Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Work In Progress

A few weeks ago I took an online class on angles from Rachel Hauser at Stitched in Color.  I’ve taken other classes on angles, and have some experience sewing them, but I haven’t been able to get out to any classes lately.  I love going to class, but since I don’t have that option right now, I thought I’d give this a try.  I enjoyed the class.  I am also enjoying the patterns that come with it.  Right now I’m working on her Indian Blanket Quilt.  I’ve been working on it on and off for a few weeks now and finding it to be great practice sewing triangles, but also great practice with colors.  There are a lot of rows and each row has its own fabric.  

I have four rows to add, if I stop at the end of the patterns.  I was thinking about possibly adding a few rows and using it as an everyday quilt for my daughter’s bed.  I think it would go nicely in their bedroom.  So we’ll see how much extra work is involved.  Here is the last 
of the complex rows, pieced.

And here are a few ideas I have for the other rows that I haven’t started to cut or piece.  

I started this quilt as an exercise, but have found that it is really growing on me.  I have enjoyed taking my time and piecing it over several weeks.  But I am looking forward to completing it soon.  

Friday, March 25, 2016

A Finish: Chessboard Quilt

I finished the quilting and binding of the chessboard quilt that I began with my daughters last year.  I posted about it here and here.  It’s probably the season, but I keep thinking of Easter eggs when I look at it.  We’ll have to improvise some chess pieces and take it with us to our Easter lunch to try it out.  

I ended up feeling prettty good about the quilting.  I like how dense it is, since it will get some hard wear.  The design was easy, and I ended up trying to imitate tiger stripes rather than trees, but the process was the same.  I gave myself permission to be a little more organic with the shapes than called for in the tutorial I used.  In some places I really like it but I do wonder whether it would look significantly different if I had been more disciplined about the shapes, and tried to make them a bit more uniform.  I need to try this again soon, but the two quilt projects I have coming up don’t lend themselves to this design.  

I used a Kaffe Fassett print that I love for the back.  I had two or three yards of it and felt it needed a home.  When I ran out of that I used a solid purple.  It's either a Kona Solid or an American Made Brand.  I’m not sure which shade, but it went perfectly with the targets print.  For the binding I used the leftover backing.  I didn’t want it to go to waste and it was just the right size for a strip or two of binding, all the way around.  I considered using a solid for the binding, but felt that the print would be better for using up scraps and for hiding dirt and food stains.  

The finished quilt is about 64”x64”.  

I have been thinking a lot about chess pieces for this guy.  I don’t paint my nails, but I’ve heard that you can paint rocks with nail polish and they hold up well.  I thought it might be fun to pick some smallish rocks to paint.  Then make a little drawstring bag to hold the pieces.  

I like this quilt.  We should have a lot of fun with it and I love that my daughters were involved in the process.  If I were to do it again, I would consider using a water resistant backing.  I may still add a snap or a velcro closure and a strap if I feel like it would make it easier to cary around.  We’ll have to give it a try and see…

Linking up with Finish It Up Friday at Crazy Mom Quilts.  

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Sashiko Panel

I have been working on a sashiko panel.

I had a plan to do a sampler of sorts, just covering the whole piece with blocks of stitches. I like what I have so far, but doing the whole thing that way doesn’t feel right.  I think  if I continue with this plan the finished piece will feel choppy and disjointed.  

So my new plan is to finish the column of different stitches down one side and then do something bigger over the rest of it. I love the sashiko landscapes, but I also really think that animal symbolism is beautiful.  It is for a special anniversary, and I’d like to finish it by the end of the summer, so I need to get the main part of the panel sketched and transfered onto the fabric.  I really enjoy sashiko. It is such relaxing handwork and the finish is always beautiful.  

Friday, March 18, 2016

Chessboard Quilt

Last summer my girls and I worked on the top of a chessboard picnic quilt.  The kids sewed together most of the top and then were working on making the pieces to play.  That project got lost in the shuffle, but I when I was sorting through all my unfinished projects I found the top and thought it would be fun to quilt it up to use this spring and summer.  Maybe it will inspire the girls to work on chess pieces so that we can play a game with it.  

