Monday, September 28, 2015

Becalmed Sewn Goods and Quilts

I have decided to "re-brand" my sewing and quilting under a new name, Becalmed Sewn Goods and Quilts. I started Panda Parables prior to being a quilter - in the early days, I posted random things here and there, recipes and travel reviews. And over the past 4 years, it's evolved to a being a place where I catalog and write about the quilts I make and not much else. I will keep this blog around but probably won't post to it very often (unless we go on a rad vacation and I feel inclined to write about it...)...But I didn't post often to begin with, so....

For the 10 of you who "follow" me, thanks! I hope you visit Becalmed. Expect to see quilts, quilts and more quilts.

Thank you!

Friday, January 2, 2015

the panda quilts: #34: low volume plus baby quilt

Pinterest had me drooling over low volume quilts recently, so I finally gave one a go. A co-worker was due to have a baby boy in December, so that settled it! 
I followed this for cutting dimensions. I thought I'd have enough low-volume scraps to use, but it was hard finding enough 5x5 squares to fit the bill, and I had to cut into some fat quarters and bigger fabric pieces. It was fun revisiting some of the cute animal prints that have showed up in past baby quilts. 
obligatory floor layout shot
For the plusses, I had a fat quarter bundle set of all the 2013 new Robert Kauffman Kona colors, so as you can see, I pulled out shades of blue and turquoise. I added a Kona Snow border to bump up the size a bit (so it's about 40" square). 

For the quilting, I did lines around each 12" block, then stitched-in-the-ditch around each plus sign (you can really tell on the back). And good ole Lotta for the binding. For the back, I was able to use  this nice Anna Maria Horner light blue print (I picked up a pretty sizable remnant at Textile, so no need for piecing the backing). 
Here's me and the mom-to-be at the office baby shower (complete with giant computer monitor in the background): 

Welcome, baby Ethan!!! 

the panda quilts: #33: candy-colored triangles quilt

This quilt was made for my friend Nicole and her mystery baby #3. Nicole and her husband are the only people I know who do not learn the sex of the baby, so...gender neutral quilt! I didn't quilt when boy #1 was born, but boy #2 was the recipient of this quilt (had to dig way back into the archives for that one, as it was the 3rd quilt I had made!)  

I started this quilt in August and planned it around this raindrop print made by Alexander Henry. I threw in orange, light blue, yellow and white solids, as well as a green lizzy house pearl bracelet print. 

Maybe I've been playing too much Candy Crush, but the colors remind me of that. 
perfect points!
When it came time to chose fabric for the back of the quilt, I was so sure they were going to have another boy that I almost used light blue fabric.  But my quilting buddies rooted for a more gender-neutral orange, which made sense since mom & dad are UT alumni. 
solid orange back, with raindrop stripe in the middle
This quilt sat on the shelf for a good two months, and I suppose I was too busy/lazy (depending on the day) to send it to Alabama. And then November rolled around and I got a text from Nicole announcing, "It's a boy!" (to which I replied, "of course it is!")  I sent Everett his quilt that very night. 
Congrats and love to the whole family! 

Thursday, November 6, 2014

the panda quilts: #32: wonky stars quilt for a baby girl

Remember the king size granny squares quilt I made for some friends back in '12? Well, those friends are having a baby girl next month, and this is the story of that quilt. It started with this fabric, which I purchased at the Fabric Studio here in Nashville (with the intention of it being a quilt back). It's a super adorable, kinda flannel-y Japanese Kokka fabric with sheep on it - how can anyone resist sheep?! I certainly cannot. 
 I picked several gold/yellow and green fabrics from my stash to match this print and cut away...
...and made (9) 14" wonky star blocks. I was able to make the whole top in one evening - it came together quite quickly. 
I used the sheep for the center star and planned on using it for the back, but changed my mind at the last minute. It's 85% cotton, 15% linen, and it's really soft...but I just thought it was a bit heavy to be the sole fabric for the backing. Plus, I didn't know how it would hold up to repeated washings.
Instead, I used this Lizzy House print from the Cat Nap collection. 
I wanted a break from the sewing machine, so: adventures in hand binding, part 3 (in which I watch the movie Carrie while binding).
Here's me with the mama-to-be at the baby shower (+ an adorable little boy). 
I am so very excited for these guys & can't wait to meet their little lady (she'll be here around Christmas). 

