Wednesday, September 28, 2011

How to make quilt for Wanda

A Study in Stripes
For co-worker Wanda S.
58" square
Original design
Partly from stash
"It was so fun to surprise her!"

How I did it: I have been working with Wanda S. for many years. I had intended to make a quilt for her but was having trouble getting inspiration, mainly because I knew so little about her and her interests.
Outfit worn by Wanda that inspired the quilt

Perhaps a year or so ago Wanda wore an outfit to work that looked stunning on her: a bright pink sweater with narrow white stripes at the neck and waist, a heathered gray cardigan and black pants. I decided to make a quilt based on the outfit. I even borrowed the pink sweater from Wanda under the pretense that I wanted to find a similar pink. Little did she know I was making a quilt for her.

I found a few pink and white striped fabrics, buying various lengths without having a design in mind. I also found a mottled gray that reminded me of the cardigan.

When it came time to get serious about making the quilt I designed a quilt with Electric Quilt, using several blocks that related to the theme or to Wanda: Stripes and Nine, Roman Stripe, Wandering Star (a play on Wanda's name) and Beacon Lights (a wanderer needs a beacon now and then).

When it came to coloring in the quilt design, I tried to play up the stripe and the mottled gray. The results show off those fabrics well.

I named the quilt A Study in Stripes, probably influenced by watching Sherlock Holmes on PBS (A Study in Pink, which was originally A Study in Scarlet).

At my request, Wanda brought the outfit to work today so I could take a photo. I showed her the quilt,and explained all the blocks. Then I told her that the quilt was hers. She was so surprised. Although she had known about the quilt for a while, she had no idea it was for her. She assumed it was for co-worker Judy B., who will retire tomorrow. It was so fun to surprise Wanda.

Lessons & tips: I had two fabrics that I wanted to show off. I played with the placement of fabric in Electric Quilt to be sure they were prominent.

Electric Quilt

It took me 2 weeks.

It made me Happy

WIP Wednesday 9/28/2011

Cristine's Bosties in progress

I finished A Study in Stripes for co-worker Wanda S. I delivered it to her today. She was so surprised! She knew about the quilt but thought it was for co-worker Judy B., who will retire tomorrow. It was so fun to surprise Wanda.

Once again, I’m picking up Cristine’s Bosties, a quilt for my housekeeper Cristine. I haven’t touched this quilt in a few weeks. Two finished blocks disappeared from church about a month ago, and still haven’t been returned. I don’t have enough of a couple of the fabrics to re-create the missing blocks, but with some substituting I can still make blocks that will work just fine. I hope to finish the quilt this weekend.

In my head: Habitat Challenge for Sacramento Modern Quilt Guild. I have an idea, and I’ll begin really working on it next week after I finish Cristine’s Bosties.

Due late October: Frog quilt for co-worker Sara, who is leaving the office to become a stay-at-home mom. Good for her! I was able to stay at home with my kids when they were small, my daughter-in-law stays home with my young granddaughters, and I say if you can do it, do it.

The frog quilt will be made up mostly of squares in scrappy greens, with one large square from a panel; the square features a really cute, really big frog and will occupy a lower corner of the quilt. I remembered and found a fat quarter that I’ve had for upteen years that has lily pads and tiny frogs. I plan to cut it up into a few squares and scatter them among the scrappy greens. I don’t expect the quilt to take long…maybe a week.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

A Study in Stripes quilt top done

After I applied the striped border with the Wandering Star blocks in the corners, the quilt felt finished. It didn’t seem to need the narrow black border. I auditioned a small strip of black but it didn’t seem to add anything. So I’m calling the quilt top done.

My goal tonight is to do a pillowcase finish, then do a little bit of tying—just enough to hold the quilt together. I want to get a photo of co-worker Wanda and her quilt together. Wanda said she wouldn’t wear her inspiration outfit till Tuesday or Wednesday, but I’m going be prepared with a presentable quilt just in case she wears it tomorrow (Monday).

Main part of quilt top done

I sewed together the main part of the quilt top of A Study in Stripes. When I trimmed the blocks to size, I lost the points of the triangles, but I’m not going to lose sleep over it. Wanda will not love her quilt any less just because the points are blunted.

I need to add a striped border and the Wandering Stars blocks in the corners, then a narrow border in black. I’d love to finish the quilt Sunday night. We’ll see how it goes.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Roman Stripe quilt blocks sewn

Roman Stripe quilt blocks

I just finished sewing the Roman Stripe quilt blocks. As with most of the blocks I’ve done so far, they need to be trimmed to size.

Next I’ll put together the small but somewhat complicated Wandering Star blocks. Then I’ll trim all of the oversized blocks to uniform 16.5” square.

I’m getting excited because the end of this quilt is in sight.

Beacon Lights blocks sewn

Beacon Lights quilt blocks (untrimmed)

A couple of days ago I sewed together the Beacon Lights blocks for co-worker Wanda’s quilt A Study in Stripes. The blocks need to be trimmed to size. The gray square in the center represents the heathered gray sweater from Wanda’s outfit that inspired the quilt.

