Batik Slab Tote Finished!

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Leading up to the big reveal of the quilt that goes inside this …

I put this together with leftovers from the quilt itself plus some other batiks and hand dyes.  It’s a little smaller than a pillowcase and plenty big enough to take a large nap quilt with room for a book or other small items that might be needed.

Now I realize I should have taken a photo of the other side too, oh well.  I constructed this by sewing the slab into a long rectangle, folding it in half and sewing up the two side seams.  The lizard tote was folded the other way and I had to sew across the bottom and up one side seam.  Because this will be a functioning tote as the quilt will be carried around, I took care to keep the lighter colours at the top of the bag as the darker colours can withstand being set down better.

The whole tote and the handles are stuffed with batting and quilted with trilobal variegated thread which has a beautiful sheen.

Hmm, I could see getting into more totes and the like, there’s something very satisfying about functional objects that you make yourself!  I’m still going to do art pieces but sometimes the gap between the inner vision and the ultimate object is so vast.

Top of the table topper

Here is the top of the table topper for Young Sprout and Sproutette.  I showed the back in all its “glory” here.

photo(73)I can’t remember where the coffee and teapot print came from but this was all I had of it.  Hopefully this will grace many tea parties for their stuffies and dolls!

Lesson learned:

  • I feel like the blue-gray shades in the centre fabric are fighting with the warm cream calico prairie point fabric.  Perhaps light green or blue points would have been better.

Slab Baby Quilts

I had so much fun making slabs to help recover Southern Alberta that after I had mailed off the last package (the organizers had a deadline of July 30) I tweaked the concept and have started making baby quilts.

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Unfortunately this is the only photo I have of the first one because I was rushing to finish the top before our Guild meeting.  Anyhoo, the blocks are made just 9-1/2 inches to finish at 9 inches and I am putting 12 blocks in three rows of four and then adding a contrasting border to frame it.  The blue quilt has a rust red tonal border.

Thanks to Laine who contributed one large green block.  I trimmed into four baby size blocks, adding white and other green fabric as necessary.

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Lessons learned:

  • Pale pastels and airy scattered prints, a.k.a. low volume, are good
  • Easier to sew together if there are not too many seams on the outside of the top, especially on the corners!
  • Trimming to size is easier if smaller scraps are inside the block and wider ones on the edges

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  • I cut a 9-1/2 inch square out of heavy sketching paper as a template so it’s easy to tell how much more needs to be added to the block while you’re assembling it

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  • finished blocks have their own home.  This is supposed to be for scrapbooking paper, don’t tell the scrapbooking police!  although you could use a pizza box.  We often make our own and rarely phone for pizza so we don’t have a source for clean pizza boxes. The template lives in the box and often has a sticky note on it with notes like “need 3 more blue blocks”

Prairie Point Project

Does this ever happen to you?

It never fails!  My major projects, such as the dino quilt, always seem to generate test and practice pieces.  And they in turn take on a life of their own.

Yes, I could grab some ugly hard to use fabrics, make a quick quilt sandwich and grab assorted precut 3-1/2 inch squares (precut by me using Joan Ford’s Scrap Therapy system) and make sure I can apply Prairie Points.  But I can’t bring myself to do that.

Out comes a novelty fabric and some pretty chintzes and I’m making a table topper for Young Sprout & Co.  They were recently blessed with a child size table and chairs and as soon as it was in their room, they found a receiving blanket to serve as a tablecloth.

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Since this is to be an Eid gift, for now I’m just showing the back.  Ignore the birds nest of threads.  This is still a work in progress as I have to deal with that and sew down the prairie points by hand.   Then it will be on to the dino quilt, a much larger project, LOL!

New Quilt Unveiled

Nothing was posted about this earlier because I wanted to surprise the recipient.  If she totally hates it, she can always pretend that the back is the top:

All my life I’ve struggled with completely finishing things, so bingo might be a better hobby than quilting, I sometimes feel.

Anyhoo, this has been bound, labeled, and provided with its coordinating tote bag.  And after going back and forth on it for a few times, I put handles on the tote bag.

This photo shows the bag.  Almost every piece of fabric has a story, either where it came from or how it was made.

See the blue and red swirly fabric towards the bottom of the bag?  That was a serendipitous piece created when I was using a hatband that had turned out too tight as a wiping rag when I was dyeing fabric.  For years this was a piece that was waaaay to beautiful to cut.  see here for a close up photo. The pink and green paisley to the right of it comes from either Susan Purney Mark or Daphne Greig.  Many small squares of it have been floating around Victoria, and I’ve collected pieces from both of them.

The fun thing about making this is that it grows itself and is a fast stash buster.  I’ve tried designs that purport to bust stash but require a lot of time and patience to work with smaller pieces that can’t be strip pieced.  After the twin bed topper was done I had no less scraps than before I started.  If my scraps continue to grow it’s because I keep an eye open for small pieces that other people have given up on!

When making this fabric I set a few parameters:

The same fabrics can be touching because I want to fool the eye and not be too obvious about where one piece starts and the other leaves off.  See how I did it with marbled fabric:

No, no set in seams here, thank you very much!

I’m working with strips and with pieces that are smaller than a fat quarter.  If you click on this photo Andrea Hamilton’s mid-arm quilting shows to much better advantage on the light fabric.  We chose Valdani Gem Symphony.

Nothing representational really, although I do have one butterfly on my cushion.

The fabrics are mostly solids, tone on tone, neutrals, batiks and surface design pieces. However in the spirit of nothing representational, I’m not using batiks with really in your face pictures on them, like flip-flops.

I’m not allowed to get too precious and agonize over whether adjacent fabrics look good together.  Some do, some don’t.

Some of the fabric is too beautiful to cut and some was what I couldn’t sell at the Guild garage sale!  And some came from fellow surface design folks who were cleaning out their studios and desperate to see the back of their own stash.

Since the fabric is used to make larger items there is not a set block size.  I sew pieces to each other and build long strips about 7 to 10 inches wide and as long as the width of a twin bed quilt.  Then when I’m going to make something I play around with these strips and figure out the final design.

And although some oriental carpet makers and Amish quilters put deliberate errors into their pieces because perfection belongs to God alone, I doubt I’ll ever come close to needing to do that!  There’s a non deliberate error in the tote (one handle is twisted, aaaarrrgggghhhh!

and another (really galling) one in the quilt itself.