Friday Finish: Hipster Cat

Hipster Cat. Pattern by Shwin and Shwin.

Hey look! It’s a finish! One of my biggest issues as a quilter is my inability to finish anything, whilst constantly starting new things. For the last three years I’ve been making a list to follow along with All People Quilt‘s yearly UFO Resolution list, which I then mostly ignore for the year. The first year I finished I think nothing, the second year 1 project, the 3rd year I finished two, and this year… I’m up to four! (I should be on project 8, since it’s one per month, but honestly I’m happy with 4. I hope I finish a few more, but if I don’t, that’s okay!)

Hipster Cat. Pattern by Shwin and Shwin.

Hipster Cat is a pattern from Shwin and Shwin that’s done with freezer paper applique which is sewn on a whole cloth piece of fabric and then quilted. Basically super easy and super cute!

I made mine almost exclusively with fabrics from Rifle Paper Co’s Wonderland line… with Moda Grunge in Vanilla for the background and one of Rashida Coleman-Hale’s prints from Kujira and Star for most of the backing.

Hipster Cat. Pattern by Shwin and Shwin.

Of course, I didn’t order enough for the backing (I ordered 1 yard instead of the 1.25 or whatever it should have been), so I had to piece some of my leftovers into the backing as well. The gold stripes and dots are a lot of fun though, so I guess I’m okay with that! (I’m less okay with the fact that I did not get it lined up straight and so if I showed a full on view of the back, that strip is noticeably narrower at one end than the other. Not enough to look intentionally wonky, no. Just enough to look like I was being lazy about it.. haha!) (I probably was being lazy about it!)

Hipster Cat. Pattern by Shwin and Shwin.

I quilted this one with a big cross-hatch in the background using my walking foot, and then just some really simple free motion quilting through the cat – the loopy meander through the dotted parts of his body, a zig-zag through his striped belly, and then just stitch-in-the-metaphorical-ditch around the eyeglass applique and the entire outside of the cat. It’s super lightweight and fluffy – probably because I haven’t for once quilted the project to death – and though it’s small (about 34″ x 42″) I think it’s just perfect to be loved to death by some grubby-fingered little kid.

Hipster Cat. Pattern by Shwin and Shwin.

I LOVE this quilt and I don’t have anyone to give it to, so it will probably go to charity at some point, which will be great. For now it’s been making the rounds for various photoshoots (I finally decided to buckle down and just photograph it pinned to my own deck where the shade was enough to keep it from washing out like it did pretty well every where else I tried) including one memorable trip to Calgary Zoo, where my friend Christina tried to hide behind it while holding it… her feet were just too obvious every time, so here is Hipster Cat with Zoo Lion Statue, and my friend making a silly face:

Hipster Cat. Pattern by Shwin and Shwin.

Come join us for Thank Goodness It’s Finished Friday! I can’t wait to see what everyone posts!

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Talk to Me Tuesday: 13 August 2019

So for those who don’t know, I periodically make videos where I talk about the things I’m working on or the things that I’ve finished. I share these videos with a group of ladies (mostly from the US, though we’ve had people in Australia and still have people who post intermittently from South Africa and England) at Talk to Me Tuesday. A lot of us are quilters and some do crochet or knitting or various other crafts and it’s a nice way to share things – even if it is a bit unnerving putting my face (and perpetual “but, um, anyway”) out into the world. This has been a really off year for me for posting and it’s been around 2 months between videos (usually I manage closer to one a month, maybe every other week), but here’s my newest, in which I show a couple finishes (not yet posted here!) and a couple things that I’m working on.

Pushme Pullme Florence Baby Quilt

This newest finish is not one I’d really had on my horizon to get finished, but rather out of nowhere I got a bug up my ass about finishing it, and so I did.

PushMe PullMe Florence Baby Quilt

The last time I wrote about this quilt was in January of 2013. (Yikes! I need to finish more and start less if little, easy to finish quilts like this are sitting around for nearly 3 years!) You should go check out that post – in it I talk a lot more about the pattern, which is the Pushme Pullme block, designed by Michelle Wilkie of Factotum of Arts. I was one of Michelle’s pattern testers for this block and I think the only one who didn’t actually finish what I’d created with it. I’m really glad to have it done now, though – it’s one more thing off my list and better: it’s going to be donated to a Linus blanket charity and is a part of the 100 Quilts for Kids campaign.

