30 April 2013

Munchkin projects

Last week I spent a lot of time sewing for and with my son. He's working on a Women's History Month research project for his 5th grade class. Each kid was assigned a notable historical figure to learn about. The final output of the project is a "place setting" with all the items in the place setting -- the plate, cup, fork, etc. -- representing something about the famous woman. The objects are not literal representations of what you would find on a dinner table, but abstract artistic interpretations.

Munchkin's subject is Eleanor Roosevelt, first lady of the United States from 1933-1945, delegate to the United Nations, and architect of the U.N. Universal Declaration of Human Rights. For his "plate" Munchkin chose to sew a baby blanket to show that Eleanor was born with the courage of her convictions.

He searched for an appropriate symbol for courage, and chose the Tabono (oars), an Adinkra textile symbol from West Africa. The symbol represents confidence, strength and perseverance.

Munchkin has used a sewing machine in craft class, but this is the first time he's asked me to teach him. I put on the binding, but he did everything else, including selecting the fabrics, cutting and sewing, drawing and applying a fusible webbing template, basting the quilt sandwich, and quilting. It turned out great. I love that he chose a textile symbol, and the fact that it's from Africa reflects Eleanor Roosevelt's internationalist vision.

Last week's other project was a pillow for Munchkin to take to 5th grade science camp this week. He wanted the word "camp" and an Angry Birds pig. He loves those pigs.

I imitated one of Chawn's lettering styles.

The pig pattern is from Le Borse di Gaya via Fandom in Stitches. I enlarged the template 150% and added pieced pupils to the eyes.

And yesterday morning I sent him off to camp. I know he'll have an amazing time, and I can't wait to hear about his experience when I pick him up Friday afternoon.

22 April 2013

Sunrise quilt

I  finished a small quilt with those improv-pieced drunkard's path units I wrote about a couple weeks ago. The arcs are set in solid white, symmetrical on one axis, and a bit off center on the other axis.

I quilted horizontal straight lines using 8 or so shades of orange, gold, and yellow. I quilted the first lines on a longarm machine, then filled in on my domestic sewing machine.

The quilting lines are darkest and densest through the center of the quilt -- about 1/8" apart. Further out the lines are spaced 1/4" to 3/8", and the thread color is paler.

The bias binding is a diagonal cross hatch print (with a snip of blue on one side of the quilt). I'm pleased with how it works with both the drunkard's path prints and the dense horizontal quilting.

The back is everyone's favorite Ikea number script print. Munchkin was a good sport taking photos all over town on this beautiful San Francisco day.

The finished size is 44" x 45". I love the play between the looseness of the improv piecing of the prints, and the precision of the circles and the horizontal quilting.

01 April 2013

A Little Sunshine

This weekend I did some more work with improvisationally pieced curves. It's the same stack, cut and shuffle technique I used for last week's Nest blocks, except I did two iterations of cut and shuffle.

I started with a stack of yellow fat quarters, and a stack of orange. My goal was to sew some blocks of made fabric for use in upcoming projects. With about 10 gently curving seams top to bottom, the yellow blocks finished at about 17.5" x 17.5" usable fabric.

I cut the orange blocks more densely, resulting in more seams and less usable fabric. Also, I think, a busier and less pleasing effect.

I don't have plans for all of it yet, but my first projects will be some drunkards path blocks, cut on point. The inner and outer units will be paired with solid white, rather than yellow print to orange print, and I have a few layout ideas swimming around in my head. I'll let you know where it goes!