Tag Archives: blue

How to make a mini design board

You may have noticed that I recently started displaying blocks in this nifty blue frame.

Framed checker block

Framed checker block

My sewing studio has pretty appalling lighting and my large design wall, which is just a big piece of flannel, is tacked onto a wall that has no useful light on it. I wanted to be able to show what I’m working on in better lighting, and the only spot in the room that has any kind of natural light (also somewhat limited by our neighbour’s house) is right by the glass door to the garden.

I bought this frame at TK Maxx right after I moved to England in 2010. I planned to use it to hang jewelry, which as it turns out, I never wear, so I never quite got around to it. The frame followed me from England to Germany and I’ve spent most of the past three years trying to keep it out of my way.

The other day I was at the art store picking up some pens (I’ve been doodling a lot the last couple of years, more on that in another post) and the end display had gorgeous pastel spray-paint cans. A light bulb went off in my head and I picked up a lovely light blue.

A quick spray

A quick spray

This was a fast-drying paint, so I painted a couple of layers within the span of an hour and was good to go! Next, I cut a piece of old batting to size and clipped it into place, and trimmed the excess. A couple of nails in the wall, and now I’ve got a changing and useful piece of art.

Kiwi gives her paw of approval

Kiwi gives her paw of approval

What kind of challenges does your sewing room present to you? Tell me about it!

Totem’s blue squares

Totem's gradient quilt

Totem’s gradient quilt

Remember the blue squares baby quilt? I knew as soon as I finished it that I wanted to make a full-sized version at some point, and that point came sooner than later when my brother Totem (not his real name)(but close enough) laid it on THICK that he was due a quilt. He was less than impressed when he found out I had made a quilt for our nephew (post pending), and a quilt for Sherry, WHO ISN’T EVEN RELATED TO US, as he was quick to note.

Speaking of Sherry, did I tell you the Germ was nuts? It was my 40th birthday ten days ago and the Germ arranged for several of my friends, Sherry included, AND my parents to come and visit me in Munich to celebrate. File under things I did not see coming. At all.

Anyway, with my parents came an empty suitcase, in which Totem’s quilt was expected to make a return journey to Toronto. No pressure or anything, considering I had the thing about half quilted and was on a break because quilting sucks.

Too windy to hold the quilt up so I draped it on a tree stump

Too windy to hold the quilt up so I draped it on a tree stump

I started working on this quilt in November and it went through several iterations on my design wall until I settled on the final grid. Totem initially wanted a quilt in black/white/red, which is one of my least favourite colour combinations ever. Since I don’t have many reds in my stash, and certainly not enough of a variety to form a gradient, I suggested using blues instead, and he was down with the plan (did I just age myself there? I *am* forty).

Love these blues

Love these blues

I started with blacks and greys and moved on to creams and whites, followed by light blues and dark blues. I finished piecing the top on Christmas eve, and did the back in the new year, which was a scaled up grid going from black to white using the fabrics from the top. Here’s a tip from me to you – make your big squares no bigger than your biggest square ruler. File that one under do as I say, not as I do. It took AGES to measure and cut the back.

Giant squares for the quilt back

Giant squares for the quilt back

The quilting is some not-so-straight straight-line quilting, about a quarter-inch on either side of the seam line (about only because I don’t have a quarter-inch walking foot yet)(not-so-straight because that quilt is HEAVY).

Straightish-line quilting

Straightish-line quilting

I did the quilting in one direction a couple of weeks ago, before the birthday excitement befell me, and finished off the other direction early last week when I realized the deadline was looming. I spent the rest of the week binding, finishing that off on a long car ride this past Friday. For the binding I used a light blue polka-dot fabric, which I didn’t actually use in the quilt but that goes well with all of the fabrics I did use.

 

Rocking the stump to show off the pretty binding

Rocking the stump to show off the pretty binding

You guys? I’m in love with this quilt, which means that at some point in my future I’m probably going to make another one just like it for me!

Use it well, Totem – Love you!

Blue Squares Baby Quilt

While I was planning the pink heart quilt (a.k.a. my startled chicken quilt), my former colleague emailed me to ask if I could also make a quilt for a baby boy–her other daughter was expecting in February! I scoured the Internets again for inspiration and found another adorable mini-quilt  adorable mini-quilt that I could scale up to a baby quilt and adapt to the colours my former colleague requested.

Now, I’m a bleeding-heart liberal and have all sorts of things to say about gender colour assignation, but since this was for a paying client, I guess it isn’t really my business–I just don’t want you all to judge me for falling into gender clichés!

With that out of the way, let’s talk quilts. Particularly, let’s talk about square quilts. What you need to know is that I love them. Love, love, love them. If we were to have a debate right now about nesting seams vs. sliced bread, you can pretty well be sure what side of the argument I’d fall on. So I got to work cutting up whatever blues, creams, and whites I had to put this quilt together. I bought an Accuquilt for this very purpose, but decided to use the roller and mat to cut this time, to try to work on my accuracy in cutting, since sometimes working quickly comes at the expense of working accurately. I probably spent more time arranging the pieces on this quilt than cutting them, but I wanted to make sure that the gradation from dark to light was subtle and that there weren’t any pieces blatantly out of place.

Piecing took no time at all–I had the whole quilt pieced in about an hour. Kiwi helped.

She had a traumatic visit at the vet's that morning. You could say she was feeling... blue!

She had a traumatic visit at the vet’s that morning. You could say she was feeling… blue! (yeah, yeah, tip your waitress, yada-yada.)

I had some of the same problems with the quilting that I had for the startled chicken quilt. While the quilting on this was much simpler than the chicken quilt, I was still getting some skipped stitches (but again, this got sorted by replacing the needle). I stitched straight diagonal lines about a quarter inch from the centre diagonal line of each piece.

Finished quilt

Finished quilt.

To get the lines more or less straight, I initially used a water-soluble pen to mark the diagonal, but this was going to be less effective on the darker squares, so after marking about four of the diagonals, I switched to the Clover Hera marker,  which marks a crease in the fabric rather than applying ink to it. I bought the hera a while back, but this was the first time I’d used it and it was perfect for the job. I initially planned to also quilt on either side of the ditch, for a super-pimped crosshatch pattern, but after finishing the plain double-crosshatch I figured it looked lovely as is. I used Aurifil 4663 40wt thread for the quilting, a variegated light blue.

Quilt top detail

Quilt top detail.

The backing and binding are both from Mo Bedell’s Full Moon Lagoon, in a beautiful aqua shade.

Love how that crosshatch looks on the back.

Love how that crosshatch looks on the back.

You can see in the picture below that my machine binding still needs a bit of work, but overall I’m quite pleased with it. I can only imagine it’ll improve with time.

Backing and binding

Backing and binding detail. I adjusted the stitch length after a couple of rows–my machine defaults to 1.8 and I always forget to change it.

While this wasn’t a particularly challenging quilt to make, it is one of my favourites so far. I love the colour play in it. I hope my former colleague is as pleased with it as I am!

AmysCreativeSide

Entering this one in the two-colour quilt category for Blogger’s Quilt Festival. I debated whether to put this one into the baby quilt category or the two-colour category, and went with the latter, since the challenge for me in this quilt was making the colour work effectively.