Thursday, 29 August 2013

Quilt Hangover = Small Projects

Last week I finished what I can only describe as a "giganormous" quilt for my sister.  I'm not gonna lie, it left me with a bit of a quilt hangover.  You know that feeling, you finish something that consumed both your mental energy and physical time for so long that you can't imagine diving right back in again?  I think that's why I typically intersperse big projects with small ones.  After a quilt, I'll make a lunch bag, or another kind of bag, or a wallet, or pouches.  That's just what I did today.

You see, we've been back at work full throttle this week before the school year begins.  Today, we had a unit meeting and I travel with a lot of electronics.  I have a personal cell phone, a work cell phone, and an iPad which I use to take notes.  Additionally, when we get resources and handouts, I like to tab, highlight and write in the margins.  So naturally, I have to cart a bunch of cables and other office supplies around.  I solved this dilemma by making myself a pouch that pretty well lies flat so I can shove it in my purse or cart it around with my actual iPad.  When I took out a pen today, my Principal saw my pouch and simply said "I want one."  In the interest of not engaging in a career-limiting move, that's what I made tonight.

This is some left-over Amy Butler Lotus fabric I had from a bag I made.
The first step is choosing the fabrics.  They have to match both the function of the pouch and be something she won't mind having on the table at meetings and workshops.  Then I had to make sure I had a zipper in the right colour and length cuz there was NO way I was going back out tonight! After a precariously stacked pile of fabric fell on my head as I tried to root through drawers to find a matching one....SCORE!

Then I put the front together.  I used a Lazy Girl pattern so it was a relatively quick and simple job.  Sewed the zipper into the top and bottom rectangles (folded right sides together) then pressed the fabric back.
Tried to line up the lotus flowers as well as I could.  Not too shabby!
Then really, it was a matter of layering the lining fabric, batting, back and front (zipper side down) and sewing around the perimeter.  A quick trip through the serger to finish the edges and then flip it right sides out and voila!
All ready for the next meeting!
Now I just have to remember to take it to school tomorrow.  Ha.  Onto my next small project....PILLOWS!

Thursday, 22 August 2013

Finished Quilt: Out in Space

So...where have I been all damned summer?  Ha. I have no idea where the time went.  For the first time in my working life,  I had the whole summer to do with as I pleased and I enjoyed every waking moment of it. Although I will certainly appreciate a return to the routine, I'm not ready...its too soon!  There's more fun to be had!  I'm back to work starting Monday and so I'm glad I got a quilt finished - it gives me some small sense of accomplishment that I didn't waste my entire summer being unproductive!

Thought maybe I'd share it with you -- you know, before we hit Labour day weekend and all.

Out in Space
As I have mentioned before, I made this quilt for one of my sisters.  She leaves on Sunday for four years to pursue her Ph. D in Astro-Physics.  Every time I say or write that, it makes me feel super dumb.  Anyhow, I'm really proud of her and am going to miss her a ton.  This quilt is so she can take a piece of home with her and so I can still feel connected to her across the miles.  I hope she enjoys it as its the most ambitious thing I have ever tried to make.  It took forever.  By forever I of course mean WAY longer than I ever anticipated.  She's lucky to be worth it!

Close up of centre
I did echo-quilting around each and every triangle piece in the centre meteor.  There are hundreds of triangles in this thing.  Hundreds.  At one point I wondered if I would ever finish.  I thought of setting my sewing machine on fire but didn't want to have to explain that to the fire-fighters.  

A bit better view of the swirl quilting in the massive amounts of negative space
This shows the pieced backing a little and the binding

The back
You can get a good look at the quilting details here.  I did an all-over swirl in the negative spaces.  I like how the effect turned out on the back.  Almost like a lunar eclipse - how fitting!

My "scraps"
On instagram I asked the important question -- If I can fill a shoebox with the neatly folded leftovers, does it still count as scraps.  Seriously people, I think I could make a whole second quilt top with these leftovers.  

The best part of the experience though.....

I used the practice and quilting of this top to trick my friend Alice into giving free-motion quilting a try.  I made a scrap sandwich and she went to town - even wrote her name!  She said it was fun...I'll get her hooked yet!

So I'm gifting this to my sister this weekend.  I'll let you know how she reacts!