Friday, October 24, 2014

Stadium Seating

On any given Sunday in the fall you'll find me in the football stands cheering, usually while working on something quilty:-)  Given that those bleacher seats can be cold and hard (and occasionally wet) I decided we needed something warm and soft to sit on.  The result, my stadium seating blanket.

I wanted the bottom to be water-resistant so I started with this awesome Joel Dewberry laminated cotton that I picked up at Marden's last summer.  For the top I went with a coordinating felted wool.  In between I added 2 layers of Quilter's Dream wool batting (a single batting folded in half) for cushioning.  I made this in the same way I described for my Anthropologie Hack Chalkbaord Table Runner but here are a few more tips if you want to make one for yourself.  If you've never made a mitered edge start by reading my Self Binding Napkin tutorial for complete instructions on this technique

Supplies Needed:
1 yard 60" wide laminated cotton
1/2 yard felted wool (wool usually comes 50" wide)
1 Craft Sized (36" x 46") wool batting

I started by quilting the felted wool and wool batting together using simple straight lines.  It's hard to quilt through all that wool but as long as you pin heavily and roll your edges up tightly it will work.  Also, I used a coordinating thread and masking tape as a guide so it didn't have to be perfect.  It's easier to quilt your wool sandwich and then trim it down to the size you want.  In this case 15" x 49".  I also recommend basting around the edges 1/4" from the edge to make it easier to sew it to the laminate.

Cut a piece of laminate 6" x 30" for the strap.  Fold the strap in half lengthwise wrong sides together and sew along one short side and along the long raw edge.  Turn the strap right side out and sew it to the center of one of the short sides of your wool sandwich.  When sewing with laminate it's helpful to use clover clips rather than pins which will leave permanent holes.  Also, you should increase your stitch length  to 3.0 and use a denim needle.

Cut the laminate 22" x 56".  Mark the center point of each side of your wool sandwich and your laminated cotton.  Start with one long side and match the center points, wrong sides together.  Stitch the length of the wool sandwich using a 1/2" seam allowance.  Repeat on the remaining 3 sides starting and stopping where you meet a seam allowance.  Make sure your strap is tucked inside and leave a small hole on one of the long sides for turning.  Miter the corners by drawing a line from the folded edge to the sewn seamline.  Stitch along this line and trim to 1/2" on all 4 corners.  

Turn your blanket right side out through the hole.  Push out your perfectly mitred corners with a chopstick.  I used a  whip stitch to sew the hole closed by hand rather than topstitching as I would normally because I didn't want holes in my laminate to let water through.

The finished blanket is 17" x 50", plenty of room for two adults, and rolls up easily for storage.

It's hard to believe that after 7 years this is Audrey's last year of cheering for our local Pop Warner league.  Never fear, I expect this will still get plenty of use... she's planning on trying out for the high school cheer team next year:-)  Go A-B!!!

Linking up to the fabulous Finish it Up Friday by Crazy Mom Quilts.


Monday, October 20, 2014

Around the World Blog Tour

The lovely Shauna of lovinquiltin tagged me in the Around the World Blog Tour and since it coincided perfectly with my 4th blogiversary this seemed like the perfect time to reflect.  I had no idea what I was getting myself in to when I started blogging but I wanted to become an active participant in this amazing community which has given me so much creative inspiration and support.  Along the way I've made friends with some of the most fabulously talented quilters in the world, served as President of the BostonMQG, been featured in Quilting with a Modern Slant, and made more quilty things than I ever imagined possible.
Why do I write/create what I do? Quilting keeps me sane!  I am incredibly bad at doing nothing so having something to sew while I watch TV, attend a sporting event, ride in a car, or wait for practice to end keeps me occupied.  Even my non-quilty friends don't blink when I whip out a binding to tack while we're hanging out.  I love the way that I can express myself creatively through fabric and since I'm always cold have something useful to show for it.
I started blogging with this simple goal: "I hope I can do for you what so many others have done for me: make you laugh, show you how to do a thing or two, and ignite your creativity."  I love how my blog documents my creative journey and reminds me to keep it fun.

