Thursday, May 31, 2012

Rainbow Stripes

This is the baby quilt I mentioned the other day.  If you know my sister, this quilt reeks of her.  No really.  It is so her.  She doesn't have any kids yet, so Aunt Amanda has to wait to start making her baby quilts, but when she does, expect to see one along these lines.  (and way too many other things, I expect I'll go a bit crazy as she is my little sister)
Remember when I showed you my loot from quilt fest?  I got a roll of strips from Fiber & Fire, I totally vouch for them if you're in Utah or Arizona, they have some good stuff.
Anyway, when I got home I immediately laid these out and was sold on the idea of a strips quilt.  So I made one.
 I was so tempted to try machine quilting on this one.  It's straight lines, how tricky could it be, really?  But I didn't.  I thought about it, even occasionally while hand quilting, but I just couldn't do it.  I just like knowing my quilts are hand quilted.
I have another quilt in progress though that would be a great candidate for trying machine quilting.  We'll see if I get brave.  And I'm totally thinking of machine quilting my cuckoo clock; hand quilting can be kinda a pain if it doesn't fit a hoop well.  (did we discuss that I lap quilt?  No big 'ol quilt frames in this house)
 This one is now in my shop, that is if my sister hasn't already convinced my mom to buy it for her future granddaughter.  I know they've already bought her clothes, why not a quilt.

linking to tgiff, whoop whoop

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Working On It

It started with the Denver Quilt Fest.  There were trunks with glass sides so you could see the quilts inside.  My husband asked if I would want one someday.  Pretty much I don't like the idea of making a quilt and then burying it somewhere.  I responded that it was really neat but I hadn't made us any quilts.  (true story, I've made bed quilts for kiddos but no snuggle up on the couch quilts)  So then I got thinking that I needed to get on that.
I had an idea kicking around in my brain but wasn't totally sure how it would work.  Then my local quilt shop announced a little contest.  They supply a little fabric, you supply the rest, and you make something small and enter it.  I jumped on it as a chance to try out my idea on a small scale.

My mom once said that if I ever make something I just don't like she would be willing to take it off my hands. And it's not that I don't like this, but I just can't look at the zig zag stitching around my applique. So when I do it for real, and much bigger, it will have turned edge applique. But for a trial run, it works.

I'm making this a working clock because otherwise what do you do with a little fabric cuckoo clock. I'm not a quilt on the wall type. When I do it as a quilt someday, it won't be a real clock. I was thinking about five big blocks, each monochromatic and have the times be the times each of our family members were born. I like the idea of it, I'm all about personalizing and going detail crazy.   I also wanna make the cuckoo clocks each different, a forest, a woodcutter, a dude with a stein of, you know, a root beer float. Stuff like that. Someday, someday.

 I just finished a baby quilt, I'll show you soon.  It's very my sister.  But I do have something else I'm working on...
My LQS totally came through finding my a bullet shuttle and, count 'em, three bobbins.  The leather belt is on order, so I'm working on getting it spiffed up in the meantime.  Oh, and getting my kiddos to pick up.  And close the closet door...
But the really big work that isn't really in progress yet, my MIL is coming next week and the guest room/sewing room doesn't have much room for a guest right now.  Yikes.

linking up to WIP Wednesday over at freshly pieced
have you voted yet?  I made it to the finals in the baby quilt category.  I'm the texture crazy jungle.

Monday, May 28, 2012

I'm Nominated!!!

Well, my quilt is at least. 
My jungle baby quilt, you know, the impractical one, made it through to the next round in the bloggers quilt festival over at Amy's.  This is totally something we do tell, and we tell our friends.  I'm in the baby quilt category and there are a bunch of categories and neato quilts to look over.  Go check it out, and while you're there... feel free to vote for me.
Here's the quilt again, with my nephew's mommy.  Now it's like we were all at the shower.  Although we aren't getting the cake, it had a brownie layer.  I know right, what a time to live in a different state.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

The Impractical Baby Quilt

Well, here it is.  The baby shower is happening now, so I can finally show it.  Also, perfect timing, I'm putting this in the Bloggers' Quilt Festival over at Amy's.When I quilt, I like to challenge myself or try something new.  My last nephew got my first trapunto and it looked like this:
My goal this time was to outdo myself, and I wanted to try some texture.  My brother-in-law and his wife decorated the nursery in a jungle theme so I wanted to go with it.  Having those as the only hints, Robot Nephew's mom guessed this when I mentioned I was almost finished:

"I'm picturing peek-a-boo flaps with elephants and monkeys hiding behind trees, etc. Just my guess."
What?! Is it that obvious an idea?  Does everyone immediately think hidden animals?  Are she and I just equally creative? Or is it just the most ridiculous thing she could think of?  Either way, she was pretty much dead on.  Take a look.

