Quilting quandary

I love almost every aspect of quilting. You often hear of quilters who have trouble choosing fabrics to go together (note I said “choosing” not “buying” – we don’t seem to have trouble with that part!), but that isn’t difficult for me. I enjoy designing quilts, sometimes to the detriment of actually making them. I hope it doesn’t get worse when EQ7 arrives! Cutting fabric, while not particularly fun, isn’t difficult because I have great tools. I use an Alto’s Quilt Cut system that allows me to cut a lot of fabric at a time, and my Martelli Ergo 2000 Rotary Cutter (left handed, thank you!) means that I don’t have a sore wrist or shoulder.

Alto's Quilt Cut

Ergo 2000

Piecing is a favorite – wonderfully soothing in the repetition. I admit, I’m not fond of adding borders, but only because I’m so close to being finished, and they’re kind of boring. I’m working toward either piecing my borders or eliminating them altogether on most quilts. Regardless, I never add just one border because I think it looks like an afterthought with the sole purpose of making the quilt bigger. I enjoy free motion quilting allover designs using my Little Gracie II frame. I even like the process of putting on binding. I sew a folded binding strip to the front of the quilt, then fold it over and hand stitch it to the back. I admit, my mom usually finishes the binding for me (she likes it, I swear!), but even when I do it myself, I enjoy the stillness of it, and the weight of the quilt on my lap.

So, my quandary? Well, I enjoy making mini quilts, and am nearly done with my mini for the Modify Tradition swap. But I can’t figure out how to quilt it. It has dimensional flying geese, and I don’t want to flatten them so the effect is lost. I will probably do it on my regular machine instead of the frame, and I can’t “think” free motion designs when I have to move the fabric instead of the machine. Straight lines stitching works, but again, I don’t want to flatten the geese, so it can’t be just straight lines across the whole thing. Grrr…

I finally decided to do straight lines 1/8″ inside the seams of the flying geese rows, then make continuous line concentric boxes in the setting squares. I don’t know if that was the best decision, but it’s the one I’m going with. I’ll post pictures after the quilt is received – I don’t think she reads this blog, but just in case…

By the way – my swap partner lives within half an hour of me! If I didn’t think it would be considered stalker-ish, wouldn’t it be fun to hand deliver the quilt?

Two Peas in a Pod winner

I just received an email with a PDF for the sweetest little quilt called Two Peas in a Pod. She also sent a separate PDF for making the dimensional sweet peas that are in the border, and I have to say, I think a dimensional quilt is in my near future. They’re so pretty, and so easy! She used these sweet peas on her Blogger’s Quilt Festival entry, and she has several photos that include a close up of the flowers. The quilt is beautiful – well designed, colorful, and with a touching story.

Angie’s website is full of wonderful applique patterns, including her current block of the month, a tree full of owls, that I think is just adorable, and the last project sewing group worked on, an incredible embellished dove. I haven’t yet dipped my toe in the applique pond, but her patterns are incredibly tempting!

For those who aren’t yet ready to try applique, she also has some incredible piecing patterns, designed using the Electric Quilt software. While many of her patterns are for sale or available for subscribers of her site, she also has a large selection of freebies.

Freeform sewing

A girl I work with had an ugly spiral bound calendar from Staples, and I told her I could make a cover for it, “no sweat.” She choose hot pink and black. Over the weekend I pulled fabrics and looked online (thank you Etsy!) for inspiration. I sketched out a rough idea, then laid out the fabrics to get a sense of what the inside and outside should look like. After a few opinions (she loves the giant button!), this is what I came up with:

Book Cover Fabrics 1
Outside

Book Cover Fabrics 2
Inside

I thought it all through carefully, measured and drew and designed, then finally took a deep breath and started cutting.

You know what?

It turned out exactly as I hoped!

Book Cover Front
Front

Book Cover Back
Back

Book Cover Inside Left
Inside Front

Book Cover Inside Center
Inside Center

Book Cover Inside Right
Inside Back

I took the Process Pledge

(Geez, I’m getting carried away with blogging, here! After this post I’d better get back to sewing…)

Have you heard about the Process Pledge?

The Process Pledge

I, Sandi, pledge to talk more about my processes, even when I can’t quite put them in the in words or be sure I’m being totally clear. I’m going to put my thinking and my gut feelings out there.

r0ssie, group owner of the Fresh Modern Quilts pool on Flickr and an amazing blogger, has pledged to post more about the process of quilting instead of just the finished quilts. She’s invited us to join her. She makes some interesting points about the definition of modern quilting and how quilt bloggers can grow (and help others grow) by thinking about and posting about the process behind their quilts. Check out her Mutant Quilting post, where she spills her thoughts.

