Purple Doll Quilt

Hello habibis!  Today is the last day of September and therefore the last day of National Sewing and Quilting Month.  Today I’m bringing you another doll quilt – and from start to finish!

I’m trying to practice free motion quilting right now, and what better way to practice than on doll quilts?  They’re small and easy to manipulate.  Here’s one I put together specifically for that purpose.  I cut strips of purple fabric of varying widths and arranged them like this:

You may recognize some of these fabrics from my cousin C’s apron – I had leftover scraps in weird sizes.

I layered it with this green print on the back.  It just happened that I had enough of it to cover the back, but in the end I was really pleased with the color combination.

I wanted to quilt this with curvy/wavy lines, which is what I’m practicing right now.  I used this purple thread.  I decided to do overlapping lines, and here’s the result:

Here it is from the back – I love the way the purple looks on the green.  For the binding I chose this purple (the backing fabric from my friend N’s wedding quilt, which I still have scraps of) and a matching purple thread.  Some of my corners weren’t perfect but I don’t mind.

I had a little bit of trouble with thread breakage and I think I need to adjust my settings.  I just got a couple of books about free motion quilting, so that should help.  I also took my machine in for a tune up, since I hadn’t had it cleaned or anything in the 7 years that I’ve had it.

I’m afraid I haven’t named this one – I wanted something that referenced the shades of purple, but I get a rather icy/wintry feel from the fabrics, especially the shimmery metallic one, and nothing that referenced ice or winter felt appropriate for a doll quilt.  So, it’s unnamed, but quite cute.



Magnum opus update #4

Hello habibis!  I quilted thirteen words on my magnum opus this week, so I’ve completed 33 words now.   No star progress recently – I still have only 20 stars done – because the words take longer to quilt and I’ve been focusing on them.  I told you I’d have lots of time for sewing this past week, and more in the weeks to come.  🙂  I should make steady progress on my magnum opus (I quilt it at night when I’m on the phone with Z) and on the weekends I’ll be working on my assortment of projects.


Memorial Quilt for my friend K

A change of pace this week: I’m posting a day early, and instead of showing you something new, I’m going to show you something I made four years ago.

Today would have been my friend K’s 30th birthday.  She was killed in a car accident a few years ago, and I decided that today would be a good day to show you the quilt I made for her family, especially her mom.

We had a memorial service for K on our college campus, and I put out 5″ squares and fabric pens (and other markers) for people to write messages.  I took those and used iron-on fusing to attach them to larger squares (because many of the messages hadn’t left seam allowances).  (Lessons learned: mark seam allowances, and don’t use permanent markers – some of the squares bled a lot, and I don’t know how this quilt will hold up in the future.)

I took a picture of K and printed it onto photo fabric, along with her name.  I used a zigzag stitch in blue thread to attach it to my center square, and I hand quilted a little pink flower next to her name.

Then I started adding the borders.  I used mostly batiks and added a lot of blue prints from my collection, K’s favorite color.  I love the lushness of the batiks.  When I look back at the pictures, I recognize a lot of blue prints I’ve used in other projects, some of which I still have.  A few of them strike me, now, as being children’s prints, but I think that’s appropriate.  I think it speaks to the innocence of a young life cut short.

The first border is batiks, in rainbow order.  The second border has messages, alternating with squares that are just prints.  (They aren’t all squares, actually – I had to do a lot of math to make all my rows even, so it’s more like rectangles.) Then another rainbow border of batiks, and finally another border with messages alternating with blank squares.  I used variegated pink thread to quilt little hearts in the corners of the innermost border.  I did the same in the third border (the outer rainbow border).  A couple of the hearts were done with yellow thread instead of the pink.  I also sewed down the corner of each message with a little yellow x. (It’s really not that much quilting, another reason why I worry about how it’ll hold up in the future.)

I finished the edge of the quilt with a blanket stitch in the pink thread.  That’s the only time I’ve ever done that.  I couldn’t tell you why I picked it, but I think the effect is really cute.  It gives it a sweet blanket-y feel.

