Monday, November 28, 2016

Just in Time for JJ

My favorite baby quilt pattern is a Disappearing Nine Patch.  It is easy and quick.  So when my niece announced that she was having her first child, I went straight to my stash and dived in.  For once I'd have a quilt ready when the big day arrived.

Once again, I went with primary colors.  I didn't have to buy a thing for the nine-patches, there were lots of choices in my scrap bins.

I used the blue print for the focus fabric, the one square that doesn't get hacked up when you "disappear" the nine-patch.  And what fun -- this was the fabric that I used in the very first quilt I ever made!  It'll be a nice I Spy quilt, with toys and animals and numbers and lots of colors.

Here's the uncut nine-patch.  The squares that I want to keep whole are in the corners.  Cut each block in half vertically and horizontally.  The square in the center will be the smallest unit in the final block. Arrange the smaller blocks as you like.

I tried a couple of different arrangements.  This seemed a little boring to me.

This was better, but still not quite what I wanted.

Ta-da!  That's more like it, more movement, not quite so linear, with the blue squares offset.

This arrangement also has the added benefit that there are NO seams to match until you have the rows all made and you're ready to sew them together.

As I pieced the top, I made more flying geese for the Otsego Lake quilts as leaders and enders.  With any luck, the baby who gets this quilt will be able to sleep under an Otsego Lake quilt by the time he's in high school!  😃

Once the top was pieced, I got a little bit stuck.  I thought about just binding it in red and moving on, but the quilt would have been a little to small.  I debated between blue and yellow for an outer border, but just wasn't sure.  So I posted a photo of the top on The Quilting Board and asked for suggestions.

If you aren't familiar with wonderful group, please do visit the site.  It's a moderated bulletin board with discussion threads and photos of quilts for inspiration.  Members range from total newbies to professionals with decades of experience.  You can sign up for their "Daily Digest" to get an email every day to see the busiest threads.

Anyway, they came through as they always do.  Several people suggested going with green for the border, which I really hadn't considered.  Someone else suggested departing from the primary colors and using a black-and-white binding.  I am so happy with the final result!

The green really frames the pieced center.  It keeps your attention on the blue squares and keeps the quilt brighter than it would have been with the yellow.  I chose a print with swirls, to balance out the geometric blocks.  The center is straight-line quilted in a variegated thread.  It's hard to see now that the quilt has been washed.  The border is free-motion curly cat-tails that echo the swirls in the print (you can barely see it in the photo below).

And check out the border -- zebra stripes!  I just love it!  The back and the binding are both flannel.

The label got sewed on along with the binding, two birds, one stone.  It's my usual label, just a charm square folded over.  I left the top open to include a note to the parents.  Who knows, maybe some day the tooth fairy will be able to use it!

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

No Devil's Playground, and a New Year's Resolution

Idle Hands?  I don't think so!

Hi, everyone!   As usual, it's been a while since my last post.  But that's because I've been quilting! 

I've got three finishes (two were minis), a lap quilt sandwiched and ready for quilting, the fireplace quilt laid out, and a sewing project cut and ready to stitch.

This mini-quilt (just about 14" square) was so much fun to make!  It was inspired by Carole at My Carolina Home (p.s., she also has some great recipes).  The fabric all came from my stash: baby quilt, wedding quilt, Civil War block swap, you name it.  It was so fast and easy, I made another one for my daughter (that counts as two finishes, right?)  Now I'm hooked on these little quilts -- I plan to make one for every season.

My New Year's Resolution

It's been many years since I embarked on the fireplace quilt.  I'd enthusiastically cut hundreds of pieces, including the squares that would become half-square triangles (HSTs).  As soon as I started sewing the HSTs, I realized that I hadn't made the squares larger to yield HSTs the same size as the full squares.  ARRGH!  I was so disappointed that I just threw everything in a bin and didn't look at it for a long time.  I finally decided just to use the HSTs and trim down the square units as I went along. Guess I'll need to add an extra border!

A few weeks ago I cleared off the double bed in my sewing room (my design wall is too small) and laid out all the pieces.  It wasn't an easy task, but after several days everything was in place.  Then I picked them up, row by row, and set them aside.  My New Year's resolution for 2017 is to get this quilt finished before next Christmas.  We'll see.

Waiting in the Wings

Last summer I found some wonderful fat quarters at Delphine's, my favorite quilt shop in Gaylord, Michigan.  I bought some yardage from the same fabric line, but didn't get any farther than that.  Now everything's cut and ready to become placemats.   Sorry that the colors didn't come out to well.  The "yellow" in the fabrics on either end is really a bright "safety green."

I couldn't resist this set of beautiful ombre fabrics when they were on sale from Connecting Threads.   The collection was a bit disappointing, in that it included 2 full yards of a rather ugly neutral.  I hear Bonnie Hunter's voice in my ear, "If it's still ugly, you didn't cut it small enough."  The ombres are fat quarters.

One side

The other side

I have no idea what I'm going to do with these.  Anyone have any ideas?  I'm thinking landscape quilt, but that might be an overly-ambitious project for anytime soon, what with everything else that's going on.

The fabric seems to be very nice quality.  And look at these registration dots -- 17 different colors on this one!!

My daughter is doing some serious redecorating of her home.  I promised that I'd make her some Roman shades for her bedroom and the front door.  While she was looking for fabrics, she found two that she loved, but not for shades.  So now I'm on the hook for some pillows too!

How fun is this selvedge?!

Did I mention that there are also two babies on the way.  One will get a quilt, one will get an embroidery.  Which reminds me, the quilt that was just finished?  I'll show that to you next week, after it arrives at its new home.  Until then!