One of my grandma's vintage blocks includes black—a color I probably wouldn't have chosen to put into this quilt if it had been up to me. But when I found this red, white, and black daisy print, I realized that the black was going to be a great addition.

I also wanted to find fabric that would feel at home both in a vintage quilt or in a more modern one. I think both of these prints really could go in either direction.

Can't wait to get going on this quilt! Even though my actual design plan still isn't quite firmed up.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Single Girl Complete

I think the world may have just tilted on its axis. I have completed a bed-sized quilt.

A king-size quilt, in fact. Like, to use on a real bed. It will keep us warm when we are sleeping. Yes, it's true: I have made something that is not only pretty, but useful as well. What a great feeling.

So, details: The fabric is mostly Cherish Nature (so I'm calling this quilt "Nature Girl"), but there is some Neptune, Al Fresco, and a few other odds and ends thrown in. If you intend to make the Single Girl pattern, you really do need 36 different prints—I had initially hoped to get away with fewer, but this quilt achieves its randomness in a highly organized, structured way, requiring all 36 prints. The quilt back is pieced as well. (And became even more pieced than I had originally intended when the back ended up being too small for the long-arm due to a measuring error.) It was quilted by the talented ladies at my local quilt shop.

Of course, because I must torture myself by second-guessing every design decision I have ever made, I'm questioning my choice of the "bubbles" quilting pattern. I'm thinking the circles-over-circles might be just a little too ... circle-happy. Also, I wasn't thinking about the fact that the pieced rings aren't perfect circles (they're more squared off), while the bubbles in the quilting are perfectly round. But I chose the bubbles because I wanted to do something other than stippling. I like stippling, but since there's so much of it out there right now, I figured if I could do something different, I should. The only other pattern that caught my eye was a swirly one, and I didn't think that would work with the minimalist, modern aesthetic I was going for. And you know what? Now that I'm talking through my reasoning for the choice, I'm feeling a little better about the bubbles. Ah, blog, you are serving your purpose already.

Now I just need to get going on some shams and throw pillows. And maybe some curtains. And some artwork. Oh yeah, and I still have to bind this puppy. Nooooo problem.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

I Found It

So I really wanted to make last year's Figgy Pudding quilt, with the Christmas trees and the courthouse blocks. But since the Figgy Pudding line is tough to find now, I considered making it in this year's Basic Grey line, Fruitcake. But I dunno, Fruitcake just wasn't doing it for me. Which is strange because it's really not all that different from Figgy Pudding. But there's just something about Figgy Pudding that I love, so I decided I needed to track down enough of it for this quilt.

So yes, I always have to give myself that extra challenge. This could have been a perfectly fun, stress-free holiday project. Instead I've spent hundreds of man-hours scouring the entire Internet for the teensiest scrap of "Pepperberry Juniper," before I've even sewn a stitch.

As of two weeks ago, I only needed two more prints: The red tonal damask and the snowflakes on brown background. I couldn't find any trace of either online, and I had all but given up on finding the necessary 4 yards of the brown to use as the background and binding. Then, a bit of serendipity required me to go to my local quilt store to pick up something for another project. And there it was. Rolled up and literally tied with a bow: 3.25 yards of the brown with snowflakes (not quite enough, but I can do the binding in something else). I had looked for it at that store before of course, and it wasn't there at the time. Suddenly it just appeared. Obviously we were meant to be together.

Things like this make me realize that collecting out-of-print fabric is actually kind of fun. That could be a dangerous discovery.
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