Saturday, July 9, 2011

I'm Stitchin' On the Go...

I'm out of town and have been for the past week.  That is why this space has been so quiet.  BUT....I have been passing the miles while doing handwork, so I will have a few things to show you when I get home.

Home from where??

Today I went to the Parthenon and a Honkey Tonk on the same day.  Any guesses where I am???

Friday, July 1, 2011

A Roaring Finish

Emma's dinosaur (Dinos Roar) quilt is finished, and as I sit here early morning to blog, it is satisfying to know that there is a snoozing three year old upstairs wrapped snuggly inside of it.  In a million years I would never have chosen these colors for a little girl quilt, but the day she fell in love with the green dino fabric at the store, the idea for a bold and bright quilt was born.

I re-learned an obvious lesson on this project.  You get what you pay for!!  I picked up several fat quarters on sale for $.99 each knowing that the quality wasn't that great but figuring this was going to be a quick and simple project and that it wouldn't really matter.  Of course, the vision grew into more than I originally planned and those fabrics were a real bummer to work with.  They were thin as tissue paper and had an overly starchy feel; certainly no Moda!   Don't get me wrong...I'm not in the habit of breaking the bank on my quilts, but I have been down this road before and have been disappointed every time.  I really need to remember that if I'm going to make a substantial investment of time and energy it pays to use quality materials that will make my project last and wear well.  I also need to remember that quick and easy projects usually grown into genuine, time consuming ones!  That just seems to be how I roll.

Oh well.  I only need this one to last until we're out of the dinosaur phase and onto the next infatuation; preferably something soft pink, floral, and girlie!  :-)

I had one goal for the backing...use up some of what I had on hand and spend no money.  Done!!  I pulled some bright left-overs out of my drawer and put them to use.  I wouldn't necessarily have chosen these fabrics if I were shopping, but they ended up working well together in the end, which is typically the case with pieced backings.  Of course, I had rather odd sizes of everything, so it was a jigsaw puzzle to piece, but I have as much fun ad-libbing the backs of quilts as I do working on the tops!  I wanted to use every speck of the red polka dot fabric because few things in life thrill me more than red and white "pokie dots".

I actually took Emma with me to the fabric store once the machine quilting was done so she could help me choose a binding.  There was no contest to be had.  It was to be more of the beloved green dinosaur fabric that started this whole thing to begin with!

(You may remember from a previous post that I don't like that fabric.  At all.  But she LOVES it.  I originally bought it thinking it would be the quilt backing, but when I got my top put together and I hadn't used any of the green fabric for the front of the quilt she was super disappointed.  Hence, the green borders.  I actually ended up liking the quilt better with borders, and it is a bigger, handier size too.  So see?  The three year old was right, which, by the way, came as no surprise to her!  ha!) 

One of the ways in which this project "grew" was that I decided to use it as a machine quilting exercise.  I used a different stitch in every row, just as an opportunity to experiment and learn.  In a few rows, I did some straight line quilting of varying widths.

Then I decided to use green thread in the borders.  The contrast in threads was a lot of fun, and after it was all said and done I wished I would have added some colors to the center of the quilt too.  I don't tend to be very adventurous with my thread choices, but this experience encouraged me to try some more contrast again in the future.

On one row I used a loopy pattern, made like a stipple but intentionally crossing over my thread at every turn. 

In another row I tried pebble stitching.  Oh dear!!  What a silly mess of thread!  I watched several you-tube videos to try to get the feel for it because I just love how this stitch looks as a background filler.  Let me tell you three things about pebble stitching... 

1.  It uses TONS of thread.

2.  It takes a very long time to quilt a very small space.

3.  It is a million times harder than it looks on you-tube!  Good thing I have great confidence in my toddler's ability to ignore imperfections.  If this were for a "real" quilt I would have torn this out for sure.  But hey, you can't learn unless you try!  This is my pseudo-pebble, rat's nest, scribbly row!!

The swirly whirly row is my favorite. I'll play with this pattern some more in the future.

No live dinosaurs were available for the photographing of this quilt.  However, my son has been dying for me to showcase his Bearded Dragon on my quilt blog.  He insists that since several quilters out there pose their projects with their dogs and cats we should include "Finn" in every post.  Since the whole theme of this quilt is catering to kids and thier strong opinions (Ha!), I present to you all Mr. Finn, the fabulous beardie, and apparently, a lover of dinosaur quilts.

And with that, our regularly scheduled sewing projects have resumed in the sewing nook!  :-)