Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Almost finished!

Since I got bitten by the quilting bug, I've finished a quilt top - I never thought a week ago that it would be so quickly transformed. And it's huge. Oh my goodness. (for a baby quilt, anyway..)

I did most of the blocks a few years ago and had so many done, I didn't have to do much more than cut out the black squares that go in the middle. I decided at the last minute to add a few and made two more rows to make it more square. I should have stopped while I was ahead, but knew I wanted to add an eye-catching border and then something that made it pop! on the outside.

Here's a shot of the entire top:

A close-up of the border:

I knew I wanted to do something that really stood out - and once I saw that orange polka dot, I was hooked. Then I had to find something black and white next. I picked this one - called "Hothouse Garden" - but I call it "Sha-ZAM!" in my best Jim Nabors voice, because it reminds me of a graphic novel or those old episodes of Batman or something.

Border pieces in progress. I sewed strips together and cut them to the width I wanted the border to be, and then sewed the ends together.

I had all those orange fat quarters that I bought several years ago to do I don't know what with, and had always wanted to a rainbow border like this. I decided to buy more orange instead and do all orange and yellow. The black fabric in the middle has circus balls on it, and the name of it is very fitting for a three-year-old boy with lots of personality: "Under the Big Top." I love it!

Now, for the back. Stay tuned. I want to use the rest of the "Sha-ZAM!" and orange polka dots for that.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Excuses, excuses

When I started making quilts probably over ten years ago, it was always for a specific purpose: utilitarian, a gift, somebody had a baby, etc. I made a few, gave a lovely one away as a Christmas present - and then thought, Well, I don't need any more quilts, now what?

That thought kept me from quilting for probably three years or more. In fact, the last one I was working on was for a baby who is now four. Long story short, the intended recipient never got it because a) it ended up being a very feminine looking quilt and I wasn't sure what the couple was having, and b) the recipient's grandmother decided that her sister! was going to be making the Official Baby Quilt, I guess. So, I kept it.

Aside from a custom bedspread I made for my son, that's about all I've done in the quilting department since then. I just couldn't think of an excuse why I needed more quilts. Until I thought to myself, Who cares? Do I really need an excuse?! Just do it!

Smart advice, it turns out. This very talented blogger wanted a reason to quilt every day and is turning out some amazing work. She decided to feature several new designs - all done with free-motion quilting - per week, adding up to 365 designs in all. According to her blog, she wanted an excuse to quilt every single day for a year. Awesome. That's all the excuse I need!

Amazing free-motion quilting design from Day 332,
called "Pea Gravel Path." Photo: freemotionquilting.blogspot.com
As far as where to put all those quilts I want to make, I'm not going to worry just yet. But in the meantime, here are some other ideas.

Photo: 3sisters-pjr.blogspot.com

I've seen my aunt - who also has a love for sewing - do this with vintage quilts at her house.

Photo: Country Living Magazine

Quilt Storage Inspiration

Monday, January 16, 2012


I'm hoping to get some.

It's a new year, I've got a new toy (see photo in the sidebar!) and I'm in the mood to do something. After a long hiatus in which thyroid disorders zapped all my energy and motivation to do anything I loved, I am trying once again to get motivated to create.

This Christmas I finally took the plunge and bought a new sewing machine. One that I picked out for myself, one that has the features that I want and has all the buttons and gadgets I picked (instead of someone else). I finally decided on a Pfaff Expression 2.0 and so far, I love it. I haven't even begun to plunge into some of the neat things it can do, but I wanted something that could reasonably tackle both garment sewing and quilting with ease, and thought this was the one for me. And the electronic automatic buttonhole feature really sold me!

The saleslady was surprised when I told her I did mostly home dec and garment sewing, because, she said, most everyone does quilting these days. While I like to quilt occasionally, I usually do all my own curtains, an occasional slipcover (nightmare) and pillows. I also love to sew dresses for my five-year-old, but lately the fabrics at JoAnn's have been getting uglier and uglier, and she gets so many hand-me-downs that I find it hard to justify all those dresses.

It's been a while since I've quilted, though, and lately I'm in the mood. I have dribs and drabs of stuff left over that's waiting to see the light of day, so maybe I'll pull that out before I start buying any more. One is a vintage-inspired quilt top that I started about five years ago, that still needs a border and binding. Another is a boy-themed quilt for my new baby, who will be three in March. Uh huh.

In the meantime, I've been poring over websites for ideas and haven't come up short. Here are some that caught my attention:

A close-up of Rainbow Straight Furrows, (or Log Cabin) by a Flickr user who was generous enough to share her beautiful work with everyone!

And here's the full quilt. I am in love.... this would be a great children's quilt.

Love this one from Cherry House Quilts called "Candy Box." Apparently you can get the pattern from Hancock's Fabrics but really, it's just squares - so I almost don't think you'd need one. Although the top stitching pattern is another matter... (drool).

Now, if I can just get the kids to take a nap so I can work on all this stuff...