Saturday, June 23, 2018

Dancing with the Tutu Fairy

 A while back I bought this cute panel called "Tutu Fairy".

It was intended to be made into a pocketed wallhanging, but I thought I would turn it into a Quilt for Kids donation.  I had also purchased some of the coordinating fabrics:

I started out by cutting out the six "tutu fairies" and giving them a uniform, pink border:

Then I chose 6 of the smaller motifs to cut out and border with one of the coordinating fabrics:

I set the blocks together on my design board to see how they looked:

Cute, but rather small, since the blocks were only 6.5 inches wide.  I decided to give each type of block another border.  The tutu fairies got a basic white:

and the other blocks got a teal green:

When I put them together, it looked like this:

Now it just needed a few borders.  I wanted to include the pink ballet slipper fabric from the coordinates, so that became the first  border.  Then a skinny dark pink border, and at last, a border of the tutu fabric.

Ta-Da!  A quick and easy quilt that I hope a little ballerina will love.  The turquoise castle fabric will be used with the castles in the panel to make a second quilt.

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Monday, April 16, 2018

Before The Blog: My first quilt

When I started blogging about 10 years ago, I saw it as a place to record my quilting endeavors and all that goes with that.  However, there are quilts that I made before I started blogging that I wish to document here so that all my quilting efforts can be found in one place.  I've decided to do a a series of posts to highlight the quilts that came BTB, or Before The Blog.

I guess the best place to start is with my very first quilt, a queen size Rail Fence:

I made this quilt in a Night School Community Ed class.  I just wanted to make one quilt.  I had no idea what it would lead to.

The class supply list came in the mail.  (yes, this was before the Internet.).  It was a Xerox copy of a hand written list that stated that I needed four fabrics.   The class list included some advice  about standing back and squinting to see if there was enough contrast. (a technique I still use today.)

I went to my local JoAnn's fabric store and stood in front of their giant wall of quilting cottons, trying to decide what I needed.  As I was pulling bolts and putting them in a pile, I remember asking the opinion of another customer who was also there in the quilt section.   I told her my plan was to just make this one quilt.  She stifled a small laugh.  "Just wait and see", she said, smiling.

Undaunted, I eventually chose these four fabrics for my "one and only" quilt.

The class was enjoyable, although most of the sewing was done at home.  At the last class we brought in our finished quilt tops and learned how to tie them.  For the batting, I chose a Mountain Mist product called "Fatt Batt" which was a very thick, and my quilt turned out more like a comforter than a quilt.

Only thing left was the binding.  I managed to get a double fold binding sewn on to the top side, but the idea of hand sewing the binding to the back, all around the perimeter of that queen sized quilt was daunting.  I decided to try to sew it down by machine.

Remember, this was before the Internet so I had no access to helpful websites or Youtube videos.  But perhaps that was a good thing, because I had no idea what a difficult process I was about to undertake.  Had I known how hard it would be to sew  a straight line while managing the weight of a bulky queen sized quilt  hanging off the edge of my little sewing table, the process of hand sewing the binding would have seemed easy in comparison.

Tons of pinning, and much arduous stitching later, I was finally done wrestling that queen sized monster underneath my presser foot. The binding actually looked pretty good from the top side, as I did a decent job of stitching in the seam line where the binding meets the quilt.  The back side was another story entirely.  It was not pretty, but it was done.

I had it on my bed for many years until the seams started to pull apart in a few places.  I no longer use it, but, I still have it stored away.

So that is the story of my first quilt.  I now understand what the lady in JoAnn's was smiling about.

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Friday, April 6, 2018

Springtime for Santa Domenico

Last fall, I designed a table runner based on a photo of the street tiles in Santa Domenica, Italy. You can read about that here.   I finally got it quilted and bound and ready for the table just in time for the Easter Bunny.

As a nod to it's street pavement inspiration, I wanted to quilt it in simple blocks.

The central white areas were easy to quilt, by just stitching in the seam allowances.  For the gold areas, I had to get a little more creative.  I decided to try using a hera marker to make guidelines for the quilting.

Using the ruler as a guide, I marked indentations on the fabric with the marker,

Then I stitched along the marked lines.

Since this was a project I designed through trial and error, I had a few pieced units left over.

I decided to use them to create matching coasters.

Here is the bunny-approved  runner on my table:

and here is a reminder of the street tiles that were the inspiration:

Happy Spring!

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Sunday, March 25, 2018

Fifty Cents worth of Fun and Frolics

As mentioned in my last post,  I bought a cute woodland panel for 50 cents at a recent Super Bowl Sale.  I thought it would make a great donation quilt for "Quilts for Kids".  The fabric was called "Forest Frolic" and consisted of six  9" square animal motifs, plus two banners with chickadees.

Now, I have lots of projects in the quilting queue, and yet somehow this one went straight to the top. In the back of my mind, I kept trying to figure out the best way to use this panel, and finally  I had to just get it started to see where it would take me.

The quick and easy thing to do  would have been to cut out five of the animal motifs and set them together in a big nine patch block.  But... that would have left me with one extra animal motif, and two of these cute little chickadee rows:

So, I decided to cut into the panel and see what else I could come up with. (Hey, for 50 cents I didn't have much to lose.)

I trimmed around each of the motifs, including the chickadees and set them out on my design board:

Then I cut 1 1/2" strips from each of 5 coordinating fabrics:

and began sewing borders around each of the motifs:

I played around a bit, and eventually,  ended up with this arrangement:

Now came the fun part.   How to piece this puzzle?   I measured each component and charted it out on graph paper.

The chart helped me to figure out what size the background pieces had to be, and how to organize the piecing into smaller subunits.  (I actually enjoy these types of calculations, so don't feel bad for me.)

I considered using a variety of different fabrics for the background pieces, but,  I would have had to subdivide them into even smaller pieces in order to avoid  having two of the same colored fabrics touch, and that was taking this challenge just a little too far.

Instead, I chose a basic beige fabric for the background to mimic the block centers, and started building up my puzzle:

I was able to construct the quilt top into 3 big pieces, and only had to do some partial piecing on one of the sections.  (I think my experience making my Long Time Gone quilt helped me out quite a bit.)

After sewing those last few seams, I added a narrow brown border to visually contain the squares, and  some fun asymmetrical borders with bright orange cornerstones to finish off the top.  Here is the big finish:

I'm happy with the outcome. I think it will make a cute quilt for either a boy or girl, and one thing is for is one-of-a-kind!

I still have plenty of the coordinating fabrics to put toward future quilts and now my brain can go work on something else.

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