Warning, this is a picture heavy post. You have been warned! 🙂
I don’t know about you, but this is the only truly “chemistry” or “science” themed quilt that I am aware of. It took some hunting skills, but once I found the mid-century reproduction atomic prints, I knew I could pull this off! With the “geek chic” style that is coming of age (an appreciation of intellect, go figure), it was fun to round out this little fabric collection.
At first, I was concerned that the overall effect would be a bit somber for welcoming a little bundle of joy, but once I got it all put together, it really worked. Of course the brightly colored liquid in the various flasks do help to lighten the mood, overall.
The best part is that when I finished the project and mailed it off to the Mommy and Daddy to be, they loved it! He is a high level chemist and she is a nurse. They asked for a chemistry or science vibe, and I think I pulled it off. Love my geeky friends!
It has been a whirlwind month. About two weeks before the big day, my baby brother announced that he was getting married! Since we had already met and fell in love with our new family member, and my new sister-in-love, we were very excited, but under the gun for the wedding gift. As quilters, we like to make, you guessed it, quilts and it was going to be very, very tough to get one made in two weeks for the wedding.
And, honestly, we didn’t make it. Even after Mom and I sat at the dining room table with two sewing machines and sewed like fiends, we didn’t make the deadline. They were married on February 4th and we gifted them with their quilt on February 22nd, after they had come down to celebrate my brother’s birthday with us. We put the last stitch in it on February 19th and washed and dried it on the following day. Not too bad, all things considering.
I may have been a little gung-ho to get this done (out of fear of it languishing around for years, unfinished), as Dad dubbed our work area as “Jan’s sweat shop.” Ahem. Nuff said.
As the bride didn’t indicate any favorite colors and we couldn’t be too bold and ask outright (it would ruin the surprise), we took an “anything goes” palette of scraps in all colors. I used an “organic, improvisational, modern” approach. I have since learned that those terms mean, essentially, “wonky, but cool.” In order to save time, we densely quilted the blocks onto the batting as we made them, adding the backing on separately.
It was an interesting way to finish a quilt and it was quite efficient in some ways. In retrospect, I would have added backing to each block and joined them Quilt as You Go style with sashing strips. My sewing machine just couldn’t handle the stress of sewing through the intersections and the free arm was just short enough to prevent me from quilting the back on “in the ditch” as originally planned. Hence, we tied the back on, Appalachian style.
It does kind of work as I tend to quilt my quilts and my Mom tends to tie hers. This one is a unique hybrid of both techniques.
But, I wish the quilting went through to the back. Live and learn. It was quick and simple. I love the end result.
And the best part is that my brother and his gorgeous wife love it, too!
The worst part was wanting to tell this quilt’s story, the new technique and all while I was making it and knowing that it would blow the surprise if someone told them what we were working on. I am horrible at the discretion part of this gifting stuff!
Okay, it’s just a flimsy (unfinished quilt top) but I did manage to squeeze in time to piece it all together in the hectic Christmas season. I have always said that I would make a Christmas quilt one of these days, but haven’t ever actually done it.
I fell in love with these Christmas fabrics at one of our local-ish quilt stores and picked up 8 fat quarters and a bit of extra for a creamy background and red inner border. It’s a great snuggle size and not so overtly holiday that it can’t be used a bit over the winter also. Gotta love that!
In the photo, it is just laying across a queen sized bed and it covers the top from the pillows to the end of the bed. I imagine it wouldn’t be too terrible to expand it into a bed sized quilt, just adding to this central star, border, and brick edging (it doesn’t show up terribly well in the photos).
A quilting friend (Hi, Carol!) graciously offered to let me use her long arm to finish it and it just may prove to be the perfect size project to learn on. Now, to just have time to get around to it!
Have you ever long armed a quilt before? Please share your tips below!
It never ceases to amaze me the quantity of absolutely amazing, different quilts that can be made. The choices alone for one quilt can be mind boggling, so it’s crazy to know that there are dozens of variations on almost every idea possible that all can make wonderful quilts. Add in fabric choices and finishing designs and options and it’s crazy! Wonderful, but crazy!
But, here are 5 more quilts that I am drawn to (lately) that I NEED to make…one of these days.
6. Scrappy Bear Paw in Red and White. This particular one is pictured in a discussion about quilting patterns at the Statler Stitcher blog. The original post can be found here. There is something that really draws me to two color quilts. I love the reds and white, indigo blues and white, and black and white versions. You can vary up the fabrics to get your variety and textures while still having a controlled color way and a stunning quilt.
7. Lone Star. Yes, please. From my early quilting days of looking (and drooling) over books and patterns and fabrics for inspiration, this always seemed to be the ultimate star pattern, one that was WAY beyond my beginner skills. It doesn’t look quite as hard now, but it’s still one to be dreamed of. I adore the Amish black and brights in this one, but I find it lovely in many other color ways, also. Choices, choices. The original post is here. Scroll down until it jumps off the page at you.
