I finished four baby blankets for Project Linus and handed them over yesterday. It felt good to use up some more flannel. It's always a challenge to come up with a pattern that uses small pieces like fat quarters or half yards. I had to get creative, but for baby blankets, it worked it out. Done is better than perfect, in my book!
I sent two blankets to Project Linus last week, both for our black and white theme, although I added red. This pattern came from a blogger who designed a different pattern every week for a year to get practice in EQ. I thought this looked quick and easy, and it was. I used some coordinating black and white fabric that I got from Backside Fabrics – it was a really good deal because I bought like a half yard of each, but because the width was 108 inches, I got plenty of fabric for the money. The red poppies came with a bag of scraps I got from somewhere. That's why I love going through scraps; sometimes you find something great and then eventually find the perfect use for it.
The fabric in this blanket also came as scraps. We got a big donation of flannel, and in a bag were these squares, already cut (although in the odd size of 5.75") plus extra of most of the fabrics. There wasn't enough of the extra to add another square, so I set these blocks aside from the scraps. I was really excited to start sewing this quilt, but I had a lot of flannel to sort through first. By the time I got around to this, I couldn't find the squares!
I actually thought that perhaps I had just dreamed that there were eight squares of eight fabrics all precut and waiting for assembly (that sounds like a quilting dream come true, doesn't it?). I searched all over my sewing room and everywhere else I could think of, to no avail. Then lo and behold, months later, I found them under the bed. Well, I didn't waste any time getting started, including wasting time doing things like, oh, pinning and ironing. Yep, I just started sewing and sewing and didn't look back. I have to say, flannel is a bit more forgiving than regular quilting cotton (fortunately).
I backed it with red Minky, because I felt it deserved it. All in all I was happy with how it turned out. I got a lot of compliments on it, but really, I can't take much credit. Someone else collected, coordinated, and cut the fabrics; I just assembled them. Still, I think it will make a child happy some day, somewhere!
I turned in two quilts for Project Linus the other day. One was a flannel pink thing. It's a 16 patch and the second block on the third row is a smaller version of the bigger layout of squares. Kinda fun, but not as dramatic as I had hoped.
Next, I used some fabric I found at a yard sale – the prettiest little floral pattern in a white with purplish pink flowers and the reverse of that pattern. I thought for a long time on how to use them. I finally decided to go with a traditional pattern - a rail fence. I always thought that pattern was kind of dull, but I committed to it and began. To be honest, I thought it looked kind of dull part way through, but in the very end I thought it turned out nice. I had the perfect shade of pink in fleece to use as a backing, and I sewed on white buttons to quilt the layers together. It turned out to be a teen-sized quilt, and it went to Project Linus as well.
Looking at these pictures, I guess I could have done some ironing here. Oh, well. They might have sat for a month if I'd waited on that!
I actually embroidered this piece awhile ago, and it sat in a pile with some fabric that was just perfect for it, so it was rather sad that I didn't get the pillow made in a more timely fashion. Last month I donated items to a craft fair for our local chapter of Project Linus, and I threw this pillow together to add to the inventory.
A young woman snatched the pillow up right off the bat at the craft fair. She asked us to hold it for her while she looked around, and other people tried to buy it. She took it back, and other people tried to buy it off her. I was flattered, of course, but I told her if she got a good enough offer to take, split the money with me, and I'd make her another one ; )
I can't help but like someone who likes my embroidery choices as much as I do. A few years back I made some pillows with cats and only one sold. Really?!? Ah, well. Perhaps this design has more universal appeal. The woman said it was totally her, and her mother agreed. So I'm sure the pillow is happy in its new home.