How does my writing/creating process work?I'm a bit ADD when it comes to quilting.  I usually have a bunch of projects going on at the same time and flip between them depending on what I'm in the mood to do and what works with the block of time available.  Most of my quilts are inspired by another quilt I absolutely loved.  Then I'll start thinking about how I would have done it differently.  In most cases I start with an idea but not a fully formed plan.  I work largely from trial and error.  My husband built me this fabulous design wall which is constantly in use as I move things around and try different designs.  I'm really messy and there's usually fabric everywhere.  Once I start it generally evolves away from the original and takes on more of my style.  

Choosing a quilting design is the hardest part of the process for me.  The texture of the quilting can really make or break the finished quilt so I've really pushed myself the last few years to expand and improve my machine quilting skills.  I almost always make a small sample with the fabrics I'm using in my quilt which I use to test my tension, thread colors, and quilting ideas before tackling my quilt.  Later I bind them and use them as mug rugs that end up scattered around my house.
How does my work differ from others of its genre? Quilting has been around for hundreds of years so it's almost impossible to come up with anything "new".  It's fun to see traditional patterns become trends as everyone jumps on the latest must make bandwagon.  While I'm not immune, I try to change things up a bit...  

When left to my own devices pattern testing Preppy the Whale for Elizabeth Hartman I made a single block and set it in a striped background.  
Inspired by Katy's Hexie MF I used child labor willing sixth graders to make this end of year gift for their teacher.

Oh, and I use a lot more pink!
What am I working on?
Binding my latest Ghastly creation...
Pondering what to do next with this Out to Sea Penny Patch...
Wondering where I'm going with this nautical medallion idea...
Procrastinating scheduling time at Laurena's to quilt these finished tops...
Panicking because there are only 65 days until Christmas and there all those gifts to be made:-)
To keep the fun going I'm inviting two of my favorite fellow BostonMQG members to join.  Tina from ModGeometry is not only one of the sweetest people around she has an amazing eye not just for quilting but for actually designing her own fabric.  She's busy finishing up projects to take to Quilt Market (lucky duck) but graciously agreed to take time to share her creative process.  Rebecca and I have been friends since the earliest days of the BostonMQG.  We've had so many fabulous adventures together and I am always awestruck by her quilts.  Take a peek at her absolute color genius on her blog Parsley is the New Black.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

W.i.P. Wednesday: Inspiration

A few weekends ago our local community art center, ArtSpace Maynard hosted an open studio.  I mainly went to support my dear friend Whitney Heavey who creates these amazing oil paintings inspired by her time on Cape Cod. What I wasn't expecting was to stumble across so much quilting inspiration!

Also in residence is mixed media artist Jeanne Williamson who created these beautiful monoprinted fabric panels.  For 7 years Jeanne challenged her creativity by creating a small quilt each week.  365 quilts later she published The Uncommon Quilter which provides a whole year's worth of projects to try.

I was completely blown away by the work of Merill Comeau.  Merill creates murals with cloth, often discarded clothes and sheets which she then paints and stitches together to create these amazing scenes.

Of course there's no reason to constrain yourself to using fabric when quilting.  This Hardware Quilt #1 by Ingrid Goldbloom Bloch is made with repurposed radiator covers and CDs.

This fall has been crazy busy so I haven't had much time to actually quilt so it was nice to have some new inspiration while I dream of all the projects I can start once I get back in my studio.  I'm not sure I'm ready to switch to metalwork but maybe I'll give painting on fabric and some collage work a try.  For now I'll just be happy if I can finish up something Ghastly before Halloween:-)

WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced
Quilting it up with this week's W.i.P. Wednesday:-)

Friday, October 10, 2014

Haunted Hexies

Things get totally Ghastly around here in October and while you'd think I wouldn't need another quilted Halloween decoration last year I started working on even more.  I got this table runner completely pieced but then Halloween came and went and I never got around to quilting it...

