Sunday, August 12, 2012

Quilt Top Complete!

I have made several quilts in the past, but this is the first one that I have attempted without the use of a specific pattern.  I like following patterns and having things turn out exactly how they are "supposed" to, so improving a quilt is very much out of my comfort zone.

I started with the New York Beauty quilt-a-long at Sew Sweetness, but I only made the blocks that I liked the look of.  I ended up with 15 blocks.  Then I decided to try some scrappy improv chevrons.  I followed these directions at Six White Horses, but I cut all of my wedges at the same angle, because I wanted them to go well with the precise points on the New York Beauty blocks, and attached them all together in a long strip. I cut the strip lengthwise and made two chevron stripes on either side of my New York Beauty blocks.  I saved the scraps from my chevrons and sewed them all together, then chopped them up again and mixed in some solid gray to create a fun scrappy border.

Not having a plan was really difficult for me, but really fun at the same time.  My daughter loves the result and has claimed this quilt for her bed.  Now I need to quilt it!  I think I may try to do it myself, since it's a twin size.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Military Uniforms in My Quilt?

Now that I have abandoned my overwhelmingly huge idea for the New York Beauty Blocks (and further downsized it into the goal of a twin-sized quilt for my daughter!), my mind has moved on to deciding on a more manageable quilt for my own bed.

I am really loving the new Indie collection by Pat Bravo, and have a fat quarter pack of the entire line in my cart right now at The Intrepid Thread.  I am planning a scrappy-yet-planned simple quilt and want to use a navy solid to add some modern edge.
Indie, image courtesy of Fresh Lemon Quilts

I considered ordering several yards of the Moda Bella Solid in Admiral Blue, and then I saw the towering pile of Coast Guard ODU uniforms on my office floor.  Every few years, the Coast Guard is nice enough to change the required daily uniform that my husband must wear, rendering his old uniforms obsolete and costing us an arm and a leg to replace with the new regulation version.  They just so happen to be navy blue.  They are also 50% cotton and 50% nylon.   They have been washed enough times that they're really soft.

 I am tempted to try repurposing them, but am unsure how they will work with quilting-weight cotton.  Anyone have any experience with this to share? It would make buying those new uniforms seem not quite as pricey!

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Getting Scrappy

Sheesh, almost an entire month since my last post!  As much as I love summer, I'm very ready for the start of fall, which brings school, routine, and more time to sew!

I have been fitting in small projects here and there.
Canvas and cotton nesting bowls
Cotton and linen potholders

Linen and cotton nesting bowls

Linen and cotton wallets

But my largest project in the works, a queen-sized quilt for my bed, has been at a standstill.  As much as I love making the New York Beauty blocks that I had originally intended to solely use, meandering their way around the quilt, I just don't think it's practical to stick to the original plan if I ever want to actually finish the quilt.

My New York Beauty blocks awaiting some company

That point was reaffirmed this weekend when I found this stack of paper-pieced blocks that I started at least 5 years ago.

Hmmm...maybe these need to become something new...iPad cases? Cosmetics bags?

I had a lightbulb moment the other night regarding the quilt.  My original intent was to make it more modern than traditional.  Starting with the very traditional paper-pieced blocks, I needed to add something much less conventional to achieve the modern look.  I am always inspired by Maureen Cracknell's beautiful projects and color choices, and I remembered some scrappy chevron blocks she shared awhile back.  My new plan is to make strips of scrappy chevrons and mix them in with my New York Beauties and some strips of solid gray.  I'm using the tutorial at Six White Horses for the chevrons.  This scrappy, not-so-planned idea is much more forgiving and fun, even though I do find paper piecing relaxing.  I cut a bunch of strips tonight.  Stay tuned for the results!

Strips ready to get scrappy