 It's about 45" square.  It's taller than it is wide, but not by too many inches, it's mostly square-ish. Now that you've soaked in all that handquilted goodness, let's get a better look at some of those critters.
 For starters we have a crocodile.  I called him an alligator pretty much the whole time, well until that is I googled the birds that clean their teeth; they're called plovers and they aren't all that cute.
 The alligator's crocodile's body was my first time using a paper pattern to turn the edges of my applique.  I hand stitched him nearly the entire way around wrestling with my little pattern before I realized I should have pinned the fabric to the pattern.  Yeah, I felt pretty dumb. 
I used interfacing for his snout, another first.  It's sturdy enough to hold up in the laundry (this thing's machine wash and dry-booyah!) but not so stiff that a kid could poke an eye out or anything weird like that.
I used embroidery floss to give him a few details and even gave him a little water line so he'd be in the water not on the water.
Next up, the tiger.
 Did you find him?  He's hiding in the grass.  It's actually kinda tricky getting enough grass out of the way for a good picture of him.   He could so sneak up on somebody in the wilds of the quilt.

 Baby Elephant is tagging along behind Momma.   His tail is braided metallic embroidery floss and it's free and wiggly.  His ear is a flap and his (interfacing) trunk moves.  He uses it to hold on to Momma.
 Momma's made the same way, except her tail is sewn down.  You know, so baby can reach it.  Can you see the wrinkliness of their bodies?  It turned out really nicely.  They are flannel by the way, and really cozy.
 The trees are made of corduroy and pieced with the inner jungle batik.  I made a couple of them with interfacing inside and sewed them down funny to get some more depth and texture on them.  They turned out nicely.  And, not planned but I wish I was smart enough to have thought of it, the wale of the corduroy is occasionally going in the opposite direction.  The trees look slightly different shades of brown.  Even more depth in my jungle.
Now for more hidden animals.
 Can you find him? There's his tail.
 There he is, the leopard.  He's raw edge applique.  Remember I was going for texture.  My favorite thing about the leopard is totally braggy.  I didn't use a pattern for his shape or anything, I just took some scissors to the fabric and he turned out great.  I love his shoulders! He has eyes you just can't really see them.  Is he looking at you?  I don't know.  May be best to avoid sudden movements.
 The gibbon gave me a little trouble.  My first attempt was just a general brown nondescript monkey.  It was awful.  I was so tempted to cut off its tail and add a loin cloth.  I could have done it, too.  These parents would have totally accepted a little Tarzan in their quilt.  But no, I swapped monkey for gibbon and it was probably a good decision.  It was certainly the more reasonable.
 I left the vines loose, well sewn on the ends of course, but loose.  I tried a few different ideas of them, but went with a tight roll lengthwise. The rolled edges are left raw and will fray nicely. Texture, texture, texture.
He has lots of vines down there for swinging.  Technically he can't leave his own vine, but his hand is a buttonhole, he can swing around on his.  See?  He's not sewn down really anywhere. 
 So this next one doesn't live in an Asian jungle.  I really wanted to include a colorful bird and could have done a hornbill, but I wanted more color.  Without really giving details, I found out that the nursery jungle is "mythical."  It's basically a South American rain forest with elephants in it.  As long as I wasn't the one destroying the realism, I had no problem putting in a toucan.
Now let's be clear, I don't embroider.  If you do, feel free to call your husband into the room to laugh at my toucan, but know this, I tried.  I even googled stitches.  I used that stitch for making leaves to make his tail.  It doesn't show up too well in the pic, but his tail is loose.  It flaps around.

