Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Back to Flannel

I put the green dinosaur block aside for the time being and got the binding sewn down on the flannel baby quilt over the weekend:

I used a blue print I'd bought on spec recently for the binding. It worked perfectly with the blues on the front and in these two prints I pieced together to make the backing:

I love it when things work out that way! All I need now is my car back so I can deliver it to the drop-off site :- )

To get over the disappointment of the rectangle-gone-square I dove into my flannel crumbs and just started sewing bits together. A few hours later I had this:

A 16" x 20" doll quilt. Or blanket, since I haven't quilted the interior section at all. I used white flannel for both the backing and a batting to help disguise all the seams of the front. Then I topstitched around the perimeter to hold the three layers together. Part of me wants to do a little quilting in the middle to hold everything together but at the same time I'm afraid to screw it up. Because of my recent experience with the flannel stretching during the quilting process. Since it's only a doll quilt I'm thinking it may not be a big deal to leave it as is. Thoughts?

Here's a close up on some of the piecing I had to do to get the strips the length I wanted:
I'm thinking I'll call this "Spare Change" since the overall design is basically Chinese Coins. That will only be for my reference, of course, since no little girl cares or needs a name for her dollie's quilt.

And now, for those of you in the Snow Zone - and everyone else who is more than ready for winter to be over - let me pass on this link to Ami Simm's site that a friend sent me. Ami is volunteering to - well, just click on the link and go see for yourself ;- )

Friday, February 20, 2009

Trying Too Hard

I have the binding on the flannel 4 Patch baby quilt but am saving the hand sewing for tomorrow. I'll do that while I listen to Car Talk on our local NPR station. Well, it will take more than just that one hour to get it done, but I promised myself I'd work on another project I have promised someone and save the handwork for the weekend. I had a little difficulty getting the binding on to my satisfaction so I figured taking a breather from that project would be a good idea too.

Apparently I need more of a break. Or a different kind of break. Or something. My plan for today was to make a rectangular pillow for a child. Does this look like a rectangle to you?

I didn't think so. (If it does you need to see an optometrist right away!) It measures 13" square. It was supposed to be 12" x 15." I know, it's not a big deal, but I haven't adjusted to this unexpected change in direction yet. The decision will be whether to settle for a square pillow or to chuck it in the orphan box and move on to Plan B. {sigh}

Maybe while I'm sewing that binding down tomorrow my subconscious will come up with an exciting, or at least interesting, solution. I know the problem is that I'm trying too hard. I'll get much better results and be happier in the end if I just let myself do what comes naturally.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Back on the Orphan Train

When I was feeling so bad recently I needed a project that would distract me from my discomfort but not be demanding mentally. I dumped out my flannel scraps and found a section of rubber duckies and solid yellow I had pieced and never used. So I rummaged through the bigger strips and put this preemie top together:

It's backed and lightly quilted, ready to go. It's not quite as flat and pristine as I would like because the flannel stretched a bit with handling. No amount of pressing/steaming would shrink it back into place. {sigh} Oh well. Hopefully baby won't notice or care.

I also found a couple of 4Patch blocks I'd pieced at some point in time. There was a short stack of pre-cut squares too. That was enough to get me going on more 4Patch blocks, trying to use up some of the bits and pieces of flannels left over from making preemie quilts over the last few years.

This is 35 blocks, set 5 across by 7 down. (One of my Valentine roses leaning into the picture too!)

I realized that if I were to add a 3" border all the way around I could make the quilt big enough to donate to a local Project Linus effort. There was just enough of the blue flannel "Peanuts" print to do the job (with some strategic piecing in of additional 3" patches).

It may be too busy for some folks, but I really like this top. (I have tried to load things so you can click on the pictures and get a bigger image of the quilt.) My hope is that not only will the quilt provide comfort and warmth, but that the child will be intrigued by all the images and that some creative and caring adult will take the time to play I Spy with the child and this quilt. All I have to do now is get it layered and quilted or tied. ;- )

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Hearts and Stars

Wonky stars for Australia...

Frog as symbol of rebirth,

hearts for love and good wishes,

and one just for fun - my personal favorite!

Go here to find out more about this project... and feel free to join in!

