Tag Archive for 'quilts'

coming together




Remember that quilt I was planning a while back? Yeah, I forgot about it too… Back when we found out they were getting married N and I decided to sew a wedding quilt for his brother and his wife. I got as far as cutting out the pieces before the wedding took place, but work and sewing wallets and bags took precedence so I haven’t touched it since September. I left the rest of the block piecing to n while I worked on other things. I won’t say he was diligent, but he did eventually get through them and the quilt squares are all finished.

Last night I laid them all out on the floor. There is a bit of a tighter fit in our apartment now (compared to the last time I did this) but I made enough space to lay out the design.



I didn’t follow the pattern I made on the computer when I was originally planning the quilt (or even look at it), but just having the constraints of distributing color and block type around made the layout similar to the original design:



N took things a step further and wrote a computer program to search for the optimal quilt layout based on edge color, center color, block type and highlight color. With 42 blocks there are 1×10^51 combinations possible. His program was still searching, but we took the best result so far and laid out the design.



Since the colors are fairly well distributed within the blocks, all of the desings look similar to me. I haven’t picked one yet, but since I picked up all of the blocks off the floor (If I don’t, the cat makes a mess of it) when I put them back down again I will surely make a new pattern. Who knows, maybe after another day of optimizing N’s program will give us the best result of all!

p.s.
Last weekend, while visiting the grand opening of the A Verb For Keeping Warm Workshop, I met some folks who suggested I take my bags over to a gallery space nearby. I did, and now there are a few bags and wallets for sale (in public!) should anyone happen to stumble upon them. The gallery is called blankspace and carries lots of cute handmade items, many of which I recognized from other local etsy sellers. I hope it goes well, but I’m not getting too excited this time.

Thinking about quilts

It is hot today. Not soul-sucking humid and dirty New York City hot, but unseasonaly and uncomfortably hot. The National Weather Service has the official condition listed as “Hot” with a red picture of a sun. I am hiding in my cave-like apartment and the cat is sleeping in the darkest place he can find. I went outside to water my plants (poor things) in spite of the fact that we are in a drought and under water rationing. And yet I am sitting here thinking about quilts.

The last thing I want to do right now is turn on an iron or sit with a quilt in my lap sewing, but N’s brother is getting married in the fall and we have been planning to make them a quilt as a wedding gift. The quilt we made last summer was a rare opportunity where N wanted to make something crafty together and the couple seemed to really appreciate receiving a handmade gift of such a scale. The wedding is in October and while that is not quite around the corner yet I have a feeling summer is going to be over before I blink my eyes so I need to get moving on the project. Here are some thoughts I’m having:




1. Run and Fall, 2. amy butler doing turning 20, plus some, 3. Orange / Yellow Joel Dewberry Quilt: Front, 4. conran quilt – part of top, 5. coin quilt – top finished!, 6. sprout quilt mockup, 7. belle quilt – quilt top, 8. IMG_6008, 9. quilt front, 10. Amy Butler Happy Hour quilt, 11. Orange & Brown Quilt, 12. 19th Century Sampler, 13. Flying Geese Quilt, 14. Queen Size Love Bead Quilt Top, 15. orange, yellow, and green baby quilt, inspired by DS “couldn’t keep it to myself”, 16. finished Ice Pops quilt, 17. Roots, 18. Hop, Skip, Jump Quilt, 19. quilt top, 20. finished brick road quilt, 21. handkerchief corners quilt, 22. Big Zig, 23. what a bunch of squares quilt, 24. red and white Hop Skip and a Jump baby quilt, 25. Zig-Zag Quilt Top, 26. On the big-boy bed, 27. Horizons Quilt Front, 28. quilt, 29. skyline quilt, 30. Run and Fall, 31. Drunk Love 2-tone, 32. On and On, 33. Roots, 34. Coulden’t keep it to myself, 35. Ice Pops Baby Quilt – Front, 36. Completed quilt – Optical Squares

there it is



The wedding quilt: “What a Bunch of Squares” pattern from Denyse Schmidt Quilts with a pieced back. It is machine quilted with unevenly spaced vertical lines and I added an embroidered patch with the names of the recipients and their wedding date. Most of the work was completed in the span of a month (actually, most of it the first week) – check out the progress in blogland and on flickr.

