Monday, January 15, 2018

Purple Baby Heart Quilt - First 2018 Quilt Finish

This sweet quilt was not even on my list of quilty goals for the year, yet here it is. Two of my coworkers are expecting babies this Spring. One of them is having an early baby shower since a super big work deadline is approaching for her team and time for baby showers will become scarce. I don't know her that well so I asked some of her closer work buddies what she might like. Without skipping a beat, I learned that "she really likes purple". That is all I needed to know.

My purple stash is not large so I pulled all of them and sorted them into blue purples and red purples, then I asked my teen design expert which set I should use. He told me to go with the red purples as they were brighter and more fun for babies. Originally, this newsprint fabric was going to be the background but I changed my mind once I decided on a design.

As often happens, there was a quilt on Pinterest I liked. It was all half square triangles and four-patches so it would be easy to scale to a good baby quilt size. Each half square triangle finishes at four inches. There are 114 half square triangles in this quilt so there was lots of squaring up going on.

Once the squaring up job was complete, I played around with the layout for the heart. All those trimmings were loosely tied into two bundles and hung from trees in the backyard. The birds like them for nest building and they will certainly be weathered and soft by the time the birds are ready for them.

Here's the full layout of the quilt. The color placement is random and there was enough variety among the purples that hardly any rearranging was required.

This was so much fun to quilt. I think I say that about every quilt I make and it is so true. There is a cross hatch grid on the heart, straight lines to echo the purple rows, and swirls in all the white space.

I was even brave and used a lilac thread for the swirls. It shows just a little more than a matching thread would show. In fact, I ran out of the lilac thread and had to quilt the top and bottom triangles with cream thread. It is not noticeable in the finished quilt.

This quilt is made entirely from stash. The fabric for the front and back, the batting, the thread, and the binding are all stash. I was very excited about that.

I love the heart. It is a perfect welcome for a new baby.

The pieced backing was a surprise as I originally thought I had enough in one piece of fabric. I wasn't sure I was going to be able to pull it off, but I found the darker purple pieces on a late round of stash hunting.

For the first time this year, I am tracking my time in the sewing room. Sometimes, I think it is best not to know exactly how much time I am spending there or how long it takes to make a specific project, but decided it was worth the experiment for a year. So, here are the stats:

Start date: January 3, 2018
Finish date: January 15, 2018
Finished size: 40 inches x 48 inches
Time invested: 17 hours
Purchases to complete: None. All stash and all supplies were on hand.

The combination of the heart and the purple rows make me think of a heart beat, especially the ones that touch either side of the heart. I'm looking forward to gifting this quilt to a special purple loving mama.

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Neutral Stack and Slash Quilt Top

For years I have wanted to make a quilt for the master bedroom. It is always more difficult for me to decide on a design and color scheme for a quilt with a very specific purpose than for one I am making for fun (well, they are all fun to make, aren't they?!). The quilt that is on the master bedroom bed in the colder months is one that was made by my grandmother or great grandmother. It could have even been both of them as they lived together for many years of their later adult lives.

It is five fifteen inch wide columns of scraps sewn together in a seemingly random way. Some are fairly straight rectangles, some are quite wonky, and others are pieced.

I love this quilt, but it is not quite big enough for the bed. There are only four inches or so that hang down on either side. I had been thinking about replicating this quilt for a long time, and recently we started talking about painting this room. Since I really want this quilt to be timeless, I decided that the wall needed to be the focus for color and that a quilt for this room should remain neutral. That way it can live on through whatever color schemes come our way.

These pictures are a little on the yellow side as it was early morning and the sun was not all the way up yet. My family has been watching skeptically from the sidelines. One bit of advice from one of the teens... mom, don't put too much pee colored fabric in it, okay? Ha. He does have a good eye, and he was correct in his assessment. There is white, cream, gray, brown, black, taupe, and all sorts of other neutrals. There are a few pieces with other colors but not enough to take away from this truly neutral quilt.

This is the largest quilt top I have ever made and it put quite a dent in the neutral stash, and it is made entirely from stash.The amount hanging over the sides is just perfect. This quilt top is made of six fifteen inch wide strips that are around ninety inches long. The finished quilt as it is will be ninety inches square. The width is perfect.

The length may be a bit too much. I'm going to think about that and may trim it back a little. I've never had a quilt long enough to cover the pillows. I could always fold it back at the top. It would be nice to have extra covers to burrow under on a cold night.

See that rose fabric, the black and white one? That came from my grandmother. It had originally been cut out to become a blouse or jacket. I love that there are fabrics old and new in this quilt top.

I am excited about quilting this one. It will be easy to go quilting crazy so I will have to be careful not to take it too far. The original quilt has simple hand quilting. I am definitely going the machine quilting route and will likely vary the quilting design every few segments of the quilt.

