Friday, September 21, 2012

Dear Jane fever--I've got it.

Once again, leaving many UFOs behind, I'm off on something new: Dear Jane!
Here are the 4 blocks I've completed since I started a Dear Jane class at the City Quilter on Monday (I posed them on my back porch with my Dear Jane book!)

And for any Janiacs working on this quilt, the blocks I've made so far are (starting with the blue star on the top left and going clockwise) A13, L2, B3 and A1.

We started A13 during the first class, and sewed it by hand, using freezer paper templates. My friend Robyn and I were the only two newbies in class---everyone else had been working on their Dear Jane quilts for awhile, and were just coming to class to stay inspired and have some fun.

I made the second block, L2, through a combination of paper piecing and regular piecing, on the machine. This block was the "challenge" block given by the teachers. Anyone who makes one gets their name entered in a drawing for a prize at the next class. I think they are also offering a weekly prize for the students who makes the most blocks that week to inspire us.

I also sewed the other 2 blocks----B3 and A1---on the machine. I'd never pieced circles before, so it took me a couple of tries to make something acceptable for B3. The A1 block was easy---just a bunch of half-square triangles---and I've done so many of those I could do them in my sleep.

I'm going to make the entire quilt out of batiks that are based around this theme fabric pictured below---an idea I got from the people at the quilt shop.

I don't think my photo does it justice, but this fabric has got all the colors I love: purples, blues, greens, and even a few browns and oranges thrown in.  And I love batiks! I have a lot of them in my stash, so I hope this quilt will help me cut down on fabric I already own---always my dream.

Will I ever finish this? I wouldn't place any bets, but you never know. Meanwhile, I'm having a lot of fun working on it.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Baby quilt in progress

A couple of months ago I learned that a friend who'd been trying to get pregnant for some time was expecting, and that her baby is due in October. She's a quilter herself, and a big fan of 1930s reproduction fabrics, so I organized a group of her quilting buddies to make a baby quilt. My friend is one of those old-fashioned women who doesn't want to know the baby's sex in advance (unlike me, who found out at the first possible moment that my 3 boys would be boys) so we tried to keep the pattern and fabric neutral.

I'd just had fun making house blocks for the monthly Block Lotto drawing when the prospect of planning a baby quilt came up, so I decided to adapt that pattern for the project. I only changed the pattern in one way: I suggested that anyone who wanted to personalize their block by putting a figure in the window or door of the house was welcome to do so.

So here's a photo of the blocks I have so far on my design wall:
Pretty cute, aren't they? The only block that jumped out at me after I took this photo was one I'd made---on the bottom left---where one of the fabrics is way too dark and the butterfly in the window looks like a menacing bat!

So last night I altered that block, and substituted a yellow solid and a baby chick for the offending material I'd used before. I'm still not convinced it works---because the yellow solid still jumps out at me--- so I think I may remake the block again later with fabric I just found that's more in keeping with the reproduction spirit of the quilt. If you feel like it, leave me a comment and let me know if I should dump the yellow solid.

I'm still waiting for 3 more blocks from friends, and I'll probably make another myself, so by the time it's finished the quilt will be rectangular rather than square. 
Last weekend, I got some fabulous sashing fabrics lat a wonderful quilt shop called The Patchwork Company in Windham, NY, and since then I've been really excited about how this will all come together.  I'll post again when I've got the top finished....hopefully  before the baby's born!

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Even more monkey blocks!

It feels great to be back posting on this blog---I'm sorry I've been away from it for so long! I had a very busy end to my summer, including very adventurous 3-week-long trip to China, and then a visit from my dear brother and his family from Seattle, so I have not done any posting.

I have managed to sneak in a little quilting, here and there. Here's a photo of the all of the monkey blocks I've finished to date:

I love making them because they're so simple and they require so little fabric, but at the same time they help use up my endless scraps. I don't see any end to this project in sight: I think I'll just keep making them until I get tired of them or until I have enough to make a queen-size quilt for my bed. I have a feeling that I'd smile every time I see this quilt. The colors are so happy, and the scraps are from so many quilts I've made in the past that I imagine it will will always have the power to bring back happy memories.