Thursday, May 31, 2012

Blue Scrap Quilt--Finally Finished!

I finally finished my blue scrappy quilt!  I blogged about it previously here.  Many thanks to Elizabeth at Oh Fransson for the instructions.  These blocks were so much fun to make.  I'm sure I'll make more, as it is a good way to use up scraps.

Twelve blocks put together.

But the blocks I made were too small to be a good quilt size.  I needed to add some borders.  I determined that I needed like 8" of borders on each side, which is a lot for just one piece of fabric.  Trouble was, I really liked having the quilt outlined--framed--with the blue fabric.  I just couldn't see making the whole eight-inch-wide border out of the blue.  

So I made up a narrow, 2" strip of more scrappiness.  Then to the quilt I added a blue border, the narrow scrappy border, then another blue border.  That did the trick!

I liked this look!

Unfortunately, I didn't have enough of the pretty starry fabric for the binding, so I used some plain blue fabric instead. 

Sewing strips together to make one long binding strip.

And here is the finished quilt being held by a couple of my friends.  (Thanks, Gail and Joyce!)  This quilt is destined to be a Quilt of Valor, given to a wounded veteran.  Our guild makes at least 25 of these each year to take to a nearby veterans hospital.

I didn't get a photo of the back of the quilt before I gave it away, but I made it up of about five different blue fabrics.  I decided that a scrappy quilt should have a scrappy back!  They were some fabrics that I had a nice amount of, like a yard, or maybe a little less. The biggest piece was a real nice light blue organic cotton from Harmony Art Organic Fabrics.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

New Blogger In The Family

SonStitches has started his own blog!  

No, it doesn't have to do with quilting, but it does have to do with stitches.  One hundred eight stitches, to be exact.  That is the number of double stitches on a baseball.  Yes, SonStitches has a baseball blog.  Of course, as his MomStitches, I think it's quite a good blog.  SonStitches was weaned on the San Francisco Giants, and practically bleeds orange.  He loves baseball and the Giants, and his blog is a commentary on the Giants.  He's quite a good writer, so you should check it out.

All the little white dots are seagulls.

He calls it Seagulls In The Outfield, a tribute to the hundreds of seagulls who fly around the outfield at AT&T Park near the end of each game.  They somehow know the time of day, and that as soon as the people leave, there will be a veritable feast of leftovers:  uneaten hot dogs, popcorn, french fries, etc.  Check out his blog, and encourage any baseball lovers you know to check it out, too.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Some Stitching for GranddaughterStitches

GranddaughterStitches had a birthday earlier this month, so it was time to make her another number shirt.  She is four years old now, so here is her new t-shirt.

I used a pretty purply batik for her number four, fused it on, then did a machine blanket stitch around the edges.

I also made her a poodle skirt.  When DaughterStitches was a little girl, my Mother-In-LawStitches made her a cute little poodle skirt.  I decided to carry on the tradition.  I chose some light purple felt for the skirt, and made it fairly long, so it will last for a while as she grows!  (I left extra elastic in the waistband, too!)  It was pretty easy to sew; no hemming to worry about.  Although several layers of felt get quite thick when you're attaching a waistband.

Instead of a poodle, I chose to put a Great Dane on the skirt, because that is the "dog of choice" for GranddaughterStitch's family.  They have a Great Dane named Trigger.  They used to have two, but poor Nala died this spring.  Great Danes are well-loved in that household!

The pattern included instructions for an underskirt, so I made that, too.  GranddaughterStitches said that is what makes the skirt fly out so well when she spins.  Since we weren't there on GranddaughterStitch's birthday this year, dear Son-In-LawStitches was great and sent me a little video of her spinning in her new skirt.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Alison Schwabe Class Part II

 Here are some photos of my work from Alison's class, as promised previously.

This first photo shows two opposite samples made by laying two squares, both right sides UP, then making two different angled cuts, rearranging the pieces, and sewing them back together.

This shows my efforts at inserting a pieced strip.  I was trying to see how skinny I could get my strips.  The third one I inserted, the left-most strip, was skinny enough to please me.

This photo shows some more-or-less "stack and whack" piecing, plus some inserted strips and crossed lines.  Look quickly, then go on by, as it's not a good photo!

Then I started working on some actual squares in hopes of assembling a quilt top out of some of them.  My favorite method was inserting strips, so I decided to do those.  To make life easier, I cut a large rectangle of fabric and inserted strips the long way.  Then I was able to cut it in two to make squares.  That's why they appear to be pairs--they are!

Saturday, May 19, 2012

New Serviettes For My Tea Set

I have owned a nice tea set for several years now.  Purchased in London, it has graced my table many times for tea parties with friends.

But I have never had napkins (or serviettes, as the English would say) to go with them.  I was having a couple friends over for tea this week, and decided to finally do something about this problem.  So I took a tea cup into the quilt shop with me to look for some suitable fabric.  I found the light, pretty floral that you see in the photos below. 

What follows is a little tutorial about how I made the serviettes.  I decided to make these smaller than standard napkin size, so I cut 13" unfinished squares.