100 Quilts for Kids

I really don’t know why I took so long to finish this – with a very simple pattern (a loopy meander), it took just a couple hours to get the quilting completely finished. I think I spent more time trying to decide what binding to use than it took just to get it all finished. I was helped out by it being a fairly small quilt: just a teeny-tin itty-bitty 30.5 inches square.

Both the best and worst places to see the quilting on this is on those dark blue bits of fabric. I will quilt with white thread over pretty much anything and it pretty much always sinks into the background even when you use it on colour, but it sure does look awful on that deep blue! From a distance you could almost imagine that’s a print on the fabric, rather than free motion quilting!

I spent a lot of time contemplating a more complex straight-line quilting pattern that would emphasize the arrows in the blocks, but decided that after 3 years of inaction, I needed to do the fast thing instead of the intricate thing.

PushMe PullMe Florence Baby Quilt

Every print in this quilt is a Denyse Schmidt print, front, back, and binding. All of the prints (except the two binding prints) come from Schmidt’s Florence line – I’d bought a 12 print bundle of blues and greens, and all 12 prints made their way into this quilt. The solid fabrics are all Kona cottons and I pulled most of them out of a jelly roll, so I’m not actually sure what colours they are! The dark blue is Nightfall, which is a really beautiful deep colour (and I wish I had yards and yards of it instead of scraps after having used it in a couple quilts). Its hard to tell in most photos, but there are two different light blues and two different greens – since I only had jelly roll strips, I think there wasn’t enough to stretch out each colour over two blocks.

PushMe PullMe Florence Baby Quilt

The binding fabrics come from Chicopee and (I think) Shelburne Falls. Schmidt creates magnificent plaids (and I’m sort of having a plaid moment right now!) so there are four different plaids in just this one quilt. Too much?

PushMe PullMe Florence Baby Quilt


Obligatory windblown shot!

Anyway, I suppose that’s all there is to say about this little quilt! I really like it and am really pleased to see it finished and ready to find a home with a child in need.

Some quilt stats
Name: PushMe PullMe Florence Quilt
Pattern: Pushme Pulle by Michelle Wilkie
Size: 30.5″ x 30.5″
Fabric: 12 FQs from Denyse Schmidt’s Florence line, plus assorted Kona cottons (featuring Nightfall on the back and in the corners of the front)
Batting: Some weird all cotton no name from Michaels
Thread: White Guttermann (piecing), White Aurifil (quilting)
Backing: Assorted Florence prints, plus Kona Nightfall
Binding: Plaids from Denyse Schmidt’s lines Chicopee and Shelburne Falls.

Wonky Stars Quilt Top

Wonky Stars Quilt by clumsy chord

Wonky Stars Quilt, a photo by clumsy chord on Flickr.

It’s been a while, I know, and my only excuse is that I’ve been lazy. I’ve been working on things, I just haven’t been talking about it.

Well, after almost two weeks of rain, I’ve finally had a sunny day so I could take some things outside and try to photograph them, but it was some kind of windy out there.

This new quilt top was a quick and fun one to put together. I took less than a week (and a whole lot of watching Lie to Me) to put it all together. (I generally finish nothing, over the span of years, so to finish something inside of a week is big! Even if that finish is only a quilt top and not a full on quilt.)

Last year I put together a quilt top of wonky stars in purple (blogged here) and had talked about it in one of my Talk to Me Tuesday videos (see here) and someone mentioned in the comments that they’d like to see how I make those blocks, so I decided to record a tutorial on my method. (Which isn’t edited, though it’s filmed, and was really hard to do because I don’t have a second camera person and I couldn’t get the right camera angle to show most of what I was doing. Frustrating! I’ll add a link about that once I have it finished, in case anyone is interested.) Anyway, since I was making a block for the tutorial video, I decided I should just make a whole quilt was I was at it. And so I did.

