Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Alex's Train Quilt

This quilt was made for Alex, who is 5 and loves Trains.
I made most of it using my standard method of creating "crazy blocks."
But as I was working on it, I found Tonya's tutorial about Wonky letters. I decided to put Alex's name in the quilt. Then I thought, I should make a train. Then I thought, I should put his name on the train.Because I never know how big my quilts are going to be when I start, and I hate measuring all the time, I tape an outline of the top of a bed in painter's tape on my dining room floor. The very bottom line is the measurement for an Extra Long Twin, and the line a few inches higher is the measurement for a regular Twin size mattress. This way I can lay the quilt down and know how big it's getting.
As in all my quilts, this one is tied and the backing folded over to a self binding, then machine stitched down. Naturally I miter the corners.
Alex loves his quilt.

Alex is Violette's older brother.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

All Together Now!

This is the finished quilt for Violette.Here is the Sugar and Spice panel. It's about 40" wide by 44" long or so. The letters in "Sugar" are about 5" tall.
This is the name panel for Violette. The letters in her name are about 8" tall. The butterflies are about 7" wide by about 5" high.
Violette's family has a brown tabby cat. That's why there's a cat in this quilt, and that's why I used that particular fabric. The cat is about 10" tall, the flowers about 3" high.
The signature letters on the back of the quilt are 3" high. The quilt is about 44" x 95". Why so big, apart from the fact that the elements of the quilt are large? My sister said, "Why make it so tiny? Why don't you make something she can actually -use- for several years. Make it twin-size." Made sense, so I did.

This quilt is completely free-pieced. No patterns anywhere, no plans, no templates. No foundation piecing. I even designed the butterflies myself. The letters are based on Tonya's free pieced letters, and the little asterisk flowers came from Sarah at House of Krom. The tulips are modified from a traditional quilt pattern. Tanya helped with ideas for the cat.

It's not quilted for two reasons. One, this is the way my grandmother made quilts for our family, and we like them like this. Two, I have arthritis in my dominant hand.

By the way, I am in Maryland for Violette's christening. I hope to post pictures of the blessed event, along with Violette and her quilt, soon.

You can click the photos to enlarge. Enjoy!

Monday, July 28, 2008

Sign Me Up

This fabric was always going to be the backing for Violette's quilt. I love the way it looks like a kaleidoscope.

Having done all the letters on the front, I decided to make a signature for the back. These letters are about 3" high, finished, and this strip is about 60" long.It reads, "Made by Auntie Lynne 2008"As I have mentioned before, I do not use filling in my quilts, and I don't quilt them. I tie them. this makes for a very lightweight quilt that washes like a dream.I fold the backing over to the front to make a self-binding. I cut the backing 6" larger all around, then fold it over until the raw edges of front and back touch, then fold over again to make a 2" border all around. this way the binding isn't thin or flimsy. I miter the corners, and machine stitch all around.

Tomorrow, the finished quilt.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

A Little Bit of Nature

I knew I wanted butterflies in Violette's quilt. It took me a while, but I figured out how to make them. I have posted a tutorial, here. And I knew I wanted flowers. I didn't want them to be too complicated or fussy to piece.

I didn't know how I was going to use them in the quilt.
I love the way things resolve themselves. Some of the butterflies fell next to the name panel, giving me the idea of how to arrange them.I knew I wanted a cat, since Violette's family has a large brown tabby cat. I didn't know where he was going to go, or how he was going to fit. Looking at the rows of pointed petals on the flowers, I was struck by the similar shape of cat ears. Bingo! I had the solution of how and where to place the cat in the quilt.
stay tuned!

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Sugar and Spice

The answer to "What's Girly" that I asked myself after finishing Violette's name panel was "Sugar and Spice, Everything Nice." I started with violets, and rose colored fabrics for "Sugar", and used a light blue for "and" because I wanted it to be very subtle.

I wanted the letters in the word "Spice" to be bright and bold."

The word "Everything," of course, had to be made from colors of the rainbow.

I made the word "Nice," and started playing around with the layout. I had to bend the word "Everything" to make it fit on the top of the bed, but also to mimic the arched shape of a rainbow.
Then I decided to replace the dot on the "i" with a little sun.By this time I had decided to make the quilt big enough for a twin sized bed, so I had a lot of room to work, but also a lot of space to fill.

I needed some "stuff", so I made these flowers, using this tutorial from House of Krom.And of course, I needed hearts.


stay tuned...

Friday, July 25, 2008

Violette

When I was asked to be Violette's godmother, I agreed without hesitation. I knew I would make her a quilt. I planned one with beautiful bright flowers in rich jeweled colors. I began to purchase fabrics for this quilt.

Then I started playing with Tonya's Wonky Alphabet. I cheated a bit. I drew out the name first, so I knew what I wanted it to look like. I wanted the two t's to look connected, and I wanted a nice wide V. (clicking the pictures will enlarge them.)But the letters tended to disappear on the background fabric I used. I really wanted to use it, after all, it was a lovely shade of lavender (a light violet).

