Thursday, May 28, 2009

2 finishes!

I surprised myself by finishing these two embroidery patches during my camping trip, which was really fun (and ended too quickly.)

The little mexican kitty is one of my favorites. She started with a pink bow, but I think the red is more fitting.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Fabric arrived and quilt squares made

I tested my fabric for colorfastness and laid it out this weekend:

I'm pleased... it really looks good! And my first squares came out well, also:

A major bummer, though... on one of the embroidery squares (not shown) I cut in the wrong place and had to piece on an additional piece of fabric. I guess it's not too noticeable, so I'm not redoing the embroidery. I think it'll be a while before I get back to sewing on this because I'm going camping this weekend. :D Ah, vacation, I have been missing you.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Quilt layout and size calculations

The first thing I did was to calculate the quilt size that I wanted. I decided to make it a twin, but on the large side so that it would work on a double bed as well. I laid the entire quilt out electronically using MS Paint... it's not the most versatile graphics program, but it was quite adequate for the purpose. I really got waaay into this electronic layout. I went as far as to copy fabric swatches from the site where I purchased the fabric and use them as my building blocks. I tried random distributions and arranged distributions, and various border sizes and compositions:

In the end, I decided to go with the design shown above, center. I liked the random layout, but was afraid it would overwhelm the embroidery squares. For the border, I knew that it needed to be fairly large so that I would not have to make the center larger (and do more embroidery!) I liked the quilted portion of the border, and arranged the rest to be simple, but somewhat broken up so that it didn't attract the eye too fiercely.

From here I calculated the fabric requirements. It took quite some time, and I'm glad that I saved the information, because I have referred back to it several times. I double and triple checked my numbers, (and then quadruple checked because the first 3 times I got a different answer each time... finally figured out that I was treating the borders incorrectly). Even when I got it all straightened out, I ordered extra of everything because the fabric was selling out. I will be glad to have some extra when I am done... it's such cute stuff!

Monday, May 11, 2009

Quilt Color selection

My niece's mother and I decided that the quilt should be pink and green... green to tie it in with her current bedroom decorations and pink, which is her favorite color. I did all of my color selecting by computer, from They have a handy tool that lets you collect your color swatches digitally and then move them around. I didn't like the fact that adding or removing a swatch messed up your organization, though.

There were such beautiful fabrics! Someday, I will definitely have to build a quilt around these:

For my niece, though, I initially selected these, though I wasn't very excited about the color scheme:

Before I got further in the selection process, though, I saw this:

Not only was it easier on me (it's offered in a jelly roll from Moda) being pre-cut, but I liked it much better than the pinks and greens. My sister thought that my niece would love the cheerful colors and thought it would look great in the room. Whew! I learned from my mother's example that it is much easier to make a quilt that you like.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

My First Finish!

Today is my first finish for the second round of Spring to Finish. I completed this embroidery for my niece's quilt. I like to call it "The Pornographic Ken-Doll Raccoon and His Victim."

Backing up a bit, after I had picked out embroidery patterns, I looked at quilt layouts to see what I liked. I didn't have to look very far here, because the one I ultimately picked was one of the first that I saw. I liked the way the embroidery squares were framed by the patchwork squares, and I appreciated the simplicity of the patchwork portions.

I decided not to do it in redwork, though, since I thought my embroidery designs would look better in color.

Next I turned to looking at fabrics...

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

It's a blog...

Yes yes it is. Because I won't have one until I start one. I am doing the Spring to Finish and I started to blog to record my progress. I have been toying with the idea of starting a blog and this is great motivation to start.

First thing we are going to be hearing a lot about my quilt. When my older sister got pregnant, I decided to make a quilt for my first niece. I figured it would be especially meaningful for her later if I got each of my (4) sisters to embroider a block for the quilt and then I would piece them together.

I looked around for embroidery sets that I could use. I was thinking that a day-of-the-week transfer set would be great for a quilt because the blocks would coordinate and I could just take off the words. I looked through my grandma's stash of transfer patterns and checked at Joann's, but I didn't really find anything that inspired me.

It wasn't until three years and two additional nieces later that I finally took the first real step toward this quilt by searching the internet for embroidery patterns. I hit a goldmine when I found a vintage pattern group on Flickr I found these cute kittens, along with a ton of various animals.

I got really excited and downloaded hundreds of patterns. My next task was to pare it down to a reasonable number of patterns. I tried first to do select matching pattern styles, but eventually decided to go for a bold mix because I just couldn't give up some of them. My sisters each gave their input, picking the ones that they wanted to embroider. Finally, I had them all picked.

To be continued...