Thursday, December 29, 2016

Camera Quilt - A New Project For An Almost New Year

There was a plan. I was going to finish up my holiday sewing and then slow down with the quilt making for the first couple of months of the year. My sewing room is in an upstairs bonus room so I am away from the core activity of the household. I planned to sit by the fire and read and cross stitch and crochet and just relax and be more visible and available.

While this plan was being made other conversations happened and I found myself committed to five quilting projects for the upcoming year. I did not over commit at all. The first is not even on the horizon until late spring. But the seeds had been planted and I could not stop thinking about these new quilts just waiting to be born. The design for one had been set in my brain so why not pull some fabric for it?

And why not make a test block to see if the mind and the quilt were in alignment? After looking at this block for a day or two, I decided that more lens and less camera would look better, and I lengthened the rectangle on the top left just a little. I also narrowed the side and bottom borders to match the top border.

After all of that, I just had to make a few more blocks to get a better idea of how these blocks were going to look all together. The color of this quilt is supposed to come across as teal and in the beginning I was staying very true to that. It made for a boring quilt. There needed to be pops of other colors throughout to keep it interesting.

The camera lens is what brings life to these blocks. They are quite boring to me without it. At some point, I am going to have to do something about securing the lenses. They are fused on for now. I will probably zigzag or blanket stitch around them by machine. Still thinking about that.

I went back through my stash again to pull a wider range of colors. Then I grouped them. Each camera needs a body, lens, and background. I think I have about 50 fabric sets ready to go.

I am cutting them in groups, then piecing them three at a time. I can stitch together three blocks each morning before leaving for work.

As of this morning, I have 20 blocks pieced. The original plan was to do eight blocks across and ten blocks down, but I did not like eight across. Six seems better, so we will go with that for a while. Each block will finish at 10 inches x 7 1/2 inches.

What I thought was going to be a project for the spring, and one that was going to be worked on over time with a few blocks here and a few blocks there, seems to have taken on a life of its own. I'm okay with that. The new year isn't even here yet. There will be lots of time for fires and reading and relaxation, just as soon as I stitch up a few more camera blocks.

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Believe Circle December Block - Big Log Cabin Block

This month for our Believe Circle quilt, Tiffany asked for a log cabin block with a five inch center that finished at a minimum of 18 inches. I realized after finishing this that I used a cut five inches for the center, which finishes at 4 1/2 inches. She did not specify cut or finished in her instructions so I hope this will work out for what she has in mind.

This fleece print (bad picture is courtesy of me taking a picture of my computer screen) will go on the back of the quilt and is our color inspiration for the front of the quilt. I had fun going through my stash for this project.

And the sporty backing is in need of some superhero encouragement on the front, right? I was picky about centering the red boom, then I remembered that Tiffany said she was probably going to be cutting our blocks into quarter log cabins and mixing them up. There are plenty of other words that will remain intact when she does. We need fabric like this with sewing words on it. CUT! STITCH! PRESS! FINISH! Oh, I would definitely make something with fabric like that.

This block isn't quite square. It is 18 1/2" x 19 1/2". I thought about squaring it but decided to leave it to Tiffany to decide which of those outer pieces would be better to see a little less of. I'm happy to get this month's block finished so I can get back to some of my secret holiday sewing projects.

Monday, December 12, 2016

Modern Pheasant Pillow

Back in October I visited my daughter and her family for a few days. While I was there I noticed a pheasant themed calendar on the wall. I asked about it and learned that my son-in-law is a fan of pheasants. I had been hoping for some gift giving inspiration while I was there, so that was exactly the kind of thing I needed to know.

When I went looking for pheasant quilty things, I primarly found panels and hunting motifs. That is not what I wanted. I wanted a modern pheasant. There was one picture that worked nicely. I blew it up and traced all the parts.

This is not my usual kind of project but I enjoyed searching for the right colors and fabrics.

I was really nervous about fusing all these tiny parts so I laid him out carefully on top of the traced image to make sure I was happy with the shapes and placement. I also realized that I did not have a suitable background fabric. A quick online fabric order took care of that.

I ordered two different colors of Grunge fabric, a lighter and a darker. I settled on the darker fabric. If this pillow ends up on their sofa, it is a dark gray, and this choice should work better with their other decor.

I matched thread as best I could to each section of the pheasant and free motion stitched around all the parts to make sure they would stay securely on the pillow.

Then it was time for quilting. I used a layer of batting and a thin white batiste on the back. I wanted the pheasant to look like he is standing on the ground so I chose a horizon line and stitched horizontal lines for the ground. A large meander (which always makes me think of clouds) is quilted above the horizon line.

The backing is envelope style with an extra fabric added for interest. I like quilting the back of pillows, too, to give them more body. I layered all the pieces together and then bound it like a regular quilt. It was a little bit challenging to get through the thickness where the backing top and bottom overlap, but it worked out just fine.

I don't make enough pillows to be confident with the pillow form size and the pillow. I don't like them overstuffed but I don't want them too floppy either. The pillow itself is 18 inches when laid flat. I used a 16 inch pillow form to fill it. I think it works. Oh, how I have wanted to share progress with this project on Instagram, but they frequently look at Instagram, so it will have to stay right here in blog land for now.

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Orange Converse Finished Mini Quilt

An orange Converse shoe quilt. That is not something I would have expected to see on my finished quilt list. But when your teenage son has a friend who owns every color of Converse shoes, it seems like a very fitting and appropriate gift.

