Thursday, October 30, 2014

Halloween Birthday Quilt

Today I delivered Halloween Birthday quilt.

Halloween Birthday
For little girl born on Halloween - granddaughter of co-worker Patty L.
Original design
50" x 56"
Began 10/26/2014, completed 10/29/2014.

Patty asked me to make a quilt that combines Halloween and birthday. Halloween is represented by black cats, along with a cute, not scary, print that I think is quite appropriate for a grade school-aged girl. Balloons and cupcakes stand for birthday. Purple, the little girl's favorite color, and Halloween color orange are present in all of the theme fabrics.

Strips of the black cat and balloons side by side. I think there is plenty of dark/light contrast between them.

Two pieced strips

Width of fabric cuts and pieced strips laid out on design wall. Notice the center strip is very wide, to show off the large motifs.

Close-up of theme prints

Narrow dark purple strips added, all rows sewn together

Jagged edge, since I sewed width of fabrics together, aligning centers - to be trimmed even with edges of narrow purple strips (the shortest)

Edges trimmed up

Testing out orange and purple strips. Orange seems to stand out too much, and in my opinion, doesn't improve the look. 

Wide purple border - seems too wide

Slightly narrower - better

Wide borders added, quilt top finished

Once again, the finished quilt.

I hope the little girl enjoys her new quilt. Happy Birthday!


Friday, October 24, 2014

Quilt Top Finished, New Quilt Begun

Tonight I finished the top of the improv quilt.

Pink border ties in nicely with the pink in the center block.

Blue border added to finish the top.

When the quilt is completed, my plan is to donate it to Stanislaus Family Justice Center, which helps victims of abuse. Each child who comes through gets to choose a quilt. This quilt will finish quite small, about 35" square, but I believe that it will be just right for some child in need of comfort.

Meanwhile, I'm starting a new quilt, for the granddaughter of co-worker Patty L. Patty's granddaughter was born on Halloween, and I was asked to make a quilt that combines Halloween and birthday. Patty's granddaughter's favorite color is purple.

I found the fabric on the right at a local store. Cute, rather than scary, I think it's appropriate for a grade school-aged girl. Patty's granddaughter likes cats, and the fabric on the left has black cats. There are cats in the Halloween girl print, as well.

Here are the fabrics that will represent birthday: balloons and cupcakes.

Fabrics for the quilt, including tone-on-tone orange and solid purple

Electric Quilt sketch
Center row is the Halloween girl fabric. Outside pink rows are the cupcake fabric. Remaining rows are squares in alternating balloons (green) and black cats (purple).

The quilt should go quickly.


Pacifica and San Francisco Oct. 2014

Yesterday I went on a day trip to beautiful seaside Pacifica, just south of San Francisco.

Gorilla Barbecue, as seen on Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives. A must whenever I visit Pacifica.

Sea gull, Rockaway Beach

Gorgeous day

Two men fishing on the beach

After spending some time at the ocean, I caught BART at nearby Colma, for a 15-minute ride into San Francisco. I got off one stop too soon, and ended up walking nearly a mile to a fabric store that was only a block from BART. Oh, well.

Near 24th St. Mission BART station
I'm a pianist and I enjoy classical music, so the name intrigued me. I'll have to check it out next time I go to the fabric store.

Chinese food and donuts - interesting combination.

Farmers market

Fabric Outlet, near 16th St. Mission BART
I found fabric to make a new pair of pants for less than $20 total, which surprised me.

Colma station, BART
I was getting ready to exit when I heard someone playing trumpet. I'm used to seeing musicians play for money in the halls. But this guy was actually waiting for a train. Judging from his headphones, I would say he was practicing.

Sunset at Pacifica Pier
I hadn't been to the pier in several years, after discovering Rockaway. A traffic jam on Highway 1 and little time before the sunset caused me to backtrack to the pier. I arrived just in time.

Last moments of the day. I loved how the birds played in the waves like children, running up to the water, then skittering away as the waves came in.

