Commission Quilting

A few months ago I agreed to barter for quilting services: I would quilt an acquaintance’s quilt top, and she would pay me in yarn and fabric.  Life intervened, and she was very patient as I proceeded to have zero free time around the holidays.

But now it’s done!  Here’s the front, post-washing:

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I stitched in the ditch to emphasize the swirly quilting:

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The back (pre-washing, and quite wrinkly) shows the outline of some of the curves slightly better:

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If you look carefully on the right-hand side you can see a sleeve for a dowel, so the quilt can be hung from a wall.  I’d ordinarily do corners, but this was so wide that I was afraid it would sag in the middle.

I’m delighted to have this done and in the mail back to its owner – and can’t wait to get a box of yarn and fabric in exchange.  Now if only the postman would show up to pick it up the way the USPS says they already have!

Sewing for Flint

I’ve been doing a lot of sewing recently, mostly project bags. Most are Spoonflower fabric, and all are repeatable.

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I’ve also made some new stitch markers.  The oak leaves are one-offs, but the little green balls glow in the dark, and I have other colors of those that I’ll be making up soon.

All are available (or custom-orderable) at KnitSpinQuilt on Etsy where all money raised through sales in February and March of 2016 are being directed to the Flint Child Health & Development Fund.

Since I last posted about this we’ve raised $317.50!

But – and here’s where I ask your indulgence – sending monetary aid isn’t enough.

Please, if the issue of lead levels as high as 4,000 parts per billion (it’s an emergency at 15 ppb!) scares you, if the idea of an un-elected “emergency manager” poisoning the water supply of an entire town who had no recourse, no way to vote him out of office makes you mad, write your elected officials!  If enough of us make enough noise, we can get Michigan’s government to move faster on this horrifying issue. If you don’t live in MI, you may not be able to write to those senators, but you can write your own and let them know you care and want them to care, too.

I’ve done so.  It’s a small thing, but it’s how our democracy is supposed to work.

In the mean time, however, I’m going to keep making things, donating my time and my stash to something that I truly believe is a national disaster and crisis.  With your help, if you like the things I make and buy them, we can do something small – and possibly something really meaningful – for the people of Flint, MI, who are really hurting.  And you get a nifty handmade gift out of it, too!

Finished Penny Patch Quilt!

I FINALLY finished my Penny Patch quilt. Rachel at Stitched in Color started a quilt-along about a year ago and I cut fabric and stitched a quilt top and even machine quilted the whole thing and then… well, then I got hung up on binding it.

But I finished it last Sunday, and I love it. Here it is on my kitchen table:
45%22x45%22

I grid-quilted it, free-handing it with a walking foot on my Brother P1500Q straight-stitch machine:
Detail

And I used a blue and orange backing, stretching the blue gingham I had by adding a center orange panel:
Back

I’ve also been cleaning out my closets, and discovered that I have a lot of quilts that I’ve finished that I just have no use for — they don’t match my personal aesthetic, I made them just to make them, or they’re for babies, and I don’t have a baby. So I’ve put them on Etsy.

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Longtime blog readers will recognize two quilts I made in 2012. If you like one of these, and use the code KNITSPINQUILTREADER, you’ll get 10% off.

As before, all income in September and October of 2015 go directly to a donation to the JHU CTY Scholars program!

Edited to add: linking up to TGIFF!

Two-Finish Friday

These are both gift quilts: one for a friend and her husband and one for a new baby. Here they are all folded up, about to be packed and mailed:

StackFolded

The first quilt I finished was made up of hourglass blocks. I pieced them all over the summer on my Singer 66, and then they sat, and sat, and sat over the fall, because I didn’t have time to finish it until the semester was over. But now it’s done!

HourglassFrontWhole

The backing is a boat print, because the mother and the grandparents all sail. You can see in this picture that I quilted a simple diagonal grid 1/4″ on each side of the hourglass blocks.

HourglassQuilting

I used a black pezzy print for the binding because I didn’t want to emphasize any particular color from the front. I think it works! I wish I had more of this fabric in stash to do the same in the future — I’ll just have to keep an eye out for similarly useful prints. I attached the binding by stitching it down twice. On the back you see two lines of stitching:
HourglassCornerBack

On the front, you only see one, because the other is hidden at the intersection of the binding and the quilt:
HourglassCorner

The other quilt is for friends of mine, because they live in northern England and it gets coooooold! For this one I used a pattern by Elizabeth Hartmann: her New Wave Quilt.