 I made the snake out of ric rac.  He ended up a bit cutesy, but considering the trunks and snout are cuted up with buttons, a ric rac snake is fine.  I gave him colored banding.  I put yellow next to red because I think that's poisonous.  Something about next to black a friend of Jack... I don't know, I'm not a cowboy.
 The grass is batik fabric layered with flannel and cut into fringe.  It's texture on steroids.  I also really like how the grass extends out of the frame and falls over the binding.
 The leaves stick out a little but not too much.  The field of grass is a few layers of my grass mess.  They are staggered and overlapped and just all over the place.  I love the grass.
The canopy is leaves of a batik ferny print backed with a solidish green.  I sewed them into leaf shapes, complete with veins, and then pinking sheared the edges.  They are sewn in layers and each layer can be lifted and show it's opposite fabric.
 The backing and binding is a crazy animal print that's essentially velour.  It's like fur on a "realistic" stuffed animal.  It has this crazy zig zag stripe nap to it.  It's pretty ridiculous.  My husband picked it out and I thought, why not?  It is his brother's kid after all, and I had already vetoed a pastel baby animal fleece with savannah animals in a jungle that I know he loves.  Really, he suggests it all the time.
I made the binding a few inches wide to be more like a frame than a clashing attention grabbing binding.  I think it does a good job of framing rather than distracting.
Remember I was going for texture, here's the texture for a little one.
I think I certainly outdid myself, so goal met.  It was the first time I used batik fabric and I think it was the perfect choice for the jungle.  A solid would have made it all too cutesy and juvineille; I don't do babyish even if it is for a baby.  I love the texture of the grass, seriously I could run my hands through the grass all day. 
This quilt was extra fun in the making as I didn't measure anything!  It was a total mathless quilt and it didn't turn out a disaster.  The only bummer of the whole thing is my beautiful shoreline.  There is gorgeous curved piecing where the river reaches the lake/swamp thing.  Gorgeous!  And no one will ever see it because of the grass.  Seriously, you can't even peek between the grass layers for a glimpse.  But now we all know it's there, and we can bask in the knowledge.
And here's why I call it impractical: you totally can't wrap a baby in it.  Like at all.  It will be great for tummy time, and my four year old loves it, but still, impractical for a newborn.  Although can't you just see a teensy one gumming those elephant ears?
The baby shower is happening now, I hope they weren't expecting anything practical.  My mother-in-law made them a baby blanket, I'm depending on her to give them something they can wrap a kid in!

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Thank You, Teacher

We have one in school, he's in Kindergarten.  His first year of school will be winding up next week, but today was his last day with of Speech and we wanted to do a little something for his speech teacher.  We gave her a plate of cookies at Christmas, and by her thank you note you'd have thought no student ever gave her anything.  She mentioned a couple times how nice it was to be remembered.  We made a mental note to keep remembering her. 
I'm not one for something bizarre with a teachery pun.  Much as I love puns, I love functional gifts even more.  Really, just ask my mom, she can tell you all the overly functional things I've given her over the years.
Anyway, here's what we came up with.  First off, you know those little dashes and dots and stuff in the dictionary that tell you how to pronounce words?  I was gonna embroider thank you like that on a dish towel and wrap a loaf of homemade bread.  'Cause really, who doesn't love bread? (dietary problems notwithstanding) 
So I was all set to get moving on Plan A, when I discovered my dictionary didn't have those symbols.  So of course I called my mom and made her look it up in the dictionary I grew up with.  Turns out the long A in thanks doesn't have a symbol.  The only symbol in thank you was two dots over the u in thank you.  Like a happy face.  My mom can also tell you that I hate happy faces.  I just do.  There goes Plan A.
Next I thought I'd put "thank you Mrs. Carrasco."  I wanted her to have a perpetual thank you from us.  I called the school to double check was she a Mrs. or a Ms.  They weren't sure and couldn't decide.  I could have just made a decision one way or the other, but I've met some Ms. and Mrs. who were offended when called the other one. 
Plan C then formulated. Just her last name.  I thought about just Thank you, but I wanted it to be just for her, not a ten for a dollar teacher gift kinda thing.  So it's just her last name.  The S is a different color as it's the sound my guy was working on for much of the year.

it's about 3" by 7" or thereish and was tied up with a matching ribbon

We wrapped a fresh baked loaf this morning and I saw it safely to his classroom.  It's up to him to get it to her in one piece, but we did cover the Dos and Don'ts of bread care.  Here's hoping.  If nothing else she'll still have the towel.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Otherwise Creative

