Tuesday, June 26, 2018

My Shame at the Bottom of the UFO Basket

Like most quilters, I have a basket of UFOs or Unfinished Objects, that, for one reason or another, were abandoned before they were completed and just got put away for another day.  I've been making a concerted effort for the last several months to finish the projects in that basket.  I'm now working on the last one.  "The Brownies Quilt" was one of those UFOs and I'm really proud that I finally finished it.  You can see the various posts logging my progress on it. This photo was taken while I was quilting it.

The top of this quilt was pieced, so I sandwiched it, and quilted and bound it fairly quickly.  I call it "Miyoko's Lanterns." When a quilting friend of mine returned to Japan, she sent me several gifts including a Japanese lantern and I sent her back this pattern and a finished block so that she could start a quilt.  I used a sashiko quilting pattern called seven treasures of Buddha.  I've used it before, on one of our son Dan's t-shirt quilts, for instance.

There were two baby quilt tops, one made from some nursery rhyme embroideries that my mother did and some blocks I made to go around them, and one that was a class exercise in log cabin blocks.  These were also quilted and bound.  

But, my shame, at the bottom of the basket, was our daughter Anna's crib quilt. Based on an old Vogue pattern, I'd made one for Dan shortly after he was born, but when Anna came along before Dan was two, I didn't have lots of time for sewing.  I did get the clothes made with the name, birth date and weight embroidered on

and got the rest cut out. By the time I could get back to it, Anna was climbing out of the crib and we moved her to a junior bed.  The pieces went into a canvas bag and finally to the bottom of the UFO basket.  Out it came, finally, and I decided to buy new fabric for the background, borders, and backing.  I finished the little sunshine pillow sham.
Next I appliquéd the little bird on the top clothesline,
added the little cloud,
made the little kimono,

added the borders and started quilting.

The backing fabric is a conversational print of Goldilocks and the Three Bears.

When I finally finish the last of the UFOs, I will update this post.  What a good feeling to complete this work!

Friday, April 27, 2018

Thursday, April 26, 2018

Single color baby quilts

 I've spent lots of time this year and some of last year, making single color baby quilts in this pattern. It uses two-and-a-half inch squares and can be laid out really quickly.  In addition to various babies, I've also made eight quilts for the refugee center in High Point.  This is the most recent one.

 The fabric surrounding the patchwork is usually a pale version of the chosen color.  This particular fabric depicts fairy tales in silhouette.

Quilting is simple--just forty-five degree angles cutting through the squares and the extended to the background and borders.

I use a chalk roller to mark the lines and then machine wash and dry the quilt when it's finished.  I like to make baby quilts that can actually be used.

Here's a little peak at the backing fabric.

And this is the lovely little miss who received the quilt.  She's the first grandchild of some dear friends of ours here.

As I mentioned in a previous post, I am making a determined effort to finish those UFOs in my basket beginning with the Japanese lantern quilt.  Yesterday, I managed to finish another one that is composed of embroidered animals my mother made set with pinwheel blocks that I made.
There were enough blocks to make two little quilts and now the second one is done. The bias binding for both of them was made from strips of scrap fabrics that are in the quilts. And now it's back to the Brownies quilt!

Saturday, April 21, 2018

Update on the Brownies Quilt

 Naturally, when I got this quilt out again (see previous post),  it was easy to be overwhelmed by the amount of work that still had to be done.  I decided to attack it systematically. First, I traced all the Brownie figures that I needed and then began to get them embroidered.  I finished the figure for the label because it was the largest and when it was finished, I made the back of the quilt.

Next, I worked on the grape clusters on the right side.  Whilst doing that, it occurred to me that the grapes are probably the easiest kind of handwork, so I should save them until last.  I placed all the leaves and stems and then the Brownies.

The Brownie figures were appliquéd down and then I began on the stems and vines.  Once those are finished, I will do the rest of the leaves and then just grapes will remain.  The large hand appliqués are just not satisfying me, so I think I will do something else with those four corner triangles.  (This will be the third time I've changed that area!!) Stay tuned for the progress and the changes.

Update to the update!
After auditioning several ideas, I landed on this one and after LOTS of reverse sewing, there are no longer any hands.


Friday, April 13, 2018

The Brownies quilt...It's back!