Pacifica Pier, popular fishing spot
I learned recently that co-worker Lupe N. enjoys fishing for crab here.

In case you forgot to bring bait.

It's not unusual to see the waves come over the sea wall during high tide. But during one storm years ago I saw the water come over the wall (left), across the sidewalk and little street, and into the yard (see the guy in the white shirt). That's 28 paces for me. Wow!

High Tide restaurant, Pacifica
Found in a Google Maps search of restaurants. I love crepes, so I was pleasantly surprised to find that there was a crepe restaurant in Pacifica. The food was pretty good, and I'll probably come back.

Lots of ocean-themed art on the walls

I had a wonderful tiime on my trip. I'll be back before too long.


Thursday, October 23, 2014

WIP Wednesday - Improv Quilt

A couple of months ago I started an improv quilt, combining techniques learned in online classes at, as well as Liberated Quiltmaking. Throughout the process I've tried not to plan too far ahead, dealing with whatever happens as I go.

This is how it looks now.

Please read on to see how I got there.

The idea for the quilt came from a color challenge found in a blog post by The Color Throwdown: navy, pale plum and green. The challenge is actually for cardmaking, but I adapted it to quilting.

I started with less than a yard of this pretty fabric which had been in my stash for many years.


I sewed together pairs of strips, then cut them into sections.


Trying to gauge how many sections would be needed to cover the length of the squarish background piece.

Sewing sections together

One long set of strips

That'll work.

Trimmed up the edges without worrying if they are parallel to each other.

Cut in half

Laid on top of the background. Looks good.

Cut roughly in half

Inserted one strip

Turned the block, then cut in half again.

Trying out the placement of the second strip. I like having the blue area in the center.

Sewn together. Block will be trimmed to size later.

Second block done.

At this point I set the project aside until yesterday.

Made two more blocks similar to the original ones.

Took a squarish background piece, cut it in fourths, and then sewed on triangles in a wonky fashion.

Triangles flipped and pressed

View from the back


View from the front

The points don't match but that's okay.

Inserted pink strips

Trying out a navy print for the center. I like it.

Five blocks done. All will be trimmed later.

There are four spaces that need to be filled. Trying out a French Braid look.

Flipped and pressed
This is where I ran into problems. I couldn't figure out how to make the braid without leaving an exposed edge. I spent about an hour trying out different ideas, without success. Finally I ditched all four blocks in this partially made state. They are now in the scrap bag, destined for Binky Patrol at some future date. Bye-bye!

Decided to keep things simple. I liked the idea of the on-point navy square in the center of the green background.

Just for kicks, I re-arranged the striped blocks. I liked them better the other way.

Before I started on the green blocks, I measured the five already-finished blocks. They varied in width and height from 9" - 10". I trimmed all five to 9" square.

Five blocks trimmed to size

I had two oblong strips in this mottled navy. I just cut them in half with scissors - no measuring.

I decided to applique the squares to the background. I could have zigzagged over the raw edge, but I chose to press under the edges for a clean finish. Above, two sides pressed under, about 1/8".

All edges pressed under

From the right side

Turned the "square" on point, positioning it roughly in the middle of the 9" square background.

Top-stitched just along the edges.

View from the back

Nine blocks done
The quilt is pretty small, would finish less than 27" square at this point.

Trying out different border fabrics

Blueberry wins.

Still wanted some pink. This one is nice and bright, but it's much bluer than the pink in the center square.

Found a couple of pinks that were more orange. The polka dot is cute, but perhaps too cute.

I chose the solid pink, which is just a little darker than the pink in the center block. I think it will help the design if I repeat the color.

Nine blocks sewn together. What a happy quilt.

Border fabrics with the main quilt top
I like what I see.

As I mentioned before, the quilt will finish up pretty small, even with the additiion of the two borders. I could use it as a wallhanging, but it will end up too wide for the space I have in mind. I've decided to give the finished quilt to Stanislaus Family Justice Center, where some child (probably a girl) will be able to use it for naps, cuddling up, or keeping her dolly warm.