Category: quilting

A Quilt for Teacher

I’ve sort of set a personal goal this year of completing one quilt top a month (on average). So far, I’m actually on track to make that happen. Putting together a couple of lap quilts to give as end-of-the-year gifts certainly helped.

I don’t usually go this big for teacher gifts but this was Miss L’s first year in elementary school and we just love her teacher and parapro. L told me her their favorite colors are pink and purple, respectively, so I went with these:

I used a bunch of Gypsy Bandanna fabrics mixed with some Lakehouse to make a modified version (I added borders) of Darlene Zimmerman’s Easy Does It quilt. This is one of those fast to cut, fast to piece kind of quilts that I love. I cut it out and assembled the top in a couple of hours.

The other quilt uses Joel Dewberry’s Aviary 2 line and a pattern I found in a magazine (as soon as I can find it, I’ll update this post with the info). I am just crazy about this fabric and wanted to play with even more of it. This was only my second time setting blocks on point and I was thrilled that I did not cut off any of my points this time!

I used white Kona to back both quilts, in part to keep down the cost and also because I was crunched for time. I did add a wide stripe of the border fabric to the middle of the Easy Does It quilt because it needed to be a little bit wider.

I also machine sewed the binding. I was literally finishing the quilts the night before school ended so hand sewing was not even an option. Sarah suggested using a decorative machine stitch so I used a small floral stitch for the pink quilt and a big-and-small triangle for the purple quilt. The quilting looks fabulous but all the credit for that goes to Regina Carter, who did the longarm quilting for me. The finishing touch was having Miss L sign her name on the backs.

LAX Love

We interrupt the belated Quilt Market blog posts to share something else entirely.

So, part of the reason I am so tardy in getting around the Market blogging is because I came home from SLC and had a slew of end-of-the-year gifts to finish, including this lacrosse quilt. (I also had to create and burn the end-of-season DVD for the lacrosse teams — 103 discs, to be exact — at the same time I was finishing the binding on this quilt.)

This is only the second year our high school has had a lacrosse team and much of the credit for getting it off the ground goes to one family. A family whose son just graduated and will be moving back to SLC this month. Lacrosse has been such a great thing for my son and I wanted to show this family how much I appreciated it, so I decided to turn the logo they designed into a quilted wall hanging for them.

About three-fourths of the way through making this, I realized it was so big that it was better as a team/booster club gift to the family. Folks, it’s big. The white is one full yard of fabric. I think the center shield and panther are about 24 inches. This is a level of applique I’ve never tried before and I’m not sure it’ll be repeated any time soon.

The applique is layered and done reverse style, for the most part. I actually sewed the shield together to meet in the center then cut out the shield shape. I used an X-acto knife to cut out the finer applique details and adhered it to the backing with Steam-A-Seam. And Heat n Bond. For the record, I don’t recommend mixing adhesives but I was in a time crunch and trying to use what I had on hand. (I also don’t recommend leaving paper in the middle of your applique design but YMMV.)

I did a tighter zig-zag stitch in gray around the shield and panther head to somewhat mimic the shadow effect of the logo. The remainder of the stitching is done with a straight stitch in thread to match each area. Finally, I quilted around the shapes  in a subtle echo effect.

I was so blown away with the finished product in sort of an “I made this? *I* made THIS!” kind of way. (It looked much better when it was ironed but I pulled it out of the gift bag to photograph on our way to the banquet.) The folks at the banquet thought it rocked and the recipients were just blown away, which definitely made the work worth it.

Quilt 2011-1

I’m so excited to have finished this quilt! It’s not perfect but that’s OK. I did change the pattern a teeny bit and used the pink gingham/cherries as an inner border with the aqua version of the fabric as an outer border, instead of using the two equally in the border. I still need to pick out the backing and binding but I’m not in a huge hurry right now, especially since I’ll be sending it out to get quilted.

One down, 11 to go!

