Fancy Foxes

You wan to know what the most fun quilt ever is: Elizabeth Hartman’s Fancy Foxes. Yay, now you know.

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Sadly blurry ūüė¶

I made this one for a friend’s first baby. I knew the mom-to-be was a veterinarian and that they had rescued more than one wild creature from their backyard. I figured I couldn’t go wrong an animal theme. Plus, I’d been eyeing that fox pattern for a while

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Making each little fox face became a bit obsessive ¬†– “just one more and I’ll go to see” – level obsessive. I think that red/orange one is my favorite

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No, maybe the polka-dot one.

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Or.. oh I don’t know. I love them all.

Improv Hexie

Hexie

One to file under “things that are finished” – it’s an improvisational giant hexagon with scrappy borders. I started working on large-ish panels of fabrics that I liked without much of a plan. I first thought I’d do a stack of coins quilt but I have made one of those before and the idea of a very large hexagon was interesting. I figured that since I had no plan, doing something strictly because it was interesting was a fine plan.

Large hex

I tried to use every scrap of the panels that I could. Most lined up in haphazard but pleasing ways and even the ones that didn’t fit added something. As you can see there are no pictures of the back… that would be because it’s a freaking mess. Really, so many mistakes that are just lazy and careless. The quilting is freestyle squares which isn’t great but wouldn’t be terrible if I had pinned better. There are some folds on the back. Serious, serious folds. ¬†I fixed a couple that I could easily get to but one is just too much. Oh well, I’m happy with the quilt top if nothing else. I was hoping to give it as a baby quilt but with the back as it is I think it may need to be a picnic blanket.

Pros:

  • Good color/pattern choices
  • Fun improv top

Cons:

  • Terrible sandwich making
  • Lazy quilting
  • Not sure I can give it to anyone with the back all janky ūüė¶

While I Wait

Idle hands and all… ¬†so while I wait for my new sewing machine to arrive I pulled out an old friend. ¬†A good project that has sat for quite some time as I didn’t really realize how much work it was going to be. ¬†Still pretty though. I’m making much better time now that I decided to make my stitches bigger. ¬†I may even finish.

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Radiant Orchid – Detour to Grandma’s House

She’s Done! ¬†Well, not quite done but the quilt top is done. ¬†While I had, of course, planned to have this baby sandwiched, quilted, and bound by today, it became pretty clear that wasn’t going to happen. ¬†Between working, mothering, and otherwise having a non-sewing life I failed to get the batting that is a requirement for doing the quilting. ¬†On the positive side, Oakland decided to put on a show last weekend of just how pretty it can be here and I took the opportunity to pin the quilt top to the magnolia in the front yard and get some nice pictures using a camera other than my phone.

Pantone Quilt Trees

I based my quilt on the Lovely Little Tress in the Forest Quilt but instead of a wall hanging with green trees I made a 38″x44″ radiant orchid forest using solids from Pink Chalk Fabrics. ¬†I also arranged my trees to make a path for my special guests.

Pantone Quilt Trees

Little Red here needs to make her way through this very odd forest to her pal The Wolf. ¬†See, Grandmother’s house loses some of it’s appeal when the forest turns purple. ¬†Days like these call for adventure.

 

 

little red the wolf

My plan calls for the winding path to be done in the quilting. I’m pretty excited to see how it will turn out.

 

 

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It look me a couple of tries to get the trees to come out ‘non-wonky’ and the sharpness of the lines leaves a lot to be desired. ¬†I’ve never made a quilt with such small piecing and I clearly need a bit of practice. ¬†Each tree ends up being 3 1/2″ x 4″.

Working on the pattern the trees would take against the white took a good long time but was also my favorite part (other than the embroidery. ¬†I love the embroidery). I used a LOT of tape on my wall – you can see the in progress shots here. ¬†I also continued watching (less) bad movies. The final push saw “Robin Hood, Men in Tights”, “Penelope”, “Who Framed Roger Rabbit” (this was during the embroidery phase), and a couple of “Firefly” episodes. I ended strong. ¬†We’ll see what the quilting phase brings (hint: it will be Luther episodes)

Radiant Orchid Continues, so does my terrible movie watching

My Radiant Orchid quilt is coming along nicely. ¬†Cutting, sewing and squaring up 60 trees was an exercise in zen. ¬†Every little square is 3.5″ x 4″ with each needing to be cleaned up after the piecing was done. I will admit to doing this while watching both “The Host” (super terrible – not even interesting) and Ghostbusters (RIP Harold Ramis).

All blocks plus a whole lot of white ones for background

All blocks plus a whole lot of white ones for background

After all that was finished I taped them together using a ton of masking tape according to a small diagram I made in Excel. ¬†I almost didn’t bother with this step and am so glad I did as I ended up cutting two rows out of my design. ¬†This allowed a greater concentration of trees in the body of the quilt. ¬†My forest was beginning to look more like a grove. Movies watched: xXx (hello, Vin Diesel’s abs).

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I was going for a gradient of light to dark in my purple tones as we moved “deeper” into the forest but the balance was looking off. ¬†Taking a black and white shot helped me to see what was going on. ¬†I adjusted by moving a couple of lighter pieces to the top and connecting more of the trees at the bottom. Movie watched: A Fish Called Wanda (I love this movie so much)

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Before calling it a night, I put together a 9×9 block just to see how the sizing was going to turn out. ¬†I might fit into the baby quilt category in the end. ¬†Not my intention but better that a bigger one I’m unhappy with.

