Thursday, June 28, 2012

A quick project

I have all my blocks done for the Flying Wonky Stars baby quilt I am making for our friends, but had another project I wanted to do while the baby slept today.

Two fun gifts our daughter received for her first birthday (7 months ago) were a set of alphabet blocks (with the Russian alphabet) from my sister

  and a set of wood blocks that, when assembled, made a Russian cathedral (I gave her that).

The problem is that she's too young for either.  I have let her play with the cathedral blocks, but at 19 months, she not really interested in carefully stacking the blocks according to daddy's instructions. She basically stacks two or three on top of each other and then knocks them over: great fun, but I'm sure at least one of these blocks will go missing, and when she's old enough to want to make the cathedral, it will be missing a tower or a wall or something.  The alphabet blocks are so cute, but she likes to chew on them, and the paint comes off a little...probably some kind of safety hazard, right?  Well, she can still play with them with supervision, which she occasionally does.

Anyhow, I decided to try my hand at making a little drawstring bag to hold the blocks- my first non-quilt-related project (outside of hemming pants or curtains).  I found an easy drawstring bag tutorial on Ashley Connelly's blog The Creative Place, and I am really excited with how it turned out and how quickly it went.  Here's the final result:

I used a cute little cat and mouse fabric called Purfect Mischief from Connecting Threads (it was/is on clearance for $2.95/yd), and for the trim I used an old purple fabric from my stash...don't remember the name.  The lining is a crimson fabric (forgot to take a pic of it, and am too lazy to do it now) also from my stash.

The funny part is that I WAY underestimated the size I would need.  Actually, I figured it might be a bit small for either set of blocks, but I decided that, since it was my first bag, I should just follow the directions and let this one be a trial.  It was very simple to do, and took about an hour and a half.  So nice to start and finish a project in one sitting!

UPDATE:  I had so much fun (and mom and baby went outside to play) that I made another bag.  This one is for the cathedral block set, and it measures about 11" x 14", and the blocks fit just fine!

This time I remembered to take a picture of the inside of the bag...Doh!  I could have taken a pic of the inside of the other bag!!!  Oh well :)

There you can see the blocks in their new home :).  This bag is just the right size to make as a drawstring backpack for my little girl and her doll.  Will have to add that to the To Do list!
It feels like my Flying Wonky Stars baby quilt is going to have to wait patiently for another few days while I go on a start-and-finish spree with another bag and a new fitted sheet for the baby's bed before it gets any more of my attention.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Spring Finish

Finally finished what was actually a really quick quilt.  It just took forever because I had so little time for quilting this past couple of weeks.  It's a picnic quilt (70" x 50") based on Elizabeth Hartman's Crazy Nine Patch Lattice quilt design.  By the way, if you don't follow her blog, Oh, Fransson!, check it out- she designs and makes beautiful quilts!  I would have loved to use a white background for this quilt as Elizabeth does, but I was a bit skittish about using a white fabric on a quilt that a 19 month old girl was going to be using so much.  We went with a copper color- it's Kona, and I am over the moon about it.

The pattern is kind of a wonky 9 patch with 10 inch finished blocks.  I upped the size from 7 1/2 inches because I just needed a bit bigger quilt, but didn't want to make something like 20 additional blocks.

The quilting is what I have heard called "Matchstick" quilting.  I used a walking foot to make straight lines across the quilt in random places, with a finished look similar to a pile of matchsticks.  The above picture shows a very wrinkled finished product, but you are able to see the quilting a bit more in this shot.  Since the colors are orange, green, and brown, I chose four different colors of thread to quilt (light brown, dark brown, orange, and green).  You can see them a bit better in this next picture.

You can also see the random lines of the matchstick quilting.  It's a nice "design" because as long as you can stitch a straight line, it's pretty fast and easy.   All you need is a walking foot and some masking (painter's) tape. :)

Once again, the binding is all by machine, and though I really do prefer the hand-sewn finish on a binding, I have been so anxious to finish and use my quilts lately that I have been on a machine-binding tear!  As you might notice from the above pic, I commited the sin of mixing top and bobbin thread colors.  The back (bobbin) was green and the top was white.  This created no problems, and in fact, I LOVE how it turned out, so I will be doing it again and again!  You can also see that I am so anxious to finish that I start pressing the pedal down on the machine and get a less than straight line from time to time!  I believe my machine is partly to blame for this one.  It's very difficult to regulate speed with the foot pedal on my 1950's Singer, and so I sometimes get a less-than-smooth acceleration.  Well, I ordered some of this binding fabric (called Gipsy Glitter) along with a few others that appear on the quilt top last week, and thought it would lighten a quilt that felt a bit on the dark side (of the color spectrum, not The Force). 

 Here's my angel, just past her 19 month birthday, testing out our new picnic quilt.  Why didn't I notice that she had smushed up berries on her sandals BEFORE she jumped onto the quilt?  Oh well, it's gonna get dirty eventually!  That's one thing I am quickly learned as a parent- you can't own much of anything and expect to keep it nice and clean, because babies love to throw, chew, crumple, and drool on whatever looks new and nice.  So if you want to save it, put it on the highest shelf!  New and Nice are not so important to me now...cute and sweet and angelic have replaced them on the priority scale, and our little girl certainly tics all the boxes for us!

A proud "quilt dad" (copyright reserved, Quilt Dad) displaying quilt back and proof that he is indeed both a quilter and a dad.  Note baby carefully examining my stitches.  :)