8. Mariner’s Compass. I am truly not even worthy of consideration in the skill set that it would take to create a masterpiece such as the one featured in this blog post. The Compass itself is the center portion with the additional work to showcase it. Stunning. Simply STUNNING. This definitely would require hand piecing to achieve this level of perfection.
9. Apple Cores. This is always a great choice for a scrappy quilt. There is something endearing about the gentle curves. It looks like so much more than simple straight piecing, but is, I am told, still a beginner friendly project. I think I would like to do a hand pieced (maybe even English Paper Pieced version of it in riotous, mismatched fabrics). It might be a good project to carry along on a trip.
10. Storm at Sea. This is another one of those classics that is better off with simple, slow, hand piecing. This example is classic. The colors of the sea in a quilt with definite movement. This pattern is one that can look totally different by changing up the color placement in the blocks. It’s amazing how different they can look.
In case you missed, part 1 of this article, you can read it here.
What quilts or other projects are on your bucket list?
While looking for a new idea for a baby quilt that needed to be made in about a week, I remembered my friend, Beverly, made a baby quilt that I adored. She used French General fabrics and it was so soft and sophisticated looking, perfect for a little lady in the making. I didn’t have any French General fabrics, but with inspiration, I looked all around the internet to find an idea to use.
And I stumbled across the disappearing 4 patch in several tutorials. I could use a charm pack (which I adore) and find a coordinating solid to put it all together. After looking at what options that I could lay my hands on quickly, I ended up with brights against a background of pure white muslin. Crisp and cheerful. Not the same feel as my inspiration quilt, but a good feel, nonetheless.
Here is the tutorial I used for making the block. There are several other good tutorials out there and some videos, too. If one way of presenting it doesn’t speak to you, do a Google Search and find another method.
I must admit that it was really scary to cut up a perfectly good 4 patch block! I just knew that one slip of the rotary cutter and I would botch the job and I used up every charm square I had. Nothing like putting a bit of pressure on yourself. But, the quilt block you get after you make those four cuts and then move some things around and sew it all back together is nothing short of amazing! It was stunning to see the transformation with each and every block.
And even better, a cool secondary pattern comes together when you put 4 blocks together. I could really see how one of those pricey rotating cutting mats would be ideal for this. I managed just fine without one, but held my breath a lot when moving my cutting mat so that nothing moved a smidge out of place.
I could totally see this block made up in varying sizes. Hmmm. How about Layer Cakes (10 x 10 inch squares) for a bed sized quilt? I think that plaids would be cute like this, too. Actually, everything from 30s reproductions to Civil War to French General fabrics could look fresh and interesting with this pattern.
What do you get when you have a piece of cuddly fleece, some matching crochet thread, and a quilt top that was packed away in storage? Hopefully, you end up with a lovely quilt gift or charity quilt for someone near and dear to your heart.
Something like this, perhaps. This is how it all turned out. The tutorial has been submitted to Molly Green Magazine, and I will link to it here as soon as it becomes available, just in case someone would like to see it.
A short time ago, in a blogosphere far, far away, a little red headed blogger got in WAY over her head with a self hosted blog and one day–POOF–it refused to publish or save any more posts. Even her techno savvy friends and family members (hi, Dad!) couldn’t save her beloved blog. Sadly, the girl (who loves to write, but is only minimally techno savvy, by the way) restarted her blog on WordPress (but not the self hosted kind). But, hating to lose her previous 800+ posts that wouldn’t be seen, she came up with a brilliant idea (!) to institute a feature to bring back some of her older posts that she wanted to keep or thought were good. Hence the new feature: Blast From The Past!
So, if you have followed my blog in that other, sadder blogosphere, you have probably already seen this one. But, you might like it even more now… Hey, you never know!
So, from September 14th, 2011….
Quilts for Kids is a wonderful organization. They are a charity that makes and donates sturdy quilts to hospitalized children. Often these kids aren’t able to bring anything from home like a doll or toy or other familiar item. For very ill children, these items are difficult to keep clean and sterile and for some children, especially cancer patients, their future depends upon controlling the environment and the items that they will come into contact with.
These children can receive a soft, cuddy quilt made to very specific guidelines so that they have something of their own that is cheerful, age appropriate and easily cleaned in the hospital laundry. How cool is that?
Mom and I learned of this organization and that they would send out quilt kits to volunteers to complete according to instructions and return within 4-6 weeks that would go to a child in need. So, we each ordered a quilt kit. They kits came to us in a couple of weeks and the fabrics were adorable and terribly cheerful!
The photo above is of one of the quilts. I encourage everyone to make at least one quilt for Quilts for Kids. The sizes that they need are small, they are quick to complete and the fabrics that they supply will make you smile. Of course, if you make one from stash fabrics or purchase your own fabrics, you help to stretch the donation money of this organization.
Personally, I find it a nice break to make a small project and send it off. It boosts my spirits to complete a quilt and see it finished and I know if it will boost a child’s spirits when it is donated.