So I made my usual yearly goal of tackling 12 projects for the year. I’m pretty behind on the goal – it’s been a rough year for my family, so I’ve not done as much crafting as I might have otherwise – but I’ve gotten 4 quilts finished and this is the first of them.
This quilt followed no patterns, it’s just a set of Carolyn Friedlander Botanics charms and Kona cotton charms matched to the Botanics line mixed randomly with the white charms to make it a decent size. (It’s about 63″ x 72″.)
I wanted to use this lap quilt to practice free motion quilting, but I didn’t want it to take a decade to quilt so I did the white all in orange peels and then did different quilting in all the colour squares. This isn’t all of them, but it’s pretty close…
This is probably the visual equivalent of Too Long; Didn’t Read. But I enjoy trying out different things with the free motion quilting and this gave me lots of chances to try things out.
The backing is a wide width crosshatch, also a Carolyn Friedlander print. I like this quilt a lot and I’m so happy to have it finished.
I film videos about what crafts I’m working on about once a month or so to share with friends in the Talk to Me Tuesday community. Usually I’m on camera showing things, but this week I filmed a lot about my Plume quilt, with all the focus on the quilting.
In the video I talk about the quilting that isn’t finished and trying to figure out how to finish it. I’ve decided to do straight line quilting every half inch, so I’ve got the inside part of the borders done and tomorrow will get the outside part of the borders quilted. After that it’ll be trimming and binding.
I need to make new plans for the binding. It was supposed to be the same brown fabric as the flanges, but I hadn’t been able to find the binding fabric anywhere. I went looking today again after filming this video and I found some of it… and it’s only about 8.5-inches by width of fabric. Definitely not enough to bind the whole quilt. I was prepared to swear I had at least a half yard of that brown fabric, but I must have…. used it for something. I can’t think of what or why I would have done it, but it doesn’t seem to exist anymore. Frustrating. I have very, very little Plume fabric in my stash, so I have to decide now if I want to just use a solid brown (if I can find a match!) or if I want to use some other Tula Pink fabric in my stash or…. I don’t know. Something else entirely? Brown feels like the right finish, like a frame around the project. Why on earth would I have used my binding fabric for something else?!
So my January goal for both All People Quilt’s 2018 UFO resolution and One Monthly Goal hosted by Elm Street Quilts is a very old quilt top that’s been waiting for me to pull up my big girl pants and get it quilted.
I didn’t really have any half-way decent photos of it before (or even now.. most of my current shots have been taken at night in artificial light), but here’s one showing where I’m at this morning.
It’s pretty hard to tell in the picture, but this is a rectangular throw quilt and that yellow square nearish the top is actually the centre point on the quilt. I’ve finished about half the quilting in the centre patchwork portion and am going to run out of thread – Aurifil 6723 – before I get there. After that, I still have both borders to complete. So…. there’s a good chance I won’t finish this before the end of January,… but who cares!? I’m closer to finished than I’ve been in 7 or 8 years! I can’t complain.
All the fabrics in this quilt as from Tula Pink’s Plume line, which was maybe her last line for Moda. I loved it so much that even though I had practically no money at the time, I bought a layer cake and the yardage for borders and backing. I had sold a part of the backing material online but was lucky enough to still have enough fabric to do the backing without dipping into other Tula Pink lines.
So this is what most of the back looks like. The light isn’t great in this photo and it’s making it a bit yellow (I mean, it probably doesn’t look yellow to you, I just know there’s a yellow cast over this photo, which I can’t figure out how to fix in Flickr’s photo editor). You can also in this photo really see the quilting motif that I’m using in the centre portion of the quilt. (I’m planning to do proper feathers in the large outer border and I’ve got two different ideas for the yellow border, which I haven’t made any firm decisions about yet. I need more thread before I can worry too hard about it.)
So I’m basically using an all-over feather-like pattern to quilt in the centre portion. I learned this from a Craftsy class – Ultimate Free-motion Feathers – by Patsy Thompson. I’m really enjoying working on it – it’s a lovely flowing pattern that can tuck into any space you need it to go into and it makes a really beautiful texture over the quilt. My quilting is still somewhere in the learning stage, sometimes things come out beautiful and smooth and nearly perfect and then sometimes they are a bit stiff and awkward and too small, like the feather in the pic below.
