Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Ocean Currents

I pulled out all the batiks I've been collecting.  I love to buy them, but then rarely sew with them.  I found some that coordinated with one of those jellyrolls and put them together.
Here are my fabrics, blue and green and a small splash of purple.  Overall, I added 14 strips from my stash to the purchased jellyroll fabrics.  This will make the quilt finish around 64" x 68"... or so.  I'm just guessing.
The dark fabric will be the borders and binding.  I got to sewing them into one long strip and then onto the next step.  You can find the instructions for this quilt by Missouri Quilt Company on Youtube.
Here is the first pass, see that really long 2.5" strip?  Soon it will become 4.5", then 8.5" and so on.
I didn't take a bunch of pictures of the process, but I will tell you that it starts to pick up speed since every pass takes half as long as the last one.
Here it is at 16 strips wide and about twice the length of the finished quilt.
Even looking at the back of this one is pretty exciting.  Almost there!
Here it is all pressed and pretty.  I didn't get any pictures of the finished top with borders on it, that will have to wait for another time.  I keep thinking of how I should quilt this one.  I think it needs something with large swirls that will really make this quilt live up to its name of Ocean Currents.

Finishing this quilt will have to wait for a couple months as I have to go away for work.  I'm sure I'll have something new to share when I return.  Until then, be crafty!

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Scrap Happens 2012

I decided I didn't want to let this one lounge about unfinished.   I seemed in such a hurry that I even finished the binding by machine.  Usually, I sit down and complete this final step by hand.
I also decided to try my hand at pantograph quilting on the long-arm.  Here, you can see the somewhat leafy, somewhat flowery pattern I chose.  
I found that I'm not a big fan of using the pantograph.  It isn't because it's hard, it's because it takes a level of concentration I just don't want to spend while doing something to relax.  I bit my lip, I tightened my shoulders, I didn't have fun and the results were not as pleasing (to me) as my other quilting.
I guess free-style quilting just suits me better.  Sure, I have to pay attention and keep track of where I've been and where I'm going, but it has a creative flow that I love and enjoy.  It helps me to relax and just let the quilt tell me what it wants.

Finished size:  60 1/2" wide by 66 1/2" long

scrap challenge.bmpI started this quilt before I found the Scrap Quilt Challenge 2012.  Check out the contest at the link and you can find all the contest entries on Flickr.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Scrap Happens: 2012 (and Schrodinger's Cat Lady)

I pulled out one of my little bins of 2.5" strips and started sewing them together in an attempt to work through some of my stash.  
I made sure I reached at least 1600 inches, which is what a standard jelly roll should be.  Before I started sewing the strip to itself, I did a quick measurement and decided it was about 2088 inches.  That's just a guess, since I didn't measure with a ruler or anything, I just used my own body and what I know to be about a yard.  Fifty-eight or so yards of 2.5" strip.
After pressing, I had to use my long-arm frame hold it up.  It turned out much bigger than I expected.  I figure the finished quilt will be about 64" x 64".   I also pulled from the bin with leftover binding to make the binding strip for this one, so the binding will be as scrappy as the top.
I love that I am now able to make much bigger quilts.  The downside is that now I have to make much bigger backings.  I don't know when I'll get this one quilted.  I have a couple others in the works that I'd like to get finished first. Actually, looking through the shelves in my sewing room I can see more than five quilt tops waiting to become actual quilts.

How much of dent did I make in the bin of scraps?  I only used about half of what was in the shoe-box-sized bin.  I think in the game of stash-building, I'm winning.

What I'm listening to:  Escape Pod (Schrodinger's Cat Lady was just great!)

