26 November 2014

Round Trip Quilts - Second Round!

This round was extra challenging - because the blocks I recieved hadn't been put together yet! I decided that my goal was going to be to combine at least some (if not all) of the blocks.Kim started the center, and she made some great blocks. And Heather added an amazing section.

These blocks are larger than they appear.
The smallest one is about 12.5" square. 

These blocks are smaller than they appear.
About 4" square. 

The dilemma I faced was the scale of the blocks. And, while they are intricate and beautifully worked, there wasn't a place for your eye to rest as it moved around. I decided I needed to make a focus point for this quilt, especially if I was going to combine the blocks. I ended up making a rocky mountain puzzle block, and adding then I split that herringbone block and used it as a sort of sashing.

Round Trip Quilts - Second Round
Here it is!

I think that it maintains the original feel, while allowing your eye to travel along and rest at certain spots. I love how all the 'x' blocks work both as a border and as a their own little block in the corner. I wasn't confident in my ability to incorporate the other blocks without more 'block surgery', so I decided to refrain and send them along to Jennifer. Good luck, and can't wait to see what you do with them! If you want to see the progress others have made, check in at my Round Trip Quilts tab.

20 November 2014

What happened to Thanksgiving?

My favorite holiday of the year is Thanksgiving. My family gets together from around the globe, we eat a lot, drink some drinks, do some kind of physical activity (everything from ultimate frisbee to volleyball to skeet shooting), eat pie, and then have breakfast for dinner. I'm kind of bummed out because I just saw a christmas commercial. And it's the week before Thanksgiving! Sigh. If it's not commercial, I guess we just don't care as much, especially considering any Thanksgiving chatter I do hear is for Black Friday deals.

Makers Market WiPs
Quilting on a pineapple pillow. 

My family stopped celebrating Christmas several years ago. Now we just go skiing (or at least to my parent's house in Vermont) and hang out - no presents at all! This year, however, I'm really banking on the commercial aspects of the holiday. My restaurant bosses have a warehouse space where they are hosting a holiday Makers Market, and I'm going to take a table. I'm selling out to raise funds for a new sewing machine. I'll be selling my wares along with other artisans from the neighborhood and beyond. It's exciting, but going to be a lot of work, especially considering the amount of other I've got at the end of the semester anyway.

Makers Market WiPs
Glasses cases. Pre-quilting. 

My goals are to make:
  • 5 pillow covers (1 quilted but not put together)
  • 6 glasses cases (2 created, just need the clasp added)
  • 12 potholders (4 pieced)
  • 4 large boxy pouches 
  • 4 small boxy pouches

Makers Market WiPs
Pineapple pillow cover. 

I made this pillow cover front in conjunction with a bee block, via the Crazy Mom Quilts no paper piecing method. All I need is some muslin to line the pillow and I can finish it off. I've got ideas for a bunch of pot holders, kitties, birdies, and MEOW. It's going to be meow-gical!

Makers Market WiPs
Four kitty pot holders. Already know what I want to piece for the others. 

So, although I feel like I'm cheating on my favorite holiday by starting Christmas preparations, it's been an interesting process. That is only going to get more hectic as the date gets closer. I am making things that will be easy to give away, so if nothing sells I'll gift it for the holiday. That will be extra special, since I haven't given out presents in years!

13 November 2014

Red Hook Wedding Pillow

A few weeks ago my restaurant bosses got married. They've been together for 10 years or so, and now that same sex marriage is legal in NY state they decided to make honest women of each other. As is usual, I was working on a pattern design and decided it would make the perfect gift! In this case, it's a paper piecing pattern for a Red Hook (the unofficial symbol of my neighborhood of the same name). Someday I'll stop experimenting on gifts for people I know...

Red Hook Pillow
Paper pieced Red Hook (Brooklyn) representing in the house! 

I picked up this Michael Miller Tammis Keefe fabric in Austria, and once I thought up this design I knew it was perfect. Red Hook, Brooklyn is a small community, off the beaten path of the rest of the borough. I like how eclectic and artsy it is, and, frankly how underdeveloped it is (still highly industrial), with great water views on many sides. I can even see the Statue of Liberty from my bedroom, when there aren't leaves on the trees! This also made it especially susceptible to Hurricane Sandy, and many businesses are still recovering more than two years after the storm hit. That's what inspired the newsprint fabric, as it's a very newsworthy neighborhood. 

Red Hook Pillow
Cats Cats Cats!
The just meow-rried couple has several cats, so I thought I'd make an Elizabeth Hartman inspired cat patchwork second side for the pillow. I just drafted the cat heads myself, and the stripes across they eyes were actually an accident, since I made a fatal cutting error (fatal to the fabric, not to any of my digits). Not wanting to cut into anymore fabric I just raided my scrap pile and added some nice headbands to the kitties. Make it work, right?