I still plan on keeping this essentially quilty, but I finished the Impractical Baby Quilt.  It's post is even all set to go live when the baby shower happens May 20.  But, now that that's done, I'm gotten to a few other projects that have been in my brain.
So I know other people have been making book purses forever, but I just made my first two.  I have always planned on making one, it's so me, but I just couldn't do it.  I mean, it's a BOOK!  Have you met me?!  But I finally did it.  And I wasn't struck by lightning and I didn't pass out and I'm pretty sure my elementary school librarian will never know.
My mom gave me some great old books of hers when she was ten or so.  The covers were what made them great, the actual book, not so much.  I read one in the series and the editing was so awful; suddenly they are leaving a restaurant?  Wait, when did they go to a restaurant?  It kinda helped appease my guilty book loving conscience. 
Anyway, I had way fun making these.  Here they are for your viewing pleasure. 
Donna Parker A Spring to Remember and The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (the Shakespeare book was mine in high school, book nerd remember)

The sides are gusseted so the purses open decently wide.  These were fun, and really, the part I had the most trouble with was choosing the fabric.  (and can I just tell you how much fun I had setting up my little book vignette for the pictures, so much fun)

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Denver Quilt Fest

I went to my very first quilt thing this Saturday.  My husband and kiddos came along, they are troopers. 
Walking around the exhibits, I was surprised how much was applique.  There were a lot of art quilts too.  My daughter kept pointing out which ones weren't blankets and therefore didn't count as "quilts" to her. 
Everyone did pretty well until we got to the vendor booths.  We weaved our way through the booths and one path took us toward the exit...which the kiddos tried to leave through.  We corralled them back and had to explain many times that we weren't leaving yet.  The surrounding ladies were quite amused. 
On our next loop, my son started shouting, "Mom! Mom! I found the exit!  We can go!"  Again with the amused ladies.
Speaking of the other quilt ladies- I kinda expected them to all be older than me, but I was surprised that I was so much younger than even the young crowd.  I guess there aren't many quilters in their twenties.  While I was chatting with a vendor about her fabrics, she told me she tries to stock for young people.  We then talked about the age bias toward certain colors, but it was pretty funny that the booth I was drawn to tried specifically to cater to young quilters.  I guess she was doing a good job.
I got some fabric, of course and am already dreaming of the quilts I'm going to make.  I can't wait to cut into it.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Onesie Ties

Do you remember our +1?  He was with us during the day while his mom was on bedrest.  Anyway, not too long ago his twin brothers were born and he left us.  When our +1 was born I made him a onesie tie.  I wasn't sure what protocol was for twins.  Technically they already had one, so should I just give them one?  It is presumptuous to think they would want another?  I didn't know.  So I pretty much just asked her.  Turns out, yeah, they want some more.  So I introduced her to the chaos that is my fabric storage.  Here's what she choose.

I think they turned out well.  The plaid tie is especially cute.  I like that they coordinate without being all matchy-matchy twiners.  My Gma was a twin and she hated it, consequently my family has been indoctrinated with twins are siblings who happen to have been born the same day and that's pretty much where the twinness ends.
Back to the sewing.  It didn't occur to me when she was choosing that the white wouldn't stand out well.  I had a moment of debate with the blue outline, but I think it works; not too dramatic but enough delineation.
It was fun to take a little break from the impractical quilt and make something quick.  The impractical quilt is nearly finished.  I'm just sewing on the binding now, almost half way around.  Oh, I can't wait to show you; seriously, it's over the top.

linking up to amylouwhosews and tgiffriday

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Another Nephew

I think I mentioned my upcoming nephew.  His baby shower is in late May.  So you won't be getting any pictures of his quilt until late May.  Sorry, but I don't trust my husband's side of the family not to totally just look.  Really, my husband checked our gift registries online before our wedding reception and before our first's baby shower.  Pretty sure his brother did the same.  And I know some of them can't keep secrets.  So sorry, I can't show you yet.
But I can tell you a little about it. 
They're decorating their nursery with a jungle theme so I'm working with that in mind.  This quilt is another Amanda original and is certainly one of a kind.  Just to get you curious... I didn't measure anything for this quilt.  I just eyeballed all my cuts and didn't even use my acrylic ruler.  I used some fusible interfacing and this was my first project with real interfacing.  I used a few fabrics I hadn't used before, including one that might not really belong in a quilt.  And I tried my hand at some embroidery, I even googled a few new stitches. 
I so can't wait to show you.  This one is pretty awesome.  But it is also pretty impractical for a newborn.