quilts


so, I was an overachiever on quilts due to baby fever 2012.  (and this is not even counting the aloha mod one for addie).  so here is #4.  (I should mention that both this one and selah’s one were finished a few months ago, and I am just now getting around to uploading the pictures).  greta belongs to my friends pat and heidi, whom I adore but don’t get to see very often since they live in memphis.   pat is an old friend from camp, I worked with him all three years.  and, he was actually one of my counselors on the island the first week with the fire.

so, this fabric?  it was an impulse buy.  I saw it as a charm pack on sale when I was buying the fabric bundle for selah’s quilt, and online it looked so cute.  like super, super cute.  and then…when it arrived?  it was so…….not cute.  I mean, it wasn’t horrible, but it REALLY wasn’t my style.  it was really juvenile and cutesy, which is just so not me.  it was not even a little modern, and I wasn’t thrilled with the colors.  how did it look SO cute in the online picture??

ultimately, I decided that, since I am afraid of points, but have always wanted to try a value quilt, using a charm pack I didn’t love was a good opportunity to try it out.  if it didn’t work out, I would scrap it and pick something else.  so I got to work, and was loving how it was turning out, but when I used up the whole charm pack, it was just a little bigger than a placemat.  so….pretty small.  so, I actually had to buy more of this fabric-I-didn’t-love, and lucky me, quilter’s haven had a handful of the charm packs.  I also bought a few quarter yards of a few other lighter-value prints, because the charm pack had a few too many that were darker-value.  it was hard for me to actually pick up a bolt of fabric with dragonflies on it.  ugh.  but you know what?

I love this quilt.

I love how it came together.  it makes me want to make so many more value quilts.  it took fabrics that I was not excited about, and made me love them.  it was such a fun quilt to make!  and making the half-square triangles from the charm pack (2 squares making 2 identical half-square triangle squares) was SO MUCH less scary than actually sewing triangles.  I also know myself well enough to know that I had to give myself some wiggle room, so I squared up each block to a smaller size than if it was perfect.  I know that that’s kind of a sloppy technique, and wastes a bit of fabric, but for me it was totally worth it to keep my sanity and actually enjoy this project.  and I would have had to do some trimming anyway to deal with the pinked edges.

I love learning more about color, and fabric choice, and how to use them to my advantage, and this project taught me a lot about value and how to use that to my advantage.  I am pretty proud of how this project turned out, and I had no reservations about going with it and mailing it off to greta.  (um….even though it took me like 2 months to get to the post office!!  sorry pat & heidi & greta!  does anyone else have trouble making it to the post office??)  the backing was one of the only prints I really liked on it its own (so glad that quilter’s haven had some yardage of it).  the binding is a solid color, and I think it was a good choice.  I quilted it stitch in the ditch, because that is apparently all I do.  I think that more intricate quilting should be my next goal.

hopefully linsey and I will have lily’s quilt done before too long, so that I can move on to the largest (but I am hoping not most difficult) project I’ve ever attempted.  hooray!

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so for some stupid reason, I decided to challenge myself on my spring quilts this year for baby fever 2012.  sometimes it was okay and worked out, sometimes it made me angry and was a challenge.  this one had a little bit of both.  this quilt is for selah (say-la), who belongs to robbie and mel.  robbie is my oldest friend.  we have been friends for almost 25 years.  that is a long time.  here is a picture of selah showing that we are kindred spirits due to love of jeggings.  way to go selah.  just remember, that if your jeggings have a fake fly, and you wear them every day for the entire winter, know that when you wear a pair of normal pants, you have to remember to zip the fly.  I speak from experience. 

overall this was a pretty challenging project.  I’d had the fabric for awhile–it was a custom bundle from fabricworm.  I was nervous at first, because all of the echino prints were kind of a weird fabric–more linen-y and canvas-y than normal quilting cottons.  I went back and forth over whether or not to use them, and in the end lindsey convinced me it would be okay.  also, I have a strict NO POINTS rule when I quilt.  only rectangles or squares (or even circles!  circles are better than points!!)  but….with all the chevron business that is so trendy right now, I decided to give it a go and see how it went.  and honestly, it wouldn’t have been so bad if I wasn’t an idiot.  really, that should be my tagline when I sew,

“it wouldn’t have been so bad if I wasn’t an idiot.”