But I found this very dark purple with very light pink dots throughout. It almost looks black, but it really isn't. I wasn't quite sure about almost black letters in a baby quilt, but I had to try it.
As you can see, the "readability" was much improved. I even added a tiny wonky heart to dot the "i". The name "Violette", by the way, is about 8" tall.
Which means "Violette Noelle" takes up a lot of space on a baby quilt.

As I pondered that, I tried to think of what to put around the letters to fill out the space. "Hmm, what is girly..." As soon as I had that thought, this phrase popped into my head:

"Sugar and Spice, Everything Nice"

and I knew I was done for.

stay tuned.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Millie + Monty Q

The internet is a strange and wonderful place.
This is my cat, Millie.

I found out about Millie because she had been struck by a car and rescued by a passerby. He asked for donations because she needed surgery to insert a pin in her leg. She was a feral cat, and the bill was estimated to be over $1,000. I sent my $20 to help out. At the time I had two black-and-white cats. But one cat was sick, so after a couple of months, when Millie needed a home, I adopted her. You can find the entire story here. It's quite something. I started blogging to keep Millie's fans up-to-date.

After a few months, I started making kitty quilts (now known as "Gizzy Quilts"). That's another story, and you can read it here. During this time, I met Tracey, who asked about a quilt for her baby daughter. She had also just adopted a cat, Monty Q, and started a blog for him. Monty took an interest in Millie. Tracey and I have a lot of fun with it. Over the coming months, Tracey and I became good friends. (I never did make the quilt.)

I'll be visiting Tracey and her family next week. Indeed, I am to be godmother to her newest child, and will be bringing a quilt with me. (You'll have to wait until July 25th to see it, though, so stay tuned.)

I thought it would be fun to make a kitty quilt for Monty, telling the world that Millie and Monty were sweet on each other. I knew I wanted their names, and some wonky hearts, but when I started, I wasn't quite sure where it was going.

Obviously, Tonya's alphabet has had a Big Impact on my quiltmaking.

It really seemed to need the cats. I thought this batik fabric was a great stand-in for a brown tabby cat. And of course I had to try to present Millie the same way.I even bought a walking foot for my sewing machine so I could machine quilt the quilt.Here is the finished quilt. It's 22-1/2 x 26 inches. The letters are 3" tall.I used this great Laurel Burch fabric for the backing, which suggested the binding fabric.
Millie approves*.

* It's very interesting, but folks who buy these quilts actually ask me to have Millie romp around on them so their cats will have something to smell. I've made over 150 of them, and I've never had a cat reject a quilt. One cat even drags his around the house to wherever he wants to nap. Multi-cat families with a quilt for each cat report that each cat knows which quilt is his, and often they don't share. I don't do anything special to them. No catnip. Just 100% cotton, and a lot of love.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Alphabet

Sometime this past January, I discovered Tonya and her Wonky Pieced Alphabet. My life hasn't been the same since. Now I want to make wonky letters all the time. I decided I needed a "sampler." This, though, is the quilt I am working on for the Doll Quilt Swap 4.

I like the pink and purple tulips, but the pink needs to be carried elsewhere in the quilt.

I need to make a pink letter, perhaps? Here the letter L is simply another pieced letter sitting on top of the original blue L. If I wanted to make it pink, I'd have to rip things apart.

I really like the "G", and yes, I did plan the placement of the fabric to achieve that look.

The letters are about 3" tall when sewn up. There is about 1/2" between them. This quilt will be small, about 24" square.


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Announcement ~~~ I have been VERY busy, but there hasn't been much activity on this blog to show for it. There's a reason for that, and all will be revealed shortly. Watch this space - starting on July 25 - for the unveiling of my very Special Super Secret Project.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Slashed Squares

Here's a scrap quilt that goes together pretty quick.

Start with 7" squares. Sew 4-1/2" wide pieces to each side, using a 1/4" seam.
Then again to the top and bottom, making a square in a square, like this. Square off the blocks.
You'll need 42 for a queen-sized quilt, about 84" x 98". Try for half the blocks to have busy outsides and calm insides, and the other half busy insides with calm outsides:Don't sew them together.
Instead, cut them apart, like this. Cut the block in half horizontally, so the top piece is 6-1/2" high. The smallest center square now measures 2-1/4". Without moving the pieces, cut the block apart vertically so the left half again measures 6-1/2". The bottom right corner will measure 8-1/2" square. Mark off your cutting ruler so you don't make a mistake.
Now mix and match your blocks, trying for nice color balance.
Reassemble them. The blocks will now be 14-1/2" square.Here are a couple of my favorite blocks:Arrange them into seven rows of six blocks. Rotate the blocks to your heart's content. Make sure you don't have any "blobs" or areas of too many darks or brights next to each other. Strive for a flow of some sort. Be patient. It took me three tries before I got an arrangement I liked.
Sew the blocks together, and finish as you like. I have arthritis, so I tie my quilts, then fold over the backing to make a self-binding. I machine stitch the binding.
Give yourself bonus points if you make a giant block on the back of the quilt.You can click any of the pictures to enlarge them.