Friday, July 27, 2018

Scarlet's Irish Chain

Over Christmas my (then 4 year old) niece Scarlet informed me that she was moving out of her mom's bed and into her own.  So she needed a quilt.  We talked about what she had in mind and she told me she'd like it to be red, of course, and also purple and yellow.

One of my favorite things about my own kids is their intrepid ideas when it comes to color. Sometimes, they end of with a hot mess, and sometimes their color combinations are refreshing or exciting.  But I'm always inspired by the way they go after it and come up with something interesting.  Which is exactly what I loved about Scarlet's order.  

I liked the idea of an irish chain for this project because it can be chain pieced quickly and still look great, and I knew I could get all of her colors in without much trouble.  When I talked with my sister about the quilt, she told me the only way she could see me going wrong was for the quilt to be too tame.  Scarlet likes colors, and they need to be bright!

I wasn't happy with the beginning work on this project, which was the chained pieced portion, so I ultimately decided to go the long route and cut and place each individual piece.  Doing this allowed me to bring in more fabrics.  I had a bunch of different yellows, reds, purples and oranges in my stash, so I felt that this would be a great way to use some of these up without having to go buy a bunch more.  I also cut up and used some of my daughters' old Peek skirts that I was saving for special projects, which makes it a bit more special for me.  This solved the need to buy more fabric, but made the project considerably more time consuming.  

Before starting the project I had intended to machine quilt it.  I kept that plan right up to the moment when I needed to begin the quilting part and realized I didn't want to do that.  Instead, I opted for a variety of celtic designs on the larger blocks, taken from a book I bought about 25 years ago while visiting Ireland, and then to finish the chain blocks with the same little xs I have been using for my blue strings quilt.

Scarlet had a birthday in April and I wanted to get the project finished as my birthday gift to her, so it really started to take up most of my sewing time for a couple of months.  In the end, I finally finished it, a bit late, but in enough time for my mom to take to her when she went for the birth of Scarlet's baby sister in late May.  

This is not my favorite quilt, aesthetically speaking.  I do love the texture.  The little quilted xs make it extra soft.  And it is made with much love.  I backed it with a red flannel that I thought would be cozy for her in the Wisconsin winters.  But despite the quilt lacking appeal for me personally, she loves it.  It is apparently just what she had in mind.  I tried to send progress pictures to her along the way to get her opinions and make sure we were heading in the right direction.  I wish that I could have been there to give it to her personally, but I love that she loves it.  And I love that she knew to come right to me for this quilt.

Monday, July 23, 2018


This is the second cover I've completed in the last few weeks and is from the book Modern Folk Embroidery.  It is a great book with fun and really easy emboidery designs and ideas.  This embroidery design allowed me to make small modifications on a whim, which I like because it gives me more ownership of the finished product.  While making this pillow, I found myself wanting to add orange, but sadly, I had none, so I limited myself to what I already owned rather than picking up anything new.

It was a quick and very satisfying project.  I admired the pictures from the book, and I love seeing it at home on my couch.

I've also got a third cover in the works.  I don't have a pillowform for this piece though, so I'm going to have to find one that will accomodate the pillowcase.  The unfinished block is about 22 inches square, so I'll have to see what I can come up with before going further.  I may need to add a border to it to make a size that fits a standard pillow form.

As I was playing with the shapes I realized it could be fun to turn the pieces so that the center piece was split and situated on the four corners.  It would change the block in cool ways...  I may try that next and have a set of related pillows!

Saturday, July 14, 2018

Daisy Do Pillow

This pillow cover was initially started as a throw quilt from a pattern in Jen Kingwell's book Quilt Lovely.  It is a sweet little quilt, and, if, like me, you enjoy hand piecing, really enjoyable to piece.  But by the time I had a few of the flowers together, I realized it was going to have to be a long term project because I have so much to do ahead of it.  So I decided to use it to cover a bare pillow form that needed a case.  I had to work out the layout a bit because I wanted a flower in the middle of the case, but it wasn't difficult and I was able to piece and quilt the project over a couple of weeks in spare minutes while waiting for kids in classes or at pick-ups and end of the day sewing.

I fussy cut a few of the flowers, but felt that some of the flowers didn't need that treatment.

I tried out a few different backgounds, but picked a light shade of blue in the end, feeling that it receded into the background and let the flowers speak for themselves.

Here is the finished front panel, ready to quilt.  I didn't pin it because it just fit in my 18 inch frame.   I began quilting traditional small stitches, but pulled them out in favor of bigger stitches and some embroidery floss.