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?
Oh, look. A finished project!
(More later. It was bed time almost two hours ago. Someone is shovelling their sidewalk right now, though, and I can’t fall asleep. SO LOUD! I work nights all weekend, so it might be Sunday before I have a chance to write a proper entry. And hopefully take a proper picture.)
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.)
So first up today is this itty bitty stitch I did last night.
Yesterday I had a package arrive in the mail from Sublime Stitching, with two packets of their new floss (for me, and one for my giveaway). For myself, I choose the Portrait and Parlour palettes, and for this stitch I used Portrait.
I freehand stitched the little Kokeshi doll from the Thank You note seen here, slightly larger than the picture (the original was about 2-inches tall, I suppose, and mine is about 3). It came out a little bit wonky, and I probably should have treated the flowers more delicately, but I think it came out really sweet. I didn’t use all the colours from the palette, just the brown, charcoal, pink, and golden bronze. If you’ve read anything about these new palettes, you probably know they have more fanciful names than that, what I really used were Silky Cocoa, Eyeliner, Lip Gloss, and Bronzer. I was in a rush and cut the fabric very badly – it’s too narrow to keep it in the hoop, so I’m not sure what I’ll do with it in the end. Maybe turn it into a little hanging ornament.
The big thing, though, is my Wonky Star quilt. Which I’m fairly confident in saying won’t be finished by Boxing Day (I’d hoped to send it back to Saskatchewan with my parents so that they could deliver it to my Grandma), but I’m still plugging away at it as if it might still happen.
Of course, right now I’m not working on it because I’m typing up this post, which is taking longer than I’d like it to be… I work nights all this weekend, so my sleep schedule is really messed up and in the meantime I have to get the house ready for guests (my little sister sleeps in my sewing room, so I need to clear off the futon before they arrive and at the moment, it’s a Big Damn Mess with all the things that are usually on my sewing table) and then I have to also host and feed said guests, so I really should be quilting madly away instead of talking here.
Anyway… here’s a couple close ups on the quilting I’m doing. Nothing very complicated or special, but it’ll do the job and I think it looks nice anyway, even if it’s not AMAZING.
Just a quarter inch around the inside of each of the stars, so far, but I’m going to have to go back and do something else in the centre, since it needs to be quilted a little more tightly than that. (I used a batting that needs to be quilted ever 4 inches, but my squares are all 4.5 inches, so I’m being cautious – that half inch mightn’t matter, but maybe it will.) Probably I’ll do a smaller square in the centre, or an X, like I did in all the full print squares.
The one bit I’m still having a problem with is what to do with the bits where the star points are at. I did do one of them already, just to try something out, and I kind of hated it. Not enough to pick it out, mind, but enough that it’s the only one that’ll have that pattern in it. Maybe I’ll do some free motion stars, one in the centre of each. I don’t know, I don’t know…
Happy Holidays everyone! I’ll probably not be back until the New Year, although maybe I’ll surprise myself and get something in the weekend between Christmas and New Years.
In which I show off an afghan I received from Amber, a few cards I received in the mail, a pouch I made for my Modern Scrappy Bits swap on Flickr, and my Vintage Modern Wonky Star quilt, which is currently being quilted.
I wanted to be this far along a couple days ago, but I got distracted by MadMen. I finally borrowed season 5 from the library (I was on a wait list for a long, long time) and even though I sew most often when I’ve got tv I want to watch, I really shouldn’t watch such compelling tv when I’m trying to sew because I just get nothing done. (But Pete, that skeevy creep! And Don! And Peggy!) Six episodes down, and only eight seams to show for it.
Anyway, that’s the wonky star top put together, made using Vintage Modern, some Cotton Couture (the red), and some random white on white fabric.
I want to try this different way of basting, where you clamp it onto a table to pin it, rather than taping it to the floor. Which I’m hoping won’t just save my back, but will also help get it all more taut – I always have issues with the back shifting, no matter how much I pin.
