Monday, August 31, 2009

The Learning Quilt

I finished binding Olivia's quilt tonight. Really should have washed it - but I couldn't resist putting it on her bed. Now we're snuggling underneath it as I write this post.

This quilt will go down as a learning experience. First, I learned to not over engineer. At the end of the day, simple is better. All the strip piecing in the center probably wasn't necessary. I could have gotten an equally cute effect with plain old squares.

I also learned how important tension is when quilting. I had major issues with keeping the backing to stay in place and not get sewn into a bunch. Ugh! So, this is why people fork over big bucks for a huge quilting table and machine. I'd say it's worth every penny. The frustration of having worked so hard to piece perfectly and then mess up on one of the last steps made me crazy!

Finally, I learned that love does not require perfection. Olivia will love this quilt no matter how wobbly the binding is or how crooked some of the seams. I hope it is something she will keep for a long, long time. And every time she wraps it around herself, it will be like getting a hug from her mom.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Fabric I Want

So, it's pretty bad when you save up your change to buy fabric. That is exactly what I've been doing to buy Heather Ross' Mendocino line. The playfulness of the designs is what attracts me most. It would make a darling comfort quilt for a toddler or funky wall hanging for a home. I've been forbidden to buy more fabric this month. In the spirit of compliance and a successful marriage, I have not but have been stashing away my quarters. The plan is to take them to the bank and convert them to cash. That way, I can go to the quilting store and pay with no trail! Brilliant! Deceptive? Maybe. Brilliant none the less. 

Have a wonderful weekend, sewers!

Friday, August 28, 2009

Pinwheel Pillow Tutorial, Part 1

Cheerful colorful pinwheels are a happy childhood memory. Who doesn't love to take a deep, deep breath and puff air to send the color wheel into a mesmerizing blur of hues? Even as an adult, I cannot resist.

I bought Moda's Hello Betty Honey Bun and have been using it to cover pillows in my living room. I love the vintage aesthetic the fabric has. When trying to come up with something to do with it other than strip piece or Log Cabin, I thought of this pinwheel idea. The idea was to get the same fabric pattern in the center of the four blocks alternating orientation to create the look of a pinwheel.

This pattern may not be totally unique, but I can promise it came from my own ideas. It's not based on anything I've seen over the last few weeks that I've been quilting.

Pillow top dimensions makes a 20"W x 20"H square. The finished dimensions of the pillow top when sewn to the backing will be 19.5"W x 19.5"H. This will fit my overstuffed living room toss pillows nicely.

1. Sew five 1.5"W x 21"L strips together.

2. From the strips, cut four 5.25"W x 5:25"H squares. Let's name each square: A, B, C, D.

3. Orient the squares so the same color meets in the middle and the strips orient alternating vertically and horizontally. A vertically-oriented square should never be sewn to another vertically-oriented square. Put right sides together and sew 1/4" seams. First, sew A to C, then B to C.

4. Repeat set 3 four times using different but coordinating sets of fabric. Once step 3 is completed, sew AC to BD.

5. Once the squares are finished, the sashing should be cut. Cut two 1.5"W x 10.5" strips and one 1.5"W by 21.25" strip in a solid complementary color.

6. You can choose to have the longer sashing go vertically or horizontally. I chose vertically. Sew the 10.5" strips between finished blocks A & C and B & D. Then sew the longer sashing to AC.

7. To complete the piecing, sew AC to BD. Press open. Now is a good time to make sure your top is perfectly square.

Now we're ready to make a sandwich and quilt our pillow top. The next post will describe the process I used. Until then, happy quilting!

Copyright Front Porch Quilts, 2009.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

And so it begins...

Welcome! I am starting a new phase in my life - calling myself a quilter! - and am so glad you are along for the ride. 

The picture depicts the aftermath of a big sewing debacle. Last night, I was staring at my beautifully sewn quilt top, admiring the pretty scrappy colors, how pretty they are as they blend and complement one another, when it hit me that I had pieced the blocks together incorrectly. Oh, I cannot tell you how sick to my stomach I was while seam ripping my lovely quilt top apart. 

Before hitting rock bottom, crawling under the table and crying, I decided to go to bed and face the mess in the morning, which is what this picture shows I found on my dining room table - a quilting crime scene of massacred fabric and thread.

So I don't leave you on a down note, everything is put back together now, and I'm working on piecing the trim. My goal is to finish the top this week and quilt it this weekend.