Saturday, February 28, 2015

Basket for A Life of Plenty

This is block 7 in the A Life of Plenty sew-along.  Actually, the directions for #7 has more than one block, so this is part of block 7. I embroidered the flower since I couldn't imagine trying to needle turn such a tiny circle.  I also embroidered the hearts on the basket, since there was floss on the needle, and I decided to use it instead of trying to figure out how to store the leftovers.

My backgrounds tend to be very light, white / beige tone on tone, and I decided to up the volume of my low-volume backgrounds to make them more interesting. 

Friday, February 27, 2015

Turtle quilt block

I made the turtle for the Elephant Parade quilt.  So cute!  I will put all the eyes on at the end.  The shell fabric is the one I recently bought from Joann's.  I thought it would make the perfect shell fabric.  I need to do a better job of pressing.

Here's the turtle with the elephants so you can see the size.


Here's a flower from A Life of Plenty sewalong.

The gray is from the fabric I used to make elephants. The others are scraps from other projects. The green fabric on the stem was used in Lansing Leaves. The other green is an older one that has been in several swap blocks, and is in the rail fence quilt. In the Daisy's Chickenpox quilt, the flower petals are not stitched down, and I have to say, I was very tempted to not stitch down the flower petals, but since this isn't a batik, I felt it was necessary.  The yellow has been on several of my quilts and is definitely in the rail fence quilt

 I didn't make the picture fuzzy on purpose, but I am leaving it this way, so you can't see all my flaws.  I haven't done any needle turn applique in a long time, and those flower petals have lots of sharp curves! I'm going to have to make some bias stems before I get too far along on this project.

My sister helped me clean out the basement for a few hours yesterday.  I have lived in this house for a long time, so one afternoon is not enough to completely clean it, but it looks SO much better now. I'll have to keep at it so it can be cleaned by spring.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Four Baby Elephants and a Little Bird

Only a few days after the big elephants were born, came four baby elephants. I made three of them face right, and one of them face left.  I probably shouldn't have made the trunks liberated but I'm not changing them!

 Here they are with the big elephants.

This is closer to the layout of the final quilt. I still  need to add the other blocks, like the turtle, the bird, the flower, and the other animals.

The same gray fabrics that were used in the elephants were used to start my next project. This is a free sew along from Primitive Quilts called A Life of Plenty.  They are on part 17, and are close to completing the project, but I am just starting this quilt and this is my first block. I don't have any wool, so it will probably be all cotton.  It is all needle-turned applique.  I was pretty casual about following the design. Still need to embroider the feet.

Art Prints

Since I have been making this elephant parade quilt, I have been thinking about three prints I bought at the Arts Festival.  I talked to the artist, who was born in Uganda, and purchased three prints from him.  Unfortunately, this was several years ago and these prints have been waiting for me to get frames.

With my clarity focus for the year, I decided it was time to give these prints a home.  I will be able to put the prints and the elephant parade wall hanging in the family room.  This meant I had to make a trip to the store or two.

You can see from the reflection that the sun is finally shining brightly.  These are all black and white prints. I just wanted simple frames that would let the beauty of the prints show through.  They are not originals, but are limited edition copies.  He had used three different types of paper.  The prints were all different sizes and I did have to trim the paper to get them to fit into the frames.  I'm sure that is probably a big no-no in the art world, but I'd rather enjoy them instead of trying to preserve the value.

The trip to the store meant temptation though.  I got five pieces of fabric. I loved the retro feel of the pink and orange elephant print, and the modern feel of the owl print. I thought I could use all the different things in the colorful print on the right for appliquing.  I bought a big piece of the safari print on the bottom. I thought I could use that as the back of the elephant parade quilt.  Oh, I also found a green that would look awesome for the turtle in the elephant parade quilt. It wasn't a quilting fabric, but it is 100% cotton.  It was very expensive for me, even though it was 50% off, so I bought the smallest she would cut, 1/8th yard.

