Wedding Quilt

ImageMy friends and I wanted to make a quilt as a gift for a friend’s wedding last summer. After much discussion, we settled on a scrappy log cabin pattern (see tutorial at Flutter Kat) using a Quilt as you Go (QAYG) technique, so everyone could quilt their own squares and to be able to machine quilt a Queen sized quilt on a home machine.  The first step was choosing colors.  We wanted it to be “lots of colors,” so we chose a nice Layer Cake, and then split it up between us (we used Simply Color by V&Co).  Everyone could pick any other fabrics that they wanted from their stash or purchased, but they had to coordinate with 2-3 different fabrics in the Layer Cake.  That way, we figured, it would all tie together in the end.  And it did!  It worked!  It turned out beautifully.  I coveted it.  I need to make one for myself.

ImageI collected all of the squares.  We squared them up using a 15 inch square ruler (easy!).  Then, I sewed them together with 1/2 inch seam allowances.  A friend had to help me manage all that fabric, but between the two of us, it worked well.  It would have been hard to sew it by myself.  Top of quilt was put with the back, and I stitched in the ditch for each row and column.  Then, I was worried about the batting shifting in 15″ squares.  Next time, I would make them smaller.  So I decided to free motion quilt little designs in the center of each square.  That wasn’t easy, but I wanted to make sure the quilt would last for many lifetimes.  I could have tied the quilt in the centers of each square, but we had already spent so much time on this quilt that it seemed like tying was a shortcut.

The back is 108″ wide gray Bella solid fabric.  There is a stripe of various fabrics from the front across the top of the back.  And, the binding is a dark purple solid (Kona).

ImageSo, basic info on the size of the quilt.  It is 6 squares by 7 squares, for a total of 42 squares.  There were five of us, so three of us made 8 squares, and two of us make 9 squares.  The squares were made about 15-1/2 inch square to give us the ability to cut them down to 15″ with the ruler (allowing for some wonkiness in the edges).  Then, using 1/2 inch seam allowances, the final quilt ended up being about 84″ x 98″.  A little longer than a standard Queen quilt, but it’s all good.

ImageEveryone should make one of these quilts.  It was so wonderful to create for our friends!

The wedding was held in a beautiful spot — my friend’s childhood home in rural Maine.  Here is the super-cool altar made of birch branches that a friend of theirs made.

ImageCute little signs to direct people to different locations:

ImageOutdoor seating.  It was drizzling when we stopped by that morning pre-wedding (to drop off our contribution of beer for the party), but it totally cleared up before the wedding!  Perfect!

ImageGorgeous centerpieces made from flowers that the bride’s mother and a friend collected and put into Mason jars.

ImageAnd the happy couple pre-wedding:

ImageMany years of love to you, my friends!


Embroidered Mini-Quilt

Girl on a Tree Swing Mini-Quilt

I have several tutorials that I want to try linked over in my right sidebar.  One that has been on there for quite awhile, I can finally check off! Comfort Stitching’s Girl on  a Tree Swing mini-quilt tutorial!  I wouldn’t necessarily say that it was quick and easy, but it was relatively, especially considering the huge cuteness-payoff!  The tutorial is very well-written and I had no questions as I moved through the various steps.  The hardest part was deciding what fabrics to use on the patchwork background!

Up-close of the appliqued girl

I have been practicing my freehand machine quilting, so I feel like I did a pretty good job on that.  And by the time I finished outlining all the little patchwork squares, I was getting into a good groove for doing the sketchy stitching applique part of the tree/girl/swing.  I just did some straight line quilting around the white border area for the “quilting” aspect of it.  And I really like the binding that I chose.  (It has orange!)

I just love how it turned out!  It’s hanging over the bed in our guest room.  It’s actually too small for that space, so I’ll probably move it to one of the side walls, but I’ll leave it there for now.

Hubby made the bed

Quiltmaker Class

I’m taking a short class on being a Quiltmaker.  It’s all hand-sewing, and we pick out fabrics from his (yes, it’s being taught by a man, which is interesting unto itself) big bins of “Found” fabric, freehand cut into rectangles and sew them together without really any pattern.  He wants us to use fabrics with lots of different weights and textures.  And this isn’t standard quilting weight cotton folks!  It’s a lot of vintage, rummage-sale sort of fabric, so lots of random polyesters and things.  No machines, no patterns.  Very much outside of the comfort zone so to speak, and quite interesting so far.  We are also reading a book (A Way of Working) that is vaguely philosophy applied to craft.  It’s from the 1970s, and I have to admit to not being drawn in as of yet.  It’s got that 1970s way of speaking about it which I find off-putting.  But we’ll see.  I’m not going to judge when I’ve just started it!  (Well, maybe a little bit, LOL.)

Here’s my little swatch of the fabrics that I chose to use so far:

Fabric Swatches

And my little bit of a start.  Hand-sewing is much easier than I thought it would be.  Well, I shouldn’t say that.  I love to hand-sew, but it’s usually felt or little stuffies or embroidery.  I’ve never sewn seams like this.  My stitches aren’t gorgeous, I will admit, but even after just these few pieces, they are already improving.

My imperfect stitches

Progress as of 3/20/2010

WIP – Sparks Baby Quilt in Red/Aqua

Fabric for quilt

I am making the Sparks Baby Quilt for a friend.  Handmade by Alissa has the free pattern on her blog and I love how it creates the random squares.  I can’t wait to see how it turns out!

I have this vision of a red and aqua quilt, so I’ve been collecting fabric for awhile.  I still don’t seem to have enough though.  Hmm….dilemmas.  I’m going to use Kona in Snow for the sashing.

