02 May 2015

A Finish for a Very Special Girl

I am very pleased to announce a very special quilt finished for a very special little girl - my neice, who I called neice Quiche in my last post. I finally finished the quilt and got it sent off to the wild world of Wisconsin, where it has been very warmly received...and I'm super excited to show it to all of you!

Neice Quiche has been very long anticipated and finally arrived this past December (I know, I'm a bit late on this quilt). When my sister found out she was expecting, she and her husband made a deal that allowed him to pick the nursery theme (before they knew gender) and he decided vintage Star Wars. I was SO excited they kept the theme even after finding out they were having a little girl...and so I got around to designing a vintage Star Wars baby quilt.

I did a quick search on Pinterest for Star Wars Quilts and found a pin that linked to Andy Rash's Star Wars pixel art and I was totally hooked. I drew the characters on graph paper, cut them out, and moved them around until I liked the design (with the hubby's help to try to make them all fit). I had decided on 1.5" strips unfinished/1" finished and the size had to fit on the Warm and Natural crib-size batting (package says it's 45x60).

Left: the colored-in cut-out pieces; Right: we re-drew them to make it easier to sew from, but coloring was too tedious.
At first, I was afraid of the design - the characters had enough overlap between them that I was envisioning Y-seams and other terrible things (hey, I hate them...if you can do them, the more power to you!)...until my husband pointed out that I could just make blocks of a fixed size and the characters would still come together in the end. Duh!

To make the quilt as best I could, I used my Go! Cutter to cut 1.5" strips, then sewed those strips into the most common strip pairs I'd need for any given block. I then sub-cut those strip pairs down into doublets - two 1.5" squares sewn together, not pressed. I pressed the top seams of each block to the left, the next row to the right, etc. so they would nest well; waiting to press the sub-cut seams helped all of that lay nice and easy for me.

The solids are all Kona cottons, which I'd bought from the Fat Quarter Shop. In all, I'd bought 6.5 yards of the solids and either 3 or 4 yards of the background, which was Stargazers Sky Milky Way Yardage (I can't find it on the Fat Quarter Shop now, but here's a picture of the fabric on

Overall, I definitely bought too much of the solids, but they'll get used in the future, I'm sure. This quilt was fun, if a little finicky to get all the seams to match. After all, it contained 2,240 squares in total, and getting that many to match up...isn't necessarily impossible, but definitely difficult.

The backing was Timeless Treasures Fairy Tale Mini Stars Fuschia. I bought 3 yards and it worked well - I had a few strips left over from each side of the quilt but not too much. To bind the quilt, I opted for a navy batik with a snowflake design left from Texas Mom's 4-Seasons quilt. I think I got it from Fat Quarter Shop, but I'm honestly not positive because it was bought in 2010. I picked this print because neice Quiche is a December baby, and my sister's wedding was in December - her colors were blue and silver and she had lots of snowflakes in her decorations. I liked that the binding tied that in there subtly.

I quilted in a squared-off spiral so the quilting would go through every square of fabric (gotta help reinforce those seams for baby quilts - they'll get spit up on and need to go through the wash!). I randomly quilted a few stars throughout, as you can see in the character shots below. For the two ends of the quilt, I just quilted straight lines (the rectangle meant that I ran out of width to quilt before I ran out of length) to make the eye think that the spiral was still going.

Pictures from before I sent it off (this is bigger than my usual quilt, so I had to stand on the couch and get pictures of it on the floor):

The whole front - isn't this fun?

Backing, binding, and helicopter label close-up
Chewie yelling - I love his ammo belt!
Little ewok and Yoda
Emperor Palpatine; it's hard to see the magic sparks coming out of his hands but you can if you click to make the picture bigger.
*cue the Imperial March here*

She looks a little awkward, but at least she has the cinnamon buns!

Luke and C3PO, who is appropriately in the middle of the fight, probably trying unsuccessfully to calm everyone down. Luke's light saber and eyes are the same color as the Emperor's electricity.

Han shot first!

R2D2 in the middle of the fight, right where he belongs!

Storm Trooper

And now a few pictures of the quilt in action, used with permission from my sister:

I absolutely love the location of the characters. The droids, just like in the movies, have managed to get in the middle of the battles. Luke and Han are both trying to protect Leia, Chewie is throwing up his arms and doing the noise he is so known for, and the Ewok is getting into trouble as always, unaware of how tiny he is. Yoda is even almost standing on Luke's shoulders.