I quilted the cats in parallel lines around each head, and then just along the headband lines. I like how it emphasizes each one and doesn't detract from the fabrics. For the hook side, I left the hook unquilted and used one of the few specialty stitches I've got up my sleeve: the 3-stitch zig-zag. The batting I used is super low loft, so you don't see the impact of the quilting as much. None the less, I like the idea, and hope to try it again on another project. 

Red Hook Pillow
They like wine. Enough said. 

The ladies opened their restaurant with visions of a wine bar dancing in their head. Right now they only serve brunch, but they still have a large wine collection, so I thought I'd give a nod towards it on the label. In addition I put their initials and the year. The other side is my typical label with the cheese stamped in green and my initials. 

Red Hook Pillow
Cat tested, cat approved. 

Daegan enjoyed the photoshoot process, so I thought I'd include a couple shots of him with the kitty cat themed pillow. Hopefully the cats in it's new home will love it just as much! I'm also drafting a pattern for the paper pieced hook and how to turn it into a pillow. If anyone's interested in being a pattern tester feel free to comment or send me an email (link on the right). 

I also get to check this off my Q4 finish along list. Three down, four more to go. 

07 November 2014

Earthy Cabin Pillows

As you may have picked up on, I've got a thing for log cabin blocks.

Panels that will become cushions
Improv earthy cabins. 

I had picked up this fabric (below) a while ago at Britex in San Francisco. While it was totally impractical, I saw it and knew I needed some. I think my mom actually got it for me as a souvenir (my favorite kind of souvenir). I didn't note down what it was at the time, and all the selvage says is 'Foxy', so I still have no idea who made it.

foxy cushion background
Looking 'Foxy'. And somewhat cyclopes/zombie-like. 

I brought it home and it languished. I had several other projects to finish up, so that was my excuse. Then I just didn't know what I wanted to put on the other side! I knew I wanted this fabric to make up one side of each of 2 couch cushions, I just wasn't sure what would go with it! One day it hit me: neutral log cabins! Probably not the lightning bolt you were expecting. Or maybe you were, based on the title of this post, and that first picture (spoiler alert - too late?). While I was choosing fabrics for the seaside baby quilt I saw a bunch of chambray fabrics, which really fit the texture and color scheme of the Foxy fabric. I was initially going to go brighter, to match the stomachs of the foxes, but in the end I chose a more muted color scheme.

Panels that will become cushions
Two completed panels.
When I see them next to each other it makes
me want to buy some oakshots and make
a huge improv log cabin quilt. 

I cut strips that were 1", 1.25", and 1.5" wide by WOF and 32 smaller squares for the center ranging from 1.5" square to 3" square and many variations between the two. I just kept the four colors in the same order and alternated strip width as I felt while building them up to 5.25" square. Now each panel measures 19" square (or thereabouts), which will be a nice fit for the 20" square pillow forms I've got waiting. And waiting. And waiting. And they'll wait some more because I finally decided how I'm going to quilt them, and it's by hand. So, hopefully I'll have new cushions by the new year. I'm going on vacation next week, and I think all I'll bring is these panels to quilt - although I don't know that I'll actually get to them what with all my r&r... 

02 November 2014

Big Herringbone Cowl - Finally Finished!

My mom is a knitter. She's been knitting for a long time, it's her go-to hobby. Besides gardening. And playing soduku. One of the things that facilitates this hobby for her, is that she lives on a farm. With sheep! And, where there's sheep, there's wool. I liked making things, she knew how to knit, and we had a large selection of free wool for me to choose from. It's easy to see how I started out knitting. I'd make a hat here, a scarf there, some mittens. I had a lot of fun choosing patterns and colors. But it wasn't really my thing, and eventually I found quilting, which is why most people are reading this - so bear with me for the rest of this brief post.

Herringbone Cowl
Completed cowl blending into my weathered door. 

I saw some other blogger's (sorry, don't remember who) completed Big Herringbone Cowl by the Purl Bee when I first started reading blogs a couple years ago. I knew I had to make it! My mom actually got me some softer yarn from the place that processes our sheep wool, and I was off! Not being a 'real knitter', and it being two years later, I don't remember the details about the yarn.

Herringbone Cowl
My starting point. 

I started knitting everywhere, on the train to school, watching Hulu, when travelling. But the darn thing was so big it was taking forever. So I lost momentum. And then I just kinda hid it in a drawer. I finally decided to finish it this past week because, a) I lost my other circle scarf, and it was getting cold, and b) I put it on my finish along Q4 goals, so at least I can check it off my list!

Herringbone Cowl
Left side 'right side', right side, 'wrong side'. 

The herringbone stitch is a little tricky, but repetitive once you get the hang of it. The hardest part is coming back to it and trying to remember which row I was knitting (there are two rows that alternate to make the stitch). If I were so inclined, it would be fun to make this again using two colors. However, the likelihood of that happening is slim to none - just not a knitter any more.

Herringbone Cowl
Me and Dino, my sunshine (or ghost cat). 

I still need to block the scarf (something I've never done before), because I think that will help keep the edges from curling up. I've worn it a few times and it is nice and warm, and less scratchy than most of the yarn in my mom's stash. Win!