October 30, 2013

Quilt 20: Christmas Charm Squares - Progress

A couple of weeks ago I told you about the Christmas charm squares I bought in Florida last June - and the bedspread I decided to make with them. Here, again, is the design for the top:

Over 600 pieces, not including the borders.  But you know what?!?!... it came together in a FLASH, really! Here's the top - all pieced together and ready to "sandwich".
You may have noticed that I added another border - the outer red one. I did that because after getting it done, I decided I wanted just a tad more length. I think I've got enough of the green for the binding, although I'm going to discuss this with quilting guru Pauline, as a Christmas print with a mix of colours might actually be a better choice for the binding.  We'll see what she thinks. 

Here's a closeup of a few of the blocks. The print in the lattice is actually the same - just different colours (golden yellow for the rectangles, golden coffee brown for the squares). You can't see it in the photo, but all the prints have sparkly gold in them - so that coffee brown might sound "wrong" but it actually works.

I've only been quilting 3.5 years, but I've already got some silly traditions I observe. My favorite is taking a photo of the project draped over the stair rail.  And here it is!:

I'm pretty sure I've got a package of batting in the UFO closet - and I probably have enough unbleached muslin for the backing. The handquilting will be done with a golden yellow thread - perfect for these prints! And will this be done in time for Christmas? Oh, cummon... get REAL!!! I'm still working on that other Christmas quilt: Quilt 4

October 23, 2013

Quilt 20: Christmas Charm Squares

On the same trip (to Florida) when I bought the tutty fruity charm squares, I also fell head over heals for a package of Christmas charm squares.  Well, OK... TWO packets.  So, having no self-control whatsoever, and looking at a price that was irresistable (US fabric prices are way WAY lower than those here in Australia), I caved in.  Bought 2 packages.

After the intense fun of coming up with the tutty fruity projects - plus wanting to have several projects ready to start hand-quilting, I decided to dive on in and do something with those Christmas charm squares.

2 packages of 72 prints... well... that's a lot of squares.  So I came up with a design for a queen-sized bedspread:
Not bad, eh?

140 charm squares (10 columns, 14 rows).  The lattice includes 164 little gold corner squares and 304 light-gold rectangles. Then I'll surround them with a band of the light-gold, then red, then green, and finally bind with a repeat of the red.  I'm utterly thrilled with this design.

Yeah... we're looking at over 600 individual pieces just for the center, not counting the 3 solid borders and binding. WOW!

I dove in fast and got the squares set up pretty fast.  At first I just joined them in strips, taking care to change the colours; I don't want all the red in one place, don't want 2 of the exact same print side by side.

It was actually easier than I thought it would be (hm... am I getting better at this?  Maybe...)

And here are the 14 rows, all ready to be joined by the intermediate lattice strips:

WeeeeeeEEEeee!  I'm on a total tear here - whipping up quilt tops as fast as you can blink.

October 16, 2013

Quilt 19: Tutty Fruity "Throw"

Well, I admit it's a little mad, but I'm just so inspired by these tutty fruity charm squares. They are just so bright, stimulating and FUN!

So what am I going to do with the bulk of them?

As I explained in the last couple of weeks, I've pulled out the handlful of squares that just didn't marry well with the rest and have come up with other projects so the squares won't go to waste. But for the bulk, I really want a throw blanket.

And here we go!

First I organized the prints I liked best.  I found that I could make a kind of rainbow effect - purple/blue on the right, then (moving to the left) green, yellow, orange, red.  Then another band of red (a direct mirror image repeat) and back thru orange (and yellow/green/bluepurple):

 I spread my black calico on the floor and placed the squares.  I hand a handful left over, so I set them around the corners and sides:
 YEAH!  I really like this:

I want the black bits to be squares cut just like the fruit/veggie prints - so here I've used my photo editing software to draw in the seams - allowing me to easily count how many black squares I'll need (math not being my strong suit...):

It's been a while since Miss Laka (my macaw) has posed for shots on this blog, but she was ready for "bedtime" about the time I finished piecing the top, so hubby Stephen brought her in to pose:
 She's not impressed.  Laka is an avid fan of fresh fruit and veg - but she caught on fast that this is fake fruit.  Just as well - I don't really need her attacking my quilt and gnawing holes into it.

Now to sandwich this "puppy" and decide what pattern of stitching to use (and what colour thread?).

October 9, 2013

Talent in Ohio - A Unique Quilt

I became friends with Megan's mom Val decades ago. My friendship with Val is a true treasure in my life - and I adore her daughters Tricia and Megan, too. We're all "friends" on Facebook these days, keeping in touch via that virtual "get together" world called "social media". A while back, Megan posted that she was working on a quilt - her first, I believe.

It's a unique one - made up of T-shirts which have a "message" or are associated with organizations and events that are important to her. She tells me that she got the idea from a book, but that she adopted the design she'd seen and modified it slightly with her own creative ideas.

Her grandmother (Val's mom) is a very talented quilter, and helped Megan out by machine quilting the top when it was done (something I'd like to try doing some day).  Megan calls her grandmother the "Quilting Ninja". I've seen photos of one of her projects and have to agree she deserves the title.

And here it is: the finished project! (if you click the images, you'll see a larger version of the photos):

Is this clever or what?!?!?

Megan posted the photo on Facebook and I just went nuts - it's so clever! And a whopper of a "first project", if you ask me!

Then Megan really surprised me - she sent me a "private message" with a closeup of one of the blocks on the quilt.
I'm so touched by this I don't even know what to say. I am a breast cancer and mastectomy survivor and in May of 2011 I visited Ohio at the time of the annual Susan Komen Race For The Cure there - and proudly walked with my pink survivor's T-shirt. Megan and her mom both got up early on that Saturday (their day off, they are both career women) and came downtown walk with me - and the block you see here is made from Megan's race T-shirt, but she's added my name (and her's and Val's are embroidered there too, in pink stitching - look closely toward the center and you'll see them).

Megan, you've brought a happy tear to my eye. You're sure a special lady and I'm proud to call you my friend. Thank you for this kindness and for allowing me to share it here with my blog readers.

October 2, 2013

Quilt 18: Tutty Fruity Table Runner

OK... so Quilt 17 handles the "tutty fruity" charm squares I'm not all that enamored of. Now for a table runner with some of the other squares. NO WORRIES! I placed the solid black calico on my bed and set out squares I thought would look good in the table runner. Again - I'm using a handful of squares that just don't quite, quite blend in with the rest of the set.

Here's the same squares, but in a different arrangement. I was moving the squares around trying to decide if I liked them neatly paired up with like-prints, or scrambled. Hmm....
I think I'm partial to the version (the scond one) where they are paired up with the same print. Now to decide how wide to make the lattice between the squares (I don't really want the squares against each other as in the placemats...). Here's a narrow version:

And here's a wider lattice.

Hmmmm...  I'm running hot and cold on this one... thinking the first one (the narrower one) is the way to go.  Yes.  And probably a narrow band of black as a border around the entire table runner.

I'm not going to actually piece this one just yet.  No... I'm getting too excited about Quilt 19...