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Archive for the ‘Gifts’ Category

Stitch by stitch my equilateral quilt grew, until one day it was suddenly … done!
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After ironing the top flat, I prepared it for quilting by making the quilt sandwich. It was evening and I was tired and skipped a few steps thinking it would help speed things along.
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Famous last words. Skipping steps never speeds things up, and I discovered a number of bumps on the fabric backing. *sigh*
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I set the quilt aside and returned fresh at another time, carefully taping down my layers, keeping each flat and taut. Voila – the quilt was ready for quilting!
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I decided I wanted to use cotton perle thread for a large stitch look. And of course I then felt like being a little playful and using lots of different colors instead of choosing just one.
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I chose a radiating star pattern, using the natural diagonal line of the patchwork to make the quilting lines. I alternated colors randomly as each thread ran out.
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For the binding, I selected a mixture of yellow and yellow-green fabric. I think the bright colors complement the quilt well, while also blending in with the green.
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I gifted the lap sized quilt to my mother-in-law Joann for Christmas, thinking it would be lovely to snuggle under as a lap quilt or use as a room accent on a couch.
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All fabric hand dyed by yours truly, the quilt top is hand pieced and hand quilted. You can read three other posts on this quilt here, here and here.

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Potholders for Sue

I’m starting to feel like myself again. We bought our first home in May, and the summer has been full of moving and settling in to our new space. I plan to post on my new sewing set up soon.
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The last thing I sewed in my previous sewing studio were a pair of potholders for great aunt Sue. A few years ago I made her a pair for Christmas, and when we visited most recently, she had used them down to nothing.
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I love when something I made is used so much! With much pleasure I played with a few scraps of color, and soon had a pair of potholders to send to her.
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Not too long after, I packed up all my sewing supplies, and said goodbye to my studio set up as it was. Now I’m thoroughly settled, and look forward to showing off my new place!

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As I’ve shared in previous points, I am drawing a quilt design each day. Sometimes it is a random sketch for the day and sometimes it is for a specific project. When I learned a good friend was expecting her second baby, I knew I wanted to make her son a quilt. I raided my fabric stash, and pulled out these fat quarters I purchased awhile back.

IMG_9156After sketching a design of large flying geese in a t-pattern, I did the math. Despite reading several tutorials on how to size flying geese triangles, and googling a fair amount of geometry reference, I still calculated my numbers wrong. Oops! When I sewed the triangles together, they didn’t quite match up for a rectangle, but it was easy enough to trim them down, and it didn’t affect the overall dimensions of the quilt at all. I will need to spend some more time with triangle geometry to figure out where I was going wrong! I think it has something to do with how much to add for seam allowance. Anyone with match skills have the answer?

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From my calculations, I headed to our local quilt shop to purchase a bit more fabric, as the fat quarters I already have weren’t enough. My phone came in handy to snap a picture in black and white to check my values. I was hoping to find additional fabrics to add to mix it up, but ended up purchasing more in the same fabric line.

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Because my block sizes were large, the top sewed together in a morning. What a thrill it was to see my first pattern materialized as a quilt top!

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For quilting, I wanted to go with a lighter colored thread so it wouldn’t stand out against the light colored fabric of the front and back. When in the quilt shop, I picked a turquoise to go with the tree color. Once I started quilting though, I was bummed with how it turned out, as the color became quite a bit darker against the white then I had expected. A good lesson to pick a lighter colored thread than you think you will want, as it will look darker against the white.

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This is also the first larger size quilt I’ve quilted completely on my new Brother sewing machine, and it was great! The machine performed wonderfully, humming away as I stitched, with no broken threads or weird tension or anything. The extended table made the quilt slide around easily, and I didn’t have any of the arm muscle stress I’ve had in the past. I also wanted to play around with some new patterns to stitch with, so spent a little while sketching with pencil different designs for the different areas. Quilting is a lot like zentangling!

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I think that is some of the pleasure of making a baby quilt. While I want the quilt to be nice, there is also a bit of freedom, because it is for a baby who doesn’t know if the seams match or the quilting is straight. All that really matters is I made it with love imagining the new little one coming into this world. I find it fun to make baby quilts because I can play with new colors and techniques. And no matter what, after popping them in the wash, they come out soft and snugly and perfect for a little one.

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Heading outside for a photo shoot, our chickens were very curious and came over to see what was going on!

