Thursday, June 14, 2012

In the Bag

A couple of months back I signed up to take part in the In the Bag - Ugly Fabric Quilt Challenge. Having never done one before, I wasn't sure what I was letting myself in for.
(Oh, and it's all been organised by the lovely Coloradolady.)

Basically, you post 2 yards of Ugly fabric to your swap partner, and they send you 2 yards in return. The 2 yards can be made up of any combination of pieces of Ugly fabric from your stash. (Don't be embarrassed, we all have them - at least one Ugly lurking in there with all the Pretties and Plains.) Once you've received your fabric, you're allowed to add to it whatever you like from your stash, and you can even buy 1 more yard of whatever, but you must use up 90% of the Uglies in the quilt. Even if it's just in the backing.

These are the fabrics I sent to my partner in Croatia:
The big greeny-bluey print, I don't like the colour of at all. I only bought it because it was cheap and I thought it would do as a backing. The orange is a cat print, but it's very subtle and busy at the same time. The other two small pieces came from bulk packs of scraps I bought. The dark blue, I just don't like, although looking at it now, I see fussy-cutting opportunities there. The other is a scrap of a nursery rhyme print.

And these are the fabrics she sent me:
Each piece is folded in half, so this pic shows the relative quantities of each.
Spot Missy's tail!
The yellow print is intensely bright. Especially to me, as I'm not a yellow person. (In my stash, sorted by colour of course, the yellow pile is by far the smallest.) The multicoloured FQ underneath it, I don't mind at all. The top-centre is a FQ of bears in various poses, hmmm. The half-yard of red roses is... well... tricky! and the grey print on the right is okay, it could have its place somewhere... but all of them together? I have my work cut out trying to come up with something! Thank goodness we're allowed to add stash fabric to the mix!

I have been mulling over it for weeks now, trying to find the perfect quilt pattern. I even contemplated designing my own - I came up with a couple of ideas, but wasn't too confident about how they'd work out. Then I had some slightly cunning ideas - like doing a prairie point border (never tried it before, because I know they use up a lot of fabric, which seems kinda wasteful to frugal ol' me, but would be just the ticket here); or having lots of 1" cut strips (because half of that would be seam allowance, thus halving the problem of where to put these tricky prints - plus they (hopefully) wouldn't be as noticeable).

Then yesterday I had an idea - a Yes! moment. I'll make a double-sided quilt, with the bright colours on the top and the dulls on the reverse/backing. Different blocks/theme for each side.

So the next step is to add some more fabrics, and mull over that for a bit longer until I'm satisfied it's time to start cutting.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

A Little Night Music

I seem to be continually beginning new things but rarely finishing them. I take comfort in the fact that I am not the only one in the world who does this.

So today, I will post about my second (and final) Project Quilting quilt.

Let's see, I'll cast my mind back...

The inspiration was Music. You had to choose a song title for your inspiration. I chose Mozart's Eine Kleine Nachtmusik. This translates in English to be "A Little Night Music", which I interpreted as follows...

Navy background, creamy coloured moon in the centre, with randomly placed colourful "music" spots dancing around it.


No. So I rearranged the spots, into what I found to be their natural order. (What can I say, I love rainbows!)

Yes. So I pinned them all. I should add that this is sandwiched all ready for quilting - backing, batting, top, held together with my wonderful friend, Quilt Basting Spray. Yay for the Spray.

I free-motion quilted the spots down, with matching thread for each colour. The central area needed something too, so I did some squiggly "rays" emitting from the moon. Yay for the moon rays.

That was the funnest part, as it was totally unplanned. I didn't know what I was going to do with each quilting line until I was actually doing it. What freedom to be creative!
The finished quilt, 24" x 24"

The back was made in a free manner as well. The central square is sewn from four new fabrics; the rest are repurposed pajamas.

The front's navy background and the moon are flannel as well; the small circles are all cotton. The binding was the lining of a favourite handbag. It had many compartments and pockets, so there was quite a bit of lining to be had.

But why mainly flannel? Because it was originally intended as a quilt for my cat Missy. But after I pinned it to the wall to get a good photo, I liked it being there, so it's staying up until I've got something to replace it with.