Wonky Stars Quilt

And now things go a little further back in time. All the way back in April 2010, John Adams of QuiltDad.com had a GINORMOUS giveaway for his two-year blogiversary. By luck of the random number generator draw, I won a prize of three charm packs: Jennifer Paganelli’s Dance With Me, Valori Wells’ Del Hi, and Dena Designs’ Monaco (donated by Missouri Star Quilt Co.). Westminster, the company that produced those lines, doesn’t use a standard number of charms in a charm pack (like Moda with the 40 charms), and I knew I didn’t have enough to make anything in particular with those charm packs, so I picked up a fourth charm pack for Amy Butler’s Love, since I thought her generous use of colour would play well with the mix of colours in the existing charm packs. And then the fabric sat, and sat, and sat a little more.

When I started planning to work on the wonky star tutorial, the laziest part of me lit up like a light bulb at the thought of using charm squares rather than cutting my own for the block. Yes, 12-inch blocks are pretty standard, but 13.5-inch blocks make larger quilts! And take less time to cut out! I had 100 squares and only needed 96 to make a 12-block quilt! Clearly it was destiny. All I needed then was a single standard colour for the stars to help ground the crazy-cakes mixture of four fabric lines from four different designers, so I pulled the yardage of white-on-white print that was on the top of my White fabric pile, and started cutting. I very nearly ran out – I didn’t measure anything, I just assumed that what I had would be enough – but I managed to make it work, though I did add a couple of scraps of a different white-on-white from the scrap bag and a single star point of pure white. I didn’t plan anything, in regards to layout. I just put my four piles of charms out on the futon beside my sewing table and took two from each pile for a while for each block, and then later I switched to taking three from the two larger piles and just one from the smaller ones, until I got down the end and had only four squares left. I also didn’t plan out where each block would land in the quilt – I just sewed them together in the order I made them, joining rows of three together as they were finished. Once it was done, I thought the crazy-cakes mixture of prints and colours was still too over-whelming, so I added the thick border in red to try to hem in and confine the crazy. I think it works. Or it works well enough, anyway.

This newly finished, freshly windblown quilt top is somewhere in the neighbourhood of 50-inches by 64-inches. It was finished on Tuesday, June 26, 2012. I don’t know yet where it’ll make its home, but I hope it’ll be loved, where ever it winds up.

Wonky Star Quilt

I have a new finished project and I guess I should really talk about it! Like the quilts in my last post, this particular project is being donated to The Linus Connection in Austin, Texas. Which is miles away from me – I’m in Calgary, Alberta – but after the fires and the drought and heat wave in Texas, there is a lot of need for blankets to help comfort children in need, more even than usual. And of course, the lovely ofenjen is one of their members and a friend of mine, and I’m always happy to help out with this charity that means so much to her.

Wonky Star

So this is just kind of a teaser shot, I suppose, showing the basic blocks that make up the quilt. Ofenjen is collecting paper-pieced star blocks to put together into quilt tops, but I guess I was feeling contrary, because I decided I wanted to make something a little more free-form. And then because I knew I wasn’t going to be making the same star block as everyone else, I thought I’d better make enough for an entire quilt top. I had an awful lot of purple solids (leftovers from a quilt that I’ve got cut out, but have never got around to putting together), so I went into my collection of purple fabrics and pulled out one of my favourite pieces, a poppy print from Alexander Henry’s Good Earth collection.

Wonky Star

I loved that print from the moment I first saw it, and it took me a while to source a piece of it because I think I must have come across it after it went out of print. I often buy fabric with a plan in mind (I just never finish anything…), but this was something I never had ideas about. I just loved it, so I had to have it. The lighter, pinker purple in the poppies was an almost exact match to one of the solid Kona cottons I had, so it seemed to be a great match. And I even liked how it looked with the more berry-toned purples, as well as a pale lavender and even a pale pink.

I had high hopes of making 12 blocks and then putting a single border around it, using more of the AH print, but alas, I didn’t have enough purple (or pink, which I used to help bump up the number of blocks) without using a couple of much darker purples that I didn’t think would work as well for backgrounds, so I settled on making eight and then put the lot on point.

