Friday, July 18, 2008

Virginia Quilt fabrics

These are the prints DH and I picked up while in Virginia. I am hoping to make a quilt that will focus on all the mountains we saw driving from good ole flat Kansas to Norfolk, VA.

I've not gotten a lot done with the quilting lately as we now have 6 English Setter puppies in the whelping box, and are devoting our time to that and other projects. You can see their own blog and pictures at:

I am anxious to get back to the cutting table, and sewing machine soon though.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Warm Wishes Baby Quilt

Another granddaughter is due in July. The Mom wanted to decorate the nursery in a turtle theme. I came up with the turtle print, and the Mom, Dad, and future big sis picked out the complimentary fabric.
I wanted to make sure I got this one done before the baby arrived so I picked out a simple but prety pattern called Warm Wishes. I thought the name was appropriate too.

Here it is all laid out on the bed ready for stitching up.
The Mom picked out the yellow.

The Dad picked out the blue.
and future big sis Brittney picked out the orange because that is her favorite color.

I'm still new at this quilting business so I found someone to machine quilt it for me. Here it is once I got it back. This picture shows the back of the quilt. I needed to make the backing wider so I ran a strip of the turtle fabric down the center from top to bottom.

I'm not real happy with the quilting. It wasn't expensive at all, but I think it looks like it was quilted too loose. Only a couple of puckers in the whole thing though so we'll see how it looks when it's washed up.

It's not the greatest example of a signature block, but I wanted to show what I did with both the baby quilts I've done this year.
I made a 6 X 6 inch pocket on the back of each quilt so that a spare binky or whatever could be stored in the pocket ready for emergencies! I thought it was rather clever even if I am patting myself on the back!

Rag Jean Quilt

Another thing I had piled up in that fabric cabinet was a bunch of jeans. I still had jeans from back when my kids were little! I just had to do something about that. I began by cutting up the jeans into 6 1/2 inch blocks and stacking them. I found that some of the jeans were either quite thin or had marks or stains that I didn't want showing - so I also cut out blocks of homespun material and sewed these pieces on top of the yucky jean blocks with a big X. This piece is 50 X 70.

Next came the clipping. I had some of it done on this first picture, but had more to go. It seemed endless, but if you work on it while watching TV - it doesn't seem so bad. I also used my Fiscar snips and after a while you learn if you hold the fabric just right and snip with tension on the material - it works better most of the time.

Then came the washing. Boy does that thing ever shed! I think it may have been the cause of needing to call the repair man out too. While it didn't seem to shed so much in the washer - we had trouble later on and I think a lot of those little strings got caught in the washer pump. All is OK now, but I've learned to throw the thing in a big pillow case that is whip-stitched shut - or take it to a commercial laudry.
I also learned that some of the jeans didn't fray equally. There's a light blue in there that didn't fray at all. Those were hubby's old brushed denim jeans. Another must have been some poly stretch jeans, because what was left was a really different blue fray. Combined though it all worked together and we have another great throw to use. You can see I also added some smaller pieces to the sides. I had enough of these to border 2 sides of the throw - virtually using up all of the jeans in that batch. Note: These are the jeans I cut up this round...there is still a big stack of jeans waiting in that cabinet, but that's enough of that for now. This one ended up 55 X 75. I seem to like finishing about that size.

String Quilting

Back in January - shortly after I got that first baby quilt done, I looked at a whole sack of narrow strips of fabric I had been hang onto and decided to try another technique - String Quilting.
I started by shopping in my own stash and came up with some backing and all those strips. I really wish I had a picture of those strips in the beginning, because it was quite the mess! For several hours, I untangled, pressed and sorted a mountain of these strips that someone had no use for. I had picked them up at a local resale shop for virtually nothing, but they sat in my basement for several years too. I was finally going to do something with them.

Impatient to get started, I grabbed several large pices of butcher wrap and cut out 60 degree diamond shapes and began sewing, flipping and pressing over and over again. Once I got all the diamonds completed, I trimmed them up and made a tree skirt out of these pieces. Now the coloring on this picture isn't right - the colors are much more vibrant than it shows, but I think you get the idea. I sewed this together - lined it with a large start cut out of a damaged chenille bedspread and now have both a tree skirt or a topper for my round oak table.

Let me tell you now - butcher wrap paper is NOT what you want to use for this technique! I had a heck of a time getting all that paper off once I was done with it. I'm learning as I go and this was a really big learning experience!

I wasn't satisfied with this one. I still had a whole lot more of those strings...and in the little reading I'd done, this was about the only way I was going to use these narrow pieces of fabric up.

I read somewhere that it doesn't matter how small your fabric pieces are - if you can make more fabric from them - they're still worth $7 - $9 a yard - and I still had several yards in that bag.
I started cutting 12 inch squares of the Warm & Natural, the backing material that I still had plenty of and began strip piecing. Because I'd cut several of these, I could chain sew one right after another and only have to get up to press once all 16 of them had a new strip on them. It went fairly fast considering I was sewing and quilting all in one step.

This shows some of the blocks and how I intended to put them together.

The above photo shows the front, back and that Warm & Natural batting in the middle. You can just barely see the quilting lines on the backing. This also presented a problem - I didn't know how to put the blocks together once I had them to this point. I trimmed them all to 11 inches square, stacked them all up in a neat little pile - and there they sat for several months.

Through a message board with HGTV, I absorbed as much as I could from a wonderful group of ladies. My sis (the one that made it possible for that first baby quilt to get done) had told me about this group of gals. They were fabulous! If you have questions about quilting - someone there will know the answers.

I put all the 11 inch squares together. Look at the above picture. I only used 15 of the blocks and set them 3 across and 5 down, using a small piece of black fabric to connect them. That only made this throw 33 X 55 and I knew it had to be much larger than that to be used. I'd been reading about a Braid technique - again using those scraps and quilting as I went, I made a long piece of 'braid to put next to those blocks. I didn't like making the braid as well as the blocks because you couldn't chain piece them. Each small piece of material had to be a seperate step.

With the help and advice of those HGTV quilters, this is the final results. I absolutely love it - especially when you consider all but that little bit of black had been sitting in my sewing cabinet for years waiting to have something done with it. It's now complete 55X75 . I have to ask myself - Is there things I would change? - Yes But it's done and being used, and I'm tickled to have something for almost nothing. If I hadn't done something soon with that pile of fabric in that sewing cabinet - it was going to get tossed. A very win / win situation.