Monday, February 27, 2012

March Bee a {modern} Swapper Blocks

March Bee a Modern Swapper

What?! March bee blocks in February? That's right. Ahead of the game OR really-stressed-and-on-the-road.


Heide (of Chez Zero) asked for house blocks. This was my first attempt at house blocks. First, I did some very basic sketching and math (blech).

I decided to do one modern and one traditional.

March Bee a Modern Swapper 2

I kinda wish I had made them a little smaller or daintier. But c'est la vie. I had a little wonk going on with my yellow window, but I'm choosing to see it as whimsical, rather than irksome.

Perspective, ya know.

I hope she likes them! I can't wait for our next swap/block.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

February TwitterB

Jan/Feb TwitterB

And we have come full circle. I finished up my last TwitterB blocks last weekend while I spent a precious 5 days at home in Madison. These ones are going out to Angie from Stitching by Starlight. She chose blocks from Elizabeth's Paintbox quilt, using the Fresh Tints palette from Design Seeds.

The block is a square in a square. It should be a pretty easy block. But first thing's first. The the idea of the Paintbox quilt is to pair solids and prints in a monochromatic palette. And I received a fat quarter of Kona Grapemist.

Problem - I literally had nothing that would work with this color. I have a ton of blue and no purple, but this color is somewhere right between blue and purple and the actual cotton swatch is between a bright and a pastel. So, I took one of my rare trips to an actual bricks and mortar quilt store with my fat quarter in hand. I only found one print that really worked - it is from the beautiful Good Fortune line and because Angie preferred different fabrics, I pulled out a blue from my stash that is not quite right, but I think will get lost in the quilt once it's all together and be ok (fingers crossed!).

Here's second thing... And I cannot emphasize this enough... Read.The.Directions.

And then read them again.

Don't say, 'oh, it's a square in a square with skinny and wide strips, simple.' Because, you'd be wrong. For whatever reason, Elizabeth doesn't have you cut the sides to the exact size of each piece, instead you construct the block and cut down each ring as you go. This caused me to make blocks that were an inch too big the first time.

So, I took them apart.

Then, I put them back together. But, I swapped the placement of the skinny strips and the wide strips, so the center squares weren't in the center. Blerg. The blocks give the illusion that the square is off-centered - but don't fall prey to that illusion!

So, I took them apart again.

To recap: remember to always read the directions.

And don't try to rush your bee blocks when you're under stress :)

But now the TwitterB has come to a close. I learned a lot! I had the chance to work with different fabrics and try blocks that I hadn't before. It was a great exercise to think about fabrics and colors in different ways. For instance, the first set of blocks I ever made - another Oh Fransson block - I did incorrectly; they're supposed to be scrappy, with each strip being a different fabric. Oops. But I also made some that I'm very happy with.

Let's recap the last year in TwitterB-land!

A Year in the TwitterB

I've already started on the next bee - the Bee a {modern} Swapper. It's a six month bee with honeycombs of six quilters. We trade off making blocks from our stash for a queen bee with optional swapping months involving homemade items like pincushions and hot pads. My month isn't till January, but I'm excited to be a part of this bee!

Monday, February 6, 2012

Second Verse, Same as the First

Dream On Quilt

I was so happy to have some tops finished, let's see them again!

The Dream On quilt came out of the wash at about 1pm and given to the recipient at about 2pm. I'm so annoyed that I forgot my camera and didn't get a picture of the little one and her new quilt. Oh well.

Dream On Quilting close-up

I gave the quilting a lot of thought. I was constrained by time and skill. So, I decided to do some zig-zag quilting. The shorter lines gave me a little more control and it made little diamonds between the blocks and I really like the effect.

Dream On Quilt-backing

This is my first time using a vintage sheet for the backing, but I love it! Even after the wash it had this beautiful draping and shows the simple quilting really well.

