Sunday, May 31, 2009

A Big Hunk of Swirly Blue Fabric

What does six yards of 90" wide unbleached muslin look like after it's been low-immersion dyed in three different colors of procion blue? Like this:

In my quest to a) use up some of my fabric stash, and b) finish up some UFO's, I found this big hunk of fabric (purchased when?) and soaked it for 24 hours in the aformentioned blue. I sure hope I successfully rinsed out all of the dye, because now it is the bottom layer of a quilt sandwich laid out in the spare bedroom. Just one to two-hundred safety pins later, and I'll be ready to quilt!

The quilt began as a project for Graham, who was in need of a full-size quilt. He specified "blue" when asked for his preference, and lo and behold I found over 40 different blue fabrics in the mighty cabinet o' stash. It wasn't until after I had gotten nearly all of the fabric cut that he capriciously changed his mind, and declared that he wanted his new quilt to be 'green.' Oh well.

The pattern for the quilt top is called "Anvil Star" and turned out rather nicely, I think. Midway through the dyeing process I realized that I had been down the all-blue quilt top with low-immersion dyed backing fabric road before: for the "Making Waves" patterned quilt that currently graces the guest room. It may not be a ground-breaking innovation for me, but if I ever get it all quilted, I bet Hayden, the new recipient, will enjoy it. Perhaps he'll even dream swirly blue dreams while lying underneath it.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Manly, Yes, But I like It Too!

And behold, here is a manly little quilt I made for a friend's store. She specified "four girl quilts and two boy quilts" - roughly the same proportion of girl:boy clothing available at Gymboree!

I stole the colorway from a previously completed quilt made in a different pattern (which, try as I might, I cannot find in my pattern drawer!) - it features Kaffee Fassett's "Targets" fabric, which I loved the moment I saw it in the store. I've subsequently bought a little piece of "Targets" in the blue/pink/lime/ orange colorway. I'm sure it will leap out of my stash cabinet right quick.

For the pattern on this little darlin' I tried the currently popular "Disappearing Nine Patch" that has been taking the inter-blogs by storm. I made big beefy 5" squares and really enjoyed the orderly, yet random way this went together. As you can see, this quilt has a manly backing fabric, and I tried diamond quilting for the first time, simply chalking one 60 degree line down the middle of the quilt and using my stitch guide to keep the lines roughly 2.5" apart. The whole thing reminds me of men's ties and haberdashery.

I'm curious to see how this will be received - black and brown for a baby quilt? What do you think?

Monday, May 11, 2009

My First (Completed) Quilt

With late-life motherhood came an abundance time! Well, not *free* exactly, but no longer was I working 40-60 hours a week teaching high school english or writing copy to promote music festivals, or raising money to put on said music festivals, etc. So, round about the time Hayden was 6 months old, I got the notion to start sewing. I had my grandma's Singer Featherweight, but no manual and no parts. Those had somehow been lost in the transfer between my mom, my sister and myself. Although I could find out the exact date of birth of my machine on the internet, I couldn't find a manual, and since I didn't know how to thread the machine - I was stuck! Stuck until I wrote some nice lady in Texas (whose address I did get from the internet) and she sent me a xeroxed copy of the manual. I was off and running!

My very fist quilt was an unlovely fence rail which annoyed me to no end once I got it done. There was an olive green in a paisley print that I could not overlook. Plus, this first quill suffered from numerous misaligned seams and so was relegated to the bottom of a drawer.

For this, my second quilt, I chose the fabrics with care, and settled quickly on a scrappy nine patch pattern. I learned how to set my blocks on point, and machine-quilted it all myself. I actually love the way it came out. Although I had intended it for a crib quilt for Hayden, it never quite made it there. Now, it still hangs on the wall of my second lil' darling's baby room - a room we still have yet to find a use for (except for storing the dozen or so finished quilts and quilt tops!)

Tuesday, May 05, 2009


Today dawned with a sore throat (for me) and the thought of making my mother a lovely little mini-quilt for Mother's Day. I thought; bright Amy Butler prints, some reds, some pinks, maybe even some applique. Once the kids were dropped off, the mood to create said lovely item had waned. Instead I spied the brown and green and orange fabric scraps from the two "boy" quilts I'm working on, and thought, "hot mitt."

Well, it was a slicing and dicing affair. I suffered not one, not two, but three rotary cutter injuries (!) and scrapped this thing together. i had to drag the young one downtown after school to take it to the little mail shop to get it in the mail in time. At any rate, it will probably keep my mom's hands protected. Tomorrow's bound to be a better day, right?

Monday, May 04, 2009


Who knew? There's a vast global cadre of blogs about quilting? Mine is just the 4 millionth outcry from an overeducated woman sublimating her intelligence by cutting up beautiful fabric and sewing it back together again. One fine and robust example is "crazy mom quilts" a sparky sounding gal named Amanda Jean who is wondrously productive. Her blog has great stuff, and tutorials, too!

Last week she announced a "quilt-a-long" of a scrappy nine-patch. I, and over 250 other people announced their willingness to participate. The call was simply to create a nine-patch square once a day for 70 days, periodically post a picture of your results, use up a bunch of one's carefully saved fabric scraps, and soon; enough squares to make a delightful quilt.

I'm liking it, because a) it has caused me to actually organize some of my carefully saved scraps, and b) I am having fun making tiny color decisions and going through the manuevers of tiny assemblage. Quilt project writ small.

Anyway, here are my results (I'm a bit ahead of schedule: the thing started on Monday, April 27) - I'm two days ahead!

At first, I was randomly pulling scraps out of baskets and then I thought it better to curate and select my scraps. Have you noticed the pink theme?

In other news I did not get the somewhat career-esque position I applied for, and have been subsequently examing my navel and my place on Planet Earth.