Thursday, August 21, 2014

One of my favorites!

I don't do a lot of pre-printed panels.  I strongly believe that when I am giving a baby quilt to someone I care about, the amount of time spent has value and sends a message.  BUT, I love this panel.  When I saw it years ago, I bought three of them and companion border fabric.  It is called the Hungry Animal Alphabet and it is more for the parents that the child.  If you've seen it, you know what I mean.
How can you not fall in love with this Hippo seated on a Hassock wearing a Housedress of Hibiscus while she uses her Hankie in preparation for her Hamburger and Honey as her Hen watches. You have to love the furnishings -- the Hat and Hat tree against the Herringbone wallpaper and the Heart cut out of the table. But I know I've missed stuff so what do you see and what on earth is the lamp -- I'm used to those being oil lamps and cannot figure that one out. Help. It's making me nuts!
And what about this one?  Aren't the Checked Cafe Curtains clever?
Honestly, I love them all and could have showed each of them to you!
But, you see what I mean about this being more for parents than the baby.  In this case, this goes to my one-and-only great nephew,  Special K.  Love him to death and he may be the happiest baby on the earth.  Such a joy!

I'm also lucky enough to have a fourth panel that was gifted to me by a special friend, logcabinquilting, when she was cleaning out her stash.  More on that at a later date. I'm still trying to understand it.

So, here's your test -- what do you see in this block?
I hope you are finding time to create for people you love!

Jan



Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Yet again...

I really should count how many times I have used this pattern in baby quilts and lap quilts. It is my "go to" when I want something quick and a little on the less traditional side.
It is from Kim Schaeffer's "Cozy Modern Quilts" book and I have a love-hate relationship with her patterns as some of you know. Her designs appeal to me and I have made a lot of them. Her instructions are a little sparse. The only reason I mention this in almost every post where I have used one of her patterns is to caution anyone buying the book (which I recommend) to read through and make sure they understand the cutting instructions for every component before they start.

This particular quilt is heading to Texas to a young woman who will be delivering her first child in a few months. Married a little over a year, her husband was deployed to Afghanistan and she promptly found out she was pregnant, alone on a base in Texas, family in South Carolina, and not sure her husband would be home in time for the delivery. As it turns out, he is home and will be there for the blessed event!  Love happy endings.
I just stippled it as it's hopefully going to get lots of use and lots of washing. These blocks lend themselves to some fun quilting - but I would never do that for a baby quilt. They need to be much more utilitarian!

I hope you are working on something that makes you happy and enjoying the pleasure of marking one more thing off your quilting "to do" list!

Jan

PS -- these pix are dreadful.  I must have had a yellow filter on!

Friday, July 18, 2014

Learning can hurt

Learning can definitely hurt.  Your feelings!  Your confidence!  Your sense of creativity!  But it can make you grow....and this quilt has helped me grow in lots of ways.  Although there has been plenty of pain!

I'm so lucky to have mom22smartchix wanting to "invest" in my longarm improvement.  She kindly donated this homespun quilt top for me to "play" on and I decided that I would use each block as a "sampler" of stitches.   That seemed reasonable at first.  And a great "resource".  And it is.  But it hurts.
I chose to use 30wt thread -- which is HEAVY and shows every little glitch.  Basically, it's the thread that is used to topstitch jeans to give you an idea of what quilting with it was like.  I had just heard Angela Walters (who I deeply admire as a longarm expert) say that she didn't rip out stitches if things weren't perfect.  I chose that philosophy on this quilt.  Otherwise, I would have ripped out more than I put in.  Plus, ripping out stitches on solid homespuns is never a good idea.
I learned a lot.  I learned there are some fillers that I can do and want to do again. 
I learned there are some fillers that I am not ready to put on a quilt that I plan to give as a gift.
I learned that I don't know as many fillers as I thought I did.  But I made a few up.
I learned that skinny rectangles don't lend themselves to some stitches.
I learned that I should have been burying my stitches rather than backstitching.  They look like little nests.
But I learned!  And it was humbling.  And it was painful.  And it helped me grow as a longarmer.  

I hope you are learning (even if it creates a little "pain")!!!!

