The process I’m using to work on my postage stamp quilt is messy, but it’s organized in a functional, if not rational, way.
I posted before that I had collected enough fabric for my quilt, and organized it in ziplock baggies. That’s still true. However, I’m still collecting individual pieces here and there, from swaps or from other projects I’m working on to add diversity to this quilt. I would have preferred it to be a charm quilt — but I also want it to be finished in 2008, and I didn’t think I could collect enough fabric in time! But as I go along, I’m still adding new fabrics.
The picture below shows some of my in progress pieces:
The box lid has two sets of single squares in it, separated by a knitting needle. On the top, you see 7 piles (which have a full 144 pieces) and on the bottom 5 piles (I’ve already sewed two of the piles together). To the right of the box, you see units of varying sizes — 1×1, 2×2, 2×4. I work on units in several different stages of progress simultaneously. This keeps me from feeling overwhelmed, because as I finish one block, I’m also closed to finished with the next one. I just finished block #4 a few days ago, and here’s block#5:
The 4×8 unit you see was originally made for #4, but I decided I didn’t like the way some of the fabrics in it worked, so I set it aside for #5. I’ll leave these 8 units up on my design wall for a while before I sew them together, just to make sure I like the arrangement. In the mean time, I’ll continue working on smaller units.
I’ve finished postage stamp block #4.
I like this block a lot — it’s got all sorts of fun fabrics in it.
Here’s a look at how all four of the finished blocks look together:
Usually, I would wait until the end to figure out their final placement and sew them together, but with this quilt, I’m thinking of sewing them together as I go along. The idea of looking at all 20 blocks and all those seams makes me want to cry. What do you all think?
I did a lot of sewing this weekend. I can’t show you all of it until after the holiday season, but I can show you some of it.
First off, I made four dinner napkins. I have a vision for my table — I want lightweight denim place mats, with no embellishment or decoration, a crazy assortment of fabric napkins (I love fabric napkins) and Fiestaware. Ideally, everyone at the table will have a different napkin and a different colored plate. For now, I’m starting with these four napkins and Target’s Fiestaware knock-off.
I used this tutorial for the napkins. The only change I made was that I cut my fabric to 17.5 inches (square). That way, I can get a napkin out of a fat quarter. Otherwise, I followed her instructions to the letter. I really wish I had fussy cut that cowgirl so that she appears on the top of the napkin when it’s folded at a place setting — I’ll keep that in mind for the future! All the fabrics are 100% cotton. The cowgirl and the map are high quality quilting fabrics. The Asian fabric is cheap stuff from JoAnn’s. And the lobsters are a heavier cotton — not quite twill, but along those lines.
Next, I finished another block for my postage stamp quilt. This is block #3. I find myself giving the blocks names based on squares in them that I particularly like — this one is the “sunflower block” because of the fussy cut sunflower.
Some of my sewing on this block is pretty wonky. I’m going to have to start paying better attention to what I am doing. I am nearly finished with block #4 also, so I will be posting it soon. It’s called the “bowling pin block.”
I’ve also been working on a set of place mats for a gift — I’ll post pictures of them soon.
I’ve finally begun cutting fabric for my next project, which will be a simple (but colorful) attic windows quilt. I cut out the strips for all the window sills and sides, but haven’t notched off the corners yet. This quilt is simple, but will give me loads of practice with set-in seams. The squares (windows) are going to be 12×12 and the quilt will be 5 blocks by 5 blocks. And I’ll probably have a border or two. So lap-quilt sized, which is my favorite size quilt to make.
In other quilting news, I saw this neat idea for how to piece/make backing for a quilt over on the LJ quilting group.
When I have to seam backing, I get my two pieces cut and put them right sides together. I sew with a 1/2 inch seam allowance with a very narrow tight zigzag on both sides to make a big tube. When it’s all sewn up I nip the middle of one of the 44 inch pieces and rip it in half so the seams get distributed evenly without any annoying measuring and cutting. I press the seams open and I’m done.
I imagine this will start to get boring after a while, as all the blocks for my postage stamp quilt look pretty much the same! I finished the second block last night. There are more fussy cut squares in this one (look for the two faces, some flowers, a basketball, a star, and a few others).
