Monday, April 17, 2017

Eggggs! Egggs! Exterminate!

Back in the day of the classic Doctor Who Daleks weren't too scary.   I mean, all one had to do was go up a few flights of steps and hide around the corner and one was safe.   Daleks couldn't climb stairs.    Apparently the writers realized this and the new generation of Daleks can now fly.   Look out, you're about to be exterminated!
  Growing up my mother and older brothers would talk about Doctor Who and the Daleks.   By the time I came around and was old enough to watch it it was no longer on tv- or at least not available via bunny ears.   One day we discovered the library had a few vhs tapes (I feel as though I'm dating myself a bit...) and we checked them out.    I remember giggling when I saw the first episode with a Dalek in it and wondered how on earth it could be sooooooo terrifying!  That being said, the new and improved Daleks are definitely terrifying.
  I'd already made a bed quilt for my mother but also really wanted to make her a lap quilt for when she watched movies.     I wanted to create something unique and after seeing the large amount of Doctor Who fabric that was available I decided to create a Dalek.    That meant opening paint and drawing away... and a lot of erasing... and reworking, and "WHOA!  Jump back Loretta! That is *way* too large for a lap quilt!"   Finally I arrived upon this and it turned out really well- except for the one pixel I apparently grabbed the wrong 1.5" square and didn't realize it until I had the quilt pinned and ready for free motion quilting.   I left it there.  It made it even more unique.
 This pattern is available for sale at here.   The finished size is 50x50.   The pattern is mostly 1.5 strips with quite a number 1.5x1.5 blocks.    The pattern works left to right so if there are 10 black pixels in a row that means one will use a 10.5x1.5 strip instead of using ten 1.5x1.5 squares.  One would want a sonic screwdriver for that!     The background has a few large chunks to save on time, fabric, and thread.  It also really helps the the background pattern to stand out.

Friday, April 14, 2017

The Sopwith Camel

Second of my Lil' Folks series is The Sopwith Camel.     Who didn't sit on the edge the seat waiting to read more about the World War 1 Flying Ace's adventures behind the enemies line?  Who else was saddened when The Red Baron shot the birthday cake that the Ace was so kindly trying to give him?
 This is the first quilt that I have cut and pieced in an almost twenty-four hour span.    If one had a free day one could easily piece the top in a day.    The top half takes a little while as it works with 1.5" strips but the bottom portion moves very quickly as one uses large rectangles.
The bullet holes were decided upon after I pieced the top... I felt the quilt was missing a bit of personality so bullet holes it was!  They didn't turn out quite how I was envisioning, but they still add nice charm to the quilt.
When designing the pattern I tried work Snoopy's grimace into a pixel but it just didn't look quite right so I decided I could stitch a grimace.  I'm really glad that I decided to go this route as it turned out so well!

The background fabric was purchased at JoAnn's.  Isn't it a marvelous background for this quilt?
The white, black, and green were all scraps from other projects- as was the batting!      It's so nice to be able to use up scraps- heh, well, can't say that I "used up" the entire stash.  That would be miraculous.

Thursday, April 13, 2017

I'mma number one!

About a year and a half ago whilst walking through the clearance aisle at Wally World I stumbled across some Mario sheets and blankets.  I used one of the sheets for the Bowser quilt but still had the microfiber blanket.   I had something special in mind for that blanket and it took some thinking to work it out.     I wanted the quilt to tell a story from Mario Kart, but how?  There's only so much room and I had a specific size the quilt absolutely had to be.    I opened paint and got to work... and worked... and worked...  finally I came up with this pattern.    The top portion is worked with 1.5" strips and the bottom portion (Mario) is worked with 2.5" strips.   It was amazing how much more quickly the quilt went once I started working with the 2.5" strips.
For this quilt I also did a few large background chunks instead of doing strips the width of the quilt.  Doing so saves a lot of time, fabric, and thread which is all pretty important to me.
  I was pretty nervous about quilting this.  I was tempted to not use batting since the backing was already heavy but my husband talked me into doing it and I agreed it probably was best, especially since there was such a stark difference in the thickness of the top and bottom.    The blanket was very stretchy and having already worked before with snuggle bubble I was kind dreading quilting this.   I took a lot of time with the pinning and it definitely paid off as the back ended up very smooth!
I got a little creative too and stitched in some Koopa shells as well as a star... which didn't turn out quite as well... I think I got a little cocky with the success of the shell.   Mario and Lakitu were stippled and the background along the words was stitched with a racetrack... that didn't turn out quite how I envisioned it, but it turned out, I guess.
I add the words to the top left as I felt the corner was black.   I kind of wish I would have done the letters in multiple colors similar to how the main screen is but I decided to use the awesome houndstooth that I picked up for the binding.
Pardon that cute lil' girl walking on the back of the quilt.  She loves it when quilts are spread on the floor and loves to snuggle them.   In a few years she'll be big enough to hold them up for me when I take photos.  Payback!  =)
This pattern is available on Craftsy!

