IMG_1045
,

Single Girl Quilt

I think the world may have just tilted on its axis. I have completed a bed-sized quilt.

A king-size quilt, in fact. Like, to use on a real bed. It will keep us warm when we are sleeping. Yes, it’s true: I have made something that is not only pretty, but useful as well. What a great feeling.

So, details: The fabric is mostly Cherish Nature (so I’m calling this quilt “Nature Girl”), but there is some Neptune, Al Fresco, and a few other odds and ends thrown in. If you intend to make the Single Girl pattern, you really do need 36 different prints—I had initially hoped to get away with fewer, but this quilt achieves its randomness in a highly organized, structured way, requiring all 36 prints. The quilt back is pieced as well. (And became even more pieced than I had originally intended when the back ended up being too small for the long-arm due to a measuring error.) It was quilted by the talented ladies at my local quilt shop.

Of course, because I must torture myself by second-guessing every design decision I have ever made, I’m questioning my choice of the “bubbles” quilting pattern. I’m thinking the circles-over-circles might be just a little too … circle-happy. Also, I wasn’t thinking about the fact that the pieced rings aren’t perfect circles (they’re more squared off), while the bubbles in the quilting are perfectly round. But I chose the bubbles because I wanted to do something other than stippling. I like stippling, but since there’s so much of it out there right now, I figured if I could do something different, I should. The only other pattern that caught my eye was a swirly one, and I didn’t think that would work with the minimalist, modern aesthetic I was going for. And you know what? Now that I’m talking through my reasoning for the choice, I’m feeling a little better about the bubbles. Ah, blog, you are serving your purpose already.

Now I just need to get going on some shams and throw pillows. And maybe some curtains. And some artwork. Oh yeah, and I still have to bind this puppy. Nooooo problem.

IMG_0990-1
,

I Found It

So I really wanted to make last year’s Figgy Pudding quilt, with the Christmas trees and the courthouse blocks. But since the Figgy Pudding line is tough to find now, I considered making it in this year’s Basic Grey line, Fruitcake. But I dunno, Fruitcake just wasn’t doing it for me. Which is strange because it’s really not all that different from Figgy Pudding. But there’s just something about Figgy Pudding that I love, so I decided I needed to track down enough of it for this quilt.

So yes, I always have to give myself that extra challenge. This could have been a perfectly fun, stress-free holiday project. Instead I’ve spent hundreds of man-hours scouring the entire Internet for the teensiest scrap of “Pepperberry Juniper,” before I’ve even sewn a stitch.

As of two weeks ago, I only needed two more prints: The red tonal damask and the snowflakes on brown background. I couldn’t find any trace of either online, and I had all but given up on finding the necessary 4 yards of the brown to use as the background and binding. Then, a bit of serendipity required me to go to my local quilt store to pick up something for another project. And there it was. Rolled up and literally tied with a bow: 3.25 yards of the brown with snowflakes (not quite enough, but I can do the binding in something else). I had looked for it at that store before of course, and it wasn’t there at the time. Suddenly it just appeared. Obviously we were meant to be together.

Things like this make me realize that collecting out-of-print fabric is actually kind of fun. That could be a dangerous discovery.

IMG_0468-1
,

Single Girl Shapes Up

She’s shaping up!

Yes, all my quarter-blocks are sewn. I laid out the entire quilt on my dining room floor. (It’s the only room in my house with enough floor space—and that’s only after moving the table way off to the side.) I’m now in the process of sewing it together.

I have to say, laying out all of those quarter-blocks was one of the most satisfying moments I’ve experienced in quilting. This project came together exactly the way I had envisioned it. Plus, it’s king-size, and I’ve never done anything even close to this big before. To see a project this huge come together in its finished form made me feel like I’m really accomplishing something.

Also remarkable: The fact that I haven’t gotten sick of looking at the darn thing by now. Usually, by the time I get to this stage, fatigue has set in on the colors, prints, pattern, etc. But this makes two projects in a row that I have not been tired of by the time I’m done piecing. Makes me think my design decisions are finally on the right track.

IMG_0452-1
,

Three Generations Quilt

A few months ago, my 87-year-old grandma sent me five curved-pinwheel quilt blocks.

