Monday, June 22, 2009

I'm gonna call this one a learning experience!

First off I want to make clear-this quilt is not completely my design. I "copied" (sort of) one that Kellie made and anything that looks awkward about my quilt is NOT her fault. I did eventually buy a pattern from her, but started this before I got it. If I had waited I am sure I would have much prettier flowers and butterflies. I feel a little funny ripping off someone else's design so I wanted make it clear that she provided the inspiration for this quilt!

I had a great experience purchasing from Kellie and there was the added bonus of the exchange rate working in my favor. I got a deal when her site converted my U.S. money to A.U. money! (Is that the proper initials? For Australia?) Her pattern was very clear and included a large section of paper with the placement of the little pieces on it. Sometimes you get a pattern and you have to tape together some smaller letter-size sheets of paper, but Kellie's was great. Now that I have the proper pattern, I will make one of these and keep it! For ME! I will use the pillow pattern and just convert it to a quilt.
So anyway, Future Niece's first quilt from her "Auntie Leesee" is finished! And it has been put into her mama's care. Before she was born even! I didn't have it done in time for the baby shower, but I did get it done before she was born, so in my book, that's on time! I used these colors because my brother has always loved purple and green- he used to have big lifted-up "monster trucks" and he would paint them one of the two colors. Or both. Well, after I gave this to my SIL, she said it was one of her favorite color combos, too. So that was cool.
This was my first try at a lot of things- free-style handquilting (which I think I made up), raw edge applique, bias cut binding and a scalloped border.
On here you can see how I just sort of started quilting "straight" lines (without marking them). At first I liked how wavy my quilting lines are, then I didn't like it, and then I switched back to liking it. It is basically what I had in mind, but after a while, I wasn't sure if I liked it in real life. I have decided that I do. I said it was "organic" and my mom laughed at me. Then all day she kept teasing me about hypo-allergenic quilting or something. I take so much abuse from my family. At least Sherry understood me.

I liked the raw edge applique, although I am a bit leery of how it will wash.

I LOVED bias cut binding and will now switch to that. Up until now I have always just done a straight cut. Straight cut is faster, but this looks and handles SO much nicer!

The front:

I just realized I took the picture by the one straight seam in the whole binding. Nice.

The back:

The white with purple polka-dots is a "vintage" sheet. (Or maybe it's just an upcycled sheet. I don't think it's very old.)

Yeah. And then. Scalloped borders. Right. Um, won't be doing that again. Not for a while. A LOONG while. It is pretty, and it turned out... well, it turned out ok.

Some areas (by that I mean ONE) even turned out pretty good.

And Future Niece herself could have done a better job on some of these BLANKETY-BLANK-BLANK pointy-inside-corner-things! From inside the womb!

I have posted this picture so that I may inspire (fear into the hearts of) those who are possibly considering making (a BIG mess of) scalloped borders!! It's a great way to finish off a quilt (if you are masochistic) and gives it a little extra charm (and some arthritic lumps). So if you want to try taking your binding and border making skills to the next level (and by that I mean if you are INSANE) go ahead and try this. (Just don't do it my way- which is trial and error, mostly error.)

Someday I will write a proper post about how (not) to make a scalloped border.

In the meantime, I would suggest you make a (slightly) wavy border and call it good.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

I do other things besides quilt. I also paint.

Here is a sampling of my work.

Each item is completely original, and made either by me alone or with the help of my two assistants. Or maybe the assistants made it and I helped... I am never completely sure who is in charge.

We like to use found objects in our art. And color. We are quite fond of color.

(Our neighbors would attest to that fact.)

By far the most utilized component is the "googly eye" which Lucas demonstrates here:

Unfortunately yesterday's work session quickly degenerated into an ant attack. That is, my assistants attacked the ants. With paint. So someday some confused geologist is going to find some poor ants fossilized in bright pink craft paint.

We will be displaying these pieces in our garden all summer, so feel free to stop by for a private showing. (Prices are negotiable.)

Tuesday, June 9, 2009


What's up on my design wall, that is:

I am working on my quilt for Project Improv. I think I can use this for the B & W plus One Challenge, too, actually. It's black, white and dark green. I have it this far and now will leave it up there for a few days and switch things around- sort of mull it over. I somehow have a glitch somewhere because I only used 90 of the 100 squares I made. Anyone see the problem? I don't, but I bet if I leave it up there a while I will figure it out.

