Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Scrappy Trip Quilted

Quilting this little Scrappy Trip was very easy once I had batting. Diagonal quilting with grey thread in the center, stippling with white thread in the lightest areas around the diamonds and spirals on the outer border in dark green thread. I posted a tutorial for the diamond border here. Although the quilt still needs blocking you can see how this method of calculating the length for the borders keeps the quilt nicely squared. Any waviness from bias edges in the middle border is easily quilted out.

Scrappy Trip baby quilt with diamond border. Green and pink
Scrappy Trip Around the World quilted

View of all four corners.

Scrappy Trip Around the World quilt view of all four corners

The loop in the upper right-hand corner was suggested by +Joanne Goranson a few months ago. A child's finger can fit in it so they can cuddle or drag their quilt around. Next time I'll sew the loop ends farther apart.

Quilting details on back of Scrappy Trip Around the World quilt
Loop detail
The back is the last of these light green prints. The plaid is an older Riley Blake fabric. The diamond scraps made a fun central stripe.

Scrappy Trip Around the World quilt back uses leftover strips

Fret not; enjoy the day.


Saturday, July 27, 2013

Steam Punk To-Be

OK, "The Plan" this year is to sort-finish-reconsider everything. Throughout the house; not just quilting. Scrappy Trips used up strips and scraps I already had. In the reconsidering category is adding white and making blocks with curves and diamonds. I have done both but not in quite a while.

I was contemplating various curved piece blocks when several quilters began posting Steam Punk blocks in such interesting fabrics. Stripes, plaids, large scale prints, conversation prints! Badskirt and Gone Aussie Quilting were some of the first I found. Reading Jeannette's blog led to the Steam Punk Quilt Along. More wonderful fabric combinations for this block. The quilt along started five or six months ago (definitely too late to join) until I read: "This is a no pressure, no time frame quilt along for those who would like to join in and share their progress." I gave in, joined up and ordered the pattern from Amitie Textiles.

I should have waited to order it because two quilts are still in progress and there's that "finish" part of the plan. My consolation was that it would surely take two or three weeks to get here from Australia. Wrong-o. It arrived in a week - faster than some items I've ordered in the States. So I'm drooling on the pattern as I quilt. At least it's a good carrot!

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

A Modern Robe

I bought the Modern Robe pattern at The Cotton Patch in Lafayette, CA, recently to make this Alexander Henry fabric I'd been hoarding for ages. The pattern is kimono style except for the pockets. Three changes: I added the green chevron fabric on the tie ends rather than the entire belt, made belt loops and fully lined the sleeves.
Modern Robe pattern in Alexander Henry fabric
Modern Robe pattern in Alexander Henry fabric
Fret not; enjoy the day.


Saturday, July 20, 2013

Trips Around the Block

There's a Trip Around the World pattern; several small ones are Mini-Trips. I named this two block combination Trips Around the Block.
Two block layout of Trip Around the Block quilt
Trip Around the Block, X and O block layout
While I'm very pleased with the color choices in Scrappy Trips, I had intended to include more light values. I decided to make some Mini-Trips to experiment with that idea. O's only didn't have the strong diagonal; however, there is an interesting secondary trip where the blocks meet that could be square or oblong.
Mini-Trip quilt
This is a Mini-Trip since it's made of O blocks only. 
The design improved with an alternate X block but was still too static since each X contained only four fabrics. I want to use more fabrics and draw the eye around with value. I've decided to make the O's first. As more are completed, it's easier to vary the layout and number of fabrics. Then I'll make X's. Some of the original blocks will be reworked; you can see where I've pinned replacement squares. It takes longer but I'm not in a hurry.

Fret not; enjoy the day.


Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Vintage Lone Star

My paternal grandmother, Martha, made this quilt in the 1920's. The pieces are so evenly cut it may have been a kit. It was on my parent's bed for years.
Lone Star quilt of pastel solids from 1920s Oklahoma.
Lone Star
Unfortunately, the fabric is giving out. I'm more accustomed to fabric wearing out at a certain color first, probably from the metallics in the dye. This one is odd; it looks like it's been sliced with a rotary cutter every quarter inch along the weft of each piece in the top. I'm just glad my parents used and enjoyed this quilt.
Center of Lone Star quilt in yellow, orange, pink and red solids made in 1920s Oklahoma.
Lone Star Center
Fret not; enjoy the day.


Saturday, July 13, 2013

Postage Stamp Quilt

Scrappy Trip was ready for quilting but there were only king-size batts in the closet. So I chose to first finish this Postage Stamp top I made several years ago and then use the leftover batting for the Trip.
Postage Stamp quilt in greens, reds, pinks and cream
Postage Stamp top
It's made of 2.5 inch strips, about half of them are batik. You can tell I used every scrap; some of the squares are pieced in order to have enough for the quilt. Quilted with grey 50/2 cotton Aurifil, backed with an older Northcott stripe I had on hand. Mountain Mist Cotton Blossom (a cotton/silk blend) batt.