I make so many ridiculous mistakes it’s not even funny.  I know I say this all the time, but it is the honest truth.  see that light blue solid-ish on the left? I did an entire section of the quilt using the WRONG side of this fabric.  don’t ask me how these things happen, I don’t know how I get out of bed in the morning.  but I didn’t have enough of everything to redo it, so I had to rip it all apart (FUN!) and then redo it, only I redid it with the exact same mistake (HOW DOES THIS HAPPEN!) and had to rip it out and do it again.  only since it had been cut on the wrong angle, I couldn’t just flip it over, I had to sew two scraps together and then cut a new parallelogram.  which I had been avoiding all along by sewing horizontal strips together and then cutting them at an angle.  ugh.  it was horrible.  there might have been tears, swearing, or a combination of the two.

since it had points, I was very nervous, and tossed around three different options for sewing the columns together.  I knew the more sashing I had, the more I could fake it if my points were bad.  so the one with more sashing would have been the easiest.  I asked the opinion of several friends, and the consensus was to go with…NO SASHING.  what in the heck.  I was very scared, but they all told me “you can do it!”  and guess what!  I did!  I am glad I went with no sashing.  it was okay.  it just took a lot of pinning.

I think the echino fabrics turned out okay.  I think the colors probably match their style pretty well (mel likes a lot of bold colors), and I really, really like that print on the back.  can you see all the crazy animals?  my only concern is that I have reservations about the strength of the thread I used to tack down the binding.  I don’t know why it turned out so sketch–it’s gutterman, so really it shouldn’t have been too bad, but after I washed it, the stitching seems pretty loose and it makes me nervous.  I hope that mel isn’t too shy to tell me if it falls apart and I need to fix it!  maybe it had something to do with the weird echino fabric?  who knows.

it took me several tries to decide how to quilt it, I ended up just stitching in the ditch along the zig-zags, and I tried many options of thread colors.  I ended up using teal on the front and plum on the back.  in my head I heard bon qui qui saying “but don’t get crazy” but I did it anyway.  I will cut you.

overall I am happy with the way it turned out.  the points still freak me out.  ps, thanks to cindy for her helpful tutorial business!!!

oh man.  I LOVE this one.  it’s been done for awhile (little miss adeline is a month old now!) but I just got around to uploading the photos.  I won’t count this as one of my three quilts for 30 before 30 since it was done as Team Quilt and I’ll be making several more before my birthday (people have baby fever I am telling you!)  Team Quilt is my favorite, as you know.  I am so thankful that I got to make this with my bff jami.  I just love her and it was so nice to have an excuse to spend so much time with her.  this was the third baby quilt we have made together (first two here and here), and it might be our favorite.  I would say out of nearly all the quilts I have ever made, I am most pleased with evelyn’s quilt, because matt and katie are good people and really, really USE the quilt.  they are not afraid of wear and tear and it brings so much joy to my heart.  and there is no better gift to a quilter than for one of your quilts to become someone’s “blankie” and security blanket.  evelyn’s blanket looks so loved and worn and it makes me so happy.  so it was very exciting for us to make one for her new baby sister adeline.  I got this fabric as a custom bundle from fabricworm (if you feel like  you have a hard time choosing fabrics this is a really easy thing you can do to get good stuff),  and we love it so much.  (all fabrics from harper’s, cream rose batting, design mine).  we were going for something that was like the reverse of evie’s quilt, so it has muslin squares in the middle with a fabric border.  it originally wasn’t going to have the sashing, but we realized pretty quickly that with all these prints it would get out of control pretty fast and be pretty busy if there wasn’t anything to separate each block.  and, I did much of the cutting wrong and had to redo a lot of this because I am an idiot.  surprise!  this happens a lot.  I told jami I was messing up on purpose so she wouldn’t feel bad if she made a mistake.  I am a good friend like that.

