Friday, October 28, 2011

Blogger's Quilt Festival - Recycling Blues

I am so excited to participate in another Blogger's Quilt Festival! 


For those of you who read my blog regularly, this is not a new quilt.  I was really hoping to finish a new quilt for the festival, but it just wasn't in the cards for me this time.

Instead, I am linking up our families favorite quilt.  I designed it around the idea of using a pile of blue fabrics from my stash in addition to some upcycled fabrics.  The quilt includes some upcycled work shirts belonging to my husband, some old jeans and a bunch of non-standard quilting fabrics.  Unfortunately, one of those fabrics in particular did not work out as planned.

See that shiny fabric (roughly in the center)?  The one to the left of my husband's initials from his work shirts?

It was a Chinese brocade made of polyester/nylon.  I knew it probably shouldn't have gone in the dryer, but... well... sometimes these things just happen.  And sometimes they happen more than once.  I didn't realize when I made it that it would become the house favorite and greatly abused.  It has been used as a picnic blanket, a throw, a dog bed, it's gone camping...

... but the dryer has destroyed that brocade and, clearly, it needed a rework.

But what to do?  How do you fix an old quilt?  I really didn't like the idea of trying to somehow replace all of those pieces.  Should I try and patch it?  Then I thought about how hideous a patch would be.  And then I thought some more... and realized that an applique is basically a fancy word for a "patch."  Eureka!

So, I carefully went over the quilt and marked every troubled seam and tear with a pin (and made them really obvious so I wouldn't miss any).  Then I dug out the only applique template I own.

After I sewed them all down by hand, I quilted over the top of each applique to help give the underlying fabrics a little more stability.  It worked.

I think I like this quilt more than some of the others I have made because it was a product of truly leftover and used fabrics, more like how quilts used to be made long ago out of whatever fabrics women could scrape together.  That fact that it is a bargello doesn't hurt either.

Did I mention that this quilt is much loved in our house? 

When I spread it out in the grass to photograph it originally, I only had about 3.4 seconds to snap pics before my son came running over to make use of it.  It sort of became a great big bulls-eye.

Oh.  And it also climbs trees.

I've washed and used the quilt dozens of times now since I added the applique hearts and it is holding up beautifully and is still the most well-used and well-loved quilt in our house.
I hope you enjoyed my entry to this seasons BQF... and I can't wait to see all the other beautiful entries!

Monday, October 17, 2011

Bits of my weekend, in reverse

So, this is how my weekend ended.  At approximately ten to midnight on Sunday. 

My mom and I took my son to take some fall pictures a bit north of us and then hit up a quilt shop on our way home.

At the quilt shop my son found this frog plushie that was made up at the shop.  Well, the plushie wasn't for sale, but the pattern was.  So, of course, I bought the pattern.  And somehow promised to make him right away even though all I wanted to do was go home and continue working on my lone star '30's quilt.

Cotton Ginnys Hopsalot is now finished, including a few creative liberties, but that frog really did a number on my sewing room.

Fluff and destruction everywhere.

Early on Sunday I was able to get some fall photos in, even though it's not quite peak colors.  Love the reflection of the sky in the one above.

 Oaks and maples and lots of sky.

But even with all of that picture taking and frog making, this is what I spent the bulk of my weekend on.  I finished sewing the inner lone star and set it too.  This was a picture before I trimmed it to the right size.  Now I just have to make what feels like a thousand blocks of 2 inch squares to make basically a 2 foot border all the way around it.  And I'm thinking of trying my hand at trapunto in the white blocks, as if I haven't already bitten off more than I can chew.  Should be a fun ride.

And, yes, I can see where I stretched the seams (badly) on that star.  I may or may not fix that.  I am a big believer in the idea that quilting and washing a quilt does wonders at hiding lots of flaws like that.  At least I made some headway.  Oh, and I also bought 4 fabrics to piece the back with - I am planning this quilt to be about 108" square, so that means I needed a lot of backing fabric.

