week 5

Gypsy Wife Progress

So far I have kept up with the weekly blocks for the Gypsy Wife Quilt sew a long, hosted by GnomeAngel (of course, it’s only been 3 weeks….).  I have no specific plan for this quilt at all! I am picking fabrics just based on my mood at the time I make the block.  This could be bad or it could end up being a really great quilt….time will tell, I suppose.  I am mostly using Cotton and Steel Basics (from a kit by PinkDoor Fabrics) and the new Alison Glass Chrome collection (from Oh Sew Modern Fabric Shop).

I am having a bit of trouble following the pattern, probably because of my inexperience.  The written pattern does half square triangles by cutting actual triangles and sewing them together.  This is different than how I taught myself to do them, so I am frustrated.  GnomeAngel has graciously given alternate directions using the HST method I am used to, but my brain is also having trouble with her instructions because she does not want to give too much information about what is in the original pattern, such as specific cutting measurements.  I totally understand that.  It would be inconsiderate to offer the exact measurements to someone that hasn’t purchased the original pattern.  However, I ended up cutting and re-cutting my fabric because I kept misinterpreting her instructions.  Obviously, that is my own fault, but I was so frustrated with the last block, I almost quit!  I could not understand the alternate cutting instructions completely and then I was too grumpy to try to understand the original pattern.  Time to take a break!!!  In the end, I am up to date on the blocks and I started on some filler blocks as well.  35(!!!) filler blocks will be needed in the near future, so I thought I better get ahead on those.  I probably will not be able to keep up with the weekly blocks for the next several weeks due to work requirements, so I will have a whirlwind finish at the end, I suppose!

week 5

Where did July go?

So somehow I missed July.  I actually wasn’t that busy at my job and I sewed a bunch, but it didn’t make it to the blog!  Ooops.

I was able to make several bags and wallets last month.  I won’t go into major details, but I’ll show off a few.  I made two Gingham Totes from the pattern out of Anna Graham’s book Handmade Style.  Both were made using Essex Linen.  The pitbull fabric is from Spoonflower and the sloths are Cotton and Steel that I have been hoarding for a bit.  Both of these were custom requests.

  

I also constructed a variation of her Trail Tote bag (I made a size that falls between the small and large for which she has instructions).  I actually made two of these as well.  One just because I felt compelled to use this kitty fabric and the other was a custom request.

 

 

As I head into August, I am beginning a two month stretch of very busy times at my job.  I will be travelling for work and working at least 6 days a week.  So, of course, I decided to start 2 quilts!!  One is a long term project that I mentioned last time (Elephant Abstractions).  I plan to make some headway on that one this week as I am on a short vacation before the crazy begins.  The other quilt is the #GypsyWifeQuiltSAL hosted by Gnomeangel.  I didn’t do so great at keeping up with the last sew a long with Crazy Mom Quilts (the June Quilt is sitting in pieces on my ironing board).  However, the Gypsy Wife Quilt is to be done over the next several months.  I am going to try my best to keep up.  I am hoping it will help relieve stress too.  Although….last night I began the first block and I ripped out several seams, so that’s the opposite of what I was going for…..  I finished the block, and there is one wonky area where the seams don’t line up, but I’m calling it finished.  On to Week 2!!  I hope to keep myself in check by posting my progress here on the blog.

week 5

WIP-June Quilt A Long

I’m joining CrazyMomQuilt’s June Quilt QAL.  I don’t have her new book yet, but I plan to put it on my Christmas list….(hint, hint Mom).  This is one of the quilts from the book, and it is actually one of my favorites from those she has shown.  I have chosen my fabrics and have my strings all ready to go!  I’m ready to start sewing, but that doesn’t happen until Week 2.  I guess I better work on all the other projects I have stacked up instead!

I also have every intention of starting Violet Craft’s Elephant Abstractions quilt very soon.  I have all the fabrics lined up, just need to copy the pattern pieces.  I’ll probably end up working on both quilts at the same time because…why not go crazy?

 

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Triangle Baby Quilt 2.0

I made another baby quilt featuring triangles this week.  I love using triangles because they are so quick to sew up!  A friend requested a baby quilt to give as a gift, and she had seen my other quilt from January.  Unfortunately, I wasn’t a huge fan of the color scheme: neutrals.  Apparently the baby’s room will be gray and white, so my friend wanted a neutral quilt.  I may have stretched the neutrals just a bit,  so that I could stay excited about the project.