Dream On Quilt

I had to bind it by machine, which I don't like to do, mostly because I'm not very good at it and it makes my binding look bad.

Here is the Prince Charming Froggy quilt, pre-wash.

Prince Charming

I drew a large, diagonal grid with my green Crayola washables and quilted it with variegated green thread. As I mentioned before, I didn't use any batting. I spray basted the top directly to the minky and it was very easy to quilt.

Prince Charming quilting up close

I was able to quilt it and bind it in one evening.

Prince Charming quilting up close

I had to do the binding on this one on the machine as well. But in these two instances, the time factor made it worth it. It's in the wash right now and will be delivered on Wednesday!

I'm trying to decide whether to start making one of these with my Heirloom stash or whether to put my TwitterB blocks together next. Or I purchased Rita's awesome Labyrinth pattern that I could choose fabrics for. Ah choices, choices.

I also arranged a swap of my Single Girl Pattern and templates. I just decided that the rings were just a bit too big for my liking. But oneblessedmama4 wanted it and in exchange she ordered me up some Kona yardage from Fabric Shack. Hooray for swapping!

Friday, February 3, 2012

Hers and His

Dream On quilt detail

Well, I have finally gotten a couple things done.

Remember these guys?

Dream on WIP

Well, here they are in all their basted glory:

Dream On baby quilt

Yes, can you believe it? I even pin-basted! Now I remember how much I hate basting :) My folks have lots of space for basting, so that's one nice thing about staying here. 

The baby has already been born, so I even tried my hand at a little embroidery. (It now occurs to me that I haven't dotted my "i"s...)

Dream On quilt detail

For some reason (probably because it was 11pm), I switched to a double strand halfway through doing the date, so some parts look a little thicker. But I like it, anyway. I might have to figure out how to incorporate it into other quilts. I used a washable Crayola Marker to write on the fabric first and I plan to wash it before I give it to the baby tomorrow.

I didn't piece all of those little blocks. I actually sewed strips together and then cut them down to the block size. So, that accounts for some discrepancies there. But the quilt is busy enough that I don't think it matters too much. It is larger than I normally think about a baby quilt being - about 47x57, which doesn't sound that big, but for an infant it's pretty big. I'll need to remember in the future that 40" square is probably plenty big. I used 10 Dream on FQs and Kona Snow and backed it with a vintage sheet.

Vintage Sheet

I'm torn on how to quilt it. I need it to be done by tomorrow afternoon, so I'm thinking squiggly lines over the horizontal and vertical seams. If I could stipple/meander I would, but I am terrible at it. I tried a few loops on my practice sandwich by they weren't much better. I like straight line quilting, but in a time crunch, I'm not sure I can make it work out. That's how I'll be spending Friday evening!

And here is the baby quilt for a little boy who will be born soon.

Baby Boy Quilt

Notice anything wrong? I showed it to my mom and she said, "oh, I like that, it's cute" and so I set it down and thought nothing of it.  Later, when I looked again. Um... hello! I just gotta switch around that bottom row and it will be ready for basting (spraying all the way!). But I really like it. My dad suggested I leave it like that so that the frogs were looking both directions. But I put the kibosh on that.

I received the green/cream oval fabric in a swap and I really like how it works with the other fabrics and gives the quilt a little punch with all the muted blenders.

I bought a super-soft dark blue minky for the back. I made this quilt for this same friend's first son, two years ago:

Twiggy Tumbler 2010

And backed it with brown minky and no batting, so I thought I'd do something similar for baby number 2.

I can't tell you how much I love those frogs :) A half yard gave me 12 frogs - perfect for this quilt. The frog blocks were 6.5" unfinished, with a 1.5" unfinished border added. The other blocks have a 4.5" center block and 2.5" border.

Baby Boy Quilt detail

So, yes, pretty sexist with my color schemes. What can I say? Actually, I would totally give that frog quilt to a girl. My friend just happens to be having a boy :)

What's next?!