Quilted Napkins

Hello habibis! It’s been a busy week – I had computer issues (miraculously fixed by a tech savvy coworker) and then work got crazy, which culminated in me working quite late Friday night and working again for most of Saturday. (That was a big change from my plans, which were to go to the gym and quilt both days and run some errands – most of that didn’t happen, although I squeezed in a little quilting and my social plans Saturday night fell through, so I did make it to the gym twice this weekend.)  I managed to do some sewing on Sunday, but the weekend wasn’t as productive as I’d hoped.

What have I worked on? The magnum opus, some charity work for my guild, and some hemming that I’d been putting off.   (I finally hemmed a pair of Z’s pants that’s been sitting on my pile for weeks, but I didn’t do the rest of my hemming. Oh well.) Still, I’d hoped to make some bindings and do more on the magnum opus than I actually did. What can you do? Sometimes life gets in the way.  I did manage to submit two quilts to the quilt bloggers festival though! Read my posts here and here, and check out the rest of the submissions here. (Voting begins November 1!)

One more thing: I believe the 2015 Stash Bee is still accepting sign ups.  You can sign up here if you’re interested!

Today I want to show you the wedding present I made for anlichan’s sister J. I finished these up a couple of weeks ago but I had to mail them out and by the time they arrived it was a little late for me to draft my Tuesday post, so you get to see them today instead.

Anlichan’s sister J and xyr fiance (also J) are getting married next month but unfortunately I can’t make it to the wedding. (Boo!) I knew I wanted to make them something special and I thought quilted napkins would be lovely. J loves crimson/red shades and is planning to decorate xyr kitchen with reds. Also, xe’s wearing a dress in shades of gold (I’ve seen a picture – so pretty!) and I thought red and gold would make a lovely combination for napkins – good for holidays but not Christmas-specific, plus they’ll match the decor. Anlichan consulted on the red fabric – who knows J’s taste better than xyr own sister? We picked this lovely red with little stars.  It’s called Itty Bitty Stars in Cabernet, part of Connecting Thread’s  Hometown Summer collection by Jenni Calo.

I had plenty of options for the gold! I have a lot of gold scraps (yardage actually) from a project I’m working on that I can’t post about yet. (I bought enough fabric to make a larger size than I ultimately ended up making.) I also had other pretty golds in my stash.

I knew I wanted to make 8 napkins and I wanted them to be about 16″ square. I chose the Hopkins square block out of my 501 quilt blocks book. I liked the geometric look of it. I thought it was pretty and striking.  The block is 12″ so I knew I’d be adding a border.

I started cutting the pieces for the backs of the napkins at 17″ square. My original plan was to have the outer border match the back, four in red and four in gold.  I cut all my red pieces but I didn’t have enough for both red backs and red borders, too, so I put that idea on hold while I cut my gold pieces.

I cut pieces from these two gold fabrics, which are both from the project I can’t show you.

However, I didn’t have enough fabric for the gold borders to match the gold backs, either. I could have done it scrappy but I decided I didn’t want to.

I changed my design idea to all red borders and all gold backs. Once I cut up the red backs into strips I had enough for the borders. For the gold backs I cut two each of four fabrics. I added a third from the other project and then the cranes (the only one that’s not a scrap from the other project). The crane fabric is so pretty I almost couldn’t bring myself to cut into it. I’d just had a conversation with someone last month about fabrics that are almost too pretty to use and I forced myself to. It’s for J! Xe deserves pretty fabric!

When I went to do my piecing I saw that I’d cut more than I needed – of course. I always make a math mistake. Better to do more than less, right? Since I had enough of the medallion gold fabric (above left), I used it only for the block, rather than using half of that and half of the darker gold. That way all the fronts match and there’s two of each back.

The quilting: I did diagonal lines in gold in parallel to the center line of the patch and I thought it looked really cool.

I also quilted on the border. My original plan, when I first decided on napkins, was to bind them. Then I realized I don’t have time for that. So I decided to sew them right sides together and then flip them right side out. The idea behind having the borders match the backs was to hide where I’d had to sew the gap closed. Since I didn’t have that option, my quilting had to compensate. I knew I’d have to sew all the way around very close to the edge. So I did that, as well as sewing around the inner edge of the border.

Here are the backs, which show the other two gold prints I used.

Voila! Finished napkins. They came out a bit smaller than I’d wanted – some of them are only 15.5″ square – but I’m very happy with them and so is J. I sent them early – why wait? – and xe opened them immediately!  🙂  I’m so glad xe likes them!

