Tuesday, June 29, 2010

In which I make some actual progress . . .

For some reason, blogger won't allow me to move my pictures around once I've uploaded them, so this post has the pictures backwards from how I intended them. Phooey. I'm too lazy to delete and reload them. Do you see my lovely pedicure again? It's three weeks old -- from my brother's wedding. A few chips, but better than usual. Ach! I just looked at it again, and it doesn't even look like a French manicure -- just regular toes. But, I digress.
Amanda Jean just posted her applique, and it made me feel gutsy enough to show mine. You see how she inspires me constantly. This is one I have been working on FOREVER -- although that is true of many of my quilts. Let's just say, though, that I started it before we bought our house five years ago. It could be more like 7 or 8 years old (the quilt -- not the house).
Very traditional pattern and colors -- still needs borders. I found the pattern in a magazine and liked it. Now I feel like it's too matchy-matchy. The blue background was supposed to be one solid piece, but I decided to patch it. I love it that way! I love when the backgrounds are scrappy. Anyway, I still like (but don't love) it. This was before I moved to more modern fabrics and styles. I do like so many of the traditional quilts still, though.
And this is the top for Cathy's Charmed Whirligig quilt-along. It had just been awaiting borders, and I finished them yesterday. Obviously I still have to make the back, quilt it, and bind it, but I am making progress on my goal of 13 -- albeit minor progress. Look, I do what I can. 30 hours a week in my husband's office is cramping my style (not to mention the seven kids). =) Here's hoping I can get in more quilting time on vacation.

Quilting along!

Look at me! I'm caught up to where Amanda Jean is. Well, sort of. I still have a few stacks of strips to cut, but I'm caught up with the sewing. I think I'll take this on vacation with me so I can keep up. I think Jill is quilting along too, so we can do it together. I will be in her neck of the woods for part of my vacation. Are you quilting along? And are you caught up?

Friday, June 25, 2010

Deconstructing a quilt . . .

Literally. Before picture.
I got this adorable vintage fabric at the Fort Worth Quilt Show a number of years ago. I loved it, didn't want to cut it up (always how I felt for a LONG time), so I found some fabrics in my stash that matched and made it into a quilt top -- never finished it. Never loved it either. Loved the fabric -- just not the quilt top. I really don't know why I felt like I had to slap something together with it. It has been too long since I made it to remember the psychology behind it.
Anyway, now it looks like this. I love the fabric. I don't want to feel like I wasted it on a quilt I do not love. So I have one fewer WIP. Not the traditional route, though.
So the lesson for today is don't be afraid to rip apart something you don't love. I don't mean in a mad frenzy. Keep yourself under control. But quilting is for you to love. Only do what works for you. Now I have to think of a better use for this fabric. But not yet. Because I am still at 72 WIPs, and that is nothing to sneeze at. Okay. Go make something!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Falling off the wagon . . . and jumping on the bandwagon.

I really shouldn't be starting any more projects . . . but I could no longer resist when I saw these. Hers are cuter than mine, but I'll keep working up to her standard. REALLY old fabrics, some of these. Some Simplicity and some Princess thing that Jill will know the name of. I made an entire quilt out of it, and this is what is left. Seriously long-term project. And now that I've confessed this to you all, I'll have to up my number. Again.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Leftover love

