posts tagged: quilts

finished in 2012

I almost didn’t do a wrap-up this year, but I just realized that I have done one every year for many many years now and why should I suddenly stop? First up, my knitting accomplishments for the year:

finished knits

Who knew I was able to complete so much while at the same time whining about not being “able to knit” because of my thumb pain? There really isn’t such a dearth of knitting, is there? There are two missing projects: one is a design I did for a book that’s not coming out for a while yet so I probably shouldn’t show it to you anyway. I also knit a hat for a work giveaway that I didn’t document at all. Those coffee cup cozies were a little thing I did for Knit Simple magazine. They assigned me cozies, and I couldn’t decide which pattern to submit, so I showed Editor in Chief Carla Scott all of them, and she said “yes! we’ll do all three!” Ha.

I like that you can see how I used the same yarn for my Buckwheat as the hat for Carol; I should start making hats out of all my leftover yarn! Thanks again are due to Caro Sheridan for the photo shoots we were able to do this year, for Buckwheat, the Bulky Topper, and the green hat!

I’d declared 2012 “the year of the quilt” and I wasn’t wrong. It was definitely a year of sewing. With my injured thumb, it was far less painful to sew, so our entire dining room area was pretty much unusable as a place of eating. (“Be careful! Don’t spill on that!” gets old fast.) Here are all my quilty endeavors (plus an embroidery project that I never blogged):

year in quilt

That lion embroidery? I made that for my dear friend’s baby; because mom and I met while taking yoga together 6 days a week for a few years, I added “simhasana” to the embroidery (the Sanskrit for lion pose) and stitched the little lion’s tongue sticking out (like you do in the pose). Just a little touch of something personal, and a really cute result. The one in the lower right has yet to be shot in daylight, but that will come soon, and the one in the middle on the bottom actually is basically finished and has been in use but has never been photographed! I need to get on that. The quilting that I did this year was mostly on my tiny machine, but I did do a mix of machine and hand quilting on the star quilt that hasn’t been blogged. I feel really confident in my skills as a quilter now, too, so I’m really happy with what I did this year.

Earlier in the year the last of my bees finished up, so I have some bee blocks in my catalog of finished stuff:

year in bees

I wasn’t good at documenting these, actually. And in fact, I may have never fully finished the Dresden plate in the bottom middle, but I don’t remember where I put the blocks-in-progress! (This is what happens when I actually clean the apartment.) I’m so glad that I participated in a total of 3 bees. You really gain so much skill and knowledge so quickly. I know that bees are tricky—I mean, you’re trusting other people to have the same standards and skills as you—but I also enjoyed being exposed to so many different kinds of blocks and ways of approaching a quilt. Actually, in my finished quilt mosaic are two of the bee quilts that I had made: the picnic blanket came from my Twitter Bee, and the stars (the unfinished one in the mosaic) was from KBeeC, a bee among my KBC friends. The third bee, the Solid 6, comprises most of my finished bee blocks in the mosaic above… But I picked a block for everyone to make that it turns out I really don’t like very much. I’m torn as to what to do with the blocks that were made for me, so I’m sitting on them until the right idea comes along.

What’s up for this year? Well, the month of January is going to be basically a rest from quilting. I’ve got two business trips, we have houseguests, and I’m just, I must confess, tired. I like having a clear dining room table! I’m enjoying just sitting on the couch watching TV when I get home—plus lately I’m so busy I get home late from work. But I’m sure when I’m back from TNNA things will come back—I intend this to be the year of sewn clothing! (Something that, despite having taken classes on the subject more than once, I am still quite intimidated by.) But I still have a bunch of quilt ideas swirling around in my brain that I can’t wait to make real. There will always be knitting, too, of course, don’t worry. Just this morning I bound off on a long-suffering project—stay tuned!

spoked II

I am woefully behind on posting FOs! Sometimes I start posts and grow unsure of just how to write them, so I end up composing multiple drafts and I’m rarely satisfied with any. So forgive any inelegant phrasing; I’m just going to barrel ahead.

