Too sick to sew…

March 30, 2010

For the last three days, I’ve been lying in my bed, half-comatose, with a 101+ fever and several other symptoms that, for your sake and mine, I will not share here. I’ve been able to accomplish very little except watch a lot of Profiler and West Wing. Two days off of work, unable to sew! A tragedy of epic proportions. For the last hour or so, I’ve had a modicum of energy and would like to take advantage of it by sharing a recent FO with you! Behold Nana’s Quilt:

Remember that quilt top from back in February? I had big plans to do a pieced back, but I couldn’t get motivated. Making the top wasn’t one of my more pleasant quilting experiences, and I just wanted to be done with it. So I resorted to the emergency quilt-finishing plan for the second time in a month: I bought a sheet.

I highly recommend that treatment for those quilts you just don’t have the energy or motivation to back…it’s inexpensive (or at least less expensive than buying fabric, especially with a coupon!) and it forces you just to get it done. I’ve heard that sheets are tough on your machine, but I have yet to experience that.

I brought this with me to my nana’s for the weekend to finish hand-sewing my binding, which I knew was a mistake before I left my house. She loves yellow, and as I was walking out the door, I thought this would be a great gift for Mother’s Day or her birthday. But I had nothing else to work on, and I’m one of those people who absolutely has to have something to do with her hands all the time, so the quilt came with me.

She loved it so much, I had to leave it for her before I came home! I hope she is enjoying it. She is a wonderful grandmother and friend and truly deserves it.

I bound it with strips of all of the different fabrics, which I thought would give it more of a punch, but really doesn’t make much of a difference in the finished quilt. Oh, well. I know it’s there 🙂 It’s a bit more classic than I would ordinarily make, but I am so happy with how it turned out!

I hope to have another project to show you soon…in the meantime, I’m off to devote my short attention span to “Lost.”

I finished this top about a week ago, but the weather was so terrible I couldn’t take any photos of it. The minute the sun came out, I darted outside with my camera and co-opted the monkey bars for a photo shoot.

I am so happy with how this turned out. So happy. It doesn’t match my original vision at all (things rarely do), but I think it is beautiful in a different way.

It measures 80″ x 96″, to fit a full-size bed. I’m worried about quilting it…it will be so difficult on my machine, but I would really like to do it myself. In Last-Minute Patchwork and Quilted Gifts, Joelle Hoverson calls a log cabin “a labor of love,” and it really was.

I spent about a month, start to finish, on this top, which is the longest I have ever worked on any project (notwithstanding my thesis and other academic pursuits). I loved working on it, but it did get monotonous.

My favorite fabrics are the cherry blossom fabric and the two Liberty prints (Lucy’s Farm), of which I have enough to make several matching pillows!

I think it’s relatively balanced, which I think is quite an achievement in light of the fact that I have neither a design wall nor a floor space large enough to accommodate such a mammoth top. I know the brown (called Bronze by K.F.) is slightly overrepresented on one side, but I am not tearing it out…I like the way it is.

My only issue with the process was squaring up the blocks, which seemed to take an eternity.

What a wonderful sense of accomplishment!

…cleaned, backed, quilted, and bound! The lovely and talented Yahaira of bitter purl asked me about this quilt yesterday, and I felt inspired to post about it.

Fabrics: Art Gallery Revive and Kona solids (Snow and ?, ?, ?, and ?)

Backing: Teal sheet, self-bound (my favorite method)

Size: 65″ square

Quilting thread: Gutermann, peach

Started: Feb 2010

Finished: March 2010

Made while watching: LOST

Despite my serious issues with this quilt last month, I love it and I am so happy that people encouraged me to finish it. I planned to do a pieced back and sewed together 16 nine-patch blocks to do a wonky nine-patch back, but my motivation lagged because I had never been crazy about the top, and it seemed like a lot of misdirected effort. So I went to my local Bed Bath & Beyond, one of my least favorite stores (and not just because of the missing comma), and purchased a sateen sheet for the back. I went home, sprayed it with some Sulky, and began quilting.

