And another...

It's done! And I must say that I'm really happy with how it turned out.

I decided to go a little out of my comfort zone and quilt this one with a variety of colors. I'm generally bad at visualizing things, so I wasn't sure how this would turn out, but it's a relatively small quilt (32"x32"-ish) and I figured if it didn't turn out well, I could always give it to the dogs. The spoiled, spoiled dogs.

Funny story about the thread... I didn't have all the colors in the "Dual Duty" basic cotton/poly Coats stuff, but I didn't make the decision to quilt in colors instead of white until the end of the weekend.  Other goes past a JoAnn Fabrics on his way to work on Mondays (and only Mondays), so I asked him to pick up the same kind of thread in yellow and orange.  I wrote a note and sent him with the spool of red thread to identify which kind I wanted. 

He brought home absolutely gorgeous thread, shiny and just the right shades, and it was Sulky rayon embroidery stuff, a zillion yards of it and quite a lot more expensive than the basic stuff I wanted.  I opened the bag and said "Oooh! Oh."  When I told him it wasn't the right kind, he said that the lady at the fabric store had helped him pick it out.

Grr, lady at the fabric store.  I suspect that what happened was that he went and stood in front of the Sulky display and she came along and he mentioned needing yellow and orange thread (he swears he showed her the spool I'd sent) and then they spent forever picking out the right shades.  But this means that the fabric store lady believed that my husband needed help identifying the colors yellow and orange.  Now, occasionally my husband tells people he's colorblind just for fun (he's not colorblind), but he insists that he didn't this time, so I was kind of miffed that the lady sold him this expensive not-appropriate-for-quilting thread.  Also, ironically, the only yellow and orange thread I did already have is tiny little spools of Sulky rayon. 

Then, later that evening I went back in, and one JoAnn worker said to another that "the husband" got the wrong kind of thread, and I very politely didn't inform them that actually, they "helped" him figure out what yellow and orange are, while completely disregarding which brand and kind of thread I'd asked for.

Wow, thread story was long.  ANYWAY, it turns out that Coats now makes a slightly different composition cotton/poly thread and it was kind of hard for me to find even knowing what I was looking for, so I probably would've had to go myself anyway. ETA: And I should make clear that I'm more amused than angry over this.  Really, going to the fabric store myself isn't exactly a hardship. 

Great story, Hansel.  Moving on:

I really love it.  I freehanded the straight-line quilting, which means that it's a bit wobbly and imperfect, although the puckering camouflages that a bit.  Using colored thread on a white background really makes the quilting visible, as I probably should have realized. 

For the back I went with Ash, a solid from Connecting Threads (that I ordered accidentally instead of the Gray that I need to finish Cartoon Pinball II and am therefore free to use in other ways) and scrapped the idea of a pieced backing because the other solids I had just weren't working together.  I adore how the back looks with the gridded quilting and the puckering. 

This was taken before the finished quilt was washed, and you really can see the difference. The binding is a darker gray from Kona. 

This one's going to be hard to part with, but it's going up in the shop.  If it sells, I'll use some of what it sells for to get another charm pack of bold fabrics and make another one.


Process and shiny new things

First, a note about the OMG Pink Quilt of Much Pinkness.

I had just been reading in one of my big quilting encyclopedias about different types of face plates (the metal part that the needle goes down through), and you can buy a special one with a very small hole for working on finer fabrics to keep them from getting shoved down the hole and caught in all manner of moving parts down there.  

I do not have any such special face plate, but it would have been ideal for trying to stitch through that stupid white mystery fabric.  But, taking the idea that not letting the fabric get pushed through the hole in the faceplate was key to working with this stuff, I ended up just pinning at the very very edge of the pieces and starting the tiniest titch after the pin.  I don't like putting pins under the presser foot, but I used one of the ones that was already slightly bent and was just really careful to not let the machine needle hit it on those first couple of stitches. 

I also planned to say something about getting the lace edge on that quilt, and in a word or two, it sucked.  Probably mostly because that was the first time I had ever tried that technique and didn't have the edges cut down exactly to the point where I needed them.  For envelope construction, it is very very very important to cut the edges down to size with all the pieces in place the way you're going to sew them.  I cut and then rearranged and things got bad. 

