Monday, August 31, 2009

Roman Stripez

I just got back from putting baby quilt #2 in the mail and thought I would share some photos as it makes its way to its intended recipient. Here’s the finished quilt (sorry, the light was not good last night):

I showed the quilt a couple of weeks ago sans outer borders. If you’re a very careful observer, you might notice that the blocks that make up the border do not continue the same directional alternation as the blocks within the quilt. In the pattern, those exterior blocks were all cut and designed to continue the alternation, but the book did not instruct you to lay the interior part of the quilt out beginning with a certain orientation so that the pattern would continue into the border. Of course I started it out with the wrong orientation, and at the point I realized there was a problem (after I had pieced all of the exterior blocks and sewn them together in rows), I really didn’t see the point of going back to change it or cutting and sewing new blocks for the borders. I don’t honestly think it distracts that much, but had I known in advance, I would certainly have laid it out so that the pattern could continue.

I quilted the quilt with large swirls and the occasional star using a red-orange-yellow variegated thread which I think worked really well. However, I do wish that the variegation had been irregular rather than at regular lengths throughout the spool. It just would have been a nicer overall effect, in my opinion. Something to think about the next time I purchase threads!

It just keeps going, and going, and going...

A blog post about the Energizer bunny?

What’s that got to do with quilting?? Well, nothing, but I think the tag line is appropriate for Aurifil thread as well. You see, I piece pretty much exclusively with Aurifil thread. And every time I put on a new spool, I worry that I’m going to run out soon and usually pick up another spool or two of thread right away. But over time, I've come to realize that the thread always lasts longer than I think it will. So, the last time that I put on a spool of Aurifil thread, I marked down the date and all of the projects that I’ve pieced using the spool since that time.

So… drumroll, please. That spool of Aurifil thread lasted me from January 27 until last Thursday, August 27. Seven months!! My first thought is that I have not done nearly enough sewing in that time. And it may be the case that I’ll never have as much time to sew as I wish, but the list of projects pieced with that spool is pretty impressive:

Sometimes my jaw drops when I pay the $10-11 per spool of thread. But when you divide that by 7 months or 12 projects, we’re really only talking about the $1 range per project for thread, which honestly isn’t all that bad at all!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Baby Quilt #3

Here's a preview of baby quilt #3, a current work in progress. I've got all of the alternating blocks sewn and started laying it out on the floor. Should go together quickly; I've just got to stay motivated!! Nice to work on something with more "girly" colors and fun florals.

The pattern's from the Me & My Sister Designs booklet Crazy for Baby for Leisure Arts, and fabrics are from their Clementine line. Hopefully I can pick up some thread on Saturday and have this quilted by the end of the weekend!

(In case you're wondering, baby quilt #2 just needs a label; hopefully I can post about it tomorrow.)

Monday, August 10, 2009

Roman Stripez

Seeing as I won't be working on any quilts for around a week (Austin, here I come for the SAA Annual Meeting!), I thought I'd post pictures of progress I made on another baby quilt. Most of this was sewn several weeks ago and then set aside in the race to finish Grant's quilt and in all of the overtime I had to put in at work.

I made the mistake of putting away all of my bright fabrics thinking I'd cut the entire quilt, but I need to go back to cut pieces for a pieced border to go all around. I'm sure it'll go together quickly once I get a bit of time to work on it.

The pattern is Roman Stripez from Jan Mullen's book Cut-Loose Quilts. It's an older book (2001) and my copy is autographed because I had the pleasure of taking a class with Jan at IQF Houston about 5 years ago, I think. While I love Jan's patterns (and her accent!), I find the book a bit frustrating in that finished block sizes weren't provided so that I could check my work as I went along. But making the blocks all wonky - simply stacking, slicing, stitching and sewing - is quite freeing.

Time to go see if there are any quilt shops in Austin that I should check out.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Thistlepod Update

Today was the third session of my Thistlepod class at Patched Works. Given the heat here in Milwaukee, it was a good day to stay indoors and quilt. I'd missed the last class, so feared I'd be a bit behind, and I suppose I was a bit, but then Mary had told me that the only homework was what was listed on the sheet and I had done all that, plus a bit more. But several people were apparently overachievers. Oh well...

It's very nice to actually begin to sew together some of the units. I still have plenty of paper piecing to do - don't get the impression that I am ANYWHERE close to being finished with this quilt - but it was a nice break from the paper piecing to sew together some of the units. Here's what I sewed today, which will be one of the corners of the quilt:

And a close-up of the same (if you look closely, you can see I haven't sewn the long horizontal seam yet)

It's a bit slow going because loads of pinning is required, but it's so nice to see it begin to come together. I'm definitely liking the quilt (this one's for me!) and figure I still have plenty of time to finish it to enter in the guild's show next March.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Grant Matthew

We took a long weekend trip to Ohio to meet our new nephew, Grant Matthew, who was born on July 26. Isn't he a cutie?

I finished tacking down the binding on Grant's baby quilt on the drive out (the truth comes out). Big brother Alex clearly ached to open the package and was the helpful big brother in showing it to Grant, laying it out on the floor, and identifying all of the animals for us.

I really liked how the quilt came together in the end. I won't be rushing out to add loads of machine applique patterns to my to-do list, but I did improve with this quilt, for certain! I meandered around all of the animals with a light blue thread and then went back and meandered over each of the animals with a clear thread. I'd considered using the blue thread over everything, but am happy that I chose not to do so at Ben's urging (he'd actually suggested not quilting them at all, but it became obvious that was necessary, which was what I suspected to begin with).

Compared to the baby quilt I made Alex, this one is ginormous; hopefully Alex doesn't develop a complex over it. I'm certain it's going to get lots of love. Here's Tina, Alex and Grant with the quilt shortly after opening it.

And just two more photos (taken on Route 15 between Bryan and Defiance), because only in Ohio...