This adorable woman hand-pieced the blocks in the late 60s and early 70s, but never got around to finishing the quilt. When she heard I had taken up quilting, she wondered if I might want to put these blocks to use.

I did. Not only that, but I roped my mom into the project as well. Because, really, how cool will it be to have a quilt that was worked on by three generations of women, over the course of 40 or 50 years? I might even have to think of some small task I can give my 3-year-old on this quilt. Then we could call it the Four Generations Quilt.

I think the blocks are cute—I haven’t seen this curved pinwheel design around much. Grams also sent the cardboard templates she originally used and all of her leftover fabric. Some of the prints she sent look like 30s reproductions, and some are just plain dated, but some of them are actually very retro cool. Like the ones used in this block, which is hands-down my favorite of the bunch.

The only remaining issue was how to use these flower-like blocks in an overall quilt design. So I scanned one of the blocks and played around with it a bit before coming up with the above design. Along with my grandma’s five pinwheel blocks, my mom will make three, and I’m making four. That will give us a total of 12 pinwheel blocks. Then I’ll make the alternating blocks: A print square (not necessarily blue) in a white frame, and set all the blocks on point.

Something about having the blocks on point seemed to enhance the movement of the whole thing. When I look at this design, I see my daughter blowing on a pinwheel out in the backyard on a summer day. Or maybe I picture a farmhouse windmill lazily turning in the breeze, while hens fuss around nearby. Fitting, I think, for a quilt that had its genesis with a woman who was born and raised on a farm almost 88 years ago.

IMG_0004-1
,

My Single Girl

Oh, how I love Denyse Schmidt’s Single Girl. I’ve been wanting to make this quilt for ages. I literally wanted to make it before I even knew how to sew. In fact, DS quilts are what originally made me want to learn how to sew. Single Girl is everything I love about modern quilting: Bold, geometric, scrappy, yet minimalistic. I’m going to employ a phrase graphic designers love to use to describe their work: It pops.

And now I’m finally making one of my own. But like most things in my life, there’s no part-way on this. I couldn’t just piece together a little baby Single Girl. I had to go and make it king-size.

Well, if I’m gonna make this dramatic design that I’ve been admiring for so long, I might as well do it up right. Right? This puppy’s going on my own bed. That means it has to be king-size. That means I have to make twenty of the Single Girl rings. Twenty.

And since I can’t spend more than an hour or two a day sewing, it’s been sloooowwwww going. It took me at least three weeks just to draw out and cut all the pieces. Now, for the past two months, I’ve been piecing the quarter-blocks. Piecing in the background feels like it’s taking forever.

But it’s getting there. Just five more of the outer background pieces, and it’s done. I can’t wait to piece together the quarter rings and see the complete top. And my thoughts have now turned to the back. A plan for that is definitely coming together in my head.

Here I Am

To blog or not to blog. I’ve been debating it for a while.

On paper, I think I’d make an excellent quilt blogger. I love modern quilting—I spend almost every spare minute sewing. I’m a graphic designer, so modern quilting really appeals to my design sensibilities, and I think that qualifies me to write about such things. So what’s been holding me back? I may spend every spare minute sewing, but there aren’t nearly enough of those spare minutes as it is. My little monkeys are ages 3 and 1, which means I don’t have enough hours in the day. If I start a blog, that’s even less time spent quilting, since I’ll have to devote at least a little of the day to blogging about quilting.

But now I’m taking the plunge. I made up my mind when I came across this: The Process Pledge. And it kind of inspired me, because I’ve always thought if I did eventually start a blog, the process is exactly what I would like to blog about. I want to start doing a lot more quilts of my own design, rather than just working from somebody else’s pattern. Maybe blogging my efforts will help me develop that by forcing me to think more consciously about design decisions. And if nothing else, even if nobody ever reads it but me, this blog will serve as a detailed journal of what I’ve made, how I made it, and (hopefully) my improvement over time.

Just bear with me if I let it go a few days (ahem) between posts. My life often doesn’t go as planned, but I suppose that’s part of what’s fun about a blog. So, off we go.