Last year around Thanksgiving, I decided to make six quilts for Christmas gifts. While I did get them done, I decided this year I needed a head start to avoid any panic in December. I saw an example of an I Spy "story" quilt in the book The Modern Quilt Workshop by Weeks Ringle and Bill Kerr. I thought it sounded like a fun idea for kids - either to have them hunt for a specific picture, or to do the story idea as described in the book. You pick a starting spot, and make up a story to tell by following the pictures along any path.
To make these quilts, you need a lot of pictures of objects, people, etc. Not the usual quilt fabric I tend to have on hand. I was able to get in a swap that requires each person to cut 20 4" squares from 10 fabrics, then send them to the coordinator who will send us each back 200 squares of different fabrics. Above are the fabrics I picked out today to send into the swap. It was fun picking these out, although rather difficult to limit myself to just these 10!
This is a picture of a section of the quilt shown in the book. It should be fun putting this together.
Before finding out about the I Spy swap, I went through my fabrics to cut out what I could - while I had quite a few, it wasn't nearly enough and didn't have enough different types of pictures. I apparently have a large number of bird fabrics . . . and of course tons of flowers. Some of these will probably end up in the quilts, a few probably not, but I figure I'll have these around as extras once I go through the ones from the swap, in case some of those don't quite fit. All in all, this was a lot of cutting for one evening!
I've been sewing quite a bit, but mostly for the various virtual bees I belong to - today, though, I was all caught up on projects, so I made this table runner to match our dishes - the print fabrics are Kaffe Fassett, with a Fassett shot cotton fabric for the solid - it's a sort of blue/gray color. I'm happy with how this turned out, and it went together pretty quickly. I didn't expect to have it cut, sewed, basted, quilted, and bound in one day but it's nice when it works out that way!
OK, I have to brag a little about this. I previously had an incredible mess in this closet, with fabric spilling everywhere on the floor, and supplies stuffed in so many places that I'd often buy something and realize later that I already had it. Time for organization! My daughter suggested this strategy of clear bins with labels, and it works really well. I've also got some very large bins in another storage area for those things that take up more room.
My next step in my organizing mission will be to organize my scraps so they are more usable. There is a great scrap organizing system that describes how to cut all scraps into standard, usable pieces and organize them by size. It makes perfect sense, and as the site mentions, those scraps may have cost you something like $9/yard, so you want to make them usable!
I made this block as a companion to the one I made yesterday for the June Fussy Cut Bee. You might not be able to see it too well, but the block is centered around a tiny munki fish. I like the random piecing of an improv block, but making it "wonky" does not come easily for me. Perhaps I am too much of an ordered, symmetrical person but forcing myself to get outside my comfort zone is part of the fun of making bee blocks!
I finished this block tonight, it's for Ryan ("I'm Just a Guy Who Quilts") for the June Fussy-Cut Bee Block. I like the teal and tangerine color way, and it's easy to like the munki fish. Ryan is looking for all random pieced blocks, so this is my initial block. I've got enough fabric left to try a second block tomorrow. I saved a tiny bit of fish for that one as well. :)
I also mailed out all the fabric for my first bee month today. I've got the first month for the new "Fresh and Funky" bee, so that was a lot of fun putting all the fabrics together. I know I sent way more than necessary, but sometimes it's hard to decide what someone might want for their blocks so I figured it's better to have more options.
I've been a fan of quilt blocks that depict houses, which sometimes are seen in quilting bees where each person personalizes their house to show something about themselves. I was playing around with this idea, when I came across "Material Obsession" by Kathy Doughty and Sarah Fielke. I love this book for inspiration about fresh twists on traditional patterns. One of the quilts in this book is called 'Burbs, which combines random-sized blocks of houses and people. This quilt is my inspiration for the Fresh and Funky block for July, and I'm providing some basic directions on how to assemble these blocks. They are meant to be random and somewhat wonky, so once you get the basics of putting them together there is lots of room to personalize them.
Here are the four sample blocks I made, that I'll use for this tutorial:
I'll start with the girl block, and provide the most directions for that one. Once you get the hang of the piecing, you'll see how easy it is to vary it with different shapes and details.
It helps to start in the center of the block and work out. If it matters to you what size the blocks will be in the end, you might want to draw out the basic shapes and pre-determine the size of each. In this case, I wanted random sized blocks, so I just let it grow as I went. This finished block was fairly large - about 11" x 15". I picked a purple Kaffe Fassett floral for the skirt, and a lighter pink pattern for the block background. I cut rectangle of each - in this case, they were about 9" x 7". A small girl might require starting with a 3"x5" piece, or anywhere in between.
OK, I'm ready to go with actually using this blog I created and then haven't used. It is like a blank canvas - starting is the hard part, but I like the idea of tracking my own ideas and using this as much for myself as for sharing with others. I promise some pictures of projects shortly!
I have been quilting, sewing, knitting, weaving, and dabbling in various other fiber arts, photography, and occasionally painting for much of my life. . . well, the painting part mostly consists of staring at the same partially-completed canvas for the last few years, but I do make up for that with my fabric frenzies. I love working with natural fibers and fabrics, and I bounce happily back and forth between modern and traditional quilting.