First step:  fold under and iron a half-inch hem on each side. Then unfold the corners, and fold under a mitered corner.  That bit of fabric folded on the diagonal is going to stick out beyond the hem I sew, so it needs to be trimmed off.  I cut a little square our of each corner.  Can you see it clearly in the photo below? 

Mitered corner with protruding square cut out.

Then I have a nice-looking corner like this.

Folded and pressed mitered corner, ready to turn and sew.

 Folding under again, right up to the pressed fold, will give me a nice 1/4" hem.

Hem edge turned under for a finished edge.

I didn't need pins to sew the sides.  I just finger-pressed my 1/4" hems and stitched along the inside edge.

Sewing the hem, right along the inside edge.

The one place I did pin was at the corners, as there were a lot of edges to be held down there.  I simply sewed up to the diagonal fold, took one stitch on the diagonal to move me over to the next hem, and continued on that side.

Coming up to the mitered corner, which I have pinned.

And I end up with a nice-looking mitered corner like this one.  You can see that this isn't my absolute best example, but even it's not bad.

Finished mitered corner.

Here is one stack of serviettes, nicely pressed.

And don't you think they go well with my tea set?!?

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Class With Alison Schwabe

Today I was in a quilting class taught by Alison Schwabe.  The first of a two-day class.  Alison is from Australia, and our guild was lucky enough to get her to teach for us (and lecture at the meeting on Friday) while she is in the US visiting family.

What a fun class--and great teacher!  This class is totally improvisational.  
Quarter-inch seams?  Don't matter.  
Straight-line cutting?  Don't do it.  
Measuring?  Don't worry about that.

Below are some of Alison's quilts, and close-ups of them, too.  To see more of her work, visit her website here.

Quilt by Alison Schwabe

Close-up of above quilt.

Close-up of top quilt.

Quilt by Alison Schwabe

Close-up of above quilt.

Quilt by Alison Schwabe

Close-up of above quilt.

 Silly me, I forgot to take photos of my experiments and play-time today.  Hopefully, after tomorrow's class I'll have those, plus some actual finished work to show you.  Stay tuned!

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Asilomar and Melinda Bula

I had the great opportunity to go to Asilomar, in Pacific Grove, California in April to attend Empty Spools Seminars.  This is the fourth year I've done this, and it is an incredible experience.  (I've blogged about it previously here.)

This year I took a class from Melinda Bula.  She is a great teacher, and a lot of fun, too.  There were eleven of us in the class, so it wasn't too big, which is always good.  My classmates were fun, too.  Some felt like real friends before the week was over.

For this class we were making flower quilts.  Melinda is very well-known for her flower quilts.  (Really, you should go to her website and look at them.  Here's the link for her flower quilts.  Go now.  I'll wait for you.)

Original Poppy Photo I Chose

So we were told to come armed with a flower picture that we would like to turn into a quilt.  I absolutely love California poppies, so this is the photo I chose.  I wish I could say I took the photo, but it was just one I found on the internet.

It's not complicated, but there is a specific process to follow.  We traced our photos, drawing in shading marks, and other details, as well as the petal outlines.  We took those tracings to a copy shop downtown and had them enlarged very big; mine went up 325%.  We then used that blown-up copy to make our pattern pieces.

First Iteration of Poppy
Here you can see the first version of my poppy.  Then I stood back and decided that there was too much darkness in it.  So I made some changes.  This was relatively easy, as all the fabric pieces are on Steam-A-Seam II, and nothing was ironed down permanently yet.  You might be able to tell from the photo that my poppy is lying on a backing sheet from Steam-A-Seam.  Underneath it is lying my enlarged photocopy with the pattern markings on it.

Second Version of Poppy
Here is my second version.  I like it better.  As you can see, there are about a gazillion little (and big) pieces of fabric on it.  But it's no where near done yet!  There is a long ways to go.

Current Version
Here you can see the current version.  It is temporarily placed on this bright blue backing fabric.  I'm liking how it looks now.  The next step is to add some leaves to the background.  When I'm finished with that, I will have a lot of thread-painting to do on the machine to add even more detail to it.

Detail Photo
Here is a detail photo showing part of the flower.  I've added this photo just to show you how many little pieces of fabric we used to make the whole flower.  Like an impressionistic painting, you can't really tell from this tiny portion that it's a flower.  You have to back up from this quilt to see the whole thing.

I'll keep you posted with my progress on this quilt.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

What I Did For Earth Day

 I know I'm way behind in blog posts, and I apologize for that.  So I'll try to do a little catching up now.  Starting with Earth Day in April.

I spent Earth Day giving out reusable fabric bags at Surf Supermarket in Gualala, CA.  The market decided to save one million plastic bags by not using them any more for bagging groceries. Isn't that great!!!  There is a bill pending which would make single use plastic bags illegal in this county, but The Surf decided to just go ahead and do it independently.

Here is our group (I'm behind the camera!) displaying some bags and the very important "jazz hands."  We had 50 bags to give away, and they were gone in about an hour.  

These bags were all made by the Green Bag Lady, who kindly sent them to us to distribute.  Thank you, Green Bag Lady!

This photo shows a woman choosing her bag.  Such beautiful fabrics, and such a variety!  It was a hard choice for many people.