the panda quilts: #31: dense triangles for an outdoor modern quilt show

'scuse all the wrinkles...hard to smooth it with such dense quilting lines! 
A local fabric shop (the fabric studio, 221 Chestnut St., Nashville) called for submissions for an modern quilt show to be held in conjunction with the neighborhood's monthly art crawl, so I jumped at the chance to contribute something. With no specific baby in mind, I set about to create this quilt.

I had a vision in my head - lots of empty space, triangles - and planned the quilt around all my leftover kona stone fabric. In retrospect, this wouldn't have been my #1 fabric choice, but I went with it, all in the name of thriftiness. The floral print is an older Japanese Lecein print, and the weight is slightly lighter/more sheer than regular quilting cotton. 

It's been so long that I can't even remember what size I cut the blocks (to be used for half-square triangles). I played around with several layouts: 
...but none of them really fit what I had in my head. I cut the HST units smaller, and came up with this:
From there, it was time to quilt it. Again - I had a vision: very dense straight lines. It took awhile, and midway I began to feel as if i was making a glorified UHaul packing blanket. (A google image search led to this - look at this rad packing blanket!)

Anyway, back to this quilt. Since I was entering this in a show, I hand binded (hand bound?) it and promptly dropped it off to Nancy at the Fabric Studio. 
I had to go and check out all the other quilts, and I was so proud to see my lil quilt up there with all of the beautiful quilts (seriously - look at the one to the left of mine with the purple & pink half moons, made by Linday Sews - GORGEOUS!) 
Here's me with my quilt: 
Nancy wrote a fantastic wrap up of the event here, with tons of pictures of the other quilts. And if you happen to live in the Nashville area - most definitely check out her shop. She carries a perfectly curated selection of modern fabrics and I am happy she set up shop here. 

This quilt is back home with me, and I don't know what to do with it. Since I posted pictures of it on social media, I'd feel funny gifting it to a baby someone, as I really do carefully think about the recipients each and every quilt I make (I wouldn't want it to seem like an afterthought). I still do have plans of one day having an etsy shop or selling at a craft fair, so perhaps I just need to squirrel it away. But until's all washed and folded atop my shelf waiting for a home. 

Monday, November 3, 2014

the panda quilts: #30: rectangles for a happy marriage

It's not every day that your baby sister gets married. And this not-every-day occasion certainly deserves a quilt. I made Courtney a quilt way back in 2011, where it quietly lived a too-small-to-fit-on-the-queen-size-bed life for the past several years. So it was perfect: I'd make the newlyweds-to-be a queen size quilt!

Courtney and Brian's bedroom is blue, and I covertly snapped a picture of the wall color as my frame of reference. 

This wonderful triangle print designed by Leah Duncan became my basis for fabric selection.

Typically, I like to mix and match prints from different designers and lines, but I used only prints from Duncan's Tule collection. I also picked a few Kona solids to break up all the prints. I went with a very simple offset rectangles pattern, cutting the blocks 10x5, and it came together relatively quickly (considering the size). I didn't photograph the back - I used the Carolyn Friedlander Architextures Crosshatch in White (108" wide - first time not piecing a large back!) 
laying out rows on my bed
first little section sewn together
I contacted my local long arm quilting gal about quilting this one for me (too big a job for me to tackle...) and she came up with a neat meandering triangle design to compliment the triangle print. It turned out great. I was SO ANXIOUS to give it to Courtney and Brian once it was back in my hands, but I waited a few days and gave it to them at their wedding shower. They had no idea I was doing this for them so I was happy to surprise them with it. 
the quilt - new home on their bed! 
All the hubbub of the wedding and reception is now over, and I am so thrilled to have a new brother-in-law. Brian just fit right into the family dynamic. I couldn't be happier that my sister found the right guy to complete her life. Congratulations, Courtney and Brian! May your lifetime together be filled with adventure, laughter, communication, patience and love.

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.