This is the second time I have used this pattern. It is fun to make.

When paper piecing, one of the most important things to do is to make sure that the pattern is printed at actual size. I forgot to do that this time, which meant that the finished width of the block is about an inch smaller than it should be. It's not an issue since this isn't part of a bigger project, but it was a good reminder to me to be more careful about that.

The sweet girl receiving this mini quilt plans to study music therapy in college so we had to throw in some music fabric on the back.

Oh, that teeny tiny star. Such a nail biter putting that together. As reference, those lines of quilting are a quarter inch apart.

This quilt was fun to make and will be fun to give. My sewing room has been tidied up as this was the last of my holiday obligation sewing. I am sure I will stitch up a few more gifts to give, but those will be spontaneous projects.

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

Monday, November 28, 2016

A Community Quilt - November Believe Circle Block

This month Jennifer asked us to send in a block, or blocks that represented community.

I searched and searched for a house that I wanted to stitch. Nothing was drawing me in until I saw an image that looked similar to this one. I sketched it quickly on graph paper and I'm glad I did because I was not able to find the image again. After thinking about the finished size and knowing I needed to go for something that is a multiple of three, I decided each square on the graph paper would represent 1 1/2 inches.

It was a rare quiet day at home so I took my time choosing fabric.

The cut size of each piece was calculated as I went.

Once all the parts were made, the sections were split out into "blocks" to make the assembly easier.

The block will finish at 15 inches square. The multiple dwellings appealed to me for this project. Oh, and where it looks like there is a stain on the fabric there on the left, that is just where it has not dried yet. I always use a dry iron and a spray bottle of water to press my quilt blocks. I should have waited a few more minutes before taking pictures.

I loved making this block and can't wait to see how the quilt comes together. Sending this one off in the mail today.

Friday, November 25, 2016

Bright Rectangles And Diamonds Quilt Finish

This fun quilt top was made by my mom from a kit. She did the piecing and asked me if I would finish it for her so she could give it to her great granddaughter for Christmas. Yes, of course I can.

Since there is so much color and pattern going on in these fabrics, I went with an all over free motion flower design for the quilting. In general, it just adds texture.

But on a few of the blocks the flower design stands out.

I think this is my favorite block. You can see two flowers here.

The kit came with backing and binding fabric, so it was easy to quilt and assemble. Once I decided on the quilting design, the rest of the decisions had been made for me. The quilting is done with a white 50 weight Aurifil thread.

The finished quilt is approximately 37 x 45 inches. It makes a perfect play mat or snuggle quilt for a little girl.

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

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Brighten Up Scrappy Checkerboard Quilt Finish

This is a very special finish. It is the first quilt I will give to my first grandchild. She already has one quilt that I made, but that quilt was made as a general baby quilt before I ever even knew she was on her way. Actually, this quilt is born from the scraps of a quilt I made for my sister-in-law. When I saw I had scraps, lots of scraps in bright girly prints and colors, I just knew I had to turn them into a quilt for Amelia.

The original quilt used a jelly roll of Brighten Up, a fabric collection by Me and My Sister Designs for Moda. The leftovers cut up nicely into 2 1/2 squares. Paired with white squares, this turned out extra bright and fun.

The quilting is a simple cross hatch through all the white squares. It surprised me how quickly this quilted up.

And this is the first quilt I have made with a flannel back. I love love the feel of it. It will be perfect for playing on and snuggling under.

The binding is a solid purple and was completely machine stitched into place.

This quilt finished at about 38 inches by 54 inches.

The butterflies that are the focus for this fabric collection are super sweet.

I also added some complementary solids to the mix of prints. Not to many. Just enough to give your eye a place to stop every now and then.

I can't wait to gift this quilt to the sweetest baby girl I know.

Linking up to Let's Bee Social over at Sew Fresh Quilts.

Monday, November 21, 2016

Four Blue Placemats - Interpreting A Gift Request

For Christmas, I'd like four placemats for the kitchen. Blue, please. That was the request from my mother-in-law a few weeks ago.

I had been eyeing this quilt in Kaffe Fassett's  book "Simple Shapes, Spectacular Quilts" for some time and this project would be a good one to try out a few blocks. First, I had to dig through my stash to determine where to get the best assortment of blues. For this project, the batiks had the best choices for darks and lights.

The original plan was to have two placemats with dark centers and two with light.

Then, I tried mixing up the darks and lights and liked this result much better. Since it is somewhat scrappy, using the same block layout will help the set be more cohesive. Each block will finish at twelve inches so a four inch wide strip was added to the right side of each block. The strips are four different solid blues.

Then it was time to decide on quilting thread. Of these options, I went with the small spool of Aurifil 50 weight thread. It worked best with the variety of fabrics in the placemats.

To make the placemats a little more feminine, I quilted a big flower with a spiral center on each of the main blocks.

For the solid strip on each placemat, I headed over to The Inbox Jaunt and found her Basic Leaf Tutorial to be the perfect design for filling that space.

I love seeing the thread contrast on the different blues.

The same four blues that made the side strips were used for the binding. It was another mix and match to bring unity to the project.

All different, yet all the same.

The backing for each placemat is this fun striped blue fabric. They can easily be turned over and used from the back side for a different look.

The quilting shows up nicely on the back, too.

My favorite part of this project is how it evolved. I had no idea what I would create when asked to make four blue placemats. Each step was a new discovery. And, every part of them was made from supplies I had on hand. That makes them even better.
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