Recently in Quilting Category

If I Knew You Were Coming I'd a Baked a Quilt

It turns out that the island in the middle of our kitchen is the perfect cutting station. My big cutting mat fits perfectly upon it. And it's the correct height so my back doesn't hurt too much after hours of cutting. Because I can't just craft in reasonable spurts. I do marathon crafting for hours on end. Cause I'm silly that way.

Kitchen as Cutting Room

I've started working on a quilt that I originally started about 8 years ago. I'm not kidding. It was the second quilt that I decided to make and I picked out a bunch of the fabric with my mom while on a trip to CT. This was in the days before they charged you an arm and a leg for overweight baggage.

Making Little Pieces from Big Pieces

Cutting the fabric is my least favorite part of quilt making. I think it's because I'm not very good at it. I'm just starting to get the hang of actually getting the pieces to be the correct size. But making sure that the grain of the fabric is going in the right direction? That's still way beyond me. I know it will reflect in the quality of my quilts, but oh well. Apparently I can only work on one cutting skill at a time.

I spent a lot of time squaring up pieces that I had cut 8 years ago. There are 2 setting triangles that I will have problems with since they are off about 1/4 of an inch. But all the rest seem good. And I have way more fabric left for the stash than I thought I would. Yay stash!

Odds and Ends

Since I was in the kitchen, I grabbed a mixing bowl to collect the odds and ends of fabric as I cut. What a great idea! So much nicer than getting bits of fabric caught up in what you are working with, which is what I usually do. I love the way the bowl looks all filled up with fabric. Like I'm baking a quilt.

I can't wait for my sewing machine to get back from the shop so I can start with the piecing!

Soft-Maps

The Craftzine Blog has been on a roll lately. They have another great link today.

The Haptic Lab makes handmade quilts of maps. They do ones for Brooklyn or you can commission one of your favorite location.

I love the puckering that the stitches makes. I'm sure it feels amazing under the fingers, especially since they make them in dupioni silk. My brain is churning on the best way to get the map transferred to the fabric. There's so much fun that you could have with this. Green thread around parks. Blue around blocks with libraries and schools. Though the single color does add a certain something to the overall effect.

I'll have to add this to the pile of inspiring ideas.

I Love My Viking!

A little over a year ago, my mother upgraded her Husqvarna Viking sewing machine to a newer model. I had gone to see my folks while on the East Coast for a business trip and they gave me her older one. I already had her Singer machine from the early 70s, a machine that is as old or older than me. My step-dad packed up the machine super well and I carried on the train from CT to Philly, and then on the plane back to San Francisco.

The Viking sat in it's well-packed box for about a year. This machine is quite the upgrade from the Singer. It scared me. The idea of a sewing machine with a computer felt a bit intimidating (which is kinda funny given how much I use computers on a daily basis). When I reorganized my craft room, I unpacked the Viking and set it up on the work table. But there it sat... until this weekend.

I've been working on these wall hanging quilts with the Dutch fabric. I've been using the Singer to do all the piecing, since I was afraid that the Viking would take too long to learn how to use. But the Singer has been acting up a lot lately. There is something off with the tension in the bobbin and it keeps breaking the thread. This is really annoying since I now can't stitch more than 4 inches without having to stop and rethread the needle. I quilted one of the wall hangings with the Singer and was so frustrated that I decided it would be worth trying the Viking.

OH MY GOD! I can't believe I was afraid of this machine. It has changed my life. All I've done so far is stitch straight lines, but that in itself is amazing. Straight! Lines! The thing I love most about this machine is the speed control. The Singer is either painfully slow or omgfullspeedaheadcrazyfast. Which leads to very uneven stitches, no matter how hard I try. But the Viking... it paces itself. The biggest problem I have is that I get hypnotized watching the needle go up and down and my eyes go out of focus and the line swerves. And it's quiet, so quiet. Ahhhhh....

I've now finished the two little wall hangings and quilted the third last night. I'm going to add a bigger border to the last one, since I have so much backing fabric left over. I find that I'm looking around trying to find other things to sew, just so I can keep using the machine. Stay tuned for photos... I was so excited about quilting last night I forgot to snap any pics.

Dutch Tiles Quilts

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Ever since I got back from Europe, I've been thinking about the Dutch tiles fabric that I picked up in Amsterdam. This weekend I got it out and made four small wall hangings out of it.

There were enough tiles to make two quilts of four tiles each, and two of 16 tiles. I had just enough fabric from the fat quarters to make the boarders around them.

I was amazed at how quick it was to make these, even if I forgot to square the tiles before I sewed the bars to them and had to rip it all out since they were slightly larger than 6-inches. I realized that most of the quilts that I have in production are at least queen bed size. That's big. No wonder it takes me so long to finish one!

I decided that I really should back these wall hangings with the same fabric as the front. So I went to the Den Haan & Wagenmakers site and ordered enough fabric to back all four, as well as the binding. I decided to go with a black print since I was afraid the blue wouldn't quite match.

I hope the fabric arrives soon. I really want to finish these up. I'm just going to stitch in the ditch, so that should be fast too. Yay for small projects and getting done quickly!

I'm Back!

I landed back in San Francisco late last night. Man, I don't know what time it is or what day or anything. I've slowly been going through my bags, putting stuff away. I managed to pick up some crafty things on my travels, and thought I would share them with you all.

In Amsterdam, I went to this neat quilt shop called Den Haan & Wagenmakers. If you are ever in Amsterdam, I highly recommend you go! They are not far from Dam Square. The shop is chock full of their lovely fabrics, with lots of kits and examples of how you might put them together. There is also a cute little quilt shop right next door, which was more of traditional quilt shop, more like what you'd find in the states.