So… I have several projects in various stages of completion, and I’ll post updates, starting with…

Ryan’s Quilt – for the neighbor boy whose high school graduation party is in a couple of weeks. This was inspired by the Crayon Quilt by Because I’m Me, which in turn was inspired by 4 squared by Cluck Cluck Sew. Because the quilt is for a young man, I needed something decidedly UN-flowery, UN-girly, and UN-fussy. Mom and I will be working on this together, so it needed to also be un-complicated. (Not that either one of can’t handle complicated, but combining complicated stuff made by two different people can be nerve-wracking!) I pulled a bunch of blue and brown fabrics, trying to eliminate the girly ones, and came up with this stack:

Sandi's Basket Fabrics

I am using these same fabrics for my Family Basket BOM, but that’s another post. Whenever I choose a new fabric for the BOM, I cut two 3″ strips for Ryan’s quilt. I sewed some of the blue strips together in four different sets of four, then sub-cut them into 3″ strips. One of each set got sewn together to form the block. I will do the same with the brown strips and more of the blues. I’m a little annoyed at my lack of attention during the blue strips because I repeated a couple of fabrics in the blocks. I’ve decided to let it go, because no one but me will really care. Do you have trouble letting stuff like this go, too?

Blue Block and Strips

I’ll assemble the quilt by alternating blue and brown square and set it all off with tan sashing – I have a Kona Cotton that is exactly the color of paper bags. As I said, I do everything in EQ6 first, so here’s what I hope it will look like:

Ryan 2

Blogger’s Quilt Festival – Spring 2010

Amy is hosting the third Blogger’s Quilt Festival from May 21 – May 28. It’s not too late to join, so click on over to check it out. She already has links for over 450 entries – places you can click to see what other quilters are doing. I love the quilting/crafting blog community!

My entry is my Neapolitan quilt.

Neapolitan quilt crop

In July 2008 I was out of work, out of money, and out of my mind. Out of my mind in the sense that I was dealing with anxiety and depression, and I couldn’t get my head around much of anything. I wasn’t sewing, wasn’t doing much of anything but sitting in a recliner and reading. I think I read about 50 books in 3 weeks. It wasn’t good. One day I decided it was time to change, so I gave myself a task, something that required attention to detail and focus, but had no real consequences if I failed. I decided to design and sew a complex quilt block. Using EQ6, I came up with a block that I named Anxiety. It opened me up to the possibilities of quilting as therapy, and I pushed on to design the quilt above. It is a modified log cabin, with different widths for the cream and the pink strips. I added a half-rectangle triangle on the ends of the strips, popped the block into a quilt using EQ6, then started rotating blocks using the Serendipity tool. When this arrangement appeared, I thought I might be onto something. I printed it out and carried it around with me for a while. A week or so later I was at a local quilt shop (I was helping with her website and writing patterns for her to pick up a little extra money), and showed her the illustration. She liked it enough to offer me the fabric if I would write up a pattern! She gave me the fabric to make the sample quilt, and then she kept the sample until all of the kits that she made for it were sold. I used a new line that had just arrived in her store – In the Pink II from Buggy Barn for Henry Glass. The fabric reminded me of Neapolitan ice cream, hence the name. I finished the blocks in just over two weeks, and finished the entire quilt in less than a month. (That’s possibly a record for me, since I am a terrible procrastinator.) There were a few issues here and there (thread choices, anyone?), but looking back, I realize that this quilt is full of firsts for me. It’s my first original design, my first pieced back, my first pattern, my first quilt on public display (and it was on display in the vendor booth at a large quilt show, the Wisconsin Quilt Expo), my first experiment with free motion leaves, the first completed quilt I posted on this blog and the first quilt pattern I listed on Etsy.

I love this quilt. It isn’t huge – 63″ square – but it’s big enough to throw over a lap. Best of all, it’s MINE – mine from the conception to the reality. Here are a few variations from EQ6 – I still might make another one (I really love the blue/green and black/red ones).

Neapolitan Variation 1 Neapolitan variation 2 Neapolitan variation 3 Neapolitan variation 4 Neapolitan version 5 Neapolitan variation 6 Neapolitan variation 7