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Wednesday, December 31, 2014

2014 (Phew!)

2014 has gone by in an utter blur. I've worked too hard - not spent enough time (in my little mind at least) with my adorable children and I've had some big break throughs (in my little mind at least.)

So here is a little recap.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Charity Quilt for Quilt Con

This was a challenge set by the Modern Quilt Guild. There was a particular color palette set & a style of quilt set - to play with grid work. (I found the post on Grid work pretty interesting on its own.)

I always enjoy reading the information that comes through from the Modern Quilt Guild. So when this challenge was announced I pretty much expressed interest in quilting a quilt for the charity challenge immediately (I do wonder that I perhaps mentioned too many times that it was only the quilting I was interested in!)

Lovely group of very enthusiastic ladies all in the NE of America - from New York up to Maine. The quilt top is titled 'A Happy Little Mountain Range' - so I took the angles of the triangles and quilted each 'mountain' in a separate pattern. Here are some pictures of our finished quilt.

The Greek key stitch is actually really hard to do - in terms of traveling around and working out how big your square is going to be - going in and coming out again. Practice is still needed but I'm getting there.

It has been a whole year now since Freddie arrived. I have wholeheartedly fallen in love with the texture that quilting can create on top of a quilt. 

The little double pebble motif above was really easy and looked really cute. And I marked for the first time ever for the baptist fan (just dots) but it kept the motif much more regulated in terms of direction, position & size so I'll be marking again for that pattern in the future.

I've quilted a bias top before - but a bias back? I was quietly (but utterly) terrified. Much effort was taken in terms of keeping the tension on the backing constant & even with constant checking and adjusting with the frames bungee cords. 

If I ever tire of inspecting the back of something I've quilted I think it will mean that I've lost interest. For me I LOVE the backs (sometimes more than the front - but ssshhhh!)

And above the mountain tops? Of course - the serene and ever flowing McTavishing esq type thing I do.

If you are in QuiltCon this February and get to see this hanging in person please send me a photo - I have the most exciting engagement ever at that time (the sky over the mountains might give you a clue.) So I won't be in Texas - but I will be traveling!!!

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Memory Quilt: Toddler Dresses

Just to recap these toddler dresses were given to me to make a pillow. I couldn't bear to just cut chunks out of the dresses without using up all the material given to me - so I suggested a quilt as well.

I have had this idea of having an actual dress sewn to the middle of a quilt - as if in a picture frame for a while now. This quilt is for a 4 year old girl - the youngest of all the sisters who have worn these dresses.

The back of the blue dress was so pretty with its buttons and wide bow -  I knew that was the dress to use.

I used some petals left over from the memory pillow to create her flowers. The ribbon on her flowers and in her hair are from the dresses. Her shoes are made from the grey wool dress.

I used the remaining pieces from the dresses to create a 'picture frame' around the dress.

Mini orange peel is a little bit of a favorite pattern for me at the moment.  You can take orange peel in some many different directions - it is a fabulous pattern to play with.

In the border there are lots of cute little details like lace, the stitched boats on the pink striped dress and the pleats and stitched flowers in the blue satin dress front.

Here is some up close detail of the quilting around the girl. 

Therapeutic Mctavishing for the sky.

She is standing on the shore looking out. There are a lot of pebbles and shells beneath her feet.

Some of the pebbles are very small. 

Hair has become a small obsession of mine to take further next year. The braid is actually another piece of brown fabric appliqued onto the hair shape and then I quilted on top of the layers in a lighter thread color to highlight the shape of the hairstyle. It turned out really well.

 It sits wonderfully on a queen bed.

I'm excited for the little girl to receive it. I'm planning it will get to her in time for Christmas. I really hope they enjoy using it.


Friday, December 12, 2014

Moroccan Tile Quilt

I love the texture on this quilt for many reasons.

You will remember from my previous post that the quilting on this quilt is based on the designs on hand-painted Moroccan tiles. 

A big mix of different designs. Only a few of the blocks are the same.

Some up close shots? 

I feel like I succeeded with making the transition from tile design to quilted design.

The jewel tones of the peppered cotton and against the gold thread is a combination I could definitely work with again. The gold thread is subtle, a hint of glimmer - not too much sparkle. (But enough for us girlie sorts!)

I know this was a lot of photos but it was hard to choose my favorites!! The batting I used for this quilt was wool - with the washed peppered cotton and wool batting the quilt is very soft and drapes softly - as you can see it doesn't hang so well - but I am hoping it will be perfect for wrapping yourself up in when good friends can not be there to hug you.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Moroccan Tile Quilt

This is a quilt that I am making for a very dear friend of mine who has broken my itty bitty heart by moving away from New York to Indiana. As we get older I find it gets harder to make friends whom you identify with fully, whom you can cry on or tell off - an unconditional sort of friendship - warts and all.

I used in this quilt a pashmina that this friend had unceremoniously thrown at me saying "perhaps you can recycle this into something." So when she said she had to move away I thought maybe I could recycle into something just for her. I forgot to take a picture of the whole pashmina before I began cutting -  but here is a glimpse of what it used to look like. It is full of pretty pinks and aqua blues.

Luke helped me select the fabrics during his stay from a the handy pile of ever so gorgeous peppered cottons (my new obsession) - the purchase of which was the fault of Earamichia who recently introduced me to this fabric.

I chose the simple but lovely Frienship Star block for the quilt. (Quietly sobbing here!)

My friend - who has always wanted a full on Moroccan style party - was the source for the quilting inspiration. I was looking at all things Moroccan and decided to use the patterns I found in hand-painted Moroccan tiles as the free-motion quilting patterns.

You might (or might not) see where I am going with this idea.

I have through this project become quite obsessed by this idea of quilting tile patterns into a simple square quilt tops.  I hope to take this idea further next year.

I made my own template out of cardboard to help me mark each square quickly.

I had some 20 designs sketched up on paper.

And then  I went to it - using a gold thread to draw a tile pattern on each block.  Some are more complex than others - I found the ideas and variations on the tiles just kept coming.

Want to see what the finished quilt looks like? Stay posted ....

Thursday, December 4, 2014

I can't recycle that!

When I'm talking with the families who come to me to turn clothes into quilts we often have long conversations about what sorts of fabrics can be used for the project. My plain answer is that there is no limit to types of fabric or sorts of clothing - no maximum no minimum - send it to me and I will put every effort into turning into a beautiful quilt. I do however ask them to think about whether they want to hold on to any pieces that are more than special to them - because sometimes something can be so special that they should just be quietly kept.

I had this moment recently and it took me by surprise.

I am preparing the back to my first portrait quilt. I mentioned already in that post that I am using all Bunny #1's old pajamas - here is a sneak at the stack.

There was one pair of pajamas that I thought I wanted to include but then at the last minute couldn't. Her first pair of pajamas. 

When she was born - she wasn't super small - but certainly no where near what the doctor had estimated. Since then she has indeed grown but she is very petite compared to her peers - there was something about her first pair of pajamas that reminded me of how small she is - then and now. How delicate life is - that feeling of holding your first child in your arms - worried you might hurt them but wanting to protect them from everything - suddenly realizing that this is the sort of love that is unending and utterly unconditional. It just felt too much to cut into these particular pair of pajamas.