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I liked the brown in the fabrics, so chose to bind the quilt with a brown polka dot I picked up in the Bay Area on our recent trip, when Lesley and I enjoyed going to the most delicious yarn and fabric shop ever, A Verb for Keeping Warm. I also tried a new technique in attaching my quilt labels. This time I ironed a quarter inch hem around the sides, then cut a piece of fusible webbing slightly smaller than the size of the hemmed label. I then ironed that to the label, and then to the quilt. This helped stabilize it as I whip-stitched the edges down, and kept the shape more square.

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After snapping a few photographs, I sent the quilt off in the mail. I’m super thrilled with making my first quilt design become a reality!

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Giving the gift of tea

I’m excited to finally share these photos with you, now that all the gifts have been given! I had the most enjoyable time making these little tea wallets.1

I found this on Pinterest (of course!), the tutorial is here.

3It is a simple construction of four rectangles, two folded in half to make the pockets, stitched together, with a small elastic piece to loop it closed around a button. The only thing I changed from the tutorial was I didn’t use interfacing.

4It was such a joy to sort through my fabric stash, picking out different fabrics to make each one.

5And also a joy to sort through my buttons, picking out the perfect one for each.

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Sometimes I fussy cut to get a particular pattern to show. So cute!

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They were a breeze to whip up. I stuffed each with a variety of different teas, and distributed to friends over the holidays.

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“Would you like an adventure now, or shall we have our tea first?” – Peter Pan

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I have often found inspiration from Pinterest. This time, it was this braided strip quilt. I was attracted to the simple geometry, and thought my hand dyed fabrics would be a natural complement to the simple design.

IMG_2272I was also intrigued by the interesting construction. You start with cutting a triangle, and then sewing stripes to each edge of the triangle. I was attracted by the notion of no measuring, just cutting strips and sewing.

IMG_2274The quilt quickly grew, with 4 1/2 inch stripes. I was also inspired by Gee’s Bend quilts, and didn’t want to worry too much about if I had enough fabric of each color. For each stripe, I’d pick a color, and if I didn’t have enough for the stripe, I’d try to pick a similar color and finish the stripe so it was long enough. The color shifts are so imperceptible you can barely catch them, but if you look closely they are there.

IMG_2290After basting the three layers, I began to quilt. I wanted to emphasize the stripey braided shape, so I chose to simply follow the stripes in multiple rows of stitches.

IMG_2418I wanted the stitching to be playful, so I switched colors for each row, and ultimately ended up doing four stripes of stitches, in varying distances from each other.

IMG_2448Rummaging through my dyed fabrics, this bright berry color popped out at me, and I thought it was be a electric complement as the binding next to the mostly neutral colored fabrics of the quilt. Last night I finished sewing the binding on, washed the quilt this morning, and it is done!

IMG_8420The front. I was somewhat surprised by the look. I have a very small house and sewing area, and hadn’t been able to see the whole quilt during the piecing phase. I was pretty much selecting colors randomly, but I think the balance and look came out nice!

IMG_8432I like the place on the quilt where the braids come together into a v.

IMG_8418I emphasized this v with the quilting, making the v connect the colors of the two different stripes to make the v.

IMG_8416The shocking berry color next to the colors of the quilt.

IMG_8441I love how it makes the other colors pop!

IMG_8440For the back, I pieced together various pieces of dyed fabrics I had. The long narrow stripe was leftover pieces from the front that were trimmed off the edges.

IMG_8438The back shows off the quilting pattern and thread colors.

IMG_8439In some ways, I think the back is almost a quilt in itself! Maybe this is a two sided quilt!

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You might remember last June we had a baby shower for my friend Kim. I posted on the paper garlands I stitched as decoration for the shower. One of our activities was also to personalize quilt squares for June, which I planned to later sew up into a quilt. This was my second of such quilts, they are so fun to make!

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I had pre-cut flannel fabric squares in various colors, and had drawn borders on each square to give folks a guide for writing and drawing their message for June within the seam limits. Kim had two baby showers, and brought her squares to both, and also distributed to various friends and families, until we had a large stack of quilt squares!

IMG_8129In May, I visited with Kim and baby June (already 8 months old!). June was a big help laying out the squares.

IMG_8131I think she loved the feel and colors of the squares. Maybe she’ll be a quilter too, like her mom and grandma!

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Kim also got to make a square, for the center, with June’s name, date of birth, time and weight.