This second Spoked quilt was the one I’d been intending all along when I made the first one. My friends Emily and Jim were having a baby girl, and even though Emily is not particularly girly, a deep berry color was just what I envisioned. I bought a bundle of fat quarters that would all coordinate nicely, and I just needed a fun, bold design to go with what would surely be a fun, bold little baby. The Dresden spoke idea seemed fun, and so I made that one in all aquas. I then felt comfortable enough to tackle it with the “real” fabrics.

But wow, let me tell you, the second one did not come together as easily as the first! My seams looked impeccable but there must have been something off because the dang circle wouldn’t lay flat. As a perfectionist knitter, my instinct is always to take it all out and do it again. But that was not going to happen with this all-sewn-up piece. I learned to allow myself to fudge it, and I managed to wrestle it flat by sheer force (and by sewing a little more of some spokes into the seams). And I think it looks great!

The backing fabric is from a sheet I bought at Ikea for this quilt. I made a circle label for the middle of the back with an embroidered rose; I knew Rosie was high on the baby name list so I figured this would work even if they chose a different name in the moment! The binding is pieced using a few of the fabrics used in the spokes. I quilted it using concentric circles that expand by a half inch with each round, and within the spokes I outlined every other spoke. It’s really a rather simple little quilt, all told.

I gave the quilt to Emily while visiting before the little one arrived, but I was lucky to go back and be able to meet Rosie just 9 days after she was born. I think she was impressed.

spoked!

I predict that I will be making more quilts like this in the future. Actually, I know for sure that I am because I had mentally planned something like this but decided to try it out first using fabric I had on hand instead of the fabric bought specifically for that quilt. So basically, this is just a little test that turned out super awesome and I’m thrilled with the result!

I’d never made a Dresden Plate before, but a friend alerted me to the Salt Lake City Quilting Guild’s EZ Dresden Plate Challenge. So many cool things were made in their blog tour! This one spoke to me, and I decided to play with the shapes in addition to making it bigger so that it was a baby-sized quilt. It came together even faster than I thought it would using fabric from the Kona Poseidon pack (I’m getting so much use out of that pack!). I used the Dresden ruler as a guide to make blades that were 10 inches long (instead of the normal 8 inches). This makes the whole motif 24 inches in diameter. I think I want to go even bigger next time. I also used a tip I read about folding down the edges before seaming the blades together, but that was not the best idea because it’s super obvious when it doesn’t line up right, and the pressed seams are actually visible peeking up along the outside edge. The inner circle would probably benefit from a circle patch but I am not sure how to proceed there. The whole plate was sewn down with a straight stitch, but then I realized that I needed to deal with the little peeking corners, so I did a zizzag all the way around, which “captures” those little spots and solves that problem even if it’s not the most elegant solution visibly. I quilted it using concentric circles outside the plate (increasing in diameter by half an inch with each round) and traced the long spokes on the motif.

The pieced binding was more than a little tedious: Why did I make each length so short?! There was so much sewing involved, and there was no way to place it so that a color change didn’t hit a corner. Still, it worked out nicely and I like the look. The backing is a single piece of fabric that I thought coordinated and kept the whole quilt feeling fun.

I wish it could qualify for the Dresden Plate Challenge! When I made this I didn’t realize that their size limitations meant a 36″ quilt is out of the running. Still, it was fun to make and I’ll be making another soon, I’m sure. Today my coworker and I snuck up onto the roof of our office for the photo shoot (her nail polish even matched!). You can see the Chrysler Building off to the left in the one above, and the Williamsburg Bridge off in the distance. Oh, how I love New York.

a quilt for michael and heather!

I got it in my head to make quilts as wedding presents for my two cousins getting married last summer, despite not having any idea what kind of decor they have in their homes, or even, really, their taste. Would they like them? Or would they get shoved in a closet, only to be pulled out when a guest was in town or something. I was most unsure about my cousin Michael and his wife, Heather, because though we spend a week together every year down the shore, I really had no idea what they would think.

Well, they loved it and I am so relieved! Because we’re at a beach house, Heather immediately took it to her bed. (We take whatever beds we can get in this house, hence her single bed.)

