Friday, April 16, 2010

A Flock of Triangles, AKA Wearing Out My Seam Ripper Quilt

Let me back up. I had the unfortunate experience of losing most of my creative energy as soon as I got pregnant. Maybe all that creativity went into making a super cute baby? Combining crazy morning sickness and a cross country move meant that I didn't end up doing a lot of sewing before my girl arrived. My husband and I did manage to pick out some fabric for her quilt, but it just sat in a pretty little stack for months and months. Of course, it didn't hurt that my girl had received some really gorgeous quilts from friends so she wasn't really lacking in the "handmade with love" department.

I was finally hit with the creative stick for her quilt and decided on trying Denyse Schmidt's Flock of Triangles pattern. Now don't get me wrong, what I am about to say about Ms. Schmidt has nothing to with her creative genius, but, boy did I have some serious trouble with this quilt. The instructions on how to line up the triangles to get them to create perfect points AND have a quarter inch seam allowance just weren't sufficient for me. I sent desperate emails to a quilting guru and ripped out miles of thread trying to make my triangles look decent. In the end, they were a hot mess. The lack of precision is pretty horrifying. I would have given up a long time ago but I had already cut the fabric so I didn't have much of choice if I didn't want to lose 5 fat quarters of cuteness.

Of course, I made some mistakes too. I used white muslin rather than a thicker fabric, like a Kona solid, and I suspect that added to the precision problems I was having. My rows would not line up no matter what I did. The best tip in the instructions was to line up the center triangles so if the rows were off, the pattern wouldn't be quite as skewed.

Here is the back - the lighting of the picture doesn't really show the pale blue color I used, but trust me, it is there and very cute.

I had wanted to try going some straight line quilting as well but with the rows being so messy, I ended up going with free motion quilting (I know! Shocking!). Free motion quilting hides so many sins.

There are a bunch of tutorials online for flying geese that I fully intend on trying again sometime in the future, once I have recovered from this experience and sufficiently blocked it out. The good news is that the quilt looks pretty good and the stippling really helped. Luckily my girl hasn't complained about it and in fact chose to roll over from her back to her front on it just last night. And nothing says acceptance and love like a major gross motor skill milestone!

Friday, April 09, 2010

A Quilt for Gus

One of my favorite crafty friends just gave birth to a sweet little boy named Gus. I was so excited to make him a quilt and decided to push myself out of my normal, go-to simple log cabin pattern. I recently started looking through some of my quilting books for inspiration and fell back in love with the Modern Quilt Workshop all over again.

This quilt was inspired by the book but I actually didn't follow the pattern because the pieces of fabric I wanted to use were not big enough for their techniques. Instead, I cut my pieces to be 2" wide and of varying widths. I sewed them together and then framed the smaller blue squares Kona Sky), which I think they were 4 1/2". The larger blue squares where 7 1/2". I used the string piecing technique for the small pieces of fabric and then again once again to join the finished squares. All in all, I am so happy with the way it turned out and am so proud of myself for pushing out of my quilting rut.

I also decided to get a little fancy with the back rather than my standard all white and pieced some blue and white together. I varied the widths of the blue pieces to make things interesting and my husband assured me that I did not inadvertently replicate the Greek flag.

And here is a close up of the blocks and the free motion quilting. I actually started quilting diagonal straight lines but I couldn't make the lines straight enough to not drive me insane. I tried using painter's tape as a guide but things went horribly wrong and I ended up ripping out 5 lines of quilting and going back to my happy place.

Monday, April 05, 2010

California Central Coast Modern Quilt Guild

As I am sure you have heard, there are modern quilt guilds popping up all over the place. Since the closest guild is an hour and a half from me, it seemed like a good idea to start one up in the Central Coast. If you live in the Central Coast and have an interest in modern quilting, check out the guild's new website.