Wonky Star quilt

And I think it looks better for it! Somehow the stars seem to sparkle more on point. And I love the way the different background colours pull your eye around. Sometimes putting things on point gives me a bit of mental trouble because I worry about all the bias cuts on the setting triangles pulling everything out of whack, but this is the second time I’ve done it this year (see the first here, also donated to The Linus Connection) and I’ve liked the results both times.

I usually have a laundry list of nit-picks about the things I make, but this one I only have two small quibbles and neither of them bother me terribly much. I’m not the biggest fan of the purple print I used for the setting triangles, but alas, it was all I had in my stash that was big enough and didn’t look terrible. I think it’s not got quite the right base-note, so to speak, to match the border print – it’s a little more berry and a little less indigo maybe? – but I’ve also sent along enough strips (I think!) to bind the quilt, which I’m hoping will help tie it in a little better to have that extra little frame of it. My second nit-pick is that I didn’t get the print pointing the right direction on the bottom two setting triangles. Really minor problem, and I could have fixed it, but I wasn’t sure I had enough fabric to include binding strips if I cut out extra triangles just to solve the directionality problem.

In any case, it’s another finished quilt top. Not a large one, it’s about 45″ x 62″, I think, but I really hope some child will love it.

Finish: Brown Quilt-along Quilt

I keep putting off writing about this project – which has been finished since July 25 – because I can’t seem to photograph it. If I use natural light it somehow picks up so much glare and the colours look more washed out than if I photograph it with flash. And if I photograph it with the flash, you can’t see any of the quilting detail. Anyway, I am about to donate it to a charity group in Texas, so I guess it’s really time to talk about it!

This quilt is actually one of two matching quilts done in different colour palettes. I finished the first one in pink way back in April, and I actually started them both in February, when Cherri House of Cherry House Quilts (and City Quilts fame – LOVE that book) came up with the idea of doing a quilt-along.

Cherry House Quilt-Along Quilts

It is a rather simple quilt, just squares in rows separated by panels of background fabric, but it’s such a sweet and elegant layout, and absolutely beautiful.

The first quilt, the pink one, I quilted in wavy vertical lines, about 1 inch apart all the way across the quilt, so for this one I decided to do rays angled across the quilt, with the plan of doing it from two different sides, so that the rays would criss-cross. Le sigh, my basting wasn’t good or my walking foot wasn’t working properly because the first criss-cross I tried shifted the fabric so much I’d have had a quilt full of puckers on the front. Gah. I wound up doing random triangles to fill in any of the big open spaces. While I don’t mind it, it doesn’t look how I wish it looked, so I have a hard time loving it when I see it. In any case, the brown quilt has a much nicer, much softer drape than the pink one, so I guess the looser quilting style was good for that at least!

Cherri House Quilt-Along Quilts

The fabrics for this quilt are all Kona cottons on the front, Espresso for the background, with Ivory, Sky, Robin Egg, and Aqua making up the coloured squares. The binding is more espresso with what I think is Robin Egg for the one corner. The backing is a Michael Miller print, although I’m not sure what print it is, exactly. (I don’t have any of the selvedge left.)

When I finished this in July I was really happy to get it done, since I started it in February and that’s a realllllllllly long stretch for a quilt that can be started and finished all in one day. (Seriously! Hit up Cherri House’s blog for the pattern, and go to it. I promise if you can focus at all, you’ll be done before you realize it.) And now I’m equally happy to have a plan for it. It deserves a good home, and I’m certain it’ll go to one via The Linus Connection in Central Texas. With the recent fires, they’re needing increasing numbers of blankets for children, so I’m really happy to have something I can send that’ll help someone out.

Finish: Pink Quilt-along Quilt

This is the very moment that the pin on the right let go and the quilt nearly went flying across my muddy, nasty backyard while I had a (video) camera hung around my wrist and the regular camera around my neck and a pair heels for shoes that were aerating the grass. Fortunately only three of six or seven pins let go, so the quilt stayed hanging awkwardly on the fence while I mentally debated the benefits of recording the moment versus trying to stop it from happening. (And in light of the shoes, I probably couldn’t have made it over there fast enough to catch the quilt if it had gone airborne anyway.)

I’m going to have to try another day to get a full-on shot of the quilt, because I don’t like any of the against the fence ones very much.