Fabric for the Quilt

I picked up a kit, which included the fabric above. It makes a small wall hanging quilt of different squares. Should be quite nice when finished.

Dutch Tile Fabric

I also picked up this tile fabric and a set of fat quarters. They showed an example of the tiles cut with the fat quarters fabric as a border. I originally got this as a gift for my mother, by I love the fabric so much I may have to keep it for myself.

We past a cute little crafty shop while in Skagen, and I was sure to go back before we left in the morning. The shop was a strange mixture of yarns, fabric, cross-stitch kits and clothing. There didn't seem to be any rhyme or reason for how things were organized in the shop.

Christmas Table Cloth Kit

I did find this Christmas tablecloth kit though, and decided that it was worth it. It seems to be a more traditional design. The woman at the shop commented that it was "a big project" but we both agreed that it will be lovely when complete. I may or may not stitch the words in Danish... might change it to English. We'll see.

In Copenhagen, I went to a number of knitting stores. One of the stores, Sommerfuglen, had yarn, cross-stitch and embroidery, as well as fabric for quilting. I almost got a pattern for a lovely cardigan, but I was afraid that the directions would be too hard given that they were only in Danish. They also had some lovely cross-stitched maps of Denmark that I was really tempted by as well.

Blomster, Blade Og Baer I Korssting

In the end, I decided to get this book of cross-stitch wreaths and flowers. It's easy to follow the patterns, since it doesn't matter that they are in Danish.

I also picked up some yarn while I was at Uldstedet. This was a cute little shop with a fairly good selection, though not as large as Sommerfuglen. I went back and forth and back and forth over which yarn to get. They had a wide range of colors and it was so hard to decide.

Tvinni Alpaca

In the end I settled on this denim blue fingerling-weight yarn. It's Alpaca, so it's very soft. I don't have a pattern to use it in yet. I'm sure three skeins will be either way too much or not enough.

First Quilt I Ever Finished

I have a lot of quilts that are in various stages of creation. But there is one little lap quilt that has been lucky enough to make it all the way to completion. It's a Christmas Lap Quilt that I made at the end of 2002.

The quilt is a very simple patchwork pattern. I picked it up at ThimbleCreek, back when they were still in Walnut Creek, CA, as a kit. The fabric for the top was all pre-cut. I chose a Christmas-y flannel as the backing, because I wanted it to be something cozy to curl up with.

To stitch the top I put all the squares in a big grocery bag. I shook it up good and then blindly picked out a square to stitch. I added the square in whatever orientation I pulled it out. This meant that the squares are upside down and sideways and all around pretty random.

Here's a photo of the quilt after it had been pieced and as I was sandwiching it together for basting.

Quilt Sandwich

I used the Warm and Natural (at least, I think that is the name) as the batting.

Quilt Sandwich

The fact that this quilt is only a lap quilt size made it a lot easier to finish. I stitched in the ditch for the final top stitching. I had a bit of trouble with the flannel backing bunching up as it when through the machine. I don't notice it anymore, but at the time I was all upset about the bunching. Washing it a few times so it crinkled up a bit has also helped with that.

Christmas Quilt, Detail

It's actually just a smidge too small. You have to turn it on the diagonal to get it to cover your feet and to your chin. But I still love it. It's soft and warm. And I think the fabrics they chose for the kit really work well together.

Christmas Quilt, Detail

Christmas Lap Quilt:
Started: Fall 2002
Finished: Fall 2002

Wireframe As Art

In the fall of 2006 I had a wild idea for a poster at the IA Summit: Wireframe as Art. Wouldn't it be funny to make a craft version of the deliverables we information architects and designs slave over with our computers? So I set out to make a knitted wireframe, a quilted one, and a cross-stitched site map.

I started out with the knitted wireframe. I found a simple wireframe I had created for an actual client and used that for my template. I decided that I wanted to do it in shades of gray, just like a real wireframe. How hard could knitting in multiple colors be? Turns out, it's rather hard.

Knitted Wireframe, Take 3

The biggest problem I had was keeping all the yarn straight. The piece was long enough that I didn't want to carry the colors across the back the whole time, especially since there were a number of them, and they showed through on the white background. I ended up putting little balls of color in different glasses and knitting from there. It made it slow to turn the work, and meant I was pretty stationary when I was knitting.

Knitted Wireframe, Take 3

It took me about three or four tries before I found a system that worked. And I did get better and faster at it. It also helped that the wireframe was simpiler as worked my way up. I started with the footer and moved towards the global navigation.

4:30 PM - Halfway Done

My old camera phone was pretty crappy, but you can see it definately started to come together. I was working on this until the 11th hour. I was knitting it when I got to Vegas for the Summit. I had just finished it and blocked it on a pillow in my hotel room just before going to the opening reception.

The cross-stitched sitemap was much easier, probably because I knew what I was doing. I don't have a photo of the making of the cross-stitch, but here's the finished pillow. Kate made a site map moblie of the same map.

I also don't have any photos of the construction of the quilted wireframe. This one was also pretty easy and I made the top of the quilt in just a few afternoons. Rather than piece the quilt, I heat-and-bonded the fabirc strips to the background. I wouldn't make a regular quilt this way, but since this was so small, and would never be washed I figured it would be okay. I was also running into a time crunch.


Doing the actual quliting was a bit trickier.

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  • One woman's adventure with yarn, fabric and needles.

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