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Blog tags

I want to make the blog more reader-friendly, and I realized that tags are a good way to do this.  I’ve gone through all of my posts and added tags based on various themes. I’ll tag this post with all of them so you can more easily find anything you’re interested in, and my goal is to be more conscientious about tagging in the future.

In the course of doing all my tags, I realized that I posted twice about the Storm at Sea runner I made my parents, once in 2011 and again last December during my Advent posts.  Perhaps if I’d had a better tagging system I would have remembered that I’d done it before!  It was fun to go back and look at the old posts – I’d forgotten what some of the blocks were called and I had to read the posts to see which quilt I was writing about.  Most of my pre-blog quilts are on here, although I know of at least four that aren’t.  Perhaps those will be fodder for Advent 2014!

The tags fall into several categories: block type, type of item if it’s not a quilt, language if I was quilting in something other than English, etc.   The blocks I have thus far are as follows:

Drunkard’s Path – Storm at Sea – Hunter’s Star – Lone Star – hexagons – pinwheels – Steps to the Altar – Rail Fence -Windowpane – Log Cabin – “Elegance” fan block – Korean patchwork – Amish Square – Bow Tie block

If you happen to notice that I have the wrong name for a block or if there’s another name for it, please let me know!  In one case – the wedding quilt I made for my friend N last year – I’m not sure if there is a name for this kind of quilt.  (https://habibihomemade.wordpress.com/2013/07/16/wedding-quilt-for-n-and-a-part-i/)  If there is a name, please share it with me.

I made a tag for doll quilts, since I make so many of them, and if I used a particular block I tagged that as well.  I may have missed some, so leave a comment if you notice that a block went untagged.

Tags for non-quilts include, in no particular order: pot holders; kitchen/household; holiday; decor; pillows; napkins; clothing; ornaments; aprons.

I’d forgotten how many pillows I’d made, for example.  Kitchen/household covers pot holders, napkins, and aprons; aprons fall under clothing, too.  Decor includes pillows, runners, and wall hangings, but runners and wall hangings don’t have separate tags.  Holiday includes ornaments and stockings, the latter of which also don’t have a separate tag.  If you think it would be helpful for me to make a runners tag or a wall hangings tag or a stockings tag, let me know.  If you see anything I haven’t tagged that you think I should – a quilting design or a specific stitch or whatever – just leave me a comment.

Hopefully this way my blog will be much easier to navigate.  I like to read other quilters’ blogs and I’ve learned not just from what other people are making but from how they’re blogging about it.  Tagging struck me as a relatively easy way to be more accessible.  This is for you, so feel free to give me your input.  If you want a “wedding” tag or a “birthday” tag or some other category that you think would be useful, I want to know about it.

Enjoy!

Wedding present for Anlichan’s brother

Anlichan’s brother got married!  Yay!!! Anlichan’s family is the loveliest.  You should know that about them.  The kindest, sweetest, most welcoming people you can imagine.  So they invited all of us to her brother’s wedding and we had a habibi reunion. I thought for a little while about what I wanted to give Anlichan’s brother and his fiancee (I will call them BB, which is actually not their initials but short for the portmanteau we’ve made for their names).  Finally I decided to make cloth napkins for BB, because CLASSY.  Also, something I can make in a relatively short amount of time.

BB had delineated their color preferences for different rooms in their house, which was incredibly helpful.  For their kitchen they said reds, creams, and browns, and nothing crazy.   I then sent Anlichan an email with links to several different fabrics and she (and her parents?) helped me pick the best one.  They picked my favorite: I love the fans.  If you read this blog a lot you know my fondness for what are (somewhat awkwardly) termed “Oriental” fabrics in the quilting world.  We’ll call them Asian-inspired, because that sounds better.  They’re so pretty!  The color combination was perfect.

I googled cloth napkins to see what the normal size is, because I didn’t know how big they should be.  I’ve made cloth napkins before, I think, although I can’t remember for whom, but I really didn’t know what size is standard.  I went with 17″, so I cut 18″ squares.  (I also saw 20″ napkins.  I went with the smaller measurement to make sure I had enough fabric.)  I thought I had enough fabric for eight napkins, but I had only ordered two yards, I think with the idea that they would be more like 14″.  I was only able to cut six squares, but I figured that was still good.

I traced a line half an inch inside of the edge, and again another half an inch inside of that.

Then I folded the fabric in on each line and ironed it down, so that no rough edges were showing.  I sewed around the edges of each napkin to secure the rough edges down, and then I was done.

In short, napkins are easy, and I think these are gorgeous.  Final product: