Sunday, August 31, 2014

the panda quilts: #29: squares for baby claire

This quilt was made for one of my husband's co-workers. His baby girl was due to arrive soon and I wanted to make something adorable. I had a small piece of a pink woodland fabric (riley blake "enchant" by natalie lymer) and thought it would be great for this quilt. Bunnies and foxes and hedgehogs and deer! 

I had some leftover squares cut from the circle baby quilt I made last year, and the colors matched perfectly. I've had that other floral fabric in my stash for years and the colors worked well with it, too. The coral/pink could be quite brash if not balanced with something more subtle. 
a very simple design, but adorable factor: achieved! 

the panda quilts: #28: seven seas half-square triangles

I was born in southern California and went to the same school with the same kids from 1st grade until the middle of 5th grade, when my family moved to Tennessee. One of my best friends was a girl named Ronnie. She was the middle of 3 sisters just like me, and I have a memory of bringing my cassette of the Cure "Kiss Me Kiss Me Kiss Me" to her house in the Hollywood Hills. After I moved, we wrote letters to each other for a few years, but the communication trailed off during high school and was non-existent during our college years. Flash forward to the invention of the Internet! And Myspace! And at once, I was reconnected with a slew of people from my grade school days in California. In 2008, I took a trip out west for a mini-reunion of sorts - a group of us went to the school carnival. During that trip, I stayed with Ronnie and it was like our friendship hadn't skipped a beat in 21 years. I knew just because you were friends with someone at 10 doesn't mean you'll have any sort of connection at 31 - but we did! During that trip, Ronnie told me she was expecting her first child. A second child followed shortly after the first. And in 2011, I was out in California again and got to meet baby #3 a few days after she was born. Which brings us to this quilt - for Ronnie's baby number 4. I gifted Jellycat stuffed animals to all the other babies, but that was before my quilting days, and I was happy to make something for her new son, born in May.

I played around with several half-square triangle layouts...

...and finally settled on this one:

 I wanted the Seven Seas print to be the focal point and picked the solids accordingly.
Welcome baby Xander! I hope to make it out to CA soon and meet you!

Monday, April 7, 2014

the panda quilts: #27: subtle squares baby boy quilt

I made this quilt for one of my old college roommates - this superbly kind girl and her guitar-wielding husband are expecting a boy any day now. I've been wanting to use this sheep print in a baby quilt for awhile now (i had even curated a neat bundle with some black/white print fabrics) - and figured now was the time to finally use it. however, i ended up scrapping the other prints in favor of a mostly white quilt. Maybe it's dangerous to give a baby a predominantly white quilt, but perhaps he'll be a non-messy baby (?!?)

Here's a close up of the print:
So says the monoluna website, "Hill and Dale from the Taali collection is graphic landscape of rolling hills, grazing sheep and modern flowers. It is reminiscent of an abstract Scandinavian scene and coordinates with the rest of the Taali collection."  
neat little stacks of cut fabric
I used the same block pattern as the playing with ponies quilt from 2012. But this time I added sashing strips in the same color as the block background in order to give the illusion of 'floating squares'. I wanted to keep this one pretty minimal.
blocks in progress
seeing how it would look with yellow sashing...used it for the binding instead

I quilted straight lines on a diagonal - I really like the way the three lines look together. AND...I hand-sewed the binding for the first time! (I followed this youtube video for help). I've always machine stitched everything in the past for the sake of time, but I have an (unspoken) goal to try new sewing & quilting things out this year, so I thought I'd give hand sewing a whirl. All in all, it went very well! I enjoyed working on it while sitting on the couch, watching Harry Potter movies with the mister, rather than being solitarily cooped up in my sewing room. (Side note: i had a broken rib at the time. be careful cleaning your bathroom, kiddies! bath mats can be slippery sonsaguns. It happened the day prior, but i spent several days convincing myself it wasn't that big a deal. an X-ray (and my inability to move without whinging) a few days later revealed otherwise). I don't think I'll hand sew everything from here on out, but if time allows, I will definitely do it again. 

Saturday, April 5, 2014

the panda quilts: #25 and #26: BOY/GIRL TWINS!