Anyway, that’s where I’m at with that. If I get around to it, this weekend, I should also post about my January finish! (Yes, I actually finished something this month! Started and finished!) And then also about the five thousand quilt blocks I made this month. Something to look forward to…
Well, it’s been a lot longer than I meant to be! But I’ve got a finish to share:
I’ve finished my pink and coral and orange and black quilt made using fabrics from Fabric Spark‘s January blogger bundle, which was put together by Jolene of Blue Elephant Stitches. Back in January when I first got the fabrics, I talked a bit about how I found it sort of mystifying collection of colours.
I expect it was a bit mystifying to me because I’m not generally a very big fan of pink and I don’t really like pink and orange as a combination and I don’t generally like florals and even though I think a splash of black is a good addition to almost any colour palette I sort of found it hard, mentally, to slot this much black in with such sweet colours and prints. But I decided to do something with it straight away and decided on a pattern from McCall’s America Loves Scrap Quilts Winter 2014/2015 magazine, Dutch Breeze by Susan Guzman. I didn’t follow the pattern except to see what width to cut my strips; it was designed for scraps to create a larger quilt and I didn’t want to use more than my original 12 fat quarters, so my fabric strips weren’t going to match up with the pattern in any way (other than width).
Twelve Fat Quarters turned out 36 blocks (with very, very little fabric waste) and then I had to figure out how to make it all a little bigger and also not square. I didn’t want a square quilt or a baby quilt, but I didn’t want to add too much fabric either, so I figured out that if I used a centre block with 5×6 blocks, then I could put my remaining 6 blocks around the edges to squeeze another 16″ in width/length out. And I could do it using only 1 yard extra fabric.
It took a little creative piecing of the borders, but I did it! Originally I was going to put five blocks up in the top corner and just one in the bottom left (well, this picture is sideways, because I hung it sideways on the fence, but if you turned it clockwise to stand it on end, then this explanation would make sense…), but I would have had to piece the border fabric in chunks and this way let me use 4 panels cut to 8.5″ x 40.5″ – no extra seams necessary! (Other than adding on the blocks, of course…)
I had wanted to use one of the 12 original prints as the border fabric, but I wasn’t able to get enough from Fabric Spark of any of the prints I was leaning towards, so I wound up choosing this Honeycomb in Marmalade from Bonnie Christine’s Sweet as Honey line. This was probably the better choice in the long run, since it’s uses the colours from the bundle, but also didn’t blend in with any of the blocks that might have butted up against it around the edges. And it had a lot of white, which I thought might help tone down some of the PINK ORANGE FLORAL-ness of it. I’m not sure that it worked in that way, but I can live with that anyway.
I constructed the back using yardage of one of the prints from the front, split up with pieced together scraps left over from making the blocks. I’m not sure why, but somehow I convinced myself that the scraps strips were going to be enough seperation that it wouldn’t matter if I lined up the back when I pieced it. Hahaha no. It looks terrible! But I’m reminding myself that it’s on the back of the quilt and most of the time it’s going to be hidden. What does it matter really, in the grand scheme of it all if the back side is a bit ugly?
I tried to think of this project as a practise piece for free motion quilting, since that’s something I’m always wanting to get better at but rarely willing to really practise. I wouldn’t say I did a great job – there’s lot of little jigs and jogs and I’m not very good at regulating my speed and stitch length or the scale of my quilting.
But I tried to have fun with it. I like spirals, but it took me a while to figure out how to deal with the weird awkward bits where one spiral didn’t fill in to the next space. I’ve still got a long way to go in perfecting them, but I like how it looks finished and I’m just not going to worry too much about the bits that didn’t turn out “perfectly” (because done is better than perfect).
I bound this quilt using a black and white dot from my stash (and a little scrap of honey comb in the corner).
I still haven’t washed it, so it might shrink up a little bit yet, but I think it’s going to look good finished (even if I am a bit iffy about pink and orange still!) And I’m just glad to have it done – it wasn’t a project that should have lasted 3 months, but I guess I’m pretty good sat distracting myself!
Some quilt stats
Name: Pink and Orange Windmill Quilt
Pattern: Dutch Breeze by Susan Guzman
Size: About 56.5″ x 64.5″
Fabric: A fat quarter bundle chosen by Jolene of Blue Elephant Stitches, including fabrics from Cotton + Steel, Jeni Baker for Art Gallery Fabrics, and… others. The border is Bonnie Christine’s Honeycomb in Marmalade from her Sweet as Honey line.