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Joe Cool

Reading Peanuts was a staple in my life.   As a child my brothers and I owned many dozen of the Peanuts paperback books and spent hours reading and rereading them.   In the last year I began to start collecting books from the Complete Peanuts set and have been reading them.  It's pretty amazing how many of the strips I had read as a child- especially since the bulk of the strips were written before I was born.   I also have a sneaking suspicion that my sense of humor was greatly influenced by reading the strips.
 Over the past two years I've created many video game pixel quilts and it started me thinking about what else is already quite pixelated that could be turned into a quilt and Peanuts came to mind.     I sat down one night and began to mess around in my photoshop program and began to feel as though I were eight years old again and playing around in paint!   After some fiddling I figured out what I needed to do and inspiration for a new series of quilts was born.
Thus far I have finished two quilts and have the patterns written for two more.  There are so many ideas I have for Peanuts quilts that I have a feeling only a small portion of them will ever come to fruition.  Ah well.
I decided the first quilt in the series to make would be Joe Cool.   Partly for the fact that, hey, it's Joe Cool and also partly because I've been wanting to make my brother a quilt and his name is also Joe.   I recall that as a teen he had a Joe Cool shirt and he tended to wear it with some pride.   Who wouldn't?  Joe Cool is, after all, well... cool!
After creating so many large quilts recently it was pleasant to work on a lap sized quilt.  The finished size is 45x57.   For the background quilting I stitched paw prints.  I give myself a D- (just don't call me Peppermint Patty, please!) for them.  They're tricky little buggers!     Isn't that snuggle bubble just gorgeous?   Instead of working with 57" long strips I broke the background into large chunks.  Doing so saved so much time (and thread and fabric) and it also makes the Snoopy print stand out much better.  Of course though after sewing a gazillion 1.5" black and blue squares together I went, "Duh! Why did I not sew two 1.5x X strips together and then cut them to size?  It would have saved so much time!"  Ah well, I have another Peanuts pattern that switches between two colors pretty frequently so that pattern I amended to do this technique.  Live and learn, you blockhead.

Monday, April 10, 2017

Spell it with an E!

I have been an Anne of Green Gables fan- some may say addict- since I was twelve years old.  It all started with my mother picking up a VHS tape from a garage sale containing two episodes from the tv series Road to Avonlea.   My brothers and I loved it so much my mother looked into finding more and discovered that the same producer also had filmed Anne of Green Gables... and that's how it all began and I really could go on and on, but I won't.  I already have a website or two for that.
Last November I was informed that there was now Anne of Green Gables fabric.  Waiiiiitttt!  Did I hear that right, Mom?    While still on the phone with my mother I started to search the internet for it and yes, my mother's information was correct (really, should we ever doubt our mother?).   I called the local quilt shops and most had never heard of it or just said they didn't have any so after much searching on-line to find who had the largest variety of the prints I wanted at the best price I bit the bullet and ordered.
Then it arrived and I drooled over it and imagined what I wanted... but didn't really have a big vision.  I knew I wanted classic blocks that would have been common in the late 1800s.    I searched through the books as did a friend and the only pattern besides crazy quilts (which I did not want to attempt- I'm crazy enough by writing most of my patterns) there was an Irish Chain.  Fun, but I really wanted something a bit more intricate and personal... and then I came across a pattern with sawtooth stars and an Irish Chain.  Now were talking!  I'd been wanting to do a star pattern for some time and now my creativity was flowing with ideas.   If I did twelve inch stars then I could do a six inch center and have a scene from the book in the center.  Sweet...
I was a member of an Anne/RtA/WaMB forum for years and am friends with many of these people on Facebook.   I asked for key things from the books and movies and got a wonderful response and waaaay too many ideas to possibly use (just means more Anne quilts in the future, right?  I mean, I still have some left over fabric because I wanted to use it sparingly).

