Sunday, February 15, 2009

Baby William Quilt - An Afternoon on Oahu

I finished Baby William's quilt today - but Savannah says it could be a girl quilt or a boy quilt.

Here it is up on the design wall. It measures 36" x 42". This quilt reminds me of Oahu - the varied colors of the ocean and sandy beach, the hibiscus opening every morning with the rising sun and closing up into twisted little umbrellas at night, the intoxicating fragrance of plumeria.

It's reversible, two quilts in one since the back is also pieced. So far my fabric diet is working out well and I've used up two yards, 4 fat quarters and some other random fabric bits I've had in my stash on this quilt alone. Most of the fabric is from Kaffe Fassett, probably my favorite fabric designer, but there are plenty of other odd bits thrown in from Jo-Ann sales and other project leftovers. The binding I made from the leftover fabric bits and I just made it - with only three inches of double-fold binding to spare.

Here's the back of the quilt, which could also be the front. Instead of bright white like the front of the quilt, the back uses a scrap of fabric I had leftover from another project and is a sandy natural colored cotton.

I free-motion quilted it in three different styles - stipling for the white sashing, big round circles for the squares and a back and forth curve all along the borders. Hopefully there's enough contrast here for the stitching to show. I'm not a perfectionist when it comes to free-motion quilting but really enjoy it. The variation and texture it creates is fun for babies.

And here's the design board I made from homasote last weekend (and love!) already in use with another possible upcoming project using up some of my Kaffe Fassett fabrics for a green and navy and maybe orange or yellow quilt top. But first, back to the painting and tiling and other house chores...

Also, an edit, I said previously that homasote is made from 100% recycled paper and that isn't true. It's made from 98% recycled post-consumer paper (they use 300 tons a day!) and the water they use in the manufacturing process is 100% recycled in their closed loop system. Anyway, it's a great product and we also plan to use it to insulate the door to our mechanical room where it can be noisy.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Sophia's cow quilt top - Just say Moo

I finally made the decision on Sophia's cow quilt - more white was the answer (and then more pink, and then more cows when I ran out of that fabric).

I added white sashing which helped to break up the oh so much color and contrast and decided that I wanted the quilt top to be slightly larger, so I added a 4" border in a leftover fabric from my stash. It wasn't quite enough to reach the corners so I had to fussy cut the last four cows out of my fat quarter to finish the quilt. I feel guilty for not binding the quilt and quilting it first before displaying it but I haven't found my warm & natural cotton batting yet with a third of our house in boxes again.

Amber wrote in to tell me of her useful site, My Web Quilter where you can play around with square and designs online before diving into your fabrics and cutting them up. Very useful website and you can even add sashing and borders, etc.

Now that I see the tremendous task ahead of us in finishing the basement, where my project room will reside, I know it will be a few more weeks until the space is livable again. Until then, my sewing machine is installed on one side of the dining room table where it's getting regular if not daily use in between a rush of other activities.

The binding will be a thin black bias, made of scraps if I have enough leftover (I may not). Savannah selected a super soft pink minky fabric with stars on it for the backing. The quilt top measures 44" x 44" and I can't wait to free motion quilt it and give it that wonderful crinkly texture.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Quilt block dilemma - Sophia's cows

There was something about these little moo cows that caught my eye on a recent trip to the fabric store for something entirely different. Savannah liked it too "for a Sophia" so we stacked up some coordinating fat quarters and half yards and brought them home for whenever I might have time to start thinking about making something for baby. I was hoping to make two simple, alternating quilt blocks in contrasting colors for baby's undeveloped eyes. But I can't find a decent pattern to contrast with this block that I do like. Here's my first block attempt (it doesn't work at all but I really wanted to find a way to use the cow print and polka dots).

I think this quilt may be suffering from a lack of white space. Maybe I'll try removing the stripes and replacing it with white fabric. Unfortunately, I can't find any of my white fabric at the moment since it's all packed away in boxes. I'm reluctant to purchase new fabric since I'm trying to put my craft room, which is the dining room table until the basement is tiled, on a fabric diet. I also considered embroidering "Moo!" on white squares that would alternate with the cows but I usually waste fabric when embroidering on small 4" squares like these. Plus, then I'm back to wading through boxes to find my white fabric...

Cute little moo, moos. Wonder what I'll come up with for a Baby William quilt. With the fabric diet in place, I may have to use up my Kaffe Fassett stash for a bright, gender-neutral quilt.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Playroom curtains complete

Between books and a busy schedule of work crews shuffling in and out of the house, I've been working on completing Savannah's playroom curtains. She picked out Alexander Henry's Mocca fabric and the timing was excellent because I found it on sale for $5/yard (Alexander Henry fabrics are never $5/yard!). Lucky me. If I convince Kevin of the red sofa for the kids playroom, then some pillows in the same fabric will go on the sofa. If not, I'll make floor cushions for the kids or fabric baskets to organize their toys for the room.

The floor for the playroom has been leveled and poured and the radiant heating is working very well. It's soooo nice! This weekend we'll paint it in Sherwin-Williams' compatible cream using their low-VOC paint called Durable. No, I'm not supposed to be painting so I'll only do some trim work with my NIOSH respirator on. Here are some early pics of the curtains, which are 100% cotton, machine washable, and lined. The ring clips Savannah selected make it very easy for her to slide the curtains open and closed -an unexpected child-friendly feature.

Holy cow - look at that color!

One curtain up before we installed the locally-made, custom, double-honeycomb, light-blocking insulating shades with side tracks for added draft prevention.

In the design room (which is currently the kitchen table!) pinning the lining to the fabric. These are large panels - 90" across for each of the two panels and with the heavy lining the largest part of my job was "fabric management" not sewing, cutting or pressing. The window is 100" across. I'm so glad these weren't floor-length drapes! The lining by the way was purchased with a JoAnn's gift card from my mother-in-law - great idea!

The curtains with the new shade drawn. The shade blocks sunlight (important for tv glare for family movies and when the summer sun is too hot). They are very insulating as well so reduce heat-loss from the house with their impressive R-value. The local company that custom makes these is Comfortex. It's another great way to save energy for your home, since windows are responsible for a large amount of heat loss. My only regret is that we picked out the shade color while the room was supposed to be painted in rice grain, a neutral warm grayish color like the shade. Now that we've changed the pallette, the color looks more like it belongs in an office building....