March 31, 2006

My Quilting Library!

My house is FULL of books...4 huge bookcases full of gardening, cooking, fiction, non-fiction...but this is my quilt book collection. I have had more over the years, but never used them! I find that I kind of make my quilts up as I go along...I use quilt blocks, definitely, but I can only think of one quilt I ever nearly followed a whole pattern for...and even then I changed all the coloring... Well...I take that back...I am following the pattern for the Dear Jane quilt, but aside from that...mostly I just pick a block I like, figure out how many I need (these days I make a ton of baby quilts!) and then figure out borders and sashing as I go along.I'm still a beginner, but I seem to only keep "process" books or inspiration books, not actual pattern books. In my collection: Liberated Quiltmaking, Gwen Marston, Scrap Quilts: The Art of Making Do, Roberta Horton.. The Angel book which has no pattern just quilts others have done...for inspiration... A great book about designing your sewing space... and Gayle Bong's new book, Save the Scraps, a present from my secret pal! And of course two Chiaverini novels I've been given, I really enjoy those and read them so fast!

I do love quilts, and love antique scrap quilts...I think my next quilt for myself is going to be a string quilt...but I can't seem to get into the idea of planning a quilt by buying large amounts of fabric...maybe it is just the frugal girl in me...but I love the idea of using up my scraps...and I love to look at all the different fabrics people have given me... I don't know that quilts I gift to people will ever be as scrappy as ones I do for myself...those are usually controlled scrappy quilts! Now if I can stop dreaming about the types of quilts I like and start doing them...

But this weekend the plan is to quilt my black and bright baby quilt for baby Emma Rose that arrived March 20, and to make flannel backing for that quilt and another flannel quilt I'm doing for myself... Swap blocks are done, woo hoo!! Posted by Picasa

March 28, 2006

Brainstorming for my first "arty" quilt

I won a book last year on Ebay, just wanted to buy a book and it was the right price...it is called Everyday Angels in Extraordinary Quilts by Mary Lou Weidman... It is about doing a quilt expressing who you are and who you want to be, a kinda guardian angel quilt with your character...

This is my idea so far... I love trees as a motif...I love yoga... I am always striving and failing to find my balance...with kids, with food, with housework... I'll get there one day, but I am always seaching for balance. My angel here is doing a balance pose for yoga, called the tree pose... I figure my angel will be slim and trim, the way I'd like to be someday (slim, not skinny...my days as a size 2 are long gone, but I'd love to be toned again...) I'll applique the tree somehow and use charms I have to hang on the tree along with leaves... That squiggly border is celtic knot border that I'd like to try once...esp. since I'm living in Ireland and of Irish descent, and married to an Irishman...it is part of who I am... I'll use CW repros cuz Im into them with my DJ as well...and I fell in love with South African indigos and was sent a few that I'd love to use on the border maybe...

It is just at idea stage, but need to figure out how to get it started...guess I piece a background in greens and creams and then work on the tree...can do a border later...

This is part of my promise to myself to do more quilts for myself and for my house... Since we are still moving at some point, I can't really do quilts for a specific part of the house, but this can go anywhere... Posted by Picasa

March 24, 2006

Quilt Bartering...my first commissioned quilt!

I am still not over the virus/cold/flu thing... it is apparently making the rounds of our local villages of Carrigeen and Mooncoin. Talking to people in the local shop, it has been a bad one, people having it for weeks, thinking they've shaken it (like I had earlier this week) and then getting it back just as bad as ever (like I did yesterday)... At least I know I'm not alone!! And this morning I feel so much better than yesterday...felt fluey achey and otherwise disgusting then. But tomorrow is my birthday, and by God I am going to go out with DH...I'm so forgetful though, I just realized that I organized babysitter and forgot to get reservation at my favorite Thai restaurant... ugh... it will probably be booked out... can we say d'oh!!!!

Anyway, back to something quilt related! Here is the quilt I started on last week before the illness really knocked me down at the weekend. Finished the binding yesterday... Just a simple one patch with a border and of course the free pieced letters (thanks Tonya, LOL, you helped me get my first commissioned quilt!!) I wasn't up for anything more complicated these days and I needed to get it done fast... She gave me plenty of lead time, too much really, so I forgot all about it till last Friday!!

I did this quilt for my babysitter who looks after my youngest DD Aisling twice a week while her sister is in montessori. I work two mornings a week on my "paid job" (my main job as mommy is unpaid but still rewarding, LOL) I do graphic design for a few different companies, laying out books, letters, order forms, envelopes, newsletters, etc. I usually have to work one or two nights also, but I enjoy the work and a mommy that has a bachelors degree (in French and German language and literature...yeah that is useful in the real world!) likes to use her brain sometimes and get positive reinforcement from adults that she is still useful in the workplace, LOL!! Anyway, I digress, as usual... My babysitter saw Conors quilt I did last month and asked if I could do one for her. We traded a weeks worth of babysitting for the quilt, I figured it was a good trade! I did it all from stash fabrics, and just had to buy some batting... It is much simpler than Conor's quilt, but simple is good sometimes...so I hope the little boy she's giving it to likes it!

