Friday, April 30, 2010

The Stitchin' Bee - April Block

I finally got my April blocks for this quilting bee finished! This was hard to do, at first, just because I didn't really know where to start. Kelly, our queen bee for the month, sent us a whole bunch of bright colored fabrics and one piece featuring a comic strip. She is calling this her "Dysfunctional Family Quilt" which will be used as a beach quilt since her family frequents the very nearby beach in Florida. Our directions were that we could design any kind of block we wanted, as long as the comic was visible. And boy, are some of the ladies talented. you can check out the Flickr page for the group to see what some of them came up with. Talk about pressure to perform!

Anyhow, I had started off designing a block, which needed to be 12.5" x 12.5", made of four smaller 6.5" square blocks. This took me while to design, and account for seam allowances and imagine how it was all going to work. Then I made some prototype blocks so that I wouldn't mess up on the fabric Kelly gave me since that was the only material I had. Once satisfied, I made the blocks that did not have the comic strip. With those blocks in hand, I imagined how it would look with the final block and just wasn't feeling it. I think it would have been too crazy and too much going on. Since I didn't want to cut up the other blocks, I tried to think of what I could do with the remaining fabric, and some pieces from my own stash. This is what I came up with.

"Thanks babe, Mother'll never taste the arsenic!'

I made the square, by bordering the white/lavender dot fabric with the dark purple. The mini-pieced border is made of a strip of (unfinished) 1.5" squares and (unfinished) 0.75" squares, in the order of 1.5, 0.75, 0.75, repeat. Then another bigger dark purple border, finally outlined by 3" triangle squares pieced together. Finally, I appliqued the comic to the center of it. It's a bit wonky. I don't think I have ever done such fussy cutting and sewing ever before. I was definitely out of my comfort zone. But I am pretty proud of it. When I showed it to Ryan, he was definitely impressed that I came up with that. His reaction was really quite sweet actually. Anyhow, this was very challenging for me, but also very fun and I have already learned a lot! I am looking forward to Lisa's month next and what her assignment is.

Since I didn't cut up the other blocks, I sent them along as well since Kelly can still use them maybe somewhere in her quilt. There was one fabric that had brightly colored circles (reminded me of beach balls) about the size of 50 cent pieces. I cut some of the full circles out and appliqued them to the center of each of these "beach ball blocks".

These are 6.5" square blocks. These pics were snapped post applique- so some of the blocks still have indentions from my little quilting ring. I was too lazy and tired to get out the iron, fire it up and iron them out, when they were going to be folded up and put in a baggie for the mail. sorry.

This has been an adventure and I am looking forward to the next one.

This week has been crazy and I am exhausted. My weekend plans? sleep. Hope you are doing something more exciting!!

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Myla's Quilt

It's done. The quilt for my future-niece. Whew. I don't know why this took me so long, because nothing about this was hard to do. Well nothing except resigning myself to the fact that with 160 little squares, I am not going to have perfect seams and some are going to be a little bit off and that's the beauty and love of homemade, handmade treasures. I showed a sneak peek of the quilt top a while ago, then it was time for making the quilt sandwich and doing the quilting, which was done by machine. I pinned the three layers, every other square, to keep everything together, taut and in order. Baby was very helpful throughout the entire process, like playing with strings, attacking my foot when I pressed down on the sewing machine pedal, jumping up onto my workspace to make sure I was doing everything correctly, chewing on quilt pins and especially testing out quilt softness and snuggleness. He was my quality control.

It's my little helper! (being a good helper)

Here is the "finished" quilt, complete with binding. The binding is a sweet pink gingham. Oh man, I hand-sewed the binding to it and could not wait to get it finished. Those (like Lisa) who do hand-quilting are very loving and brave souls. My fingers, even though I had a thimble, were definitely feeling it. Even more so, was my patience. The thing is, the fabrics for this quilt are not pre-washed, because you want them to shrink and get all crinkly when it's done. This also covers up all those little imperfections I was being so picky over. All I wanted to do was throw this baby in the washer and hot dryer to observe the magic. So you can imagine how I was was feeling as I was stitching on that binding, one stitch at a time, by hand. BUT, when I did finally finish and it came time to put it in the wash, boy was that the moment of truth. All I had running in my head was, "are you sure you want to put this in there? Are you positive it's not going to fall apart, and that you did everything right?" I know, it's ridiculous. It was definitely a trust-your-skills moment. But I am so glad I did. Because what came out was absolutely lovely, and I was all smiles over it.

The pattern called for a muslin backing, but I opted for some snuggle flannel. I figured it would be a little bit warmer for those chilly Oklahoma winter nights. It's white with baby blue flowers.

This was taken kind of late in the afternoon's fading light, with flash.

The truly finished quilt! The bluebonnets here are blooming like crazy. I don't know how I have lived here almost five years and haven't had any pictures of the blue bonnets until now. I love them. Every time I drive on the freeway, or are going somewhere with Ryan and see a patch of them I go, "Oh, look at the blue bonnets!" every. time. I think he thinks I must be crazy, and may very well be tired of looking at them himself. But I don't care. They make me happy. All flowers do really. It is just breathtaking when you see whole fields and embankments covered in them.

picnic style among the bluebonnets. . . lightly laid it on top since i I didn't want to smoosh them.

The quilt wasn't finished-finished until I made her name patch with birthdate, since this is her baby quilt after all! I made her name in pretty rose pink floss, following a trace of her name onto cream-colored cotton. I used a pretty Word font to write her name. Then I made an oval (or as best I could) and bordered it with light blue, light coral and finally chocolate floss in a running stitch, and appliqued the patch using the pin-turning method.

Myla Denise
12. 5. 2009

Momma bird loves Baby bird

There was a little hole, where one of the seams came apart. So I made a little patch to cover it up. I think it's really cute. One of the prints, Alexander Henry, that I used in the quilt has the little birds in it, so I traced their outline onto the cream fabric and embroidered them with various colors and stitches to decorate them. This way, they still "match" the blanket.
Even thought there are so many cute and pretty fabrics in this project, I think my favorite print in the whole thing is that sweetly dainty white one with the pink flowers in it, just to the above right of the bird patch. I really wish I had gotten more of it. I want to say it's "le Fleur Prairie House" or something like that. But when I first saw it, I remember having distinct images of Laura Ingalls and her sisters running through the prairie grass on their many adventures. Those were easily some of my most favorite books growing up.

The quilt is in the mail and on it's way to be delivered to Jenny tomorrow. I am so proud of this one!