Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Baby Quilt

My friend Karen is about to have a baby. Like any new mother-to-be, she is both excited, and nervous, and researching, and accumulating. It was not hard to figure I'd make her a baby quilt. What was more difficult is figuring out the colors and designs. Karen likes to wear black, and her baby shower was Nightmare Before Christmas themed. Right, so black and spooky it is, right? Maybe not. The big mystery with these things is in how the parents will bring up the kid. Dark and Spooky? More mainstream? Is this quilt for the Mama, or the baby? Also, I wanted to take the Dad's interests into account, and he's a professional car racer. Clearly, I needed to think about this. So I did. And then I decided to make the quilt reversible. And then I started sewing.
But first, the design. I saw a photo of an interesting design and set about deconstructing it (ah, the joy of graph paper drawings!). The design was harder than it first looked so this took me a while. But finally, I had it, and it was time to start cutting fabric.
One side of the quilt looks like this:

The design here of black patterned fabrics and purple sashing looked too dark when I was laying it out on my floor. I needed something to make it "pop". I looked and looked at my shelves of fabric and finally decided on blue taffeta. Not only is the taffeta lighter in shade, but it also has a sheen to it. Here's a close up:

Stepping back from this pieced top, it did look awfully dark and spooky, and so the other side needed to be brighter. Now it may be just me, but car racing goes with flames, and I just happened to have flame fabric is the reverse:

The finished product is 42 x 59 inches and will be something that the baby can use as he grows. So for now it's for Mama and Dad, but later, I hope the kid will use it for himself.
I gave it to the parents-to-be this past weekend, so now I can post about it!
And onward we go.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Monochromatic doodles

I've often thought that quilting, or rather, piecing, is like painting with fabrics. I enjoy using different color fabrics to create images. I like to think of color combinations, the composition of the piece, and the balance of things.  I enjoy the process of designing the piece, and then seeing it come together as one, cohesive piece.
So, of course, in my need to challenge myself, I decided to try for a monochromatic piece. The challenge here was finding a way to put together different fabrics not only of the same color palette, but of the same color. Granted, each fabric had a different pattern on it, yet it was still an interesting process. First I considered my ever-trusty strips. However, I quickly got past that one as it seems I've done many strip pieces recently. Then I thought of a disappearing nine-patch (one of my favorite piecing designs), but, again, I've done several of these and wanted something new.
And then, I saw a photo in a quilting magazine, and decided to try it. This is a design that has 4 different blocks, in various strip and square combinations, and I thought it would work well for a monochromatic doodle in fabric. I only had the photo of this quilt and so I spent some happy time, with my graph paper, deconstructing the piece and figuring out how to measure, cut and piece the various fabrics.
This made me happy.
I then went to my stash and found some fat quarters, and other remnants, of enough green fabrics to put together, and created this:

And a close up:
So some of the blocks are of 3x3 squares, arranged in a nine-patch. Some are of three strips (3x9) and some are of 3 shorter strips and one longer one. The fourth kind of block is a four-patch of larger squares. Altogether they make up a lively jumble of fabrics and patterns. The different blocks arranged in non-consistent ways make me think of this as a doodle.
Next up-a purple monochromatic piece, though I haven't decided whether to make it with this design, or in the disappearing nine-patch.
So many options for painting with fabric!