I included the ruler, sunglasses, lip balm, quarter and penny in this photo for scale.
I’ve started working again on my postage stamp quilt. I’ve spent several relaxing hours watching the Heroes season 1 DVDs and sewing little squares together. I have one 12×12-inch block finished. Here’s a medium sized picture so you can see all the details:
I love scrappy quilts for the stories they tell — the details of where all the fabrics came from, who used them, and how they came to me. If you click on the picture above, you can follow the link to the flickr photo — I used flickr’s “notes” function to label the origin of many of the fabrics in that block.
Also above, you can see a number of fussy cut squares — several have spirals or circles that are centered in the square, others have an object of interest (like the salt & pepper shakers) right in the center. I had a lot of fun cutting.
I’ve been piecing the squares very haphazardly. I start by sewing two together, then ironing those and joining them to whatever is right under them in the pile. I only set them aside if they have too many similar colors. The result is a very messy looking back, which I am being very brave and sharing with you:
You’ll see that some squares don’t have a single seam ironed toward them, while others have 2 or more. If you look closely, you’ll notice that some of my seams are twisted (I cut them so that the twist sits as flat as possible), although I am trying hard to avoid that as much as possible. After taking this photo, I noticed all the threads all over (somehow they had been invisible to me before), so I sat down and trimmed them at least.
I am loving this project.
I had really hoped to accomplish a lot this summer with respect to quilting, but it just hasn’t happened. Part of it is that the weather has been gorgeous all summer, and I just haven’t wanted to spend that much time in the basement when there’s light streaming in through the windows upstairs. The other part is that the quilt I’m working on is very hard and so it’s hard to get into it. I think maybe I need to design my next quilt, which I want to be simple, but fun and colorful, and start the work on that in addition to the difficult quilt may be what I should do. Hmmm….
I have started sewing and cutting for the project I’ll codename ‘Yellow Star.’ It’s a fairly complicated project, but I think it will be very dramatic in the end. It’s a variation on the design shown in this post (which I foolish, oh so foolishly, titled “‘04 Projects” — yes, as in 2004 Bwahaha.) I’ve also started noodling (in Electric Quilt 6) on a design for the project that will come after that. I learned how to do a new thing in EQ6 - namely, design my own block. It wasn’t my block design, though. I was copying one out of a magazine that EQ6 didn’t have in its database. Anyway, it’s not very hard, although I had to use the book for help — the software itself is not all that intuitive. I don’t think the design I have is anywhere near final (or will even have any relation to what I end up with), but it was good to play around with it a bit.
A friend of mine mentioned to me that she wasn’t able to post comments here the other day. I finally figured out why - comments are blocked after 21 days on a post (to avoid spam.) I’d forgotten I set it up to do that. So the lesson is, I have to post at least every 3 weeks so that there’s something at the top that people can post on! I’ll try to be better about that.
Pictures still to come of the finished quilt for my cousin.
I haven’t been posting much here, but I have various quilting progress and news to report. So a little rundown.
First, I’ve basted the quilt I’m making for my cousin’s baby. I’ll do some simple straight line quilting, bind it, and then ship it off. The baby’s 3 months old now. D’oh!
Second, I was at a fabulous quilt shop in Williamsburg Virginia a few months back. I snapped a bunch of pictures of some of the quilts in the shop. One of these days I’ll post some of my favorites. There were some amazing designs using lots of different fabrics. Very inspiring.
Third, I’ve been following a quilting community at LiveJournal and am finding neat ideas there now and then, too. I thought that this post, reminding everyone how one single block layout can yield many different designs depending on fabric placement, was cool, for example.
Finally, this morning I saw that Cher posted a picture of a wedding quilt she’d done. I love this design, because I think it’s an excellent way to get the wedding ring theme, without having to do the really complicated curves in the traditional double wedding ring design.
I’ve also resubscribed to Quilter’s Newsletter — i’d cancelled it when it got a bit too expensive, but they offered me a really good deal again. I maintain my subscription to Quilter Magazine because invariably I get at least one or two good ideas from each issue of that. (QN stuff is usually a bit too advanced/complicated for that to be true.)