Anyway hopefully it’ll work out, and then I just need to figure out how to quilt the thing. I’m not very good at free motion quilting yet, so I don’t want to try it for this quilt. I’d rather get more practise on something I care less about. Which leaves me more or less with something involving straight lines, but what, exactly, I don’t know… I keep turning ideas over in my head, but nothing is really sticking with me.
Next week is going to be a bit of a crap week – I work six days and both this weekend and next (I usually work alternating weekends) – so I’m not sure how it’s all going to go, but I really, really want to have this done before Christmas. So I guess I’ll cross my fingers (and hope I get through MadMen fast, so that I can focus a little more).
Looking for my Sew Mama Sew Giveaway Day post? Find it here. I will accept entries until noon my time on Saturday December 8. Giveaway is now closed!
I thought for certain that my work in progress for the day would be the quilt top for my Vintage Modern Wonky Stars quilt (or even better, the basting/quilting rather than just putting it together). And I thought I’d also still be working on the giftie for my recipient at the Modern Scrappy Bits Swap on Flickr. And I thought I’d be done with my wall-hanging from last week.
Well, I am more or less done with the wall-hanging from last week. I’m still not totally sold on the centre bit, but this might be as good as it gets. Mom, if you’ve followed a link to my blog, please close it now because this is your Christmas gift and I don’t want to spoil it.
I tried a lot – a lot – of things to solve the poof problem with the middle panel of this wall-hanging. I stitched around the outline of some of the words in a variegated green thread, but the green stitches on the back really, really bothered me. Some were up/down left/right, but others were kind of angled or… I don’t know. It bothered me. I tried coming up with some kind of miniature snowflake pattern that I could stitch in white on some of the white places so it wouldn’t stand out on the front, but wouldn’t be out of place either, but again with the way it’d look on the back. I tried outline stitching the few red places so that they’d blend on the back, but I used one strand of floss too many and it looked too heavy and dark on the front.
Finally I made a kind of peppermint stripe around the outside edge of the cross-stitched area, stitching with white perle cotton, and then weaving in red around it. Which I should have done in reverse because the white shows on the back (a lot, but it doesn’t bother me because it’s just a nice looking square) and the red wouldn’t have.
I really like the look of it, except that it was a bit pointless because it doesn’t hold down ENOUGH of the poof and, well, the white is totally invisible if you back away from the macro setting on the camera…
(I haven’t, by the way, had a chance to take proper photos of this yet, in decent light. We’re all light-shunning vampires at my house, so all the blinds and curtains are closed at all times and this was photographed in my kitchen, by the light of some our energy-saving area lights. I won’t do a proper post about this until after Christmas, with better photos that don’t currently exist.., just because if my mom hasn’t paid attention and is looking at this, at least she shouldn’t get the full-on rundown of it now.)
Anyway, I’m thinking that I just need to suck it up and stitch some snowflakes into the white area, back of the quilt top be damned. It’s going to be hanging against a wall and anyone who looks at the back deserves to have an ugly view for NOT doing the right thing and just admiring the front. Right? Right… I’ll keep telling myself that.
But moving along: Vintage Modern Wonky Star quilt. I STILL haven’t finished my last couple blocks. Tomorrow morning. Or Friday. I’m kind of messed up this week because I work a night shift tonight, which I NEVER do, and my head’s all on backwards until I get back to “normal” night shifts, which is every Thursday night and alternating Friday/Saturdays. (This is my weekend off! So fortunately I’ll be able to spend a lot of time crafting. My sister has a funeral/memorial to go to on Saturday, so I’ll have the house distraction free even.)
This is an old photo, with five unfinished blocks. There are only THREE unfinished blocks left and then I can get the top put together. I am toying with the idea of putting the blocks on point, so that the quilt will be larger, but I need to figure out what size backing I’d need if I do that, because I’ve already bought my backing and it takes 2 weeks to ship it in, so I can’t get more. It’s flannel, so I’m not sure if I’d like to piece the back with non-flannel to get it up to size. Has anyone done that? How weird is it, blending the two, on one surface?
