Wednesday, April 29, 2015

WIP to Share

Last week I wrote a post about a project I'm beginning, and then I chickened out when it came time to share a picture because it is based on a pillow I saw online, and I wondered if it was okay to use the design for a quilt. Well, this week I changed my mind, and I've decided to share the picture and my plans for extending the design. The pillow is the Right Angles one offered by Dot and Bo. It's a printed design on poplin. I'm piecing the same design as the center of a large (120 by 120 inches) quilt. 

Here's my center block:
Mostly Kona Solids with some Moda Bellas thrown in 

It's 40 inches square and pieced in two halves using freezer paper to stabilize the large pieces. (See my first post about this here.) I'm using a technique that doesn't require sewing through the paper, which will make it much easier to remove the paper when I'm done. I figured out a way to press my seams open while still using the freezer paper, and I'll try to share a picture of that in a later post. I usually press seams to one side, but this big quilt seems to want them open. I'll be working on this project for a while--I have eight more big blocks to make.

I've been using a program I found online (Grid Paint) that has made it very easy for me to color in a pattern for the rest of the quilt. I'm using a grid that has vertical, horizontal, and diagonal lines. I think this tool is used by gamers, but it works really well for designing this kind of quilt pattern. I've made a number of versions (way more than you want to know about) and shared them with the quilt recipients, and I think we're close to agreement on a plan. Here's the latest version of my design. If you look closely you can see the above block right in the middle. 

I'm going to have a lot going on in the next few weeks--family celebrations (lots of cookie baking right now) and some volunteer work at the school district I used to work in, so both quilting and blogging will probably be spotty for awhile, but I'll post updates when I can. 

I'm linking up today with Freshly Pieced for WIP Wednesday and with Sew Fresh Quilts for Let's Bee Social.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

WIP To Share or Not to Share

I got a lot done on the Big Quilt this week, and I even managed to take pictures of my progress despite the dark weather. I had to take them inside because it was windy with occasional sleet and flurries. Yes, in late April. (Oh well, can't complain--the weekend was gorgeous!)

But now that I have a 40-inch block done (that I'm really pleased with), I'm second guessing myself about whether I should share a picture. Here's the problem: When I started planning the quilt, the inspiration was a pillow my daughter-in-law had seen online. (The design is printed on fabric, not pieced.) My initial plan was quite different from the design of the pillow, but eventually I set that plan aside because it just wasn't working. I decided that what the quilt really needed (wanted?) was a very large version of the pillow design centered on the top of the bed and then extended in some way to cover the rest of the bed. I looked online and did not see the pillow design in any commercial bedding, so I figured it would be okay to use the design in my quilt (which will be kept in the family, not sold). But I'm just not sure if it's okay to share pictures of it. I do not know who makes the pillow. It is sold on a site that curates collections of items for home shopping. 

For now, I've decided not to show the quilt block as I made it even though I'd love to share my process and progress in making this quilt. I'm wondering what others think. I am sensitive to not taking the work of others and passing it off as my own idea, and when I use a pattern or idea, I try to give proper credit. What do you think? Is it okay to copy the design of something commercially made to make a different type of item that can't be bought (and won't be sold) and then share pictures of it? I do not have a good understanding of copyrights. 

This quilt will take me awhile. If I don't blog about it, I'll need to find something else to share because I do want to stay in the habit of posting. I've already got an idea for something else that I can make concurrently with the quilt. (The quilt will be a long process with lots of breaks for planning/consultation.)

Well, now, while working on this post I just got a package shipped from my nephew's wife with these fabrics in it. 

She would like me to add a quilted border to a bedspread to enlarge it. I don't have the bedspread yet, but this will be another WIP I can share eventually. I guess I won't run out of blog material after all. 

I'm linking up with Freemotion by the River for Linky Tuesday, Freshly Pieced for WIP Wednesday, and Sew Fresh Quilts for Let's Bee Social. 

I'm looking forward to your feedback.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Throwback Thursday Quilt Edition--Simple HSTs

Throwback Thursday--time to look back at another quilt I made in my pre-blogging days. 

My grandnephew K's 9th birthday was a couple of days ago, so to celebrate, I've dug out a photo of the baby quilt I finished for him in late March 2006, just before he was born. As I recall, his nursery was decorated with bedding with a barnyard theme, and as I've done on other occasions, I went to the store with fabric swatches in hand to check out the bedding and figure out what might go with it. 

Quilts I made for babies back then were very simple, and tied with perle cotton so that I could finish them quickly. 

