Archive for the ‘finished quilts’ Category

Kimonos: Peru to Japan

I finally got around to asking my friend to take a picture of the kimonos wall art I made for her! It isn’t the greatest, but it shows the final product, anyway, with the borders put on and framed. I really love the way this came out. And she loves it, which is the most important thing.

It was a real adventure in framing, though, I’ll say that much! If you decide to have quilt blocks framed, make sure you go to someone who is experienced at it! I had decided to get this framed and then take it on the flight to Florida where I would be meeting up with my friend, and give it to her there, instead of trying to mail it and wonder if it would get broken or lost or what have you. Of course, I began the whole “find a framer and get it done before your flight leaves” about a week or so before my departure. And the frame was to be ready two days before we left, on a Friday.

You see where this is going, right?

The framer had never done quilt blocks before, and ended up spray-mounting it to cardboard (the horror!!!) and putting about a thousand wrinkles in it that I had previously ironed out. I loved the mat and frame, but of course since he had made such a mess, the borders did not line up properly and the whole thing looked not only wonky but BAD. When I saw it, I sat in my car and cried for like half an hour. I couldn’t believe someone would be so careless about someone else’s artwork, you know? How could he let this go out of the door of his shop such a mess? Without so much as a call to say, here’s what’s going on, what do you want me to do? Without offering even a discount for his extremely poor workmanship? Yep. Cried.

My husband called the guy and reamed him up one side and down the other. That made me feel better. The guy said he would reframe it, and I said no way in hell would I let him touch it again, except to take it off the cardboard and give it back to me. It’s now the day before I’m leaving for Flordia, and I am hand washing the spray-mount out of the blocks and hanging it on the line to hopefully dry in time.

By the next morning, the blocks are finally dry, so I press the hell out of them and try my best to get them in that frame. I ended up using clear packing tape to tape the raw edges to the back of the mat, stretching only as much as necessary to not let it wrinkle, cursing the guy at the frame shop the whole time. Well, it came out better than the spray-mount! I had the four-foot something frame packed up in several flattened cardboard boxes and ready for my trip about a half hour before I had to catch a taxi to the airport. Then I measured it to see if it would meet the airline’s requirements for checked-in baggage (it was over by about 5 inches total and they really gave me a hassle on check-in, but the manager ended up letting me carry it on anyway). Talk about cutting it close!

Surprisingly, it went through security at both airports easily, and made it without a scratch. And she loved it. Whew.

Oh, I found the magazine this pattern was originally published in: Quilts with Style (not a surprise!), the May/June 2003 issue #40. Which is, of course, sold out on their website. But if you really wanted to find a copy, eBay is the way to go. I’ve gotten tons (literally!) of quilt mags from eBay over the years.

There, that’s better.

I decided on a completely different direction, and attached the mini quilt to a twig from my backyard. I figured it fit into the whole bird theme. My husband asked if I was going for a “rustic chic” look, which coming from him isn’t exactly a compliment. LOL… I like it though! Even if it is a bit “rustic.” I need to do something to weight down the bottom so that it stops curling… which might actually happen by next Christmas!

Holiday Crafting

Jeez Louise, I can’t believe I haven’t blogged since July! And here it is January 1, 2010. Which means I haven’t crafted or quilted in an ice age. That is just wrong, my friends! I don’t really do New Year’s resolutions, but I think this year I am going to have to at least promise myself to quilt and craft more often. With my new job and a five-year-old, things can get busy all too soon, leaving one little time for oneself. And we all know we need to give ourselves a break now and again!

On with it, then! I made a couple of things this Christmas; little things that wouldn’t take me much time to do but also things I’ve been wanting to have a go at. First up: Christmas wreath.

This year, we finally broke down and bought a fake tree. The “trees” that pass for Christmas trees in Costa Rica are sad, Charlie Brown-type things, and this year (after living here for 9 years!) I finally put my foot down and said No more real trees! I love the little tree we found at (gasp, yes I know) Wal-Mart aka Hipermas. The other thing I always wanted was a nice wreath, so I bought one that matched the tree, added a big ribbon bow and a string of multicolored lights to it, and then made two little Christmas birds to sit in it.

Christmas wreath

It looks much nicer in a darkened room, with the lights twinkling off and on, but I couldn’t manage a decent shot with my little digital camera (which is dying anyway, btw). Here are closeups of the two little birds; there’s a free pattern at Spool if you would like to make your own.

One of the women in our crafts group found the pattern and we all made a bird or two for another friend’s new baby. Though we never actually got around to stuffing them — the baby is now six months old and I think the birds are still waiting to be finished! Well, we’re crafting again in January, so I hope we’ll finally wrap up that project. 🙂

The other project I worked on was a mini-quilt. It’s only 10-3/4″ by 6-3/4″, and I still need to figure out a simple way to hang it (Ami Simms at the Alzheimer’s Art Quilt Initiative has some fantastic ideas for hanging small quilts; I’m sure I’ll use one of them!). This was my first attempt at hand embroidery (please don’t laugh too hard — I know the stitches are completely wonky and it looks as though my five-year-old made it, but one has to start somewhere, right?). I really love the look of redwork and initially thought I’d do the whole piece in red, but at the last minute decided to use green as well, to highlight and make it more Christmasy.

