Sunday, August 31, 2008

More Bento Blocks

I am really having fun making these as "leaders and enders." Sometimes I like a pair so much, I just make the block. These are all from my stash, by the way.

This quilt now has a home, and it will be king size, 7 blocks by 9. So I need to design 9 more.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Bento Box Blocks

I have 12 so far. The Bento Box design is a classic counterchange pattern, which is probably why I like it so much. I love checkerboards, for example. In designing these blocks I have really tried to get a strong light/dark contrast.

I have plans for this quilt. And I have already decided to make a GIANT block on the backing, like I did with my Slashed Squares quilt.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Bento Box Leaders & Enders

Many of you are familiar with Bonnie's Leaders and Enders way of eliminating the problem of the "thread bunny" that hangs off at the end of everything you sew. She keeps a stack of 2-inch squares by her sewing table and uses those.

I don't have 2" squares sitting around, but I thought this would be a neat way of making the Bento Box blocks without feeling guilty about taking time away from "The List" of things I have to do.

So now each evening when I go into my sewing studio I prepare a few Bento Box pieces. I cut 2 6-1/2" pieces from each of my long strips, set those aside, and place the long strips by the sewing machine. I'll sew the two strips together in between the patches of the Child's quilt I am currently sewing up. Then I'll iron the long pair and cut it into crosswise blocks and match them up to use as leaders and enders the next time around.

In the picture above, you can see one Bento Box piece under my sewing machine needle, and two pieces ready to be used next time. While this requires a bit of planning and a slight change in working habits, I find I really like it. No more tossing threads away all the time, and no more finding them all over everything.

And I have assembled 10 of my required 63 Bento Box blocks already!

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Bento Box Quilt, part 2

I matched up all the pairs for my Bento Box Quilt. I will make 63 12" blocks and arrange them in 9 rows of 7 for a Queen Sized quilt that will measure about 84" x 108". So here they are:
I always think it's interesting to see how the components of a quilt take up space as the quilt grows. Here, 126 strips make a stack 4-1/4" high. And I haven't repeated any fabrics, so that is 126 different fabrics.

I have a few quilts on "The List" to make before I devote all my time to this one, so I have decided to make one block a day until I can.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Bento Box Quilt

As you can imagine, I haven't been very motivated lately. But a trip to a new quilt shop perked up my spirits a bit and I bought a pattern for a Bento Box Quilt.Since I cut my fabrics into 2-1/2" and 4-1/2" strips, I worked up the pattern using the 2-1/2" strips, which will give me a 12" finished block instead of a 15" one. Doesn't bother me. I sewed up four blocks, and liked them, so I went through my stash and started pairing up strips.So I am excited again about getting back into the sewing room and making quilts.

Monday, August 18, 2008

True Quilt of Love

I think all quilts are made with Love, but this one is special. Violette's Mom is a cat blogger, like me. That's how we "met." When we all heard about Violette's untimely death, everybody wanted to do something to help. Mom suggested everybody send her a 2" square of fabric, with their name written on it, and she would assemble the pieces into a quilt with which the baby would be wrapped when she was laid to rest.

It was quickly apparent that it would be difficult for everybody to make this happen, so one blogger offered to sign squares for everybody who emailed her. In the end, a local fabric store donated the fabrics, cut the squares, and our cat blogger spent several long hours writing all the names. Then the package was shipped to the family via overnight shipping.

In the interim, I made plans to attend the funeral. I didn't see how Violette's Mom would be able to put this together herself, given the circumstances, and offered my services to sew it up. I arrived Thursday evening and spent all day Friday, the day before the funeral, sewing.It was interesting. The squares the cat bloggers sent were perfect 2" squares, but the ones from the fabric store were anything but. They were "about 2" " in every sense of the word, slightly larger in each dimension and not "square." At first I tried trimming them, but realized quickly I'd never get it done.
So I just did the best I could, knowing the most important thing was the love with which the quilt was made.

Any quiltmaker worth her salt can make a quilt in a day. But I didn't have my sewing machine, my tools, a flat surface on which to work, a rotary cutter, or even a big ruler.

The ironing board was a portable one, and was set on the floor. I have at least one burn mark from the iron just above my knee.I sewed the pieces into pairs, then four patches, all the while trying to evenly distribute the colors and patterns. I enlisted a young cousin to help me cut the chains apart, and help match blocks together. The fours became eights. About midday the mail arrived, with a new batch of squares from the bloggers, and all day I received emails with more names to write on the extra blank squares I had received.
Without knowing exactly how many pieces there were, and with all the size variations, trying to get it all to make a rectangle was a challenge. I had brought a 1-1/2 yard piece of fabric with me, figuring the quilt might need fabric for the back. I used all of it, as well as another donated piece. I would make the quilt the way I usually make mine, without filling.
Finally, it all came together. It's about 40" by 54" or so. We never measured. I know there are well over 400 names.

I'll never see it again, but it ranks high as one of my proudest achievements.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Violette Has Gone to God

Baby Violette, my godchild, for whom I made this wonderful quilt, died today after an accident at her home yesterday. I am devastated.

You'll have to forgive me if I take a few days off.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Bag Lady

I love tote bags. (And so, apparently does my cat, Millie.)I made this little one as the "dressy one" to carry around on my recent trip. That's a pocket on the front, with piping around the white panel.
And isn't this lining fun? The bag is big enough for a packet of tissues, my glasses case, my thin wallet and my keys, a pen and a small notebook.

I made this smaller, skinnier bag first, but I wasn't too keen about it. As it turned out, it was perfect for my traveling wallet (a skinny number that only holds cash, my ID & credit and health insurance cards) and my train tickets. My iPod fit perfectly in the outer pocket. I could zip the front pocket closed but leave enough open for the earbud cables.
Both bags fit across my body, so that I could keep them on even on trips to the rest room.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

"Bigger" in Pictures

Remember how I told you I actually took my son's college quilt apart and made it bigger? Well, I finally have pictures to show you.

As you can see, he loves it.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

ABC - Tout Fini!

I have finished the Alphabet Quilt for my Doll Quilt Swap 4 partner. I will ship it out to her on Tuesday. (Because on Monday I will bring it in to work to show it off.)This is the first time I ever machine quilted anything so complex. Here you can see the outline quilting I did.
I pieced the backing, using some of the fabrics I used to make the letters.
The pink binding is the same pink as the letter "L" and the light color in the tulips.
The finished quilt is about 19" x 22". I am very pleased with it, and hope my swap partner likes it. I have to make one of these lovelies for myself!

You can click the pictures to enlarge them.