Sunday, October 24, 2010

Thinking ahead...

Time in my sewing room skipped right past Halloween to Christmas.  I have never pieced a quilt top this quickly before. On Friday morning I cut into my Northwoods Botanicals ayer cake.  By Saturday evening I had the center of my quilt all pieced.  Today I stitched up the pieced border and had to stop for lack of just the right fabric for an inner border.  Here's the quilt so far as it looks on the design wall.  I need a creamy/gold fabric for that inner border.  I had planned a red outer border after the pieced border but looking at it at this stage I think I'll leave well enough alone and stop at the pieced border.

It didn't come out quite as I had pictured in my mind, as the lights were just a bit darker and more varied than I thought once they were all cut up and jumbled together.  However, overnight Friday I threw out the mental picture and was more than happy to keep working on my Christmas quilt on and off between chores on Saturday.

I can't believe how quickly this came together, and I can't believe how little fussing I had to do to match up my seams.  Why is it that in some projects the seams just seem to line up all on their own, while in others, where in theory they should also line up beautifully, they just won't no matter how much pinning and seam ripping and starting over I do?  I'll just savour the victory in this case. :)

Looking at the picture I see places I wish I had oriented the four-patches differently to put less emphasis on the lights, but then I look at the actual quilt and I don't notice them.  Isn't it interesting how scale really makes a difference in what you see?

Speaking of scale,  Ann Hermes can rest assured that I won't be stealing customers for mini quilt items. I made these five little ornaments for myself and while I'm pleased with them I'm not in a rush to mass-produce any!  Talk about fiddly little pieces!  The two smaller ornaments are 2 1/4 inch square.  The larger ones are 3 inches square. 

Now that I've gotten these two Christmas projects taken care of, I guess I should backtrack to Halloween.  Sometime before trick-or-treat I need to make Pippi Longstocking's braids stick out straight...

I almost forgot - the quilt design is Scrappy Prairie Queen by Sandra L. Hatch.  I made the blocks smaller but the idea is hers.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Still slowly stitching...

When I talked to Mom on the phone this week she commented that she hadn't seen a new post on my blog so she assumed I'd been busy with other things.  That's partly true, but mostly I just haven't had much new to show.  I'm still stitching away on the hearts quilt. Did I mention I'm a slow quilter?  I've made progress though.  I now have 32 of the 48 blocks quilted.  That's two thirds.  Yay!

Because I was getting bored quilting the same thing over and over I went ahead and started working on the outer border adjacent to quilted blocks.  I leafed through a lot of books and thumbed through my idea files for inspiration then took out a compass and paper and came up with a template for this.

 When I took it out of my lap frame the first night I worked on it I had a few misgivings about my choice.  I thought it was perhaps a little too girly sweet for my daughter's taste.  All I could see were heart flowers with big tulip-like leaves, which hadn't jumped out at me when the design was just on paper.

Sure enough, the hearts in the border were just too much for her.  Not that she said so.  She just looked and looked, smiled a wobbly smile and disappeared.  I found her crying in her room.  She finally admitted that she thought it would "take a long time to get used to" but she hadn't wanted to hurt my feelings.

 We both still like the curves but I'll leave out the hearts.  I'll try some lines running behind the curves and see how that looks.  It will take a few more than what I have now to really see if it works.  If not I can always - sigh - stitch in the ditch along that inner border to make sure I don't have too big an unquilted space between the last quilting in the center and the dip between curves.  Have I mentioned I really don't enjoy hand quilting in the ditch?

Maybe by the time I finish quilting all the curves the hearts will have grown on my daughter and I can use the hearts to fill that gap after all.

After working on just this for the last few weeks, I'm feeling the need to piece something and use different colours, so I sat down with pencil and paper yesterday to figure out if I had enough of this

 to make a smaller version of this:

The fabric is a Northwoods Botanicals by Holly Taylor layer cake that I won in Thelma's giveway a while back.  The pattern is Scrappy Prairie Queen from "Creative Scraps: Quilting with Bits and Pieces" by House of White Birches.

Reworked to use 12 12-inch blocks instead of 20 15-inch ones it will be a throw size quilt mostly made with my layer cake.  I'll just need a little bit of light fabric for the inner border and something for an outer border.  This can be my Christmas quilt if I get it made in time.  I know I'll have it pieced but I'm not sure I'll have the quilting done.  Ah well, if not this Christmas, there's still the next one!