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.

Thursday, December 21, 2017

Read Tote Bag - A Collaborative Project

Years ago (gosh, I can't believe it really has been years!), when my daughter lived at home, she would piddle with sewing and quilting from time to time. A few months ago when I cleaned out the sewing room, I found her box of fabric and projects.

There was this page of ideas.

And this piece as a beginning. Hers actually stopped with six yellow "books", I added the two on the right. Since I was certain she had long forgotten about this project, I decided to finish it for her Christmas gift.

I love those elephants. They had to find their way into this project.

I did not want to leave the other side of the tote blank so I found some letters and made an applique monogram.

My favorite part of this project was the quilting. From a distance, all the yellow rectangles look more like a cityscape to me, so I quilted the word "Read" to help them become the book spines they were intended to be.

The rest of the background is filled with flowers. The books are stitched near the ditch with a dark gray thread.

The letters are stitched down and outlined with a circle using matching yellow thread.

Then more fun flowers quilted all over the background.

I love the proportion of the monogram. It is just enough to keep this side of the tote from being boring.

The inside is lined with a green fabric pulled because of those cute elephants, which also had to be added as a pocket. The handle is some scraps sewn to a belting/handle base.

I put her original drawing in the bag with some other goodies before gifting it to her. She already has it as we got together a week ago since we won't be together for Christmas. She loved receiving it just as much as I loved making it.

Projects that connect us in a special way with people and events are the ones I enjoy the most.

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

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Magic Parade Letter A Hexie Pillow

As much as this quilting grandma wants to make a quilt for every occasion there ever is for her granddaughter, I think that eventually said granddaughter might not need quite that many quilts. So, I was on a mission to create something else. This project magically evolved and became a very special gift for my granddaughter.

The first piece of magic occurred when I needed just a few more dollars in my online shopping cart to receive free shipping. I selected a mini charm pack of Big Sky, a Moda collection by Annie Brady. Mini charm packs are perfect for sampling a fabric collection and I really loved both the color and design of this collection. Since I had no plan for these, and had been looking for some sort of hexie project, that is what I did with these.

The second piece of magic happened when I won fabric from Pink Door Fabrics as part of the Blogger's Quilt Festival. There was one piece that was perfect for Amelia as her first birthday party was unicorn themed. It was the double border print for Magical Parade by Sarah Jane for Michael Miller. The colors worked very nicely with the Big Sky collection.

As the stack of hexie's grew, I spent time arranging and rearranging, with no idea what they would become. Then, while shuffling them around on a visit to my mom's house, I thought, hey, I wonder if I could make a letter A with these?

That is when the idea to turn them into a big pillow occurred. I wasn't sure of the best technique to set and quilt hexies onto a quilt top, but I knew that I did not want to hand sew them together. I tried pinning them to the background fabric but could not get them to line up consistently. I tried spray basting them, but that was not strong enough to hold them. Finally, I did hand stitch them together, but only with very wide stitches. I also spray basted them to the background fabric and added a few pins around the perimeter. Then I quilted straight lines from point to point in all directions on the hexies. I'm sure there are better techniques for this but it got the job done.

Once the hexies were in place, it was time for some quilting fun on the rest of the project. There is small stippling around each of the parade characters which makes them stand out and look more dimensional. The characters on this fabric ended up being Amelia's favorite part of the pillow. She kept pointing to and touching all the faces. The rest of the background is quilted with whimsical swirls. The gray border on the bottom was added simply to make sure the parade did not disappear at the very bottom edge of the pillow.

The binding is a rich gold solid that picks up all the accents in both the hexies and the parade. From the crown to the lettering on the flag, to the stars on the wizard's costume, touches of gold are everywhere.

The pillow is made in an envelope style so that the form can be taken in and out easily and the cover can be washed as often as needed. While there is less quilting on the pillow back, the design is just as much fun as the pillow front.

As you would expect from any young child, she enjoyed the large gift bag this was delivered in as much or more than the pillow itself. The pillow form is 26 inches square. My hope is this pillow will see itself through many hours of book reading, movie watching, and cuddling.

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