Orbs Away

>> Wednesday, August 22, 2012

I had plans to make a completely different quilt. But Austin was born a couple weeks early and I had a chance to hear about him before I actually made the quilt (the benefit of being behind on gift-making?). Suzi told me that Austin was intense, and vacillated between "Baby Snuggles and Baby Landlord." I wanted to make something that reflected intensity but with a little funk. Then I saw Leanne's pattern-testing post, and followed it to Julie's Mod Pop pattern introduction.

It was time to hack, modify, reverse-engineer. I wanted to make the orbs Julie used but allow them to stand out a bit more (which is also to say I wanted to take advantage of negative space and make a less busy pattern or, ahem, be a little lazy and make fewer orbs and less patchwork). My orbs are imperfect as I trimmed my drunkard's path blocks with a 3/8" edge instead of 1/4" because the piecing foot I was using created a generous 1/4" seam allowance. This was a mistake, but one I didn't realize until it was too late -- or would have required too much seam-ripping for my taste. Crafty imprecision and imperfection are rather fetching, I think, though I realize not everyone feels the same. Which is all to say that I'm not sure what Julie's instructions call for, but you can get her pattern here if you want to make her version or don't want to fiddle with sketches, graph paper, or numbers to make your own.

Besides, if you squint hard enough, the edges look perfect. Just squint harder and you'll see what I mean.    Lovely as it is, Moda Dill does not match any of the thread choices at my local Joanns. In the past, I've simply used a lighter green, but since I was at the store and needed to buy thread, I decided to make a radical move into variegated thread. That stuff is cool.

I used Moda Dill as the background color for three reasons: 1) I had a bunch of it, 2) Suzi likes green and she'll be seeing the quilt in its full color glory before Austin will recognize green as a distinct color, and 3) I really wanted to use the Alexander Henry Zoo print on the back. I've had the big and mini zoo prints in my stash for several years and they had proclaimed a need to be used (on their chatty days, obvs).

Every time my eyes focused on the elephant in the zoo print, I worried that my stippling had gone awry and there were random threads dancing across the quilt back. I don't know why the white line on the elephant was so different than the lines across the giraffe or ostrich or rhino, but it was different. Alas, it turns out my eyes were playing tricks on me. For the binding, a print from the blue/green colorway of Denyse Schmidt's Picnics and Fairgrounds line helped bring together front and back.


A Few Snippets

>> Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Literal Snippets.

And more figurative ones. I spent the weekend with many of the lovely ladies of the Ann Arbor Modern Quilt Guild. Lots of sewing, lots of delicious food, and lots of laughter. I finished a few quilts, including my lingering do.Good Stitches quilt from March, and I started some new ones, including one that uses the star block above. Well, actually, the star block above is a little hack from pattern testing since, to be honest, I'm not the best at fully following quilt directions. I just can't resist a little tweak here and there. Luckily, Debbie was patient with my insatiable need to modify, adapt, alter, and improvise.

In addition to some starts and finishes, I also joined the Instagram bandwagon (you can find me there as two_hippos). At the end of June, my brother convinced me (or rather, the math of family plans convinced me) it was time to upgrade to a phone that could do more than allow me to talk to people (that is the purpose of phones, right?). I'm slowly learning the different things aside from connect my voice to other people's voices that said phone can, in fact, do. I'm a little resistant because I'm trying to avoid feeling tethered to it, but I admit I do like instagram and its fancy filters and whatnot.

Final snippet: Washi dress. In-progress. Major thanks to Rae and Karen for patiently guiding the quilting sort into garment-making.


Tutorial: How to Make a Challah Cover

>> Tuesday, August 7, 2012

One of the most frequent queries I get is "how do you make a challah cover?" I've avoided answering this question directly because there is no one way to do it. In a pinch, an unfolded napkin is just as functional in covering challah (delicious egg bread eaten on Shabbat (the Jewish Sabbath) and most Jewish holidays) as a beautiful silk-screened, embroidered, quilted, or otherwise crafted piece of art.

But Sew Mama Sew has provided me with a wonderful opportunity to demonstrate how to make a challah cover. The tutorial includes templates for paper-piecing Shabbat in Hebrew as well as complete cutting and piecing instructions. Even if you don't need one for yourself, here's a chance to impress your friends when you give them a fabulously modern challah cover with Hebrew letters. (A big thanks to Michelle, Anna, Brenda, and Torie for making sure the templates and instructions made sense to non-Hebrew speakers.) It may be in another language that uses a non-Roman alphabet, but you don't have to be able to read it to piece it!

Head over to SMS for my Challah Cover Tutorial. I'd love to see what you make!

p.s. If you want to machine-bind your challah cover, you can find my machine-binding tutorial here.



>> Sunday, August 5, 2012

When Lizzy House's Outfoxed line came out last fall, I thought it looked fun, but I was trying to reduce fabric purchases until I got the stash under control. A few months later, when I found out my first quilty-blogland friend Michelle was pregnant with Kit, I had a good reason to buy a yard of Outfoxed. More specifically, I grabbed a yard of those clever foxes in the Outwitted (yellow/green) colorway, so I could make a gender-neutral quilt for the as-yet-to-be-gendered-or-named baby-fox-to-be.

That was the plan anyways. Despite my winter acquisition of a piece of fabric, Kit debuted with no quilt on hand, or even in my head. I had some vague ideas based on Michelle's flickr favorites (because, let's be honest, she's going to appreciate the quilt more than her child, at least for a while), but nothing really stuck. To an extent reasonable (it's true, sometimes I make up new phrases), I wanted to combine our styles. Which can be a little tricky, like a fox.

Michelle is a paper-piecing rock star, so that seemed like a good place to begin. And I'd seen these 8-pointed stars around blogland for a while; I'd even printed out the templates. Actually, I printed them twice, as my July self did not recall that my April self had already printed them. Now I can make another, I suppose. I love the outcome, but that star took several hours of an evening to master, so I applaud anyone who makes lots of them. After that evening, I knew this quilt would feature one star and one star only.

Which is where my love of asymmetry, pops of color, and negative space comes in. Because one star can make a very fine modern quilt. The purple was a last-minute addition, when the yellow/green/black/white combo seemed to lack a little pizzazz. And goodness knows, infants need pizzazz in their vision fields.

I happened to be perusing the shelves at Brenda's shop while contemplating the back. I only had a yard of Outfoxed, and the quilt grew to be a bit larger. I saw Aneela Hoey's Foxlets print and it obviously needed to join the other foxes on parade, or around the campfire.

The binding followed the design of the quilt front: mostly black, with a teal corner. Deciding what thread to use to machine-bind it posed a bit of a quandary, but in the end I opted for black. It stands out on the teal portion but disappears into black fabric. Aside from the fox fabrics, everything else came from my stash, so even Foxy, as I began to refer to it while sewing it together, contributed to stash reduction.


Quilting Play

>> Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Ever fascinated by circle quilting, I spent Sunday playing with some new quilting ideas. Like these concentric adjacent, but not overlapping, circles. From the back, I think they look especially cool. They look rather dashing on the front as well, but it's got to stay face-down for a moment.

I used the same 4" circle template for a some random overlapping circles. Planning out the overlap would have required a little too much work and attention since I was quilting while watching the Olympics streaming on my laptop. It was a tough call between women's gymnastics team preliminaries and quilting. Luckily I delight in multi-tasking, but priorities do shift a bit when people on the screen are flying through the air. I'm willing to sacrifice my personal precision for theirs, especially because "randomly imprecise" has a certain panache in quilting that it does not on the balance beam.


  © Blogger template Autumn Leaves by Ourblogtemplates.com 2008

Back to TOP