WavesWhole

I cut my fat quarters very, very carefully, and had enough extra pieces to showcase the wave pattern on the back of the quilt as well:
WavesBackWhole

This one I quilted by stitching in the ditch along the edges of the white sashing. I stitched smaller diamonds within the “waves” as well. Then I did some free-motion quilting in the sashing, which I’m really quite proud of.

WavesColorQuilting

I did the same kind of binding on this quilt, and also bound it in a pezzy print, though this one was navy, to complement the blues of the quilt.

WavesCornerBack

Not bad for a break that only started on December 23rd!

StackFolded

Linking up to TGIFF!

Another Friday Finish

Hello, everyone! It’s been a while. Since I last posted, I (successfully) defended my Master’s thesis (we have a required oral defense for the MA thesis) and am cranking out some serious papers for the end of the semester.

But! A little over two months four months since I finished this, I’ve finally had the chance to take better pictures of my Strip & Flip quilt!
Strip and Flip

This is a really brilliant, simple, satisfying pattern, and I just love how it turned out. As I said before, I didn’t quite follow the pattern exactly: I cut strips that were 2 1/2″ inches wide, instead of 2″ wide, and I pieced them really carefully, so that the final dimensions of the quilt are about 42″x52″

I decided to echo the white lines on the front in the backing of the quilt, which was just enough to let me use a single cut of Kona cotton (a little under 2 yards) to back this quilt — but it was iffy in places, and if I did it again, I might opt to give myself a little more wiggle room.
Strip and Flip back

I quilted it pretty simply: first I filled the vertical white columns with white stitching, which I think makes them look sort of column-like, and then I quilted horizontal lines more or less randomly across the middle column, which involved a lot of fussing and tugging to get the wider part of the quilt to fit in my sewing machine.
White quilting

Then I had a dilemma. I considered doing a different style of free motion quilting in each strip, to give the back of it a sort of scrappy, varied look, but I decided it varied too much from the straight lines already present on the back of it. Instead, I picked every fifth strip and quilted across it back and forth.
Quilting detail

It leaves about an 8″ gap between quilted sections on the wide side, which makes me a little bit nervous.

So I have a question for more experienced quilters:
Should I run some additional quilting lines down those sections? I know Warm & Natural says you can quilt it every 10″, but those are awfully LONG 8″ sections… (And before you ask, I have no idea who’s going to be using this one, but probably a child.)

I considered doing a scrappy binding, or using one of the prints in the top for the binding, but I decided that would just be too much going on. Instead, I wandered over to my local fabric shop (it is three blocks from my house: let’s just say the owner and I chat when I go in, I’m there that often.) I looked over their solids, and chose a deep blue (Kona Ocean, if I recall correctly). I tried to use Red Pepper Quilts binding tutorial but I have yet to figure out exactly what counts as 1/4″ when I’m using my walking foot, so the stitch allowance was too wide, and I wouldn’t have been sure to catch the folded over binding if I stitched in the ditch. Instead I bound it by hand, while watching the news over the last couple of nights.
Binding

Any questions? I really enjoyed this one — it’s a great chance to pick fabrics (I’d consider doing this in all neutrals, or all greys, or all reds (etc) if I had enough of them!). And it comes together very quickly without looking like it, which is always satisfying.
Strip and Flip

One (unexpected!) finished project

We recycle plastic bags, and the plastic bag full of plastic bags hanging on a door handle have been getting on my nerves. So I did a little digging online, checked a couple of tutorials for ideas, and made a plastic-bag holding tube!

I started off with a fat quarter, and backed it with fusible fleece. I picked fleece because I wanted a little extra sturdiness to the bag, and the roughness of the fleece on the inside of the tube should help keep the bags in place better than a smoother interfacing.
fusible-fleece-fat-quarter

I cut off three inches from the long side of the fat quarter, to make a narrower tube. I sewed that 3″ strip into a tube (wrong-sides out) and turned it right-side-out to use as a loop for hanging the bag. Next time I do this, I’m cutting the 3″ strip off first, and then fusing on the fleece. Turning a 1 1/2″ tube that’s backed with fusible fleece inside-out was really exasperating.

Then I dug into my scrap box, cut two pieces of black fabric 2″ x 15″ and made them into 3/4″ draw-string tubes at the top and bottom of the soon-to-be tube.

WithEdging

Two pieces of elastic later, (8″ on the bottom, for a small opening, 12″ on the top, to make putting bags in easier) I sewed the whole thing up the side, and flipped it right-side out, and ta-da!

all-done

Now it lives in the coat closet, where it hangs very nicely on one side and is up high enough that we can all reach it easily, and the best part? It doesn’t clutter up the hallway anymore.