This quilt is for a dear friend (baby shower was Tuesday), and it is just made from all the leftovers from this quilt. Of course, the original isn't finished yet. And I had to take pics of this pre-wash and drying because I was running late. So late, in fact, that my dear husband had to deliver it to the baby shower after it was (mostly) dry. =/
It's kind of hard to see, but I did swirls in the whirligig that are all connected to each other -- swirl in, swirl out, go to the next one to swirl in, swirl out. I stippled the outer white border with a small stipple. It looked so fantastic once it was washed and dried -- so crinkly.
It was a Spring Magic by April Cornell jelly roll. After I made the coin quilt, there was just enough left over to make these little whirligigs. The finished block is 4 inches. Jelly rolls are great for that. Now, I think I've mentioned before how I manage to mess these whirligigs up. I made a previous one and cut some of the pieces upside down, going the wrong way, so I had to make more going in the correct direction (and the incorrect direction). I ended up putting the opposite ones around the border separated by white. That one is finally to quilt-top stage but not finished. Maybe you'll get to see it soon, but it's not in my QAL list, so maybe NOT. You can see in the above pic as well as the below pic how the whirligigs are going the opposite direction. In this one, since I didn't have any more of these fabrics -- these were the scraps -- I just decided that I would just put all the different ones in one row.
So you can see how the white space surrounding the opposite whirligigs does not create a whirligig shape. Whatever. That was my solution. I didn't point it out, and if the mama wants to give it back, so be it. = ) Because I love it. Some melon-colored Quilter's Only on the back, bound in a green print from Lila Tueller's Santorini. Because I didn't have any more Spring Magic. This was seriously all that was left. Kind of a nice feeling, actually. I used the whole jelly roll!

Dye-ing, not dying.

My oldest daughter has plans for a black and jewel tone quilt but couldn't find exactly what she was looking for in my stash, so we decided to dye some bleached muslin (which I buy by the bolt). I don't have a picture of that yet, but I figured while she was dying things (girls' camp shirt needed some tie-dying too), I would throw in some different fabrics just to see how they'd turn out. Oh, yeah, and some diapers for burp cloths. I love those.
I have these in a before and after setup. You can see that in most there is not much difference between the before and after. I think that was due in part to the fact that the dye was running out. I should have gotten the big bottle instead of the little packet. Live and learn.
That top one looks pink in this pic, but in real life it's a decent lavender. Probably the second best result.

Overall I think I mostly just got a muddied look. Again, I think that was in part due to not enough dye. I was just throwing things in at the end to see what would happen. Some of them I WILL use. I have been thinking of a purple, black, and white quilt. Some of these just don't qualify as purple. I just used RIT dye. I saw that iDye stuff at Joann's the last time I was there, so I might try that one of these times, see if I get better results. So, overall, not a failure, because I learned something, but certainly not quite what I was going for. I'll probably try more as we dye my daughter's other fabrics. The whites obviously take it the best. We'll see. Have you ever tried dying or altering the color in your fabric?

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Summer plans

Let me have a what, what! for the fact that Amanda Jean is back. Did I mention this before? Anyway, true to form, she's back to inspiring me. She's having another quilt-along. And I'm joining in. Of course. This is what I'm going to use for it.

I am so excited. It's my first Fig Tree fabric purchase, though I have long coveted Joanna's stuff. Anyway, my summer plans -- I am going to try to finish all my quilt-alongs. It's getting ridiculous how many I've started and not finished. So here's the list.

  1. Christmas 9-patch from Amanda Jean's One-a-day QAL
  2. Anina's Geese in the Forest
  3. Applewood Farms BOM from last year
  4. AJ's new QAL

So now we're in the crazy room where I suggest that I can actually finish all this by the end of the summer (let's say the end of August). And I'm going to be gone all of July. And I have two finished tops from my quilt group that I need to quilt also. But I'm not going to commit to those, because, you know, that would just be too much to finish. I actually think there is no freakin' way I will finish all these by the end of the summer, BUT this will give me a list to focus on. And I definitely need help with focusing. Cross your fingers. If I DO finish all this -- I don't know how I'll reward myself, but let me tell you, it will be AWESOME! What are your summer plans? I hope you finish more than you start! = )

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Guitar SupaStar!

