Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Design fun

Project Linus has been taking most of my quilting time the last few weeks -- most of time in general, in fact! But I do enjoy it. Putting together kits from donated fabric really pushes me to be creative. While I'm making quilts for those who need them, I'm also improving my skills. Today I had a great time with this panel:

(Sorry about the angle of the photos, but I didn't have a way to hang this.) I think it's adorable, and it was donated along with a fabric panel of a world map that I planned to put as the back of this quilt. But the map is bigger than the panel, so I had to add to the panel to make it large enough. I rooted around our donated stash and found some fabulous fabric that really picked up the colors of the quilt:

The problem was that there wasn't a lot of this fabric, and I wasn't sure I could get enough to make big enough borders. Plus, if that was all I used, the borders at the top and bottom would end up much bigger than at the sides in order to make the panel fit with the map backing. So clearly I needed something else, but what? I finally hit on adding a row of 4 patches out of blue and yellow to the top and bottom. Alas, the width didn't come out evenly for a simple measure, and I didn't want to futz with odd measurements, so I decided to put green strips between the four patches and then put larger green blocks on the ends:

Well, OK, but it made the top and bottom a little heavy on the greens and blues. So why not add a strip of the red border fabric?
Yes! That worked! And the measurements were good enough that all four borders would be the same size and I would have enough fabric -- hoorah! Looks pretty cute, no?

So this "kit" ended up being a pieced top. I can't let myself get that involved with all the quilts, but every now and then it is very rewarding to come up with a quilt from the fabric on hand. This is hardly a great design feat, but it was fun, and I'm learning!

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Inspiring photos

Liz Plummer posts some wonderful photos on her blog, Dreaming Spirals. She draws inspiration from things we often see but don't notice. Her spider webs are fabulous! Most recently I got a big kick out of her salad collage. (Scroll down the salad page to see the spider webs, both the fake and the real ones.) It made me realize that I have started to take photos of things just because they are aesthetically pleasing to me. Of course, artists and "real" photographers do that, but I always took photos so I could remember people and places. Having a digital camera freed me to take pictures just because I wanted the image. Here's one I took of the roasted vegetables I made for dinner awhile back. It's yummy visually as well as gastronomically.

I will probably never make a quilt out of this photo, but thinking about what I see has definitely sharpened my sensibilities.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Quilt Droppings

What was I thinking, wearing black? Brian calls these tiny, clinging threads by the too descriptive "quilt droppings," though others use the more elegant term "quilter's jewelry." (If you can't see it, click on the photo to enlarge.)

Something that occurred to me as I looked at this photo is how much like Cruella DeVille I look -- I hope not in expression (or action!), but definitely in the hair!

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Yellow I Spy DONE!

Hoorah! The yellow I Spy quilt I started last summer is finally finished. I had finished piecing the top in July, but was terrified to cut off half the outer hexagons to add the border, then when I finally did that, I was afraid I would ruin it by quilting it. But I figured if I never tried, it would sit there forever. It's done and I love it!

I put a big US map on the back and borders around it. I tried to center it when I based the quilt, but was afraid it would be lopsided. Didn't turn out too bad. Sorry about the photo -- the light on the right (sun reflecting off today's snowfall) has washed out that side of the quilt, and you can see the front hexagons shadowing through.

This quilt is for Teresa's kids. I'll get it in the mail this week!

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

When it's cold in California

There's no cold like California cold, because those warm-weather types are totally unprepared for it. That's when the savvy student warms her minkee in the dryer for a few minutes before going to bed. Just ask Valerie, who came up with this idea.

Stay warm!

Monday, January 15, 2007

Linus Quilting Blog!

You know all those Project Linus quilts I keep talking about? Well, now you can see them! I started a blog called Hearts for Linus for the guild. Right now we only have 5 quilts posted, but I'll keep adding as they come in. I also hope to post easy patterns.


Thursday, January 11, 2007

What a mess! ("Before" Pictures)

Sewing spaces become messy of necessity -- quilting just requires a lot of stuff. They stay messy (at least mine does) because there is not a good place to put all the stuff. (The old word for fabric was "stuff", and I sometimes wonder whether there's a connection.) I have the luxury of a huge L-shaped room with an open, under-the-stairs nook in the basement. But I still don't have a good place to put things. Right now most of the space is taken up with the donated stash and partially completed quilt kits for the guild's Project Linus committee. We've just started to buy plastic bins for holding sorted fabric, but you can see we still have some boxes. Big rolls of batting are on the right, and partially completed kits are in Harry & David boxes on the opened out futon.

Here's another view of the futon with boxes I've just been going through for binding fabric. The green bins hold fabrics large enough to use as backing, but some of those were donated on bolts and don't really fit. It's not a good use of the stacker for this reason, and because the fabric in the lower two bins is not easily accessible. As you can see by the futon and the forlorn TV in the corner, this used to be a guest room.

Directly across from the futon is a large cutting table. Right now it's piled with completed tops that have been measured against the cutting mat so I can find backing, batting, and binding to fit. Of course, I'll need to pile up the tops to get to the cutting mat!

And here's a tub of quilts ready to be quilted. There are ten pieced tops here, each in a bag with batting and binding and backing. I'm taking these to the guild meeting tonight in hopes that members will take them and finish them!

So why is this a "before" post? Because things are about to change! I hate the clutter but it is a real pain to put things away. After working with the Linus stash for awhile, I have a pretty good idea what we need, so this weekend it's off to Sam's Club (a fellow quilter is a member) to get some fabulous shelves like the ones we had at work. They are very sturdy metal, they roll, and the shelves are adjustable. I can put the backing fabric on them, put many tubs on them, and stack the kits-in-progress. Hoorah! Stay tuned -- with luck, I'll get them this weekend.