QUILTS FOR BOY/GIRL TWINS! This was such a fun treat, making quilts for twins! Fabric selection was a no-brainer. I planned the girl quilt around the strawberries from Heather Ross' Briar Patch collection & the boy's around Ed Emberley's Frogs. I wasn't concerned with 'matching' the two quilts, but there was some continuity with the oranges and greens.

For the Froggy Quilt - triangles again, my good ole 99 formula (9 rows of 11, plus the half triangles for the ends)...9 Orange, 18 blue stripes, 27 Green, 27 blue, 36 Frogs.
laying out the triangles
quilt back
For the girl quilt, I made a bunch of half square triangles. I paired up the lotta orange crosshatch with a solid orange; 2 pink lizzy house prints, and the little clover flowers with solid white (representin' my 3 favorite fabric designers in this one: Lotta Jansdotter, Lizzy House and Heather Ross!)  I wanted the strawberries to be the focal point.
shhhhh, don't tell anyone, but this is my favorite quilt i've made
I could post about 10 pictures of different HST layouts I entertained... It was so fun arranging, then re-arranging all the possibilities. Dangerous work for an indecisive person.

quilt back

Me & the mom-to-be at the baby shower
The babies were born a few weeks ago - yippee! They live around the corner from me, so I have a feeling I'll be seeing lots of these two kiddos over the years. (Sorry for all the pictures- I managed to document these fairly well).

the panda quilts: #24: 1001 peeps quilt for asher

I made this quilt in January for one of the Mister's old high school pals. He had stopped by our house a few months prior - as he passed through my sewing room, he expressed a bit of interest in my fabric cabinet, and knowing I'd be making him a quilt soon, I had him look through and see if anything stood out to him. He said something about one of the lizzy house 1001 peeps prints, so i decided to use up all the prints I had in the collection for the quilt for his soon-to-arrive lil boy. I really like the whole collection - lizzy's take on arabian nights - and the colors are really beautiful. 
Because of the nature of the prints, I decided to use long strips - a pretty simple design.  
We were able to hand-deliver this one - here's the quilt draped on Asher's crib: 

the panda quilts: #23: triangles for C.P.

This was the last quilt finish for 2013. Because I went on vacation right after Christmas, I had to finish this one up in time for the mid-January baby shower I was co-hosting with 4 other gals. The mama is one of my dearest friends and I wanted to give her something she and the baby would treasure. It was (kind of) a custom quilt - she looked through my pinterest pins and pointed me in the triangular direction. She also let me know she wanted a lot of white and pinned some fabric choices as well. I wanted to surprise her A LITTLE and thought I was doing so with the Joel Dewberry Navy Herringbone fabric. Unbeknownst to either of us, she chose that very fabric to make window pelmet boxes! So...that worked out well!
I used my standard triangle quilt count for this one (9 rows of 11 triangles, plus the 18 half-pieces for the ends) but was a little more scientific with how many of each i used (to give a little more balance & to make sure white was the most predominant 'color').
 9 Raindrops, 27 light blue, 27 Herringbone, 18 Gray, 36 White = 117 triangles. I outlined the triangles to create a diamond quilting pattern and used gray for the binding.
basting on the kitchen floor
The back of the quilt was a single piece of a really interesting navy & white print - the company is based in Denmark & I've only seen it on Hawthorne Threads and a few shops on etsy, so I don't think they have wide US distribution. It's a very scandinavian print, for sure, and I enjoyed using something not as widely recognized in the fabric world.
My friend cried when she opened the quilt, so... mission accomplished! Baby boy was born in February and I spent a rainy Sunday afternoon with the family a few weeks later.  I fed him a bottle and (tried to) burp him. I didn't know I could feel that sort of love for a friend's baby; I thought such a feeling was only reserved for my own family.

the panda quilts: #22: half-square triangle sampler quilt for my in-laws

Since I have made quilts for everyone in my immediate family [still need to do one for my nephew though], i decided to make one for my in-laws for Christmas '13. I chose the fabrics right away - a few older Cloud9 prints + a few others - thought the colors were perfect for them. I had 5 YARDS of Kona Stone sittin' around (ordered a bunch for a different project and the shade wasn't right), but thankfully it matched perfectly with all these prints.
I had bookmarked this pattern awhile ago and went to work.  I HAD SO MUCH FUN MAKING THE BLOCKS. Working on a Sampler Block quilt really reminded me of the first quilt I made two years ago.

