Sunday, October 27, 2013

Squares, Squares and more Squares, and a quilt in a day.

After taking off last weekend, I have been sewing like crazy. I ran out of the white fabric for my Christmas quilt border, so could not work on it... My sweet granddaughter is not here this weekend, as her dad is off work. So it's just me and my sewing machine....Oh yeah, the hubby and the cat are here too.

The border fabric came in the mail and the first thing I did was complete my Christmas quilt. A few posts back I showed the pattern that inspired this quilt. I was also inspired by the green snowman fabric. It's from Moda's Aspen Frost collection. It's just cute, cute, cute. My only regret is the red I added. I made a change as the quilt progressed. Initially the small squares where going to a variety of red and green fabrics. I decided I wanted the quilt to be mostly green and white. More precisely I want the green solid and the green and red fabric from Aspen Frost.  If this was a gift I probably would have taken it apart and made it all green and white.. it's just for our what the heck. It's still cute. I can't wait till it is quilted.

Christmas quilt with Moda snowmen.
details of the snowmen.

I really like this pattern. Initially it it was just two rows, and adding the extra row was just what I needed.. This is an easy pattern and I am sure to make it again. I  think it would make an adorable baby quilt. One row might make a nice table runner. Hum...lots of possibilities.

On to the next project.

Since I had the day to myself I decided to try a new pattern. I have been looking for a simple pattern for a quilt I want to make for a friend. He likes modern clean lines and earth tones. I browsed through my old quilt magazines and this caught my eye. I don't think this color combination is very masculine, but the pattern is modern and the main idea is to have high contrast. I decided to flip the colors. I had everything I needed in my stash. The coolest thing is I made this entire quilt today. I could not believe how easy it was. The pattern is called Early Spring and was designed by Lyn Brown. It is in the Feb/Mar 2013 Quilt Magazine.

I can see why modern quilts are so popular. This went together so quick and it really shows off the fabric. I can see this pattern as a Christmas quilt too. Can you imagine a white back ground with reds and greens, or white and blues? Because of how easy it goes together, it would also make a great charity quilt.

I think I should call this Late Fall instead of early spring. Brown is not a favorite color. However this batik had an subtle, but interesting pattern. I think it set off the rest of the colors, made them pop. I am very happy with how it turned out. All that is left is to send it to my long arm quilter.

Brown Batik for the borders and beige, blues and greens for the contrasting fabrics.

Taking time off to celebrate.

My husband's family has the longevity gene. Last weekend I took a break from sewing to travel across town to a birthday shindig for Eva Contadino, who turned 92. Her cousin Mario Giovanni,  also turned 92. So it was was a festive celebration. My mother-in-law Rena is on the right below. She will be 93 in March.

I am sure they are both thrilled that I am broadcasting their ages across the internet. Don't they look great? They may be  in their 90's, but they are young at heart.

Eva Contadino and Rena Contadino

 It was wonderful to see the cousins. Everyone shared stories of the good ole days and exclaimed all the kids are so grown we could hardly recognize them. Oh where have the years gone?

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Quilts for Bambina

I love making baby quilts. Their is such excitement and anticipation for the birth a child. Just think of the  joy that little person will bring to the family. Now I am turning 65 in December, so I am not making any babies (shudder). But I get excited whenever a neighbor or co-worker is expecting. I am in my glory picking that perfect fabric. I sometime make myself a little nuts trying to find just the right fabric, something that represents the parents in some way.

A few months ago I made a quilt for a co-workers daughter. She gave birth to a lovely little girl they named Luna.  All I needed was her favorite colors and the name of her child and I was off to the races picking fabrics illustrating the story Good Night Moon and all kids of fun things that mom liked. I was super excited when I found fabric for the back that had bunnies and bears swing on moons. Too cute!.

Luna's quilt
backing for Luna's quilt
This quilt was fun to design and make. I even quilted it. I think it took me longer to quilt it than it did to piece it. I am beginning to think quilting on a home machine is sort of like exercise. Sometimes you have to do it, but it does not mean it's fun. The piecing... yeah! That is fun.

Having had so much fun with Luna's quilt I was ecstatic when a psychologist at work announced she was expecting a baby girl in February. I found a pattern in Fat Quarterly book called Shape Workshop for Quilters. The pattern name is "Cub Crawl Baby Quilt". This is a square-in-square block with long rectangles. The design is perfect for fancy cutting fabric for the squares, and lots of  room for creativity in the fabric selection. The quilt is 48" by 56". This seems a little big for a baby crib quilt, but perfect for throwing on the floor for baby.

