Monday, April 27, 2009

Spring Finish

I have completed my wallhanging. For me, a quilt does not count as "finished" until the quilting is done,the binding is applied, and the label is sewed on. Otherwise I would have a lot more "finished" quilts. Let's not talk about the pile of tops that are not finished....

Overhead shot:


I pieced the backing, just for fun.

Still not sure what I'll do with it. It's a nice wall hanging size--31" by 42"

That's one finish for April!

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Lots of Strips

I've been wanting to make a quilt from Bill Kerr and Weeks Ringle's patterns for awhile now. I've found the colorwork a little daunting in most of them, as they do such amazing work with color. The designs and techniques aren't particularly challenging, but deciding what fabrics to use is the biggest challenge.That being said, choosing fabrics is also often the most fun part of a quilt for me. I finally was able to pick out fabrics for their pattern "Out of Line". It's found in the Quiltmaker's Color Workshop. It's for a family friend of mine, who is an artist himself. I told him that I would trade him a painting for a quilt. Knowing that I love his work and his colorwork, I wanted the quilt to be something special. So I picked this pattern that involves focusing on proportions of color and using them in the right places. I can't post copyrighted material here, but if you go to Amazon and view the book, you can search inside the book and see the pattern.

The trick is, the pattern involves a lot of strips! 155, to be exact. And they all have to be sewn together. So it's a lot of straight sewing and pressing, which is ok, I just know it's going to take me awhile.

I don't mind strips so much, but these are very narrow. They range in size from 3/4 inch to 1-3/4 inches. So you can imagine it's not for the faint of heart. I'm enjoying it so far...I get into a zen-like trance where I'm just sewing like crazy.

I won't be able to work on much quilting this weekend as I'm going to visit my in-laws. I'll finish the binding on the "long lines" quilt though. That'll be #7 for 2009.

I also recently found out that I'll be making another three baby quilts this year. I already have one in progress (x blocks baby quilt in the sidebar), but I got a request from a friend whose wife just gave birth, my coworker is pregnant, and a woman I sit next to in choir is pregnant too. Three announcements in one week! I feel like I should just stockpile quilts so that I'll be ready for any baby shower. :)

Monday, April 20, 2009

Spring to Finish

Inspired by Jacquie's "Spring to Finish" challenge, I have pulled out my box of UFOs and decided to tackle one. Isn't it amazing how you put things off so long, and then when you get back to them, you realize that they weren't so hard after all? I had started the Long Lines pattern from Maple Island Quilts long ago and never finished it. It's a small quilt (31.5"x 43"), but I like the pattern a lot. So I pulled out my blocks--I only had to make another 8. I put them together, added borders, and the top is done!

It feels so good to be making progress. Not sure what I'll do with this quilt. I picked out the fabrics two years ago and I'm not sure I like them anymore. I love the blue--in fact, my sister made me a cute purse and matching coin purse with the fabric. But I am not crazy about the yellow/gold. I'm sure I'll find something/someone who likes it and would be happy to have it.

I read somewhere that long-time UFOs drag you down, and I really believe it. Every time I look at the pile I get discouraged. So it's time to start finishing some of those long-term ones. Anything started in 2009 doesn't count, as it hasn't been unfinished long enough. :) But my goal is that anything started pre-2009 will be done by this summer, and the end of the year at the latest. That means finishing those quilt tops that sit in a pile--including this one!

I can't believe I forgot to mention--thank you to everyone who has commented on my quilt festival entry! I really appreciate all the kind words. Thanks!

Friday, April 17, 2009

quilt festival

Amy at Park City Girl had a great idea for an online quilt festival. I love the idea, especially because I have to miss the International Quilt Show this weekend here in Chicago. I went last year and really loved it. It was incredibly inspiring to see so many beautiful quilts. I'll be out of town this weekend at a swing dance event, so I have to miss it. I was so keen that somebody enjoy it that I told my quilting friends they had to go, and bring me pictures.

All that being said, part of Amy's idea is for people to post their favorite quilt and the story behind it. That's actually really hard! But I'll pick one anyway. This is a quilt I made for my good friend Mike. We've been friends for over ten years. When he told me he was getting married to his Japanese girlfriend, I immediately thought, "I need to make something special for him." I make lots of baby quilts, but for someone to get a full-sized quilt they need to be really special. So I pored over books and fabric and finally chose "Children's Delight" from the book Quilts from the Quiltmaker's Gift. It's pretty traditional, but I wanted to make something with more modern fabrics.

