Baby Quilt 4

Well, I planned on posting this on Saturday or Sunday, but I got sucked into a good book and was too lazy to blog.  Does that ever happen to anyone else?

Anyway, this is the last baby quilt I have to show and it was the only one I worked on in the last week.  I don't try to save up quilts to show here, but I seem to go through spurts of quilting and binding as well as reading :)

Baby Pushrock Quilt

Every once in awhile (when I have a cutting spurt) I put a sharp new blade in my rotary cutter and I tackle a huge pile of scraps until they fit nicely in this bin.  I have 2.5", 3" and 4" squares, 1.5", 2" and 2.5" strips in here.

My bin of precut scraps makes me happy!

One day I was cutting scraps while my husband just sat at the table watching me.  So, I gave him a stack of squares and asked him to pick through them and choose some for a baby quilt.  Then I took his choices and the remaining pile and sorted a little bit more, added some white squares and this is the quilt that came out of it.

Baby Pushrock Quilt

I'll be sending it to a dear friend of mine who is pregnant with her first.  They don't know the sex of the baby yet, but blue is my second favorite color next to green, so I think this will work for a boy or a girl.

Baby Pushrock Quilt

On Thursday I'll be thread basting my Farmer's Wife quilt. I am so excited! My friend, Jessie, is letting me use her quilting frame. So if you follow me on instagram or flickr, you'll see some basting pictures pop up! 

Baby Quilt 3

As I mentioned yesterday, I have another strip quilt to show today.  I've heard that charities get lots and lots of girl-themed baby quilts and not many boy-themed ones.   I have a TON of blue and green and gray fabric, but many of them are still floral or cutesy in a way that doesn't work. 

But I had this Tula Pink fabric that was just itching to be made into a quiet boy quilt.

Baby Quilt 3

Both today's quilt and yesterday's will be sent to Bundles of Joy.  BOJ is a group of knitters and crocheters on ravelry that send out new baby items to the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota.  Pine Ridge spans the two poorest counties in the United States.  The blankets and quilts sent by Bundles of Joy are first used by the babies born on the OB ward, then they are used by the elders as lap blankets or wherever they are needed to provide a little extra warmth and brightness.  I know that these quilts will be used and reused and that makes me very happy. 

I have one last baby quilt to show in this series of potst but I have to finish up the binding.  So maybe I'll post tomorrow, or maybe the next day.  After that, I think there will be a long baby quilt lull over here.

Baby Quilt 2

Two months ago I had a day when I just wanted to whip out a quilt top all at once.  The very easiest way to do that is to make a strip quilt in baby size.  I grabbed some fabric that I needed to use up and then grabbed a few more wacky options from my stash and this came together in no time.  The straightline quilting was quick and easy and I've been working on my machine binding, too.

Baby Quilt 2

This quilt is for 100 Quilts for Kids.  Katie of SwimBikeQuilt is a friend and member of the DC Modern Quilt Guild and she started the 100 Quilts for Kids drive.  Katie is hosting a local charity sewing day on September 28th (details on her blog) to sew quilts and the DC MQG will be there stitching away.

I have another strip quilt to show tomorrow and I'll tell you then about the charity that I'll send both of them to. 

Baby Quilt 1

I have a huge backlog of finished baby quilts.  I really miss my backyard in Wisconsin for many reasons, but especially when it comes to quilt photography.  I love a good clothesline for quilt pictures.  The deck would work in a pinch and the grass was lovely for laying out a quilt.  But here I have a low pine branch that works okay.

Baby Quilt 1

There is too much shade and not enough grass, so I have to wait for just the right amount of light to do any photo attempts. 

Baby Quilt 1

This particular baby quilt is going to a friend.  Once I cut up the red and cornflower blue squares for the giveaway last month, I grabbed a little bit of white fabric and whipped my pile of squares into a quilt in an evening. 

Baby Quilt 1

The pink dots on the back are one of my favorite DS Quilts prints.  The red and white striped fabric was going to be the binding on my Christmas quilt, but I really like how it livens up this simple patchwork piece.