I hope to finally finish my swap blocks this week (they are due March 31st!) and then have 2 tops ready for quilting, so I'll be working on those in April while focusing on doing as much sashing on my DJ as I can! There is a great group of people over at the MSN group Quilt Around the World and there is a contest for a goodie box if you make progress on a difficult project during the month of April, mine is the sashing the DJ, gonna try for the goodies!!! Posted by Picasa

March 15, 2006

First Row of Dear Jane sashed!!

This is a tiny picture, but row A on my DJ quilt is sashed together! Now onto the next row... I'm under the weather at the moment, some sinus/flu/cold thing, so my energy levels haven't been great. I'm mainly working on swap blocks and this sashing...no energy to start anything new or to heft my tops through the sewing machine for machine quilting... I do hope to start quilting a few tops in the next week or so!

No new viewers for our house, and no offers, it is a bit depressing. DH is missing us being together, so we might just move out to Nenagh and start renting a house with him, it will only be a few hundred euro more than what he is paying now to rent his room, and it will get us out of our limbo stage and my single mother stage, LOL!!! It is hard to be sick when you have two kids to take care of!!!

Thanks for all the ideas on the quilting for the 4patch blocks. I really do need to buy the Hargrave or Gaudynski machine quilting books, and I've never used a stencil before, so all these things kinda intimidate me. I'm self taught, and am just now branching out past the stitch in the ditch stage. I'm happy enough with the meandering I have done on a few quilts, but would really like to get into some of the more decorative quilting patterns such as the wreaths and feathers, fans, clamshells, etc... This is the year to get a start! Posted by Picasa

March 8, 2006

Ideas for a quilt...

These are the scrappy four patch blocks we are swapping... these are the ones I've received so far. I asked for scrappy novelty/kids prints for baby quilts I have to make this year.

I plan on making them in a 4 x 4 setting (one block has 2 4 patches and 2 plain blocks) and was wondering, has anyone made a scrappy border before using maybe 2.5 inch bricks to form a strip rather than a piano key like border? I thought I'd do a scrappy strippy border then another border of the plain muslin... but what would you quilt in those centers? They are about 12 inches big?? I'm still a novice with machine quilting but would like to do something besides meandering in those areas?? Can anyone help? Posted by Picasa

March 6, 2006

Still moving slowly...

Haven't been really productive lately because, well, I guess I have two small kids!! I have been working on a few swap blocks a night, and some DJ sashing...but they are pretty boring to show!

This is a quilt I did a few years back, just crazy piecing it onto foundation (found out the crumb block or mile a minute block terminology later!)...did 9 crazy blocks sewed them together, then put the borders on and then embroidered along some of the seams...

This one was in a local exhibition in a nearby town library...I'm famous in Carrick on Suir, Co. Tipperary...LOL...NOT!!!!

My birthday is coming up in a few weeks and mom has promised me a gift certificate from an online shop. A fellow Stashbuster member gave me a great shop that she uses http://www.quiltersquarter.com and I think this one is it...so many items, and good prices for overseas.

But just on the off chance, anyone else have a favorite shop for online ordering? Evelyn, if you see this, what one do you use for sending to you over in Austria?? Posted by Picasa

March 2, 2006

History of my Dear Jane

Here is my Dear Jane layed out virtually...I've only got 4 sashed together in real life!

I've gotten many lovely comments on my Dear Jane, and since I haven't worked on much more than a few sashings for the Dear Jane quilt in the last few days, I thought I'd post about my Dear Jane quilt. You can find the history of the quilt here. It am using Civil War (1800s) reproduction prints that I traded people for from around the world...Irish items, signature blocks, other fabric... I had a great time doing that and built up a great Civil War repro scrap stash...no yardage, but lots of little pieces!!

I call her my "Frugal Jane". I'm big on scrap quilting, recycling, shoping at thrift stores, restoring old furniture, etc etc... just a frugal kinda girl. My entire stash of yardage is about 10 pieces and then a bolt of unbleached muslin...my scraps take up boxes and baskets!!

Anyway... I started on my Dear Jane journey thanks to a generous gift from fellow Stashbuster, Gail Riker. Thanks Gail, if you see this!! That was in January 2005 when I started with 6 inch blocks I've been sashing together recently for my wallhanging! I realized a full quilt in that size would drown our bed here, so changed to 5 inch blocks.

I hand pieced all 225 blocks, tris and kites over the last year, finishing in just under a year. I found the hand piecing very relaxing in the evenings after chasing kids all day, LOL! I think hand piecing is a great way to do it. I found the curved piecing and the complicated blocks with tiny pieces much less intimidating by hand than if I'd done them on the machine. Don't get me wrong, I love machine piecing, but for this quilt, I wouldn't do it any other way than by hand...just less scary for me that way!

I am by no means an experienced quilter, so if I can do this anyone can, LOL!! If you've been put off by the complicated blocks, but still like it, just go for it... I never did applique, reverse applique or curved piecing or hand piecing before this, and I made it through. Go for it!!!

Now I've got to learn hand quilting, LOL, after I finish constructing the top. It is a never ending learning process! Posted by Picasa