A quilting friend of mine used to belong to a monthly fabric club wherein she received a package of Japanese quilting fabrics every month. She hadn't used much of it, so she let me "go shopping" in her stash. Whee! I was excited. After choosing a bunch of fabrics, I still needed a few more colors, so I went to the quilt shop and found some to round everything out. What I love about the center blocks is that they are all from the same fabric. But because the fabric is a large-scale print, every block looks different.

Once I had pieced the whole thing, I "cheated". I sent it off to be professionally quilted. There was no way I could do the awesome design that the longarm quilter did.

You can see the quilting better on the back.

It came back absolutely stunning. I gave him the quilt in June, two months before he got married. You can tell he likes it by the picture below!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

babies everywhere!

I'm in my late 20's, which seems to be the time when everyone I know is either getting married or having babies. Which means that I've been making lots of baby quilts in the past few years. This year I've already made 5. The first one finished in 2009 was ABQ (all but quilting) done as of 12/31/2008. I knew the baby would be a girl, but I wanted to make a quilt that was still neutral, and had a somewhat sophisticated color palette, as the parents are lifelong New Yorkers.
The pattern is called "Bundle of Joy" and it's from one of Ursula Reike's books. The cream colored fabric has adorable little bugs on it.

The next quilt was also ABQ as of last year. I taught myself to free-motion quilt in January, and this was the first quilt I stippled. I made it with some leftovers from another quilt and a pack of charm squares. I originally didn't know who it would be for, and less than a week after I finished it my husband got an email from his cousin announcing the birth of his son. Voila! I put the quilt in a box, got a card, and sent it off.
I just made up the pattern as I went along. As you can tell it was not very complicated! Sometimes I like easy projects--just to make something fun.

Also in January I started and completed a quilt for my former roommate. She knew she was having a girl but didn't want something too "prissy". So I found the "Yard Sale" pattern in Valori Wells' book and modified it a bit to be baby size.

As you can tell, my husband is very supportive of my hobby. Those are his shoes.

This pink quilt was also ABQ as of last year. I made it with a bunch of fabrics that my friend didn't want. She used to belong to a Japanese fabrics club (where you get a packet each month) and she has a strange aversion to fabric with people in it. So she gave me all her fabrics with people in them! I needed a quick project to keep me busy one day last fall, and I came up with this. I think it's really cute. I will probably donate this one to charity, as I don't know anyone having girls right now.

Finally, there is the wonky log cabin I made for my choir director. Well, not actually my choir director--his wife is the one having the baby, but you get the idea. They know it's a boy, but I figured even if not, this is a pretty gender-neutral quilt. I had a lot of fun with this quilt. It was for Project Improv, which happened to start right after I read "Liberated Quiltmaking" by Gwen Marston. After I made a block for Project Improv I wanted to continue, and this quilt was born. It was really fun and I like the way it turned out.

Here's another picture of the detail:

I hope they like it!

So, that's the round up of what I've done so far this year. April's been a slow month on completing things. I was getting ready for Easter, and I just had other priorities. Hopefully I'll be able to get some quilting time in this Thursday with the quilt guild ladies.

Monday, April 13, 2009

I finally broke down

This is very strange for me, as I'm sure many people in the blog world know. I've been following a lot of other people's crafty adventures and I've realized that I have a lot of my own to share. I love seeing the variety of quilts out there and the variety of people who quilt. I'd like to share my thoughts on quilting, which I've found are a little different from what I see out there in the blogosphere. That's not to say they are better, just different.

I can't put a label on my style. I definitely don't consider myself a traditional quilter, nor do I consider myself a slave to modern quilting, or art quilting. I'm just trying things out and enjoying the journey.

Lately I've been really branching out. It started with reading Gwen Marston's Liberated Quiltmaking. That was quite the revelation. Then I've been exploring Bill Kerr and Weeks Ringle's books as well. I try to draw inspiration from many sources, including the environment around me, whether natural or man-made. I'm looking forward to sharing my quilting adventures!