And in honor of St. Valentine's Day, a couple of potholders I made earlier in the month to brighten up our kitchen:

A little closer look:

I began the potholders with a couple pieces of batting that turned out to be smaller than I thought they were (I was not in the mood to stop and measure them at the time). Even worse, they turned out to be polyester. (I thought I had gotten rid of all that stuff!) I turned the heat down on the iron as soon as I realized that so there wouldn't be more toxic fumes released than necessary. And I made sure to use cotton batting on the backsides. I make these potholders using the sew-and-flip method of construction, using the batting as a foundation. The back (which I didn't think to photograph) is a single piece of fabric. I layer the pieced top and the backing right sides together and then add another layer of batting to the bottom of the stack. Then I sew around all four sides, leaving a small opening on one side to allow me to turn the whole shebang right side out. Oh, I tuck a folded strip of fabric in there along the top edge for a hanger too. (That also sometimes comes in handy as an aid in turning the potholder right side out!) After I've closed the opening (by hand) I quilt through all four layers around a central patch or two.

I made this pair specifically for decoration but I have made potholders the same way (with two layers of Warm & Natural cotton batting) and they work just fine. Most often we use them as trivets on the table. Because there's no counter space to speak of on either side of our microwave in its current location I also keep a potholder on top of it so I have a place to set down dishes that come out hotter than I expected. I prefer to use oven mitts if I have to reach into a hot oven to retrieve a dish or pan.

Here's wishing all my Valentines out there a weekend you will look back on with fond memories. :- )

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Helping Others

There's a new badge on my sidebar. This one is for the Bushfire Quilt Project. It can be a quickie project for those of us who want to do something to help out the Aussies who have lost so much to the fires. Campfollower has organized an effort for quilters to make 12.5" maverick or liberated star blocks which will then get made into quilts of varying sizes. Hopefully the quilts will provide comfort and a bit of color to the lives of the survivors. The blocks need to be in Campfollower's hands by the end of March so don't waste any time hopping over to her blog or the Flickr site to get all the details. There's a tutorial for the 12.5" version of this star over at The Silly Boo Dilly.

I haven't made any of these stars yet but that will be next. I surprised myself earlier in the week by making a preemie quilt top. This is what I created:

It didn't turn out quite the way I had envisioned (partly because my brain wasn't fully functional at the time) so I had another go and came up with this version:

Sorry the photos aren't great. I will never be a really good photographer.
You should be able to click on them to make them bigger and have a better look.

I started with a yard of this print:

and still have half of it left. I braved the fabric store the yesterday to find something else that would work with it (I just don't have pastels in my stash!) and came home with pink stars:

If I use the same layout I could make two more preemie tops! Right now I can only make tops as I don't have enough of any one flannel to back even these small quilts. Not to worry though, there's some coming ;- )

Monday, February 9, 2009

Time's Fun When You're Having Flies... ?

It's been practically a week since my last post. I can hardly believe it. At the same time, however, it's not that hard to believe. Not because I've been busy or productive. There's been down time during which the old computer was swapped out for the new computer. So far I haven't had to learn too many new ways of doing things, but Picassa 3 isn't behaving the way it used to and that has thrown me. What's a blog without pictures?! A lot less interesting in my opinion. So until we get this worked out I may not be posting as often (not that I posted that often to begin with!). The other part of the problem is me. Since I finished up my birds I haven't done much stitching. I finally got to see "Mama Mia!" and thoroughly enjoyed that. It was almost like being at a party. :- ) Over the weekend I read this book and was delighted by it. I do have some ideas percolating in the back of my mind, and a couple of commitments to fulfill this month, so hopefully it won't be too long before I'll have something fun to share again.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Seasonal Stitching

I'm finally feeling better again. At least until the next exposure comes along. I have a few things to catch up on, and to catch you up on, but I'm not going to try to do that all at one time. For now let me just tell you that the quilt I made for Ami Simms' Alzheimer's Art Quilt Initiative is now up for auction. You can see it and bid on it here.

I haven't been doing much (besides playing solitaire on the computer) lately, but I have made some progress on my little hearts wall hanging. Remember this?

This is what the back looks like at the moment:

And part of the front:

A real close up shot:

This is mindless stitching that sometimes fits the bill in terms of my energy level. I'm using two strands of a silk floss and one of rayon in my needle to get a varigated effect and a bit of sparkle. Before I started stitching I seriously considered using seed beads to quilt the background areas. Now I think beading the background would have involved less stitching and been quicker to do!