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Brighten up your day

Another Jelly Roll Race quilt has joined the growing pile of quilts I've made.  Here is the beginning of the race, which is rather messy, but oh-so-colorful.
I raced and raced until I had the top pieced.  Look at how those colors just pop when put together.
I quilted it with a kind of sharp stipple.  At some points it looks like feathers.  I used a four-color Superior thread for the top thread.  Have I mentioned how awesome this stuff is?
Here you can see the (mostly finished) quilt.  Binding will be done sometime in the next couple weeks.  Great television-time project. 
I tried to get a good shot of the quilting.  I'm not sure how this looks on your monitor, but I do know it looks great in person.
Because this isn't a small quilt (around 50" x 60") I had to piece the back.  I couldn't not use the red flannel.  I should just buy a bolt of the stuff.  I use it often enough.
See, from the back it looks almost like feathers.
The stitching is perfect for this quilt.  I will have to try to put some swirls in there next time, mix it up a little.  Now, to find a name for this one.

What I'm listening to in my sewing suite:  Escape Pod.  Science fiction podcast that keeps me entertained.  Highly recommended!

Monday, June 4, 2012

African Fabrics

What seems like ages ago, I picked up fabric while on a trip to Africa (I'm sure I blogged about it at some point, but I'm too lazy to go look for the post and link to it) and I've had it in several stages of U.F.O. over the last six to eight months.
Here is a quick shot of all the fabrics.  They aren't the best quality fabrics, but I did pick them up while traveling abroad, so I was going to make a quilt out of them no matter the quality.
Because I wasn't too pleased with the quality of the fabric, I decided to use a foundation of muslin to build the block on. 
Since the fabrics are big and bold, I also wanted to make really big blocks to ensure the fabric could be seen.  The foundation was cut around 31 x 31 inches to make sure I had enough room to highlight this great fabric.
I did do some smaller piecing, but just a small bit.  The black fabric was from my stash, but that was the only top fabric that didn't come from my trip.
Here is one of the many blocks trimmed and ready to be sewn to the rest.
I told you those blocks were big.  A total of six blocks were used to make this quilt.  I'll have to measure it, but just know that it will fit the bed it was designed for.  
Bright colors and bold prints really jump.  This quilt was almost too big for the long-arm, so I did not add a border.  The binding will be the only little spot of different fabric.

I couldn't really decide on how I should quilt this monster quilt.  I ended up using a simple meander for the majority of the surface.  
When I got to the small black strips, I couldn't resist adding in a somewhat messy swirl.  Again, I used Superior Thread's King-Tut to long-arm quilt this quilt.
I resisted quilting over the women on the red/white print.  I didn't want to muddy her shape if possible.  The backing was pieced with about five yards of batik in dark brown and yellow and a kind of rust and yellow.  All that's left is to finish the binding and label. 

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Grumpy Old Lady

This quilt was made with the fabrics I picked up on one of my many shopping trips.  Say hello to Maxine.

Here is one of the many blocks that makes up the Grumpy Old Lady quilt.  There are only about 12 of these Maxine blocks in the quilt.  The rest are from a bunch of bright, fun prints.
I didn't like the size it was intended to be from the kit, so I added about 1.5 yards of fabric from my stash to make the quilt bigger.  The pattern called for 6 by 7 blocks, I wanted it to be 7 by eight and include a border.  Assembly was pretty straightforward and quick with the 8 x 8 inch blocks.
The quilt turned out to be quite a monster and I had to add some more fabric from my stash to get the backing to an appropriate size.  Here, you can see how I've used some red and yellow to create a big enough backing.  Overall, about three yards of fabric for the backing. 
I tried to get a couple shots of the meander quilting that I used for this quilt.  This dark purple block showed the stitching the best.
I used Superior Thread's King-Tut thread in red-green-blue-yellow colorway.  Amazing stuff, this Superior Thread.  I love quilting with it in that it is the best top-thread I've ever used.  I want some in every color they make!
Here is the (mostly) finished quilt.  All that's left now is the binding and the label.  As always, I've fallen in love with this quilt and will be sad to see it go.  However, I think I know the perfect grumpy old lady to give it to.