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Radiant Orchid step 1

I was so excited to see Ms. Mucho in person last weekend. ¬†It was a good night of wine drinking and taco eating as all the best nights are. ¬†Things were going well right up until we were leaving and she said “so, have you started your quilt yet?” ¬†Uhhh, no. ¬†Well, I guess “yes” if you consider buying fabric starting. Which I don’t. So with that reminder I went ahead and started cutting. ¬†56 squares in various ‘radiant orchid’ colors. ¬†56 white blocks to sew into the colors. ¬†111 plain white blocks for spacing and background. ¬†Arg. ¬†I watched an entire terrible movie while lining up 2 3/4″ over and over. ¬†And really, Jeremy Renner, Hansel and Gretel is waayyy beneath you. ¬†

Of course I had to gloat because I’m charming like that:

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Radiant Orchid Quilt Challenge… let’s do this thing

My good friend Ms. Mucho¬†let me know about the Pantone Color of the Year quilt challenge happening over at On the Windy Side. ¬†I cannot resist. ¬†This color is not in my normal palette but I care not. I have an idea, I have fabric and I’m one binding away from needing a new project ¬†That is if I can find my walking foot (where did you go walking foot??)

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The plan involves a simple pattern, a little embroidery, and a whole lot of speed. ¬†Entries are due in March and we all know I’m not the speediest. ¬† I have bought fabric (shopping is easy part), come up with a pattern and plan (that’s the second easy part), and now to the doing (ai ya). One, Two, Three, Four, Let’s GO!

Quilting Class Output

Remember that quilting class I said I was going to take? ¬†I really did take it. ¬†And it was totally fun. ¬†A lot of my reason for going was to figure out all the stuff I had been doing wrong. ¬†Just like when I learned that I was so, so not purling correctly a full half sweater in.That sweater has since been¬†sacrificed¬†to the frog and no photographic proof remains that it ever was. ¬†I am very happy to report that quilting class didn’t unearth any similar face-palm lessons. ¬†Most of what I had been doing, I had been doing¬†correctly¬†or close enough. ¬†The biggest things I took away from it were

  1. Keep a hot iron close.  Really saves a bunch of time and helps you not give into the laziness of just not ironing
  2. Measure all the damn time.  This one was a biggie.  We made 9 square blocks.  Measured each piece, measured each block, measured each row, etc. I need to be better about this
  3. A 12 1/2 inch square ruler is kind of essential.  See measuring above.  That thing makes it far less painful.
  4. It’s totally ok if at the end of attaching your binding, you finish with a flat seam for the two ends instead of a bias one.¬†Quilting police did not storm the building. ¬†It was like they don’t even exist.
  5. Binding stitch. Most things I found I had been doing mostly right except this. ¬†I have been hand sewing the binding wrong on every quilt I have made, making my life more difficult and my fingers more…¬†perforated¬†in the process. This is the way to do it.

I ended up with a nice little quilt made out of a things I already had in my stash. One of my rules of class taking is that I shouldn’t buy materials if I already have them. ¬†This is for practice not for the family heirloom (right, like my son is going to want to keep any of this. ¬†He’ll likely go to college with the 2 yards of star wars fleece currently on his bed that I picked up for 40% off at Joann’s).

I am very lucky to work with humans. Humans who have babies.  Humans who have babies always need blankets, even little wee ones.  Aaron from two desks over was very happy to accept my homework for his new Little J.  I hope Little J gnaws on that new-stitch-learning binding to his hearts content.

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Full quilt taped to the wall

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9 block detail

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back side with cool ghost print

 

Thanks A Verb for Keeping Warm for the great class. ¬†I’ll be back.

 

Spring in January

Hey, remember when I didn’t post for like 3 months over the biggest crafting time of year? ¬†Me neither. ¬†Let’s just pretend that didn’t happen. ¬†Great.

In other news of inactivity and procrastination… 10 bajillion years ago I started a quilt as part of the Road To Spring quilt-along. I got as far as this picture:

road to spring

That is the last I ever posted to the group.

I did actually finish the quilt top. ¬†I learned a lot about what not to do. My fabrics were wrong as was a lot of my¬†technique.¬†The Road to Spring quilt called for free motion quilting but I knew I wasn’t up to that. ¬†So the quilt top just sat. ¬†After my quilting class – and really learning how to do the quilting part and binding – I wanted to practice those skills. ¬†And there was my old quilt top just waiting ūüôā

I found some nice backing fabric at the local Cat’s Pajamas sale and used scraps from the front to get the width right.

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I also made the binding out of a yellow solid I have had around for a while. ¬†I haven’t measured it yet but it’s¬†definitely¬†a throw/baby blanket type size. ¬†Now just to figure out who to give it to…

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Going to learn how to quilt

Yay, I’m so excited! ¬†I’m going to take a quilting class… A very intro quilting class. ¬†I have been sewing a lot more than knitting lately but unlike knitting I have never really learned to do it. ¬†I’ve read books and online tutorials and this has got me through a lot of the sewing basics. ¬†I’m pretty confident that I can sew a (mostly) straight line and create a quilt top. ¬†But when it comes to the actual quilting part, I admit I don’t know what I’m doing – and the way I have been binding blankets cannot possibly be right – so, I’m taking a class. ¬†According to the description

You will learn to:

  • Use a quilting pattern
  • Use color and value to create visually interesting quilts
  • Use quilting friendly tools: a rotary cutter and quilter’s rulers
  • Sewing techniques to make a durable, long-lasting quilt
  • Create a quilt top
  • Layer the top, batting, and backing
  • Baste
  • Quilt
  • Bind

I’m not sure there are any of those that I would say “Nah, I got that down” to right now. ¬†This is going to be so much fun!