Also, I think that if I do the lace thing again, I'll go ahead and pin the lace to either the front or the back, then pin all four layers (two fabric, one batting, one lace) together.  That will be a lot of pins, but it should also save the pain of discovering that there are points at which the top layer of fabric didn't catch in the seam.  Many points.  Aaaargh. 


After two near-painless sessions, this top is done. 

This is a charm pack of bolds from Connecting Threads, plus three prints.  Two dots and one dandelions. 

And here is a picture of the final layout audition, in black and white for insight into how the values were lining up. 

I did my usual OCD washing of the charm squares before using them.  I cut them down to 4.5x4.5 because some of them shrank a bit and also: OCD.  I plan to straight-line quilt, probably in a billion different colors because that sounds like fun. 

A pieced back might happen - I left two squares out of the front, for numbers and also because they were very similar to shades already included.  But in order for my plan to work, I need to find several more solids, and aside from gray, dark gray, and yardage in shades quite similar to the two I already have, there's not much to go with in my stash.  I'm itching to get this basted and on to quilting, so maybe a pieced back won't happen. 



Pink quilt is finally done.  With just a wee touch of stitch-in-the-ditch quilting around each of the five squares and between the two borders. 

I did go with plain white instead of orange peels, and I like how it turned out that way.  I sometimes shoot past "interesting" into "busy," and this is an excellent example of laziness (do I want to applique 32 orange peels onto impossible to needle fabric? no.) saving the design from business. 

My favorite thing about this quilt is the folded flowers.  They're cute and they made it through the quilt's first wash just fine. 

It was finished using envelope construction, rather than traditional binding, with a lace edge. The back is a nice pink and red stripe.  Note to self: if there's any chance of straight-line quilting, don't use a print with straight lines. 

Soon I'll post about the many problems I had getting this thing done, including getting the lace edge right, cutting squares with the intent of cutting them down and then forgetting to cut them down and then ripping everything apart, cutting them down and sewing everything together again, and dealing with the white, which really, really did not want to be sewn through.  I now have suspicions that it's part polyester and might do a burn test if I can get up the curiosity. 

This one's going up in the shop, probably Monday. 


Pink Quilt of Pinkness

After a day and a half of working on design ideas, it's started:

This will be my first shot at folded flowers, which I'm using Fantastic Fabric Folding for.  You don't open up the flowers until later in the process, so I'm looking forward to that.  I'm probably going to applique the whole petal down, because I'm worried about the fabric raveling. 

This project has had its challenges so far, including math, design questions without obvious answers, and difficulty needling the mystery white (which I actually think might be muslin) that I found in my stash. 

Here's a peek into my design process, which involves graph paper, poor drawing/coloring, and occasional swearing.  I've been searching for something to do with the mostly-white squares that in this drawing contain orange peels.  I don't think I want to do the orange peels, but was feeling like plain white might be too stark.  I want those squares to be mostly white so that the overall design mimics the puss-in-the-corner squares in the center.  For a while I was thinking that I could do white-on-white folded flowers for those squares, but I don't think I've got enough mystery white to do that, so maybe I'll just go with plain white.  That would certainly speed up the process. 


Number 9

It's done! 

 And it looks much better after being quilted, for some reason.  Maybe the extra texture softens the weirdness of the colors or something. 

 That's my favorite block -- I like how that shade of green looks with the dark, almost-blue purple. 

And the back, a blue plaid that doesn't match the front.  I think my stippling is getting better and better - less herky-jerk starts and stops, more even stitch lengths. 

I used Quilter's Dream batting for this one, rather than the Warm & Natural I'd been using.  It's very nice, and a bit less opaque than W&N is.  Judging from having it on my lap to blind stitch the binding, it seems like it's going to be nice and warm, too. 

Next up will be a patchwork explosion of pink for the shop.  My stash has an abundance of pink fabrics and I'm not really sure why, and I'm not usually one to give baby girls extremely girly gifts.  I'm familiar with girliness, though, and can do it when I need to.  This quilt is going to be maximum girly.