Here's a link to the pattern:
I was on a roll recently and finished a bunch of blankets. Part of what inspired me is that a friend asked for a baby blanket for a baby (gender unrevealed) whose shower would have the theme of outer space. A bit of a challenge, really. I made a girly blanket, a boyish blanket, and a neutral one. Wouldn't you know, she loved the neutral one, and I will say, it turned out nice even though some of the blocks are turned the wrong way and it drove me nuts. I found the perfect backing fabric from my recent flannel influx, which made me happy. And then I washed it…the color from the backing bled into the front. I can't believe it; in my mind it's ruined. There's a picture of before and after. The back was red, so now the front is sort of orangish. And the girly one? Blue bled into just one of the squares, so it almost looks like a batik square, but really, now – I know better (the picture is a before -- guess I didn't take an after). The boy one went perfectly according to plan, but it's the least impressive. Sigh. The first one below was a no pressure, all flannel row quilt, and of course it had no issues. Go figure!
I finally gave in and created a Pinterest account so that I could peruse other people's Pinterest pages, specifically embroidery pins. I totally understand now why people say Pinterest is a time suck. I thought I spent a lot of time reading blogs and my favorite forums, but I can waste quite a few hours looking at pictures on Pinterest. It doesn't help that Pinterest keeps emailing me boards it thinks I might like, because I always feel compelled to look through to see if it's right.
Anyway, I started seeing a pillow that had an embroidered wreath on it, with red berries. To be fair, the red berries are bigger, round circles all filled in. I think it's made commercially, but plenty of people who do hand embroidery have pinned it. So I set out to make my own.
I found a wreath in a cross stitch pattern, and I traced the vine and put dots for the berries. The branch of wreath is half the circle, so I traced it and then turned it 180 degrees and traced it again to get a full circle. Then I embroidered it using brown for the vine and variegated red for the berries. It was kind of fun and very satisfying, now that it's done.
I'm posting this on Supermom – No Cape! in her Embroidery Link Party – check it out!
Last month I had a fabric shopping adventure. A member of our Project Linus group met a woman at the flea market who is a quilt fabric sales rep, and she was selling her samples stash. Our PL group was able to go to the woman's house and shop. Oh, what fun! The pieces were mostly smaller (under a yard) although there were some pieces of yardage and some precuts. What intrigued me was the sample sets –- where one piece was say a 13" square, and the next was 13x14, and the next was 13x15, and they were stacked so you could see all the fabrics at a glance. I bought a set of batiks in sunrise colors -- just loved them on sight. I thought long and hard about how to use them most effectively, and here's what I did.
I sewed a 14" x 13" piece of background fabric to the first piece, and then I cut five 2.5" strips from the 13" width. I did this for all the fabrics, of which there were 10, using a background piece one inch shorter each time, but still 13" in width. One strip from the five was discarded, sadly; I shoot to get maximum use of the fabric, but fell a little short this time. Anyway, then I stitched the short ends of the colored pairs together, making a long colored piece with white on either end. Starting with the middle color, I stitched the two rows together by the full length. Then I added the next shorter solid color to the top and the bottom. I hope this makes sense -- it was a lot simpler than what I'm describing. Anyway, I was liking this concept because there was no stress on matching seams; only the middle seam where I sewed the two strips of the same color together had to match, so that there is one long matching set of dams down the middle. The outer ends of background material I just trimmed to the final width I wanted to make it fit this perfectly perfect piece of fabric in my stash to use as the backing.
I saw this and LOVED it. I guess on I was on a sunrise/sunset colors binge. I'm not going to talk about the edges because I did a perfectly horrible job of it and the less said the better. What I did do that was fun was a faux sashiko stitching. You use a colored thread in the bobbin and transparent thread in the top. I had heard about it, but thought I didn't have the right stitch. Then I read about it on a blog and found I did have the right stitch, so I tried it. It was really kind of cool, and I look forward to using the stitch again. I probably wouldn't use it where corners are important, like on this blanket, but a lot of this was user error. Anyway, here's the link to the tutorial and here's a close-up of the stitching.
Next, I indulged my love of hand embroidery and new passion for Japanese embroidery cuteness. I made this blanket and was sort of sad to see it go. The last blanket I made was from a fat quarter my friend (who is a knitter) picked out from the sales rep's stash. My friend will sometimes pick up fabric and say, "Do you think something cute can be made with this?" and I always say yes, and then she buys it and hands it over to me to make something cute. This time I did; I just added borders from my stash until it was blanket size. All three went to Project Linus last week.
Now to move on to the next projects!