here is the back.  WAY busy but not too big a deal since it’s the back.  this is more like what the front would have looked like if we hadn’t added the sashing.

this is my favorite fabric out of all of them.  I just love the keys.

it’s hard to get good pictures of nice wrinkly quilts.

see why the sashing was so important?

we did a pieced binding.


matt and katie are the cutest people I know and addie is such a tiny little beauty.  I am so glad they are in my life and jami and I really enjoyed doing this for them.

so this quilt has been done for awhile.  and can I tell you?  I LOVE IT.  it was SO fun to make and I just love the fabrics.  in less than a month, I will be an official aunt (instead of just a title for friends’ babies) and I am so very excited.  did you know that my brother scott was the cutest kid of all time??  (see: minivan sweater) and my sister-in-law michelle is one of the cutest people I know? (see: green hoodie)  so I’m pretty sure this kid is going to be totes adorbs.  just kidding I don’t talk like that.  maybe.  look how cute we are!

anyhow, I have had my eye on the 30s repro prints at All About Quilts in manhattan (I haven’t really seen them anywhere in kc) for a long time, but haven’t had a good project to use them in.  but then, I was running into a conundrum trying to decide what to do for a quilt for this baby, because my taste is so, very, modern, and michelle’s taste is so, very, not.  so, when I was visiting lindsey last time, and we went to AAQ and walked past the 30s repro section, I knew.  and I borrowed a pattern out of a jelly roll book that lindsey had, and they had jelly rolls all made up of this fabric.  and can I tell you?  HUGE FAN of jelly rolls.  I loved not having to do as much cutting, and I love when I can piece things in bigger sections and then chop them up.  this was SUCH a fun project, especially after the mod mosaic one, let me tell you.  the only thing I don’t love about this project is how it looks as a whole with the blocks (like a pretzel, or like two awareness ribbons).  it was supposed to be double this size, so it would have looked more normal (here is one someone else made) but it became apparent early on that it was going to be WAY too big.  have I told you that I have absolutely zero concept of dimension?  oh well.  learning experience.  now I have stuff all ready to make a second one, so I might mess with the block design some before I finish putting the blocks together.  maybe it can be for the church auction next spring. I could have messed with the scale more to make it look more normal, but since the strips were already cut in the jelly roll I decided to just go with it.  live & learn.

I love these prints.  seriously.  for real.

and I really love the way the quilting worked on this one.  it was SO. MUCH. EASIER. than on the last one!  I was very happy the whole time.  and I love how it looks, it’s pretty perfect if I do say so myself.  much happier.

see what I mean overall?  a baby won’t notice though!  I love babies.

I love this background fabric with the little green dots.  perfect.

and here is the back.  I love it.  nice little pop of color.  the binding works too.

more pictures here!

yesterday I ordered fabric for my next one.  babies babies babies!  I love baby quilts!!!  I have some time until the next one is due (thanksgiving) so it will be nice to have a little break.  I felt so productive this summer!  I always feel like a need just one more week.  a few more weeks would have been nice this summer…I didn’t do a whole lot of sitting around.  (in fact, I spent time in 14 states, read 4 books, made two quilts, ran 90 miles, and cleaned out my closet.  a few more weeks to chill would have been happy.)  but I’m not complaining!  I love my job.  life is good.

oh man.  the one word I would use to describe this project, is, ambitious.  this was a very ambitious project.  I did not realize when I began how very ambitious it was.