Posting about this finished baby quilt today. #putagridonit

And then I put a grid or two on it for the quilting.  Simple, but just right for patchwork.

I'll be back tomorrow (and a few more days) with another baby quilt(s)...

I am the slowest quilt along sewist EVER.

In March of 2011, Lynne of Lily's Quilts started the Dresden Quilt Along.  At that point, I had never sewn any curves and I liked the big bold design.  I decided that I wanted to break up the design of the dresden a little and make a up few of the petals with scraps.

Scrappy Dresden

And then I put the project down for over two years.  I knew that I didn't want the center or the background to be just one piece of fabric, but I decided that I didn't have enough gray fabric choices to match the design in my head. 

Well, I've had plenty of grays for a long time now and my collection of low volume and text fabrics has improved drastically also.  I just needed to make the time to do it.  Over the retreat weekend I made the background but there was a huge bubble in the dresden and the background.  On good advice from Jessie Aller, I made a dart along the join of two petals and the join of two quarters of the background.  I did not record that in pictures because it wasn't my proudest quilting moment, however I am pleased with the result now. 

Scrappy Dresden

I quilted this in concentric circles with my machine for the plate and the background and by hand for the center.  The finished quilt is 31" square and will hang in my sewing space.

Scrappy Dresden

As much as I hate having so many unfinished projects hanging over me, I think this one was well worth the wait.

Thoughts on Not Matching

I grew up in a matchy matchy household.  My mom was very conscious that we had a rust-colored recliner and that determined all of the rest of the living room decor.  The couch was rust and cream plaid and the rug had rust and green and navy in it.  Over time she tried to bring out the navy and fade the rust out.  Now she has a navy, tan and brown living room.

I'm not good at matching sewing projects to my furniture or anyone else's for that matter.  But I still started out with fabrics that generally matched.

modern vintage quilt--further

dream on postage stamp wip
(Yes, this one is still in progress....)

But then I changed after I received my first string blocks from the green bee and added more blocks of my own.  I stumbled on a new (to me) lesson in quilt design.

If I made each block out of just the Nicey Jane fabric line, then it was easy to glance at it and then move on. Once I added a few blues and greens from other lines that were just a shade or two off of a match with Nicey Jane, then it made the blocks more interesting.

I also found that the more I tried to balance out the colors within each block, the more boring the quilt top was as a whole. Once I started grouping a bunch of lights or darks together and making each block uneven and a little "odd" to the eye, that was when the quilt top as a whole looked more interesting to me. 

mine 3

The same thing happened when I started breaking up the diagonal lines with some bits that "didn't fit." (see the top right corner block below)

more sparkling pond blocks

That was when the quilt seemed to come alive and my eye felt like it needed to flit about to examine the imbalance.  If my eye could find a definite pattern, then my brain would categorize it easily and my mind wanted to move on.

I decided to take this further with contrasting colors and contrasting fabric design styles within each Farmer's Wife Sampler block. 

farmer's wife sampler, block 11

I wanted each fabric within the block to show up and then I chose a setting so each block itself could shine on its own.

farmer's wife sampler, block 8

I would purposely looked for awkward combinations because sewing those fabrics together in one block could make the block more interesting.

farmer's wife sampler, block 75

Then, with some luck, when you sew a whole slew of blocks together into a top, those may be the blocks that really shine.

card trick

And then I went one step further last year.  Before, I never would have put white, cream and ivory background fabrics in the same quilt. Nor would I have used charcoal, dove grey, tan, ecru and slate together.  

boy's nonsense

Those tones don't match per se, but they sure do make for some interesting neighbors in a quilt top.  By pushing the boundaries of pretty and ugly at the same time, I think these blocks really make your mind think about what shades exist.  If it was just one shade of navy, one brown and one white, it could be more easily dismissed.  

I am no expert on color theory by any means.  These little tidbits are things that I've just stumbled upon.  Do you have any thoughts about matching or not matching?  How do you work to make your quilt tops more interesting to the eye?