I left the quilt top on the bed this morning when I left for work. I'm usually the last one home at the end of the day so we'll see what the family thinks about it now. I am happy to be making progress on this long desired quilt.

Linking up to Finish It Up Friday over at Crazy Mom Quilts.

Friday, December 29, 2017

A Quilt Specially Made For Mom

My mom wanted a quilt for Christmas. Not a quilt I had made and decided after the fact to give to her. She wanted one that was made especially for her, with thoughts of her filling every inch of fabric. It took two attempts for me to get it right. At first I thought, sure mom, I can do that. And I thought about a design I had wanted to try (the pineapple block) and how great it would be as a scrap busting quilt. So off I went, and I loved it. About four blocks in I realized I was making and loving that quilt for ME. Not for mom.

So, it was back to the drawing board. Mom likes things to match. She likes symmetrical, and she isn't super big on florals. First, I found a fabric collection that would work. This is Authentic by Sweetwater for Moda. Her sofa is gray. Her chairs are cream. One of her kitchen walls is in this family of green. The pattern is from the Moda Bake Shop. It is called Etchings Quilt, which is named for the fabric collection from the original quilt. Mom has a throw pillow in her living room with a very similar design to this quilt. With those decisiions made, I was finally on the road to making a quilt that was truly for mom.

I love how you can actually see some of the pineapple block work on the messy table in front of the design wall. It took a bit of playing to get the blocks an a pleasing arrangement without too much of any one color in any given area of the quilt.

Once the blocks were assembled, it was out to the garage to layer it up.

This is a great picture of the dueling hobbies. My husband was working on a new bed as a Christmas gift for one of the teenagers. That reclaimed wood is so beautiful.

The quilting is wavy vertical lines using my walking foot. Each finished strip is two inches wide and there are three lines of quilting in each one.

When the pineapple quilt was in play, I had ordered a few different green fabrics to use for the centers of each block. One of those went very nicely with this quilt so it became the binding.

It rarely snows here in Georgia, and it is even rarer for that to occur in December. I am often envious of my fellow quilters who capture awesome photographs of their quilts in a snowy white background. This is as good as it gets here. All that was white was completely gone in a couple of hours. At least you can see there were some pretty flakes during the brief flurry.

Here are my teenage quilt holders on our second attempt at pictures. They are such good sports about holding quilts for me.

The quilt back is this fun news print. I purchased enough so that mom's quilt and my pineapple quilt can have the same backing.

And love. We should just add that to everything we say and write.

Of course a special quilt deserves a special label so I quilted a message along the edge of the quilt.

The finished size is 72 inches by 84 inches.

I think mom likes it. She asked me to come over and help her arrange it so that it looks nice and shows some of the front and the back while draped on her sofa. We'll do that next week.

I'm happy to have learned what it meant to really make a quilt just for mom.

Linking up to Finish It Up Friday over at Crazy Mom Quilts.

Friday, December 22, 2017

Believe Circle - The Year in Review

Oh, Believe Circle, I love making quilts with you. You pull me from the depths of the projects that I want to make or the deadlines that I want to meet, and help me try new techniques and new color ways. Sometimes you keep things simple and sometimes you really shake me up. It is a pleasure to participate with this very special group of quilters. We made some great quilts this year and our finishes will continue to unfurl into the new year.

In January, I was in charge, and coming fresh out of the busy month of December, I kept it simple.

Laura asked for an X block for February. The quilt turned out great but I could only find a picture of it on Instagram. Better than no picture, right?

In March, Tiffany asked for green Monkey Wrench blocks.

Jennifer wanted a plus and cross block for April. Jennifer likes to refer us to photographs for color inspiration which I love and find especially challenging.

It was my turn again in May, I chose these blocks because individually, they reminded me of a kite with a tail.

Robin was up in June and asked for these scrap bin flying geese blocks. These are going to make a really nice quilt

Laura kept us going with more flying geese in July.

For the rest of the year, there are only blocks to share and I look forward to seeing the quilts they will become. Tiffany asked for these pretty star blocks in beachy colors for August.

The mod retro TVs were so much fun to make. This was Jennifer's request for September.

Natalie had us make pineapples in October. I really like how we moved into novelty quilts for the fall.

In November, Tiffany had us dive into our novelty fabrics to make blocks with descending applique circles.

It was back to me and back to simple for December. I chose red because I will probably be assembling and quilting this quilt in February, and that is the perfect month for making red quilts.

Almost all of our quilts are given to an organization that provides quilts to foster children. It's My Very Own Blanket, and it is wonderful that we are able to provide quilts to children who need comfort or sometimes just something that belongs to them and stays with them no matter where they are.

A special thank you to Rachel Hauser from Stitched in Color who is the originator of do. Good Stitches {A Charity Bee}. She oversees eighteen circles of quilt making friends who support a wide range of charities with  their quilt donations.
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