Here are a few pictures of the quilt I’m making for my cousin’s new baby - in progress. As I mentioned, the design/layout was inspired by this quilt. But I’m using a completely different color palette. It may not be obvious in all of these pictures, but I tried to choose some Maine-themed fabrics as well — lobsters, clams, blueberries, and such are among the fabrics I’m using for the friendship stars. And instead of having the colors (reds, purples, blues) just be random, I tried to sort of build a gradient from reds to purples to blues with the stars.
I’m making progress on that baby quilt for my cousin’s new baby. I decided to do my own variation of this quilt — although not in pastels. I’m told that babies can’t really see pastels, and that high-contrast stuff is more interesting to them. And I personally prefer bright, saturated, and high-contrast designs, too. So that’s what I’m doing. I snapped a few pictures this evening of some of the in-progress pieces. When I sit down and process all the pics that are in my camera right now I’ll post them here.
By the way, I’m sure I’ve mentioned it before, but I always find tons of inspiring designs at Amish Country Quilts. If I’m stumped, I tend to go there and browse around.
Before starting a major new project this year, I decided to see what I could to make some progress on a UFO. So I dug out the block-of-the-month from Joann’s Fabrics that a friend of mine gave me years ago and finally finished the top.
I had put it away when I started working on setting all the blocks and pieces together and realized I’d made enough mistakes that I was going to have real trouble piecing it all together. I ended up just hacking some fixes together and it’s pretty obvious where the mistakes are — in one instance one whole border was about 8 inches shorter than it should have been (I’m really not quite sure how that happened) — I just stuck in a huge piece of fabric to fill that hole and called it good.
The quilt is huge and varied and colorful, but it’s got a lot of mistakes in the piecing. Still, it was a learning project and it was fun to do all the different kinds of blocks. Not sure when I’ll get around to basting and quilting it, but at least the top is done now. I’ll try to do a picture before I put it back into the UFO pile.
It’s 2007. 2007! Wow. So, what’s on the agenda for quilting this year. I need to come up with some codenames for the quilts I’m planning to work on this year. Let’s see.
First, yesterday, I spent some time working on the design of a quilt that I’ll temporarily call “Card Cabin.” It’s a variation of the “Card Squared” design that is much simpler and uses some log cabin-style techniques. That’s one project for this year.
Second - I want to make the quilt design that I called “Sunflower” this year.
Third is a quilt I’ll temporarily call “Jake” - I only have the vaguest sense of the design for this, but I think it will also be fairly simple (maybe another log cabin) simply because Sunflower is going to be so hard.
And, of course, I have the UFOs that have been languishing for years, including a set of bargello placemats and the JoAnn Fabrics BOTM whose top is nearly done. Much to do. I did manage to finish 4 quilts last year: Sea Pebbles, Palette, August Dawn, and Christmas I. My goal recently has been one quilt per quarter. If I can do that again this year, especially with these 3 big projects as yet unstarted, that would be great. We’ll see.
I finally finished the stack-and-slash Christmas quilt that I’ve had going for two years. It’s the very first quilt (apart from very small practice blocks) that I’ve kept in the house for us — and I curled up under it yesterday to watch a movie. Hurrah! A quilt of my very own!
I’ll have pictures soonish - here’s an old one of the top from when I’d finished that a long time ago.
I’ve finished cutting out the squares — all 2,880 of them — for the main body of my postage stamp quilt. Further scraps I aquire will go into the border of the quilt.
I initially organized the squares by color in quart-sized ziplock bags. All the reds were together, all the blues, all the greens, etc. I had one additional bag with lights in it because I don’t have many light colored squares and wanted to treat them separately. I wanted each color (and the lights) to be evenly distributed in the quilt, so I cleared off my dinning table one evening and made 20 piles (one for each 12×12 block I want to end up with).
Then I started with reds and distributed all those squares in the piles, then orange, then yellow, etc. until they were all distributed. Then I distributed the lights. 20 piles of 144 squares each. 2,880 squares. I put each set of piles into a ziplock of its own. Here they are:
I’m really overwhelmed. That is a lot of sewing.
Added to clarify: Each of the ziplock bags above holds somewhere between 144-150 squares. In each bag there are 14 little piles of 10 squares and 1 pile of 4 squares. There are a few additional squares in each bag just in case I find that I don’t like some of the squares for some reason (and also because I had extra, so in they went).