Sunday, January 30, 2011

postage stamp quilt: finished!

It is finished! (Well, the top, anyway.)

One postage stamp quilt. Signed-up 3rd January, finished 30th January. Fastest turnaround time I've ever had in a quilt, I think!

The finished top!

It's the scrappiest quilt-top I've ever made - usually, I select specific fabrics and the pattern is very organised. But the decision to use a range of light-coloured fabrics rather than a single fabric or several identically-shaded fabrics makes it look very scrappy - like it was made from lots of little odds and ends.

If you look at some of the other quilts in the quilt-along, you'll see what I mean.

I didn't have time to put together all the in-progress posts while I was making it, so here's some catch-up along the way!

The cut strips laid out in blocks, but not yet sewn together.

The cut strips laid out in the overall quilt pattern, but not yet sewn together.

Finished blocks.

I got 50 quilt blocks out of the strips, and it took 49 to make the quilt-top - 7 rows of 7 blocks. It's a pretty big quilt, too - about 70"x70", and visually busy.

It's also the first quilt top I've finished that doesn't automatically have a recipient. So I could save it for a rainy day, or gift it out to someone. I was going to auction it off for the Queensland floods, but I've donated to the flood appeals for Queensland, Victoria, and put an equal dollar amount in to Medecines Sans Frontieres for international medical aid. So maybe I'll save this one for a rainy day?

Although I do have a friend I promised a birthday quilt to back a couple of years ago and never got one done for her...

Sunday, January 23, 2011

fabric post! Under The Australian Sun

Under The Australian Sun by Leesa Chandler for Robert Kaufman fabrics.

I have to say, I have a yen for Robert Kaufman fabrics. They're a very weak spot of mine, and this set is no different!

Plus: Australiana! Perfect for a quilt to send overseas and remind you of our sunburned country!

Right now, I'm trying to work out what to use this in. And when I'll have the chance.

I've also ordered the Patty Young 'Sanctuary' fabric collection. Too much fabric, not enough quilts!

Friday, January 21, 2011

fabric eek

So...I just bought some fabric for a quilt for Agam Darshi, appropriately named "Sanctuary Fat Quarter set in Chocolate Berry, with three yards of Sherbet Aromatherapy for the backing.


I have a pattern and everything worked out for this quilt: we'll see how it goes. Perhaps it could be our February or March project?

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Because my life, other than the typical work stress, is very boring.

So, it's been a busy week what with one thing and another.

After reading about how someone stuck in Nebraska during a snowstorm used the time to make friends and quilt, I'm wondering if I should start learning how to do these hexagon quilts.

I've always seen them as a little too fiddly - plus, hand-sewing? How quaint!

But I'm beginning to see how hand-sewing would be good for occupying your hands while your mind and mouth are otherwise occupied. ie. discussion and conversation.

I'm not about to give up writing, but it's nearly impossible to chat and write at the same time, and sometimes I'd like to be in a conversation (that isn't online) while my hands are otherwise occupied. And when I'm in Europe later this year, I'm definitely going to need something to occupy my hands while I'm chatting with people. There'll still be retreat-and-write time, but I also want to socialise as well. Just a little bit. I can always fall back on retreat-and-write if things get hairy!

I have, uh, also signed up for a quilting cruise in late August next year. From Port Canaveral, Florida through the Caribbean. (B1 and B2, do not mention to the parentals!) *coughs* And maybe when we get back on the Sat, I could sneak over to Dragon*Con in Atlanta for a few days? *coughs*

Okay, so I'm missing the years when I could take two months of vacation and travel and see people and go places and conventions and stuff like that. I miss that. A lot. And being able to see and stay with my friends all over the world!


In other quilting news:

The strip-sets for the postage stamp quilt-along (at ps. i quilt) have been sewn together, after much cursing and assorted grumping and several instances of running out of bobbin thread[1]. Most of it ws done while watching The Losers movie so I could write for the DW community's Ante Up Losers ficathon, which I have completed but am far from satisfied with. However, there's another two weeks before the archive goes live, so I have time in which to expand, expand, expand!

1. Seriously, why don't machine makers just create a second place to put an entire 100 yard spool of cotton and run that into the underside of the machine? It would make so much more sense than having to separately fill this little bobbin with about 20 yards of thread...and then run out in the middle of sewing a seam. Bloody annoying.

We were asked to take the strips and sort them into 16 sets of five strips - 8 sets of light-dark-light-dark-light, and 8 sets of dark-light-dark-light-dark - and sew them together.

And here they are!

These are laid out in a chequerboard, rather like the way they're (probably) going to end up in the quilt. But it looked pretty staid like that. So I arranged them differently and took another photo!

Much more visually interesting, don't you think?

I also took a close-up of the fabrics, so it's easier to see the individual designs on the batiks. The range is mostly Hoffman's Bali Pops, although there are...several others in there. I no longer remember the fabrics, and this is a stash-buster quilt for me, so nothing matches, per se. But it all goes together in the end, when you look at it as a whole quilt and not just focusing on the little fabrics.

