Tuesday, January 24, 2012

A quick finish.

I have been reading Leah Day's Free Motion Quilting Project, getting some great guidance and inspiration as I gear up to try some FMQ stippling on my niece's quilt.  After doing some practice stippling on quilt sandwiches for the past week or so (see below), I felt ready to try it on a real quilt- then I chickened out a bit.

Well, it was one part chicken out and one part inspiration.  I thought that since the quilt got a bit out of hand, size-wise (52x64), giving her a really baby sized quilt as well might be nice.  Since I already had some big whirlygigs I made for this project (14.5 x 14.5), I decided to put those together with 1 inch sashing and borders to make a 32 x 32 baby quilt.

I also included two little pockets on the corners so it can be hung on the wall.  Hopefully this will get used a lot, and not displayed, but I wanted to try doing it (it was easy) for future quilts.  
The best part about this project is that it went together FAST!  The 4 blocks were already done, so I just had to sash, border, sandwich, quilt and bind, which to no time at all!  Also, I got to do a practice run of stippling on a real project!  It is obviously beginner's work, but I am really happy with how it turned out.  As you can see, I did a random stipple, and learned yet another valuable lesson: lighter color thread is better, especially if you don't want to draw attention to your quilting.  I am going to use a light green on the big quilt, so hopefully it won't detract from the patchwork as much as the lavender did on this one.

For binding, I used some of the "Greatest Show on Earth" pink bubbles fabric, and did a machine binding, which is fast, but I still prefer the finished look of the hand-stitched binding.  For the back I chose a purple and pink flower print.  Didn't piece the back, so that made things go much faster, too.

I also love how small it wraps up!  I think it looks like a folded up newspaper...remember what those looked like? :)  My sis isn't expecting 1 quilt, so 2 quilts should really be a surprise!  Hope she likes them!  OK, enough typing- I need to start quilting the big baby quilt!

Monday, January 23, 2012

You've Got Mail!

I just got this package from Julie at The Intrepid Thread yesterday.  Even though I bought only a couple of yards of a closeout fabric, she still wraps it up like a little birthday present, with a little thank you card and everything!

 I got two yards of the Hedgehogs from Lizzy House's Outfoxed for my I Spy charm swap.  Well, I got one yard for the swap and another yard for my stash.  I don't have a lot of blue fabrics yet, and since it was on sale...you know all the excuses already, right?

I like how Julie includes a couple of random charms with each delivery.  Of course, this makes me want to buy more, but I will try to be good, and focus on the quilts and not the online fabric stores for a while.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

W.I.P. Wednesday

My only work in progress right now is a baby quilt for my sister's new baby, who arrives today.

It's not done, and the baby should be here any minute, so I should probably step away from the keyboard...  They had to induce labor because baby just wasn't coming, so we are just waiting by the phone for the good news of their new baby girl any time now.

My wife helped me pick the backing.  I wanted to go with a purple or violet color, but she picked out a green fabric with some violet accents, and I think it's a nice contrast to the front.  I had some leftover whirleygigs from the front, so I strung them together and placed them diagonally across the green/violet backing fabric.  My quilt is about 48 inches wide, however, the 44 inches of fabric, along with the extra squares wasn't enough to cover the back, so I added some leftover fabric strips.  It's not exactly the clean look I was after, but it's a quilt, right?  Having a little patchwork imbalance adds to its charm.  Well, we'll see when all is said and done :)

I am also trying to push myself to practice my free-motion quilting skills more regularly, so I have been working thru some of the tutorials on Leah Day's Free Motion Quilting Project, and I am already seeing some improvements.  Her videos and step-by-step hand-holding is just what I need, and for the more advanced, she's got a boat-load of tutorials on more complex designs.  I may need some more practice before I attempt to stipple this quilt, but I'd like to think I will slay that dragon sometime soon!

P.S.- This post is me procrastinating...I now have to make the quilt sandwich and baste, not my favorite part of the process...

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Finishing up the baby quilt

Now that Christmas is thoroughly over (my wife is Russian, so it's not actually over for us until January 8th), the dinky 2 ft tall tree is gone, and we finally over our illnesses, I can get back to quilting.
After a frenzy to finish mom's quilt, I took a few days off to get sinusitis along with my wife.  That was not fun, especially since we had to get on a plane and experience the kind of pain that makes you want to crack your skull open like a walnut to relieve the sinus pressure!  Fortunately, our little baby (who had an ear infection) slept like a baby during both flights.  We were so worried about how she would manage, we forgot to bring meds for ourselves, and had a pretty miserable flight back home.  Better me than her, though!

I had to reorganize my stash after Christmas, because a good friend of mine passed along some his mother-in-law's stash.  Sadly, she passed away this past summer after getting an infection while in the hospital for an unrelated surgery.  Very sad, and quite unexpected.
Anyhow, his MIL was a huge crafter and quilter, and he offered to let me take my pick from some 14 big boxes full of quilting fabric.  As I had to ship it home, I didn't want to go overboard, but they were so generous and happy to see it go to someone who was going to use it, so I kinda did go overboard.  The cost to ship it was about $60, and I'm guessing they gave me roughly 75-100 yards of fabric.

Roughly 80% if the fabric pictured is from my friend!

My stash went from a cardboard box to almost completely filling a small bookcase.  She had lots of softer colors, which contrasts well with the brighter hues I usually buy.  Thanks to Gregg and Mercy for sharing, and I am now planning a quilt for them using their mom's fabrics!

I have already incorporated a few of her fabrics into my sister's baby quilt, which I hope to finish in the next few days.  Once again, I am learning so much through my current quilt, mostly learning what I won't do next time.  I love the color palette of purples, pinks, and teals in this quilt, but I think that choosing such a dark background made picking contrasting patterns difficult.  

Not a great picture, but this is my design wall right now.  You can see that with the dark background, only the dark plum whirlygigs near the corners and the very light colored whirlygigs don't just wash out next to the lavender.  Up close it looks better, but yet another lesson learned through experience!