Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Preschool quilt - finished!

Yay! The preschool quilt is finally done. We're taking it in tomorrow to show the class. I can't wait!

This was a really fun project, an idea born from this small quilt we made for Brett's office. I've wanted to do a quilt with the kids in her class for a while, so when I reached the last month of freedom before I start back up finishing my graduate school prereqs, it seemed like it was now or never.

The starting point - each kid traced their hand on heat and bond and signed their name (with varying degrees of success - my favorite is the one who just signed with a big X) on a yellow square of cotton.

From there, I fused the hands to the squares, and then zig zagged each one of them down. This sounds like a lot of zig zagging, probably, but it was fun. I've done a lot of machine applique from my days making and selling baby tees, and like riding a bike now -- once you master it, you can always do it just fine.

Then I made a center square for Sugar the bunny, their class bunny who passed away about two months ago. The kids all loved him, and it seemed like the perfect way to center the design for them.

This is a wool felt applique, with a blue button eye.

Each square got a plaid border with blue and red cornerstones, all pulled from my scrap piles. I loved how this plaid drew all of the different hand colors together. Isn't it cute?

I wanted the borders to be slightly off center -- I had this image in my head of flying geese going up and down part of each side, and once that was in place, it just seemed to make sense to put the class name and year slightly off center too, so that the colors were concentrated in the upper right and lower left corners of the borders.

Appliqueing on the class name and year was a little more laborious - I printed off the words in the font I wanted (450 pt type!), traced it backwards onto fusible, then cut, fused, and stitched each letter and number I wanted in place.

And the quilting - I free motioned a heart in the middle of each hand, and outlined the hands and other appliques too. Then a swirly, loopy design in the sashing strips, and parallel lines in the outer borders. The binding is the same plaid as the inside.

Tomorrow we show it to the kids - I hope they enjoy looking around for their hands on it!

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Just One Star (or, well, seven)

The folks at Moda are running a special project in conjunction with the Quilts of Valor foundation designed to gather 1800 star blocks from quilters around the country and produce 100 quilts in 100 days to be distributed to injured soldiers while they recuperate in the hospital.

Regardless of how I feel about the war, I definitely feel for the soldiers who are fighting. So I decided to take part in this project and have been whipping together star blocks here and there for the last day or so. It's a great little pattern, ideal for using up scraps, and only takes about 10 minutes to put together once you've got the pieces cut. I ended up making seven, because I'd finish one so quickly and think, "Well, I'll just make ONE more." It was kind of addictive.

Here's more info from Moda Lissa's blog.
The challenge is to piece, quilt and bind 100 quilts in 100 days using the
Flag of Valor pattern by Minick and Simpson.

The deadline for star blocks is May 1, 2011 so that we can meet our quilt deadline
by Flag Day, June 14, 2011.
We need 1800 star blocks to reach our goal.

Please take a few minutes to piece Just One Star block (click here for block pattern) using a medium red or blue and a cream background. Better yet, invite your small group or even your entire guild to make Just One Star block. Sign each block with your name and state.

Wednesday, March 02, 2011

Perfection is Overrated

I started this quilt about a year ago. It's a little thing, only about 20x30. I based it on a confetti quilt done by Crazy Mom Quilts and by this tutorial by Lady Harvatine -- but I had such a hard time putting it together that I threw it aside when it was finished and let it rot.

The pattern is called confetti. Basically, you make all of these little pieces of different sizes and then fit them together like a puzzle. This was the difficult part - I couldn't figure out how to set in all these squares of different sizes so I ended up trimming them into rows and it kind of destroyed the pleasing arrangement of colored pieces I'd designed. There ended up being big empty spaces and some colored spots that were too close together, and I just didn't like it. So into a box it went.

 Until yesterday, when I dug it out and just decided to machine applique a few more colored blocks on in the spots where it needed something more to tie it all together. And in the end, I think it looks fine. Not my greatest work ever, and full of oddities if you examine it closely enough -- but my new thinking is that I'm going to quilt whatever quilt tops I finish, regardless.

And I'm glad I did! It's cute. It has personality. Who says all quilts have to be so freaking perfect, anyways? 

Therefore, I present to you, my latest little quilt, entitled "Perfection is Overrated":

I also tried out pebble quilting for the first time on this, as I mentioned yesterday, and was very happy with the results! Pebble is a very forgiving quilting pattern - there's just no way to get yourself trapped in a corner and unable to get back to where you need to go because you can just travel around the circles you've already made. I've never before met a quilting pattern that I couldn't get myself into trouble with, but this was it!

And, I was happy to find a home for my funky, black and white barcode fabric that I used in the binding. I bought it on impulse a few years ago and never found the right place for it until now. Black and white seemed like the right frame for this particular quilt.

Of course, Sofie this morning tried to claim this quilt, as she does all my quilts, but this one time, I told her I was keeping this one. Here it is hanging in my very messy office/studio:

Tuesday, March 01, 2011

Trying out pebbles

Trying out pebbles, originally uploaded by bellflowertextiles.

I've been wanting to try out free motion pebbles for a while and decided to take the plunge today. We did it briefly in the free motion quilting class I took a year or so ago, but I haven't tried it since!

I don't think it's coming out too badly though, do you? Trying to vary my circle size and go around each one twice before moving on.

This is going to use A LOT of thread. :) But it's a small quilt, one that I finished the top of ages ago and found stuffed in a box today while I was cleaning my studio. Perfect for an experiment!


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