One picture shows the fish swimming clockwise and one shows them going counter-clockwise. They will be cut down smaller and have a border put around each one.

I am leaning toward counter-clockwise at this point.
So if anyone has any suggestions or input, I am wide open over here!
Edited to add: I figured out where I went wrong and it's 10 x 10 now, but I am not sure it's improved. I don't like how two of the white strips end up on the outside.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

A quilt show from Mom's house

The boys and I went to my mom's house last week and spent a week there sewing and having fun. She has THREE weddings on one day next month and was trying to get a quilt made for each one. She had them all cut out and two of them sewed together. So we put the completed tops on the frame and pinned them and she quilted those two while I worked on sewing the third top together and making a fancy backing.

Here is quilt number one. This is for my brother's friends' wedding and is the one I worked on sewing together. My brother is standing up in this wedding, so he helped pick out the fabric and my SIL helped with the sewing, too. For having three different people sewing on this top, it turned out remarkably square. I was proud of us! The back is gray camoflage.
This one is for a friend of the family's wedding. These are the colors in her bedroom. The binding on this is really pretty- a large scale blue gingham.
This one is for my brother-in-law's brother. (Wow- all the apostrophes in these relationships are confusing me!) Mom started this one a while ago and worked on it at my house so you have seen pictures of this quilt in progress.

There was a flaw in the (Walmart!) fabric that my sister had gotten for the backing for this quilt. (Not the spot- that was on my camera.) So Mom said we should cover it with a heart with the wedding couple's names on it. I agreed and said we should look at their invitation and use a heart from that. Well, there was nary a heart to be found. They had really cool, sort of gothic/bohemian invitations. So we decided on a fleur de lis instead of a heart and my bestest friend Sherry and my SIL helped me make a really big one. Then we printed their names using a cool font, appliqued them on and voila! the back is almost as cool as the front!

A closeup to see the font. My SIL designed the fancy "plus" sign and Sherry freehanded the fleur de lis. Cool, huh? Lots of artsy fartsy types in my family. Sherry is technically a friend, but she has been around long enough that we have "adopted" her. (She's just crazy enough to fit right in.)

I cut out my scalloped border and started hand quilting the purple and green heart quilt for Future Niece and the other two quilts are a lap quilt with the Lord's Prayer on it for my grandpa's birthday and a panel baby quilt for one of my cousins. My mom made those two in between making the big ones. (She's a busy lady to put it mildly.)

All stacked up.

Lukey wanted in and so he held Katie's quilt for Future Niece.

My parents have a log cabin with 2 lofts which are perfect to hang quilts on. Mom switches out the quilts seasonally. She had her spring quilts up so I took some pics so you guys could enjoy the view.

The tulip quilt is the one my Mom considers to be her "best" quilt. She made this one for herself and had it machine quilted locally by Arlene Readman who does amazing work.

This is a pretty daisy quilt that Mom made to keep. (She gives most of her quilts away.)

This quilt is MINE! My mom embroidered these fans for two years. She has over 40 hours into each fan. My mom has MS and she likes to take hand work with her whenever she gets an IV of steroids when she is having an attack. (Right now she is working on a bluework quilt that is going to be stunning.) I loved the squares and the pretty colors she chose, but had no idea that it was for me. Then when I got married she gave it to me for a wedding gift. I couldn't believe it! What you see is only half the quilt so there are another 5 fans on the other side of the railing. She saved enough of the yellow so that I can make a bedskirt out of it, but I won't take this quilt home yet. I will use it in a guest room someday and I don't have one right now. Also, I have two small "ruiners of everything nice" at this point who would get marker or koolaid or something on it and I will wait until they are a little older to have this treasure in my house. Also, I need to put this in a room with a door that closes so that I can keep the kitties off of it. Normally we use our quilts so that we can enjoy them, but this one is too precious to me to risk damaging. I will use it, but not at this point in my life.

I should have gotten a closeup of the fans, but my camera batteries were dying and it kept turning off. They are VERY pretty. I am a lucky daughter!!!