I have been sewing a bit lately, believe it or not. I hustled up and finished the Quiltalong I was doing through the Delphi Scrap Quilting Forum, although it's pieced and not finished. Still, I have the batting and backing all ready to go, so that's progress, right? Here it is:
I had to add the sashing to make it all work, but I'm happy with it. I'm going to give it to my nephew when I'm done. Good thing he doesn't know it yet, or he'd know how long ago he should have received it!
I also did a few blankets for Project Linus, and I have a few more in the works. Members of our local chapter have been meeting monthly. We chose a theme for each month for the year, and for each blanket you make you get to put your name in for a drawing. It's been a lot of fun. The best part is that you can go out of order, or make six of one theme and skip the rest. It gives you the freedom to pursue what works for your creative fancy but also provides ideas to get you outside your comfort zone.
The one above was for the theme, "Superheroes." I love that fabric -- got it at a yard sale once. I got this pattern/idea from here, which has a wealth of great, not-too-hard free patterns: http://www.maryquilts.com/quick-strippie. I say "idea" because I often have to adjust to make a blanket work with what fabric I have on hand. There was only half a yard of the super hero fabric, but it turned out fine. I think it was about 40"x50" or so, and I used my raggedy flannel binding method on it.
The one below was for the theme, "Forest Colors." I used strips from my collection of leaf colors. It's not really kid-like, but it met the theme and was something I had been wanting to do for awhile. I also cut out charms out of those fabrics, and now I'm looking to give those leaf fabrics to a good home. I am so done with those colors! The close-up picture shows how the corners are done -- you make a corner log cabin, and then you fold a square in half diagonally and enclose the raw ends under the strips surrounding the log cabin. The folded edge is then loose and on the bias, so you can gently fold in under in a curve and stitch it down. I probably should have used smaller squares, but oh well. It's done and out the door!
I have had some great fabric scores in the past few weeks, so I should have more to show soon. Stay tuned!
Recently an online friend told me she'd read through my blog and was impressed with how productive I am with my quilting. I responded that she must not have noticed the gaps between the posts!
Nevertheless, I have been productive lately, after a long dry spell through the fall and holidays. I turned in five blankets for Project Linus and have a few more in the works, plus I made a blanket for one of my husband's coworkers who is expecting. It's been good, very good, to be quilting again.
This was the blanket for the coworker. She's kind of a camping, Renaissance Faire kind of gal, so I wasn't sure pure pink and white was appropriate, but then again she's a single girl having her first baby and it's a girl, so I went for sweet, sweet pink. The backing is a soft white knit light sweatshirt fabric that I inherited, and it was not easy to work with but so, so soft. The pink fabric has some sort of hippy looking suns on it, so at least it's not rosebuds or anything. Hopefully it's a mix of tradition and simplicity plus a dash of mod. Hopefully.
This is Baby Blooms. I needed a break from the pink and used these bolder colors, all from scraps, I might add. I've always loved these little babies in blooms. I think I made a blanket with this fabric a long, long time ago, and then I found some of this fabric again and finally used it. It will go to Project Linus.
Above and below is Black Kitty on flowers. I had this vision of creating a postage stamp background and then putting a black kitty silhouette on the front. Then I decided maybe I should just try it on fabric to make sure I didn't hate working with a black kitty silhouette, so I used a piece of fabric that I had not enough of to do anything else. I didn't hate working with the kitty, but I am in no hurry to do it again so I'm considering this itch scratched. I used the quarter inch flange between borders to tie in the focus fabric. I had really, really wanted to use lime green flannel on the back, but I didn't have enough on hand and I REFUSE to buy fabric just to finish something made from scraps. Kind of defeats the purpose, know what I mean? Anyway, I used pink flannel (yeah, I'm about done with my pink phase) on the back and brought it up and around to the front for binding. I know this is not the most durable way to bind, but OH WELL. It is done, and that counts for a lot in my book.
