Monday, August 24, 2015

Castle Peeps Quilt

My dear friend Lauren humors my love of scraps by sharing hers with me periodically. That's a good friend, right?! In this last batch, she included several WIPS/UFOS (works in progress/unfinished objects). I couldn't resist the blocks she shared using Lizzy House's adorable Castle Peeps line. It's such a quirky, whimsical set of prints. The colors and fabrics are very Lauren, and the quilt also makes me think of forests and Robin Hood. Fun!
I finished up the improv log cabin blocks by making a few of my own to add to the mix (12 x 12, 6 x 12, and 6 x 6 blocks), piecing, and quilting the 36 x 48 baby quilt. I'm donating it to Project Linus and linking up to 100 Quilts for Kids.
I definitely recommend pairing up with a friend to swap WIPS and finish them, especially for a quick finish for a charity project. 100 Quilts for Kids runs through September 30th, so you still have time to finish up an old project, or a friend's project, and give a handmade gift to child in need. Remember, you can donate the quilt to any organization in your area that you like. Just link up for a chance to win prizes and see other quilters' contributions. I hope you'll join in!

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

A Tale of Two Table Runners

Believe it or not, this is the first project I've made from Improvising Tradition since it was published. A family member requested a handmade item, and the Scattered Colors Table Runner came to mind because it is quick to make and easy to customize. I loved seeing it come together in the cool colors he requested, and I shortened the runner lightly to fit his table by simply omitting a couple of strips. It would also be easy to make it wider or narrower. The pattern is very specific, but it also teaches you the method. Once you understand the method, you can adjust it to fit your needs so simply.
Using the fabrics from the front as a simple striped backing makes the runner reversible. Love that! I used beautiful blue and green shot cottons, and the gray is a Moda crossweave.

Once you have the fabrics out and begin cutting the strips, it is just as easy to make two runners as it is to make one. I made both over the weekend, finishing up the binding over the course of a piano lesson and an evening of movies. I have listed the second runner extra for my etsy shop. It measures 13" wide by 51" long.

Friday, August 14, 2015

A Whole Month of Improv Quilting

Did you know that Sandi of Crafty Planner  and Daisy of Ants to Sugar are dedicating a whole month of blog posts to improv quilting? Improv Quilting Month includes tutorials, podcasts, prizes, and book and class reviews. It's a great place to get a taste of the many different perspectives and techniques available on the subject. I find it interesting to see how quilters approach the same topic in so many unique ways.

Today Sandi reviewed Improvising Tradition, and you have a chance to win a copy, among other giveaways. Just post a picture of a recent or current improv project with the hashtag #improvquiltchallenge for a chance to win. I definitely recommend you peruse the hashtag on instagram for tons of improv inspiration!

Friday, August 7, 2015

Finished Aerial Grove Quilt

I finally hand stitched the last few inches of binding on my Aerial Grove quilt this morning. I have put so, so many hours of work and love into this quilt, from the hand applique to the intense improv quilting. I'm happy to say I'm keeping it! You can read more about the early stages of making this quilt here, where I wrote about my infatuation with this pattern from Carolyn Friedlander's book, Savor Each Stitch.
My favorite part of making this quilt is also my favorite feature in the finished quilt: creating the color gradation in the hand appliqued squircles (squarish circles). Varying the value of the fabrics in each gradation makes the design fade in and out and complicates the simple rows of shapes, especially from a distance.

The most challenging part of making the quilt was actually the quilting. I wanted to create an organic crosshatch around the squirlces, leaving them to puff out a bit, rather than quilting over top of them. In order to avoid stopping and starting at the edge of each applique shape as I would need to do with a walking foot, I used my free motion foot to simply quilt around each one and continue the line on the other side. As you can imagine on a large quilt, this made my crosshatch quite wonky indeed, but since the whole aesthetic of this quilt is improvisational and organic, I'm not unhappy with it at all.
Quilting the neutral sections of the quilt was also challenging as I continued to try to create straight-ish lines with the free motion foot to make rows and columns of various sizes, meant to be reminiscent of gardens or fields as seen from above, much like Carolyn's original quilt.

This pattern is my favorite kind: general directions and thorough instructions of technique, together with plenty of ways to make it your own.