Thursday, February 23, 2012

work in progress

i decided my next quilt would be based on half square triangles. i'm still working with precuts, but HSTs are the next step in adding a little more complexity.

i fell in love with the collection aviary 2 by joel dewberry in the saffron colorway. orange and brown and blue..yes, please! i ordered charm packs from southernfabric on etsy and they arrived promptly. i also used bella snow as the solid from fatquartershop, again. the fabric sat around for awhile, until i got the germany quilt finished. but as soon as the germany quilt was bound, i was immediately making half square triangles!

i followed this tutorial and was able to churn them out very quickly. i really love how versatile HSTs are and i love all the different patterns that can be made with them. pinwheels! or just arranging them simply in uniform rows makes a very attractive pattern that i love as well. in the end, i decided to go with the large diamonds that are shown in quilt story's HST quilt tutorial!

our colorways are quite similar!

this is the result of working my way through one charm pack, i have 2 or 3 more to go. i would like this quilt to be big enough to go on a queen bed.

i'm really excited to piece this and choose a backing fabric!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

the german flag quilt

after finishing my first REAL quilt (for me!) i asked my son what kind of quilt he wanted. he is really into germany and said he wanted a germany-themed quilt. we talked about ideas for that and what it might look like, and we decided to definitely use the german flag colors. i thought a jelly roll race quilt would be fun and easy and lend itself to a very graphic modern pattern.

i ordered jelly rolls in 3 colors and the top WAS very easy and fun to sew! i did it over two evenings, only because of my own time constraints, it went very quickly. i love the idea of the jelly roll race and would like to make more quilts like this as gifts. they go together so easily and are small enough to be machine quilted in my regular machine.

here is the completed top. 
then, something went awry. i washed and dried the top. the yellow strips seemed to shrink at a different rate and became very puckered. i ironed, steamed, pulled and tugged, and got it into the best condition i could. then i made my quilt sandwich and started quilting, from the middle out.

i did straight line, stitch in the ditch quilting on my machine. the machine had no problem handling the thickness, but i had a hard time with the puckering and it got very sloppy. i also didn't get my backing fabric all the way smooth and things were going downhill fast. i got frustrated and stuffed the whole thing in a closet! i just needed to step away from the quilt!

the wip ended up in the closet for several weeks as i curated an art show that took all my spare time. after the show opened and all the craziness died down, i came back around and got the quilt out last weekend. it wasn't as bad as i remembered, and it was very pleasing to sew these nice straight seams. as i got to the ends of the quilt it was smoother and easier to work with. after two nights of working on it, it was done! i bound it with black bias tape.

my son was pleased.

the edges are a little wonky and there's plenty of wrinkles and puckering. i'm still getting the hang of this quilting thing. i think the lesson here is DON'T WASH YOUR TOP. or prewash and preshrink everything, which i elected not to do since they were only 2 inch raw edge strips. surely the edges would have raveled and been harder to work with? hmmm.

it is a cozy quilt in a good size, and i like the straight line quilting. i love the modern, graphic, bold colorway and pattern. i would definitely like to make more jelly roll quilts!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

piecing my life back together

in september 2011, i was in a time of great emotional turmoil. i was inspired by quilts i had seen on the internet and was itching to distract myself with a new project. i did a lot of research and decided to try to quilt "for real": actually looking up methods and tips and tutorials instead of just barreling ahead like i had always done before.

i found this tutorial on the disappearing 9 square. i was excited because it seemed easy to do but with a complicated patchwork-look result. i thought using charm packs would help me concentrate on piecing since i wouldn't have to worry about cuts.

i chose my fabric carefully, i wanted something that would represent me. i decided to go with nautical fabrics, since i love all the imagery. i found this great "by the sea" charm pack at clotide. i also got "american banner rose" and bella snow and bella red solids charm packs from fatquartershop.

working on this quilt gave me much comfort. i found great satisfaction and emotional parallels in piecing squares together, cutting them apart, and rearranging them to suit me. i was literally piecing my life back together, rearranging my thoughts, and putting aside the ones that didn't work with my vision. everyone asked me who the quilt was for. "it's for me," i replied every time.

i found the border/backing and the binding at joann's. i quilted it by hand and finished in in november 2011.

the quilt ended up being a lot smaller than i expected, it is a lap quilt size. i was a little disappointed in the size at first, but it looks just fine laying across the back of my couch and it definitely works for cozying up while watching tv.

i am pretty proud of this quilt, even though it has a few blemishes. i consider it my first "real" quilt.  i named it "anchors aweigh".  and here is my signature block :)

my quilt history

i have long been a fan of quilts and quilting. i always loved seeing the family quilts that my aunts and other relatives made, and i had a sunbonnet sue quilt when i was a little girl. when my son was born 13 years ago, i attempted a couple of quilts:
 my first project was way too ambitious. i tried to copy a complicated family quilt. i had no idea how to cut or piece! it ended up as a small playmat for my infant boy with only 6 blocks.

when my son was a toddler, i made a childsize tshirt quilt from his daddy's tshirts. again, it did not turn out very well because i didn't know what i was doing!

in 2009 i made a dodger quilt to take to baseball games, but it was not pieced at all. it was one solid panel on the front and i handquilted over the design. here it is before it was bound.

that one turned out ok, it is very warm and cozy due being fleece with batting inside as well.

these were my meager beginnings and my humble attempts.