The center is a simple diagonal grid but the batik stripe in the border needed something different. For that section, I used Leah Day's Pebbles in a Stream but quilted at a larger scale more in keeping with the rest of the quilt.

Free-motion quilting detail on border of Postage Stamp quilt
Pebbles in a Stream
Fret not; enjoy the day.


Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Virginia Reel

Virginia Reel was a gift last year to a new grandmother. I traded the blocks with Houston friends several years ago intending to alternate them with another pattern such as Hourglass. (The border pieces were originally cut for the hourglass block.) But none the layouts looked right and the blocks were hidden away. When they resurfaced the quilt flowed easily. It just needed the right occasion.

This quilt is made of madras plaids, stripes and florals. I remember we had trouble getting the blocks to size correctly. They were uniform but slightly smaller than the mathematical measurement indicated. It would be a good candidate for paper piecing.
Virginia Reel blocks made with several Madras plaids.
Virginia Reel for Marilyn
I learned a lot from this trade. The center block with yellow taught me that fabrics within a block don't need to match. The pink and blue block on the left side taught me fabrics can match too much. 

Fret not; enjoy the day.


Saturday, July 6, 2013

Fill 'er Up: What to Add to a T-Shirt Quilt

T-shirts collections are scrapbooks of our past. The shirts spark memories - reminders of friendships and happy, meaningful occasions. The best loved, most significant t-shirts are the most used so they may be the most faded. I think t-shirt quilts look better with sashing and "full" blocks. Lovely new sashing fabric pumps color into the quilt and freshens the shirts.

Full blocks are also easy to achieve. Create a collage with a variety of shirts but don't forget the cutouts, stickers, ribbons and fancy paper that sets off photos in a lovely scrapbook. How does that translate into fabric?

     1. Logos
Collect all the pocket, sleeve and collar logos leaving lots of blank t-shirt around them. Iron a generous amount of non-woven fusible interfacing to the back of all knit fabrics. Ask the recipient for favorite or meaningful shapes. For example, most fraternities and sororities have symbols such as kites, keys or stars. Create a significant shape and use it cut the smaller logos. Alternatively just cut around the logo. Or frame the logo with ribbon or fabric to really set it off. Then scatter them decoratively across the quilt surface.
Appliques of pocket logos and novelty prints add character to a T-Shirt quilt.

     2. Photos
Scan a photo onto fabric. Create a picture frame with colorful fabric and applique it to the quilt.

     3. Conversational fabric
There are fabrics for every sport, pet, musical instrument, food, method of travel, etc. If you know their interests, add them with a snippet of special fabric.

     4. Stuffed dolls or bears
This doll rests inside a shirt pocket. A ribbon with a snap keeps the doll on the quilt but allows removal for washing.

Pocket added to a T-Shirt quilt holds a small stuffed doll.

     5. Varsity letters, team patches, dance costumes, ball caps
Check Pretty in Pink and Writing with Thread. Carefully unstitch the letters and honor patches on a letter jacket. Add them to the quilt top. Zig-zag or blanket stitch with a regular or quilting thread (40-50 weight) to ensure they stay on. Quilt around these thick items, not over them.

     6. Practice shorts, boarding shorts, preschool shirt, swimsuit
Who'd have thought? You must plan ahead with something that will fill most of a block. Pick a plainer t-shirt like this and cut it with more space above or below the logo to allow room to add the shorts without covering interesting designs on the shirt. Cut the shorts in half; pin to the top; pin a very generous seam allowance. Go back and increase the seam allowance of the shorts. When you reach the point where shorts look ridiculous, let the seam allowance out a bit. Clothing wraps a three-dimensional figure and you're reducing it to two-dimensions. Believe me, she'll thank you!

     7. Award ribbons
Despite encouraging people to use anything on a quilt, I am very wary of using award ribbons. They are usually printed on acetate and do not hold up well in the wash. If you choose to add them, make them removable like the doll above.

I'd love to see what you create.

Fret not; enjoy the day.


Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Where Not to Quilt a T-shirt

Sometimes colors are printed into the fabric and these can be quilted without problems. Other times the design is stamped on with a rubbery substance. Do NOT quilt over this. The needle hole may cause the design to peel off the shirt. Just quilt as close to the design as possible. The top left block, the rose love, and the "theta to the rescue" blocks are examples of shirts handled in this manner. 

T-shirt quilt for Baylor University Theta sorority
Baylor University Theta
There may be other areas too heavy to quilt through. This young woman had a football jersey shirt  and a sweatshirt with her sorority letters in heavy fabric (bottom left and top right.) Notice they are added to the quilt but only quilted up to the lettering.

Because of large, irregular unquilted areas, I prefer an 80-20 (cotton/polyester ratio) batt for t-shirt quilts. I use regular sewing cotton thread (40-50 weight) or nylon monofilament. I think a size 80/12 or 90/14 universal needle works best on this combination of knit and woven materials.

I linked up with the Free Motion Quilting project.

Fret not; enjoy the day.