Monday, January 20, 2014

My First Batik Quilt

This Bali Pop precut has been in my stash for two years or more, just waiting to become a quilt...  I was scared to do anything with it because I'd never worked with batiks and I didn't know where to begin to select fabrics for borders, sashing and backing.  But finally I just dove in!

My initial plan was to do a jelly roll race quilt, but I chickened out, afraid it would be too "blah."  So then I started sewing strip sets of four, and then cut the strip sets into squares.  I got really brave with end pieces of the strip sets and made 16-patches.  (That's probably a little misleading; the blocks had 16 pieces in each, but they were far from square!)

Through lots of trial and error, I ended up with 8 blocks (each with 3 strip squares and one 16 patch), about 17" square.  You'll see that I set 5 of them on point and cut two more diagonally.  To finish out the center of square top, I cut the last block into four sections, again on the diagonal.  I used a green batik for sashing.  (Thank you, Linda at Sew Much Fun in Columbus, GA for your help selecting the fabrics!) Next came a border of gold batik.

There were still LOTS of very small scraps I couldn't bear to discard, so I paper-pieced them onto 2" wide adding machine tape to make another border.  That was really fun, and didn't take nearly as long as I imagined.  And I LOVE what it added to the quilt!  I finished off the top with an outer border of the green batik from the sashing.

This quilt has been quilted TWICE.  That's right; twice!   The first time I quilted it, I just wasn't happy with it; stitches were irregular in length and I had "eyelashes" where I took curves too quickly.  Of course, I didn't figure this out until it was finished...  I was so disappointed that I put it away, only to drag it back out this week.  I spent two days picking out the initial quilting. 

I'm happy to say that I'm quite pleased with my second attempt at quilting it, this time with a loose meander of Aurifil quilting thread in a lovely rust color.  Both solid borders have a "swirl" design quilted; I left the pieced border unquilted.  The binding is the same gold batik of the inner border.

In this photo you get a glimpse of the batik back, a beautiful multicolor of golds and greens and rusts.  I LOVE this fabric!  In fact, I have enough left to make myself a little unlined jacket!

So what did I learn from making this quilt???   LOTS!  First, if I'd ever actually use a pattern, I wouldn't spend so much time with trial and error.  Second, I have lots of work to do to come closer to a consistent 1/4" seam allowance.  This became quite evident in the so-called 16-patches.  Third, I LOVE batiks!!!  It was so crisp to sew on, and pressed just beautifully.  Best of all, there's no "wrong" side to batik, which was a blessing and ONE way I couldn't mess up!  The only downside to the batik is that the fabric is pretty pricey.  Counting the Bali Pop precut and the fabrics for borders, sashing, binding a backing, I have about $150 in fabric for this 66" square lap quilt.  And this one is actually MINE!!!

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Sew Cute Tuesday

So this morning I'm reading through my posts from Bloglovin' and see the one from Blossom Hearts Quilts...  She invited us to share anything we've sewn in the past week. 

It's actually been a little longer than a week since I made bedding for Baby Jack, but since he's just been born, I just HAD to share it!  (I'm claiming Smitten Grandmother Syndrome if anyone objects!)

I made the crib sheets, bumpers, pillows, bedskirt and valance for Jack's nursery. 

My daughter in law made that darling mobile herself after seeing a similar one for $95 online. She purchased a $5 used mobile at a consignment sale and made her own felt animals to coordinate with the bedding.  All told, she has less than $10 in the mobile.  (She's all about saving a buck!)

I also made the quilt for Jack's room and posted about it earlier...  here's the link to that post.  And here's the quilt.  It turned out so heavy that we decided to hang it on the wall for now; it might crush Baby Jack!

Thanks, Blossom Heart Quilts for hosting!  This is my first attempt at a link-up; sure hope I did it right!

Friday, January 10, 2014

A Quilt for Susan

Here's another charm square quilt; this was for my wonderful sister-in-law, Susan.  It's a late Christmas gift.  While it looks Christmas-y, it's really not... she just happens to use these colors in her greatroom.

The 81 charm squares were from three different packs.  They weren't coordinating or matching packs; the colors just worked well together.  The three borders are Susan Winget fabrics, again not from the same lines as the charm packs, but working well together.

I did my first "orange peel" quilting on the squares themselves and quilted swirls on the gold border.

I tried my hand at quilting feathers for the first time on the outer border.  I followed a great tutorial from Natalia Bonner's book Beginner's Guide to Free-Motion Quilting.  I purposely used a variegated thread that blended in well with the green fabric.  My mama didn't raise a dummy; I knew I should camouflage my first efforts with the feathers!  Actually, though, I think they turned out pretty well for my first attempt.  (oh, and the tute for the orange peel came from the same book, but she called it Double Arcs.)

It will be really hard to give this one away; I have the same colors in my greatroom!

A Charm Square Quilt for Weston

Our great nephew, Weston, is five and is really into making things... so I thought this construction-themed charm pack would make a great little nap quilt for him.

To make the charm pack go further, I added rows of 5" black Kona between each row of charm squares. 

I quilted diagonal lines in red across each row to create a grid.

I LOVE pieced backs!  In this case, it was out of necessity; I had to "make do" with what was in my stash...  it was late at night and I wasn't going out!  The back is cobalt Kona and a candy stripe red and white.  The binding is black and white chevron; I really like how it turned out!

Catching up

It's been AGES since I've posted!  With the holidays and the birth of our first grandchild, blogging has been low on my list of priorities.  Now, though, things are settling back into a normal rhythm, whatever that is...

Here's the last tshirt quilt I finished just before Christmas.  It was a commission by my friend Donna, for her son Greg.  It is by far the biggest tshirt quilt I've done, measuring a whopping 100"x90" (nearly king size!)  I had to take it down to our church to baste it; there's not that much empty floor space in my house.

Greg's shirts came from his high school and college days.  My favorite block is on the far right column, third one down.  Several shirts only had pocket logos, so I appliqued eight of them onto one of the shirt backs. 


I used a tiny gray chevron for sashing and a coordinating geometric print for the back.  It is quilted in a large meander with a charcoal gray cotton thread.