This is not a potholder

I made two mini-quilts - not potholders, oh my, no no - from this tutorial at Moda Bakeshop. 

When I make small things, I usually do more than one - out of a sense of practicality, mostly - if I'm going to spend a lot of time on something, in most cases it won't take twice as long to make two.  The actual sewing and quilting, especially hand quilting, will take twice as long, but cutting and all the setup and takedown that sewing projects take will not.  

The green and purple fabric are from JoAnn's.  This shade of green is my absolute favorite, and it's hard to find because yellowish greens seem to be more popular.  This particular fabric is the sort of fabric people mean to exclude when they say for swaps and bees, "quilt-shop quality only."  It's thin and sheer and not particularly well-printed.  But it's the green that I like!  

The tutorial was really good, but I did put some of my own tweaks in.  For instance, the center of the first one I did turned out pretty badly. 

As you can probably see, the points don't meet.  (I'm noticing that the two top purples aren't the same size, which wasn't as noticeable in person - will go back and see about tweaking that somehow.) 

So, I threaded a needle, came up through the back, and cinched all the points together.  Much better, and better than a bead, which I had also considered, but which (to me) would have just screamed "whoops, that didn't turn out well, better cover it up with a bead."  

I also folded the whole shebang (i.e. made the 2-3 folds on each section), then sewed it all, before going on to the next shebang.  Doesn't seem to be an advantage to doing it one section at a time, and there's a lot of back-and-forth with the sewing machine.  

And here's a lesson that I apparently haven't learned well enough: contrast.  The purple and green are both light.  They look nice together up close, but far away it's hard to make out.  Solution: hanging it in a tiny room, in this case the laundry room, where you can never be too far away from it.   

The second one used quilt-shop quality fabrics.  The greens are from a big fabric order I did of greens-I-like, but these turned out to be more yellowish than I was expecting.  They look really great and Christmassy with the red and white, though. A plain white and/or red would have been better, because those fabrics blend a bit more in the final product than I would've liked. 

If I ever make these again, I'll probably make the folds bigger than 1/4," especially if I'm using prints.  And I'll use a more substantial fabric for the base, like a Kona cotton.  

Having made a truly silly amount of navy bias binding for the orange tumbler quilt, I was able to finish the green one as an octagon rather than a square. Didn't get a picture of that by itself, so here's a group shot with some other finishes I'll be writing about soon. 

Linking up with crazy mom quilts for Finish it Up Friday.  Happy crafting! 


Orange Finish

The Orange Quilt is finished, and after one chance to snuggle up under it, I am officially jealous of the one who gets to keep it - it's so warm, and I think once it's broken in, it will be a delight. 

This is my favorite picture of it - it looks happiest in natural light. 

I'd been aiming to finish before all the leaves were off the trees, because it would've fit right in with the really stunning foliage this year.  Oh well. 

It finished at 62" x 83 1/2", down from 63" x 85".   The wool batting specified that it should be line dried, but yeah, that's not going to happen. 

The back turned out pretty much exactly like its planning sketch, which is nice.  I did need the mini tumblers to make up the full necessary length, though this is a wide fabric, so it only had to be pieced horizontally.  After using the first bed quilt I finished, I find that I like having the back indicate which direction the quilt goes onto the bed.  Less of an issue with this quilt, where the direction is more obvious from the front pattern. 

Using this tutorial, I made up a whole whack of bias binding out of Kona Cotton in Navy.  The tutorial worked nicely and sewing the binding on was very easy despite the curves of the tumbler edges. 

I feel a bit weird about this one, like it needs defending on the grounds that it's for a little kid who likes orange.  Which it is.  But I also ended up just liking it for itself - it's rather unyielding and stubbornly imperfect, and kind of weird, and also warm and cheerful and interesting.  Didn't ever expect to make a completely orange tumbler quilt, but I'm glad I did. 

Now I'm thinking that I'd really like a bed-sized wool batting quilt for my own bed - one with no crossing quilt lines, if we are to have learned anything at all. 

Linking to crazy mom quilts Finish it up Friday.

Happy crafting!  


You win some, you lose some

If this quilt isn't an exactly perfect metaphor for my life over the past month, then there isn't one.  

Surprisingly puffy batting meant a one-way ticket to Puckerville, USA when I started quilting he horizontal lines across the quilt.  If I ever get the crazy notion to do any kind of grid quilting with wool batting again, I'll (you know, just decide not to, or) know to start from the middle and do all of it from the middle out.  This time around, I did all the stitch-in-the-ditch, then all the second lines, then all the third lines.  I was still kind of deciding how many to do and how far apart, but turns out I didn't really have that luxury.  

Trying to avoid puckers at the quilting crosses meant that I needed to pin the crap out of the quilt before starting.  And this yielded only middling results.  Bonus: it took forever. 

I decided to look at it like a baseball season, with tons of games and no expectation of perfection.  Some you win, some you lose, nobody wins every game in every series, even when they're playing well.  As I quilted across it, I thought about how working so hard to avoid puckers (and still not being able to many times, aaargh) meant that my ability to quilt straight lines automatically went out the window - and this is much like what happened at work, when I decided to put all of my limited energy toward service provision and then when I had a chance to take a breath, realized I was a month behind on my notes.  (Aaargh.) 

I will also know that five lines of stitching at each seam is a LOT.  

Deciding not to quilt any horizontal lines was a possibility - one that I didn't consider until I'd made a few of them, but I definitely could've turned back.  I didn't, partially because I didn't know if only vertical lines would look good, and partially because it didn't feel virtuous.  It would've been taking the easy way out.  The other factor was wear - I believe that more quilting = more stable batting - but I've never tested this theory over 20 years, so maybe it's true and maybe it's not. 

After a big press this morning, the binding is on and being sewn down.  The sewing down will take a while, but the end is in sight, which makes me really happy.  The young recipient of the quilt greeted every finished row with: Is it done?  Can I use it now?  I'll be really happy to finally say yes.  

So, what do you think?  Will horizontal lines make this quilt wear better?  Is it better design?  Would you have bailed on the horizontal lines when it appeared that the original plan didn't fit the actual quilt?  I'd love to hear from other quilters about what they would have done.  

Happy crafting!