Batting: Quilter’s Dream Wool
Thread: White Aurifil (piecing and quilting)
Backing: Amy Butler’s Pressed Flowers in Carmine from her Cameo line.
Binding: A black and white dot.
This was my March goal for A Lovely Year of Finishes, so I’ll be linking up there and with Thank Goodness It’s Finished Friday, hosted this week by Janet at Simply Pieced.
Yeah, I don’t know what to call this quilt, but the fabric is from the Happy Go Lucky line and the quilt pattern is called Confetti.
The first five blocks are pretty much a variation on this: two joined hexies and one lonely one floating on an enormous, mostly empty block.
I won’t show all five blocks. But they’re all pretty similar – one hexie in one quadrant and a set of hexies in the opposite quadrant. I tried to make sure none of the blocks had the exact same placement, so hopefully they’ll seem a bit like confetti tumbling around.
I’m only just working on the next four blocks, and haven’t stitched down the hexies yet.
I’m off-and-on quite nervous about that backing fabric, which is a Kaffe Fassett shot cotton (I think in Jade, though I forget the colour name for certain). It’s not a colour that really appears in the line at all, but somehow it just seems to work sometimes. And then sometimes I’ll look at it another way and be convinced that it can’t possibly come together. I’m sure it’ll be fine, though I can’t begin to imagine what colour thread I should use to quilt this. (The backing is going to be largely navy – the navy print with the multi-coloured pom-pom dandelion things. The binding I’m undecided on – I ordered two different fabrics to test against the shot cotton, one which dark grey on light grey and the other which is I think dark blue on light blue.) Maybe I’ll just use a variegated grey – I know I’ve got a new spool of that and it wouldn’t stand out too much in any case. Dunno. It’s going to be at least another week before the backing fabric arrives – I hope it’ll work, because it’s getting a bit difficult to find Happy Go Lucky fabric (in large quantities, that is), and I don’t really want to use the shot cotton as a quilt backing. Things to think about, anyway.
Well, I forgot to mention it, but a few weeks back I had my 100th post here at this blog. I totally missed it when it happened, but I’d planned to do a giveaway for that 100th post. Anyway, fail. So then I thought, well, I’ll do 101. But I forgot. So then I thought 111. Why not my eleventy-first entry? So it was a super secret giveaway because I didn’t tell anyone I was going to do it, and 111 was actually my last entry, which was my last work in progress post. So the super secret part is that I figured I’d just enter everyone who happened to leave a comment, and so that’s what I did!
Everyone’s name was put into my awesome possum TARDIS fabric basket, given a good shake through time and space, and I drew a name:
So I’ve sent an email to Carly (Citric Sugar) and she’ll be the lucky recipient of something kind of silly fun, which has not yet been made, and which I won’t post pictures of until she’s received it. I will only say this: I REALLY REALLY hope her favourite colour will be red, pink, yellow, or green. Which doesn’t matter so much anyway, but it’d make it kinda meta. And also, it’s a project from a book I recently bought, even though I swore I was going to quit buying project books without borrowing them from the library first, using materials I don’t currently have, even though I swore I was going to quit buying more crafting stuff.
Anyway, other than that, I’ve mainly been working on Super Secret Stuff for Fandom in Stitches (more on that later!), of which you can catch a sneak peak of a sample (that’s not going to be used or even finished!) in the first photo in this post. My last post though was largely about making use of my unwanted batik fabrics, and I made more than what I showed you, I was just lazy last week and didn’t post about it.
I also finished this second, not-quite-trip-around-the-world quilt top:
This one had a super planned colour scheme and I kind of constructed it in a way that made it a bit like a bargello quilt, although I still made it the same way that the Scrappy Trip Around the World quilts are made, I just rotated the blocks out of any round-trip notions. There are eight different fabrics in this quilt – two different blues and two different purples – but all the fabrics are so very close in value and shade that you only really notice the different fabrics if you’re looking at it up close. (If you compare the first and second blocks in the top row, you can see the blues are a mottled print and one with leaves, and the purples are one with dots and the other with leaves.) That pale minty green was one of my favourite batiks, one of the hardest to cut up, but I had no thoughts on its use, so it was time for it to go! I like that so much of it ended up in this quilt top. Just like the previous batik trip around the world, this quilt is going to be donated to charity.
