Saturday, September 26, 2009

Harvesting Quilt Fabric from Pillow Cases: Part 2

Let's pick up where we left off last time. Remember that I had a second pillowcase set aside. From that second pillowcase I cut 4.5" square alternate blocks, and I set both these, and some of the 4-patch blocks, in 4.5 x 2.5 rectangles with 2.5" cornerstones. I wanted to put some "air," or breathing space in all those scraps.

When I made the 4-patches I was trying to coordinate the scraps with the colors in the first pillowcase's fabric, but I pulled a lot of contrasting colors for the outer parts of the blocks to spice it up a bit.

Once I had the blocks made, I cut 2.5" sashing strips and 4.5 inch wide outer borders from the remaining pillow case fabric, and from odds and ends of neutrals that will blend in. A lot of the sashing was cut from some thrifted shirting fabric that someone had cut out with a pattern to make a shirt, but never sewed together. You can see it in the first photo: it has tiny running dogs on it. The neutral border strips make the scrappy blocks appear to float.

I had a lot of 4-patch blocks left over, and these will go in the outer border.

While I was doing all this, it was Bunny's turn to guard the cutting table. She doesn't leave me much space to work. I may have to make my next quilt a miniature. She thinks I should just stop complaining, tidy up the table and put away my piles.

Now all I have to do is sew everything together. I hope to grab a few hours to do this over the next week. Have a wonderful weekend.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Harvesting Quilt Fabric from Pillow Cases: Part 1

Lately I check the thrift store for pillow cases. The 100% cotton ones, when they're in good condition, make excellent quilting fabric. These were on super-special: I got them for 13 cents each.

I'll buy poly-cotton pillowcases too if I like the print. I have no fear about polyester, and I figure since it's already in the world, I may as well use it and save it from the landfill. Occasionally I find cool vintage prints, but these I bought because I wanted some neutrals to use in a scrap quilt.

I pulled some 2.5" strips from the scrap drawer. I got a lot of these from Debra in a swap.

Once it's washed and ironed, I cut the pillowcase up the long side, taking out the seam. Then I cut it into 2.5" strips. From there, you know the drill. I sewed each neutral strip to a scrappy strip.

The cats love the cutting table because of the sunny window. They're not much help.

The seamed strips were cut into 2.5" units

and these 2-patches are assembled into 4-patches.

I don't worry about creases from the pillowcase fabric. I like to leave little traces of the fact that I'm using recycled materials. When I use shirts, I like to leave in a few pocket or cuff seams.

Each strip of pillow case fabric yielded 6 or 7 4-patch units.

One pillow case yielded over 80 scrappy 4-patches. In part two, I'll dip back into the scrap drawer and use the other pillow case. In the meantime, Wee will guard the blocks.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Round Robin

Debra and I have been doing a round robin quilt. She gave me four machine embroidered blocks last year at IPQF, and I pieced them into this composition. The working title for this piece has been Pink Madonna.

This is how it looked after Debra did the next round. I really love the text she chose for the ribbon. We'll have to get the final title from that verse: "Oh Holy Mother, beautiful flower of our life's bountiful garden."

This is how it looks now. I'll be sending it back to Debra.

The camera went a little crazy trying to capture these bright colors, but you can click on the photos for close ups.

When I was done with my round I sat in front of my design wall, and admired my handiwork.

Saturday, September 05, 2009

Mexican Kitchen

I made another table cloth, this one using a fat quarter I bought at IPQF last year, and some of machine embroideries from Debra's Design Store on Etsy. The fabric had these cute 1940s Mexican motifs, that Debra thought would be perfect with chickens.

She also made up some word tapes for this piece: "mi casa es su casa," is a phrase associated with Mexican hospitality. Literally it means "my house is your house." When you visit someone, it's common to hear as a greeting: "está en su casa," or, "you're in your home." How lovely to have many places to relax in the world.

The chickens add to the homey feel and are common motifs in 40s and 50s kitchen decor.

I made some dishtowels to match with the line embroideries and some leftover fabric. The towels are from the dollar store, but you could also make your own. I found some nice waffled cotton fabric in a local shop, and I could make the towels as big as I wanted.

I'm thinking of making a stack of embellished dish towels for holiday gifts. Personalized word tapes would be really fun, paired with some of Debra's line embroidery, or with trims and rick-rack. Towels for my bachelor nephew will say "Nick's Kitchen."

These towels will be nice paired with home made dried fruit or with some food-related gifts in a jar. One year the kids and I made cookie mix, and that was a big hit. For people to whom I send gifts in the mail, I'll use Christmas-themed cardboard containers (also from the dollar store) instead of glass jars.

Forgive me for bringing up the holidays. Relax, está en su casa, I'll make you a cup of tea.

Sweater Genesis

  A few years ago I learned to harvest yarn from old wool sweaters.  I don't do it so much anymore, with the exception of if I find...