Monday, October 10, 2011

On my design wall

There is life in my sewing room again!  Not one, but TWO (non-baby) quilts in the works.  I am working on killing two birds with one stone with this one.  Finally digging into my ridiculous stash of '30's fabrics that I've been hoarding AND conquering my lone star fears.

I found a PDF tutorial by Kaye Wood that has been enormously helpful and it's coming along pretty well so far.  I just love strip piecing.

Other than when I my helper is "helping."  Those are a pile of 2 1/2 inch strips ready to become a large scrappy border for the star.  And by "ready" I mean as soon as I kick her off of them.

And this is another little number I've been working on involving another out-of-control stash of leafy prints.  I have enough to make two larger quilts out of the fabric I have set aside for this one.  I'm currently held up, though, as I wait for one last 1/2 yard of Kona Tangerine to show up.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Urban Utility II

Well, it took me long enough, but I finally finished Urban Utility II.  It only took me 4 months to get around to finishing up the quilting and the binding.  Oh well.

I know it looks a LOT like the first one, but it's arranged a little differently and I changed up the quilting ever so slightly.

Still love the color combos.  And here's my favorite part...

Are these jellyfish awesome, or what?!  My son likes them so much he was trying to convince me that they are the front of the quilt.  As for myself, I can't get enough of them.

There was such a long gap between when I started quilting this and when I finished that I ended up putting the wrong color thread in the bobbin.  At first I was disgusted with myself, but then I took a look at it again and decided I kinda liked the different colors so I ended up using black, grey, and blue thread for various parts of it.  It's only on the back anyway.

BTW, we still have our hummingbird plants out... we haven't see any today, but we spotted one a couple days ago (hummingbirds, that is).  

Just to prove that the two sister quilts are different, you can see them side by side.  They are remarkably similar, but if you even knew how many hours I agonized over the placement of each square in relation to the others you would die laughing.  Seriously.

<< Urban Utility II

      Urban Utility I >>

I'll be linking this up at Met Monday and a bunch of other awesome link parties...  go ahead, check 'em out!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Little Red Sweater

This sweet little number was another ravelry find.  It's the Chevron Lace Cardigan and the pattern was free.  And for you die-hard knitters out there - don't freak out - it's crochet. 

Generally, I think that knitting makes for prettier stitches, particularly for clothing.  But I have to say that I love this pattern.  In fact, after finishing this one for myself I made a couple other version for kids which I'll share in later posts.  I actually haven't been knitting for all that long, but I've been crocheting for a loooooong time.  It was the first craft I really took to for no particular reason that it was the first one that I really learned well enough to read patterns.  At any rate, when I found this pattern on ravelry I was hooked (ha!) since I am WAY faster at crochet than knitting.

I used Bernat Satin in red.  I've been trending away from acrylic yarn in general, but I really loved this particular shade of red and I made the sweater because I needed more red in my wardrobe because I have a couple pairs of red earrings that I had nothing in particular to wear with.

Anyway, it was a fairly straight-forward pattern... top down construction and easy instructions.  I made it in the 42 inch bust size and it fits nicely (I'm generally a medium).

I went for the gold buttons because they worked best with the earrings I was trying to get more use out of.  I love the collar on this sweater...

I'll be linking this up at Met Monday and a bunch of other awesome link parties...  go ahead, check 'em out! 

Monday, October 3, 2011

Gaia shrug in Kashmira

This was a very rewarding little project.  I found this pattern on ravelry... it's the Gaia shrug.  I have to admit that I didn't buy the pattern... I looked at it generally got the idea of what she'd done and just took a chance.

I used three skeins of Kashmira yarn by Sensations held together.  I really like this yarn - it almost has a springy quality to it.  It isn't quite as lacey as the original is, but it has a lovely drape all the same and wears really well.  I knocked this out in two days on vacation and would definitely make another in a heartbeat.  Fast and easy.

I crocheted the decorative edge, basing it off another pattern I have.  It's super cute on and a pretty flexible piece.  I've worn it alternately over a tank top and a long sleeve t-shirt, depending on the weather and found it comfy either way.  Love it!

I'll be linking this up at Met Monday and a bunch of other awesome link parties...  go ahead, check 'em out!