a few years ago, ann gave me a stack of kaffe fasset fat quarters for christmas.  I had a hard time deciding what to use it for.  his prints are a little loud.  I remembered them last winter as I was contemplating making a quilt for becca, the older of the two girls I used to nanny for, who is going off to college next week.  for real?  I am getting old.  so I had it in my head that I wanted to make her a quilt for graduation to take to college with her.  and these prints seemed like a good fit–I mean, it’s pretty normal and okay to have crazy bold stuff in college, in the dorms.  so I knew who the quilt would be for, what size it would be (x-long twin, duh) and what the main fabric would be…and I had to decide what the pattern would be.  and this is where I started to lose it.  when I decided that this project could be translated into a quilt.  oh boy.  elizabeth hartman, I love you, but you should have warned me that this was a bad idea.  so my first mistake was thinking that this nice little pillow project could be multiplied into a quilt fairly easily.  so when I was visiting lindsey in manhattan, we went to the quilt shop (all about quilts, holla!) to get a few solids and a background fabric.  my original goal was a dark charcoal gray, but this lighter one was all they had and I was impatient so this is what I went with.  and I think it was a better choice, I think the lighter gray helps the colors to pop more and helps the pattern to stand out (except…that I did not buy enough….and it wasn’t kona, so I had to pretty much guess to order more and I got super lucky).  my next mistake was to jump right in and think the directions for the pillow would naturally be the same.  WRONG. I excitedly cut up all my fabric into tiny pieces.  after several weeks and making eight or nine blocks, I realized if I continue making the blocks this way, I will one, never finish, two, hate this project, and three, probably kill someone.  and I had to come up with a new plan.  which I will share at some point, simply for the benefit of anyone trying to adapt this to a quilt.  so I had to get some more fabric (ebay to the rescue! so helpful with hard-to-find prints!)  and actually I like a lot of the “new” fabrics even better and I think they made a big difference.  I got pretty fed up using only the tiny scraps, so sadly many of them went to waste.  things went better after that.  but enough talk.  I’m sure you’re really just here to see pictures.  disclaimer:  I had a hard time getting the colors right in the pictures.  they are super bold and bright…in the sun it was a little too washed out, but inside it was too yellow and I’m not good enough with my camera yet to make that happen.  so there’s pictures from both and you can just imagine the average 🙂

first, a full shot.  I suppose my final name for this quilt is “mod mosaic stained glass windows.”  the stained glass windows part is pretty obvious, but I do need to give elizabeth hartman a little credit because the design of the blocks is all her.

and….here is the back!  which…unfortunately, I like almost as much as the front.  I say unfortunately, because if I had just used it for the top it would have saved me many months of work!  the back did take longer than I wanted it to, but I think it looks pretty great so whatev.  you can see the quilting best in this shot I think.  oh…the quilting.

here are some of the blocks up closer.

you can see some of the quilting here.  the quilting on this project is the only part I am not super pleased with.  I think it goes with the project overall, but I don’t think it looks great up close.  it was hard to make it flat and steady, and there are more puckers on this project than on every project I have ever done before combined.  everyone says it is fine but it is frustrating when your hard work doesn’t turn out the way you want it to.  and I have really realized how much I do not enjoy quilting large quilts on my machine.  it is pretty difficult and I am not very good at it.  if only this was portland!  or somewhere that has people who will let you rent time on a longarm!  I know that I could pay to have someone else do it, but I would rather finish the project myself, and I certainly don’t have the money (or the space) for a longarm.  so I don’t know how many more big projects I will be doing in the future, at least until I have the money and the space to at least get a frame for quilting, or until I find somewhere around here that I can buy time on a big machine.

this is also a good time to give a large shout-out to my mom.  (oh! and to lindsey!  she helped me baste the whole thing!  I am not skilled enough to baste anything bigger than a crib size on my own!  plus my floor is too small.  and to bobby!  for putting up with the ridiculous amounts of sewing I did on my visits).  but back to my mom….I hauled my project over to her place, where she has a bigger floor to work with, and a bigger table to support everything.  she let me use nearly three rolls of her masking tape (sorry environment….that was unexpected!  we totally underestimated how much tape it would take to mark this guy) and also helped me use said tape to mark the quilting lines.  AND, she was my cheerleader.  as I alluded to before, I DID NOT ENJOY QUILTING THIS PROJECT.  I would say my attitude needed a severe adjustment, and I was not terribly friendly I’m afraid.  there was a lot of yelling and a small amount of swearing and a lot of comments along the lines of “I AM DONE WITH THIS!  NO MORE!!!!” and she put up with me and helped me keep going.  and gave me reality checks when I needed to add more quilting.  if it were up to just me there probably wouldn’t be nearly enough quilting lines.  and she kept telling me it looked good when I thought it looked terrible.  thanks mom.  you are the best.

