February 27, 2015

Pickled Leftovers

I'm still working on my pickle dish quilt.  I made a few extra blocks to give myself some flexibility in layout, so I decided to use them to make a mini-quilt.

I used this to practice sewing the curves to the central background piece.  The pattern calls for piecing this center in quarters, but I wanted to try keeping it as a single unit.  It came together pretty well, and I learned a few things that will be helpful as I start adding the background to the full quilt.

I also wanted to practice some quilting ideas.  I used a feather motif in the central background piece:

I borrowed the idea for straight lines in the arcs from this quilt.  At first I tried to free-hand these lines, but that did not work well at all.  After ripping out my first attempt, I tried using a ruler.  I ended up taping two small rulers together to get the thickness I need.  I'm mostly pleased with the results, but I will be shopping for a proper ruler for use with my domestic machine.

I'm hoping I can use these same quilting designs in the full quilt (I'm a little worried about using a ruler while maneuvering a large quilt).

Here's a shot of the back.  Somehow I got my directionality mixed up -- I wanted the darker fabric running up and down -- but that's not a big deal.  These are a couple of fabrics I had purchased for the top but ended up not using.

For wall hangings I usually put a couple of large triangle pockets in the top back corners, but for larger pieces like this they can get a bit floppy.  For this mini, I used smaller triangles and added a couple of straps near the center.

I had purchased a small cut of an Amy Butler fabric from an online store for the purpose of auditioning it for use as background in the larger quilt.  I decided against using it there, but I'm happy with it here.  The border is all made from leftovers from the quilt.

We had a rare snow overnight, so I couldn't resist getting a few shots of my snowman wall hanging too.

I have two Friday finishes in a row!

February 20, 2015

Snowbird Snowman

As we were putting away Christmas decorations, my wife remarked that we did not have a suitable wall hanging for January (we have one for just about any other season).  She likes snowmen, so I found this pattern from Laundry Basket Quilts.  I adapted the pattern by squaring the background and adding a border of 2-inch squares.

I used a couple of charm packs from the Snowbird collection (one prints and one batiks), and a little bit of yardage.  I liked this fabric from the time it was released, and this seemed a suitable project for it.

Is it possible to strip piece with charm squares?  I cut a bunch of squares in half, then stitched groups of 8 rectangles together to form six 5" x 16.5" strips.  I cut these in half lengthwise, then stitched some in a loop to rotate them scrappy-trip style.  With the addition of a few squares for the corners, I used these to make the borders, going for a random placement.

I couldn't quilt any two snowflakes alike.  I think they might have shown up better if I had used a tighter and more regular background quilting design.

I used a trapunto technique to add a second layer of batting under the snowman.  This involved using water-soluble thread, so I knew I would need to wash this piece.  I didn't really want to quilt the snowman pieces, but I was afraid his body would puff up too much after washing.  A friend suggested quilting along the snowflake designs in the batik fabric.

I used a polka dot fabric for the binding.  I didn't want the dots to line up too much, which ruled out straight cuts.  A true bias-cut binding would have had the dots lined up too, so I cut it at just a slight angle.

I finished this in time to surprise my wife for Valentines Day; it is hanging on our wall now, although I'm ready for warmer weather to arrive.

I'm linking up with crazy mom quilts for Finish It Up Friday.