Believe it or not, it’s not actually as wonky as the picture makes it look! I don’t know why I can’t take a decent picture of a quilt yet. It’s sad, really… I machine quilted and bound it, and “discovered” through trial and error an easy way to do mitered back-to-front wrap binding using the machine. I just really can’t stand hand sewing binding, though I don’t mind hand sewing in general. Basically, it’s a matter of folding the corners, stitching two parallel bindings, then folding down the corners again on the other sides, and stitching the two remaining bindings. I will put together a short tutorial, though I highly doubt I am the first person to come up with this and there are probably better instructions out there.

You can download the embroidery design for free at Gail Pan Designs.

Happy New Year everyone! Here’s to a year filled with love and quilts!

Black, White and Pink All Over

Here’s the latest baby quilt I made for a friend, whose shower was yesterday. Yay! I finally finished one before the baby is born!

Black, White and Pink All Over

Black, White and Pink All Over

That’s my little guy on the left, and my husband on the right. I actually have another pic of this quilt where you can see my husband’s face, but like me, he hates having his picture taken! 🙂 It’s hard to see from this picture, but I used a very cute black, white and pink kitty fabric that I’d bought quite some time ago but hadn’t made anything with. I thought it was perfect for my friend because she’s having a little girl and she has two kitties of her own. (She loved it!)

I used a pattern from Dianne Hire‘s book, Quilters Playtime: Games With Fabric. “Musical Chairs” basically has you taking a stack of fabrics (I used 9), cutting them twice up and twice across, and then reassembling them into blocks. Then you put them together any way you like. I did them three to a row with a row of solid blue inbetween each row of blocks.

To finish this baby quilt quickly, I also used a couple of tricks that are certainly not new, but new to me! Binding is one of those things that I just cannot stand doing (and it takes me forever!). So this time I decided to “birth” the quilt, using the pillowcase binding method. If you’ve never tried this before and hate binding a quilt like I do, I highly suggest giving this method a go! It’s really quick and simple. Basically you layer the quilt top, backing and binding in a certain order, sew 1/4″ all the way around (leaving an opening to turn the quilt right-side out), and flip it out, finish the seam, and then sew another 1/4″ around. I think that the next time I do this, I will add a 3/4″ strip to the outside of the quilt top, so that when I sew the final seam, it will fake looking like an actual binding. I’ll let you know how that turns out. 😉

The other thing I did was to tie the quilt with yarn instead of quilting it. This took a couple of hours in front of the t.v., as opposed to several more hours behind a sewing machine. I like the way it came out, and was definitely one of the quicker baby quilts I’ve put together (though it still took me about 8 hours total).

How I spent my Christmas vacation

First, I fringed the back of my son’s jeans and polar fleece quilt, washed it, giving it that sufficiently “raggy” look, and gave it to him for Christmas (he loves it):

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And a closeup of the ragged edges:

back of raggy quilt closeup

Then I made a row for Project Linus, using Quiltmaker’sLotsa Pops” pattern. I’m sending it after the first, when postage from Costa Rica goes down slightly. Here are two of the blocks. I noticed a mistake on the pattern, FYI, if you decide to make a row or a whole quilt. On page 4, which has the paper piecing pattern for the double ice pop, the rectangle B should be 1″ x 3-1/2″, not 1″ x 3″ as it states. But you’d probably notice that when you made the block anyway. This one reminds me of an orange creamsicle (mmm….):

orange creamsicle

This one reminds me of one of those strawberry crunch pops the ice cream man sold from his truck (amazingly, there are still ice cream men here in Costa Rica! I got my son a fudgesicle from the ice cream man last week, in fact):

Double ice pop

And finally, I did something I’ve been wanting to do for a while — I made something out of a sheet my MIL gave my husband and I years ago. It had beautiful embroidery on it, but it just didn’t fit in with our decor (and the cotton was heavy for a sheet in C.R.). A few months ago, I was going through some back issues of McCall’s Quick Quilts and found a pattern for making placemats out of vintage linens and 30’s prints (the March 2005 issue). Ah-ha! Lightbulb moment. So I cut up the sheet, using plain parts of the sheet as backing, low-loft cotton batting, and random strips of small and medium country-esque prints (I didn’t have many 30’s prints here at all). I think they came out super cute, and while I was making these, I also thought that you wouldn’t even need to use vintage linens to make this project. With all of the embroidery machines out there, if you have one of those, you could just embroider a vintage motif and use that instead. Or, how cute would these be for Christmas? Maybe with redwork embroidery and Christmas strips? So many ideas, so little time! As you can see, I still need to bind them, but I did at least square them up. So they’re almost ready to go:

vintage placemats

I still have the center piece of the sheet, which is a beautiful embroidered peacock surrounded by flowers. I couldn’t bear to cut it up. I may just frame it as artwork, which is what it is, really. Or perhaps use it as a center piece in a medallion quilt…

What projects did you get to work on over the holidays?