(Still, there's something in me that envies the lovely clean, sharp white strips and the brilliant colours of the fabrics being used by the other quilters in this quilt-along. It's just fabric envy...

The light-dark-light-dark-light side of the circle:

The dark-light-dark-light-dark of the circle:

I really really do love these batik strips. Batiks in general are wonderful IMO - those lovely fluid colours, vivid and bright, and some of them exquisitely detailed! The next update to the postage stamp quilt-along is due on Tuesday (my time), and I'll probably spend the next few days after that madly trying to get that step done.

But until then, I have FREE TIME! (Sort of. I have other writing projects to do, porn battles to write and prompt for, and kinkmemes to get down and dirty with!


The Rail Fence
I'm doing this at the same time as the postage stamp quilt. I'm not sure how long it will take, or whether it will work, or how well it will turn out. But it's such an easy pattern, and these materials were made for each other, so it seems sensible to use them! (Although I could probably have done another Double Irish Chain with them, but still. This is more interesting, I think.)

The fabric:

A detail of the fabric:

The blue is a very dark blue - very saturated, almost black. And there's nearly as much of it as there is of the white, and about 1/3 less of the red. But that's okay, I think I've worked all that into my cunning plan...

The first strips cut and sewn together. It's not going to be a standard "rail-fence" quilt. The fabric will be cut as though it's a rail fence, but the colours won't make it look like a rail fence.

Actually, I'm not sure that this is going to work out well. It might turn out crap. I hope not, but looking at it now, I'm wondering just a little bit!

Finally, I have my friend Suds' wedding quilt in my hands at last! All quilted and so very pretty! Although now I have to do the edging. Handsewing again...

Ah well, project for the end of Janury, perhaps?

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

postage stamp quilt along - creating strip-sets

So: I've joined in with the ps. I quilt January quilt-along, for which we're making a postage stamp quilt.

The reason it's called a postage stamp quilt is because it's made up of tiny little 2"x2" squares. LOTS OF THEM.

Traditionally, one makes a postage stamp quilt out of scraps. And probably sews all the squares together individually. Did I mention that there are LOTS OF THEM?

Luckily, the quilt-along isn't going to be sewing individual squares together - we're going to strip-piece it!

First step: picking the fabrics for the quilt. I'm using a few batik jelly rolls that I've got lying around. One set of 'darks' and one set of 'lights'.

postage stamp quilt: jelly roll strips

I would have preferred to use a solid white print for the pale strips - the blogger at ps. i quilt is using white solids - but I don't have any to hand and I don't have the time to order any in. So this set is going to be light-and-dark batiks and I can hopefully swing it so it provides sufficient contrast in the main body of the quilt.

First task was to separate the strips into sets of five: 8 sets of dark-light-dark-light-dark, and 8 sets of light-dark-light-dark-light.

I only had about 60 strips in the previous pic, so I had to raid my yardage stashes for more - and, moreover, for more vivid prints. I'm just not a fan of browns, browns, browns, purples, and, ooh, look, more browns...

postage stamp quilt: 16 strip sets

I had some trouble with the relative values of the quilt - what the eye sees as dark vs. what it sees as light. Some of the fabrics that were in the 'dark' roll were actually 'light' values and so didn't contrast enough.

Enter the red-light filter to help reduce the colour and give us a better idea of the 'value' of the prints! (You can buy these at quilting stores, but, you know what? I made these with black cardboard and cellophane. So much cheaper and easier than getting myself to a quilting store.)

postage stamp quilt: colour values of strip sets

As you can see, most of the fabrics are pretty distinct from each other. There are one or two that might cause problems but on the whole, they won't be so noticeable.

Next up is the nasty, picky part: sewing all these strip sets together...

I'm thinking of auctioning off the finished quilt for the Queensland floods. I mean, it'll be a month or two before it's actually finished, but still...

Also, presently putting together the red, white & blue rail fence. Pics to go up tomorrow.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

quilting 2011

All righty, so I've joined the ps.i quilt blog's quilt-along project for January - a postage stamp quilt. Which I'm slightly terrified of, because, whoa, all that sewing!

Still, there's no time like the present! I've chosen my fabrics - a mix-n-match of a number of jelly rolls I've had hanging around for a while and which were going to go into a log cabin quilt. Which I'm still doing, it's just going to take a bit more time!

Anyway, these are the fabric I've chosen to use from my stash:

(Hopefully that shows up: I'm not sure about how to post pics on Blogger yet.)

Right. Worked out how to post pics on Blogger. Most counterintuitive blogging interface I've yet worked with. Ugh.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

testing some html

Not sure how this blog will take to HTML: bold underline italic strikethrough

something larger

I'm thinking of using this blog for my 12 quilts in 2011. I don't know if I'll have time to detail the ongoing process of the quilting but...we'll see.

Seriously Enjoying Life