I really like it, and while its a big weight off my shoulders to have it done Im sad to give it away!

fall comes early

It was strangely autumn-like last week despite still being September (in my world fall starts the last week in October and turns to winter around the second week in November). I woke up Saturday morning to the sound of actual proper rain. It was a strange feeling which triggered in me a desire to put on sweaters and wool socks and maybe even a Halloween costume. (the weather didnt last long, it was back up to the 70s again today) All the wintry feel got me in the mood for indoor activities, at least for a few days.

I finished machine quilting and sewing binding to the top of the wedding quilt a few weeks ago. Now we are almost done hand sewing the binding to the back. There has been a distinct lack of photos while Ive been working on it as the hours between 9 and midnight dont have very good lighting (funny how that works)

Ive been spinning again (a little). I picked up some wool after abandoning the silk hankie I had been working on and remembered why I thought spinning was fun.


The mead experiment is going well. My dad added a water trap to the bottle to prevent explosions and we tasted our concoction this weekend. I was very skeptical but it was really, truly, not bad. Im excited to see how it turns out in the end.

And speaking of bees, N and I joined my dad for a look inside the hive using his “bee suits” which are really painters coveralls with mosquito head nets and gloves.

The figs and pears at my parents house are out of control this year.

I recommend baking them and serving over ice cream. mmmm

The kittens are out of control too…

Streak has reached a whopping 4lbs and is twice the size of his sister who is just starting to recover from a really terrible cold. He hardly fits in the scale anymore!

The scenery is always nice up there, but notice the dark color in those clouds. Definitely not a summer look.

Its not a bad view from our apartment either, the cat always seems to find something to stare at

And sometimes I do too.

machine quilting away


This is what it looks like with me trying to wrestle a queen sized quilt under my machine at midnight. Surprisingly, its coming out pretty well! Ive never machine quilted anything larger than a pot holder before so keeping the beast under control is my biggest challenge. I thought I would be able to get away with not marking all of the lines on the quilt, but so far that seems very unlikely. The thing is so big and heavy that it steers itself all over the place and I loose track very quickly of where my straight line should go. The chalk clicker and the tailors chalk are definitely my friends…

a good showing

We made a good showing this week with quilt progress but alas, the wedding was last night and the quilt is still sitting rolled up on my kitchen table with only basting stitches. Seeing as how we didnt make the date anyway Im going to go where Ive never been before– Im going to machine quilt the thing together. Im planning to do vertical lines with uneven spacing between them rather than echoing the pattern. I had that pattern in mind and then I saw this quilt on flickr and it reinforced my decision.

quilt top


quilt back


basting it together

and a matching card

I find it somewhat surprising that n wanted to embark on this project in the first place and even more surprising that he seemed to enjoy the process. Im hoping that he will want to work with me on a quilt for his brother’s wedding because it sure does go faster with two people! Look at me, Im not even finished with this one yet and Im already planning the next one… To be honest Ive had that plan in my head since they got engaged but now it seems more do-able. Im thinking something like this:

What do you think? Any suggestions of other great modern-ish style quilts?

Oh the Insanity

N’s friends are getting married this weekend. While marriage and weddings in general may be standard fare for folks of my age in the population at large (at least in this country) it was not what I expected from these particular friends. Even less expected were the formal wedding invitations and the location of the event at a fancy B&B in Marin. Granted, we just got the invitation last friday (8 days of official notice!) but it was a fancy printed formal invitation none the less. I see parents at work. Anyway, the point of this is that we had to come up with a wedding gift idea. I know you dont have to show up with present in hand, but the event is fresh on our minds and the motivation is here now. We determined that this couple more than most needed a gift that was either vintage or handmade. N’s idea? Sew them a quilt. In one week (this was Saturday). At least he promised to do half the work.

I sat him down with the Denyse Schmidt Quilts book and made him pick a design (but out ruled the truly complicated ones) and then colors. We picked “what a bunch of squares” and the colors below.

We went to the fabric store, which Im fairly sure is a form of punishment to him, and I made him pick fabrics. I ran to the laundromat to wash them and set him the task of ironing everything. Sunday morning we set to work cutting and sewing and cutting and sewing…

Block centers finally started to come together.

Assembly has continued late into the night several times already.

And now we have the blocks all sewn (but not trimmed yet) yet there is still so much to do. We still need to make a back and buy batting and decide how to tie it together… I dont think we will finish in time. But I have had the priceless experience of seeing n in full sewing and ironing swing.