Monday, March 15, 2010

Latest Quilting Project from Start to Finish

Like most awesomely cool things that turn out well, it started with an idea.  I recently found this fantastic blog called Film in the Fridge, which features -among others- a really nifty tutorial on string quilt blocks.  I'm not entirely sure what or why it's called a string quilt, but I like the end result!  Ashley's got a ton of super awesome talent with quilting, and is quite inspirational with her work.  In addition, I was also inspired by her baby birds and butterfly quilt.  It's done in log cabin blocks, but instead of following traditional log cabin-ing work, she defied tradition and went for a more whimsical wonky look for her log cabin squares.  And so a quilt was conceived.

I designed a quilt that will be alternating string blocks with a wonky log cabin block for Ruthie.  I found some great fabrics to come together, and I'm in the process of acquiring the fabrics.  However, I have picked out the fabrics online.  The top two are from Amy Butler's Lotus line of fabric; the left one is Wall Flower in Cherry, and the one on the right is also Wall Flower in Sky.  The browns aren't done by the same designer; the one on the left is Michael Miller is called Etta and is in the toffee color.  The brown on the right is Riley Blake and is from the All Star line, and is Firecracker in brown.  The next two fabrics are from Heather Bailey's Nicey Jane line; the left one is in pocket book tangerine, and the other one is in pocketbook green.  The next two are probably my most favorite fabrics that are going into this quilt.  They are from his Hedgehog Group line, and the left is Hedgehog Heaven in aqua, and the right one is in gold.  The last two are also Riley Blake and I believe they are from the all star line as well, but I'm not entirely sure.  But it's tone on tone orange circles, and tone on tone red circles.  In addition, I'm also planning on adding a solid fabric, however, due to the fact that I don't have ALL of the fabrics yet the solid is still undecided.  I was thinking of a green of some type and plan on getting it in a Kona cotton; but I want to wait until I've got all of my fabrics.

Quilt Top
Quilt Back

Since I'm planning for the quilt to be a good quality one and hopefully last Ruthie a very long time, I figured it would be an excellent idea to do a test run of some sorts.  After drawing out and coloring the design in my sketchbook, I went ahead and cut out the fabrics and sewed the blocks together.  What was nice about doing this, I was able to figure out exactly what size strips I would need for the quilt, and was able to make notations in my sketchbook.  That way, when I do the final product, I know my measurements and I won't be guessing.  Well, once they were done, I went and grabbed some polyfill batting I bought ages ago for some other projects that never got done.  I actually discovered that it's much easier to use 100% cotton batting, such as Warm N Natural or other stuff, and I do not plan on using polyfill for a serious project ever again.  It is ideal for practice projects like this, so I will keep it until I've used it all.  I realize that the strings are not perfectly lined up; Which is okay considering this is like I said; a practice piece.  I think the reason why they didn't line up is because when I drew my line on my paper squares, they were not perfectly corner to corner.  Of course, when it comes to doing Ruthie's project I will be making sure that they are lined up properly.  After using curved safety pins and quilting it, I trimmed the batting down, and cut the strips for the binding.  Thanks to my friend Nay of Nay's Needlebook, I was able to do -mostly- mitered corners following the directions on this tutorial.  Granted, I didn't do all the prewashing and that jazz, but I followed the directions for the french binding with mitered corners.  If it's done right, it comes out beautifully.  For those that are curious, I used my Babylock Xscape for the piecing, and I used my used new Juki, model number TL-98 Q to do the quilting.   I had a lot of fun using my juki for this project, since it was the first time I used it.  Seriously, it makes quilting MUCH easier, and while there was a bit of a learning curve with figuring out how to thread the machine, and winding a bobbin, one I figured it out, it was smooth sailing sewing!
Closeup of quilting.

The Juki in action!
And of course, here's the end result:
The front completed and bound.

The back completed and bound.
I suppose I could have taken it outside to get better pictures, but It's been kind of snowy and wet outside, so I didn't really want to.  I really did have a lot of fun with working on this and I can't wait to get started on Ruthie's quilt!


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