So my Anne quilt was born.  My only regret is that I didn't stop to completely envision the quilt.  I just hoped in with making the squares.  I kind of wish all the stars had a white background as what I ended up doing made the stitching a bit harder to see... but hey, I wanted a scrappy look and scrappy is what I got.

When it came to the Irish Chain portion my husband responded to my sighs of frustration and helped me figure out an easy way to design it as well as figure out how much material I needed.   He's pretty sweet like that.  He knows math and I are frenemies.

 My aunt gave a lot of quotes in her recommendations and it really made me want to incorporate them, but how?   Then I came up with the idea of stitching quotes from the movies and books around each star.

 For the general background I did a stipple with small flowers.  It took a while to get the hang of it and some are pretty horrid looking, but that's okay as it's realistic.  Flowers aren't perfect but even the ugly ones can be beneficial- like smelling really bad so they keep rabbits out of my garden.
 There had to be Green Gables... not super happy with how it turned out, but it required some skills I'd never before used so I'm happy with it!
For anyone who has read the books they know that cats are essential and a must to be on the quilt.    I used a quote from Captain Jim that is one of my favorites.
 What is an Anne quilt without a glass of raspberry cordial?  If you've never tried raspberry cordial you really should!  It's quite easy to make and is *so* good!    Search for a recipe and you'll find quite a few.   I had it at my wedding and unfortunately it was all gone before I could have some. :(
  The dress was the first block I made.  My husband said the sleeves really did need to be puffed so I stuffed 'em with some cotton.   I've never before done applique like that before!  Definitely another learning curve- especially since my sewing machine does not have a proper applique stitch- well zigzag, but I didn't want that.
A lot of the inset patterns I came up with myself... the dress was simple... draw a dress on a piece of paper, cut it out, and use it as your template.   Gog and Magog are from a block book I have though I did modify them.  They were originally a cat!  I change it slightly and then appliqued their spots.  Technically they should have more, but in this case less is more.  Don't want to over do it, that's what.   The tea cup is from the same book but I got the doily idea from an Eleanor Burns book.   When I saw the doily I *had* to do it.  I have to at least attempt to keep up with the Gilleses!
Lover's Lane was fun.  I wasn't sure if people would know what it was but my husband reassured me that it didn't matter; it's my quilt and I know what it is... but we're both sleeping under it at night so shouldn't he know what it is too?  Yes, he really is sweet enough to let such a girly quilt be on our bed.  Actually, I think he's just happy that I can settle with just one quilt on the bed...
Books play such an important roll in the book... there's Ben-Hur, the Pansy books, the Life Book of Captain Jim and so many others!  Walter's book of poetry... but how to showcase Montgomery's love and appreciation for literature?  Ah, a bookshelf with a few books, that's how!
Not all the fabric used is the beautiful Anne fabric.  I found some nice fillers locally.  Hobby Lobby had some great fabric (the tea cup fabric came from there).   JoAnn's had a fabric I felt worked pretty well for a border.
I apparently didn't manage to take a photo of the back of the quilt but I found a print at JoAnn's as well that I felt really suited the quilt.  Normally I just use a sheet for the back to save money but this quilt was special and I decided I could splurge just a wee bit.  Don't tell Marilla, though, she'd say it was ridiculous and say I'd have to walk through the door sideways... or some such stuff and nonsense like that.