In Progress

We’re still snowed in down here in Hothlanta, so I ventured to my poor, neglected studio to spend some time with the quilt I started right after Christmas. I fell in love with this Oh-Cherry-Oh! fabric by Me and My Sister Designs for Moda as soon as I saw it and promptly bought the fabric I needed to make the Simply Sweet quilt pattern that was released with the fabric.

And then ignored it. For two years.

I’m not big on making resolutions but I have decided to work through my stash this year and actually make some of the projects I’d planned with the fabric I bought. This quilt seemed like a good place to start, especially during these dreary, gray days.

My intention was to get back to work on it as soon as the kids went back to school in January but that didn’t happen quite like planned. This week was starting to look like a bust, too, but then Miss L spent yesterday afternoon at a friend’s house around the corner — ideal time for doing a little sewing.

Today’s been a little less productive but I’ve at least got the block centers planned and even managed to sew a few of them before the dogs chased me back upstairs. (And what is up with that? They’re both asleep on their bed again but I know they’ll be at my heels the minute I set foot on the stairs. Bossy puppies.) It’s just the pick-me-up I need right now, between the cold temps and the icy roads.

Coming Soon…

I find it nearly impossible to accomplish much of anything crafty from Thanksgiving until the new year. There’s just so much on my plate and then the kids are home more, so I just don’t seem to get much done. This year’s time crunch coincided with another crafty slump, which was a little discouraging, because I actually had the time and desire to make something — I just couldn’t get motivated.

After spending most of a day cleaning up my studio (the clutter tends to adversely affect my crafting), I decided to run over to the shop and pick up some new fabric I’d been admiring and a new quilt pattern to go with it. The new V&A line from David Textiles had me all ga-ga at Market, so I picked out a few fat quarters of it along with some of Tula Pink’s Parisville and a couple of shot cottons. I thought all of it was perfect for the Coming Soon… pattern by Thimble Blossoms, which is actually meant to be a baby blanket but I’m thinking it’s a nice size for a throw.

This is really my kind of pattern: quick, cute and easy. I did make an error in cutting and had to add a couple more of the green-and-cream strips in the middle of piecing but that wasn’t a big deal. I’m toying with the idea of pulling off the border and making a wider one, which is something Sarah suggested. And I still need to pick out a backing fabric (leaning towards flannel or Minky/Minkee) but I’m pretty sure I’m going to bind it with the green.

One thing I will do is orient the quilt differently. I used directional fabric so all my books and wine bottles are sideways! LOL!

Hands-On Quilting

Thank you all so, so much for your kind words about my big announcement. All the comments, emails and tweets gave me lots of warm fuzzies and mean more to me than you can know. If you’re on Facebook, feel free to “like” the book’s page.

The end of the school year is a lot like a mini-holiday season for the crafty, since there are so many gifts to make and give. This year was especially special, since it was Miss L’s final year in preschool. Yep, extra gifts to make.

I’d love to show them all to you — but I can’t. “Why?” you ask. Because a certain someone (that’d be me) had to go work out graduation morning, then run to the store to buy gift bags and tissue paper before dashing home to shower, dress and wrap everything so we could leave five minutes late.

So what you’re not seeing are the cute monogrammed travel mugs I made for the two pastors, Spanish teacher and music teacher. Or the embroidered tote bags I made for the preschool director and the other room mom (who is truly the best room mom in the entire world). Or the cute tote bag I made for the assistant teacher, which was based on the quilt pictured here.

The teacher and assistant teacher’s gifts were from the class. I knew I was going to make this small quilt since the teacher called me last summer to tell me she would be teaching the 4s. We’d had Ms. Kathy when L was in the 2s and just loved her. She really is one of those teachers who just gives it her all and I wanted her to have a one-of-a-kind gift.

One of the things she does with the class are color days. The kids are asked to wear that color to school and she structures the whole day around it. It’s really a fun thing and I wanted to reflect that with the quilt.

