Thursday, November 21, 2013

Sometimes Quilts just have to "marinate"

       If you have been reading my blogs regularly you know that my least favorite thing to do is borders..I have 2 large totes of UFO's. One is pieces--ziploc bags of blocks and misc. pieces, tops with no borders. The other tote is tops and there was also the purple/green woven quilt that needed finishing. In the last week I finished quilting and put on the binding of the purple/green woven quilt, and pulled out 3 different tops that needed borders. Each of the 3 tops had pieces of the fabrics with them so I had something for the borders but no plan. I didn't finish them before because I just couldn't decide what to do with them or I didn't have the right fabrics.
I won these blocks in a class
1986 (or 87)
        These are the 3 tops I finished this week. They each have stories that go along with them and I enjoyed my trip down memory lane. The red/white/blue one is the oldest. I won these blocks in a class I took all the way back in 1986 or 87! I think I wrote about rules in quilting and mentioned a woman who thought all reds go together. Well, there were 2 more blocks and there was no way I could put them with these--they are just too orange! (They are now pockets on my quilting tote bag and look very nice!). As I was working on this one this week I could not decide which block was mine. I have several of the fabrics in my stash and I would guess it is the one with the same blue that I used for the border, but I am not positive. I was happy to see that I had a half yard of red print put aside for this because there is almost no real red in the stores. Has anyone else noticed this? Why isn't there a real red with a small white or black print on it? I love this red but it isn't available any more. I had this top put together with the stripey sash with the stars a few years ago and was stuck after that. The other day it just hit me to make the stars for the corners and now I love it.
Mystery Quilt
         The second one is one I made in a mystery quilt class. It was a disappointment. The blocks were boring and I am not really a 5 fabric kind of quilter. I only had about a 1/3 yard of the Hoffman ribbon fabric so making a border of that was out so I came up with the triangle border idea. I like it but wish I could put one more border after it but none of the fabrics is available any more so it will get a ribbon fabric binding and that is it.
My birthday quilt 1997
          The last one is the most special to me. For several years I was part of the Brown Baggers and we would do a block for birthdays. We could choose the color or style of fabrics and everyone would make a block. I love reproduction fabrics and back in 97 when this was done they were new and really big. And to top it off I had picked up a pack of Sturbridge Village fabrics on a visit to Sturbridge Village. They are the 9 patches in the sashing. I enjoyed reading everyone's messages and teared up a bit when I read Rochelle's. She was my best friend for a lot of years and she passed away a few years ago. This is the only thing with her writing on it that I have. This was unfinished for a long time because I didn't have anything to border it with so I took it to Emma's Quilt Cupboard here in Franklin and found these fabrics. I may finish this one soon because I really like it.
         Each of these projects sat around for a long time waiting for inspiration and after a long marination they are almost done!