I've been doing lots of all-day marathon weekend sewing sessions as of late, but making these blocks reminded me that I can sew for an hour or two after work, too. I used slightly larger sashing strips than recommended in order to make the quilt just a little bigger. I quilted straight lines around the blocks, but also ditch-stitched some of the geometric shapes within the blocks (it really shows up on the quilt back. Big thanks to my quilting buddy Lana for that suggestion!)

I also used my little quilt labels for the very first time and sent the quilt off to Indiana just in time for Christmas.
Schminkey: Master Quilt Inspector

the panda quilts: #21: animals for arlo

Just counted and there's SEVEN finished quilts I need to write about! So forgive me if I'm short on words, but I have a lot of catching up to do! I started this one in late Autumn for a baby boy named Arlo. a baby named Arlo needs a quilt with animals, so that's just what i did. i scrappy-cut little bits of various animal fabrics (many of these made appearances in other baby quilts! i see something from Holden's quilt, the doggies from Beau's quilt, the turtles from Gregory's quilt, an elephant from Raylee's quilt, etc. I guess it pays to save scraps...)  i used grey, red and green as the basis for the animal blocks, then alternated with the bold blue. i truly enjoy making patchwork quilts and this one was no exception. I love catching glimpses of the quilt whenever I look through my instagram feed. and Arlo happens to be extraordinarily adorable so I love catching glimpses of him as well. 
Schminkey and Baltimore inspect the quilt. They approve. Don't worry, I immediately washed it after this photo was taken.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

the panda quilts: #20: lotta jansdotter california king quilt for our bed

we got a new california king-sized bed when we moved last march, and since then i've wanted to make a quilt for the bed. i've hoarded most of lotta jansdotter's windham fabrics since they first debuted in 2011. at one count, i had about 40 (!!?) different yards of her fabric from the 3 collections (echo, glimma, bella). seemed perfect to use her fabrics for the bed quilt. the thought of seeing the fabric each and every day on my bed just seemed like the natural thing to do. she's by far my favorite designer (fabric and otherwise) and i don't imagine ever growing tired of the patterns or the colors.
a lot a lotta
i decided to go pretty simple design-wise for the quilt. because of the large size, i didn't want get too involved in something that would take me months and months (who has time for piecing intricate blocks with so many gift quilts on the horizon?!)  i chose about 30 of the fabrics (most of the ones in my stash, except the pinks and oranges) and cut strips 8 1/2" in length. from there, i cut random-sized widths and pieced the rows that way. it was as random and improvisational as i've ever been, and the strips came together surprisingly fast. i ended up with 9 rows, each about 120" long. i played around with a few layouts (horizontal stripes? vertical? sashing or no?)
 i decided on horizontal with sashing strips (i used kona snow). i used all lotta for the back, as well (picked up extra yardage of a few prints during a mega sale!)

all along, i knew i didn't want to quilt this one myself. but i also knew i wasn't 100% pleased with my outsourced-quilting experience from before...but as luck would have it, i talked to a girl at this baby shower who told me about her mom's local quilting business, all sewn together. i am SO very pleased with the whole experience. nanette showed me all the quilting options & was incredibly patient with my indecisiveness. i even changed my mind about the design after sleeping on it (from 'overlapping arches' to this one instead) and she was receptive and understanding. because she's also a fan of more modern-style quilts, she understood where i was coming from and what suited the look of the quilt.  she did the binding for me, HAD IT FINISHED IN ONE WEEK, and was affordable. if you happen to need quilting services in the nashville area, i wholeheartedly recommend this place.
close up of the quilting

after i picked the quilt up, i snapped these pictures, threw it in the wash, and we've been snuggling with it ever since. i love it!!!