Monday, May 30, 2011


I do love me some stripes. I have stripey socks, stripey tights, I even have stripes in my hair. So naturally stripey quilts are some of my favorite. Stripes are easy, because it's all straight stitching; they are versatile because you can use different colors, widths, etc, and organize them in many different ways. You can, for example, sew a few strips together, then cut them up and resew them into a different configuration. I've posted various stripey quilts here before, but this post is about something new, the Roman Stripes pattern.
This pattern puts together two triangles, one made of a single fabric and the other made of stripes.
Sewing stripes is fun, but can get wonky if you are not super meticulous, which I am not. So to avoid wonkiness here, I "built" the stripey triangles. This means I cut a triangle of fabric and then sewed the stripes onto it, building the stripey triangle onto the fabric. Then I sewed the stripey triangle and just solid fabric triangle together.
Like so:
I made a bunch of these squares and then set about figuring out how to lay them out. Part of the beauty of this pattern is that you can do so many things with the layout. I decided to go with concentric squares, a very traditional layout, but put them off-center, which makes it less traditional.  Here it is:
The wide purple border is the same as one of the stripes, lending cohesion to the piece. Some people think the design of this fabric is spiderwebs and some think it's china. I think it's pretty.
For the reverse I chose a different color scheme, so the quilt could be double sided and work for different moods. The back is this:

The whole thing is bound by dark blue binding.
This is a lap quilt and is a birthday present to a friend.
The stripes were much fun to work with, and there were so many layout possibilities I know I will have to make some more Roman Stripes.
Also, I want to research the name of the pattern...

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Place mats

I love learning new things I can make with fabric! I do. I love it. Fabric is so versatile. It is versatile in color, pattern, function. It can be put together in so many different ways. And part of the joy of working with fabric, for me, is learning new ways of putting it together, and new functions for which it may be used.
Last weekend I learned a new technique at the monthly quilty club I attend. Some of the techniques featured there are not super interesting to me, and some of the supplies, gadgets, and tools featured likewise fail to grab my attention. But every once in a while, something will really click and I get excited.
This is one of those times.
We used strips (from the oh-so-ubiquitous "jelly roll" variety), to make place mats. Place mats. I have never considered quilting a place mat. Ever. Maybe this is because I don't use them? Or because I'm focused on blankets? Who knows. Whatever the reason, this particular function for fabric has not crossed my mind. Until now.
In the class we took the strips and sewed them directly onto batting. The sewing style was "raw edge", otherwise known as rag piecing. This is where the raw edge of the fabric is left revealed and it unravels over time to create a "rag" effect at the seams. Also, we played with decorative stitching over the edges. And while I like both of these, and will use them, the first place mat I made at home (that very weekend) was different. I cut different shades of blue and purple into strips and sewed them onto batting, with the stitching hidden.
When I finished the piece looked too...angular, so i decided to add appliques of non-uniformly cut fabric butterflies.
Here's the result:
I made four of these, each with slightly different appliques in slightly different locations:
The backing is a wavy blue fabric,which is folded around the front to create the binding:
This was a fun project! The place mats are small enough so that it was a "quick gratification" project, but the challenge of a new technique was a huge part of the fun for me.
I have, roughly, a bajillion other place mats, planned now. It is such a good way to use up the fabric on my shelves.
The only thing to decide now is what to do with this set: use it, give it away, put it on Etsy? Hmm...I think I'll ponder this while making another set!

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Warm Wishes for Charlotte

Different patterns offer different pleasures. With some, it's about dinky little pieces coming together; others are about "you made THIs out of THAT!"; still others are about color combinations, or the recipient, or trying a new technique, or gratification.
And some offer joys of versatility. In a previous post I mentioned the attic windows pattern which works well with many different fabrics and which comes out quite different each time ( I've also posted about the three different pieces I made out of the monster fabric I fell in love with ( And now I am on a "Warm Wishes" kick.
This pattern is simple, with squares and strips and all straight lines. The beauty of it lies in the color combination and the layout. The first one I did with this pattern was this, to warm a friend's new house: 
Then I decided to use this pattern again, to make a baby quilt for two friends who live far away. I decided to use a totally different color combination, and to avoid traditional "baby" prints (mostly because I don't have much of those in my fabric stash and I'm still attempting to not buy new fabric). I chose blue, green, purple, and monsters.
And here's the result:
And a close up? Sure!

And the reverse? Here it is:

I was gifted this awesome fabric by my sister in law a few years ago and it's been waiting for just the right project. Charlotte's parents like animals and so this was the perfect backing fabric.
The quilt is going in the post tomorrow (I hope) and Charlotte should have it by the end of the week, with the rest of our warm wishes.