Thursday, April 30, 2009

I made a hat! (and a few small squares)

Today was the big medieval festival for my 6th grader. Across all their classes they have been working and this was the big finale. Each child did an oral report on a medieval person, costume and all. Caleb's dude, King Louis XI, wears an interesting cloak and hat. I couldn't find a pattern, so I modified McCall's 4805 to get something close to the drawing we found.

You would not believe how nice it is to wear. Too bad it isn't in style right now. I have worked with wool felt for crafts before, this is the first time I did more than hand-stitch with it. How wonderful it was to work with!

In the afternoon, everybody got to feast on pie - without forks - served by parents. Caleb was aghast that I helped and was wearing my own costume. As your typical 12yr old boy, Caleb wanted nothing to do with a picture with me, so here's one of my dress from trick-or-treating. (Becket was the knight, protecting me) That's a muslin under dress, corset, and top skirt. It is so comfortable I could wear it 24/7, and considering how much time I put into it I'm tempted! I made it for last Halloween, but love Tolkien, medieval, and Nordic stuff so this was just fun to do.

I did finally have time to start cutting for my first 9-patch-along blocks.

NPR has a podcast I enjoy called called Planet Money, and an economic researcher said they 'scientifically' label people as tightwads - they have a real, physical pain associated with spending money. I seriously had to take a deep breath cutting my gnomes and hedgehogs. I seem to be a fabric tightwad.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Fibonacci Done!

Not only did I spring to finish with this, but I designed it and chose the fabrics myself - and I love the way it turned out!

The back. My first try at applique. I used this awesome Jiffy-Pop method.

I'm so excited, I have to share some details behind how I came up with this quilt. First, I love MATH. In college my favorite course was differential equations, and before kids I was a mechanical enigeer. So my pattern plans look like my old homework!

Now, indulge me just a tiny bit of math talk. I have been knitting for the past severl yars and was always pleased with bags and sweaters I created using Fibonacci numbers and decided to give them a whirl in a quilt. In short, Fibonacci numbers are a series of numbers where the previous two add together to make the next: 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21, 34, 55....

Beyond the math geek, why in the world would anyone knit and quilt with these things, you ask?! Because they are very organic and naturally pleasing when you use numbers that are next to each other. Here's an example from nature I found in a Wikipedia photo - florets in the center of sunflowers are often fibonacci numbers 34 and 55. See how pretty!

So while I have a hard time knowing how to create pretty designs, I do know I enjoy the math. And I hope the numbers can help lead me to some elegant and organic quilts.

Now you may want to head over to A La Mode and enter her moving-destash give away for some new fabric for your own creations!

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

New Crayon Syndrome

I have ALWAYS had new crayon syndrome. You know, you have the new box of wonderful, perfectly pointed new crayolas. They are lined up so pretty in the box - and there is nothing better than coloring with a brand new crayon.

BUT it is almost impossible for me to make that first swipe! Then it won't be new. And I may run out of my favorite crayon colors (cerulean and cornflower blue).
That is how I feel about much of my fabric. As much as I love to see it all folded and lined in their stash boxes, I'm starting to think perhaps I would enjoy them more if I just {ack} USED them.

And so, to that end, I decided to participate in AmandaJean's new quilt along. I've only been quilting for a few months, so I don't have too many scraps yet. But since each 9-patch only uses 2.5" squares, I feel I could safely cut up a bunch of new pieces and actually use my fabric (without actually using it up of course!)

I think I'll be able to do all this cutting without too much trauma. Certainly not as much as making my first knitting steek!

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Mod Sampler Quilt Along

I am quite proud of my Mod quilt! You've seen them at the top there, and in another post already. I really wanted to get some better outside pictures of the whole thing, but it is either pouring rain or gale winds every day. That's the front...and back.

I like the back as much as the front. That is 'Fresh' by Moda.

My favorite block - with those pretty butterflies.

As my husband said - I was afraid it was just going to be a big, bright mess, but it looks pretty good. This was my largest quilt so far, as well as my first quilt along. Elizabeth of Oh, Fransson! did an amazing step-by-step job of every aspect from color theory to finishing. I know how to sew, but have learned everything about quilting online. This would be a great place for a new quilter to start. Besides all the wonderful color theory, I learned the most regarding keeping blocks even and square.
Although her piecing accuracy speaks wonderfully to the Engineer in me, I found I AM NOT a perfect 1/4" stitcher. I set the machine and foot for 1/4", follow the edge nicely, measure- yep 1/4", press open then.....I'm off overall by at least 1/8"! Drove me nuts! I ended up hitting the needle position one more over and things were a bit better. Sometimes I'm right on, over, or under. That worries me a bit because I am looking forward to making something special for my Mom with the Aviary honeybun I won, and it looks like accurate piecing will be necessary.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Pretty Things

I can't stand it - I pulled out some things for new projects. I may just look at them - I may start them. I SHOULD be sewing down binding on two others.

First some Aviary for my mom. I won an Aviary honeybun, charm pack, and turnover among other fun stuff before Christmas from Moda...Home...Mom. I wrote a song about Moda to the Christmas tune of 'I Want a Hippopotamus for Christmas'. Super fun! I bought a few yard cuts and will use the honeybun to make a Fig Tree pattern. I'm still looking for good ways to use the turnover, so let me know if you have a suggestion.