Mom has painted a mural with trees on a wall in the baby room. There will be birds on the branches. When I saw the tree fabrics and the birds that set the tone for the quilt. I then found a companion fabric for the pink forest that had princesses. Just the right touch of pink for the little girl. The last fabric I fell in love with had pink and orange scooters and bugs. So this is no traditional baby quilt, which should be perfect for this thoroughly modern mom to be.

This is the layout of the quilt. At this point it needed to be assembled, which I have done, but have yet to take a picture of it together. You can get the general idea. But I admit it looks even better sewn together. It also looks much nicer when it's not against my basement floor, but that is my "design wall" for now.
Ready to be assembled.
 Oh, and for extra fun I found a wonderful funky fabric for the back. Did I mention there is a lot of Italian heritage on both sides of this baby's family. I was powerless  when I saw this Italian alphabet fabric. I had to purchase it.

The alphabet in Italian.
This will be the backing and I think I'll bind the quilt with a green fabric.. I'm not quilting this one. At least I hope not. I just sent a email to my longer arm quilter. I hope she says send it up. I have some time before the baby shower, but I am excited to see this one quilted. Sandy always does a great job and I am excited to see what she comes up with when she quilts this.

So time to wait, no, time to cut out the fabric for that Christmas lap quilt. I love Christmas quilts too.
And my granddaughters aunt is expecting.....sounds like time to shop the stash. Maybe another baby quilt is on the horizon.
Have a good week.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Satisfaction of a project completed.

It's finally done. Jana has been working on a quilt for a dad since January. She designed the quilt. She decided on red and black, and blocks of Ohio Stars and Friendship stars. I don't know how she managed to keep it a secret from her dad, but she did. This week we got the quilt back from our longarm quilter, we trimmed it up, added the binding and Jana made a label for the quilt. She could hardly wait for her dad to pick her up on his way home from work.

A nice surprise after a long day at work.

This weekend was not without challenges. This was the first time Jana applied binding to a quilt. She was nervous she would ruin the quilt. I assured her she could not, and even I made come goofs along the way. Any problems can be fixed. She used her machine, the needle down function and her walking foot. I did help when she got to the corners so she could have that mitered corner. She was nervous, but it was not long before she got the hang of it and figured out it was actually pretty easy to do.

Miss, "I hate to hand sew...I can't hand sew...I don't want to hand sew"...decided to try giving  hand sewing a try. She wanted to be involved in every part of this quilt. She actually did a nice job. She makes small stitches, but does not have the patience to stick with a project this large.  After about 20 minutes she was done with it. We wanted it completed today, so grandma helped finish the binding. We thought about sewing it down by machine, but I like a hand sewed finish, so Jana agreed, as long as I helped.

"I am getting the hang of it, but still don't really like it"

All done!

Our second project is still a work in progress. Her bear crossing the mountain is becoming a bear of a quilt. I plead temporary insanity since I decided to quilt it on my home machine. Bad decision.

First problem was with the beautiful King Tut variegated I choose for the top.  My machine didn't know what to do with such nice thread and this caused problems. The tension needed to be changed, I also had Coats and Clark in my bobbin, which I learned from my dealer is a no-no. So after days of playing around, and some cussing. I took it to the dealer. They oohed and aah-ed over King Tut and looked pale and shook their heads when they saw my bobbin thread.  New thread for the bobbin solved the problem.
Pretty King Tut thread.

Even though this is  lap quilt size. I struggled with it on my sewing machine. I loved to piece. But quilting on my little home Janome...not so much. I know there are sewing wizards out there who even do full size quilts on their home machine. I hold you in high esteem. I have decided my sanity is more important. Unless it's a place mat or mug rug, I am sending my quilts out.

What's the problem. I can't roll something up and sew a straight line. And it is hard to sew with a budding photographer shooting close ups as you sew. But it is really just me. It is a pain. I get grumpy!

I also could not figure out what to do with this sunset border. I tried some free motion meandering. That was a disaster. I had to take it all out. I also ran out of the "good" bobbin thread. That meant no more using good old King Tut.

We did use the variegated thread to add depth to our bears fur. It actually looks better in person than this picture.

So it is kind of together. It still needs to be trimmed and have the binding added. This quilt won't get a lot of wear and tear, so I am considering no quilting in the sunset border. I am sounding like Jana, but I am afraid I might ruin the quilt.

Time to stop while I'm ahead and the quilt is still presentable.
We've had a long day of sewing. Jana is home with her dad. He is happy with his present. I've folded this quilt up on my sewing table until I can get to the binding. The cat has taken over. I think he is saying that's enough, we are done for the day. Time to rest. I think he knows what he is talking about.

"No I'm not giving it up ..I am resting"
Good idea. I think I'll go to the same... Have a good week all.