Scrappy Trips Around the World

I have a LOT of fabric right now.  My stash is built mostly from a lovely gift from my mother-in-law this summer: a big box of fabric purchased from a quilter at a garage sale.  There was a lot of beautiful stuff in there, and I am thrilled to be able to put it to good use.  I’ve already made one quilt (Something Blue, the wedding gift) using these fabrics, and I have just started two more.  Since I love the idea of scrappy quilts, and I have lots of scraps, I thought this quilt pattern would be perfect.  It is really taking over quilt-blog-land right now, and you can see some stunningly beautiful examples of what people are doing on the Flickr group set up for these projects.  The tutorial that I am following, which I learned of over on Film in the Fridge, is from Quiltville Custom Quilting and can be found here.

As I said, I’m working on two quilts – one for my girl and one for my boy.  I’m farther along on the one for my girl: here are a few in-progress photos:

These need to be ironed and straightened out and  … but you get the idea.

I need to figure out how to rotate images, sorry about that.  But here is my ‘tube’ being cut into six strips.

Here are a couple of the blocks for the boy quilt.  I want it to be wild, I think these blocks fit the bill. :)

 

Ornaments

I love to make Christmas ornaments, and last year I discovered this tutorial and have been in love with quilted Christmas balls since! I made a bunch this year but was remiss on taking pictures of them before gifting.  Here are the three that I remembered to photograph. :)

A little Flea Market Fancy.  This one was given to the recipient of the green baby quilt.

You can’t really tell, but this fabric is dragons and flames.  Very big in our house currently, so needed to be commemorated in an ornament.

I really like how this one reminds me of an old-fashioned quilt. 

A cosy Rudolph blanket

Around here, we LOVE the old 1960′s movie “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer”.  When I say love, I mean that this December we probably watched it 25 times.  Sometimes multiple times in one day.  So, when I saw a fabric panel for $6 at my local fabric shop, I knew I had to snatch it up.  It was intended for a little fabric book, but I don’t think that kids use fabric books very long.  So I cut it up, put borders on the squares with some scrap Christmas prints, and sewed it up.

I didn’t quilt this one, but rather backed it in a soft velvety-fleece … very cuddly.  This was a gift for my little girl under the tree this year, and I hope it is loved each year when it comes out of the Christmas bin.  We have a well-established Christmas movie tradition around here (yes, we have other movies) and I am hoping this will be loved for movie nights during many holiday seasons to come.

Something Blue

I have been so remiss on posting updates about this quilt – and now it is done, washed, and has been given to the happy couple!  I decided to go with a ‘random’ plus design, as planned, but chose to make it all out of various blues.  The squares are 2 1/2″, and there are a LOT of them in this quilt!

I had some help with keeping the strips in order :)

I worked from a pattern written for me by my computer-wizard hubby which placed the plus signs in a semi-random pattern, ensuring that I would not get clumps of darks and lights and that things would end up how I wanted them to (I don’t have room for a design wall and am too lazy to draw things up, so his little program is perfect for me!).  I cut up all the squares and then sewed them into strips, sewing the strips together as I worked.

A close up of the quilt top, pre-pinning.

The quilt is big enough that it can go on a double bed.  I thought of making it queen-sized, but my intention is for this to be a well-used quilt, so I wanted it to be small enough that it could be used on a couch for movie nights, outside for picnics, and hopefully someday be used by small people to make forts in the living room.  I find queen quilts, while lovely for on beds, get pretty heavy.

I was worried that it was too dark while we were taking pictures, but the grey-blue of the 5 pm sky really went well with the colours of the quilt! 

The back of the quilt is a soft quilters flannel.

I am very happy with how this turned out and I hope it is loved by my dear friends. A lot of love went into sewing it!

Stockings!

As I mentioned in an earlier post, I have been working on making stockings for friends and family lately.  It started out as a quick project, just making one for my daughter.  But, here I am, nine stockings later.  I found it such as satisfying way to use up scraps and get something accomplished!

 

I cut pieces and strips and just sewed them together in a semi-organized way, trying to capture things that each recipient would appreciate.  Because you really don’t see the inside of a stocking, I just used some gingham scrap for the backing – didn’t bother with if it ‘went’ with the theme at all.  For the names, I was intending to get them embroidered by someone with a machine that does such things, until I couldn’t find anyone, and the shop that I found wanted $15 each! Yikes.  So, I just got out the old embroidery floss and a needle, and did my best.  All-in-all I’m pretty happy with how they look.  A dear friend’s mum sent me instructions on how to do the embroidered letters with my standard Janome machine, and I’m very keen to try it out on another project (I was already finished half of these when I got her note!).  Thanks Clare!

I quilted a few of these using a stippled pattern, but then got on to doing simple horizontal lines – I liked the effect of just sewing 1/4″ from each seam, so that the lines were not evenly spaced but did have a somewhat uniform feel.

This one is very soft and is for a new baby in our lives.  The fabric was beautiful to work with – it was from a fat quarter bundle and I will come back with the name … can’t remember it right now!

You may recognize these owls … they were featured in my “Two Little Owls” quilt and I felt the scraps needed to make their way into a few stockings.  This one also has leftover polka dots from an Easter Basket project that I made using the tutorial by Diary of a Flutter.Kat, available here.

The lovely little girl getting this stocking loves all things old-fashioned, and in fact has a lovely apron (think “Little House on the Prairie” style) made from the lighter fabric.  She wears it daily! I hope she is happy with her stocking.

