Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Seashore Rails & Jewel Box

These are quilts 3 & 4 from the Sugarland Fall Festival.

Meet Seashore Rails, the simplest rail fence pattern.  This is the pattern I pick when I do not want to think, when I do not have the patience to measure once, leave alone twice, when I do not want to cut fabric.

Seashore Rails
This is the holy grail (and the savior) for all those (me included) who like the concept of handmade but may not always have the nine yards of patience.

Take two strips of color, one strip of white. Stitch them along the length, with the white in the middle.
Cut into squares. Voila, you have your blocks!!!

Black Border, Green Binding

Arrange your blocks - one horizontal and one vertical, add a border to make it all come together and you have a quilt top!!!

When Eleanor Burns said - Quilt in a Day, I am sure this is what she meant.

I chose this mushroom fabric for the backing.
Do you like Mushrooms?

I had to choose easy and quick patterns since I really cranked out 14 of these in four weeks (My craziness is now well-established).  Therefore, choosing bright happy fabrics was really the key!!!

Matching binding to both the front and the back was an essential ingredient in making the quilt appealing.  I think the green binding in the front works only because it stands out against the black border, whereas it appears a bit blah next to the teal/aqua blocks.

Quilted and Bound

As far as the back, well that green really adds to the mushroom fabric, even if I say so myself (blush).

Green Binding - Multicolored Shrooms!!!
Can you see the quilting? Me neither.

The blocks finish at 6", the quilt without borders is about 36" square and with 2.5" strips border added, it finishes at about 40" square.

I quilted using a decorative stitch (looks like the letter C), making the appearance of clouds, as one line looked like Cs and the next being a mirror image.

Ooh, like a day at the Beach!!!
And one more picture...
Once Seashore Rails was done, I had a few blocks leftover...leading to the next quilt - Jewel Box.

Seashore Rails was definitely boyish. Therefore, I chose to add some non-blues (greens/purples) to make Jewel Box, so that it was a more gender-neutral quilt.

Remember, while I am making these, I wanted an even split between boy and girl quilts, so that the quilts could appeal to all.

Can you see the rail fence blocks in between the green and purple box blocks?

I chose a bright purple border for Jewel Box, to highlight the purple and take the attention away from the teal/aqua blocks. 
However, the exact same green binding works against the purple too.  Happy coincidence, indeed.

Ok, are you ready for this? This is big and scary!!!

Backing - Funny and Colorful!!!
And see, the green binding works beautifully with the backing too. The quilting gods were smiling upon me!

Quilted the same way as Seashore Rails. Jewel Box also finished at about 40" square. 

Finally, I can see some quilting in this picture.
Scary & Adorable
 Did you think that I forgot the label? No, I am too vain for that.
OK, just one more picture.  Can you see the cloud effect quilting in the picture below?
Looks like this monster is peeping from behind the wall to yell - BOO!!!

I hope these simple patterns and bright fabrics bring some measure of joy and inspiration to your day. Your bright comments definitely bring joy to mine!!!

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Bluegrass & Candyland

As promised, here are the first two (of the total 14) quilts that I made for the Sugarland Fall Festival.

This was the Charm Box free tutorial from the Fat Quarter Shop and it is a great pattern for using charm squares.
I watched the tutorial and said - Huh, that is wasteful!!!

So, I made my own sketch - yes, it is very sketchy.  The finished quilt would measure 36" by 41".

Sketchy Sketch
I needed 24 charms for the main quilt and 30 charms for the borders. So I grabbed a few blue-green charms, a few 2.5" white strips and went to town.

For the sake of simplicity and speed (mostly speed), I followed these steps.

Step1. Choose two charm squares that go together well. Cut one charm in half and place the second in between and stitch along the two sides. Do this 12 times, using 24 charms.

Keeping the rows numbered

Step 2. Add the vertical strips in between the charm blocks.

Step 3. Add the horizontal strips.

Horizontal Strips Added

The vertical strips in between the blocks were 2" finished, so the use of jelly roll strips was perfect. But the horizontal strips and the outer vertical strips had to finish at 1.5". So, after I sewed the jelly roll strips, I carefully trimmed them down to size.

Step 4. Add the outer strips

Step 5. Add the borders - 6 charms on top and bottom, 9 each on the sides.


I chose my usual Warm & Natural batting and this cute alphabet/animal print for the backing.

Baby Friendly Backing

Quilting had to be super simple too. I quilted using gentle curves, in one direction only.
The binding is a turquoise blue/green near solid that matches the front and the back perfectly.

Super Simple Speedy Quilting

Labelled, yeah!!!

Matched Binding!!!

You make me happy


Since this was a successful completion, I was pumped.  Therefore, I decided to use my energies to make another quilt but this time in more girly colors.  

Meet Candyland.
Bright & Happy
It is extremely rare that I will like all the fabrics in a charm pack or a layer cake. Lili-Fied is an exception.  I bought Lili-fied layer cake on Craftsy when it was on super sale and I fell in love with it.

For Candyland, I cut up the layer cake into charms and followed the same procedure as Bluegrass.
In love with Lili-fied

Backing - Yummy!
Not only the backing colors matched the Lili-fied line, they also decided the name of the quilt - Candyland.

Pink and Orange

The quilting is simple curvy lines, one direction only. No turning and super speedy.  Here are few more pictures, because there is no such thing as too much eye candy.

Hot Pink Binding

Binding matches both sides!!!

My sunshine...

As I write this blogpost, Bluegrass is sold. But Candyland is yet to find a loving home.  One day, I am sure, it will make a little girl drool, just like I am doing right now.

If you are reading, please write to me. I love to hear from you.

