Thursday, May 7, 2015

Definition of a baby quilt

Babies are everywhere around me these days.  Two of my local friends just had babies.  My younger sister just discovered that she is pregnant.  And last week I received a text from another friend that she is having a baby, too!  You know what that means, right?  BABY QUILTS!!!

Part of me wants to use quilts that I've already started rather than start new quilts.  I have so many UFOs that it is embarrassing.  But what makes a quilt a baby quilt?  The size?  The colors?  The pattern?  I pulled out some of my current and not-so-current projects to see what I have to work with. First, there's the blue quilt I started this week.  I've got 30 of the 50 blocks done.  It should be 50" square, or I can make it 40" x 60".  Which size would be more useful?  Which will look better?  We'll have to see.  Would this work as a baby quilt?

I started this scrappy log cabin thinking it would be a baby quilt, but then had second thoughts.  What do you think - would this work as a baby quilt?

I've got many more blocks of this version of Bonnie Hunter's Virginia Bound than I thought.  I could finish a baby top in an evening from these.  But I kinda had my eye on this one for myself...

These bright blocks Summer Breeze would make a nice baby quilt, don't you think?  The only problem is, I only have one completed block and two  nearly completed blocks.  There would be a lot of work for me to get this one finished up, but at least I had the foresight to keep the fabrics together with the blocks so I didn't use them I something else.

I've got a bunch of these I Spy blocks I've been making from novelty fabrics that come into my possession.  I guess that is always an option, but the thought of working on this doesn't excite me right now.

Maybe my flannel buzz saw blocks?  Flannel would be so soft and cozy for a baby!  But where ARE my flannel buzz saw blocks? Uh oh, UFO missing!!  It's probably for the best - I doubt I want to work with flannel during these warmer months, anyway.  Hopefully it will turn up before fall...

But look what I DID find!  I'd already started quilting this one, so I'm making an Executive Decision and declaring this a baby quilt!  It has just been bumped up to the top of my hand quilting list.

Any thoughts or comments?  I'd love to know how you approach making baby quilts.

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Back in the saddle

Remember me?  I know, I've been a bad blogger.  I think about blogging often, but just never sit down to do it.  That changes today!  And I have Gail the Cozy Quilter to thank for that.  We've been blogging friends for years now, but since I live in Virginia and she lives in Canada, we'd never met.  Then, last week, she and her husband were staying in my town on vacation, and she wandered past my shop one night and put two and two together and realized she knew the shop owner.  She came in the next day to introduce herself, and I was just so tickled!  Her timing was perfect, as I was feeling a bit tired and overwhelmed, having recently returned from a trip to Spain with my mom and sisters and trying to prepare for back to back birthday parties at my shop last weekend.  Anyway, THANK YOU for visiting me, Gail, and for inspiring me to blog again!

I must say that, since opening the shop and learning to knit (I know, that sounds a bit backwards, doesn't it?  Opening a yarn shop and THEN learning to knit?  But I didn't know it would be a yarn shop when I opened, it just kinda evolved...) I've been knitting much more than I have been quilting.  That and making class samples for all my kids' sewing classes.  But last night, I was tidying my sewing room at home and realized that I couldn't properly close the drawer with the blue fabrics in it.  Honestly, I don't use blues very often.  So, what's a gal to do but make a blue quilt?  I had inspiration for a quick and easy quilt from the Emerald Waves quilt in the April/May 2014 McCall's Quick Quilts issue, and tweaked it to make it work for yardage of white that I had.  I targeted all the smaller pieces of blue in the drawer, cutting what I needed for the quilt and then cutting the rest into scrap squares for future scrap projects.  I'm happy to report that the blue drawer has now been tamed!  I got 14 of the 50 blocks I plan to make completed.  At this rate, I should be finished with the top by the end of the week!
The blue fabrics just won't fit in the drawer anymore.
See my inspiration photo?  And I cut my scraps to every size between 1.5" square and 5" square for future projects.
So far, so good.  Although I don't like it as much as the original green quilt - I LOVE GREEN!
So, that's it for now.  Gotta ease myself back into blogging, after all.  Let me close by saying that I am so amused that the quilt I featured in my last blog post LAST YEAR just sold today.  AND the dress I am wearing in the second picture of my last post is the same dress I am wearing today in honor of Cinco de Mayo.  Honestly, it is like no time has passed at all!

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Why wait?

