A finish and a start

I’ve joined two charm square swaps. The first is the the Let’s Get Acquainted I-SPY Swap, for which I’m sending two sets of blocks, one of moons and stars and the other of bananas. (If you’re interested, it’s still looking for more people!) I’m planning on making a quilt to donate to a children’s charity with the squares I get back from this swap.

Then I stopped by my local fabric store today to pick up some yellow and brown dotted fabrics for the 3×6 Fabric Swap. Now I just need to pick up a yellow solid (all the ones at the local store were greenish, or too orange for my taste) and cut it and the brown and I’ll be ready to send off all the charm squares. Now to find envelopes to enclose that will hold the right number of charm squares so I can figure out return postage. :)

While I was at the local fabric store, I noticed that they’d gotten a new shade of green in: Kona’s Kelly green. I looked at it and it looked like I’d prefer it to Clover for the background of my Kitchen Window quilt: it’s a more sober tone, and I think it competes a little less with the prints. It presents less of a contrast with the black, too, which I think I like. Here’s a quick photograph of the two of them side-by-side:
Green-backgrounds

I’ve just started a handbag using the pattern Mabel, by Jenna Lou Designs, which I found through Purse Palooza 2012 on Sew Sweetness. I’m going to try to make an altered one with an internal dividing zipped pocket, so I figured I should make one following the pattern as written, first. I’m using scraps from the Mixtape Quilt. They ended up being cut sort of sideways, so the birds are all facing the wrong direction, but I think that will be all right in the end. It’s a good test case for getting used to working with interfacing, which I have not used before.

BirdStrap

BirdFlap

BirdBag

Of course, I only ordered the magnetic snaps and strap hardware today, so I’ve pretty much gotten as far as I’m going to get until it arrives. Maybe I’ll work on putting in an interior zipped pocket on one side and appliqued, open pockets on the other, just so the bag will hold something useful and not be an enormous black hole of stuff. It’s mostly a test case for a potential knitting bag, so I think I’ll try out pockets from this knitting bag, putting the outside pockets on the lining of the Mabel bag. We’ll see how it all works out!

Finally, I finished my red monkey socks this week. They ended up being too small for me, and there wasn’t enough yarn to finish them even if the ankles hadn’t been too narrow, so they’ll be a gift for a friend.

RedMonkeysFinished

The friend I’ll be giving the socks to is further along in her PhD program than I am, and she’s writing her thesis, so we meet about once a week and study together. It’s a really good system for me, because having someone else around helps me focus and keeps me from spending too much time surfing the web, or knitting or quilting or otherwise putzing around. It works surprisingly well.

I’ll cast on a new pair of socks this weekend or early next week, using a Malabrigo sock in the “Persia” colorway. I’m not sure about the pattern yet: something with some stretch to it, and an easily memorizable repeat.

Finished Filmstrip Quilt!

Filmstrip Quilt: based on the tutorial written up by Crazy Mom Quilts
The prints are Cosmo Cricket’s Circa 1934, the cream fabric is Kona Cotton, the black fabric is something I had in my stash, of unknown maker.

I managed to get photographs of this quilt on Wednesday morning before work, so that I could set up a post about it for today. The quilt has been finished, and all the little ends sewn in and so on, but hasn’t been washed yet: I want to get some color-catchers before I do that, because I’m not certain I trust the black not to stain, and that would be a pity.

It was already hot outside at 8am: I was really glad I didn’t need to huddle under the quilt for any photographs.
FQ-Far

FQ-Close

The backing is a single piece of red and white striped fabric that I’ve had since about 2007 or 2008 — I picked it up at a yard sale on a whim, sure I’d make something out of it. Well, I did! Finally. You can see the scrappy binding pretty clearly in all of these photographs.

FQ-Back

I quilted it in straight lines about 1/4″ from the seams between the blocks and the sashing, using white thread, which more or less disappears into the cream/red fabrics, and provides a little bit of pop for the black. The lines are very, very wobbly: this is not a quilt that would win any awards for precision. At least some of it is because not all of my blocks lined up perfectly, so there was the occasional wonky intersection. Part of it, though, is probably sheer impatience: I find straight-line binding really boring, and about 2/3 of the way through I really just wanted it to be DONE.

FQ-Detail2

Still, overall, I’m pretty happy with how it came out!

FQ-Close

Tobin’s Mixtape: Finished!

My new free-motion quilting foot arrived in the mail last week, all metal and (so far) much sturdier. I had Friday off, and took advantage of the time to organize my fabric stash and finish up my Mixtape Quilt, from Elizabeth Hartman’s pattern. I made the “Favorite Songs” style, in its largest size: the lap-quilt of 8″ blocks, which ended up 62″/62″. All posts about it can be seen by clicking the “mixtape quilt” tag on the right sidebar.

I had already quilted about half of it (before my previous free-motion foot broke) and started on it with the previously quilted sides neatly rolled and folded to keep them out of my way. I did my best to keep it all in neat place so that it was smaller, which did make it a little easier to move around, though it was surprisingly heavy.
Mid-quilting-folded

But by about halfway through today’s quilting, I had given up on keeping the outer edges folded, and only rolled the edge that was under the sewing machine’s arm. I got a little bit better at manipulating the quilt as I went along, and at figuring out where to place my hands while I was moving it — left hand to the back and left of the needle, right hand right and slightly to the front (that is, closer to me), moving in tandem. I think the quilting of it improved a bit by the end. Overall, I’m very proud of it: it’s the first thing I’ve ever free-motion quilted, and it’s the largest quilt I’ve made so far, at 62″x62″. It could be a bit awkward to do something larger than this, because it got difficult to manipulate too closely with half the quilt folded up under the arm of the machine.
Detail-quilting

Once I’d quilted all of it and trimmed the borders, I machine bound it in one of the fabrics I used in the quilt. It’s a slightly heavier weight than some of the other fabrics, which may stand up to wear and tear a little bit better than a lighter fabric. Since this quilt is going to a 3-year-old boy, durability is definitely a concern.
Binding

Once I’d finished it, I tried to take a picture indoors. That was … not entirely successful: I had to hang it up over the railing and take a picture from the stairs. It ended up being a bit of an odd angle:
Front_indoors

Thankfully, it was beautiful outside, so I took it out to the back yard, and hung it from the back porch:
Front_garden_far

Front_garden

Back-of-quilt
It may be feverishly hot outside today, but it made for nice picture-taking.

I’m so pleased to have finished this project, and I can’t wait to see the look on my friend’s face when I give it to her and her son.

Quilted coasters

Following this tutorial, by Jeni of In Color Order, I spent a little while last week putting together and quilting four little coasters.

It was a great chance to try out free-motion quilting for the first time. Most of what I learned was: I need way more practice at this. So there may be more coasters and so on in my immediate future, since they seem to make a nice tiny little playground for trying my hand at free-motion quilting.

Finished quilt!

It’s finished! I’m really very proud of it. And I still love the back, the way the four nine-patch panels sort of hover:

I quilted it along the seams, and it doesn’t show up much on the front, but I like the grid it creates on the back: (ignore the fact that I didn’t brush off all the thread scraps, please!)

I’m really pleased with the way the corners came out. This is the top side:

And this (blurry) picture is the back of the quilt, and you can sort of see the way the binding folds over, and 1/4″ inside that (give or take) there’s a line of stitching from where it’s sewn down on the front of the quilt. I kind of like the look of it.

So that’s the quilt I’m considering as my first quilt, since it’s the first time I’ve followed a pattern or really known what I was doing. :)

Now I just need to figure out what to do with it…