I did develop some unsightly wrinkles along the back, and this was diagnosed by the two talented and lovely Lisas at the NEMQG meeting as improper basting (thank you, Lisa and Lisa)! Alas, my obsession with Sulky will have to come to an end as I reluctantly embrace a half-pin, half-Sulky method.

One of my favorite features of this quilt is the lone, green-centered star on the bottom right. I wasn’t sure how this would look, because I worry about symmetry, but I am so pleased with its placement.

The quilt itself was a relatively quick undertaking. I love Gwen Marston’s techniques and I live by her ethos. The book in which the wonky star pattern is featured, however, is sadly out of print.  But not to worry–there is a great tutorial at the Silly BooDilly. As a testament to the power of this quilt, I have already watched two movies under it, although my house was a toasty 74 degrees.

Dig into your stash and make your own wonky star! You’ll be glad you did.

…in a new, old incarnation!

This quilt top was kind of…a process. I bought about eight yards of fabric for it, in many shades of yellow, two black-and-white, two grays–and several Amy Butler, white-dominant, yellow and/or gray florals. I decided on 6″ squares, because some of the AB prints were large-scale and had such beautiful lines, I didn’t want to lose them in the finished quilt.

I got my fabric pile all lined up, turned it this way and that, hemmed and hawed, tried to surprise myself into looking at it in a new way by leaving the room and then returning to it quickly to make sure nothing really caught my eye in a bad way (that doesn’t work, by the way)…sewed it up into strips, tried to cover up some of the fabrics to see what happened, etc. In the end, and this wasn’t intentional because I find it kind of weird and robotic, I ended up using exclusively AB and Denyse Schmidt fabric.  I removed all of the bright yellows and the stark black-and-white, leaving only some prints from the DS Hope Valley line and the Amy Butler florals.  I even MADE several (we’re talking dozens) of squares that I ended up disliking strongly, and are now lingering in the stash. I tried it with the black, without (it looked flat and horrible)…with extra yellow, with less yellow…etc. Finally, I just sewed it together, somewhat randomly. My only intention was to have as few same-colored triangles touch as possible.

I wanted a twin-sized quilt, but I had to get rid of so many squares that it ended up being only about 60 X 65. But…I really love how it turned out:

In other news, I busted some of the fabric budget I set out for my trip to Purl on Saturday (eee!) on these two fabrics from Gorgeous Fabrics:

Daisy May cotton

This is for a new quilt I have planned, unless I think it doesn’t work, in which case it will become a dress (I bought enough to make one, just in case).

Those of you that know about my obsession with Liberty fabrics will understand my excitement over this fantastic cotton lawn at a truly amazing price:

I bought enough for a dress AND a shirt. Definitely worth spending a part of my Purl kitty!

Coin quilt complete!

January 26, 2010

There’s nobody I can convince to hold it up for me, so I had to hang it over the monkey bars on the playground in the back of my apartment complex…but you get the idea:

I really do like this quilt, though I had a bi%$h of a time quilting and binding it. I used the instructions from “Last-Minute Patchwork and Quilted Gifts” and a variety of Windham reproduction fabrics from The Quilter’s Loft in Mooresville, NC.  The book says it’s an eight- to twelve-hour project, but that remains to be seen. It did take a while, but that was perhaps the result of our efforts to tea-dye the backing fabric when it looked completely different at home than in the store. It worked pretty well, I think (thanks, Mom)!

I love the fabrics and colors, and I think it turned out quite nicely, for my very first quilt! As I said, I had some issues with the quilting and binding…somehow, the quilt ended up about 3/4″ longer on one side than the other (don’t ask, because I don’t know), so my plans for a lovely, geometric quilting pattern went out the window in favor of an error-friendly pattern…but I’m happy with it.

The binding, however, was another story!

Hello! I am a bumpy binding.

I tried a completely machine-attached binding, and I did not do a good job. I ripped it out in several places and then hand-sewed where it looked the worst, but now it looks very…homespun, you could say. Unfortunately, it’s worse on the front than the back.

That, however, did not prevent me from hanging it over the edge of my bed and admiring it every day. It IS a great pattern and [sorta] goes with my room…and before I forget, dimensions are about 60 X 65…a good size.

Happy quilting!