This one doesn’t have the same name-stitch as the others, as I took apart a purchased stocking and used the topper.  I like it, though, and matching is over-rated.

There are those owls again! And a little Flea Market Fancy thrown in for fun.

 

I am happy with the zig-zag effect on the pepper stocking.  I just went totally free-form on the cutting and sewing, and I think it looks pretty cool.

Gingham and owls.  :)

So, there we are! I think I’m done with stockings for this year.  My next project is a soft Christmas blanket for my little girl – perfect for cuddling on the couch watching Christmas movies.  I found some “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” fabric last year that I snapped up after Christmas … off to get going on it!

Two little owls

My lovely friend has had her babies – two of them! A boy and a girl, happy and healthy (and not sleeping … sigh).  Lucky for me, I was able to finish up the quilt that I made for them about two weeks before they were born.  I was not, however, able to finish it up before her baby shower. BUT, I was very happy to learn at the shower that her theme was owls.  Thank goodness as I was half-way done the quilt.  I used fabrics from the “Ten Little Things” line by Jenn Ski for Moda, and found them really really cute.

A couple of pictures:

I’m happy with how the quilt turned out, and the recipient was as well. :) Now, hopefully those little owls get some sleep for their mama.

 

 

A change in direction (or: the creative process)

I’ve been sewing a lot lately, making stockings for my kids and nieces and nephew (photos to come soon!), finished up a super cute owl quilt for my friend’s twins using Jenn Ski’s ‘Ten Little Things’ fabric (again, photo of the finished quilt to come), but have not been able to get down to work on the wedding quilt that I’ve been planning for months.

I’ve gotten as far as to cut out the fabric, but just can’t quite commit to sewing.  Today, I had an epiphany! I’ve decided to start over.  I’m going to use those lovely fabrics for other projects – they will be perfect for some baby boy quilts, which I know I’ll need in the coming year, and for a soft coloured quilt for a family member.  I just need to go a different direction for my friend’s wedding quilt, because she is so special to me and I need to be excited about planning it, and I just wasn’t. This is how creativity works!!

So, we are back to planning stages.  I’m in love with the idea of doing the quilt in the Echo line by Lotta Jansdotter (just Google image it, you’ll fall in love too).  They had wanted blues and earth tones, and I think I can make that happen.  I am currently thinking I’ll do a ‘plus’ quilt because I want something modern and I’m also in love with plusses.  Here’s a mock-up of what I was thinking.  When I hear ‘Earth tones’ I often go to browns, but I think I’ll take this one in a gray direction.  Gray and blue is lovely together, and I think if I do a mix of solids and small prints, it could be perfect.

 

Christmas is coming!

I can’t quite believe this, but I’m working on making stockings already!! With a new little girl in our family who will be spending her first Christmas with us this year, I needed a stocking for her.  So I grabbed a bunch of Christmas fabrics from my stash, and just started cutting them into random strips.  I decided to do a wonky-style, so just sewed them together without any stress or fuss.  I made two little mini-quilts, cut the stocking shape out of both, sewed them together, and voila! A Christmas-y stocking for my girl.

But it doesn’t end there.  My boy, upon seeing this, decided that HE needed me to make him one too.  But, he informed me, it had to be MUCH cooler.  And had to have dragons And fire.  And cars.  And dinosaurs.  So, because I’m a sucker for my kid asking me to make him something (and because my stash includes scraps of all of the above), I got to work, and with my helper by my side we made the COOLEST stocking in town. So cool, in fact, that said boy is as I type this sleeping in his bed, snuggled up with this stocking.

And it should end there.  But it doesn’t.  Because upon seeing how COOL his stocking was, he decided that his baby sister’s stocking is not cool enough.  The Christmas fabrics aren’t working for him – she needs a super cool animal stocking too. So, my next project has been planned for me.  Super-cool stocking for an 8-month old.  Grams will get the Christmas-y one.

 

A wedding quilt

I’ve never made a quilt as a wedding gift before, but it feels perfect to me.  When my good friend met the man of her dreams a couple of years ago, and planned their wedding for August of 2012, I knew that my chance to make a quilt had come.  The planning began!

I decided to let my friends know that I was planning a quilt for them, as I’ve seen wedding quilts given and not loved because the style was off for the recipient … I didn’t want that to happen.  I asked them to choose a colour palate, and sent them to my favourite source of inspiration (www.filminthefridge.com) to get some ideas on which styles of quilts they fancied.

For colours, they asked for blues, creams, and browns.  Very soothing and lovely.  I found a great fat quarter bundle online and went for it.  When it arrived, I realized that a few of the fabrics tended more toward baby than I would have liked, but I’ve just edited those out of the quilt and will use them for my next baby boy quilt.

They decided that they were most drawn to the patchwork squares (my personal fav, as you’ll see), and to the strip quilts.  Given that I want to make a large quilt for them, I decided to go with patchwork.  This decision has gone back and forth.  I briefly considered a modern take on the Chinese coin quilt (inspired by Sarah Johnson’s quilt in “Block Party: The Modern Quilting Bee” by Alisssa Haight Carlton & Kristen Lejnieks (currently overdue from the library – oops!)) but while I’m in love with this quilt and definitely want to sew one up, but decided it wasn’t quite right for my friends.  Back to patchwork squares.