Wednesday, January 18, 2012

The biggest impediment to quilting... sweet little Dinsdale.

Daring to be Square (and some WIP Wednesday)

I love collecting craft books almost as much as I like crafting! The book-buying habit got especially bad when I worked at a Borders bookstore for several years, and one of the last books I got before joyfully quitting was this (seemingly littleknown?) gem:

Dare To Be Square

This is such an amazing quilting book! It is designed for brand new quilters, but the quilt patterns in it are so great that it doesn't matter what skill level you are. The premise is that you can make fun, functional quilts entirely out of squares and rectangles. The first part of the the book is dedicated to teaching you how to quilt, including cutting, piecing, basting, and straight-line quilting. Until I got this book I was afraid of machine quilting my quilts, and had only ever tied or hand-quilted them. It inspired me to buy my walking foot and opened up a whole new world of quilt design possibilities for me.

All of the quilts in the book are really fun (I love that owl quilt on the cover, although I haven't gotten around to making it yet) but my favorite design is a quilt called "Two Left Feet." It's the first quilt I made from the book, and I even used the exact same colors!

This was the first quilt I ever machine quilted, using Boo Davis' painters tape stripes techniques. Speaking of Boo Davis, she is the hard-rocking quilter/author. Check out her totally unique modern quilts! She also has a Flickr group for people who have made the quilts in her book, and even makes a point of commenting on everyone's submissions. How sweet is that?

Anyway, I loved that first quilt I made, and since I made that one for my Grandma, I decided to make one for myself too!

This time I got a little more creative, choosing my own colors.

I think my favorite thing about this book was that it finally pushed me to take the plunge and start designing my own quilts. I eased into it, basing my quilt design on one in the book. The one in the book looks a bit like this (link to an incredible version I saw on Flickr), a design that I liked from the beginning. However, I wanted to make a larger, bed-size quilt, so I adapted the pattern and sewed up this guy:

I decided to hand quilt this one, since it's intimidatingly large (almost king size, I think!). This is one of those projects that will take a while yet, as I don't pull it out too often.

Anyway, the point (and the Work In Progress Wednesday post) that I'm trying to make is this: I have just sketched up a new quilt design that is all mine, based on the techniques I learned from Dare To Be Square. I'm washing the fabric today and hope to get cutting it. I don't want to tell you what it is just yet, but here is a little hint:

(this is part of the back)
This is a quilt I've been thinking about for a long time, and I'm excited to finally be working on it!

Even though this point is only a little about works in progress, I'm still linking up over at Freshly Pieced. It's always fun to see what everyone else is up to!

Monday, January 9, 2012

Christmas Sewing - Finally!

As usual, I had grand plans for handmade Christmas presents, but seeing as how I only gave myself about 10 days to make them, I had to adjust for reality as I went. The results weren't half bad though! I decided this year to only make things for the people in my family who I knew would appreciate them. This meant that three lucky ladies got some good stuff!

First, we have Speed Quilting: Round 1 - Anne and Sergey Edition.

Yes, another Vintage Superstar. I love this pattern! It's such a fun way to show off pretty fabrics.

I got to practice my free motion quilting again. I started with a spiral and then just did rounds and rounds of petals all the way out to the tips of the star. The outside of the star is done with a combination of swirly stippling + hearts, a personal favorite:

And the back is a pretty, large-scale vintage sheet! Binding is also vintage.

Next up is Speed Quilting: Round 2 - Kati Edition.

Look, same quilt! (Almost, anyway.)

This version, for my sister, was done in more cartoon-y prints, and has a slightly more modern sheet for the back. Quilting on this one is entirely heart-stipple, with one special addition:

And finally, pillows for Mom.

She requested king size purple flannel pillowcases. Some how I made this really hard for myself - suffice it to say I used my seam ripper a lot this time. Also, I didn't realize that the flannel had a front and a back until both cases were done, and of course one is backwards. Whatever, you can' tell unless I point it out. (Sorry, Mom!)

This was the first through pillow I ever made! It was shockingly, wonderfully easy. My mom sent me the African fabric and I finally found the courage to try a pillow. I'm glad I did, because once I realized how easy/fun it was, I made this:

The heart is appliqued on, and then I just echo quilted the entire front. I loved this pillow so much I'm ready to make some for myself now!

It's been so long since my last post that, while I have more to show, I don't want to make this one too long. I promise to come back soon!