The buttons on the top are actually nail hiders.  You put a nail on the wall and put the button on top so you can't see the nail.  Cute idea for hanging up wall hangings.  I also got a Primitive Patchwork magazine. I like every single project in this magazine.  I have admired a lot of primitive quilts as I go through blogs, and have decided to make one of my own.  I went to their website, and they are having a free sew-along, so even though I now have patterns I can use from the magazine, I am going to be joining their sew-along first!  So much for all of my other WIPs/UFOs!

Monday, February 23, 2015

Need Your Opinion on Elephant Parade QuiltAlong

 I have cut the pieces for the small elephants. I really like this fabric, since it is a blend of gray and brown., which is perfect for elephants.

As I was cutting I realized that I only cut enough fabric for four baby elephants.  When I look at the quilt again, since I am not making the bottom row and taking out one baby elephant in each row, I actually need to make eight elephants. Instead of cutting more elephants, I got the idea that I could make something else instead, like a zebra or giraffe.  I remembered that I had animal prints that I got from a quilt show, so I got those out. I don't have any zebra fabric, and the black and white one might work, but I've decided that a zebra would not be a good choice because it is on a white background and may be hard to see. 

I think any of the animals would be simple to make. A square, triangle, or snowball block for the face and a rectangle for the body and four strips for the legs would probably be enough since the print would help suggest the animal that is being represented. It will be a small animal, since it will replace a baby elephant block.  I'm not sure though - it is a nice simple modern quilt, and I don't know if I will busy it up too much with animal prints. And some of these prints may be too big to use on a small block. What do you think?

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Four Elephants

Last night, I took a look at the final Elephant Parade quiltalong quilt, and decided that to make it smaller, I would simply not make the last row, and take out one small elephant in each of the other rows.  I therefore needed a total of four large elephants.

Today, I made two more of the large elephants.  They are made with a different main fabric, because I am trying to use the fabric I already have.  I don't have a lot of light gray, so the small elephants will also be dark gray instead of light gray.  I don't like the quality of the light gray I used for these ears enough to use for a whole elephant, even though there is enough of that fabric.  The wonky triangles do give the elephants some personality, since they are all slightly different from each other.  I'm not sure I like the wonky triangles used for the trunk, but then I think about all the wrinkles elephants have especially on their trunks so it might turn out all right.

You do have to keep track of what size piece to put where, but these are really fun to make.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Elephant Parade Quiltalong

Before my sewing machine even got a chance to cool down, I rushed straight into joining the Elephant Parade Quiltalong.  For some reason, I feel a close affinity for elephants, and happen to have a small collection of them. So, when I saw this quilt along, I felt I really had to join it. I really like elephants, and need an elephant quilt to decorate my family room.

Sew Fresh Quilts

I made two of the large elephant blocks and have the fabric picked out for the smaller elephant blocks.

The funny thing is, just one of the elephant blocks is bigger than some of my small quilts! I'm going to be making a smaller version of the whole quilt, but I haven't decided on the layout, number of blocks, etc. I am subversively making them liberated, in that I am cutting the fabric exactly as required, but am putting the triangles on in a liberated fashion.  In this way, each of the characters will have their own personality.

Monday, February 16, 2015

Happy President's Day!

 You may be wondering what a Christmas tree quilt is doing on my blog in February, especially on President's Day.  Well, is because all of the presidents celebrated Christmas.

I just put the last binding stitches on the quilt, and the weather cooperated, so I was able to  photograph the quilt in the snow. It is cold outside, so I threw the quilt in the first open spot and quickly snapped a photograph.

The pattern was free from Diary of a Quilter. She called it Patchwork Forest tree, but I decided to use my holiday fabrics stash. I liked her straight line quilting and so I duplicated it, but of course I had to make it hard for myself and not quilt the trees so they would stand out a little bit.  I am still afraid to try free motion quilting with the new machine, so I twisted and turned the quilt every which way to go back and forth row by row. It was a fun little quilt to make. My finish size is approximately 18" x 26".