Do you ever, inexplicably, put off finishing a project, and when you get back to it, you can't imagine why you didn't just finish before?  That was me today, finally putting the borders on this pieced Dresden.  I already had the pieced border pieced - why didn't I finish this before?  I bet it took less than half an hour!

This will be my next hand quilting project.  I want to use a variegated crochet thread and do some big stitch quilting on the black.  Should be quick and easy.  Unless, of course, I put it down again...

Oh, and my Ohio Star selvedge quilt?  Scrapped!  Instead, I made the two Ohio Star blocks into an over-the-shoulder tote bag, and was happy to have finished in time for the Challenge Quilt reveal at the guild meeting today.  Oh, what beauties people made!

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Quilt selfie

Sunday and Monday are my days off.  I was SO TEMPTED to go back to the shop to sew on the treadle some more - it's just that fun! - but I didn't.  Instead, I worked up my plan for summer camp at the shop, worked on some samples, and started a baby quilt.

One week of summer camp will be making a small silhouette quilt.  The silhouette doesn't have to be of a person, but that's what I started with for my first sample.  The framing seems a bit heavy to me, so I'll probably cut it back a bit, but here's what I've got so far.

OK, so I know these are usually done in B&W, but I just don't see the world that way.  Besides, I've been looking for a use for that green fabric - I just love it.  And the background is a patchwork of neutrals, kinda like my own background.  I don't know if you can tell from this photo, but the strip down the center has sewing notions on it - cool!
As for the baby quilt, I've got a major quilting crush on Deanna at  The treadle quilt is based on her Fading Charms quilt.  This baby quilt is her Twinkle Baby quilt.  I love finding uses for all my pre-cut scraps!

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Window Quilting

I spent most of my day making a dozen crayon rolls, waiting on customers, and helping two of the guys I recruited to Washington and Lee University sew nylon drawstring backpacks to take to the gym.
They brought these kits with them and I helped them assemble.
But every chance I got, I went to the window to work on my first treadle quilt.  I am using the Fading Charms quilt as inspiration, but of course, true to form, I am modifying it a bit.  Here's what's hanging in the window for the weekend.  It was hard to walk away at closing time today; I could have stayed there sewing until dark!  I am loving treadle sewing!!!
It is hard taking a photo of something in a window.  What's the trick?

Friday, April 4, 2014

My first quilt on a treadle machine!

I bought a Franklin treadle machine at an auction years ago, and it has just been hanging out at my house waiting for a new belt, some oil and some TLC.  I brought it into the shop on Wednesday, and on Thursday, one of my instructors said, "Hey, want me to get that going for you?"

Well, YEAH!!

She reconnected the existing belt, showed me where to oil it, how the vibrating shuttle operates, and got me going.  I also have a 1929 Singer treadle here that she got going, too.  AWESOME!!!

Here I am playing with it yesterday:

Then, today, I put it up in my display window and started making a scrap quilt with it.  Genius!  I get to sew with wonderful natural light, PLUS I can see all the comings and goings on Main Street.  And you should have seen the people stopping to watch on the sidewalk (and then coming in to ask questions and shop)!  This is going to be FUN, FUN, FUN!  It is so mesmerizing to use, and the stitch is beautiful!  I'm telling myself that it also counts as exercise.  :)

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Not enough time

There just isn't enough time to do all that I want to do!  My sister and nephew are visiting for a few days before they drive my mom back up to New Hampshire.  I want to spend time with them.

The next session of the SEW Cool Afterschool Program starts soon, and I need to make class samples for all the projects.  The theme is "Picnic in the Park", and we'll be making a water bottle carrier, a sun hat, a placemat roll with cutlery pockets, and a picnic quilt.  Since the sun finally made an appearance, I made the sun hat sample first.  It's reversible - denim on one side, quilting cotton on the other.

I want to finish the Ohio Star challenge for our quilt guild.  We have to make a small (114" in circumference or less) quilt that incorporates the Ohio Star block.  I've been wanting to play with selvages, and my idea was to spell out OHIO using Ohio Star blocks as the two Os.  I don't think it really works - maybe if I remove the brown borders from the H and the I.

Plus, I have so much knitting I want to get done - I'm not sure it was such a good idea learning to knit and crochet; I feel like I am pulled in so many creative directions now!  I spent an entire morning last week making a bunch of citrus blossoms and leaves to decorate a bar branch that I put in my shop window.

My mom did find time to finish her first quilt while here, an 80" x 80" denim and flannel rag quilt.  Isn't it lovely?  She did the whole thing, start to finish, in just 6 days!!!