Half-square Triangles!
I don't remember whether I followed a pattern for color placement or just played with the fabrics. I do remember that I hadn't made many baby quilts for boys and that finding fabrics in the colors I needed without flowery prints was a bit of a challenge. If you look closely, you'll see that one green fabric has flies on it (mayflies, maybe?). I guess I was thinking "bugs." Another fabric has leaves, so maybe together those were kind of a nod to the barnyard theme. I used the same fabric for backing and binding, and tied the quilt with light yellow perle cotton. The squares are about 5 inches, I think, so that would make the quilt about 40 by 50 inches. I used a polyester batting. As always, the quilt was pieced on my Singer Featherweight.

Do you notice the chopped off points on the edges? I'm not sure I'd tolerate that now, but I put a pretty hefty binding on by machine. We'll just say I meant to do that, okay? 

I'm linking up today with My Quilt Infatuation for Needle and Thread Thursday. Have a great weekend everyone!

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Big Block for a Big Quilt--Started

After a fantastic weekend with a visit from the kids and grands (Yippee!), I finally worked up the nerve to actually start the Big Quilt that I've talked about making. It's going to look quite different from my original drawing from back in January. I've also added to/changed some of the fabrics I bought in February. I still don't have a plan for the whole quilt, but after consulting with my daughter-in-law (the quilt is for her and my son), I'm starting with a 40-inch block that will be centered below the pillow area on the bed. Then I'll figure out what to do next. It's scary for me to do that, but I made myself jump in. 

First, I used a pencil to draw a 5-inch grid in two 20- by 40-inch sections on newsprint and traced over the lines for the pattern with a permanent marker. This is the left half of the block (turned on its side with the top edge at the left). The design isn't clearly visible because the grid lines still show. I erased them later. 

Because the fabric pieces will be bigger than what I usually piece, and angled with some bias edges, I decided to use a freezer paper foundation method similar to the one here at Twiddletails. It involves folding back the paper instead of sewing through it and avoids the whole paper tearing business after piecing is done. I think it will provide the stability to keep everything straight. I could probably achieve the same thing by starching the fabric, but I'm not a fan of starch. (I'm messy with it, and it makes me sneeze.) 

Before getting started with the freezer paper, I decided to press big sheets of it to my ironing board to pre-shrink it. It shrinks about 1/8 inch in total width--18 inches to 17 7/8, which isn't much, and I've never done that for little projects, but for the big pieces I needed, I decided it was worth the time it took. After that was done, I retraced the pattern in reverse and in piece-able sections onto the freezer paper. (I suppose I could have skipped the first step with the newsprint, but this way I have an original pattern in case I mess up or need to repeat elements later in the quilt. 

It took awhile to draw everything and label sections with order of stitching and color notes, but I did manage to finish sewing one section today, and I'm pleased with how it turned out.

Here's the back (with lots of scribbles because I goofed on the color labels):

This looks rather pastel-ish right now, but that will change soon with the addition of the next section. (One down, fourteen to go. Whew!) But I'm so glad to finally get this going!

I'm linking up today with Freemotion by the River for Linky Tuesday, Freshly Pieced for WIP Wednesday, and Sew Fresh Quilts for Let's Bee Social.

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Throwback Thursday Quilt Edition-- Anniversary Quilt

This is a new post about a quilt I made in my pre-blogging days. I haven't written about it before, but Valerie of Val's Quilting Studio has a linky party going on this week featuring photo quilts, so it's a good time to document it. 

I made this quilt for my in-laws' 65th wedding anniversary in 2008. 

I had a lot of neutral fabrics at the time and thought a sepia toned quilt might be fun. I was going to do the photos all in sepia but decided they'd get lost in the pattern. The parent blocks in the center and children's blocks in the corners have darker sepia tones and the grandchildren's blocks are a little lighter. For each family member, I attached a silver charm to represent a hobby or interest. (Single family members got two, just to balance things out, and my in-laws got lots of charms since it was their celebration.) If you look closely, you'll see many different sports charms, but also cooking, reading, art, travel, craft, music and religious charms, as well as a motor home, cowboy boots, a coffee cup, antique tea cup and southwestern themed charms.

I think the photos in the quilt are 4 inches square, so the quilt is approximately 28 by 36 inches. I used Printed Treasures fabric for an ink jet printer to make the photo blocks, and it worked quite well. There has been a fair amount of fading since then, but that's okay. The quilt has served its purpose. I pieced it on my Singer Featherweight and quilted it by hand with cotton thread. The batting is Mountain Mist Cream Rose, I think. 