I am a great one for starting a new project with lots of energy and usually am able to follow it through to the conclusion; however, I have my bin marked "UFOs" like many creative people.  Recently, I decided to look at that bin critically and either finish or abandon the projects in it.  If you are a reader of this blog since it began, you may remember The Brownies quilt which started as a challenge piece way back in 2009.  Due to the amount of handwork involved, I didn't make the deadline and when something else came up, I put it away.  Well, it's back.
The center of the quilt was finished, but the border which includes a grapevine on three sides still has a long way to go.  Here's a close-up of the grape clusters.

Each one of the grapes is a sort of tiny yoyo that's turned under and then appliquéd down. 

The grapevine itself is bias that's also appliquéd down.
The quilt was inspired by the Brownie stories by Palmer Cox.  One of my favorite story books from childhood contained "The Brownies' Circus" and was my introduction to these delightful little folks.  Many people have pointed out the similarity to J.K. Rowling's house elves in the Harry Potter books.

In addition to the large brownie in the center of the quilt, I wanted to include a few more around the grapevine.  These three will be added at various locations.

I also found a book plate of Cox's that I've enlarged to be the basis for the label on the back.  Once it's enlarged to the size I want, I put the print on the bed of the lightbox and then put fabric over it and trace the image for embroidery. 

I've appliquéd a new leaf down and am adding tendrils to the vine with perle cotton.  Lots of work to come on this piece, but now I feel like I have a good idea of where it's going.  As Rachel says, "Watch this space."

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

The Pussy Hat Project and the Women's March in Washington #Iwasthere

This is my best friend from high school, Judy Ross, who lives outside Washington, DC, in rural Virginia.  When the Women's March was announced, she offered to put me up and made arrangements for her sisters, her cousin, and her cousin's daughter and me to take a bus into DC on the day of the March.  January 21, 2017  in Washington was an incredible day and the rest of the weekend was like an extended slumber party full of passionate conversation and food and fun. In the photo above, we are on the bus heading for the March wearing the pussy hats we both knitted for the occasion.

I knitted several hats using the Super Cat Hat pattern created by Destiny Meyer. It was linked from the Pussy Hat Project website along with several other patterns. I was very proud of myself for learning the Kitchener stitch using the excellent tutorial Destiny put on YouTube. Since I shopped early for yarn, I was not disappointed by empty shelves.

Jim snapped this photo of me modeling the first hat I made.

Hat number two comes off the needles.

Another modeling job.

I finished the last hat the night before I drove to Virginia.  

This is our merry band right before we boarded the bus to go back to Virginia  (except for young Emily who stayed in DC to visit with some Peace Corps friends). We were tired, but definitely elated to have been part of this remarkable experience.

When I got home, I used some of the left over yarn to make a pussy hat for my Lisa Simpson doll.  It only seemed right.

Additional note (2/22/2017):
Judy just emailed to let us know that one of the men on our bus had made a film about the March.  Our happy group is interviewed at 5:09. 

Baby quilt for Nomi, a new little woman child

I am not a big fan of pale, "pretty princess" pink as a color selection for items for babies and little girls.  I find it much too limiting.  After the new year, we will be welcoming a new grand niece to our family and, naturally, I wanted to make her a quilt.  When I found the flannel above, it spoke to me as a inspiration fabric and I began compiling a fabric palette of lavender and dark rose.  Since I am using the Bento box pattern, I also included tints and tones of these fabrics.

I alternated the colors as I constructed the blocks.  Above is a detail.

Borders follow the dark rose and lavender inspiration colors.

These great pink polka dots seemed like a natural choice for the bias binding.

Without my big design wall, photographing the entire quilt is really difficult.

Quilting is in progress using pin basting for the most part.

Friday, August 26, 2016

Safety Pin Studio: What's Happening Now

The little quilt above was made using some wonderful kimono fabrics that I bought from a vendor at the International Quilt Festival in Houston.  I made two quilts with these amazing textiles.  The second one is a combination of the kimono fabrics and fabrics from other Japanese fabrics I've collected.

Up close and personal on the quilting.

My green fabrics have been doing yeoman service this year with the two big wedding quilts I made, so I decided to make a little baby bento box quilt just in case.

Here's the back and the binding.

Jack, the little boy for whom I made the Film at Five quilt, just had a little sister, so I've been working on a quilt for Fiona.  I made Jack a baby quilt using the Single Girl pattern, so I did the same pattern for Fiona and used one of the fabrics I used in Jack's quilt as well.  Fiona and Jack's momma is Anna's best friend, so there are also several fabrics that appear in quilts I've made for Anna.

The African Striped Baby Quilt continues its appeal for me and I made this one for a friend of Steph's who just had a baby.