Stash Report, linking up with Judy L. of Patchwork Times whenever hers goes live:

Used this Week: 7 yards (front, backing, and binding)
Used year to Date: 7 yards
Added this Week: 0 yards
Added Year to Date: 7 yards
Yards to Goal: 43
Net for 2015: 0 yards added - I'm even! Wahoo!

25 January 2015

High Tech, Low Tech

I wish I could just write *insert witty opening line about not having posted in years here* and have one appear but, alas, life doesn't work that way. Instead, it moves on and before you've realized it has been two years since you even looked at your blog. Go figure!

My quilting has been much slower lately. Since my last post (seems ages ago, really!) my left shoulder hasn't improved, unfortunately. I have had two surgeries on said shoulder, which has put a big damper on rotary cutting. I'm now still dealing with that shoulder's issues (how am I this broken? I'm still in my 20s!) after I fell off my bike on ice and landed squarely on that arm. My latest MRI shows that I have what appear to be small tears in my rotator cuff and possibly some scar tissue growing through some of the tears. I'll find out in late February if I'll have to have another surgery.

I had resisted getting a Go! Cutter until a couple of months ago, when I finally decided that enough was enough and I was being utterly ridiculous. I bought the Go! regular with a 2.5" strip die and a 1.5" strip die (the value die came with it but I haven't used it yet). I love it...absolutely love it. It's easy to use and I get so much more cutting done. Up until fairly recently I had been able to do some rotary cutting but was noticing that I was having more issues with reliability of those cuts. I'd slip at the end of the cut and it would be just a little too big or a little too small, but usually enough to swag and make it work. Getting the Go! has completely eliminated that issue for me, and my 2.5" strip bags are quite healthy.

I haven't had any issues with the fabric being distorted with my cutter, though that could have more to do with the fact that I'm using the strips and not any of the shapes. One of the rubbery feet on the bottom of the center of the cutter has fallen off, but mine gets folded up and moved around fairly often so I'm not too worried about it. I wasn't expecting how much static electricity it produces, but it's not really a problem, just a minor annoyance. It might happen less during the more humid summers, we'll see.

Lately I haven't been able to rotary cut at all, though, so I've gone back to the old days of quilting...drawing lines and cutting pieces with scissors. The Go! cutter is great for making me strips, but I don't have every die and when I need a 2.5" by 6.5" rectangle I can't make it with the dies I have. Rotary cutters were around when I started quilting, but the nice lady who taught me (whose name, unfortunately, I have forgotten some 15 plus years later) was a template woman. She had somewhat opened to the idea of a rotary cutter to add a seam allowance but she would trace her template and then use the rotary cutter to cut .25" away from her line. She and I both hand pieced back then, so the line was necessary to know where to sew.

I became an Auntie recently and, unfortunately, that quilt is still in progress and a secret. I've got another neice on the way soon but her quilt is only a few blocks that are now on hold since baby Quiche's quilt backing finally arrived (names obviously changed for privacy!). The quilt is not quite halfway done with the quilting.

My most recent finish has been for my friend's baby. Baby J-kwelin (it's an inside joke) was born in September and I was able to finish her quilt in time! Her nursery colors are yellow and gray. Her quilt was Bonnie Hunter's Jack in the Box pattern, 4 by 5 blocks with .75" sashing.

Don't look at my messy buffet behind the couch...

And the obligatory shot of the label on the back...
It was a fun little quilt to make. My blocks were a good chance to play with color theory a bit. I found I am not very good at finding "light orange" in my stash, since those color combos invariably didn't read well value-wise. I also started playing with varied neutral backgrounds, though I'm not as relaxed as Bonnie is (each block had the same background, not mixing and matching like Bonnie's quilts usually are...also, all stayed well within the tan color family). I quilted it in rows since the blocks had been made over a long period of time and weren't exactly the same size.

My other finish recently was for baby Jorgito. He was born in August and he's the most serious, studious baby I've met. I used string blocks for his quilt; his nursery was green and brown, hence the color scheme of the quilt!

Oh's my couch again!

I love the backing fabric.


The binding for this quilt was actually leftover bits from Baby S's quilt a few years ago. The brown/orange/blue/green/yellow stripes really looked nice with the colors on the front of the quilt. I had just enough of the stripe (in the direction it needed to go) to do this quilt with about 8" leftover. Stash for the win!

That's enough for now...wrapping up with a link back to Judy L's fabric report! Nothing finished so I can't count anything used yet. Drat! By way of explanation: all added yardage is backings for the two neice quilts. My goal is to use 50 yards this year.

Used this Week: 0 yards
Used year to Date: 0 yards
Added this Week: 4 yards
Added Year to Date: 7 yards
Yards to Goal: 50
Net for 2015: 7 yards added