For the back of the quilt, I used a fabric collection I had, mostly purples, greens, and blues with a little yellow mixed in.  I don’t remember what it’s called; at the time I’d had it for a while, and that was back in 2010.   (I’m not 100% sure the yellow was from that collection; I might have added it.)  It’s just a nine patch of large squares surrounded by a border of smaller squares and then a purple border.  I pieced it because I didn’t have anything large enough for the backing.  That’s my former roommate A modeling the quilt for me in our old apartment, before I switched jobs and moved to be closer to my family.

I want to share one close up picture.  Not everyone could attend the memorial and some people sent me messages that I printed on fabric.  I had one extra empty square in the top left corner of the quilt, in which I quilted three concentric hearts.  (Concentric is the right word, isn’t it?  I think it must be.)  I wanted to show you the hearts and one of the messages.  Many of us met on the Catholic freshman retreat on campus and I think the message of the hymn is beautiful here.  This way you can see the blanket stitch I used for the edging, too.

I still miss K.  Sometimes I think to myself suddenly “I need to call K!” or “I have to tell her about that,” like when one of her brothers had a baby and I wanted to congratulate her, or when I saw another brother in a play, or on her birthday.  Last year her birthday was a Sunday and I had mass said for her at my church.  I cried during mass and I still had the thought afterward that I should email her to wish her a happy birthday.  I forget that she’s gone.   This year I’ll email her mom, like I usually do, to let her know that I’m thinking of their family and that they and K are always in my prayers.  Sometimes I think I should make K’s mom another quilt, something to let her know that people still care.  Losing K broke her heart.  I’ll let that idea percolate and maybe something will inspire me.

I’m sorry if this week’s post is a little rambling.  I still get sad and emotional when I think about K’s death.  She was a wonderful friend.

National Sewing and Quilting Month

I found out, a bit late in the game, that September is National Sewing and Quilting Month.  I wanted to do something to mark the occasion before the month completely passes me by, so I decided to write an extra post.  (Three posts this week!  I swear, posting is kind of addictive, but with everything else that’s going on, I have to squeeze it in here and there.)

I want to share with you an exercise I did last month, a way of thinking about one’s quilting style.

Last month my mom and I went to a different quilt guild than my usual.  I mentioned that when we went on the quilt retreat in March it had been the retreat for a different guild, which has overlapping membership with my guild.  We went with our friend A, who organizes the retreats and all the excursions for multiple guilds.  (She is a delightful bundle of energy and we’re so lucky to have made her acquaintance and now count her as our friend.)  The guild we went to is a modern guild, but they were very welcoming to visitors, and as I mentioned Mom and I already know some of the ladies.  Our friend M is also part of the guild.  The guild meets on weeknights, and it’s a bit of a hike for both of us, so the summer was the only time my mom could make it (she’s a teacher).  I’d love to go to their meetings regularly, but I got home really late because of train delays, so we’ll see.

I like modern quilts, so I enjoyed the show and tell.  People showed off their Michael Miller challenge quilts, and I loved to see how the fabric collection inspired everyone differently.  I love some of the prints in that collection, too – so cute and bright.

What I found most interesting was an exercise they did at the meeting, a discussion prompted by a lecture they’d had the month before.  A lady had given them a lecture on how to evaluate modern quilts and what constitutes modern quilts, which the ladies in the guild thought was far too restrictive.  They’re a very relaxed group when it comes to what is or isn’t modern – they make what they like and everyone appreciates it.  They had a bit of a discussion and then we did an exercise where we thought about what kind of quilters we were.  I believe it was based on a post by Amy at stitchedincolor from last year, but I’m not 100% sure.

First, we made two columns, “I like” and “not for me.”  We brainstormed words.  My “I like” list was long: bold, colors, bright, scrappy, prints, polka dots, Asian-inspired, beautiful prints, colorful, blue, pink, red, yellow, orange, some purple, some green, contrast, busy, pretty, gifts.  My “not for me” list was a little shorter: brown, historical prints, dark, Civil War reproductions, pale – needs color, discordant, fussy – nothing that’s too much work, I’m afraid to applique and paper piece, hand piecing.

