Sebastian, Literally

>> Sunday, December 30, 2012

Barring some radical shifts in the US population's naming preferences, my name is never going to crack the top 1000 baby names, as measured by the Social Security Name Database (a fascinating dataset, for those statistically inclined or trend curious). Which I rather like. At least now -- there was the crushing childhood realization that I would never find my name plastered on magnets or keychains or the like (which my siblings could, in fact, purchase). But I've recovered from that discovery and rather enjoy possessing an unusual (in the US) name, even if it sometimes causes pronunciation consternation (in others; I know how to say my name, though some native Hebrew speakers might dispute my Americanized version) and gender confusion (theoretically this could be explained by the fact that my name in Hindi denotes a male, but somehow I don't think that's why I get emails sent to Mr...).

Sebastian, in contrast, has enjoyed a popularity curve worthy of a roller coast ride. One hundred years ago, it rested at 567, but by 1950, it fell out of the top 1000 names. A decade later, it poked its way back in, and then, for about a quarter century, toggled between the mid-700s and the mid-500s. By 1986, it started its upward climb and, at the turn of the 21st century, it jumped into the top 100. For the past 2 years, Sebastian has rested comfortably as the 68th most popular boy's name in the US. But when asked to make a quilt for a baby named Sebastian, I knew nothing of this history.

I simply knew that the baby was named for a family friend's deceased father and they wanted a quilt that reflected this meaningful name choice. I chose to be literal, and I made the name the visual centerpiece of the quilt. I paper-pieced the letters (3"x4") from templates I made (inspired by these). The "a" turned out to be my favorite, though whether that's because of the shape or the fabrics used, I'm not sure. I used blues and greens from my scrap bin and stash, and arrayed the letters on a dark-light-dark spectrum, all set against Kona Mustard.

To add some visual interest, I pieced some squares and rectangles together, and added them above Sebastian. As is my habit, I improvised as I pieced -- adding, trimming, debating, selecting, rejecting (aka seam-ripping), and adding some more. The crinkling derives from unevenly spaced straight-line quilting. The back of the quilt is Michael Miller flannel (Zoology in Sea), which is delightfully soft. Whether or not Sebastian has made its way on to magnets and keychains, but this Sebastian has at least one thing with his name labeled with his name.


A Little Spice

>> Thursday, December 27, 2012

Sometimes the closet provides the perfect upcycled wrapping. Because a warm, flannel-backed quilt might just save you 10 percent on your heating bills this winter. I finished this quilt right before I went home for Thanksgiving, and I wanted to make sure it stayed protected in transit. That, and I needed to deliver it to the person who commissioned it as a wedding gift, and I thought she'd enjoy the temporary wrapping.

I showed a few glimpses of the quilt in progress way back when I started it. As noted then, the design is based on Felicity's lovely Sea Glass on Sand, and based on her (and other feedback) I added in a couple of mulberry triangles to pop against the browns, greens, and creams. The colors, along with the seasonal scents they evoke and the occasion for the quilt, led me to dub it "A Little Spice" as I constructed it; the name stuck. The color scheme is a little different from my typical choices, but it was designed for the couple whose apartment is decorated in creams with green and brown accents. Working out of my color comfort zone pushed me to think about design, and how a quilt could sing in a more muted palette.

I love how the bright white draws the eye in as much as the greens and darker tans. The blocks were all 6" and I originally planned a 10x12 layout, I added an extra row to make it 10x13 (or 55"x71.5") as I pieced it together. The seam allowance ate up the 1/2" between rows and while I knew that would happen, I felt a need to compensate. Or at least make sure there would be room for the couple's toes. I borrowed the quilting plan from Felicity as well, using 2 interlocking curves on the diagonal -- a technique I'll certainly use again.

The quilt commission came with a request for a "soft back," and I opted for flannel. A flannel sheet from Target to be specific. The sheet is thicker than quilting flannel, so that plus a layer of batting makes for a substantial throw quilt. Using a sheet also eliminated the need to piece the back and, as it was bigger than the front, simplified basting as well. The binding is a Heather Ross print, Meadow Flowers, I picked up in the sale vault at Lake Street Mercantile about 4 years ago. Apparently I could have sold that yard for about $36 right now (admittedly, it's no goldfish), but I'm content to let aesthetic value trump financial gain. Plus, if someone had purchased it, I would have had to go to the post office between Thanksgiving and Christmas, and that surely represents a terrible use of time.


Good & Plenty

>> Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Or Mike & Ikes, because, to be honest, I hate licorice and bubble-gum pink, which places Good & Plenty's pretty low on my candy consumption list. So low that I don't think I've tasted a Good & Plenty in decades, if not longer. But candy, delightful as it can be (when it's tasty and all), is not actually the point of this post. (Shocking, right?)

I'm really hoping that this quilt made it to its new home. I haven't heard and, as luck would have it, I sent it on its merry way to New York City two days before Sandy unleashed chaos on the region. Priority Mail, I'm guessing, did not operate quite as quickly as usual in the aftermath of a damaging storm. And I didn't put a tracking number on it because apparently I like to test fate. If nothing else, I'm recording its existence here.

I really like the quilts I make. But this one? This quilt I love. The idea popped into my head and, despite some unfortunate moments with the seam ripper, it came into being before exasperation set it. Each Good & Plenty orb uses a large rectangle plus 4 drunkard's block pieces, and I think it might be more efficient and precise to use half-circle blocks, but that's an experiment waiting in the wings. I can imagine all sorts of other color combinations and layouts with these blocks, but I do love them in solids. Some of my favorite solids to be precise -- Betty's Orange, Charcoal, a beguiling aqua whose name I don't know, Gray, and a charming yellow whose name likewise escapes me. They're either Moda Bella Solids or Kona, and the background cream is Moda Snow.

I got all fancy with the orb-quilting, using coordinating thread, a free-motion foot, and a different technique (most of which were new to me) in each color. There are pebbles. There are loops. There are squiggles. And there viney leaves. Viney leaves, people. Those were new and tricky and challenging, and I have no idea how people quilt more of the them in larger spaces on their home machines. I hear there's this thing called practice, but still, that's some hard quilting.

As has been my wont this fall, I pieced a backing from stash fabrics. A half-yard here, a whole yard there, and random pieces in between. I'm making a slight dent in the piles, and I love displaying some larger swaths. Cute as those elephants are, it's the repeat in the orange fabric that pleases me most.

As always, Good & Plenty is machine-bound. I got a little fancy here, using aqua thread on the charcoal binding for a little twist. It's only visible close-up, but it adds a little solid sparkle to the edges.


SMS Giveaway Day!

>> Monday, December 3, 2012

Right before Labor Day, I began making clutches. There's nothing like a friend's request to jumpstart new projects, especially when the requests are doable in a short amount of time. For SMS Giveaway Day, I'm offering one (1) clutch to a random winner -- the choice of blue or pink is yours. It's also cool to enter to win it for a friend; the choice of color remains in your control, unless you'd prefer that I make a choice for a person I don't (think I) know.

Here's a little peek at the interiors, which showcase different fabrics, include a magnetic snap, and contain a divider (an invisible surprise!).

To enter the giveaway, please leave a comment on this post.

The fine print:
*One comment (entry) per person. Please make sure I can contact you by email.
*This giveaway is open to everyone, wherever you live in the world.
*The giveaway will remain open until Friday, December 7 at 8 pm EST (or thereabouts!).
*The winner will be selected randomly.

ETA: The giveaway is now closed, and random magic picked #145: CraftyGirl83.


  © Blogger template Autumn Leaves by 2008

Back to TOP