Thursday, October 31, 2013

Zeros Baby Quilt

Here's a quilt I just finished. I would be lying if I said that Blogger's Quilt Festival did not motivate this finish. I don't know how, but going from 2 to 3 kids has changed my daily quilting routine significantly. I can't seem to accomplish things the way I used without deadlines I wouldn't finish anything! In this case, BQF was the deadline...and I'm cutting it close! :) 

I made this one for my new niece, Kara...she is almost 8 months old. I have been plotting this quilt for a while, but I kept changing the color scheme because I couldn't decide who I really wanted to make it for...several new babies were in the running, including mine! Finally, under pressure of the aforementioned deadline, I decided to make it for cute Kara in violet, turquoise and charcoal. I went with all solids because it was easier...I already had most of them and the print fabrics I had were all different scales, and just not working for me. I think the right prints could have been so cute, so I may have to try this again with different fabrics.  

And the inspiration for this...back in January when I was making a list of all the quilts I wanted to make this year, I was trying to come up with some new ideas. One of the things I thought about doing was using some shapes I've never used before...hexagons, ovals, equilateral triangles, etc. We're all aware of my circle obsession...and since circles and ovals are closely related, I figured I'd start there. But after a little thought and a Google search or two I decided that if ovals are related to circles they are more like the circle's dorky older cousin...taller, thinner and kind of awkward. I just couldn't seem to think of a way to make them look good in a quilt. But refusing to give up, I was again Google searching "ovals" for inspiration when I came across the picture of this awesome West Elm tea towel (which sadly is no longer available for purchase). Props to the designer because it is brilliant, perfect and exactly what I was hoping for when I set out to make an oval quilt. So the pattern for this quilt came straight from the tea sense messing with perfection right? 

Applique was the only way to go with this one. So the oval shapes are appliqued on to the single large piece of background fabric. To make the ovals I used Inkscape. Have I mentioned how awesome (and free) that program is? I used it to test color schemes and size layouts and then to print out the template for tracing. I traced the oval shape onto fusible-web. Then I got a little crazy and decided to cut away the majority of the fusible web before I ironed it to the fabric. With this much applique, the quilt can end up being really stiff and getting rid of most of the fusible web eliminates that problem. So the other day I happened to be on the Fons and Porter website and randomly came across this tutorial for the very technique I used...they call it "windowing". I used a rotary cutter and just eye-balled it so it was pretty quick to remove the excess fusible web...then I just had to be a little careful when ironing them to the fabric so they went on straight. It actually worked like a charm. Here is what the back of my shapes looked like before I ironed them to the background fabric:

Once all the shapes were ironed on I stitched them down with a blanket stitch in matching thread. Then just to make a little more work for myself, I cut away the background fabric from behind the shapes. When it was done, I hemmed and hawed for like four days before I decided how to quilt it. It drives me a little crazy that it takes me forever to come up with a quilting design...good thing I had that deadline, or I'd probably still be trying to decide how to quilt it! And after all that stressing out about it...I ended up using the very first idea I came up with...straight lines in the ovals and flowers in the middle. :) 

I backed it in the darker turquoise and bound it in white. I'm fairly happy with how it turned out...simple but still somewhat girly...and hopefully not too dorky! :) 

And now enjoy perusing all the great quilts in the Blogger's Quilt Festival!


Saturday, October 26, 2013

Advent Calendar Quilt Instructions

As if we don't all have ten projects already going's another just in case anyone is bored! This is not a full pattern, but rather an instruction sheet of sorts for the Advent Calendar Quilt. It has basic instructions, templates for the bows and numbers and finished measurements for the presents and the tree. It will hopefully be sufficient for almost everyone to make their own quilty Advent calendar! Get it here.

Story time! So the night before we left New Hampshire we stayed in a hotel since our beds were on a truck on their way out west. I had a miserable night of sleep so I was a cranky girl when I took my 3-year-old out to the lobby to get some breakfast. Somehow I struck up a conversation with two cute ladies who were eating at the table next to us. They were vacationing in NH and wouldn't you know it...they were quilters. We chit-chatted about fabric stores and quilt shows and I told them about my blog. I went back to my room 20 minutes later in the best mood! Quilters are my favorite! A couple weeks later I got an email from one of the ladies. She mentioned she had seen the blog and said she would look forward to a pattern for the Advent quilt. I told her I'd make one eventually. I really was planning to, but without sufficient motivation and/or a deadline it usually takes me FOREVER to make a pattern. So a couple weeks ago she emailed me again to say "hi" and show me a cool quilt she had made. She reminded me about the Advent quilt pattern, so I told her I'd get her some measurements to get her started. And here we are! And for once, it didn't take me 2 months to get it done! Yay! So here you go cute Marsha! Thanks for keeping in touch!