Botanics Disappearing Nine-Patch Pillow

I moved to upper Manhattan (north of 200th street!) earlier this year to be closer to campus, and haven’t had much time for sewing since then — in part because I’ve been teaching two classes this fall and reading for my comprehensive (qualifying) exams, and in part because my sewing machine doesn’t fit in my new apartment.

I know.  I don’t have space for my sewing machine!  Welcome to living in Manhattan.  At least it’s still with my parents, in Brooklyn, and I can visit them (and it) from time to time.

And that’s exactly what I did this past weekend!  I had a sewing vacation for a day and a half, and now I have something to post about.

Pillow in chair2

This is a pillow made from a patchwork square I made a few months ago.  Its origin was a charm pack of Botanics fabric, which I sewed together using a modified disappearing nine-patch pattern.  I love this fabric line, and I have a half-yard bundle of it, which I am seriously contemplating making into a quilt along these same lines, because this pillow just makes me happy.

The quilting is broadly-spaced diagonal lines through the centers of the squares:

Quilting detail

The back is a simple envelope closure, and I used a black cross-hatch from the Botanics line to finish it, because I had the fabric, and I’m trying hard to *use* my fabric, rather than worry about whether this is the “right” project for it — if it will make me happy, and make the project better, I’ll use it.  Maybe there’s a hypothetical project out there somewhere in the future for which it would be “better” — but there will be more fabric in the future, and if I never use it, it will only sit around gathering dust.

Pillow back

I was surprised by how much I have missed sewing: I’ve been doing a lot of spinning and knitting, but this was soothing in a different way.  While I was at home, I also took part of a penny patch quilt I’d been working on and repurposed part of the quilt top into a baby quilt, which I’ll post about as soon as I’m done binding it.

For now, I’ll close with another picture of this pillow:

Pillow in chair1

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Spinning more, quilting less.

Most of what I’ve been working on recently has been spinning, or English Paper Piecing or knitting. I blame the fact that my sewing table is COVERED IN STUFF.

In any case, here are the two projects that I’ve been working on recently of which I have pictures. First is my cat supervising my spinning during the Ravellenic Games:
SpinCat

Next is some singles I’ll chain-ply into a 3-ply yarn for a sweater:
forestryLessIsMore1
I just moved up to a sublet in Inwood (upper, upper, upper Manhattan) for the remainder of the semester, because the hour and a half commute was getting to me. So now I’ve been drop-spindling a lot, too, because those take up less space than a wheel. (That said, my travel wheel — the little one in the previous picture — is here with me.)

This is a Blue Faced Leicester/Silk blend, dyed by Spunky Eclectic.
photo (1) photo

Apologies for picture quality: I forgot to pack my camera, so these are all from my iPod, whose camera is indifferent at best.

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Housebound? Handspinning time.

This has been the weather recently:
Snow 02:13:2014

For the Ravellenic Games (the “knit something challenging during the Olympics” challenge) I decided to do a spinning project and a knitting project. I haven’t finished the mittens yet — not even the first one — but I did finish the yarn.

This is a 3-ply, chain-plied (chained with itself, also called Navajo plying) yarn that comes in at 19 wraps per inch — that means it’s a light fingering weight yarn, a little thinner than a very thin sock yarn, a little thicker than lace.

Nest1

Skein1

And when I finished that, the spinning bug hadn’t let go yet, so I made this from pin-drafted roving. It’s the first time I’ve ever spun bulky yarn, or plied it with thread, and I’m really not sure how I feel about it. I tend not to like bulky yarn to begin with.
ThreadPlied1

I’m planning on putting several of the things I make during the Ravellenic Games up for a charity raffle after the end of the Olympics. I might throw in a pattern or two and a couple of sewn things as well.

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Two-Finish Friday

These are both gift quilts: one for a friend and her husband and one for a new baby. Here they are all folded up, about to be packed and mailed:

StackFolded

The first quilt I finished was made up of hourglass blocks. I pieced them all over the summer on my Singer 66, and then they sat, and sat, and sat over the fall, because I didn’t have time to finish it until the semester was over. But now it’s done!

HourglassFrontWhole

The backing is a boat print, because the mother and the grandparents all sail. You can see in this picture that I quilted a simple diagonal grid 1/4″ on each side of the hourglass blocks.

HourglassQuilting

I used a black pezzy print for the binding because I didn’t want to emphasize any particular color from the front. I think it works! I wish I had more of this fabric in stash to do the same in the future — I’ll just have to keep an eye out for similarly useful prints. I attached the binding by stitching it down twice. On the back you see two lines of stitching:
HourglassCornerBack

On the front, you only see one, because the other is hidden at the intersection of the binding and the quilt:
HourglassCorner

The other quilt is for friends of mine, because they live in northern England and it gets coooooold! For this one I used a pattern by Elizabeth Hartmann: her New Wave Quilt.