In which I spend yet more time talking about my Vintage Modern quilt top – I spent some time talking about the quilting, which I never really covered much in my ginormous entry about the quilt. I also talk about my projects for February.
I suppose I should come up with more creative names for the things I make, but it’s always just the most basic information with me: a wonky star quilt, made with Modern Vintage fabric. Anyway, it’s my first finish for 2013! The first of several, I hope… (But I shouldn’t jinx myself by saying that.)
I’ve been working on this one since November 2012, I think, which for me isn’t a very long time. It’s rare I finish things within months, rather than within years! It does help to have a deadline, though. I didn’t meet my original one – to have it done by Christmas – but I did get it done before my family comes to visit again (that’ll be end of February, most likely). My parents will be tasked with taking this quilt to give to my Grandma, who I made it for.
A very long time ago I started a different quilt for my grandma. It was an origami quilt, where all the nine-patch blocks had origami flowers made using all the ugly floral prints my mom had bought me. (She used to buy me fabric periodically and half the time it was weird floral prints that wouldn’t appeal to much of anyone, I don’t think!) It was the first big project I ever really worked on, and it had A LOT of construction issues. I mean, I didn’t really KNOW it, but I sure figured it out when I started quilting it.
This photo is from before I quilted it, but once I started… well, the borders were all out of whack, so much so that I actually had to fold-over and quilt down about an inch of fabric on one side. (It hides remarkably well – it happened to be right where there was a seam anyway, and it just sort of blends in.) I had a hell of a time figuring out how to quilt it, and I screwed things up a lot and tried mostly unsuccessfully to hide it. The more I tried to make things work, the more frustrated I got with it, and so it’s spent several years languishing in a closet while I mulled over what to do with it… at least, I mulled it over in between year long bouts of pretending it didn’t exist.
During one of my annual bouts of mulling things over a while back, I realized the single biggest problem with the quilt: it’s full of raw edges. Every single flower has a raw edge on the underside of each petal, which you can see opened up in the photo above. I’ve made a lot (A LOT) of mini-pillows using these, and it’s not such a big deal that they’ve got raw edges, because you’re not using it, you’re not likely going to have to wash it. But how can you wash a quilt with 65 flowers, each with raw edges on all four petals? So needless, I think, to say… I’ve given up on that quilt. I don’t know what to do with it – it seems ridiculous to bag it up and throw it in the garbage, but I just don’t know how to salvage it.
Anyway, I had to make a new quilt. My Grandma has made me a number of quilts – I think I’ve got four from her, which really I should take proper pictures one day and make a post about them. But I’ve never made her something big before, and I thought she’d probably like to have something I quilted, since I know she’s pretty tickled by the thought that I’ve picked up quilting. The few times she’s seen things I’ve made, she’s had a kind of funny reaction. She finds the colours and prints I use kind of bewildering, I think. I mean, why would I want a quilt with black sashing and bright colours when there are so many pretty pink fabrics out there?
Anyway, Bonnie & Camille’s Vintage Modern is a very pretty fabric line, and although it’s not quite my thing, it’s still something that hits points that appeal to me (the interesting prints, like the houndstooth and those sort of circular ones, the colours – red and aqua and grey), but is traditional and pretty enough to appeal to my Grandma.
I made this using a layer cake – a Moda layer cake will give you 21 blocks, I used 20 and the extra may, if I get around to it, get turned into a cushion – and then red and white yardage, plus a little yardage for the border and binding. Using a layer cake (the equivalent of 4 charm packs) means the blocks are a little larger than standard, about 13.5 inches finished rather than 12 inches. Which is nice, because this makes a decent sized lap quilt for an adult, about 63 x 77 inches.
When I started making the blocks, I was a little concerned that the white stars wouldn’t stand out against the grey prints, so I separated out all of the grey prints (there were 8) and made four blocks in all grey, with the red stars to contrast. The red fabric is cherry Cotton Couture from Michael Miller, and is really beautiful feeling stuff. (I mean, I like my Kona Cotton, I’ve got yards and yards of the stuff, but Cotton Couture is just GORGEOUS stuff to work with.)