Now this one…let me cross a lot of things off my list of things to do. First off, I bought this fabric at a yard sale, and some of it was already cut. It's always a challenge to create something out of what someone else started. I got the string blocks done (kinda tedious so I'm done with them for a long while) and the black border and the squares, and then there I was with a piece too big for a wall hanging and too small for a blanket. So it sat and sat and sat until I made myself deal with it. I added some red and tan plaid to the top and bottom (it's hard to see) and backed it with golden tan corduroy and gave it to Project Linus. It was my red quilt contributed in honor of Valentine's Day. So let's see, we have a yard sale deal, completed someone else's project, tried a new technique, solved a design dilemma, finished a WIP, made a charity blanket, and contributed to a group endeavor. Very productive, if I do say so myself.
So this one I call "Supposed to be Simple." I got this fabric that someone had already cut into long, long strips of purple fabric and yellow fabric. The strips were like 3.5" wide, so I thought I'd just sew up pairs of these long strips and throw together a nice four patch like nobody's business. After I sewed and cut quite a few blocks, I realized something. Not all of the strips were actually 3.5". Yeah. After I sewed and cut QUITE a lot of them.
So I decided I would trim down the worst offenders and border them in white, which was not at all what I had in mind originally. Bear in mind, this was not my cutting error, so it took all my patience to not just chuck this whole project. But the fabric was so sweet, it was begging to be made. I inserted a flannel raggedy flange when I sandwiched it and used green flannel for the back – not the perfect fit but this was a scrap buster, so no buying fabric. I used a single decorative stitch in purple (you can hardly see it in the pic) in the middle of the big four patches to quilt the layers together. All in all, not bad. Not bad at all.
Okay this last one is called "Pink Mess." I know the picture is blurry, but maybe that is a good thing. First off, I had this simple pattern to follow, and I managed to misread it and so had to get creative to fix it. I won't bore you with the details, but I still can't believe I messed it up. I had drawn in out and did the math, and something kept tickling my brain that something wasn't right, but I persevered and then there I was, with pieces that didn't fit. Oh, well. I was trying to use up most of the pink fabric I had because I am SO DONE with pink, and I used the nifty soft white knit I mentioned at the beginning of this post. I figured it was polyester and wouldn't shrink, and do you know, I was wrong. It did shrink, and the whole thing wouldn't lay flat, and I had to pick out the quilting stitches I'd put in…what a mess. But it was so soft and so pink. Sigh.
I'm moving on to new colors this month. Stay tuned!
Scrap Quilting Forum blocks
We're six months in on this quiltalong. Each month there is a block and a double nine-patch. I have four purple fabrics that I'm using with the same dark gray background. I have no idea how this is going to turn out, but I'm excited to see it when it's done.
This is going to Project Linus. It was one of those things where I had the floral focus fabric, and then I found this cool fabric that coordinated with it, but then it was too dark to be appropriate for a child, so I added the light pink, and then it didn't go with anything I had for backing and I wasn't even sure I liked it. I was not about to go buy backing for a blanket I didn't even like, so I forced myself to use the flannel which actually has a lot of the same colors as the floral print and yet manages to match not at all. Oh, Well! It's done, and that's the best thing I can say about it.
This one, too, is going to Project Linus. I saw this on a blog called the Hideaway Girl who comes up with beautiful quilts using simple piecing – just what I love. I used a 20-strip jelly roll kit I had with 1" gray strips in between. This was so quick and easy – I started with the first piece of 2.5" x 3" fabric in a sort of sunrise pattern fabric, then took the first jelly roll and went around it. When the square was complete, I went around that with gray. I then started back up with the jelly roll and used it until it ran out and added the next one to it, and so on. I kind of like it. I probably should have used half a strip (21" instead of the whole strip), but since these were rainbow colors I didn't want to mix them all up. Maybe next time. I would certainly do this again, although I think I would start with a 2.5" x 4" square in the middle...
How did I come up with this name for my blog?
I will never be recruited into the Quilting Police – I am not a perfectionist when it comes to quilting. I prefer my quilts done (not that I don't have plenty that are only partly done and many many more in the dream stages). I also like to get a deal on fabric, and I like to use up my fabric efficiently. I created this blog to show the method of my madness...
Some of my favorite sites: