Little birds, finished

I had to stay late at work last week for open house, so before it started I took the time to pin my sister-in-law’s baby quilt. This weekend, gray and rainy (finally! I know we’re going to get tired of the rain in upcoming months, but we really needed it) was perfect to sit down at the sewing machine for a while.

I used a rainbow thread to quilt a spiral in the center, with painter’s tape as a guide to keep the width consistent, and then a lighter variegated thread to outline the birds.

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I went back and forth for a while about whether the rest of the light background needed more quilting. I want it to be a sturdy blanket, but I also wanted the outlines of the birds to really stand out, so in the end I left it unquilted. None of the open area is very wide, so it should be fine.

The quilting went quickly, except for one bird where I caught the backing edge folded over while outlining the legs.  The extra fabric was going to be cut off anyway so I could just slice it close to the stitching lines and pull out the remaining fabric thread by thread.

I used the extra fabric cut off while I was squaring it up plus a few other leftover strips to bind it.  Then I had to watch a YouTube video to remind myself how to miter corners that weren’t at 90 degrees.

The yellow corner caused a little trouble – the navy thread looked horrible and highlighted my less than perfect stitching, so I ripped that part out and switched to a cream thread and it looks much better.

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I learned a lot and would make some changes in the future, but I think it turned out to be a very cute blanket for our new family member.  It will fly to Israel with my husband in a couple of weeks to wrap around its new owner.

FE5D0985-3BFD-4593-BA5D-E981413E04D6The finished quilt, before washing

FF0F31F0-1D45-45F5-B442-C3061693FBF1Out of the dryer and in full crinkle

D247B9CA-0D48-47C8-AF32-04D7CDE742FBAnd the back

 

 

Little birds

As you can probably tell from the blog title, I am fond of birds, and fiber, and especially the combination of birds with fiber.

Add in the fact that there is a new baby in the family – my sister-in-law’s – and it was time for some bird sewing!

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I used helpful tips from the pattern on this website, though I abandoned the measurements and paper piecing and figured I would even it all out after the fact.  I just used the pictures to figure out the general idea, and then started mass producing birds.

Occasionally I went a little too quickly.  There was some seam ripping.

 

Dratted beaks don’t always end up where you want them.  I might have been a little tired at that point.

But I persevered, and the baby quilt grew.

It took awhile to decide what I wanted to do in the middle.  I was going to put four more birds, like compass points, but it didn’t look right.  Then I was just going to go with the light background colors in a scrappy layout.  But this is for a baby, after all, and likely to be on the ground, and suffer various baby fluid indignities, so it seemed like darker colors would be the way to go.

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Similarly, I went back and forth on the corners.  Nests of eggs?  More bright blocks?  In the end, I added in more birds.  Because, as has been mentioned, I really like birds.

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The back got more of the bold colors.

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Now just the pinning and quilting remain.  I have a couple of weeks for that as my husband is going to hand deliver this when he flies to Israel in mid-October.  (I actually did all this sewing a couple weeks ago, but I’ve been very behind in the blogging.)

Grellow

One of my favorite color combinations is gray and yellow. My new kitchen floor and backsplash are examples of that, although with the yellow turned way down.  Add in a warm brown, and it really helps with the rather washed out falls and winters around here.

So when we got our new living room couch a while ago, I inevitably chose a rather gray toned brown fabric, to go with the accent walls my sister painted yellow for me.

But a new couch demands a new quilt, right?

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I actually made the top last winter, and pinned the quilt sandwich in my school library the day I had to stay late for evening graduation back in June.

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But then my beloved Juki had to go into the shop to repair a broken part, and ended up having to be mailed back to the factory when the injury proved serious.  It was gone all summer, and my Brother machine, while excellent in its way, doesn’t have the harp space or the heavy duty power to quilt easily.  So the WIP waited until summer ended and the Juki finally returned.

By this point, I really needed it to get done, if only to reclaim the pins.  I have enough projects sandwiched and ready for quilting that I was running out of the curved safety pins.  Only a small pile remained.

