Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Back in time, Summer Doll Quilt

Here's a another doll quilt I finished in September.  It was for the August swap, but I got a little bogged down finishing it.   Eek!  I didn't get it into the mail until September!  In the meantime there have been breaks, and flus, and what all somehow getting in the way of posting.  But here it is!

I used quilters cotton and Swedish linen with a fairly rough weave for this Doll Quilters Monthly swap quilt. I quilted it with a variegated sulky thread.  The theme was Sunny and Warm.  We had rain, rain, and more rain this summer, so I am sure I was affected enough to make some cloudy skies behind those tents!  I called it "Sensommar" in Swedish-- "Late Summer."   I was aiming to show the colors at their peak, just after a rainstorm and when the flowers are at their best.  I think it worked out pretty well.

Honestly, my quilting and my piecing were really off in some places!  I wish my technique could catch up to my ideas, but I know we all improve with time and effort.  It'll come, as my sis always says to me!

Here it is outside in some sun-rainy light, right after the dew lifted and before a rain storm came.   Just like late summer.

Sigh* I hope my swap partner doesn't take it too much to heart that I tried out designing on her quilt.  I think if I did this again, I might change the layout slightly to add a little more of the yellow sashing, even if I don't do the complete side sashes with the diamonds.  Maybe also choose sky with more contrast?

Original Tipi Village pattern from Quiltmaker 1993

The original pattern comes from an old Quiltmaker magazine I've been carrying around since 1993!  I even gathered some Southwestern fabric back then for that fine day I took up quilting.  My version has just a few blocks, and I made tents instead of tipis, with tent flaps added.  Instead of the Southwestern theme, I chose batiks and florals for a more organic look.

It took me a long time to try this pattern out, but I am sure I'll make another one.

Tipi Village/Sensommar, to be continued....

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

An Autumn Doll Quilt-- Blogger's Quilt Fest

I want to show you one of the doll quilts I made this year. 
This one is from September and I really tried to capture autumn with it. 

Chasing the Sky
Approximately 24 x 18"
Materials: Quilter's cottons and poly batting
New to me: Making a hanger sleeve on the back, washing the quilt after making and getting that crinkly effect!
Special to me because it reflects the best parts of my fall impressions, even though this is usually a tough time for me, with the days getting shorter and darker.  This quilt is a record that I made it through the dreary skies to the crisp snowy season,where the light bounces off the snow and everything feels more festive!

When fall comes, I love the changing leaves, the nip in the air, and the last lingering sunshine.  However, the toneless white sky that often comes with it just drains me.  It's hard not to feel down when you can't tell what time of day it is.   

This year I did the only thing I could think of, I nested.  I cleaned the house, opened the doors, brushed the floors to the outside.  I started on my quilt.

I chose the fabrics, cut the pieces, started with the log cabins.  I wanted to capture the colors I seek when autumn comes and the light starts losing its strength, and the days get shorter:  turning leaves, moss, lichen, and endless colors of sky, those days when the sun breaks through to make it blue again.  I decided to pair solid fabrics with the prints of Deb Strain's Giving Thanks, by Moda.  I needed to remind myself to be thankful while I was trudging along!

I had troubles with my machine.  I sent mails back and forth with my mother to try to troubleshoot.  I changed thread, needle, re-wound the bobbin, cleaned under the plate.  One day my husband brought home a new-to-me used machine, an early birthday present.  I started sewing and realized how nice it is to have a quarter inch foot, and a smooth machine!  A bunch of the seams already were a little off, but with the month coming to a close, and October coming on, I really had to just keep going. After so much stopping and starting, I was back in business.

Back in business!

I wanted to get across that bittersweet feeling in fall of how fleeting the blue sky is, and yet, how really blue it can be, if you catch it. I decided to use blues for some of the log cabins. Greens to show fading grasses, and the moss that starts to show more just before the snow comes. For the sashing, I wanted to convey the reflection of the sky and sun when you do the last fall cleaning.  I also wanted a way to balance the log cabins, to come outside of the houses, so to speak, much like my gaze did while sewing this quilt.

I had fresh impressions of South Korean textiles, and I liked the breathing space that the off white created for the pale solid fabrics.

                        Example of South Korean textile handicraft

I decided to take the sky and sun dapplings outside the edges of the cabins with scraps of some of the solids.  I had a bit of inspiration looking at Tula Pink's pattern for her quilt called Fairy Tale Lane, which has a dashed sashing that meanders through the quilt.  I used a scale that suited my quilt.  For the binding I went scrappy and just used the various blues, to echo the shimmering sky on those best days of fall.

Fairy Tale Lane quilt, by Tula Pink, from my copy of her book, Quilts from the House of Pink

All in all, I am satisfied with this quilt because I pushed my design boundaries a little more to make a log cabin pattern that expressed my feelings about autumn.  I had one more chance to practice my 1/4 seams, and they Did improve by the end of it.  I figured out how to make a hanger sleeve for the back, and I took the plunge and washed the quilt after making it.  It didn't fall apart, but got nice and crinkly! I really enjoyed letting it develop organically, just following my impressions of the color and light of the season.  It's not perfect, but it reflects just where I am in the quilting process.

Best of all, I made it through the worst part of fall along with the best, by having this sewing puzzle to see me through and take my focus outward.  Even though I sent it away to a Doll Quilts Monthly swap partner, I have the quilt in my memory for this particular autumn.  I made it again! 

And when I was all done,  I was rewarded to see a pair of moose, in the neighbor's yard, just enjoying that last bit of sun and uncovered ground.


                        Moose sightings from the sewing room window

Specs:  Doll Quilt
             24 x 18"
             Sewn and quilted by me of quilter's cottons with polyester batting
             First hanger sleeve, first quilt washing! 

I'm linking up to the Blogger's Quilt Festival over at Amy's Creative Side!  
Won't you come and participate too?  Lots of fabulous makers out there in blogland!  There's Tons of inspiration to share in!

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Mini Finish

I finished off October's swap for Doll Quilters Monthly and had a ghastly good time doing so!  I hope it gets to my swapper quickly so I can show and tell some more soon.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

The sky is crying...

...just like Stevie Ray Vaughn sang.
But inside it's warm and dry. 
The postman brought a little packet of goodness today.
And my updated machine is humming along, chortling as it feeds evenly, snips my threads, and fits a bunch of quilt under its bonnet!
Blessings indeed counted :)