Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Forrest Creatures (45 x 62)

Yes, it's another small quilt.  This one began with a panel, Bohemia by Julie Paschkis, I bought at a snooty quilt shop in New York.   I spied the very charming panel on a a wall and asked for one when I was checking out.  They brought me a neatly folded piece of fabric in a plastic bag.  When I got to my hotel room, I was disappointed to see that the panel looked like it had been cut in the dark by someone who'd forgotten to wear her glasses.  Yes, it was bad!   It was crookedly cut through the motifs and I got what I figured was an insufficient amount of the pretty prints around them. 

When I ran across the panel recently, I was moved to cut into the thing to restore some of its lost dignity.  I salvaged the motifs and had fun digging though my scraps to make up the four-patch blocks.  The border is a piece of fake bark cloth.

I'm going to back it with one of these pieces of fleece.  I'm really in love with fleece backed quilts these days.  I'm partial to the orange, but you can talk me down if you think otherwise.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Little Quilts

I finished the baby quilt I made using my un-vented Foundation-Pieced Half Square Triangle Tutorial.  I backed it with fleece, which also acts as batting, and I bound it with a nice yellow gingham.  I'm becoming very partial to fleece backs on quilts.

Then, in a bit of serendipity, I ran across a bag of batting scraps I'd saved up, and I decided to makes some even smaller quilts (also known a pot holder).

I had this nice panel stashed.  I think I'd originally planned to make aprons from this fabric.

But the rectangular shapes made for perfect potholders.

I also resuscitated some orphan blocks.

Pot holders are perfect little showcases for some special single blocks.  Plus, I got to practice my machine quilting and binding techniques.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Working on a Small Scale

I'm still making lap/nap quilts.  They're such a nice manageable size, 36-40x 50 inches, I don't feel overwhelmed nor committed to a lifelong project.   This one was made of orphan blocks, and I think I did a good job composing this collection of leftovers into a semi-coherent whole.  Like the previous nap quilts, this one was backed with flannel, which was turned to the front of the quilt to form the binding.

I decided to tackle some of my cotton yarn stash, mostly because a few balls usually fall out of their bag when I go into the Closet of Doom.  This fun dishtowel was knit with a free pattern and two balls of kitchen cotton.  Although the pattern is for size 5 needles, I used a size 7 so I'd get a bigger towel, since a I knew it would shrink.  Before it was washed the towel measured 19.5 x 22, and it measured 18.5 x 20 after washing.  I love the way the colors pooled.

Yes, I looked silly taking this picture while sitting on my kitchen floor.  "What are you doing?" said Michael.  "Don't ask," I replied.

Tuesday, August 05, 2014

Tutorial: Foundation-Pieced Half-Square Triangle Block

I don't know if I invented something new, or if everyone already knows this, but when working with the small scraps from my butterfly quilt, I figured out a way to make scrappy half-square triangles without having to cut triangles.

Start with a square of your background fabric (I used 6.5 inch squares) and press a crease across the diagonal. Then with right sides facing, line up your first scrap, overlapping the crease by about 1/4 inch.  It doesn't matter if you overlap on the right or left of the crease, because these blocks are reversible.  Stitch in the crease through both layers.

Turn your block to the right side and flip and press the strip so that you're looking at the right side of both fabrics.  

Add new strips by sewing them right sides together to the previous strip with a 1/4 inch seam allowance.

Sew, press and flip until you fill up one side of the triangle square.

When your block is half filled, turn it to the wrong side, and trim the overhanging bits of the strips to the same size as your foundation block.

These blocks can be set in a number of ways.

This setting is one of my favorites.

I made a crib quilt from my blocks by adding an inner border that matches the background fabric, and a flashy outer border.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Fleece-backed Quilts and Crocheted mittens

The fleece-backed nap quilts are a success.  I found some  1-yard remnants at the fabric store, and minimally quilted them wrong sides together.

The backing was about 2 inches larger than the quilt top on all sides, and I turned the excess fabric to the front of the quilt and zig zagged it down.  Easy as pie.

 ...And really cuddly too.  If I wanted to be fancy, I would've mitred the corners, but I'm not often fancy.

This week I also crocheted some scrappy preschooler mittens from Yarnville's free pattern Mrs. Murdock's Mittens.  It's an interesting patten with a few new tricks, but once I did one, it was easy going from there.  The pattern comes in three sizes: preschool, older kids, and women's and the mittens come out very thick. 

I put up a website for my book:  have a look and send me some feedback if you have any suggestions.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Home Again

I was on the road for a couple of weeks: to the CantoMundo writer's retreat in Austin, and a visit to my parents.  Now that I'm back, I officially took the butterfly quilt off the design wall sans borders.  Thanks to everyone who offered moral support and weighed on on that decision.

I had pieced a bunch of 5" squares for the aborted border, and decided to sew up some nap quilts rather than squeeze them back onto the Closet of Doom. 

So far, I've got these two, which are roughly 36" x48," and I'm still working in the scrap pile.  I'm going to get some fleece to back them and do some simple quilting.

The nap blankets, along with these knitted caps, will go a Head Start program for pre-schoolers on the Pine Ridge reservation.  The hat pattern is the Easy Peasy Charity Hat, free on Ravelry.

Here's a gratuitous cat pic.  Just so you can see how quiet it is around here these days.

Tuesday, July 01, 2014

A Quandary and Some Weaving

The butterfly quilt is still unfinished and I think I may be talking myself out of adding borders. It's 78x 78" and after straightening up my linen closet and quilt truck I realized I really don't need another big quilt.  As is, it will fit nicely on the twin bed in my sewing room.  Any advice before I take it down from the design wall?

While I mull over the future of my quilt, I've done a little weaving.  This lovely scarf was warped with a solid lavender sock yarn, and the weft was a self-striping sock yarn, alternating with a sparkly variegated yarn.

I used the sparkly yarn to break up the solid sections of the self-striping yarn.  The patterned parts of the self-striping yarn wove up into some nice geometric patterns.

Now I'm weaving a sock yarn warp with a variegated wool blend.  That's eyelash yarn in the warp along the sides.  I've picked up several colors in the thrift store and I'm experimenting with weaving with them.  I like the pop of texture it gives.