My original plan was to FMQ spiderwebs across the whole runner but after looking at it awhile I decided the quilting would just get lost.  Instead, I just outlined the rows of the hexagons and then did spiraling triangles on the connectors.  I love the effect, it almost looks 3D!

Of course the minute I put it on the table I realized I should have added another hexagon to each end:-(  Maybe this one will be gifted and I'll have to make another one for myself...

 Linking up to the fabulous Finish it Up Friday by Crazy Mom Quilts.

Quilt Stats:
Finished quilt is 28" x 60"
Fabrics: Haunted Mansion by Sanae Jellyroll.  Green Grunge by basic grey.
Batting: Quilter's Dream Orient Bamboo
Thread: Green Olives, King Tut #990

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

W.i.P. Wednesday: Thread Tales

I'm still chugging along on my Out to Sea Penny Patch but today I was inspired to break in to my new stash of Aurifil thread and get quilting.

Alex with his portrait quilt by Luke Haynes
Last night I had the pleasure of meeting the quilting world's Bad Boy, Alex Veronelli at Quilter's Way.  Alex presented a fascinating video on how Aurifil thread is produced.  It was incredible to "tour" the factory and see spun cotton transformed in to the spools I love so much.

As a bonus, the fabulous Victoria Findlay Wolfe also shared her quilts and creative process.  This is the 3rd time I've heard this lecture and I'm still inspired every time!  Her enthusiasm for quilting is infectious and how can you resist someone who reminds you that quilting should be fun!!!  I have to remind myself to follow her lead, if something's not working...  change it.

And I finally found the answer to all my thread emergencies?  Aurifil by the kilo:-)

WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced
Quilting it up with this week's W.i.P. Wednesday:-)

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

W.i.P. Wednesday: In for a penny, in for a pound

We had a rough start to the school year so sewing time has been limited lately.  These Out to Sea Penny Square blocks were a sanity saver!  They whip up quickly and it's fun putting together different color combinations.

I made enough to make my usual lap sized quilt but with a lot of encouragement from my peanut gallery I decided to go big and make a full-sized version for Audrey's room.  Think long and hard about skipping the twin beds and  putting your kids in full and queen sized;-)

They're outgrowing my design wall but it'll shrink once I start sewing everything together.  Only 4 more penny squares to make and I'll be ready to start laying them out and sewing them all together.  Can't wait!!!

WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced
Stitching along with this week's W.i.P. Wednesday:-)

Friday, September 12, 2014

XOXO

Dave & I celebrated our 15th wedding anniversary this week.  What could be better than to commemorate the event with a quilted table runner:-)

I made the top during yet another snow storm last winter.  The plan was to have it done in time for Valentine's Day but as usual it got dropped while I figured out a plan for the back and quilting.  I decided August was time to tackle the UFO pile so I pulled this out and got to it.

I love the texture the quilting gives it.  I went with my usual heart paisley in the center section.  It seemed like an endless expanse of white but it actually went pretty quickly.  Doing the stitch in the ditch around the letters actually took much longer.  It's easy to do but there are lots of starts and stops and turns.  I finished it off with more paisley in the outer border.

The quilting really shows up on the back!  I finally dug in to my Jennifer Paganelli stash...  it's the perfect complement to all these pinks and reds.

I was really on a roll and I had a couple of extra blocks so I whipped up some matching coasters.  Love these!!!

 Linking up to the fabulous Finish it Up Friday by Crazy Mom Quilts.

Quilt Stats:
Finished quilt is 28" x 57"
Fabrics: Spot On by Robert Kaufman, Bella Solids Bleached White.  Backing: Midnight Melody from Sis Boom's Beauty Queen Collection.
Batting: Quilter's Dream Orient Bamboo
Thread: Aurifil  50wt Ivory (2021)