Jan


Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Sharing is Caring

While I absolutely agree with this sentiment, I suspect we have all had a child use it to their advantage when we had something they want.  The fun part of that is turning the table on occasion.

But, I've had a chance to share Lola with one of the most important people in my life:  my-niece-the-quilter.
I actually love this quilt -- not necessarily for the fabric choices -- but for what it represents. She has a friend who will be moving to Pennsylvania in the next month or so and wanted to make a quilt from the group of friends. So -- everyone (including kids) were instructed to pick out a FQ of a fabric that had some meaning for them with the departing couple. That is brave -- these are not quilters and one never knows what they will get.

She got hippos that "may" represent when they were pregnant together. She got the logo of a pie restaurant where the two guys were on a first name basis. She got turkeys because two families always spent Thanksgiving Day together. She got pumpkins because they met in a pumpkin patch. She got Harry Potter because one of the children adores it. She got cowboy boots because they bought the first pair of cowboy boots for one of the kids. She used fabric for the border that was the same fabric she had made luncheon napkins for a maternity shower. What a conglomeration. The upside was that most of the fabric were Spoonflower and not cheap see-through material!

I think this is the perfect pattern (don't know the name) for so much variation and the use of Kona gray sashing to help tie everything together -- along with a black inner border -- resulted in a special special quilt.
Add to that, my-niece-the-quilter had only longarmed one quilt years ago. She chose to stipple and did a great job. Learning to stipple and keep it even is not easy but she did it.  

I am so proud of her and love the finished product!

I hope you are getting to share your love of quilting with someone you love!

Jan

Monday, June 16, 2014

Quilt Math – an anomaly


Is it me or are there times when “quilt math” is inconsistent?

When I am making 76 blocks for a quilt and I get to #38, I am on the home stretch.  If I’m making 120 four-patches and hit #60, it’s a piece of cake!  I’m currently working on 7.5” log cabin blocks and have to make 64.  I completed #20 yesterday and felt like I am on a roll and this is going to be done in no time.

And then, there is this quilt.  I love it.  But this is block #8 of 16 total large blocks and I am overwhelmed at the amount of work that lies ahead to finish all the applique.  What gives?  Seriously, I feel like I just got started and many of you know this journey started in January, 2011 with a false start on a black background block and I couldn’t stand the lint and show through.  So that block will someday be a practice piece for quilting and become a linty pillow.

I was sure that halfway would motivate me to keep stitching.  As it is, I think I’ll give my fingers a rest and watch the World Cup, do a little long arming, and make log cabins. Maybe when I hit #9 I’ll be “on a roll”!

I hope your quilt math is working out and you are motivated to finish projects you love!


Jan

Sunday, June 8, 2014

And then there were 7

....but that means there are 9 more to go.  This is like the never-ending-story!

I hope you are finishing up a project you love -- or still in love with a project that never ends!

Jan

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Done…and done!

Well, it's done -- and I mean really done.  I had thought I would add some borders out of the neutral sashing fabric but when I auditioned them, they didn't do a thing for it.  They only made it bigger and didn't seem to frame it like I saw it in my head.  So, surprisingly, this lap quilt is finished and ready to be quilted.
Because I chose to go with sashing that finishes at 1/2", I actually lost about 7" across the width of the quilt (compared to sashing that finishes the same size as the blocks -- 3/4").  Don't ask me how I could even think that a 3/4" sashing looked clunky -- but I did.  I made two sample blocks and left them on my design wall for about a week.  Every time I looked at the one with 3/4" sashing, I didn't like it as well as the one with smaller strips controlling the little 4-patches.  Seriously.  It makes no sense to me, either.
I originally thought I would count the pieces in this top and then I thought again.  There are 960 4-patches that finish at 1.5" plus all kinds of sashing strips.  I'm probably better off not knowing.  It finished about 60' x 64' so it will be a good lap quilt with lots of fabrics to look at if I get bored.
The "underbelly" is a bit of a hot mess.  Most of the seams are pressed open -- or at least started that way.  Talk about "the good, the bad, and the ugly!"
As I mentioned in previous posts -- I really like it.  But not enough to do it again!

I hope you are working on something that is unique and challenging!

Jan