Anyway, I’d planned to do those blocks this morning, but then I realized that TODAY was the fifth of December, not tomorrow, and that meant that I had to get my Scrappy Bits swap package in the mail. I hadn’t made it because I couldn’t get a really clear read on my partner’s likes and dislikes, and I kept wibbling over what to make for her. I mentally auditioned about a dozen types of ornaments and I contemplated adapting a particular paper piece pattern to a circle to make a particular type of pouch and I wibbled about colours and I wibbled about fabric types and if to add embroidery and what sort of embroidery and then time was ticking ticking ticking and suddenly I had to have it in the mail. I didn’t have any more time to figure it out!
I’m a little worried it looks lazy and sloppy (I was hoping the frayed edges on the stars would look kind of blurred, as if they were twinkling) and maybe… childish? Somehow the idea didn’t translate as well as I’d hoped. It looked better brainside than out in the world, I think. I mean, I think it would be great for a little girl, maybe, but for an adult woman? I don’t know. I guess I’ll find out. (I rather suspected my last swap partner didn’t like what I sent her – she never talked about it on her blog, though she posted a photo with an enthusiastic enough couple lines about it on the swap group.) I hate to think my indecision might have left me to turn out something my partner won’t like, though. So I’m still toying with making something else and sending her a second package. (God I’m good at stressing myself out over things…)
Anyway, that one’s not a WIP at all, is it? Unless I do make something else…
Two weeks ago I wrote a post about my Vintage Modern wonky star quilt-in-progress and I had some goals:
1. Finish the blocks by November 5
2. Piece the top by November 13
3, 4, 5. Baste & quilt & bind by ??? (Have to get the backing fabric for that…)
Oh, yes. Goals. Well, considering it still looks just like this:
You can probably imagine just how well those goals have gone. I do only have 3 blocks left to make, rather than 5 or 6. And I got the backing material, a flannel version of one of the prints, and three different options for the border (of which the stripe will almost certainly be used for binding), but I’m having a hell of a time getting myself to work on it. I’m really, really hoping at least to get all the blocks done before December. So the new goal is to get the blocks done by Friday, and then to get the top pieced (or at least en route to being pieced) by Sunday.
I’ve been working on something else the last couple days – a wall-hanging about which I’m being coy because it’s a gift for someone who reads/checks out my flickr account. It’s a joint project between my sister and I, she did a stitched project, and then I added borders, quilted it, and am now sewing on the binding. I realized last night as I was stitching down the binding that I’d forgotten to add the hanging tabs, so I need to do that before I can finish up that last stretch of stitching across the top.
Let me tell you though, I love stitching down binding. I used to be so terrified of it, but having done it a few times now, I find it such a relaxing thing to do, to just sit back and maybe watch some crappy, but fun tv (I’ve been watching the British series Misfits lately) and get into that stitching zone. There’s something kind of Zen about it, just sitting there stitching almost without thought.
I’m not 100% in love with how the mitred corners turn out on my projects – somehow I always wind up with a little valley along one edge that looks like it’s pulling, rather than just sitting smooth and flat and lovely. But maybe it’s normal… what do I know, really? Most of the quilts I own have prairie points around the edge, so they don’t have a proper binding anyway. I’ve really got nothing to compare it to and I know I can be hyper-critical of the things I work on.
Anyway, I do have one problem with it. The project has a centre panel, which has been cross-stitched. For my quilting, I only went through the white keys on the border, but that panel in the middle seems far too large to not have something done to tack it down a little. (It’s about 10-in x 12-in.) I’d done a basting stitch around the edge before I did my quilting, so that it wouldn’t shift around, but now that the basting stitch is removed, it somehow looks loose and kind of puffy in the middle. I’m wondering if anyone has suggestions for what to do that won’t interfere with the cross-stitched portion. It’s a fairly open design, so theoretically I could hand-stitch around the edges of the design, travelling through all the layer rather than just through the top. Or I have invisible thread, so I could do almost anything over the top with that (but I don’t like working with invisible thread by hand, it’s unpleasant to sew with). Probably you can’t make any real suggestions without actually seeing the stitched portion, but if you have any thoughts, do let me know.