Besides, Missy is a long-haired puss, so just imagine all the shedding it would receive...

Hanging on the wall in the living room. Sorry Missy, you miss out. For now.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Project Quilting!

This is season 3 of Project Quilting (think Project Runway, but for the blog world, minus Tim and Heidi). I first heard about it a few months ago, after season 2 had finished, and have eagerly been waiting for the next one to begin. And it did, on 8 January. Thank you, Kim, for organising it all.

The first challenge was to use Architecture as the inspiration. In the rules it said to think outside the square and to do something nobody else would think of doing. So I chose to interpret this challenge on a literal level.

No, I didn't build a wooden quilt. What I did was arrange the letters in the word ARCHITECTURE into... an A-frame house.

I doodled, playing with the letters in the word, in an attempt to make architectural elements from each one.
My full-size paper pattern
A = A-frame house
R = a tree - the up and down parts are the trunk, with the round bit at the top making half the bushy part of the tree
C = I turned this into an ovoid window
H = a chimney
I = a skyscraper
T = a water tower, just like the one in a town I grew up in
E = a stylised view of an apartment building, with balconies
C = a tree
T = a TV aerial
U = a cross-section of a swimming pool
R = yet another tree (hey, R is a tricky letter! And, you need trees among all these buildings!)
E = an office block with lots of windows

Next I made a paper pattern, cut out each background piece in a light neutral, sewed them into rows, then into an equilateral triangle.
I cut out shapes, in realistic colours, and stuck them down with a glue stick.
Then I sandwiched some stiff batting and backing fabric with my A-frame on top.
Note: Quilt Basting Spray is WONDERFUL!

I wasn't sure if any of this would even work, but I was determined to learn something new and have fun doing it. Therefore, instead of using my "good" thread, I grabbed an old reel that I just couldn't throw away.

Note: If your sewing teacher ever tells you (like mine did, back in the '90s) to never ever use old thread, or worse, cheap thread that is "fluffy", then please heed her advice.

So, amongst a fair bit of re-threading due to snapped thread, I free-motion outline quilted/appliqued (both at once - is there a special name for that?) all the shapes. That was the funnest part.
Then trim, and bind.

And there it is, my equilateral triangle wall hanging that may or may not spell the word architecture.

Unfortunately, I ran out of time, and didn't get my entry in to be able to enter the competition. Everyone is given just one week to design and construct their quilt. I had all the ideas stewing away in my head, but typically left it until Sunday to begin implementing them (the deadline is Sunday at noon, but that's CDT, which is thankfully several hours into Monday morning here). By early Sunday evening I realised it just wasn't going to happen in time, so I stopped stressing about the deadline, but chose to carry on anyway.

Counting my fluffing-around-time, all-up I took two weeks instead of one. But I don't consider that strictly cheating as it wasn't entered into the prize-drawing.

And there are some pretty cool prizes, so go check it out!


Looking back, I've noticed the editor in me has, at every stage of the process, been re-reading, double-checking and just plain looking, thinking that I've spelled the word wrong. Even now.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Holiday Ribbon and a few new projects

I know I haven't checked in for a while, so here's another block from the Celebrate Christmas Quilt-along (which, incidentally, is over now, being waaay past xmas, but my quilt top is far from finished, so as far as I'm concerned, this is an ongoing project!)
It may not look very xmassy at first glance, but imagine a row of these blocks, and you'll get the picture. Especially if you use xmassy fabric, which I did not!
It's called Holiday Ribbon, designed by Ryan from Ryan Walsh Quilts. It was a nice, fast block to piece.

I'll be showing more of these on a hopefully regular basis, in between all the projects I'm signing up for this month:
The Block of the Month over at Craftsy
Project Quilting, over at Kim's Crafty Apple
The latest Round Robin over at Patchwork Posse
The Free Motion Quilt Challenge at SewCalGal
New Beginnings Mini Quilt Swap over at Quilting Gallery - you have to register for this by 1st February, so get in quick if you're interested!

I think that list is complete. If it isn't, I may just be taking on too much. There is after all only so much spare time a person can have!