Monday, October 31, 2011

Halloween Confetti

Happy Halloween!! I finished my Halloween table runner just in time last Friday, so it will actually be used for a grand total of four days before it's packed away for next year ;-) Oh well, that's generally how I roll when it comes to holiday decorations - haha!

The pattern I used is "Confetti" by Lazy Girl Designs. I highly recommend the Lazy Angle ruler/template for this project - it made the cutting go soooo much faster. (See this post if you'd like more details about the ruler/pattern/construction.) I used 40 Halloween-themed charm squares cut from my stash and 1.33 yards of Moda Grunge in black for the table runner front.

I free-motion quilted an all-over large meander in King Tut variegated thread #925 Obsidian, and finished the binding by machine. I like machine-finished binding for things that will get lots of washing - like table runners, placemats, and baby quilts. The finished size is 16" x 80".

And since I just realized this morning that I managed to buy every kind of chocolate Halloween candy BUT fun-size M&M's, I'm off on a treasure hunt to find what I'm certain are the only three remaining bags for sale in my area. M&M's really are the best fun-size candy... in my opinion!

I hope all your little ghosts and goblins have a fun and safe Halloween!!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Rugby Stripes for Ben

I can finally show you all the quilt I made for my nephew's son, Ben, and I'm thrilled to report that Ben's dad thinks it's "awesome"!!

100% of my inspiration for Ben's quilt came from this quilt by Carol/mamacjt. At the time I decided on this design I knew she had a pattern in the works, but I couldn't find it available to purchase. So I took out my trusty graph paper and colored pencils, guessed at the ratios and dimensions, and made up a pattern for myself. But lucky you! The pattern is now available to purchase from mamacjt!! Contact her here if you are interested in purchasing one.

Her original quilt had the bars arranged in rainbow order, but I thought for a baby boy the "mixing up" of the colors was more fun. The solids are a mix of Kona cottons, Moda Bella cottons, and some others from who-knows-where. Each appliqued circle is a completely nephew appropriate car print (Ben's dad loves cars)from Michael Miller - Honk Honk in Brown. It's really a very deep, dark, chocolate-y brown with retro cars in green, orange, and yellow against a cityscape backdrop in blue.

I really struggled with a quilting design for those colors bars. Something about an all-over pattern didn't feel right, and I eventually came across this meandering waterfall-type design in some notes from a free-motion quilting class I took a couple of years ago. It was quite easy to do, very forgiving, and is well suited for quilting at slow speeds - the speed at which I have the most success!

The back is almost as much fun as the front with it's random width stripes of leftover solids and the car print. The pieced binding is also made from the same solids. It was my first attempt at a pieced binding and here's the very scientific approach (insert sarcastic air quotes here) I used to figure out how much of each color to cut to have it come out evenly: quilt circumference divided by number of colors plus a couple inches added for error. Result = Total dumb luck that it came out (mostly) even with all the colors!

Each individual color, however, was chosen using a very reliable and nearly foolproof method - paint chips. His parents mailed me the paint chips they were planning to use to create a checkerboard-like pattern of giant squares on one wall of the nursery, and it really was quite easy to find the perfect solids to match!

The quilt doesn't really have a name, I just called it "Rugby Stripes" in the title because Ben's dad likes to wear rugby stripe shirts :)  It measures 38.5" x 51.75".  It's definitely one of my favorite quilts that I've made!  Thanks Carol for the inspiration!!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

it's in the mail

Yesterday I put Ben's quilt in the mail, and it should arrive on Friday or Saturday. I don't want to ruin the surprise for his parents, but I really feel the need to give a little peek, so here is the main section of the quilt back...

I am so excited about this baby quilt! Here's hoping his parents are too :)

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Halloween fun

While I've been sewing the binding on Baby Ben's quilt during TV time at night, I'm playing with a new gadget by day - the Lazy Angle Ruler from Creative Grids. There are so many new patterns available that utilize this versatile tool, so I decided to try out one of the patterns for charm squares - "Confetti" from Lazy Girl Designs.

My kitchen needs a Halloween themed table runner, so I'm using 1 1/3 yards of Moda's Grunge in black for the background, and I cut 40 charm squares (5") from my stash of Halloween fabrics.

The pattern as directed will make a 32" by 40" baby quilt, but I'm arranging it to finish at 16" x 80" for my table. The top two rows have been sewn together, and I'm pretty pleased with how the points are matching up! Here's a close up of the unfinished blocks...

The pattern is very well-written and easy to follow - all the blocks seem to be coming together as they should. Basically the ruler is designed to cut an A and B section for each block from strips cut anywhere from 1.5" to 6.5". My background strips were cut at 4.5", so my blocks will finish at 4". There are a multitude of blocks you can create from this ruler; I've ordered the book "Lazy and Lovin' It" (also from Lazy Girl Designs), and Julie at Jaybird Quilts has published lots of patterns for this tool as well.

My next quilt using this ruler is going to be "Taffy" from Jaybird Quilts. I'm making the lap size for a class sample at my LQS, so I'll show you my cute stack of fabrics for that quilt next time.

Anybody else out there using this ruler? Any tips you've found out about for it? So far it seems pretty straight-forward to me, but a girl can always use tips!


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