So, the baby this is going to is already like three months old. Sometimes I'm ahead of my game, and sometimes (mostly) I'm WAAAAYYYY behind. Here I think I would call it moderately behind. This is why I'm so thankful to Jacquie and her Spring to Finish challenge. This is number 10 of 11. I finished it before the deadline, but I didn't get it posted before then. (Same thing with the previous two quilts.) Number 11 didn't make it, but I am just amazed that I finished 10. I'm going to have to challenge myself in June to finish some more -- maybe all my quilt-alongs. =/
I LOVE these Maverick stars. I did some for Amanda Jean's Quilts of Valor project last year, and then I just had to do some more. I saw some of Ashley's Maverick star quilts, and I knew I wanted to make a quilt similar to hers (and this one too).
I quilted a swirl in the centers of each block, and then I bisected each star point and followed it to the edge of the quilt. It made a lot of crisscrosses -- scrunchier in some places than in others.
It was this piece of flannel that inspired the color scheme. Little guitars -- probably came from Jill. She sent me a bunch of flannel at one point. Here's the lesson for the day -- use the exact same fabric when piecing each block on a quilt where you want the stars to look like they're floating. White is not always white. Now, normally I like the variation I get when I use different whites, but in this particular quilt, I was looking for a uniformity in the background that I didn't get. The difference was not extremely noticeable until I got it out of the washing machine, so at first I wondered if some of the green bled into it. That may still be the case. It just looks kind of yellow. I'm not going to take it apart, mind you. It's just an imperfection that is going to bug me whenever I see it (which, admittedly, will not be that often, since I'm giving it away.)
So that's a lesson for next time -- because I'm having my Common Threads group make me Maverick stars in citrus colors (mostly based off of Riley Blake's Summer Song). Use the same white.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Black Raspberries and Cream

This is another of Elizabeth Hartman's designs. It is the Mod Sampler Quilt-along. I finished my first one last year, and then my quilting group wanted to do it as well. So I quilted along with them and did another version. I need to post theirs as well. Everyone's turned out so different. That's what's so fun about this pattern. Well, I suppose that's really true of most patterns. Same pattern, different fabrics = completely different feel to the quilt.
Her pattern calls for a 5x6 layout of blocks -- making six of each block and saving six to go on the back. I decided once again that I wanted it slightly bigger, so I did eight of each block, thus creating a 6x8 layout. Finished quilt is 62x82-ish. All from scraps laying around my house, but I did try to make each set of six out of the same two fabrics -- some had to be substituted a little.
I had no blocks leftover for the back, but I did have this crazy piece of black and white that is pretty much perfect for this quilt -- and that I really didn't know where else I was going to use it. That pink was yardage I got from my LQS when they had a finish-the-bolt sale last year. It's Santorini by Lila Tueller. Very soft. I must confess that I don't like this one as much as my first one. I think it's just all the colors on the other one. I do like each individual fabric on this quilt though -- very fun and interesting. There are lots of vintage black and white prints (read: very, very old and unidentifiable). It's for my SIL -- well, soon to be SIL. The wedding is on Saturday and it's a wedding gift. I started the quilt not necessarily FOR her, but when it turned up that these are actually her wedding colors, I decided it had to go to her. I have plans for another quilt for my brother. I didn't finish it in time for Jacquie's challenge, but I still have to finish it before I leave the state on Friday.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Giraffe Quilt

Some quilts I have no problem naming, and others are more difficult for me. And don't even ask me about labeling. I'm terrible at labeling them. =/
I pieced this quilt a good eight years ago. My SIL had gotten some of the giraffe fabric with pink, and I liked it in the green colorway. I let it sit so long before quilting it that I had a hard time matching the back to the front. And of course, I used every ever-loving piece of it to make the front, although, if there were any scraplets left, I wouldn't be able to find them anyway due to their advanced age. Anyway, so I quilted it last year, but I had the same problem with binding that I had with the backing -- the greens were not quite the right match -- all the ones I could track down. Admittedly, it wasn't a hard-fought search to find the perfect binding, but at the same time, even in my lackadaisical quest, I was unwilling to settle for a weird color for the binding. So I finally decided on brown -- I'm pretty sure it's Quilter's Only from Joann's -- that chocolatey brown color. And I think it's growing on me.
Diagonal crosshatch (which has ever been my go-to mode of quilting should ideas fail me). It doesn't make for as scrunchy of a quilt after washing, but at this point I'm going with, "Hey, it's done, and it's another boy quilt to add to my stack." And I really do still like the colors.