Thursday, June 30, 2011

What I'm up to

I'm working on making my first quilt. Well, I mean, my first human sized quilt. It'll be a queen size when it's finished (at least, that's the current plan), and it's made from my grandfather's shirts. It's based off the charm quilt "My Charming Neighborhood," but since my grandpa didn't have 600+ different shirts, it's not an actual charm quilt. I'm calling it "My Grandfather's Neighborhood." It's going to look freaking sweet when it's done.

The idea behind the quilt is that you have alternating dark and light rows, the light rows representing the sky and the dark rows representing houses in the neighborhood. Here is my first block of 4 patches sewn together.

I actually re-did this block twice after this picture was taken. They were actually necessary fixes, I wasn't just being super anal about seams. Here is the first row of the quilt laid out. It's not sewn together yet.

I know it looks like it's going to be crazy huge, but keep in mind that you lose 1/4 inch from each block in the seams, so it'll shrink up quite a bit. My strategy is pretty much just to sew one light patch to one dark patch, and then move them around to see where they look best. I have enough blocks cut out for over two rows now. Ten or so more rows to go. This guy is my favorite block so far:

I took the pockets from a lot of Grandpa's shirts, because I could be guaranteed to get at least one patch from each pocket. And since I'm the only one doing a charm-style quilt, everybody else needed more than one block from each shirt. I love the pockets that have designs on them, but the duck is by far my favorite.

I really like quilting, because it's something creative that really compliments my meticulous and detail oriented nature. I've always liked putting together puzzles, and that's kind of what quilting is. It's a puzzle you put together, after you design and cut out all the pieces. And I know not everyone feels this way, but there is something very zen about sitting in front of your sewing machine.

I've actually already designed my next two projects. The first is a table runner I'm going to make to compliment my black, white, and red dining room:

The pattern is a disappearing nine patch, which is actually the same pattern I used in the doll blanket I made for my grandmother. It's fascinating how the same pattern looks so different depending on the fabrics you use.

The other project is a quilt sampler I'm going to make for my mother. I bought this gorgeous fabric on clearance a while ago, it's this tan background with orange and red flowers on brown branches (it'll go where the ugly floral pattern is in the design below, I just picked something with a large-scale floral to see how the layout would look). I only have a yard of it, so I don't really have enough for a full quilt, so I'm planning on making my mom a nice wall hanging. Something like this:

Obviously it's still a work in progress, but I'm really happy with it so far. I'm still getting used to using the Electric Quilt software. I really like that EQ calculates how much fabric you need of each style. It's so nice to not worry that I effed up the math. Alternately, it's nice to have something else to blame when the math is wrong. Also, depending on how sick I get of cutting out houses, I may make one of these projects before I finish My Grandfather's Neighborhood.

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