Thinking for Myself

I started project #2 last night. After practicing the instructions on a piece of paper, I started cutting my layer cake blocks based on what was written on the blog. After cutting about nine blocks, I started thinking that maybe I was cutting too much fabric.

I emailed the creator of my new fancy blogs. It was true, I was cutting way too much fabric. Instead of 3-3 inch strips, she wanted 1-3 inch strip. Now I have to decide if my quilt will have two or three whirligigs of the same fabric, or restart and have different whirligigs.

One of things I've discovered about quilting is that you can do what you want.... it doesn't matter. I haven't met the quilting police, but I've read they exist. I do think that if I set up these blocks in a pattern, it will be okay that the fabric is repeated.

Don't look now, but I think I learned something.


Project #2: Whirligig Baby Quilt

I've decided on my next quilt. The criteria for this quilt is that I have to follow directions.  My first quilting experience was to learn and explore.  Now that I know this is something I like and would like to get better at, my next step, in my opinion, is to follow directions.  There seems to be way too much math involved in this art form for me to wing it.

So.  I've been reading quilting blogs and looked at countless books on the modern quilting movement.  I like the look of the "modern" quilt, although the definition of modern quilting is never completely defined.  I know what I like though.

Fabric.  Why is fabric always the easiest part?  Except that I want to start more than one project at a time.  This, I think, is a common problem.  So, the fabric I'm going to use in project #2 is the Bliss line of Moda products.  It comes in a layer cake and I love it.  I purchased said layer cake along with some coordinating fabrics before I knew what I wanted... except to say that I knew that I wanted the Bliss line of Moda fabrics.  So, I think I did this backwards.  But, see, I learned something.

While looking at blogs I somehow found myself on the When Eight Create blog.  They recently posted the Whirligig Quilt and it looked like the perfect "first" quilt.  It's made with a layer cake: check.  It's smaller so manageable, check.  I just needed some white fabric.  Easy.

So, I've made the decision. In the process, I've bookmarked about six other quilts I think are my style.  And I found another pattern I liked at the fabric store and some stunning fabric I must -- no really -- must have.

Breathe.  And follow directions.  That's it for now.

Oh, I also ran across a pledge to Blog the Process.  Easy.  It's sort of what I've been doing.  But I Took the Process Pledge.

The Process Pledge


Three Birds in Springtime


The back:

And, my mom's reaction to her gift.


My First Project

I didn't know how to start my first project. I really enjoyed the book mentioned in my previous post: Scandinavian Stitches... she seemed to draw a picture and then turn it into fabric art. This seemed like a good place to start. So I drew a picture. I used the shape of the bird from the Scandinavian Stiches book.

After drawing the picture, I went to my favorite quilt shop and found fabric that matched my picture and each other. Fabric purchasing has never been a problem for me -- I just don't know what to do with it once I have it.

After measuring and cutting I was ready to start my project. I started by sewing the grass and sky together. That was the easy part.

I took this project one step at a time, often taking one week per step. The next step was to find the materials I would need to properly applique the pieces on to the quilt top. I went to my other favorite quilt shop and asked for what I thought I was looking for. I found something better: people who know what they're doing. They recommended Steam-A-Seam 2 (Double Stick Fusible Web). It's wonderful. There might be other material out there that does the same things as this web, but I found this to be easy-peasy pie. After the materials were cut out, I sewed them on with black thread. Scandinavian Stitches projects have lots of black thread and it sort of makes the elements pop. (You'll see.)

The birds. The birds in the book I was working with .had some dramatic elements. Now, in my life, I've played with beads and knew I had some that would be just right for this project. I took jewelry wire and threaded at the bottom of the bird for legs and added beads. I did this for both legs of the bird for all three birds. A little silver bead was sewn on for each eye. I think it's a good effect, don't you?

So far so good. This was all stuff I knew how to do; I had the tree in place, the birdies in place. The picture needed something else, particularly because I placed one birdie in the wrong place (as shown in the original picture). I thought and then thought and then thought: yo-yos!

I purchased a yo-yo maker and practiced and practiced. Finally, I had a project to use them on using a fabric that had whole new color.. partly because I loved the fabric and wanted to finally use it... partly because I thought the red popped. I made five flowers and used a different green fabric for the stem and leaves. It looks good, doesn't it!

Okay, I was done with the quilt top. Now for the back. The plan was to use the green fabric from the front on the back. Nice and simple.

Or not. I'm pretty lousy with the math of quilting, thank goodness my husband is a walking calculator. I measured twice, cut once and got the wrong size. Oh well, I thought I'd just use the blue fabric instead. Nope, same exact issue. This is where things got foggy. I wasn't going to buy a whole new piece of fabric, this was quilting for heaven's sake. So, I thought and thought and thought and tried to figure out how I could piece something together. I had nothing. I've never quilted before! I thought I could layer the blue and green til the vertical length was that of the quilt top. (Are you confused? I was!)

Well, that wasn't working. This step really took about 3 weeks. I felt paralyzed by lack of experience. Until last weekend. Playing around with 4 inch strips of fabric, I started putting them together using stitch in the ditch -- which is something I learned last year. Check. I wish I took a picture of the strip. It was a gentle arc not the straight line I was hoping for. That was okay, I had enough fabric that I cut it to a semi-straight line. My pinning skills are superb. .

I was very proud of myself. The next step was to cut the batting and create the quilt sandwich. Guess what? Yes, I cut it wrong. What am I doing wrong? No matter, back to quilt shop and bought some more. She also gave me some good guidelines and help with the binding fabric.

Today's quilting phrase: Presents as a solid.

I put the quilt together (is that the hardest part?) and machine stitched the sandwich together. I found a great old hoop to put the quilt in and learned me some hand quilting. I learned by reading and lots of starting and restarting. I followed the loops of the blue fabric in different spots. Here is an up-close of my first attempt. (I've since tightened up this section -- it looks a lot better.)

I enjoyed it. I've certainly gained a lot of respect for the hand quilts I've seen with such uniform stitches. That is skill! After the binding went on, I ironed it and it's now ready for my mom's mother's day present. I'm sure she'll be pleased. I'll put the picture of the final quilt online, once I've given it to her.

I like this quilting stuff.