The baby is a boy, so I added in some blue triangles for interest.  I had already decided to use these colors, and then I gained further inspiration from Red Pepper Quilts with a quilt she made awhile back.  I loved how she created diamonds with the low volume fabrics, so I tried to mimic that with mine.

I am happy to say that almost all of these fabrics were pulled from stash.  I did have to buy a little Kona for the light blue, and I may have purchased the black and white chevrons during that same trip.  It felt good to use up what I already had, instead of spending more!!  My friend and I both work with animals, so I knew she would appreciate my adding a few animals into the quilt.  I had three Cotton and Steel fabrics on hand from their Black and White collections, which I think fit in perfectly.

For the back, I chose a minky dot fabric from JoAnn’s.  This is my “go-to” for baby quilts, and I always try to use a coupon when I buy it.  The binding is hard to see in the photos, but it is scrappy, made up entirely of fabrics from my scrap bin!  Yay!!

I followed the lines of the triangles for quilting, except I did not include the bases.  I like that it continues the same diamond effect on the back that I was going for with the low volume prints.

My friend was super pleased with the final product and in the end, so was I.  I have so many plans for quilts, but I still fall back on things I know how to do.  I really need to branch out a bit more.

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T-shirt Quilt

I was pretty sick for a few weeks and completely lost my ‘sewjo’.  I had a T-shirt quilt to finish for a friend and the deadline was quickly approaching.  Luckily, I got it together and finished it up within 3-4 days.  I think I spent so much time agonizing about how to make this quilt, I just didn’t want to do it.  I had never made a T-shirt quilt before and the thought of messing up someone’s memories really concerned me!

Originally, I wanted to create a cool quilt where each shirt seemed to pop up in a 3D sort of way.  Once I started cutting up the shirts, I realized this was not going to work.  That began another couple weeks of agonizing because I was completely lost on how to put the shirts together.  I read and looked at a zillion blogs and pictures of other quilts, but I still could not commit!  Finally as the deadline was only 10 days away, I made myself get to work.  In the end, I fit the shirts together almost like a puzzle, figuring out which pieces fit best and where.

I had several “helpers” during this process: 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Once the top was put together, I spent another day or two deciding how to quilt it.  I finally decided on a simple grid, which I think worked out pretty well.  To start, I ran a piece of washi tape diagonally across the center of the quilt and then made diagonal lines out from there.  I repeated the process for the other diagonal direction, so the quilt design ends up with diamonds.  Here is a picture of how I started the process:

I just quilted following the line of the tape.  The nice thing about washi tape was that I could reuse it several times to create more grid lines.  The process was very quick and I was able to finish quilting in about 2-3 hours (including time to stop and remove/replace tape grid lines).

For the back, I purchased a $5 flat sheet at Walmart to keep it simple (and not too expensive!).

I cut the remains of Tshirts into 2.5″ strips, connected them and created a scrappy binding for the quilt.  I interfaced the strips just like the T-shirts using Pellon SF101.  I thought it was going to be too thick to sew through, but my Juki made easy work of it.  I do not have the patience for hand sewing binding!!

I will be delivering the quilt to its new owner next week and I hope she likes it.  It was stressful but hopefully the next one will be easier for me!  The good news is my sewjo has also returned so I am excited to get to work on other projects.  Any advice out there on conquering T-shirt quilts?

week 5

WIP Wednesday…T Shirt Quilt

I don’t know if this counts as a true work-in-progress since I haven’t actually started it yet….but, let’s just call it one, ok?

This is the first time I’ve ever made a T-shirt quilt and I am completely apprehensive about it.  It’s also a commissioned quilt, so there is that much more pressure!!  So far, I’ve pulled out all the T-shirts and separated them into piles….that’s a real step, right?

I’m super scared to start cutting the shirts, but it has to be done.  I’m hoping once I start cutting the shirts and fusing the interfacing, things will start to form better in my head.  I do have a plan, but it’s still a bit hazy….not how I like to work!!

My goal is to make the quilt with the shirts creating a “3D” image like this one.  That might be a little ambitious for my first attempt, but I am not a fan of the quilts that have the shirts all over the place.  I have this issue with order.

Have you made a Tshirt quilt?  Any advice for a newbie?

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Rag Quilt-My first and maybe last….

I was tasked with making a rag quilt for a little girl.  I have a giant problem with saying no, even when it comes to things that I’ve never made before.  Sometimes it works in my favor….sometimes, the project flops.  I’m not sure where this rag quilt fell in that scheme.

