Wednesday, November 24, 2010

american retirement quilt

I finished it!  This quilt is a gift for my sister's co-worker who is retiring next week.  My sister wanted to give a patriotic quilt because this co-worker has an entire room dedicated to patriotic and Americana memorabilia.  Pretty neat.  So hopefully this quilt fits right in.  I think that quilts should be worn and used, but I have a feeling this one will be hung.

I used this wonky star tutorial from Silly BooDilly for the stars.  I like these but I think I went wonky overboard on some of them.  I also used wonky stripes in the flag.  I did this because I wanted to add touch of modernism to the quilt design.  I'm not a traditional person, but the recipient might be.  So I tried to keep the design more traditional but still add touches of my own personality.

Again, I had trouble deciding how to quilt it.  To stick with the patriotic theme, I quilted a few stars on the flag.  I cut a star from cardstock and quilted around it.  I then quilted an outline a few times around each star to add more depth.

I decided to quilt around the stars on the flag using an all-over leaf design.  The leaves inside the flag are simple, a smaller and tighter design than outside the flag.

I had an especially hard time deciding on the quilt design for the stars outside the flag, but ultimately I decided to continue the leaf theme.  This leaf design isn't as tight as the design inside the flag, so I was a little worried about how it would turn out.  I like the tighter designs because they look better to me when washed.  But I think this design turned out really well.  I would quilt this leaf and stem design again.

The back is nothing special.  I bought 108 inch beige paisley fabric for the backing, but I used so much on the front that I ran out when it came time to make the back.  So I had to piece some scraps from the front fabrics to make a backing large enough.  But we will pretend it was intentional.

I think this quilt turned out pretty good.  I really hope she likes it.  This is the first quilt I made for someone who wasn't part of my family.  Family has to like what I make...

Saturday, November 20, 2010

retirement quilt basted

I finished the quilt top and basted this quilt last weekend.  This quilt isn't moving along as fast as I wanted it to, but I'm looking forward to getting most of the quilting done this weekend.

For me, though, deciding how to quilt is the most time-consuming part.  I rack my brain for hours searching for the perfect design.  But eventually I realize that I just need to start with something.  All other ideas can be used on future quilts.

I did "just start" last night and it's moving along.  It hasn't quite come together for me yet, but all quilting designs look better once the quilt is completed and washed.  I can't wait for that part.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

new fabric from my pa quilt shop

I arrived in western PA four months ago and have been searching for a live quilt shop ever since.  There are no quilt shops in the area which is strange because it's not like we live in the middle of nowhere. Finally I decided to drive 45 minutes to the closest shop.

I don't know how people can buy fabric online.  I guess if you know that you want the latest Tula Pink or Michael Miller, you could really buy it anywhere, including online.  But if you don't know what you are looking for, how can you be sure that the fabric will look the same in person as it does online or will match the coordinating prints you've chosen?  Maybe if you've played this fabric game for a long time, you're just that good.  But I like to feel the fabrics, hold them against one another, look at them in the light.  I enjoy the process of wandering through the shop and wondering what I would make with nearly every piece.  Needless to say, my trips to the quilt shop are hours-long excursions.  But it's part of my process and I enjoy every minute of it.

 Anyhoo, after about 2 hours, I came out with 2 things (pathetic, I know, but I have to consider the budget).  I got this pack of 8-1/2 inch square precuts for $12.50.  There are 33 of them.  I think that's one heck of deal.  The fabric is Arcadia by Sanae for Moda.  I don't think it's an old print, so that may be why it's so cheap.  And if this quilt shop is in the habit of aggressively marking down old prints, it's my new favorite weekend hang-out.  I have no shame when it comes to fabric deals.

Here is a sample of some of the prints.  For the first time, this fabric will be for me.  I have a quilt in mind for my upcoming birthday!

This fabric is Porcelina by Michele D Amore for Marcus Fabrics.  I really like the colors in this print and the dots and the lines and the dots and the colors and the . . . everything.

This will be for a Christmas gift for someone special.  I have an idea in my head that will work it's way out in December.

There is one other quilt shop that I'd like to visit that is 45 minutes in the opposite direction.  I was hoping that I could find one closer to take some classes and meet some fellow quilters.  But for now I will settle for the occasional holiday to these shops.  And since we will move to a more permanent location next summer, I still have plenty of time to strategically plan out that location.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

retirement quilt :: in progress

My sister asked me to make a quilt for a friend at work who is retiring at the end of this month.  This woman has an entire room in her house dedicated to patriotism, so we thought she would enjoy a patriotic lap quilt as a retirement gift.

I just started this quilt over the weekend, so I only have the flag and 2 of 16 wonky stars completed.  I'm using an old tutorial from SillyBooDilly to make the wonky stars.  It took me an hour and 15 minutes to finish 2 stars last night so imagine the process will be a little slower than I'm used to.