The palette of mustards, grays, and blues was chosen for its sort of masculinity and its modernity, and log cabins were chosen for their traditionality. I think the combination worked well! All the center squares were given to me by JulieFrick, who cut me a little “charm pack” of her own fabrics when I said I needed more mustards. I worked concentric squares until each square measured 15 x 15, and then sashed all of them with the blue. I knew I couldn’t really make it all that much bigger without making more blocks, but I tried my best, because Michael and Heather are both so tall! (Both were basketball players in college.) The quilt finished up at 70 x 70. Wavy quilting lines and Kona butercup for the binding finished it off.

I pieced the back in the same way I pieced my other cousin’s quilt. I like the look, plus I sort of liked the idea of this being my signature backing for wedding gifts? Maybe? We’ll see what happens when a third couple gets hitched and I plan the back! Without real time to embroider and affix a label, I used a pen to personalize it. Since it took me more than a year to make (I started it before their wedding, but only finished it up shy of their one-year anniversary), I put the years that it was created. I hope they get many more years of comfort with it!

blogger’s quilt festival

Amy's Creative SideWell whaddaya know, there’s a whole quilt-blogger thing going on right now. I’ve been a knitblogger for just shy of 7 years, but I’m only just now really starting to quilt. I’ve been adding quilt blog after quilt blog to my blogroll, and suddenly everyone I follow is participating in the Blogger’s Quilt Festival, an amazing community event put on by Amy! I want in, too! I’ve found a bunch of great quilting blogs, and this will be a great way to find more. While this space will always be a healthy mix of knitting/crocheting/quilting/eating/photography, I hope there’s something that other quilters will enjoy, too. I feel badly that I’ll just be featuring the quilt from the previous post, but my current stance is that my most favorite quilt is always the one I just made, so how can I resist? I’ll show a few different photos of it, though.


(the top, pre-quilting—despite the fold creases, the best pic I have of the top)

In my last post I was awfully cursory in details about the quilt, so this gives me an opportunity to share a little more about it. The truth is, this quilt was inspired by a crocheted blanket! I used to work at a crochet magazine, and we had a folder full of “swipe”—images pulled from vintage pattern books, etc., to use as inspiration. This one, from some anonymous old pattern book, was never used in any of our crochet designs. The blanket in that photo (which I can no longer find) was made of just three colors, and it was honestly hideous, in red, blue, and white. Somehow, though, it did not strike a patriotic air. Just a mismatched, sad one. But it gave this optical-illusion of depth and the idea got into my head as perfect for a quilt.

I toyed with making the quilt solely out of 3 colors, like in the original, but I had that Poseidon pack of fat quarters, and it seemed a good way to make use of it. I thought I could eke out all the squares with just fat quarters and my large stash of Kona Snow, and I came so very close, but the secondary color in each of the outside two rounds of squares needed more fabric. I started this quilt in the summer of 2010, during my friend JulieFrick’s “60 Blocks of Summer” challenge—for which I was successful only because of these little squares! But then I stalled, and didn’t pick it back up again until one week before the quilt was given to my friend’s sixteen-month-old. Each block measures 6 x 6 finished. The final quilt is 7 squares wide by 9 squares high, so it comes in at around 42 x 54. That’s actually pretty big, in my opinion, for a kid’s quilt, and if I were to use this design again (and that’s highly likely), I’d make the darker center just two squares high.

Since finishing this quilt, I’ve sketched out other configurations. I know they’re not rocket science or anything, but it was helpful for me to see this visually, to be able to make it small and see what it will look like from afar. My boyfriend and I want one for our living room (likely in shades of green, hence the colors in my sketch—obviously, not nuanced at all here, just something to get the effect), and I’m not sure exactly how I want to make it larger, whether just more squares or to actually increase the size of the finished squares to 8 x 8 or something. I was highly systematic in the measurements of the first (the way the center square steps down and the outer ring steps up is by a quarter inch each time), and changing the final dimension might not allow me quite the same perfect finesse.

Stay tuned for more variations! See all my photos of the quilt, including more of the backing and the label, in my original post.