Then we listed our favorite quilts we made.  My mom just started, so her list was short.  My list is long.  (I said to her “I like all my quilts!”  Except the charity hexagon quilt.  That was too stressful.)  Here are some of my favorites (and why):

polka dot quilt – polka dots, learned curved piecing

Hunter’s Star – think it’s beautiful (not very me) + bound it!

Storms at Sea – made it for Z, scrappy, nautical/patriotic color scheme, not perfect!

hexagons – love hexagons, beautiful prints

I also had my magnum opus on the list.

I notice that these are all recent quilts, made in the last year or so.  This was not long after I made my Finished Quilts page, so my other quilts were relatively fresh in my mind; therefore, I guess I feel more like I’ve come into my own the more I quilt.

The final part of our exercise was a word map.  We looked at our “I like” column and picked the one word that seemed to best describe it.  Then we added other words and linked them to try to figure out two or three words that best describe our quilting style.  I ended up with this:

I think the three words that best describe my style are: color, prints, and scrappy.  Is that modern?  Not necessarily.  I would like to branch out into using more solids and maybe a different kind of layout, because I really like some things about the modern aesthetic.  However, my quilts are very me, and I think that’s important.  Since it’s National Quilting Month, I thought it would be a good time to share.

Magnum opus III

The past week has been a busy one!  My sister N and I went to visit our brother R and his fiancee M, for M’s bachelorette party.  It was a blast!  We had so much fun.  It was a mini-vacation!

I didn’t have any time for sewing, however, so my progress this week is only two words.   But hey, it’s progress!  Now I have 20 words and 20 stars completed.   My post is late because last night I had Z over – we had a lot of catching up to do after being apart and largely incommunicado for the better part of five days – and this morning I forgot.

This coming week I should have plenty of time for sewing, both for my magnum opus and for my other projects.  They’re all gifts, or doll quilts, so you’ll be seeing doll quilts here for a while.  (I had started to pull fabric for another quilt for myself, but that fell by the wayside months and months ago.  Maybe in the fall. Of 2015.)  Anyway, I’m off to start this week’s work on my magnum opus, so I’ll have more to show for myself (hopefully with more punctuality as well) next week!

“Butterfly Dreams” Doll Quilt

Z and I were taking a road trip a couple of months ago and I wanted to have something to work on in the car, so I put together this doll quilt.

I also wanted to use this pattern, which I won in a guild raffle last year.  I figured I’d kill two birds with one stone.  I don’t think I’ll ever use it again.  It was too fussy, the little basket pattern.  It’s not for me.

I picked all butterfly prints.  I’m calling this quilt “Butterfly Dreams.”  (I still have to make the quilt tag for it.)  I haven’t named my quilts in the past but I’m working on it, and I thought “Butterfly Dreams” really fit this one.

I started making my quilt sandwich with just the aqua print on the top (to form the center of the quilt) and the darker blue print for the back.  I pinned my sandwich and traced the pattern, then hand quilted in light blue thread to match the fabric.  Then I added a border with hot pink fabric, as a quilt as you go project.  I remembered to use the blue thread for that (see below) so it would show up nicely on the back, instead of accidentally using white thread.

I continued to quilt the basket pattern.  (In the end, I drove on the road trip and I didn’t have time to quilt, but I worked on it on vacation.)  I did the binding, also using a print in a butterfly pattern.

Here’s a shot of the back after I sewed the binding down, so you can see the print I used on the back.

The last thing I did was quilt the hot pink border.  I’m practicing my free motion quilting right now, so that’s what I did on the border, using matching pink thread.  I wanted the free motion quilting to resemble ribbons, but I didn’t quite get there.  I need to practice drawing the ribbons before I quilt that motif again.

I missed my guild meeting this month, so this will go in October, along with at least one other doll quilt I’ve finished and haven’t posted about yet.  I have others in progress.  I’m using them expressly for the purpose of practicing my free motion quilting.