>> Tuesday, October 23, 2012

120 6.5" squares waiting to be turned into a quilt. A commissioned wedding quilt for a couple getting married in December. The instructions were wonderfully simple: come up with a quilt for a couple whose apartment has a cream/brown/green color scheme. I toyed with several ideas for the quilt, mostly thinking about wide improv pieced curves, a larger version of this challah cover in a different color scheme. But then I saw Felicity's Sea Glass on Sand quilt, I quickly formed a new plan.

I dug into my collection of solid neutrals, added a few more from my (local) quilt shop Pink Castle Fabrics, and started cutting. Moda Snow dominates, as I had some yardage of it, but the pile also includes Moda Porcelain, Kona Snow/Putty/Oyster/Parchment, Fig Tree Cream, and unlabeled neutrals from my scrap bin. I had more shades of green and fewer shades of brown than I expected (or realized). But a sufficient spread to keep the corners interesting. I considered mixing in some prints, but I like the look of all solids.

I'm still considering adding in a few punch of mulberry (shot cotton, that is). I plucked three squares from the pile before trimming so I can play with the layout and change my mind, rip out some seams, and insert a few dots of difference. I usually dread trimming and squaring blocks. But a few episodes of Dexter (I'm still on Season 5) made the work less tedious. The blocks are trimmed and ready for my design floor. Once I sweep and vacuum said floor, anyways.

p.s. In anticipation of Pink Castle Fabrics' move into a new brick and mortar space, everything in the shop is 25% off through the end of October, with the code MOVING. Depending on when you place your order, I might just get the chance to cut and package it for you.


The Accidental Living Room Quilt

>> Thursday, October 18, 2012

Making things for myself is paralyzing. How do I decide on a design or choose fabric when I'm not going to design something I dislike or buy fabric that is unappealing? And how do I pick the perfect palette for the living room I already live in? Admittedly, the (super comfortable) gold couch is perhaps not the item I would select from a store, but free, old-in-the-best-sort-of-way, and did I mention amazingly comfortable rocks (thanks grandparents for making some great furniture purchases back in the day).

Two springs ago I was temporarily living in DC. I toted a small portion of my stash with me (sanity protection) and resolved to make stuff within the parameters of what I brought. That small stash included 2 charm packs of Kate Spain's Central Park line, and a lot of solids. I challenged myself to make a big quilt with those charm packs, and by adding a lot of solids, I succeeded.

I followed no particular format in laying out the fabric. I probably tried to avoid setting the same fabrics next to one another, making it not totally random, and I may have adjusted squares as I sewed them together. To be honest, I don't really remember how I did it all that clearly. I do recall wishing I had used green instead of yellow as the most significant solid at one point, but having already cut out  lots of yellow squares, well, no change was in the works. Unlike most of the quilts I make, this one had no intended recipient. As a result, when I finished the quilt top I had no need or incentive to finish it quickly, and it sat on a shelf for months.

Last winter I decided I needed to move this project from the unfinished pile to the finished one. I dug into my stash to find fabric to back it, and decided to use the Alexander Henry Birdsong as the primary backing. Then I added coordinating fabric to make it big enough to fit the front, quilted it 1/4" lines offset from the seams, and bound it. I washed it and wondered to whom I should give it. It sat on a chair in my living room, waiting to move on to its new home.

Summer faded into fall, and one night I wanted to burrow under a quilt while reading on the couch. Rather than dig up a blanket from the closet, I grabbed the one sitting on the chair. I wouldn't have expected the pale yellow to work with the gold couch but, in a way, it does. It's not exactly the design or colors I would have picked for my living room, but it works. The binding isn't my favorite shade of green, but it doesn't really matter. It's a lot easier to let a quilt find a home in my living room than design one specifically for it. So much less pressure, so much more pleasurable.


Sewing: It Still Happens

>> Friday, October 5, 2012

The Jewish holiday season, some travel, a chapter deadline, and a few other obligations conspired to make me take an unintentional sewing hiatus. It's kind of hard to sew while on a plane, in synagogue, or while furiously typing. (Though if I could multi-task simultaneous dissertation writing and sewing, I would be a superhero. Just sayin'). In any event, I granted myself some sewing time this week as a reward for submitting said dissertation chapter (incentives: they work). I've had a quilt block in my head for a few weeks now, and decided to test it out. Often this means drawing on some graph paper before cutting and piecing, but this time I decided to go for the direct brain to fabric option.

Mental math is pretty awesome, but sometimes comes with a bit of imprecision. I won't say exactly how many times I had to rip out seams on each of these blocks (probably more than once but less than a handful -- let's keep it in general terms), but there was some mental cursing and aggravated looks directed at the blocks. Millimeters are finicky things, in case that was unclear. Last night the Southeast Michigan Crafty Meet-up allowed me finish some blocks and start sewing them together. At which point a number of people noticed that my quilt color scheme coordinated with my wardrobe (Atomic Washi, woot!), and documentation of this occasion became necessary. One friend has asked why there is a traffic light in the background, and since I don't know, I welcome all suggestions and stories as to how and why a traffic light would find its way into the scene.


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