here you can see the front and the back together.  I don’t know if you can tell from the pictures, but those five solids are all on the front too, in little pieces.

all folded up.

the binding.  I ended up doing it in the same gray as the background.  I originally wanted to do a pieced binding, but I didn’t have enough of the prints, and I thought one of the bright solids would look dumb.  I like it like this in the gray.


so it is finished.  see the rest of the pictures here.  thank you also to carrie for being gracious with how much space this project took up.  I would have finished it WAY sooner, but it wasn’t a project you could just work on for an hour or two, you had to commit a good five or six at least, and that wasn’t always a can-do.  and this project literally took up all the shared space in the apartment, from the dining room to the kitchen to ALL of the living room.  it was ridiculous.

I will say that overall I am pretty happy with how it turned out.  I think it will serve its purpose well, and I hope it gets lots of love and use at UCM.  be good becca!!

since finishing & delivering it, I have actually almost finished the quilt for my new niece!  it has been much more pleasant on all accounts.  it will be delivered this weekend and I can show it off next week.  heads up:  I LOVE IT.  it is my favorite project I’ve done in a long time.

so I uploaded all my big quilt pictures, but then I realized that I still have a handful of other projects I haven’t said anything about, and they deserve things being said.  in part so I remember what I learned, because I sure learned from these.  so I’ll put this one up now and set the quilt one for soon.  sorry for being a liar.

front side:

back side:

so, first.  I never put up any pictures of this quilt I made for cassidy’s little boy.  probably because I REALLY did not like this project.  I will admit that it is WAY CUTE.  even in the pictures.  but I learned a lot about materials in this project.  (I guess that learning is a trend in projects for cassidy’s kids!  I learned a lot about color and prints in making kate’s quilt).  this was my first time at trying applique.  and honestly I don’t have any complaints about applique in general.  but since I had never done it before, I pretty much stuck to what the book said, and looking back now there are a lot of things I would have done differently.  I didn’t mind the fusible webbing that is backing the fabrics…it wasn’t terrible and it wasn’t too hard to work with.  here are the things I take issue with.

1.  backing all of the background fabric with interfacing.  I did not like this AT. ALL.  it is my main complaint.  it made the whole project WAY too stiff, and not very soft.  not very baby.  even with washes it will never loosen up much because of the stiff interfacing.  so it’s more like a hang-on-the-wall or a put-on-the-floor-to-for-the-baby-to-play-on type blanket instead of a baby-carries-it-around-and-sleeps-with-it type of blanket (which I like better).  now that it’s finished I really think it would have been fine without it, I don’t think I would have had a problem with the applique onto regular fabric.

2.  polyester batting.  DIE!!  Die poly batting!!!!  this is what the book suggested, and I was so out of my league I just went with what the book said.  BAD. CHOICE.  oh poly batting is gross.  especially when you’re used to cotton or bamboo.  not only is it stiffer (like we needed more stiffness after the interfacing), it was a medium-to-heavy-loft, so it was a nightmare to quilt.  not a fan.  it reminded me why I never use it, and I don’t think I’ll forget anytime soon.  and the poly doesn’t wear very well either (like cotton or bamboo).  why do they even make this stuff??

