The past two weeks has been filled with a lot of fun sewing. Bright, colorful fabrics and big blocks so my lack of precise measuring doesn’t really matter. This quilt is for my son’s best friend, Josh. They have been in class together since kindergarten (four years) and now Josh is moving away. So, we decided to make him a memory quilt. First I chose a pattern. This was quite easy as I had seen Miss Print’s Euclid quilt a while ago and had decided it would be perfect for a memory quilt. Luckily, she had a tutorial to go with the beautiful quilt. Over the past month, I have handed out fabric (Kona silver) to all the kids in the grade as well as the teachers and some of the administration (it’s a small school!).
Each person used sharpies or fabric markers to design a goodbye patch for him. My son chose a quote from Winnie-the-Pooh:
“How lucky I am to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard.”
There were lots of other sweet quotes and pictures. I loved the Kona silver as the base color. White was too stark and the silver still matched whatever I would choose for a background and/or sashing. Next I chose fabric to border the silver fabric. Four different color-ways of the same tie-dye-ish pattern. I wasn’t sure if it would be completely overwhelming, but though busy, it all blends together really nicely. Little by little the kids have been returning the fabric to me and this past week I sat down and started sewing it all up. Today the quilt top was finished. At about 60 x 65, it turned out larger than I expected (especially since I hadn’t tried to calculate)!
Next I will be trying to figure out what to do with the back. I have a lot of fabric left over, so I want to use it for the back, but I don’t love the look of four big blocks of fabric sewn together. And I have to be careful about any pattern or blocks that would have to line up with the front. I never seem to baste the quilt at right angles and when it is all sewn together, it becomes clear that something is a little off. So, off to search the internet for ideas…
Well, the mini Fair Isle is finally bound, and yes, I did finish it up by hand. A one hour wait at the doctor’s office on Tuesday and then two hours for an oil change today allowed me to finish. (It seems I get the most sewing done at the car dealer- something to think about). Very far from perfect, but I think it was a decent salvage of a quilt that went horribly wrong. The quilt was backed with a mint green plus sign pattern, bound with scraps from the front and quilted with parallel straight lines at every 1/3 inch.
Now I have moved on to quilting the (No) Golden Shadows quilt. It will be overlapping ovals in straight lines. Turquoise and then a dark reddish brown. Each row is taking about two hours and I figure there will be about 35 rows in all. Luckily, I am finding this monotony very relaxing! Here is a picture of the turquoise. The red will overlap in the middle of the two rows.
And finally, I have started sewing a memory quilt for my son’s best friend. So far it looks amazing! This one will get a blog post all it’s own!
Finished! The Up From Here baby quilt is complete. Some things I might do differently next time, but overall, quite happy with how this one came out. Definitely worthy of being given as a baby gift. And, other than finishing up the one that was already started, I don’t think I’ll ever be hand stitching binding again. Thank you to the folks at Cluck, Cluck Sew!
Four other projects under foot at the moment:
- The mini Fair Isle quilt needs to have the binding finished.
- The (No) Golden Shadows quilt needs to be basted, quilted and bound.
- The Modern Block of the Month needs to have the blocks pieced together (w or w/o sashing???), and then basted, quilted and bound.
- A memory quilt for my son’s best friend who is moving in June.
And of course, I’ve already got some other things picked out!
I had wanted a finish for Finish Up (From Here) Friday, but not sure if it will happen. Just as quickly as Diego the dog moved out, Remy the dog moved in. We’ve now had at least 5 chihuahua mixes as fosters, and I have to say, I’m ready for a dog that you can’t step on. Bring on the St. Bernards, please! Remy likes to try to walk on my legs while I’m sewing.
As for the baby quilt, I decided not to use any batting since the baby is due in early fall in Florida, and just backed it in a light grey flannel. I stitched outlines into all of the flowered parts of the blocks and then added stippling to the entire black and white section. Somewhere in there the machine ran into some tension problems which didn’t work themselves out till the end. It would look odd, but you can’t really see the quilting since it is white thread on a mostly white background, so I decided to just leave it alone and not risk making things worse.
For the binding, I used the leftover floral scraps, some tiny black on white polka dot scraps from another quilt and an extra fat quarter of the blue floral I had used. I tried to line it up so that the black and white binding was on the floral part of the quilt and the floral binding was on the black and white part of the quilt, and that mostly worked out. I stitched the binding down yesterday and was going to start the hand stitching today. And then I decided not to. I slowed down the speed settings on the machine and began to machine stitch it down. After the first few inches, I realized that I didn’t even need pins to hold it in place (though I did order some Clover Clips that haven’t arrived yet). Why did I ever hand stitch anything? It’s been about twenty minutes and I’m more than halfway done. And it is so much neater than my hand stitching. If it’s not done today, then definitely over the weekend!
After completing the Modern Block of the Month, I moved on to Sew Mama Sews’ “All-New Modern Block of the Month”. However, the second series had only 6 jumbo blocks and two of them involved circles, which SO wasn’t happening. I decided that I liked the simplest, Up From Here, block the best and started with that one. I pulled out some fat quarters I had put together, half black on white patterns and half florals on white. The first block came together so quickly and beautifully that I decided to make three more and put them together to make a 48 x 48 baby quilt.
Again, this was fun and easy to do and the cutting, piecing and trimming the blocks felt rather effortless. I was so excited about this quilt. In one week, all four blocks were done.
And then today I sewed them together. Of course, they don’t line up at all. Honestly, I kind of expected that.
Even worse though, the four different black and white prints are way too overwhelming. It would have looked gorgeous if I did the whole thing in just one of those black and whites.
I will press on and finish it up, but definitely demoralizing, especially since I’m still finishing up the binding of the Fair Isle Mini I loved but screwed up. Now I have to decide whether to piece together a fun back for it, or just call it a day and back it in a solid color.
The good news for today: Diego the dog was adopted last night, so after I vacuum the floors, I can then start to baste some things!
My block of the week challenge is complete- way ahead of schedule I might add! My only problem is that I can’t lay out the blocks and sashing to piece because Diego the dog is still in residence. He would find that WAY too much fun, and get dog hair all over everything. So for now, those blocks will sit in a pile, along with the already pieced (No) Golden Shadows quilt top, which is waiting to be basted for the same reason.
So, here are blocks 9-12:
Block 9 was easy until I went to square it up at the end and realized that one corner was half an inch short. Rather than undoing the stitching, I just modified the block and added an extra strip:
Here’s the finished look:
And finally, Block 12:
I absolutely loved this process and will definitely be looking for more block of the month challenges- or really, anything with real instructions. Who knew I would actually enjoy following patterns? Opening up a world of possibilities…
A quick post just to show that I’m back on the regular schedule. Block 8 was a toughie because I refuse to sew partial seems (because I don’t know how and I am too lazy to learn)! So, I had to modify the instructions and cut everything into smaller pieces. While far from perfect, it came out much better than the other block I had to modify.
First, I sketched it out, breaking the block into four sections.
Then, I sewed up each part. I cut all the pieces larger than required and ironed and trimmed between each set of piecing.
Finally, I sewed the four parts together. They lined up fairly nicely, though I definitely see places that could be improved.
And the finished block:
Fabric for block 9 has already been cut!