The first square

Baby quilt in action

All spring, all I talked about was this baby quilt.  Finally it was completed….only about 2 months after the gift recipient was born….but now check it out.  In use for tummy-time.  Isn’t she adorable?  I love to see my gifts in action!

Hey baby girl!

Hey baby girl!

My living room and office renovation projects are finally completed.  I spent a good part of Saturday and a few hours on Sunday night painting the closet and trim in the office.  And until I got side-tracked by 15 pounds of Maine wild blueberries today, I was well on my way to moving the furniture into the new rooms and finally finding my camera cord!  But, alas, sidetracked I was.  By sweet, yummy, tiny little bundles of goodness.  21 jars of blueberry jam later, I still have some pie (Cooks Illustrated, July 2008 issue) and blueberry cake to make before I can start moving furniture.  Blueberries wait for no one.  Blueberry ice cream is in the refrigerator waiting to be processed tomorrow, and about 4 quarts are already in the freezer.  And my fingers are very purple.

Maine Quilts 2009

Two friends and I went to the Maine Quilt show this past weekend which is put on by the Pine Tree Quilters Guild.  Wow, fun!  I’ve never been to a quilt show before, so I don’t know how this one compares with others, but I thought it was great.  We got there at 9am, left at 2pm, and probably could have stayed longer but we were starving.  Tons of great shops, both local and from away.  My favorite shop at the show was Alewives Fabric in Nobleboro, Maine.  They had a ton of great fabric, patterns, etc.  They were also demonstrating making fabric floorcloths, which look very cool.  A few days earlier they had gotten in the Heather Ross Far, Far Away collection in the double gauze.  I have never seen the double gauze, which was intriguing.  I was also able to test out a long arm quilting machine briefly.  I can see how that would be a lot of fun if I had $10k just laying around, LOL!

I was actually good, and all I bought were a few patterns.  It was hard to pass up all that gorgeous fabric!  I think this wool applique pattern from Lakeview Primitives will be a nice wall hanging for Christmas.  It was fun to see the fabric in person, versus all the internet window shopping that I normally do.  For example, my friend bought some home dec weight fabric from Denyse Schmidt’s County Fair collection, and it was so much prettier in person than it seemed online.  She’s going to make an Amy Butler Birdie Sling with the fabric, which Alewives had displayed in their stall, and is way cute.  I didn’t realize just from looking at the pattern that the shoulder handle is really just one strap and not two.  Really comfortable.

Another shop, the Calico Basket Quilt Shop, in Windham, Maine was doing a small demonstration on making exploding pineapple blocks.  Way cool.  The next day, I made some up with a Moda Flutterby charm pack that I had laying around, and they were really quick and easy.  You take two charm squares, and sew them all the way around, facing each other.  Then, you draw two lines diagonally between each corner.  You pull up just the top fabric, and clip a tiny bit in the middle where the lines cross, and then you cut all the way along both diagonal lines up to the seam.  You fold back the resulting triangles and press.  Sew a bunch together, and voila!  These are the simple ones.  You can keep combining the squares to make more intricate ones.

Exploding Pineapples

Exploding Pineapples

I have been in a flurry of cleaning for guests and the fact that we are going to be doing a tiny home renovation project that requires me to empty out my office.  Scary.  Very scary.  So, I have several projects in the works that are not done yet.  Sigh.

I did finish another US map quickie quilt for a friend of mine.  This time I used some great state fabric that I found at Joanns in their 4th of July/holiday section for the backing.

US Map Tied Quilt

US Map Tied Quilt

I also finally created a label for the baby quilt that I finished for my friend awhile back.  So, I need to wash it and it will be done!  I’m making her older girls some tote bags, which is why I haven’t sent it off yet.  I’m using the tutorial that Skip to My Lou just posted a little while ago.

The label is just a piece of natural colored organic cotton and I embroidered the baby’s name on it.  Then, I used a fabric pen to stamp the word FOR and hand-write my name and the year.  I then just pressed under a seam allowance, and used a blind stitch to tack it onto the back, making sure to only catch the backing fabric and not the front!

Quilt label

Quilt label

Cut out tote bags and summer shorts

Cut out tote bags and summer shorts

Underneath the tote bags are about five pairs of shorts that are cut and ready to sew together.  But I’m trying to get my gifts done first!  We’ve also been having a little Maine beach fun since it finally feels like summer!

IMG_4188 (1024x768)

Water was 53 degrees that day.  Brr!

Water was 53 degrees that day. Brr!

Completed baby quilt

Simple Modern Baby Quilt

Simple Modern Baby Quilt

It’s done!  I finished hand sewing the  binding during the last two swim classes for the boys.  I’m so happy with it!  I just love how it turned out with the teal blue binding.  I had taken the quilt to my local quilting store, and the lady had helped me choose 5-6 fabrics, and then we laid them all out and picked a binding.  I was vacillating between the bright blue color, and a more muted pink color that would have blended in more.  I am so happy with the bright blue.  It makes everything stand out so well, I just love it.  I can’t wait to send it to my friend!  I’m going to make her older children a few little things though first before I send it off.

The pattern is from OhFransson, the Simple Modern Baby Quilt which you can buy on Etsy.  The main fabric is Alexander Henry’s 2D Zoo, which I bought in primary from Fabric Closet on Etsy.  Some of the other coordinates are from Sandi Henderson’s Farmers Market and Ginger Blossom.  I had the yellow from a prior project, and my favorite fabric of all is the Pink Bird Seed print from Alexander Henry.  Love those birds!  I have it in yellow too, but haven’t found the perfect project for it yet.  The backing is a Michael Miller print called Word Search in watermelon.

The puppy is getting so big!

The puppy is getting so big!

Back of baby quilt

Back of baby quilt

Completed baby quilt

Completed baby quilt