3.  the materials.  lindsey and I were talking last time I visited about how once you’ve used good fabric, it is SO hard to go back to anything else.  and for a project like this, I couldn’t use great materials unless I really wanted to break the bank.  you already have to spend so much for all the matching thread (which I will never, ever, compromise, cheap thread = nightmare), and I needed so many near-solids (tiny scale prints, monochromatic) that it would have been ridiculous to get designer fabric (which is what I am used to).  and I needed so many scraps…if my scrap collection had more near-solids I would have been in better shape….but alas, I ended up buying a bunch of those little folded pieces (I feel like they’re even smaller than fat quarters?  I could be wrong, maybe they are fat quarters) that you can get at joann’s and hancock.  and it just wasn’t fun to use crappy fabric.  it just doesn’t have as nice of a hand, and you can just tell when you touch it that it’s lower quality.  so even though it did turn out super cute, and I like the prints, the fabric itself just wasn’t up to the standards I think I need to keep.

4.  enlarging a pattern.  oh I am SO not a fan of this.  the pattern came from this book, and I just felt like the directions for enlarging just weren’t super helpful.  I don’t know if you can tell or not, but the finished quilt is more than 3 feet each way, so some of the pieces were close to 3 feet long.  some pieces had to be enlarged by like 500%.  and guess what?  the machines at kinko’s don’t go that high!!!  so I had to do a crap ton of conversions (I would have been screwed were I not in the correct profession to help with this) and enlarge it several times, and then piece the enlargements together.  it was pretty much a nightmare.

BUT.  it is very, very cute and I love the idea.  so while the materials and the process left a lot to be desired, it’s for a baby, and babies barf, and poop, and you know, stuff like that, so it’s okay if it’s not perfect, and I learned a lot for next time.  cassidy was very gracious and I know that I am a lot harder on my work that the recipients usually are 🙂

also, I tried to take pictures of it outside, but it was too windy.  fail.  this is all I got. (ps, poor faded powercat.)

finally, I have been wanting to make something along these lines for a long time, and finally got my act together last week.  my favorite toddler was turning 3 and he loves, loves, loves cars.  so I went to the old Hob Lob and bought a bunch of felt.  it was fun to buy felt!  felt is pretty cheap, relatively speaking.  for how much I needed, anyway.  I stole the idea very much from here, opting to make it a roll-up mat instead of a house.  I used fabric glue, and……..not a fan.  I have serious doubts about its durability.  it was hard to get it on the little tiny pieces!  and it made a mess and anywhere I didn’t get it perfect it really shows.  it was a fun change of pace, however, so I won’t complain.  I think if I did it again I might actually try sewing most of the stuff on, but I don’t think I’ll be attempting that anytime soon, or ever.  but it was worth it for ruly.  when I arrived on saturday, as soon as I walked in the door, he looked up and shouted “KIM!!” which just melted my heart, and then he said “You bring me a present??!?!?”  I just love him.  he seemed to like it pretty well, but I think some of the littlest pieces are already not doing to hot, so hopefully sharon doesn’t mind doing a little repair.  also?  letters from felt? BAD NEWS.  way too hard for me.  I think I’ll stick to quilts.

among other things, there is a hospital (with helipad!)

police, fire and gas stations

my favorite, the construction zone

and of course, bill snyder family stadium.  ruly sang the fight song for (with) us.

it also features a farm, a park, a swimming pool, a train depot, a zoo, and a target.  raul and sharon both think it’s just like the promised land 🙂

do you love patty griffin???  you should.  she is great.  I love her.  and this is one of my favorites of hers.  it was good to listen to tonight as the rain came down (mixed in with wiz khalifa and lupe fiasco and t-pain, go ahead, judge me).  I was really on the ball with my current big project.  I have had a hard time gathering steam for this quilt (har har, quilter’s humor) but today I really pressed on (okay, I’ll stop) and made a lot of progress.  I think it is going to be pretty spectacular once it’s finished, but BOY oh boy has it involved a crap ton of pressing and trimming and not being able to chain piece and bits and bits all over.  in other news, it is FREAKING HOT in kansas.  I actually did okay at conditioning tonight, and even kept up with a few of the kids (they were taking it pretty easy, don’t get too excited).  but seriously?  heat index of 115 is pretty ridiculous.  for the birds I tell ya.  as I look for a marathon to try colorado is looking pretty good….

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