Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Love and a swap

I'd been putting off making a block for Julie's White Coat Project because I didn't know how to do it. I decided I wanted to make something using selvages since Julie has made quilts with them, but I've never worked with them before. I also wanted to make something with free-pieced letters, but I didn't know what I could do in a small block. Finally, I decided to try Tonya's classic LOVE block.
This is 6-1/2" unfinished, with each letter block finishing at 2-1/2". The selvages are stitched down only in the seams -- is that how it's done? Well, it's how I did it! I hope it plays well with the other blocks Julie receives.
I participated in an I Spy swap, so much fun! I make lots of I Spy quilts and a swap is a great way to get a variety of fabrics. I had a few plans for what I'd do, but the squares started out at 5" (so they finish at 4-1/2"), and that's awkward for using them with other blocks. I've been seeing some rainbow I Spy quilts -- like this stunning one at Mermaid's Purse --and thought I'd like to try one. The swap didn't provide me with 10 squares of each color, so I had to supplement from my stash, but that just means I have leftovers for another quilt! I bordered each square on 2 sides with solids and arranged them stepwise (the picture is sideways). I've sewn much of it together, just haven't taken the photo yet. It's fun and quick.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Zig zags

I really hated that strippy quilt I posted yesterday, so I am inspired to post something I like better! I wanted to put a zig-zag border around my sticks and stones quilt, and thought maybe I'd use black and white fabric that's mostly black for the zig zag, and use scrappy reds for the background. But my quilt group convinced me that a multi-colored background would be more fun. One hundred and twenty-eight HST's later, I started laying them out. (There will be an inner border, not shown here.)
The zig zag did not pop -- too much distraction! So I put the same colors together and it does emphasize the zig zag more.
But of course, being scrappy, I didn't have even amounts of each color, and I found that a little too boring...so I started joining different fabrics of the same color and similar tone.
And now I'm thinking of perhaps stretching it a bit further -- same color but tones just a little bit further apart.

Aren't design decisions fun?

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Jelly rolls and t-shirts

Things do pile up when I don't post! I have several projects underway, but here are just two.

First, I saw the Jelly Roll races video and thought it would be a fast, fun way to make quilts for Project Linus. And in fact, my guild had a worknight and made several -- you can see photos here, and Maggie's race-winning quilt (with explanation of how it was put together) here.

Unfortunately, I couldn't be at guild that night (though I was having a great time instead at the Chicago Ethnic Grocery tour!), so I decided to make one at home (photo above). I had purchased a roll of twenty 2-1/2" strips of child-friendly fabrics at a quilt shop in Indy and thought I'd use those. With an added border, it ended up just about the 40" x 60" standard for Linus. I think it's bright, cheery, quick to make, and I really don't like it!! I'm great with scrappy and with letting things happen while I make a quilt, but with this, I had absolutely no control over the design. By using only 20 strips -- half what's in a jelly roll -- the strips end up going vertically, and there is just not enough space in the quilt to compensate for odd groupings when fabric strips end up overlapping themselves in the next row. The most successful jelly roll race quilts I've seen have been mostly monochromatic, or black and white with a single color added. You can see some of these, as well as some tips for making this type of jelly roll quilt, on Floribunda's blog. I think next time I make a strip quilt, I'll try a design where I have more control -- I really like the design of the strip quilt on the Butternut Street blog.

I'm also working on a long-promised project -- a t-shirt quilt for my sister and her husband. I didn't want to use the standard same-size blocks with sashing, and I've been having a bear of a time figuring out how to juggle the pieces to fit everything together. My small quilt group gave me some great ideas, and that has helped me to finally get going again! It's my first t-shirt quilt -- should have started by making a less-complicated layout, but where's the fun in that?

Monday, May 02, 2011

Accidental Landscape

So much fun! Karen Eckmeier taught her accidental landscapes class at my guild recently, and I made this.
It's not quite finished -- I want to tack down the wave so it looks like it's breaking on the rock, and I think I want a little more embellishment before I quilt it. Can you see the one sailboat off in the distance? I think I may put another set of boulders into the border, too, not quite sure yet.

Karen's technique is really fun and improvisational. You can control what your landscape will end up looking like, but you can also just play around until something serendipitous happens -- or do any combination in between. Karen also has a clever way to make a wavy inner border, which you can see on my friend Mary's blog, Comfy Quilts and A Good Book.