Then I pulled out some green linen and my stash of pinks thinking about a pinwheel quilt.

On another note, I found this cute little guy in the dollar bin at Target! Reminds me of the Heather Ross fabric I love but can't find. Hopefully it will bring me good luck.

Coin Top Done

close 2, originally uploaded by banquopack.

I finished my coin top last night. I really love Moda's Neptune line and used 3 charm packs. The sashing is white linen. I thought it would give a nice beachy/summery texture.

I plan on piecing six squares for the back that will feature my favorite charms. But I goofed and didn't get enough white linen for the whole back, so I may throw in some sand-colored oxford cloth from the stash. I can't wait to see what this looks like all quilted and crinkly, but I have to sidetrack to Medieval costume making for my 6th grader's big speech next week.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Yep - The Deep End

FedEx made a stop this morning.

I ordered it online from JoAnn's. With the 50% coupon, adding in the tax and shipping, the per-yard cost was still over $1 less than buying in-store at the sale price. I couldn't resist. I also justified that I would waste much less than estimating 2-3 quilts worth at a time, resulting in lots of small bits.

Now I just have to clear out a spot in the closet to store this thing!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Wonky Pillow - Spring to Finish #1

I was inspired to make use of two practice wonky blocks I made and quilted a couple of months ago. They were my first try at free motion quilting before attacking a whole quilt. Two blocks, a zipper, and an Ikea bed pillow make for a nice lovey for Becket (especially since he picked out the fabrics).

I added the zipper so I could easily wash it, since boys are prone to making messes. I used this great tutorial. Half way through I thought there was no way it would work, but trust the process and by the end you have covered zipper magic! Here is the edge on the back where I put it - you can hardly see it there in the middle of the green.

I really wanted a cute picture of Becket with his pillow, but all I could get was a blur as he dropped it and ran!

Sunday, April 19, 2009


I have a few quilts in need of finishing, so I am trying to "Spring to Finish" with everybody else. I was motivated to sandwich and quilt one of my favorites on Sunday afternoon.

Unfortunately, I have a good sample of

What not to do....

I got all the way to the end and was celebrating cutting that final thread when I noticed my huge, novice mistake. The edge had caught and folded over on the back along a portion of one side.

I'll be spending some quality time with my seam ripper to pick out that area. And then I'll try to lock the remaining loose ends and fill in a bit. Major bummer!

How Many Quilts?

My mom's friend sent this along for me when she found out I was newly obsessed with quilting. I absolutely love it and think it perfectly sums up all the amazing creations I'm finding through the Bloggers Quilt Festival.

How many Quilts?

After having been asked how many quilts I've made, who I'm making this one for, or that one for, or why, and how many quilts do I think I need .....
I came to the following conclusion:

I am a creator, an artist, just as much as a painter is ...
Does anyone ask a painter who he is painting for or why he is painting yet another landscape? How many pictures/portraits has he painted?
How many canvases or paintings does he need? NO!

Does a painter stop wanting to paint because he has reached some number that symbolizes the end of his need to paint? "Okay, that's #100, I'm done now ..."

I create because I am driven to create.
My medium just happens to be fabric and thread, instead of oil or acrylics on canvas ...
but I create for the same reason ...
to express myself, to share myself, to experiment ...

Even if the quilt doesn't have a purpose, a recipient, a reason.

Quilting is my voice.

I Quilt, therefore I am!

Author Unknown

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Quilt Festival!

I've been away for quite some time. I looked over at the sidebar and was amazed that it has been three years! What better time to jump back in than with my new obsession - quilting...and an entry for this fun Bloggers Quilt Festival.

I'm generally a crafty person and am always finding new things that I just have to make myself. Ooooh, shiny .... Sewing has been in and out since 6th grade HomeEc class. But after my older machine died mid-Halloween costume I learned how wonderful a fancy new machine could be and dove back into the deep end. Nice, even stitches - what an idea!

With the help of flicker and blogs that linked to more blogs I have discovered the world of modern quilting. And boy do I love it. My husband would attest to that love by way of many fabric-filled bins in my dining/sewing room.

I thought I would start small and easy for my first attempt and found Oh, Fransson's pattern for Simple Modern Baby Quilts. So my festival entry and favorite quilt is my 1st quilt.

I am very happy with how it turned out!

I do not consider myself very good at making choices when putting multiple different colors/patterns together, so I thought I would start like the design-show people do.

This was one of my favorite fabrics from the Amelia line. I decided to use the colors from each of the leaves, thinking it would look great as a whole quilt. That blue solid is a linen, and I just love the texture it gives.

Between the wonderful pattern and the video Amanda Jean of Crazy Mom Quilts has, I wanted to try free motion quilting. I think it gives a depth and richness to the finished piece. Once I got going, I think it was almost my favorite part of the whole process.

From start to finish, this was a ton of fun! It has certainly kick-started my quilting obsession. I now have a hard drive full of inspiration pieces - a dining room full of fabric - and a family full of quilt-less people.

Lucky me.