I’ve prepared a backing and have begun to work on the quilting.  I was tempted to just quilt it in a grid and call it done, but I've been putting off opportunities to work on free motion quilting and thought this was a perfect time to try something different.  I looked around online for some ideas and found this tutorial on cartoon trees that kind of nest together and thought it would be good for this quilt.  The quilting will be dense which will help to protect it while we abuse it on our picnics.    

I actually think the design looks more like tiger stripes than trees, but I like them, and think it will work well over the quilt, so that's good news.
Right now I'm sharing my machine with my nine year old daughter who is working on this project.

Lucia's Project
So my progress is even slower than normal.  Lucia needs a zigzag stitch for the circles and I need my darning foot for the free motion quilting, so neither of us can use my other machine, which has only a straight stitch.  Even so, I've been able to get a few columns finished.  I think it is looking pretty good, but I think this design depends on how well you can nest the columns together.  Lucia pointed out that all the points were different.  I mentioned to her that that was one of the beautiful things about this design, because if they were all the same it would be very boring, not to mention much more difficult.  

Also, while thinking about quilting, I thought I'd share this picture I took at the Safari Park.  I think there are some good ideas for quilting designs here. 

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Log Cabin Layouts

Some time ago I decided to go through my sewing room and reorganize it a bit.  I spent several hours sifting through the fabric and the unfinished projects deciding what I wanted to keep and what I should throw out.  I had several orphan blocks and projects that had been abandoned that I felt really should be used somehow.  Several orphan blocks made it into Lucia's quilt, but there are still several left that need to be addressed.  

One of the projects I found were some partially pieced log cabin blocks.  I love their bold color scheme, but I lost interest in this project halfway through.  I'm not sure about my original vision for them, but I pulled them out again, finished the piecing and then spread them out on the floor to figure out the layout.  

One of the things I like most about quilts is the versatility of even some of the oldest blocks.  Aside from fabric and color choices, the potential layouts create so many opportunities to change the feel and look of a quilt.  All these choices make each finish a bit of a surprise.

Because of the color choices and the sparse use of blue fabrics, it is harder for me to see some of the traditional log cabin layouts unless I really step back.  I ended up deciding to get pictures of all the layouts and look at them together to see which is most appealing.  

Friday, March 4, 2016

Patchwork Curtains

The blue patchwork curtains for my daughters are finished.   I started working on them last week and they have replaced an old piece of fabric that we threw over their curtain rod when we moved in.  

The girls are happy with them, which was the whole point of making them, and I am pleased with them as well.  They are cheerful and sweet.  They’re pretty but also young and fresh.  Perfect for little girls.  

I ended up lining them with muslin I already had instead of reusing the piece of fabric that had hung in their window because it was dark and I wanted the curtains to feel fresh.  I was also concerned that the design on the original fabric would show through and the curtains making them feel cluttered.  For the loops on the top I bought some matching ribbon and sewed it in.  The curtains aren't at all heavy, but I stitched over the loops twice and then top stitched around the whole curtain.  I'm not sure how the ribbon will wash, but I'm hopeful that it will be okay in a delicate cycle and line dried.

Next, my girls want to paint their walls bright blue, which is funny to me because the room already glows blue.  They definitely subscribe to the “if a little is good, a lot is much better” school of thought, but I like it.  

Linking up with Crazy Mom Quilts.

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Sashiko Zipper Pouch

Weeks ago my mom asked for a zipper pouch that she could carry in her purse.  She has several things that she needs to keep in her purse; things that need to be kept safe and organized and be easily found, but not things that she uses every day that can fit in her wallet.  I didn’t really move very quickly on it.  Partly this is because I was unclear on dimensions and also because I was thinking about a patchwork pouch but I don’t think of her as a patchwork kind of gal. 

Last week I gave some flying geese a try, but didn’t end up liking them for her.  Over the weekend I decided to make a sashiko pouch instead.  This feels right to me, so I hope she likes it. 

She wanted it a bit bigger than my standard 9”x6” pouch so I went with a 9”x12” panel of a dark navy Japanese fabric.  I stitched the seigaiha (blue ocean waves) design using a blue-green-white variegated sashiko thread.  For the back side I used another dark blue Japanese floral fabric that I really love.  I chose a turquoise zipper and an orange batik for the lining that my sister brought home from her junior year abroad in Senegal several years ago.