I read several tutorials online for rag quilts.  I had no idea the amount of diversity that can be incorporated into these.  I was supposed to be making a blanket that was similar to one the little girl’s brother had.  Based on that, I had already decided to use flannel.  Some tutorials recommended using batting between flannel layers or to use three layers of flannel.  In the end, I decided to only make mine two layers thick.  (Frugality and laziness made this decision.)

This six-year-old loves pink, and cats and dogs.  Those were my only instructions.  Always looking for a good deal, I waited a week or so until JoAnn’s had a sale on their flannel.  I randomly picked out about six different fabrics that mostly coordinated:  four with cats/dogs and two solid pinks.  Because I had no idea how much to get, I only purchased about 1/2 yard of each print and 1 yard each of solids.  I’ll go ahead and tell you now…that wasn’t enough!  (Note to self, let’s start planning out these projects better….)

I opted to make the squares six inches, knowing that they would end up being 5″ squares once they were sewn.  I don’t have a design wall, so I lay out my quilts on the floor, which is super convenient when you have five animals walking around.  (eye roll)  In laying out the pieces, I discovered another trip to JoAnns would be required.  I actually only ended up getting another yard of each of the solids because it seemed 1/2 yard of the four prints was jusssstt enough.

My favorite part is actually the back.  I made a checkerboard pattern with the two shades of pink, instead of keeping it a solid color.   This layout is also the reason I didn’t have enough of the solid fabric to finish the blanket with my first flannel purchase.  I think it was worth a second trip to the store.

After piecing, the quilt needed to be “ragged”.  All the tutorials mentioned the monotony of cutting little strips in the seam allowance and….boy….they weren’t kidding.  I couldn’t wait to be finished.  It was rough for my wrist and probably on my scissors as well.  It was recommended to use spring action rag quilt snips, but I refused to purchase scissors for one project.  If this was something I planned to make more often, perhaps I would change my mind.

These pictures were all taken prior to washing this blanket, which is a good thing.  I HATED this blanket after washing it.  I definitely do not like the look of a rag quilt, it’s just not my thing.  I didn’t take any after pics, so you can’t really appreciate why I didn’t like it.  I found that the flannel pilled, making the blanket look “used”.  That really bothered me.  The “ragged” edges actually looked ok.  I know the idea is a snuggly blanket that looks loved, but again, it’s just not my thing.  Will I make another one? eh….

In the end, the blanket was well received.  She seems to love it and that is all that matters!  What’s your take on rag quilts?  Love them or leave them?

 

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Triangle Baby Quilt

 

A friend of mine asked me to make a baby quilt for her nursery-in-progress.  She gave me examples of fabrics that she was already using in the nursery from an online company that sells fabric.  This company also creates bedding and curtains with those fabrics if you request it.  Her preferred colors were navy, gray and pale yellow.  She also told me that she wanted vintage airplanes incorporated into the quilt.

I checked out the website with her custom picked fabrics and decided to purchase one of them, so I knew it would match the rest of the nursery.  That fabric is the small triangle grouping.  After that, it seemed like a triangle quilt was the way to go!

I matched solids to the tiny triangles in the custom fabric and found a sweet little airplane fabric on Etsy.  Unfortunately, pale yellow didn’t make the cut, but I think I made the right decision.

I just want to say….I love triangle quilts!  About two years ago, I took the Angled Class from Rachel at StitchedinColor.  At the time, I was just learning to make quilts, so triangles seemed daunting. (They aren’t!)  I have referenced her e-book from that class several times since then, just to remind myself how best to cut the triangles and piece them.  If she ever has that class again in the future, I highly recommend it 🙂

For the back of this quilt, I found the absolute best minky fabric from Robert Kaufman.  I found it for a terrific price on Etsy at a perfectly cut size, so no piecing was necessary.   This is the first time I have used the RK Cuddle line and I realllly liked it!  It is the softest ever!  Plus those vintage planes fit into the theme so perfectly.  The only downside is that this minky sheds like crazy.  I had little white fuzzies everywhere before the quilt was finally bound.

I’m pretty happy with this quilt and so was my friend.  I never know how big to make a baby quilt.  Everytime I make one, I look online for guidance and find 50 different opinions on the correct size.  I usually just keep adding rows until it seems “right”.  This one ended up about 40″ by 45″.  What’s your favorite size for baby quilts?