WavesWhole

I cut my fat quarters very, very carefully, and had enough extra pieces to showcase the wave pattern on the back of the quilt as well:
WavesBackWhole

This one I quilted by stitching in the ditch along the edges of the white sashing. I stitched smaller diamonds within the “waves” as well. Then I did some free-motion quilting in the sashing, which I’m really quite proud of.

WavesColorQuilting

I did the same kind of binding on this quilt, and also bound it in a pezzy print, though this one was navy, to complement the blues of the quilt.

WavesCornerBack

Not bad for a break that only started on December 23rd!

StackFolded

Linking up to TGIFF!

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A three-finish Friday!

This week I have three finished quilts to post. (This really means that I’ve been delinquent in photographing them, not that last week was a sudden flurry of quilting.)

First off, a friend of mine is having twins this fall. And new babies means quilts, right? I decided to do a small zig-zag quilt for each of them, using 4 1/2″ square blocks instead of half square triangles (4″ finished). I pulled charm squares from a number of swaps, and picked out the ones that I thought were childlike but not too childish, in the hopes that the quilts would last them a little while.

I made all the blocks at more or less the same time, and trimmed them to the same size. And then I sewed the quilt tops together on two different machines, with (as it turns out) two sliiiightly different 1/4″ measurements. Ooops.

Twin-far

Yeah. One of them is about 2″ bigger than the other, and I was working so fast that I didn’t notice until I’d quilted them. *facepalm* I’m just going to hope the twins aren’t too competitive.

Twin-close

I backed them with the blue Hello Pilgrim stripe, with a strip of squares down the side to make it just wide enough (the quilts are just over 44″ square) and quilted them along the zig-zag steps with my walking foot.

Twin-Backs

Twin-Quilting

I bound them in two different purple prints.

Twin-Binding

And now they’re all folded and in a box, ready to be shipped out.


The other quilt is also a baby quilt — turns out lots of my friends are pregnant right now. This one is for a little girl, and for a couple who like pink. So I picked pinks, purples, and greens (and a couple of low volume prints) and made a Scrappy Trip Around the World quilt. This one is 4 blocks by 4 blocks, so about 48″ square.

Baby-Scrappy-Trip-far

I lined up the darker greens to be the centers of the individual blocks, and then instead of setting them as lots of little diamonds, I set it as an expanding ring of diamonds. I like this layout a lot with these colors, and with this size of quilt.

ScrappyTripclose

I backed it in the green Hello Pilgrim stripe, with a strip of scrappy trip blocks down the side to make the fabric backing wide enough. (Are we seeing a theme here?)

ST-Backing

I quilted it with a sort of modified dogwood or orange peel quilting pattern, on every other seam line. It works out to a sort of floral grid on the back, which I think is kind of sweet.

ST-Quilting

I bound it in the pink illusion print, which I really like for bindings now, and it’s all ready to be mailed to Massachusetts, as soon as I find a box.

ST-Folded

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Work in Progress Wednesday

I have a number of things in progress right now — a queen sized quilt for my own bed, using Simply Color and big pinwheels, a Kitchen Window quilt that I’ve had cut for ages and can’t seem to get myself to piece, not to mention smaller projects.

But the one I’m working on is a baby quilt for a neighbor’s baby girl.

Hourglass-Top

The hourglasses are 3.5″ finished, and there are 196 of them — 14 x 14. I’ve got about 70 more that I didn’t use, so I’ll have to figure out what to do with those one of these days.

I used 5″ squares, made 4.5″ half-square triangles, and 4″ hourglasses. Sewn together, they look at lot smaller than they did — 13 seam allowances adds up!

Hourglass-piecing-layout

The crazy thing is, I loved piecing this thing. You’d think I’d be tired of hourglass blocks, but I’m not at all, just looking forward to the next time I have a project that needs some.

Linking up to Work in Progress Wednesday.

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do.Good Stitches, August 2013

As part of the INSPIRE circle, I make up two quilt blocks a month, and mail them to a group member who takes all our finished blocks and makes them into a lovely quilt.

This month the blocks were a beautiful paper-pieced star, which I have to confess made me a little bit nervous, since I’ve never paper pieced before. Turns out I love it!

This is the first block I made:
August INSPIRE block #1
I’m proud of it. The background fabric is the handwriting print from Architextures, and I have to say, I fell in love with it while I was making this block.

This is the second block:
August INSPIRE block #2
I’m not as fond of this one: the blues and purples are too close in value to give the kind of inner pop that the yellow does in the first block. And the background is a pearl bracelets in almost-white, which works, but it turns out I’m not as much of a fan of that print (which I usually love) in such a low-volume context. Live and learn!

I’ve also been working on a quilt for a friend’s new baby, (I’ve got a few months of lead time there, though) and have two finished quilts that I have to photograph before I mail them off to their expectant mother. Those two are on a serious deadline.

What have you been working on?

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