Saturday, December 31, 2011

Quick Quilt

A few weeks ago I was contacted by a lady who invited me to participate in a craft fair in the area. She'd seem my stuff online and thought I might like to try and sell them at the fair. I'd never done a craft fair before (as a seller) and was pretty excited. I asked around and everybody said to bring smallish items as many people will admire large, complex quilts, but few if any will buy them. What they'll buy is items that are inexpensive. So I set about creating some items that were not difficult, complex, or too time consuming, to sell at the fair. I made several sets of place mats, which I love, and also wanted to have some baby/lap quilts available.
In keeping with my 2011 sewing resolution, I wanted to use up my fabric, and avoid buying new fabric, so I stood in front of my wall o' fabrics for a while and let my eyes wonder over the fabrics, looking for possible combinations. This is kind of like looking at an optical illusion image; if I look too closely I miss it, but if I "skim" over the surface, patterns and connections jump out at me.
I ended up making two quilts from fabrics gifted to me by my cousin-in-law, Debbie, in combination with fabrics I already had. One is this:
Close up, you say? Sure!

Debbie had gifted me about 10 yards of the "Cars" fabric, and this is the second item I've made from it. The pattern here is a disappearing nine patch, which I use repeatedly. In this quilt, I used only three fabrics so the pattern is much more consistent than in the "random" ones I have made.
The second quilt uses a very (very) colorful fish fabric and I wanted it to be super colorful, but also have a consistent design to tie it all together.
And a close up:

The design is pretty simple, but the color combination makes the whole thing "pop". Truth be told, it might "pop" a bit too much, for my taste, but I do like the color combination.
Both of these were fairly quick to make and I had them done in time for the fair. Sadly, neither one sold and so now they go on Etsy. I hope they'll find a home soon...

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Bat Mitzva Quilt

My younger daughter’s Bat Mitzva was this summer. For me, this is a reason for a quilt; it’s also a reason for many other things, but over the years I’ve made kids quilts when they’re born, sometimes when they move into “big kid” beds, and now Bat Mitzvas. This is the fourth Bat Mitzva quilt I’ve made and, as before, this one presented a unique challenge. The challenge with a quilt for a 13 year old is mostly in the design. How do create something that she will like now, and with which she’ll keep growing and that will keep being true to who she'll become. If baby quilts are about the adults as much as the babies, quilts for teens are about the kid, and the adult that teen will become.  I pondered and pondered and could not find a pattern I liked for this one. She’s got such contradictions in her personalities! It’s wonderful in a person and can create difficulties in quilt design.

So, in the end, I asked her what she’d like. She didn’t know but asked to look through my quilt books. This struck me as wonderful! My child, looking into her future, looking at images of the past for ideas. I also used this as a chance to hang out with her, and talk for a bit, over several days, which is a joy.
In the end she picked, to some surprise on my part, an Amish design. She did ask to change the colors a bit though, asking for blues, greens and greys, on a white background. Further, she wanted no fabric with pattern or design on it. Hmm…Challenging. My first step was to buy fabrics of different hues of the colors she wanted and cut them into squares:

I also cut squares of the same size in white fabric. Next I sewed the colors and white into these squares. I did it by putting two squares together and sewing two lines, each one ¼ of an inch from the center, on either side, then cutting them and pressing them open. Like so:

This process actually took me quite a while. I’ve lost count by the end, but at some point I counted 500 squares (that’s  a LOT of squares!)
And then I put them all together, working the pieces for maximum random effect:

Now that it’s cold enough my daughter finally has it on her bed, and that is where we took the picture. She even made her bed so I could take a decent picture:

The lighting in the room is messing with the colors a bit, but you get the idea...