I auditioned a few thread colors: gray, variegated, a dark brown.  I liked the dull gold of a 50 wt. Aurifil best for tying all the fabric colors together.   I chose a fairly simple quilting, just double echoes of all the seams, so it went fast.  As you can see in the photos, the quilt is made up of 10” squares, half square triangles, and four patches of 5” squares.  Not at all fancy, but bright and rich colors that I love together.

Add a binding made of the remnants of the backing fabric after trimming and it is exactly what I wanted for keeping warm on the couch.

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Summer progress

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Finally on summer vacation!  And then I made the mistake of watering all the new plants in the garden, and a sudden rain storm blew in.  My fault – I should have know better than to temp the rain gods like that.

But it made for a lot of available sewing time.  I’m back at work on the Growing Up Odd quilt, chain stitching the little squares and building the different sized blocks.

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I’ve finished the 7×3 and 7×7 blocks, 16 of each, and I have 34 of the 48 3×3 blocks done.

I tried hard to not duplicate fabrics in the same blocks.  That was easy in the nine patches, but harder when it was a 49 square block, sewn together randomly in chunks.  There is usually at least one repeat.

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Sashing next.  I’m planning to quilt it in strips to make it more manageable, though the actual quilting will have to wait until I get my Juki back from the shop.  My smaller Brother machine is great for regular sewing, but it doesn’t like too much bulk under the needle.

I also finished up my ribbed scarf knit with a variety of coned yarns.  I’m trying to clear up space in the craft storage.  It is entirely 1×1 ribbing, so it made a great work project I could pick up during lunch or faculty meetings.  No pattern or thought needed.

While I was knitting it the yarns were thin and almost cotton like – coned yarns still have oil on them as they were meant to be used on machines – but once it was done and hand washed in hot, soapy waters, and then dried on the hammock, the yarn softened and bloomed. Definitely a cold weather accessory, so it will be put away for awhile.

Odd patches

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No finishes this week – unless settling on a kitchen remodel design counts? – but I did make a new start.

I’ve been sewing lots of little squares together in spare bits of time.  There hasn’t been a lot of spare time, because spring means getting to the neglected yard work and we’re also been spending a lot of time looking at cabinets and countertops, but I have gotten some sewing done.  The dining room table is lost beneath all the scraps and cutting boards and irons.

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For quite a while I’ve been cutting up leftover fabric after each project into whatever square sizes will fit.  Five inch if possible, some 4 1/2″, and the rest become 2 1/2″.  The littlest ones were really starting to pile up, although for once they were piling in neat little stacks instead of a mound.  Some effort to be organized is going on, though my family would deny it.

I found an online pattern called Growing Up Odd that uses up a multitude of squares – 2,425 of them in the original pattern!

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I separated out the lighter and brighter fabrics for the most part and stuck to the darker tones, but other than that it is very eclectic.  There are batiks and 30s style little florals and the occasional giraffe.  Everytime I pick up a square I remember the quilt or bag or basket that came before it, which is what I love about scrappy quilting.

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The original calls for 2″ squares, and mine are 2 1/2″, so I’ll be making fewer blocks or it would swamp any bed we have.  I haven’t decided yet if I’m going to try for a king size, which would mean quilting it in pieces and then attaching them so I can handle it on my home machine, or if I’ll scale it down to the usual generously sized twin.  We use those so much around the house, but I really need a king size quilt for the summer months when the down comforter is too hot.  I’m just not sure this is the pattern I want for the bed – I have a picture of giant flying geese in my head for that one.  On the other hand, I don’t have all the fabrics that I want for the geese, and we could probably stand to have more than one large quilt as an option.

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Not a decision I have to make at the moment, which is good because my head is stuffed with kitchen backsplash tile options with little room for anything else – why are there So Many Choices!?  I can just keep mindlessly chain piecing little squares when I can’t look at tiles anymore.  It is soothing.  I have 50 9-patch squares done, and a lot more little 3-patches to join together.  Chain piecing goes so quickly, but I’m going to need a lot more.