Of course, I do have other shots I can use anyway. It’s not that they’re horrible (though I’m no photographer), but the lighting isn’t quite right and I really, really should have pressed the quilt before trying to photograph it. I had, originally, pinned the quilt to the fence down the right hand-side so that it wouldn’t get caught by the wind, but that mainly worked to show off how badly it needed pressing.

Pink Quilt-along Quilt

Pink Quilt-along Quilt a photo by clumsy chord on Flickr.

This is the most head-on shot that I’ve got of this quilt. It’s my first of two quilts for Cherri House’s quilt-along, which you can find here (scroll down, then click back to page two) at Cherry House Quilts.

This sweet and girly little quilt is about 33-in x 39-in, if I remember right (I did a really loose measurement when I was making the binding but I’ve kind of blanked it out). I quilted it in wavy vertical lines, spaced about 1-in apart. I was really frustrated to find that even with my walking foot, the top layer of the quilt was shifting pretty massively. Eventually I gave up trying to prevent the problem (I picked out probably 10 or more lines of quilting) and decided just to live with the shiftiness. Maybe once it’s washed, it won’t be so noticeable.

Pink Quilt-along Quilt

Pink Quilt-along Quilt a photo by clumsy chord on Flickr.

This quilt uses Kona cottons almost exclusively, but I decided to throw in a few squares of fabric from the Back Porch Bouquet line, the Pink and Tan Dots, which I also used as part of the binding. I probably should have left that fabric out of the binding because I only had a fat quarter of it, which means that the binding has a LOT of seams in it. I also used leftover strips of two of the colours from the body of the quilt – Carnation, the brighter pink at the top left corner, and Garnet, the deeper wine colour on the bottom right. I wish I’d had enough of the garnet to do the entire binding in it because I really liked that deep dark colour framing the quilt.

The body of the quilt uses Kona Pink for both the main background colour and for the backing. I didn’t dress up the back of the quilt at all, just used one solid piece of pink fabric. The four stripes of colour on the front are Garnet, Pearl Pink, Carnation, and Baby Pink (moving left to right). If I could, I would use something different in place of Baby Pink, since it’s far too similar to the background colour, and it kind of sinks back into the background.

I have no recipient in mind for this quilt, but I think I’ll keep it for a while, in case anyone I know winds up having a baby, and eventually it may get donated somewhere.

Finish: Pink and Brown Baby Quilt

I’m calling this a finished project, even though it’s just a quilt top and hasn’t been quilted/bound, because I’m sending it off to be donated to the Linus Connection in Texas. So, you know, finished, but not finished.

This is a project that I started in the fall on 2006 when a block of the month group started up on Livejournal (Block of the Month). I was trying to do the BoM in two different versions – this one using a line of fabrics called In the Pink (plus two extra fabrics – the blue and the green are from a different line) and a second one using a purple batik with black and white prints (eventually I added a nearly solid pink and solid white to some blocks). I didn’t finish either of them.

I’ve been having an on-going freak out about having too many unfinished projects (many of which I am totally disinterested by, these days) so I pulled out a stack of shoe boxes, each of which have a different project in the, and chose these two BoMs to send away.

For this quilt top, I only had six blocks made, and it felt sort of lop-sided because I had three blocks with the green in it, two with no additional colour, and just one with blue. I decided to make two more blocks with blue so that I could try to balance it out a little.

There are a lot of things I would change, if I were to start back from the beginning, mainly to keep the same background colour on each of the blocks (two of them look like they’re floating on the background and the rest don’t) and to use more of the dark brown and less of the warm beige colour. But it’s done, and done is good.

The eight blocks on point with a 3.5-inch border is about 41-in x 58-in if I’m doing my mental math correctly. In any case, it’s not terribly big, but it should do for a little girl somewhere.

I didn’t take any pictures of the 16 blocks I sent off in the purple group. I have pictures of them, but not as a collection. I should maybe have made tops with them too, but I wasn’t sure if it would be better to make 2 smaller quilts with 8 blocks each or one larger quilt with all 16 blocks. This way the volunteers at Linus Connection can decide for themselves.