Monday, March 25, 2013

Purple Zig Zag Quilt

Since it's March 25 and it's snowing outside and I haven't really gotten dressed in three days, I thought it might be high time to share this quilt I finished back in August. August 2012, a time when the sun was shining and I had enough life in me to finish things.

I made it for our best friends' ten year anniversary and finished it just in time to give it to them without taking pictures. I was too excited to take pictures, as I usually am with sewn gifts. Anyway, they liked it. I think they still do. It looks pretty good as a throw blanket in their stylish place. Then I stole it back from them last week and took some pictures, because when you blog you think you have a good excuse to do weird things like that.

I really love the colors of this quilt. I first blogged about my fabric selections and using "triangles on a roll" here. You put a cut of paper over the 2 fabrics you want to make HST's from and then just sew where the lines tell you. Cut them apart and you've made a lot relatively quickly and really accurately. You just have a bunch of paper to rip off now. Still worth it for a quilt that is made of them entirely. We have a class at Sewn Studio that teaches this quilt, so we were all kind of learning how to use the product together.

After all the HST's were done I put them together randomly for the most part. I think it turned out great that way, plus trying to control where everything ended up would not have been enjoyable for me. The only thing that worried me at first was if that navy chevron was too much with the rest of my low-volume prints. But once the whole thing was together, I loved the effect that chevron print made. Totally would have been a bore without it.

The top only uses 8 quarter yards plus 2.5 of the background solid I think. So for the back I just put together all the quarter yards of those prints I had left. (Since I usually stash half yards.) The quilting is a simple double diagonal grid. This was the quilt that made me realize my walking foot sucked. It's not terrible quilting, but after I shelled out the $70 for a good walking foot after this, I quickly realized it wasn't great quilting either. Sometimes it's a relief to know it was your tools that sucked ass and not you. 

The binding is that Moda pre-made single fold bias from Sewn that I loooooove to use so much. Makes that end-of-the-quilt-I-just-really-want-to-be-done-with-this part go much faster. 

This little sprite in Santa jams thinks it's pretty cozy. Maybe it's time to start on one for her near-future big girl bed?

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Dresden Baby Quilt

I guess I didn't get all the dresden plates out of my system with my last finished quilt. I really wanted to make some traditional dresdens with the pointy blades, instead of rounded off like my modern dresdens quilt. This one is for a very good friend who just had her first baby. We grew up together, and even though we don't talk all that often now, she is just one of those people I will always think of as a close important friend. And when we do get to see each other, it's a very happy thing.  

I started by pulling soft girly colors out of my bag o' scraps. The picks edited themselves into a pastel primaries selection. Then I added the black sketch print and a couple other black or gray prints. That was all it needed to tie everything together with an edge. But a baby-appropriate edge. So it's pretty fun that I was able to get such a great color story just from my scraps. I only had to cut into a couple of my new pink Lizzy House Pearl Bracelets.

The quilting was pretty experimental. I had borrowed my mom's copy of Angela Walter's FMQ book and one night I was drinking wine and looking thru pictures in it. Then I decided, "hey I should just do some of that to my dresdens." So that's the extent of the planning that went into it. I tried swirly things in the center circles. I wish I had taken a close up of that light blue one, because it was the first and it really sucks. But the other three are pretty good.

This is an example of pretty good. Really, I should show more of the sucky stuff right? Then I just did meandering loops in the rest of the dresdens. Straight lines finished out the background, mostly because I knew I would screw things up if I tried another fmq pattern there. Still, it always feels good just to get slightly more comfortable with it. And the combination of quilting styles gave it a great crinkle.

I bound it in Bella Feather, same as the background, to keep the impact of the plates. My first choice would have been that black sketch, but I didn't have enough. I like the look of white binding a lot though.

The back is a Liberty Lifestyle print from Bloomsbury Gardens. The quilt finished at about 43" square.

Now I'm working my way through the WIP list and I hope to have more finishes to show for it soon!

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Oliver & S Spring Patterns: The Pinwheel Tunic & Dress

Last week you got to see my reversible version of the new Oliver & S Roller Skate pattern.  This week the "Rolling Tour" is back with the last new spring pattern from Liesl and her team, the Pinwheel Tunic and Slip Dress.

Like the Roller Skate, this pattern has several options that can be used to achieve lots of looks. But in my opinion, this one is more of the "special occasion" pattern because of the great flounce factor. It's completely different from anything out there today- a dress that is actually made of layers, a tunic worn over a slip dress. I wanted to make both pieces to be worn together, but also get two different garments that she could wear apart and look different from each other. So I went with a selection of four solid cottons from Sewn Studio. They are Moda Bella in green, caribbean, lilac, and aubergine. 

I LOVE the way the layered flounces look on Elsie in these colors. This will definitely be the perfect Easter Sunday dress this year. I made her the 18-24 month size. I've been starting to use size 2 on the O&S patterns so they last longer, but I knew this one would look off if it was too roomy on her. I'm glad I did that because the fit is perfect. 

Here is the purple slip dress without the tunic. This will be really sweet in summer with some sandals and a new bucket hat. I love the way the dress is constructed, with the straps sewn in between the main dress and the facings. I'd love to use the top of the pattern again and remix it with some different skirt styles.

This post required photo shoots over the course of 2 days because there was no way my 22 month old was going to hang in there for all 3 looks at once. She is becoming SO hard to photograph. For the tunic portion, we had just returned from the doctor (to get staples out of her head, crazy girl. Don't worry, she's fine) and she was about to nap. Thus the pacifier and blankie- we do what we gotta do. 

I'm a huge fan of the tunic part worn with leggings. I think the simple short sleeves on top look so sweet and I love that it still fits over her head with just a tie in the back. We will get a lot of wear out of this. Come to think of it, I just knocked out St. Patrick's and Easter sewing for her!

And of course, the twirl factor is still there with the single flounce. She seems to be a big fan of the Pinwheel too! There is a lot of bias sewing on this dress, but it was great practice. I actually feel like my stitch in the ditch skills have never looked better. But I did use pre-made Moda single fold bias tape from Sewn Studio, which was a giant time-saver.  You buy it off the roll by the yard and since it's Moda it's infinitely softer and better to work with than the packaged pre-made stuff. I love having easy access to it at work and I use it whenever possible. But this pattern would be great with some homemade print bias tape, and Liesl has posted lots of bias help on the Oliver & S blog.

The pattern should be released any day now! It's been really fun to work on both of these great new styles, and as usual they did not disappoint my high expectations of Oliver & S. If you missed it, check out Kristin's adorable sleeveless tunic from yesterday, and look out for Cherie's sweet Pinwheel dress tomorrow.