Monday, June 30, 2014

quilting is dangerous business!

I've been at this sewing and quilting business for a LOT of years, and until yesterday I've remained injury-free. Which is sort of remarkable because I'm a tad clumsy - always bumping into furniture bruising my knees, elbows, feet, and hands. But yesterday I cut myself with a rotary cutter not just once, but TWICE! The second cut earned me a trip to urgent care for stitches :(

Nice huge bandage, huh? There wasn't much pain involved, and I almost didn't go thinking I could just wrap it really tight and keep going. But my friend Kelly (who raised three boys) assured me that it did indeed require stitches - three to five stitches to be exact.

Behold, three stitches. Luckily I didn't do any major damage to any tendons or cut through the nail.  (Note the bandage on the knuckle of my middle finger covering the first cut of the day.)

And what were we working on that was so dangerous?? Cutting fabrics for our "Steampunk" quilts using the smallest size rotary cutter and acrylic pattern templates. There are 5 different templates for this one block, and we're planning to make around 75 blocks each - lots of cutting. Here are all the block pieces laid out before sewing...

And here's the first block all sewn together. Lots of pinning was needed, and it was pretty slow going, but I think we are going to create some fabulous quilts!! After a few rotary-cutter-free days for me, that is...

You can view lots of incredible Steampunk blocks here on Flickr and on Instagram by searching for the hash tag "steampunkquilt".  I purchased my pattern and templates from The Quilt Studio while they were vending at  Paducah, KY in April, but you can order them here from their Etsy shop.  More patterns by Jen Kingwell can be found here.

 You should make one too! But be careful with that rotary cutter. And no, I didn't bleed on any fabrics - whew!!

Thursday, June 12, 2014

she loved it! (a finished quilt for my Mom)

Last weekend my parents came for a visit, and I was able to give my mom her new quilt! I had finished sewing the binding and label at the 11th hour just before their arrival. The quilt is queen-sized, so that translates into approximately three miles of binding to hand sew, and (as you probably have heard) I am the world's slowest when it comes to hand sewing.

I'm sooo happy that I had the chance to sew this for her - I think it's absolutely gorgeous! The top was pretty in its own right, but the quilting that my friend Carol added makes the quilt something extraordinary. It took quite a long session of looking over quilting patterns to select all the designs for each section, but Carol was patient and insightful as I made decisions, second-guessed them, changed my mind, hemmed and hawed, and generally just agonized over making the perfect choices. In the end it was all worth it because I love it and most importantly - my mom loves it :)

Sorry for the photo overload, but there are so many great designs to see here. All of the quilting except the piano key inner border was done with a medium beige thread. The piano key border is quilted with an olive green thread.

Look at those great veins she quilted into the leaf shapes - they add so much dimension and interest!

And the oversized floral vines in the outer border fill in all that blank space perfectly.

The back of the quilt is almost as pretty as the front! I used Kona Snow so all the beautiful quilting stitches would be the focus and also so there wouldn't be any fabric print or design that might show through on the front of the quilt.

You know how sometimes a project turns out exactly the way you planned, and that outcome makes the whole experience of creating it so completely satisfying? Well this quilt is more amazing than I had planned or imagined - I simply could not be more pleased with it. And knowing that my mom loves it (she may have cried a bit when she saw it) makes this quilt the best one I've ever made :)

What was your most satisfying sewing experience?


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