I like those contrasting stars in the quilt and I’m glad I did it. (Although I think that’s one of those things that will bewilder my Grandma!) I think those four red stars are probably the wonkiest of all my wonky stars, so that appeals to me too. I was really worried that I’d run out of the white tone-on-tone I used with the multi-coloured prints, so I was being very cautious about how I cut them and how much fabric I used. I did manage to stretch the tone-on-tone over the whole quilt, but I think I was only left with maybe 2 or 3 squares or triangles that would still have been usable. (I don’t know how much I started with – it was probably about a metre, but I’m really not certain.)
I don’t have any really good shots of the quilting in this one, but that’s okay because I kind of did it all ass-backwards and would have done things a fair bit differently if I’d really thought it through before I started, rather than doing the first thing I thought of and then having to slot in everything else around it. In any case, I quilted it in a pale grey that pretty much blends right into the quilt. Before quilting, I tried something new to me with the basting, which was to baste on a table rather than the floor! I found this tutorial from My Fabric Obsession and decided that even if it didn’t work out that well, it HAD to be better than crawling around on the floor to pin baste. It was! I had no problems with wrinkles on the quilt back, and it was so so so so so easy compared to doing it on the floor. No aching back! No worries about leaving pin gouges in the kitchen floor! (I probably left some pin-scratches in my sewing table, but I’m really not worried about that.) I’m definitely going to do that again the future, although maybe I’ll finally suck it up and try thread basting.
I decided when I was working on the top, that I really wanted to have a flannel backing, so that it would be nice and cosy to wrap up in. As a lap quilt, I figure it’s more likely to be used off a bad, and thus without a sheet, so who wouldn’t want an extra fuzzy and soft feeling fabric up against them? I thought I’d probably have to use a solid grey flannel, but Vintage Modern came with several flannel prints as well, and I found someone on Etsy who was selling yardage. I really wanted a grey print (I don’t know why, it just felt right) and was very happy to find that floral that you see up above. This Moda flannel seemed to be a nicer quality flannel than a lot of the solids I’ve worked with before. I didn’t pre-wash the other fabrics, but obviously I did pre-wash the flannel because that stuff can shrink A LOT, but it shrunk much less than any other flannel I’ve worked with in the past. It also didn’t seem quite as shred-happy as a lot of flannels I’ve used.
For the binding, I used a striped print from another line of fabric by Bonnie & Camille, Marmalade, which is another line of pretty vintage-looking florals. I had planned to use the red print with white dots that you can see in the quilt, but went with the striped binding instead because who doesn’t love a striped binding? There’s a part of me that thinks my Grandma would probably have liked the dots better, so that part of me kind of wishes I hadn’t switched to the stripe, but I love the stripe too much to seriously contemplate changing anyway.
So now I need to chuck this puppy in the wash. I’m always scared of washing things – what if it completely falls apart? what if the whole thing comes out in a big ball of shredded fabric and strings? – even though I’ve never had any problems. Irrational fears, eh?
Does this chucked on a chair shot look the same as the one I’ve been flashing the last few weeks worth of work-in-progress Wednesday posts?
If it does, you should look a little closer!
Now with 100% more binding!
I haven’t really shown too many full-on shots of this quilt, though I guess there was the one with it draped down the stairs in my kitchen, but if you know very much about this line of fabric – Bonnie & Camille’s Vintage Modern – you may know there isn’t a stripe. (Well, there is, but it’s a very wide stripe with dots in both colours of the stripe.) (In fact, here’s a link to the Moda info sheet on Vintage Modern.) This stripe that I’ve used actually comes from Bonnie & Camille’s newer line of fabric, Marmalade, which is in a very similar colour palette, but also adds orange and yellow to the mix. The reds are the same in both lines, so it worked perfectly!
I think everyone loves a good striped binding, I certainly do, but I do have some slight reservations about this one. I think I maybe should have gone with my original plan and used a red with white dot. Oh well, too late, not changing it now!
I’ve stitched down one short side plus a couple more feet, and am crossing fingers and toes that I’ll manage to get the rest done tonight and tomorrow. I REALLY want this to be a January finish! But January is so very nearly over! I guess I should get back to it – there are certainly worse things I could do with my time on a cold, cold, cold winter’s day than to cuddle up under a flannel-backed quilt while watching tv and stitching.
I wonder how many dozens of threads I’ve woven into this quilt top. Well, all done now! Just the binding left…
(By the by, that’s a self-threading needle. Makes the job so very much easier! Even if you accidentally clip something too close. I did it as I went along, thank goodness, because looking at a quilt top full of loose threads later on can be kind of intimidating.)