Wednesday, May 26, 2010

A Baby Quilt in Three Parts, part 2

I'm having a hard time sitting down to write the next piece of my quilt story.  So when is a better time than when I have stacks and stacks of work to do in front of me that I am avoiding?  Yeah, that's what I thought.    Now'll do.
So if you can remember where we were last, I had just finished the quilt top and now it was time to start quilting.  Ummm...any ideas?  I kind of had an idea of what I wanted to do based on a tutorial I found here and a quilt here.  Then I dove in.  I made a quilt sandwich, first laying the backing fabric down on my dining room table, then the quilt batting, then the quilt top.
I started with a handful of safety pins in the center of the quilt, and I just started pinning.  I pinned in a swirling pattern and smoothed, smoothed, smoothed as I went.  Here it is with just a few pins...
And now here it is with just a few more...
A note to anyone who wants to follow my process.  Although I pinned from the center out, I quilted from one side to the other.  I found that there were several times when I had a little bit of excess "pouf" going on.  To correct this, I just re-smoothed and re-pinned.  If I were doing this again, I might consider pinning from one side to the next as well, and honestly, maybe even pin as I quilt.  But enough about pinning.
Next I had to figure out a way to quilt a baby quilt in my little old machine.  I knew that I wanted this quilted with random horizontal and vertical lines, and some of them in groups of two or three.  That's not a terribly hard pattern and I felt like I had a pretty good vision of what I wanted.  The first couple of rows were easy-peasy.
The middle section was a little bit trickier.  Enter MacGuyver.
I don't know if clothespins are an official sewing notion, but they worked for me.  I just rolled up the quilt as I went, and for sewing, I just lined up my presser foot with one of my seams so that my sewing lines were straight.  I must have gotten tired at this point and I didn't get any more pictures, but there was one other sewing notion that I used.  It was blue painter's tape.  There were some places that I wanted to quilt that weren't close enough to a seam, so I used the painter's tape (ball-eying it again) and created my own reference point.  It worked really well.
That was really my first experience quilting, well, anything, and I'm happy with my results.  The only thing I had left to do was to bind the quilt, which I will share soon in part 3.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Do You Like the French Horn?

If someone would have asked me this at any time in grades 5 through 12, my answer would have most certainly been no.  My parents and my former band teachers can back me up there.  But just the other day, I found this little guy in my jewelry box.  And I asked myself the question again.  I said yes.  What do you think?

Saturday, May 22, 2010

A Baby Quilt in Three Parts, part 1

Each time one of my grandmothers passed away, I was the lucky one to inherit their craft supplies.  I love that I shared my hobbies with them.  I now find myself in the predicament of having more fabric and yarn that I might ever know what to do with.  Well, one of my cousins just had her second baby this month, and since baby Michael is the first great-grandchild since my grandma passed away, I thought I would make him a quilt with some of the fabric that I inherited from my grandmother.  To me, it seemed like a way to share a piece of my grandmother with my cousin and her new baby, and I hoped it would mean a lot to her.  There was just one problem.  You see, other than having my mom help me assemble a quilt top when I was much younger, I haven't actually ever made a quilt.  So what did I do?  Eh, I just winged it.  (Ball-eyed it for those of you who know what that means.)  To quote a great movie, "What, like it's hard?"  I was about to find out.

The first thing that I did, though, was choose my color palette.  That was the fun part.  I found a lot of blue quilting cotton in my grandma's stash, and after weeding out all of the flowery options, I was left with about 5 good sized pieces.  I added an aqua remnant left over from a project I did with a friend and a cream piece that I had laying around.  And just to give it some extra punch, I added a green snake-skin print.  We just won't tell anyone that in a former life, that piece was meant to be a skirt.  Anyway, with the fabrics chosen, it was time to proceed.

When my mind enters in to the creative process, it tends to fall back on its math skills.  I basically just outlined a rough grid in my head.  I would sew patches into rows, and then sew the rows together to make the quilt top.  I measured enough to try to keep my quilt square, but once I got going, I just went with my gut.  Here is the quilt taking shape.

So far, so good.  I just love how the colors turned out.  I surprised myself at how much I like this color scheme, and it was at this point that I thought maybe I should just keep this for myself.  Nobody would ever know the difference.  But that is not why I started this project, so I decided not to do this.  I do have to admit that another thought ran through my mind, and that was that it might just be possible for me to have a son.  If any of you tell my husband I will deny it up and down though.  [Please don't read this as anything negative towards boys or parents of boys or people who want to have boys.  I just have always wanted girls, that's all.]

Stay tuned for parts two and three of this project.  There is a good ending.

Can we just look at the color combination one more time?


Saturday, May 1, 2010