Friday, November 11, 2011

my biggest quilt yet...and it's for a Christmas gift!

This is the project that I'm currently working on, it is one of three quilts that I am giving as Christmas gifts this year.  One quilt is complete and ready to send, but it is going to someone who might read this blog or see my FB page, so I haven't posted any pictures or information about it because I want it to be a surprise.  :)  This one, however is for my 4.5yo "niece" Averie who lives in New Jersey, and I am also making a similar quilt in reds and oranges for her 6yo brother Aidan.  As you can see in this picture, it's a twin-size quilt and it's much bigger than anything else I've made, including the coffee quilt that I made for Chris around this time last year.  It takes up nearly the entire ping-pong table when I laid it out for basting - so if I ever make a bigger one, I'm going to have to come up with some other solution for the basting step!
Of course, this quilt didn't just spring into being fully formed over the last week!  I've been collecting fabrics for it and its companion for over a year now, and cut the squares and strips in September.  I kept with a single color theme of pink and purple since those are Averie's favorite colors, but I also wanted it to be sophisticated enough that she will continue to like the quilt as she gets older, so not everything is bubble-gum pink and there's a bit of coral included as well.  There's quite a lot of the recent Lizzy House collection "1001 Peeps" in this quilt, along with various fat quarters and yard cuts, and even some pink jelly roll strips left over from the boy baby quilt I made earlier this year.  There's even several fabrics that I got from two "Blog Destashing" boxes that I purchased this summer from quilt bloggers!  The border is from the Silent Cinema collection in the pink/coral colorway, and the quilt will be bound in the dark purple kaleidoscope print from 1001 Peeps.
My design board was barely big enough to hold all of the panels as I made them!  I made the three block panels (6" finished blocks, 3 high by 8 wide) first, carefully mixing up the prints for color and type.  Originally I was going to do three strip pieced sections (2" finished height, set of 4), but the Towers print from 1001 Peeps seemed to be a much better idea, so I used that on the top and bottom of the pieced section in place of more strip panels.  The strip panels were made last, using a variety of widths and colors with diagonal seaming (like when making a binding) to add additional interest.
I'm particularly proud of the last piecing seam I did, putting the top section (2 block panels, 1 strip panel, and the tower panel) together with the bottom section (1 strip panel, 1 block panel, 1 tower panel), where the widths of the fabrics ended up perfectly matched.  Of course, as it turned out the width of the quilt was beautifully consistent between the top and the bottom, but there was one section of strips that was a little short on one I did have to trim the quilt a bit to account for that.  My final quilt size when completely pieced and laid out on the ping pong table had a variance of 1/8" across the width of the quilt and no variance across the length, so overall I'm quite pleased!  I've learned that pushing that big of a quilt (especially one with a flannel backing!) through my sewing machine for quilting is very tiring, however - it's a lot of weight!  So again, if I make something larger than a queen not only will I need a different way to baste it together, but I think I might send it to a longarm quilter to finish up for me!
Back in August before PAX, I made another bag to use for collecting my buttons during the Buttoneering community event, similar to last year.  This time I made the bag with some incredibly awesome heavy fabric printed with Viewmaster reels, which just makes me insanely happy.  The fabric unfortunately did not stand up as well to the buttons as the plain cotton fabric I used last year, however, so I won't be using it again for next year's collection so as not to permanently damage it.  I'm pretty proud of how this one came out, especially since I measured/designed my own pockets on the inside that include gathers for the different sizes.
One pocket is for my wallet, and the pocket on the other side had a space for pens (regular, sharpie, and my tablet stylus) and a space for my iPhone.  The pockets fit perfectly and worked great, I'm very pleased with how I did them!  I think this is the last bag I'm making for a long time, however, as I'm pretty much tired of making them and I now have two to use as needed, having given away three and sold (for the cost of materials only, since it's a pattern not to be used for profit) one more.
So instead of making bags, I've bought two from a awesome lady from Spokane who makes bags of all types, Borsa Bella.  I first saw her stuff at the Bellevue Arts Festival with Christy, and we both hemmed and hawed all the rest of the day before giving in and going back to get bags.  I got a Moxie in a lovely neutral black/chocolate/white print, which is a nice travel bag for flat stuff.  Once I saw the giant bee print by the same designer (Melody Miller) who did the viewmaster print, I knew I *had* to have a bag made from it.  So I picked up the fabric, handed it off to Borsa Bella at the Issaquah Salmon Days, and just a week later had the most amazing BEE BAG in the Hobo style.  :)  I love it and have been carrying it everywhere outside of work since I got it!

Next post will be (hopefully) about what I saw and did at PAX during the last weekend of August.  Alternatively, it will be about flyball or starting up Aidan's quilt!

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