Happy New Year, everyone!

Rag Jeans and Polar Fleece Quilt

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This is a quilt I’ve been wanting to make for a while, ever since I started saving old jeans, thinking that “someday” I’d do something with them. Then my MIL gave my son a few pieces of fleece (Spiderman, sports and airplanes), so I thought, why not make a raggy jeans quilt with all of it? Here’s how I made it:

I cut squares from the jeans that were about 9-1/2″; I chose that size simply because I had a square ruler that is 9-1/2″ so it made for an easy template! You could really make the squares any size you want. I did the same thing with the polar fleece, then matched wrong sides together, and quilted the blocks. For most of the blocks, I just did a simple X (one corner to the other), though I wanted to keep some of the jeans pockets on, and for those I basically just stitched around the pocket. The idea is just to hold the squares together. You don’t have to use batting for this quilt, so there’s no need to worry about it bunching up.

Besides saving some pockets, I also saved a couple of Levi’s tags. I liked showing some of the details of the jeans that you don’t normally see when you wear them, such as these two printed pieces inside a pocket on a pair of Levi’s:

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And, I used some of the denim wrong side out. This gave a little more subtlety with the blues, and also showed off some of the stitching that, again, one normally doesn’t see because it’s on the inside of the jeans. I even saved the front of one pair of jeans, sewing around the zipper and button so that my son (he’s 4-1/2) could zip and unzip and store toys inside and in the pockets.

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While most rag denim quilts have the ragged side on the front (denim) side, I decided to rag the fleece (back) side instead. I did this because I thought that with the extra pockets and notions and things I’d stuck on the front, it would look too busy with the fringe as well. Of course, it might have looked just fine, but once it was sewn, there was no way I was going to take it apart!

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I sewed the blocks together using a 1/2″ seam allowance, but of course this again is flexible. Some people use an inch or 3/4″; whatever seam allowance you use is what the length of the rag fringe will be. I sewed denim sides together, which made the rag side on the fleece side. If you wanted the denim to be the rag side, just sew the fleece sides together.

After putting all of the rows together (I made the quilt 7 rows of 6 blocks each, which makes a nice size lap quilt or throw for watching t.v.) comes the arduous task of snipping all of the exposed seams to get the ragged fringe. Basically, you just snip every 1/4″ or 1/2″ almost to the stitching on the seams. I’ve tried several different kinds of scissors, and for me the easiest to do this with is a pair of applique scissors. No matter what kind of scissors you use, your hand will probably get really tired after doing a few rows! This is the worst part of making the quilt, I think, but I just kept telling myself, “It’s almost done… it’s almost done!”

I love the way this quilt turned out! I probably spent about 8-10 hours total making it, so it’s definitely a project you could do in a weekend. I’ve heard that not putting fleece in the dryer keeps it from pilling; however, the whole point of a rag quilt is that the more often you wash and dry it, the raggier the fringes get. Plus, at my house, we have nine dogs and four cats, and at least some of them are going to be sitting on the quilt at any one time. So it will have to go in the dryer to get the pet hair off. I’ll just cross my fingers and hope for the best. You could also use flannel instead of fleece, which won’t pill. Anti-pilling polar fleece is also sold, but I am quite doubtful that is what my MIL bought. Oh well! It’s a quilt to be loved and keep warm, not to hang on a wall. If it pills, it pills! Que sera, sera!

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Baby Quilt #2

Today I started on baby quilt #2, which is for a boy. I played around with half-square string blocks in Electric Quilt, and came up with something along these lines:

Then I did the blue string blocks, which looked like this before being cut (ew!):

And after (much better!):

Tomorrow I’ll cut out the solid blocks and it should be pretty quick to put the heart of the top together.

My son and I also made his very first quilt today! He’s 3, so it was quite an accomplishment. He picked out a background fabric, which I cut about the size of a sheet of paper, and then told me what colors he wanted to use. So I used fusible web on the back of several pieces of fabric, cut them up into different shapes, and let him stick them to the background. Then I fused the pieces down and let him color all over it with my fabric markers. I finished the quilt for him by quilting, backing, and binding it and adding a label. He was so proud! Hey, if you’ve got one of those kids that always wants to “help” you quilt, this is a great project for them! Older kids could make actual pictures and cut out their own shapes themselves. It was fun and a great way for him to pass the time while Mom was busy making those string blocks! Not that I can take all the credit for this idea, though. I picked up Laura Wasilowski’s book Fusing Fun and thought, hmmm, this could work with kids, too!