Sadly, we have lost two family members since we celebrated the anniversary--my father-in-law and a brother-in-law. But there is also joy. My mother-in-law has gained a grand-daughter (my son's wife) and 8 great-grand children since the quilt was made. 

The most enjoyable part of this project (aside from making the quilt, obviously) was matching the charms to each family member, but that also took the longest. I would recommend a project like this, but be sure you allow sufficient time to keep it fun. (It might include some harassment of others to get some of the photos and feedback on hobbies. Just sayin') 

As noted above, I'm linking up with Val's Quilting Studio. Have a good weekend, everyone!

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Fun Blocks

(**UPDATED** I forgot Crazy Mom Quilts is back online again. I'll be linking up with her, too, along with the linky parties below, since I have finishes to share this week. Can't forget that!)

I've been away from Blogland for a week again. I have a feeling that's going to happen now and then now that the warmer seasons are here. This past week was my daughter's last week of maternity leave, so we made another quick trip to spend time with her family before she goes back to work. We hit it at just the right time weather-wise for outdoor play and walks to the park. Yay! We stopped at Lake Michigan on the way there and back to do a quick check on Spring's return. At the end of this post, I'll put up a couple of pictures so you can see for yourself and compare to my post from a few weeks ago. After we got back, it was time to get ready for Easter guests, so no sewing, but this week I'm back at it. I have a couple of WIPs that are so tiny, they've already turned into finishes. 

If you read the same blogs I do, you'll know that Yvonne at Quilting Jetgirl recently requested blocks for quilts for a boy and girl who she is teaching the joy of quilting. You can read about her request here. This seemed like the perfect little project in between big ones for me. And the blocks were just the right size (7 by 10 inches) to plan out on a piece of graph paper for foundation piecing. 

For the boy's block, I drew the rectangle with the music note first, and decided that I would improvise for the rest of the block. Yeah right. Me. Improvise. Ha! I had the blue and black fabrics in my stash, but nothing with music notes, so I went to the closest quilt shop with a challenge to myself that I had to find something there. Alas, the only music fabric they had was in tans. Then I noticed a piece of black and white fabric in a scrap bin. Aha. An abstract representation of part of a keyboard. Sort of. Back home, the note went together quickly, and I added some keyboard pieces on each side of it, but then I got stuck. Let's just say I bonded (more than once) with my seam ripper. I ended up stitching together some blue strips without really measuring (hard for me to do!) and then just sewed them together and moved my ruler around to see where I wanted to trim to get the right dimensions. It didn't turn out quite the way I pictured it initially, but I'm happy with it. 

I thought the boy's block would be easier, but the girl's block actually came together much more quickly for me. I had an idea immediately, and it didn't take long to draw it. I propped up one of my umbrellas on the floor to get the angle right while keeping the lines as simple as possible. My biggest challenge was finding fabric for the sky. I had several that were the right color, but the prints just didn't seem right. I settled on a mottled piece. There wasn't a lot left in my stash, but with one extra seam, I made it work. Since one of the requested colors was gray, I used a white with a pale gray figure in it for the sand instead of using a more sandy color. I think it works fine. I included the sailboat at the last minute to emphasize the theme for the quilt. 

These blocks were so much fun, I might just need to expand on the themes sometime for something else. There's still time to get in on the fun for Quilting Jetgirl's block collection if you'd like. I think she's collecting until April 22.

I have another WIP going, but I don't have anything to show yet. My daughter-in-law and I were able to spend a little time brainstorming a bit at Easter, and decided on a way to at least begin the queen-sized quilt for her and my son. I'm starting with a BIG block (40 by 40 inches) that will cover much of the bed top and then I'll improvise (Ha! That, again!) to figure out how to proceed from there. It will feel good to get started. I'm going to draw that block out on newsprint and paper piece it, just because there are some big angled pieces and I want to make sure I keep them lined up right. Stay tuned. 

I'm going to write a separate post this week based on a photo quilt I made a few years ago. I noticed that  Valerie at Val's Quilting Studio is asking for submissions from our archives. I don't have a archived post, but I do have a quilt to share from my pre-blogging days. Watch for it tomorrow. 

Oh, and here's my mini travelogue for this week.

March 29--Warren Dunes State Park
Still some ice and icy sand mounds, but the sun was warm.
April 1
Starting to look better--some breaks in the mounds.
Lots of blue water, with just a few ice chunks. Yippee! Maybe the water will be warm by July this year.
So there ya go! I'm linking up today with Freemotion by the River (Linky Tuesday--a day late), Freshly Pieced for WIP Wednesday, and Sew Fresh Quilts for Let's Bee Social.