IMG_8136There was so much love for June, the blanket quickly reached full size with just the squares. We played around with laying out of fun arrangement of random colors.

IMG_8137With both of our machines stitching, and June keeping us company, the quilt top quickly was pieced.

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That afternoon, I basted the three layers and began quilting. I opted for the walking foot, with just simple quilting around the edges of each block.

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It was such a pleasure to read each message as I quilted. The love for June absolutely shines from the quilt! The flannel fabric was hard to work with, the fabric is pretty stretchy, and my squares quickly became pretty wonky. Luckily, there was so much love and color in the quilt, my funky stitching kind of just disappeared!

IMG_2264For a binding, I chose a bright yellow, to be a bright pop of color against the pretty blues, greens and pinks that made up the majority of the quilt.

IMG_8150The backing fabric was a cute flannel pattern, of zoo animals. Doesn’t it look cute with the yellow?

IMG_8148After running it through the washing machine to erase the marker lines, the quilt got a cozy, snuggly, slightly wrinkled look. Perfect.

IMG_8146Here’s a few close-ups of the cute and heartfelt messages to June. The fabric pens did fade slightly after washing, but not too bad.

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May the quilt wrap June in all the love of this world she is going to grow up in!

IMG_8142I’m hoping the quilt gets dragged from room to room, inside and outside, made into forts, used as a table for tea parties, snuggled with at night, washed a million times, and loved until it is threadbare. I hope you enjoy it June!

 

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Last October, I began a quilt for my close friend Grace’s baby while Grace was still pregnant. She didn’t know if it was a boy or girl yet, so I picked out these sweet golden yellows and grays. Looking back now, the colors I picked closely resemble the beautiful autumn colors we had in the Owens Valley at the time! Perhaps I was channeling the color in the world around me without even realizing it.

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I chose a quilt pattern from The Practical Guide to Patchwork, that I felt would highlight the fabrics nicely in big bold squares. Since I only had these eight fat quarters, I spent a little while doing some math, to see if I had enough fabric to make a baby size quilt. And the conclusion was . . . yes!

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It was only halfway through piecing the quilt that I realized I had already made this pattern before! No wonder the pattern felt so familiar as I cut and sewed the squares. Silly me. Oh well, it is a good pattern for cute fabrics!

photo (1)The quilt top came together really quickly, I think it might have only taken one weekend if I remember right.

photo 2Then the pieced quilt top sat on the shelf for several months, as quilts-in-progress often do. Until I saw this pin on pinterest, which got my creative juices flowing. That design is one of my favorite quilting motifs; I’ve quilted it by hand on a wall hanging. I was intrigued by being able to use the walking foot to quilt the pattern, and thought that the quilted circles would complement the pieced squares well.

photo 1 (2)I lay out the pieced top on my kitchen floor, and using a cd case lid as my template, and a disappearing ink fabric pen to mark with, traced the pattern as outlined on the tutorial.

photo 2 (2)And then I began quilting. I love using a walking foot because it moves the quilt through the machine so easily. It doesn’t tire out my arms or make me sore. The first few curves were a bit wobbly, but I soon got into the swing of things, and the walking foot easily turned the gradual curves.

photo 1 (3)At first I sewed a row or two each day on my lunch break, but by the time the weekend came, there was no stopping me. Adding in a slight under-the-weather feeling and gray skies, I knew it was going to be a sewing weekend. In just a few hours on Saturday and Sunday I was able to quilt the entire baby quilt.

photo 2 (3)It was very meditative to just follow the pre-traced lines. I love how the intersecting circles come together. This might be my new favorite way to quilt baby quilts! It is decorative and quick. As I felt the momentum growing, I quickly dashed over to our local quilt shop to pick up a fabric for the binding. I always have to think ahead, in our small town the shop isn’t open on Sunday. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been stuck on Sunday in the middle of a project without the materials I need!

photo 3I picked up this super cute pink and white striped fabric. I thought the stripes would make a nice patterned touch for the edge. And Grace’s baby was born in January, a girl!, so I thought the pink would be a cute addition to make their quilt hers.

IMG_7912With the binding sewn, I popped the quilt in the wash to erase the lines, and the quilt was done!

IMG_7917I love the way the pink binding came out.

IMG_7923And I love the quilting pattern, here you can see it better on the back of the quilt.

IMG_7920The quilt is already in the mail, working it’s way to Ruby’s house. I hope it wraps her up in the warmth and love I feel for her, and I can’t wait to meet her!

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