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Sugarland Fall Festival - The (Not Grand) Finale

It was 3:00PM and 85 degrees, which is particularly unpleasant when you are on hot asphalt of a parking lot and have 90 minutes to kill.  Cee was still busy setting up her table and wares.

Other vendors were setting up their tables. Some of them had tents.  Most were just modest tables and had large plastic bins.  There was free water and lemonade.  I had a little lemonade with a lot of water and then I walked around to see what other vendors were doing.  At least four jewellery vendors, one hair accessories, one mascara/eyelashes, one gaming etc., one Halloween outfits, one cupcakes, one self-defense for women.

My first impression - Where are the others? Woodworking, Homemade Soaps, Handmade Bags, Lotions/Creams etc. Birdhouses, Gardenware?
It was a very small festival with few vendors.

Tentless Booth & Me
And that is Paul's towel rack in the foreground.

I went and sat in the shade of a tree at the edge of the parking lot from where I could keep an eye on my wares. I began listening to a TED talk on my iPhone and imagined interested people oohing and aahing over my quilts.  That is when I saw Paul return to the parking lot.

What happened?
Why did he come back?

He had returned with a tent, a bag of chips, and a cooler full of ice and water bottles.  I was dumbfounded.
After I rolled my eyes at him for spending money unnecessarily, I helped him set up the tent over my table.

Paul: I could not let you wilt in the sun, my delicate flower.
Me: Thank you. I love you.

With the tent!!!
Paul's sweet gesture that provided cool shade also warmed my heart.  I am such a lucky duck!!!
Honestly, that was the high point of the day.

Yes, it was.
Quilts - Arranged and Rearranged

No, I did not sell anything. Nobody said that they were interested but did not have the cash.
Because I would take checks.

There were a few people mildly interested, three moderately interested, one asked if I made t-shirt quilts, and only one who wanted to see every quilt that I had on display.
"Are those crib quilts", one woman asked.
"No, these are smaller; baby quilts", I answered.

I gave away about a dozen of my business cards.  I still have all the grocery bags.

I sat on my plastic chair, under the brand new tent and doodled on my sketchbook.
A dear friend Mauna stopped by and that definitely lifted my spirits.

At 6:35, I texted Paul - please come get me.  He showed up just before 7:00 and we were packed and ready to leave shortly thereafter.

Me: Let's go to Olive Garden for dinner.
Paul: Sure.

Paul was very supportive and offered comforting words.  I understood that the size of the event was not conducive to selling quilts.  May be this whole setting up a booth etc. was not for me. Atleast not yet.

Me: I am sorry. I could not recover the cost of the tent.
Paul: I had been meaning to buy something like that for some time now.  Set up in the backyard for a  barbeque etc.
Me: I am glad, I provided an excuse for you to buy a tent.
Paul: Yes, you did. Can I have my towel rack back now?

When we got home after dinner, we brought in the quilts.  But left the cooler, the folding table and the chairs in the car for the next day. They were just too heavy to move right then.

I had spent the first part of September frantically working for the festival.
After the festival, I was so disappointed that I did not touch my sewing machine for a whole week.  I am such a "All or Nothing" kinda gal...
I organized my scraps, arranged and rearranged fabric, doodled a few designs but was unable to get into a mood to sew...till I saw this post on M* forum.

... established a group in 2013, for providing a remembrance quilt for grieving families experiencing a loss of a newborn, (or too young to be born). 
Your response and generosity was overwhelming.
I can't BEGIN to tell you what it means to parents, to have a tangible remembrance! 
And for nurses, to offer up any kind of remembrance, in the moment is PRICELESS!
Since then, our hospital has grown. Another building going up, offices being shuffled around. 
Somewhere along the line, my quilt cupboard was displaced. I have PLENTY of minis, mediums, etc...I'm REALLY low on the 32X32, (Newborn sized). 

32 inches square? That is tiny. I can do that. This is just what I needed. A quick project to lift me out of my funk because there are others in the world with bigger problems.

Get over it, Preeti.
Life (piecing, quilting, and binding) must go on.

I gathered my scraps and got back to work.

Purple + Green = Magic
Purple (looks bluish) backing
These purple/cream scraps belonged to Sylvia. Remember Sylvia?  She was probably working on a rail fence quilt and she gave me these slivers left over from her rail fence blocks. I added some green strips and it began to look like a quilt top.  Paul approves of the purple-green pairing. I agree.

When I pulled out the greens strips, I noticed that were other colored strips. Hmmmm who said that I cannot make more than one.  So off I went sewing, cutting, squaring, matching, trimming and arranging.

8" blocks, arranged 4 by 4 = 32" quilt!!!
This is the same pattern as Life's Embrace, but uses white strips.  Life's Embrace for Stillborn Bereavement Group - yes it is bittersweet.  
I do believe that it is life that we celebrate, however short it may be...

No, I do not work on one quilt at a time. I am not capable of it.  So, here are three quilts in process.
Three quilts in process

Orange Backing, Paisley Binding
Completed tops - Ready to be quilted
I will complete these three little ones and send them to their destination before the end of the month.  Thank you Sue. I needed this.

Some of you asked about the quilts I made for the Festival. Yes, I will share them. Each one of them.
Out of the 15 that went to the Festival, I have 14 (already blogged about Whispering Window) quilts that are waiting their turn to be shared with the blogland. And that is exactly what I will do. In the coming weeks, I will discuss two-three quilts per week.  I am sure that each one of them will find their way to the right recepient in due course of time.  Actually, five out of 14 have already gone, but those details belong in following blogposts.

Waiting to be blogged...
I apologize to all of you - my dear readers, for this anti-climactic end to the Sugarland Fall Festival.  Forgive me for raising your hopes and then crashing them.  Please let me know if you ever lost your sewing mojo and please please please tell me how you got it back.