Monday, November 18, 2013

"I Spy" fun quilts for kids

Parker's I Spy Quilt
   Every year I do what I call my "January Project". This year I decided it was a good opportunity to make a baby quilt for my first grand niece, Haylie. Her brother Parker got a crazy I-Spy quilt so I wanted hers to be an I Spy also but different and more "girlie".  I have enjoyed the X Marks the Spot block so decided to do it all pastels. So I dug into the novelty fabric box and pulled out all the pastels and pulled out all the strips of pastels and went to town.
     For Christmas I got a goodie box full of beautiful fabrics. One of them seemed perfect for this project so it will be the border. I decided it was kind of nice to have a border in mind before I started so I cut a couple strips of the border fabric and made it a "rule" to have one piece of this fabric in each block.
               If you look in the center of Parker's quilt you can see the I Spy poem to go with the quilt. I thought I would share how I do this. I use the same rhythm and style of the I Spy books and I often include a book with the quilt as a gift. After making several of these quilts I have finally come up with a pretty good way of doing this. As soon as I have finished all the blocks I go through them one at a time and make a list of everything I "spy". Just like in the books it is important to include fun adjectives and phrases to describe the objects so the list includes things like "pigs that fly" and a birdhouse might rhyme better as "a house for a bird". I match up words that rhyme that I can use at the end of the lines and then I go to work to make 4 or 5 verses listing everything. I love fabrics that have words on them so if there is a word it is included with quotes. Looking for fun fabrics with words has become my new quest lately.
       Here's an example of a verse from one of my I Spy quilts: You can see it is possible to squeeze in 13 objects in one verse!
I spy a puppy, pink elephant, and cats
A bowl of rice, pumpkins, and #1 fire hat
Paint spatters, birdhouse, 4 pigs, jelly beans
"Catch and release", apples, and M&M that's green.
     In case you are curious as to how I get the verse on the fabric, it is actually pretty easy. You can buy computer fabric or you can make your own. I make my own with white fabric which I press onto freezer paper and cut to 8 1/2" x 11". You can then just run it through the inkjet printer. After it is finished it is important to press again to heat set. Do not use steam or water in the iron because it takes a little time for the ink to set and you might ruin it. (been there done that). I have it on good authority that after it is set you can wash the quilt and it won't wash out.
      This post has been in the draft phase forever and this week I finally finished it except for the binding and the poem. I plan to finish it for Christmas.

I've been quilting, really I have!

       Wow it has been a while since I posted here. It is not because I haven't been sewing it is because I haven't finished anything worth mentioning. My daughter went off to college and I did the cliche thing--I turned her room into a sewing room! She has the big room so I set up my 6 foot table in the middle and dubbed it my "Command Center". At one end is the sewing machine, the middle is the cutting board, and the other end is my homework. I have to take the national PTCB exam and the class was a lot of work.(I better pass!). I slide back and forth on my wheelie chair and switch when I get tired of one or the other.
Some of my blocks
        I have been doing LOTS of square in a square in a square blocks. I saw a quilt of just this block on Facebook and decided it was a good scrap project. I really wish I had saved it to my Pinterest page but I never think of that.  Of course I set up my own set of rules as I do with all scrap projects. In this case my rule was there had to be at least 1 novelty print in each block. For 2 months I cut and sewed and pressed and cut and sewed and pressed until I just had to say stop. I haven't counted but I would guess there are between 200 and 300 blocks waiting to be put together. The one I saw and liked had the blocks as the center AND the border with just a solid border between. I liked it and will definitely do one that way. The rest will be put together either for a center or a border. I like having a box full of finished blocks to use to finish a scrap project.
Just a peek at the UFO
        After I put that mess to bed I pulled out a quilt that I made at least 15 years ago. It was mostly quilted but I still had to decide what to do on the last border. I did a free form quilting thing and today I went to put on the binding that I had made all those years ago. I got to the end of the 3rd side and was out of binding! HUH? What was I thinking back then? I have no more of that fabric and had to tear it off and find something else to use. I am looking forward to this one being done. I love the pattern and colors and can't wait to take a photo to share. In the process of looking for more fabric I opened the UFO boxes and wanted to cry. Holy moley there are a lot of ziploc bags and unfinished tops and unlayered tops in there! I guess I know my January projects! I need to keep my eye on the batting sales at JoAnn. Now that I have the big table I will be able to layer some of the stuff.
Hayley's quilt (almost done)
I also finished the baby quilt for my grand niece Hayley. She is already over a year old but doesn't every kid need a blankie? I just have to finish sewing down the binding. It is tough to get old. I have the hardest time seeing to hand sew. I can sorta see if I sit in front of the window on a sunny day but I don't have enough light any other time. It is very frustrating. I wear progressive lenses and the distance that I have to see to sew by hand is not one of the distances that my glasses are set for! I talked to my eye doctor and he actually made me a pair of glasses JUST for that distance which is wonderful if I am not also trying to watch tv!  As I say--it is tough getting old!
         Well, Emma is coming home Saturday for Thanksgiving week so the Command Center has to go. I have to move back into the sewing room (boo hoo). It's time to start thinking Christmas  I guess!