I’ll finish the Roman Stripe blocks very shortly, then move on to finish the Wandering Star blocks.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

WIP Wednesday 9/21/2011

Quilt blocks from top left: Wandering Star, Roman Stripe, Beacon Lights, Stripes and Nine

At the moment I’m concentrating on A Study in Stripes for co-worker Wanda. Three seams from now I’ll have pieced 4 Beacon Lights blocks, the center Stripes and Nine block and a Roman Stripe. All six of those blocks need to be trimmed to size. Also, I’ve made one Wandering Star block. I need to make three more Wandering Stars and Roman Stripes to complete the set of blocks for the quilt. My deadline to deliver the quilt is next week, so I’ll be pedal to the metal to get it done.

Cristine’s Bosties, for my housekeeper, is near completion. It’s been put on hold until the quilt mentioned above is finished. I’ve made five of nine blocks. Two more are nearly done. Unfortunately two other blocks that were completely finished were accidentally picked up at church by a member, taken home and not have not been returned yet. I have officially decided to move on without the blocks. This means a slight re-design of two quilt blocks as I do not have enough of a couple of the fabrics to re-create the lost blocks. But I think it will work out.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Stripes and Nine block sewn together

Stripes and Nine quilt block (untrimmed)

Tonight I sewed together the Stripes and Nine block which goes in the center of co-worker Wanda’s quilt (A Study in Stripes). It still needs to be trimmed to size. When finished the dark pink rectangles will become the corners of the block. I think the block looks really good.

When the block is trimmed up it will look something like this.

Next I’ll work on the Beacon Lights blocks. My goal is to finish at least one of each of the four different quilt blocks in time to share at Saturday’s Sacramento Modern Quilt Guild meeting.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Beginning to work on Wanda's quilt

Inspiration and fabrics for A Study in Stripes

Tonight I’ll start sewing co-worker Wanda’s quilt. Inspired by an outfit worn by Wanda months ago, the fabrics include a pink and white stripe to represent Wanda’s sweater top and a gray tone-on-tone to represent Wanda’s heathered gray sweater. Also in the mix are a black solid, another gray, two different pinks, a white tone-on-tone and a pink stripe that is on standby.

Electric Quilt Sketch

I created a quilt design in Electric Quilt that uses the quilt blocks Stripes & Nine, Roman Stripe, Wandering Star and Beacon Lights. The block names relate: stripes, a play on Wanda’s name, and a wanderer (another play on Wanda’s name) could use a guide or beacon now and then.

Stripes are in abundance, whether in fabric itself, block names or piecing. I’m thinking of calling the quilt A Study in Stripes.

Score one for creativity

Path from my front door to the patio door

Last Friday I hired the neighbor's nephew to do some work in the backyard. I live in a condo which has no access from the backyard to the front yard unless you go over the fence into the backyard of a neighbor who has a gate or through my house.  I figured if I could create a path of some kind the kid could walk through the house with bags of yard trimmings without getting dirt on the carpet or repeatedly taking shoes off and putting them back on.

I considered several possible ways to create a path, including buying a roll of bridal path stuff, butcher paper and painter's paper. Finally I remembered that there was a roll of paper on my granddaughter's easel. Even if I ran out of the paper I had a new roll in the closet.

The paper path worked great--no dirt on the carpet.  Best of all, it was "free."

Sunday, September 04, 2011

Getting my lost blocks back

During a break at church today a friend told me that the lady who may have walked away with my blocks last week was there today. She happened to be sitting directly behind me on the front pew as I played the piano. The friend suggested I write a note and give it to her as I came back to play the last few songs of the service.

I wrote a little note, asking the lady to wait a few minutes after the service ended. We usually play part of a song as people are going out, and I wanted her to hang around until I was finished. I handed her the note on my way back to the piano.

She was waiting when I finally got done. I introduced myself and asked her if she had been sitting in the other pew last week. She said yes. I told her there was a bag on the pew. She said she had picked it up with other things. When she got home she looked in the bag, knew it was part of a quilt, and had wondered where to turn it in.

I asked her if she could just bring it with her next week and drop it off with me. As it turns out she plans to come to the church a couple of times before Sunday. We plan to meet at the church tomorrow evening before one of her programs begins. I don’t go to the church on Monday, but I don’t mind driving if it means I can have my blocks back sooner.

I’m looking forward to getting my blocks back, and although I had Plan B in my head, I’m so glad I’ll be able to complete the quilt as I originally planned it to look.

Friday, September 02, 2011

Housekeeper quilt on temporary hold

The good news: By last Saturday night I had finished seven of nine blocks for housekeeper Cristine’s quilt. The bad news: I brought two different sample blocks to church on Sunday to show quilting friends, and someone took off with the Walgreen’s bag with the blocks in it. I doubt it was on purpose. I think the lady who sat in my usual spot on the front pew scooped it up as she was leaving with her little boy, thinking the bag was hers.

I attend a large church and I don’t know the lady. I didn’t see her leave because I was playing the piano at the time and my back was to her. I’m hoping she’ll bring back the bag this Sunday and put it back where she found it or turn it in to Lost and Found.

Meanwhile, I’ve put a hold on the project. I had hoped to give the quilt to Cristine this week, but I’m waiting a few days to see if my blocks return. I’m thinking of alternatives in case I never get the blocks back. For the most part, either I have enough leftover fabric to re-create the blocks, or the fabric is easy to get.

The housekeeping fabric was an online purchase, so I’d probably just substitute other fabric and stick that block in the middle. I had extra of the Boston Terrier fabric, but it is in the lost bag. I’d have to fudge around that, too, since it is special order fabric, expensive, and takes three weeks to get.

I’m hoping to get the blocks back. If not, I’ll make it work somehow.