I chose six rainbow colors (1/3 yard cuts) from batik fabrics and cut them into 6″ strips x the width of the fabric. The strips were then sewn in ROYGB(I)V order along the long edges with a 1/4″ seam allowance. The handprints were made by tracing around each student’s hand, then tracing that outline onto some Steam a Seam. I ironed each one on to some of the leftover batik (two in five colors and three in the sixth, since there were 13 kids in the class). Each student used an extra-fine tipped black IdentiPen to write his/her name on the corresponding handprint.

The handprints were sort of randomly arranged on the quilt top. I say “sort of” because the truly random pattern I started with and then tried to refine for 30 minutes looked pitiful. I ended up arranging half of the hands on the diagonal across the middle of the quilt, then made two rows of three hands on either side of that. The “odd” hand was plopped in the lower left corner. Looking at it now, I realize I should have made the middle row from five hands so I could put a hand in the top right corner to balance it out. *sigh* Hindsight.

After appliquing the hands to the top, I made a tasty quilt sandwich before hooping the hands and echo quilting around each one by hand. By hand, I said! Be impressed. A lot. (See detail of the echo quilting here. Lots of ooohing and aaahhhing welcome.) Sarah actually suggested the quilting and I really like how it turned out, even though it’s probably all kinds of jacked up.

She also picked out the binding for me, a really fun stripe from the Maisy fabric line. It was just perfect with the colors and playfulness of it. It’s also the best job I’ve ever done on a binding — not that I’ve done all that many. You’ll just have to trust me that there was plenty of room for improvement.

Oh, and you can’t see it but the back is this super cool green ombre fabric. I used the pen to write the name of the quilt — “Ms. Kathy’s Handful — and the date and dedication along the bottom edge near the binding. I’ve never done anything like that before and wasn’t quite sure of the “right” way to do it, but I thought it was important to include it.

This is likely awful to admit but I really hoped the gift would make her cry. She is *so* not a girly girl but I thought I might drive her there.

I was right.

Quilt Talk

Recently I was asked to talk to a group about quilts. Now, I don’t consider myself a quilter and really don’t feel particularly qualified to talk about the subject, but this was a friend and I have a hard time saying no.

Everyone assured me it was no big deal, so I loaded up my quilt show-and-tell and faced my fears.

The group was enthusiastic, even if their questions were a little … unusual:

  • “Can you make the back out of marshmallows? That would be cool!”
  • “What about dinosaurs? Can you put dinosaurs on a quilt?”
  • “Do you have to use a needle to make a quilt?”
  • “Will you make a quilt for my baby brother? I just love him!”

As you might have guessed, this was no quilt guild. No, this was my daughter’s preschool class and I was a special guest during letter Q week. For the record, my answers were:

  • “It might be a little sticky, but you’d have something yummy to eat in the middle of the night if you got hungry.”
  • “Yes, you can use dinosaur fabric.”
  • “Take your finger. Now poke this quilt. Is it doing anything? Do you think you could push thread through with your finger? That’s why you need a needle.”
  • “You are a very sweet big sister!”

We sat on the floor and touched the quilts, looked at the patterns, block shapes and fabrics, and just enjoyed exploring something new. While I thought the quilts were pretty cool, the kids were most impressed by my quilting rulers — all four of them (and three of them are squares). My joke about a quilt sandwich was a huge hit, although it really doesn’t take much to amuse a bunch of 4- and 5-year-olds.

I’m still not ready to start talking quilts with the local guilds but feel free to book me for your kid’s preschool class.

An Evening With Kaffe

I’m racing towards a ginormous deadline but this was too cool to miss sharing with all of you.

Intown Quilters in Decatur, Ga., is hosting Kaffe Fassett this fall and tickets are now on sale for an Evening With Kaffe Fassett. It will be 7-9 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 30, at the Frazer Center (Atrium Room). Tickets are only $20 and desserts will be served. Call Intown Quilters (404-634-6924) or stop by the shop to reserve your spot.  (You also can buy online here.)

See you there!