23 December 2010

The stars and the planets

The second linen table runner is quilted and bound. Thanks so much to everyone who offered advice on how to quilt it! I went for a swirly effect in the background, as I suggested in the last post, then a loose echo stitch around the stars, connecting the stars in a wavy flow, and finally a meander through the stars, with the quilting for the star flow a slightly darker tan color.

I love the stars, but I'm also very fond of the back where it's all about the quilting.

It came out of the dryer beautifully.

And to stick with the astrological theme I'm pleased with the fresh-from-the-dryer pucker of the planets table runner, too.

20 December 2010

Table runners

My latest focus in the handmade holiday madness is a pair of linen table runners. The first is about 12" x 36", inspired by a project in Yoko Saito's "Patchwork Lesson." I came upon the book at the Kinokuniya Bookstore in San Francisco's Japantown. While the book is in Japanese and most of the projects are handbags (not at the top of my interests), the fabrics and quilting are wonderful. I think I'll buy it next time I'm in the neighborhood.

The inspiration project is a handbag with a row of wonky applique circles featuring the same cross effect. The circles are cropped on the cover of the book, though the actual project is more striking.

I sewed the contrasting strips into the circle fabric, then pieced the circles into the continuous background linen using the six-minute circle technique. The circles went well, though I would recommend leaving at least a 3/4" seam allowance on the background fabric, and I never quite achieved the advertised time of six minutes.

I finished with straight line machine quilting that echoes and extends the the circle strips, then finally some hand stitched circles.

The second table runner is a wave of wonky stars, again all linen, that I'll trim down to a finished size of 15" x 72". I'm having a hard time figuring out how to quilt this one. I'm considering some free-motion swirls for a "The Starry Night" effect.

How would you quilt it?

19 December 2010

Scrappy scottie

Another handmade holiday gift, this one for Malcolm to give to Hamish. Starting with a Denyse Shmidt pattern, I went back to the last extra fabric panel from my marquee projects. The squares are cut from bias strips, then pieced at alternating angles. Alert readers may remember that Hamish has been the recipient of two projects using these same fabric panels (the gaming quilt and the consolation quilt), so Scrappy should feel right at home.

16 December 2010

Hexy update

The one-inch hexy count has reached 820. I've started hand stitching the pieces together into larger hexagon blocks. Over the holidays I hope to start working in some four-inch hexies over the holidays.

13 December 2010

Wedding quilt

We just gave this quilt to some good friends for their wedding. The pattern is 'Sexy Hexy' available for free from Amy Butler. It was a lot of fun to make and I enjoyed working with the bold bright prints. It was also my first experience working with glue stick - the center hexagons are stabilized with freezer paper, the seam allowances glue sticked to the back of the paper, and then top stitched to the already assembled outer rings of the hexagon. It made the tricky business of matching the corners very easy.

The biggest challenge on this project was completely self imposed. I fussy cut all the hexagon sides (except the columbine and lindy leaf, if memory serves) for maximum kaleidoscope effect. That's a lot of fussing! But I'm glad I did it.

The pieced back is a calmer palette of two blue fabrics.

I ran with the floral theme for the quilting. It's a free motion loopy daisy pattern (photo by Stacey Sharman).

The quilt is finished with a hand-embroidered label attached to the corner binding on the back of the blanket (photo by Stacey Sharman).

Lindy Leaf, Pocketbook  and Welcome Road by Heather Bailey for Free Spirit
Sunflower, Flower Fields and Columbine by Joel Dewberry for Free Spirit
Bubble Burst by Anna Maria Horner for Free Spirit
Lotus Pond by Amy Butler for Free Spirit
Sophie's Garden by Erin McMorris for Free Spirit
Posh Petals by Khristian Howell for Anthology Fabrics
Mod Trees by Giancini Atelier for Anthology Fabrics

08 December 2010

Christmas list

I've checked the first item off my Christmas list. I used an Amy Butler pattern to sew these two kitten pillows for my niece. The larger one is the pattern size;the smaller is three-quarters size, though the face isn't reduced quite as much. I decided the two looked better together if the faces are closer to the same size. That's the way it is in real life, right? The proportion of a baby's/kitten's head to her body is larger than the same proportion for an adult.

The fabric is from the Clothworks Woodland Friends collection, with contrasting color on the back of each pillow. The faces are felt with a satin stitched edge.

The biggest challenge was stuffing the ears and feet without overstuffing. I popped a couple seams in the process and ended up whip-stitching on the outside to repair. I've decided to follow Cyn's lead and value the scars.

The back is finished with a bit of hand embroidery to personalize the gift.