posts tagged: sewing

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.

blanket for eleanor!

I cannot even muster up any modesty here. My love for this blanket exceeds well, most anything else I’ve ever made. Isn’t it fabulous? I had a vision, and it came together even better than I had imagined!

The fabrics are all from the Kona Poseidon pack of fat quarters, though I did have to buy more of two fabrics, all bordered by Kona Snow. The binding is another turquoise Kona—I didn’t pay attention to the name when I bought it. Basically, I have no idea what all the colors are, exactly, but they’re all Kona, and the bulk of the colors are from the Poseidon pack. My original idea was to have all the squares made out of the same 3 colors, allowing the changing size configuration to give it graphic punch, but I was able to make good use of just quarters by working out this progression; the effect gives it even more depth, I think. I love it so much that I want another, larger one for myself—and have thought about writing it up as a little pattern, once I tweak and perfect a few hiccups—but picking the fabrics is going to give me agita: how ever will I get the combo right a second time??

Because yes, I gave this one away, to my friend Liz’s daughter. I started the quilt for her before she was born but ran out of fabric/took forever to get more/got distracted by other things, so only finished it up last week, in anticipation of finally meeting the little stinker, who is now 16 months old, this past weekend.

It’s backed in a single panel of corduroy to give it some warmth and softness (though it added a slight challenge in the quilting—definitely needed the walking foot!). I give thanks to the awesome staff at Purl, who immediately had great suggestions when I said I didn’t want to piece the back. The label is embroidered on a small patch of Kona snow. I love it, too, especially because I’ve never had the patience to actually create a successful embroidered label before. I also have my personalized ribbon, which I added to the top corner. The white text is kiiind of not as legible as I’d have liked, but it suffices.

Wavy quilting lines also help to soften the rigid structure of the piecing; it was my first time doing wavy lines. I know they’re not especially difficult or crazy, but I’m taking baby steps with each quilt and my quilting, so this felt like an accomplishment to me! I’ve seen the technique used by many quilters, but I was definitely inspired by Bijou Lovely, and her video helped me feel confident when I tackled it myself. I used three different colors of thread for the quilting just for some variety, especially since the backing was solid. (Those creases are from folding and transporting it to Maryland.)

My experience with little kids is extremely limited, but I learned this weekend that there is nothing cuter than a baby saying “baby?” Eleanor’s reaction upon being told that the blanket was for her was so awesome. “Blanket for baby? Baby?” And then shrieks and grabs and even putting it in her mouth and carrying it around the house. For once, listening to a little toddler cry out “mine!” gave me pangs of pride. So enjoy your blanket Eleanor, made especially for you by Aunt Erin!

meet Bob and his brother, Bob

My three quilting bees are pretty much all wrapped up now (I think one person still has to take her turn!) and I’m finally (finally!) finishing up all my blocks. I started out gangbusters on bee blocks, completing them within the allotted month every time, but then the job and life got a lot more busy, the apartment was rearranged, and I slacked off something awful.

Luckily, my bee partners have been pretty forgiving.

My most recent bee blocks finished were for Chawne, a quilter/knitter/crocheter extraordinaire. This is the second time I’ve made blocks for Chawne, actually. I should blog the others! (I’ll get to it.) This bee we called the “Twitter Bee Solid Six” because we were all keen on making all-solid quilts after our first bee together, the Twitter Bee. Only six of us wanted to participate in this offshoot, so we decided to make it a six-month-long one, giving 2 months for each person.

Bob 1

Chawne asked us to make block-size versions of her quilt pattern, named Bob. (Each of these blocks is 16.5 inches square.) She designed this and wrote it up for Fat Quarterly, but shared the details with us. The smallest squares have a finished measurement of 1-inch square, so precision is key. It was a lot of careful cutting and sewing, and I did a pretty good job I think! Some of those seams don’t line up exactly, I know, but a lot of them do!

Bob 2

The fabrics are shot cottons; Chawne provided something like 30 different colors to each of us! I wonder how she’s going to combine them all…