Thursday, May 31, 2012

Raspberry Fields

When my oldest Danish nephew, Jens, turned 13, I gave him a big quilt.  So when his sister, Anna, turned 13, I had to make one for her as well.  That's the way I had been doing it since they were little, and I was sure she would be expecting her own quilt.  Not that I mind at all.  Jens, in particular, has always been very appreciative of the quilts I have made for him, so it is a joy to make quilts for them.

I don't make as many batik quilts as I might, because I like to hand piece and batiks are so tightly woven that they are hard to hand piece.  Thus, every time I work with batiks, I really have to machine piece and for all practical purposes that means the quilt will have to be made at quilt retreats.  A few years previous, I had bought a bunch of batiks in pink, green, and brown colors which I really liked so I decided to use those for Anna's quilt and picked a pattern, called "Safari" from Karla Anderson's book New Cuts for New Quilts.  I've loved the stack, shuffle, and sew method Karla Anderson uses for a long time and it is particularly well suited for batiks.  The pattern - called Safari only because the particular fabrics used in the demonstration quilt in the book were African animal prints - was simple yet had a lot of interest and movement in it.

As it turned out, I had to supplement my fabrics considerably, however.  Not only did I not have nearly enough fabric to make the quilt, but I also needed a lot more variety than I had.  It turned out that the original fabrics I had bought were no longer available, nor was that color selection.  So I had to branch out.  I added different pinks, greens, and browns and also turqoise as well as combinations of those.

The back of the quilt shows the original fabrics and colors from which I s  tarted.  I had yardage of a couple of those fabrics, and thus enough to piece the back.  It is fun now to see how different it is from the top.  I am glad I had to add fabrics to make the top as I think it would have been a very boring quilt if I had made it of only the original fabrics.

It ended up being 69" x 88" made specifically to fit Anna's bed as it was at the time - of course she has remodeled her room repeatedly since then - and it was machine quilted by Regina Carter, who used a pattern called Sticky Buns.

The border around the label is fabric from a shirt which was Anna's favorite when she was a tiny tyke.  My sister, Anna's mother, had given it to me for possible incorporation into the quilt, but this was the only way I could make it work.  The fabric was very thin and somewhat fragile - as it was Anna's favorite shirt, it evidently had been washed quite often! - and it just didn't work with the rest of the qullt.

Going Green

The guild to which I have belonged ever since I moved to Kentucky has a "challenge" each year.  In my opinion, it is usually not really much of a challenge; all that happens is that those who chose to complete the "challenge" can show their finished quilts at the Christmas meeting, which is the dead-line.  Those who finish theirs later can show them later, and those who never finish just don't open their mouths.

In last year's "challenge" each quilter "blindly" drew a piece of fabric out of a bag.  The "challenge" was to use all of that fabric in a quilt top, adding as many additional fabric as one wished, and using at least some nine-patches. I picked the pale green print which appears as the background fabric. I cut all of it into 4" squares and went through my box of 4" squares and picked out all the green ones and started making nine-patches. When I had used up all the challenge fabric, I had 25 squares which I put together into the above quilt.

I had not started making it with a particular recipient in mind but at some point remembered that I had never made a baby quilt for our friend John Garland when he and his lovely wife Pamela had their first child, Eli.  That was actually about 2 years ago, but this quilt finished at 54" by 54" so I thought it was big enough for a toddler - and better late than never, right?
Since the top, while nice and green, might not totally appeal to a toddler, I bought some cute saggy-baggy elephant fabric for the back, instead of piecing the back out of whatever I happened to have on hand. Regina quilted it to perfection using a "Square Meander" pattern.

In May, John's parents, Ed & Judy Garland, hosted a benefit for the Southern Center for Human Rights, at their amazing home - Ed is on the Board of the Center - so I got a chance to hand deliver the much delayed quilt to John.

At Least Five Servings A Day

This quilt, which ended up measuring about 36" x 54", is just a collection of squares of fruit and vegetable fabrics which I pulled from my stash.  Not an obvious choice for a baby, perhaps, but it's colorful and I felt like the theme was a good one for the baby's parents.  The baby, of course, doesn't care at all what he gets anyway.

This particular baby, who ended up being named Otis, AKA Little O, was born to a most lovely young lawyer at the Southern Center, Atteeyah, and her lovely husband, Nate.  Atteeyah was an investigator a the office when I worked there and I always thought the world of her.  I think everybody was as excited as he or she could be, when Atteeyah, after completing law school at Stanford, returned to the Center as an attorney.  It is great to have her, Nate, and now Little O as a part of the Southern Center family.  I only regret I am so far away and won't get to know Little O as he grows up.

I hand pieced the quilt and it was, as always, expertly machine quilted, this time using a pattern called "Deb's Swirl," by Regina Carter.  

I always love getting a picture of the baby on the quilt when I give somebody a baby quilt.  This time I got a bonus, Little O and his beautiful Moma, both using the quilt together.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Switch plates

This is obviously not a quilting project but just a little something I'd been wanting to do for a long time and finally got around to doing.  Decoupaging a couple of switch plates.  I am so hopeless when it comes to anything but quilting, so it took me forever to actually do it although it was laughingly simple.  I love them, but I am sure I will never get my act together to do any more.  And probably shouldn't considering how long I - completely unnecessarily - left the covers off while I was working on these!

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Dog Bed 17

This dog bed went to somebody who is herself a quilter, but also very much a dog lover.  A dear friend I originally met at a quilt retreat in North Carolina.  I went to the retreat with my BFF, Michelle, and Jan went there with her BFF Sally and the four of us became fast friends, connecting in subsequent years and in other places as welll.

Jan, who got this dog bed for her black pug, Cynthia Williams - yep, that was the dog's name! - is a veterinarian, and has several dogs.  But at the time when I gave her this bed. Ms. Cynthia was the queen of the pack.  Unfortunately, Cynthia has since gone off to the Rainbow Bridge, but she did get to enjoy the bed for a couple of years before she passed on.

When I give somebody a dog bed, the only thing I ask in return, is that he or she send me a picture of the dog on the bed.  Far too often, in my opinion, I never get a picture.  And I have been known to repeat the request, in some cases to the point of nagging.

Fortunately, Jan was very compliant, so here is a picture of the lovely Cynthia presiding on Dog Bed 17.  She clearly took possession of the bed.