Friday, June 24, 2011

Excuse me while I gush

I LOVE this quilt!!!  I love that I got to try some new techniques while making it.  I love that it stretched my creativity and is my own unique design.  I love the way the quilting enhances the design.  I love that most of the fabrics came from my stash.  I love that it's soft and cuddly!  I just love it!!!

A friend of mine works for an adolescent psychiatric treatment center and we've discussed how some quilts could warm the place up a bit but never got around to specifics.  In my mind I wanted to make something soothing yet interesting.  Something that the more you looked at it the more you saw.  I call this Keeping It Together.  There is a mix of traditional nine patch blocks and crazy nine patch blocks.  Without revealing too much of my own insanity, I see it as the tidal pull between chaos and structure.  The fabrics are batiks I've picked up over the years mixed in with a few trips to my LQS.  I quilted it on the longarm with a wavy pattern called Happy Times and after I picked the thread I found out it's named appropriately enough, De Nile.  I love a good pun!

Then came my previously mentioned binding tizzy which I decided to view as an opportunity to stretch out of my perfect world comfort zone and do something creative.  I asked myself "What Would Rachel (my incredibly imaginative friend) Do?" and decided even though I actually still had fabric to make more matching binding I'd use something else.  Rachel pointed out that modern quilt goddess Alissa also had the same problem/solution so I'm not sure it was really as risk-taking as it felt but it definitely worked with my philosophy for this quilt. 

What I love most about this quilt is that it has reminded me that my quilts should capture MY vision!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Race to the finish

A few months ago Dex's teacher asked me if I would help the kids make a quilt.  I probably should have given some thought to what this would entail but of course I just said yes.  This turned out to be a lot of work but it was fun and the kids really enjoyed the process and the final result.  The kids each drew a picture of a family tradition which they then drew on fabric.  I backed the muslin for the pictures with freezer paper which gave it some stability and helped keep it from stretching.  The drawings were done with Sharpies which seemed to bleed.  If I did it again I'd look for markers made for fabric.

Another day I went in and helped each kid sew a strip of sashing to the side of their picture block.  At each stage a few kids were absent so there were more visits and delays...  Last week I decided I really wanted to get this done before the end of the school year.  I sewed in 2 blank squares for the stragglers and finished up the top.  I'd ordered fabric for the back and binding on-line so I was stuck anxiously awaiting it's arrival knowing I was going to be in Maine for the weekend.  It showed up Friday afternoon so I spent the rest of the day piecing the back together, making binding and basting the quilt. 

That night I pulled a marathon quilting session with some help from the Twilight saga and Starbucks and got it all quilted and the binding sewn on.  A 2 hour car ride is always good for getting a binding tacked down so it worked out perfectly.  I put the last stitches in the binding on the way home Sunday night and was able to drop the quilt off to his class yesterday.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Teacher's Pet

We're wrapping up another year of school here and that means it's time for teacher gifts.  My "craftiness" is well known so I always feel compelled to produce something handmade.  This year Audrey's class did yoga so I suggested as our year-end gift we could get her teachers yoga mats which all of the kids signed.  To go along with the theme I offered to make eye pillows.  These are so quick and fun to make, I went a little overboard: ) 

For Dex's teachers I added a pack of relaxation mints and tied them up with some raffia.

These are loosely based on the tutorial at Make It Do and filled with a mix of lavender (which I definitely did NOT grow myself) and flax seeds.  I was a little concerned when I saw that lavender was priced at $51.49/pound but I used a 1/4 cup in each and was able to make 10 pillows with about $5 worth.  These are perfectly sized to make with leftover layer cakes and I had fun mixing in linens and voiles for different textures on the back.  I suspect I'll be making a few more of these...  I'm thinking hostess gifts for all those summer BBQs!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

The gap

When I originally planned this post it was going to be about quilting this on the longarm... but I forgot to take pictures.  Then I figured I'd just slap the binding on and rhapsodize about how thrilled I was with how this quilt has turned out.  In the spirit of "using my stash", I had a leftover binding I was going to use up even though it totally didn't meet my current exacting standards.  Of course I just assumed it was big enough.  Eyeballing it I thought I'd have enough but I didn't actually check before I started sewing.  You know where this is headed!