I posted these pictures on twitter a while back but didn’t get around to putting them on the blog until now. I’ve been working on this quilt for a couple months, it was my first large project and a wedding gift for friends. I used some of the 1 1/2 inch precut strips and additional matching fabric and then it was machine quilted by Laurie Roberts in San Jose. I can’t find the receipt right now so I don’t remember how big it is, but it’s a large throw.

I made 9 patch blocks from 4 patch squares of the precut strips, alternating with a print square. The other block is yellow with an orange stripe, arranged in squares. The orange stripe and border was from a surprise box stash and it worked well. Originally I was going to do the border in red but I did a test block and the orange just looked much better. I have a few of the 9 patch blocks and some of the other fabrics left to use for another project.

The quilting is in green to match the dots in the background fabric and it was done in a meandering heart-shaped leaf.

Click on the picture for a closer view.

Yellow and orange quilt

It’s time for another get-together for crafty stuff. Bring your project, come on over and for lunch we can head across the street to the neighborhood taqueria. Saturday 28 November, the Saturday after Thanksgiving. 10am until dark-ish. Casa Feorlen is located near 22nd and Bryant in San Francisco (a couple blocks from SF General Hospital.) Email for directions.

This is a casual day of hanging out and working on that project you’ve been meaning to pull out. No drama, no agenda and barely a schedule. Show up, do something.

What to bring? Anything portable enough to get here that won’t destroy the place, snacks and suchlike, things to show off. Knitting and spinning in the living room, sewing in the kitchen, who knows what on the kitchen table. I have several spinning wheels, two sewing machines, a drum carder and a ton of other random fiber tools. Let me know in advance if you are interested in dying.

I’ve been doing more quilting lately, mainly because it doesn’t take huge blocks of time. I can work on something for ten minutes and put it down, which is not possible with most of my other projects. Haven’t had time to update the blog either. Some are gifts I can’t post yet anyway.

I finished several laptop sleeves, some because we got new netbooks and needed them, another as a design challenge. They are fun because they are small enough you don’t get sick of something and can try techniques you aren’t so sure about. First the two netbook sleeves:

two netbook sleeves

Can you tell which is mine? I was intending to make one from the blue log cabin handwoven fabric but it wasn’t wide enough. So I used a cotton print in traditional overshot weaving designs. If you don’t look too closely it looks like an overshot center rectangle with borders. As quilting goes it’s very very simple but it works.

The other has friendship stars in black on a star print, with a panel image of Buzz Aldrin on the moon. That would be for DH the Space Dork. He even posted about it on his own blog (including some more pictures.)

The other is what I’ve been calling the “Ugly laptop sleeve project.” I recently bought several quilting surprise packages, which came with all manner of, err, “interesting” fabric selections. A friend had responded to one of my sewing project comments with a bad pun, so in honor of such noble sentiment I promised to make him something. :)

I pulled out a couple fabrics, tossed in a leftover from another project, and made a laptop sleeve of one inch squares in a four patch design.

The fabric:

Some really atrocious fabric remnants

And the finished product:
finished laptop sleeve

My goal was to take some fabric I hated and make it into something interesting. I still have a hard time saying I like it, there being much orange involved, but I think it was successful. It’s sure bright, anyway. The small pieces disguise the objectionable patterns in the fabrics so you don’t notice as much. Adding the red much improved things and I had some strips already cut from another project. I learned a few useful things, like don’t try to apply binding directly over all those seams. I won’t be doing any large projects with so many tiny squares, either.

I made the inside a different pattern, in some more reasonable colors and a design I’ve been wanting to try but not commit to a large project. It was the first time I’d done curved seams for a quilt block. Interestingly, after I had already decided to use this I found out it’s a traditional quilt shape called Apple Core. Which was particularly funny since not only is it for a Mac laptop, it’s for an Apple employee’s Mac laptop.

In piecing the curved blocks I discovered that my quarter inch seam allowances weren’t up to snuff. This made matching the rows annoying and I had to iron it to death to get it flat. After much quilting it’s hard to tell, but I’m still happy it’s only the lining.

I have some other projects in the works but they are mainly gifts. One is out being machine quilted, so soon we’ll see how that experiment goes. I’ve seen other work by my quilter so I’m expecting good things. I’m trying to finish one more quilt to drop off when I go pick up the finished one.

I was at the knitting shop a while back to pick up some sock yarns to play with. The Ty-Dy Socks Blueberry Field I found looked just like an indigo vat so I got it despite some reservations. It was amazingly soft and bouncy in the ball, which doesn’t bode well for socks. It also split easily and somehow I managed to twist it even more than I normally do in knitting. But I loved the color so I stuck it out.

The crazy long repeat was a little odd to work with. I started the second sock from the second ball (I bought three) to get the same color sequence, otherwise I would have had to waste a ridiculous amount of yarn to start in the same place. There are only about two and a half repeats in the whole sock.

After the first wearing, the bottoms looked like they had been dragged around the house by a herd of cats. Yes, I do have gauge problems and only the toe was as firmly knitted as I wanted. But even it started to throw off lint immediately.

Click for larger image:

blue and green socks

So now I have a pair of really soft indigo vat colored bed socks, not something I could actually wear with regular shoes. I also have two half balls and one full ball of yarn remaining. With the color repeat, it will take some careful planning to have a smooth transition in a larger piece. I’m wondering if I ply it tighter I can get a usable yarn, but I’d have to find a pattern stitch that can handle the extra twist.

I recently bought some precut strips of quilting fabric to play with, mostly because they looked like a nice selection of designs and it would save time cutting. There are a bunch of different options, I ended up with two matching rolls of 1-1/2 inch strips. I wasn’t quite sure what to do with them so I tried a small project first.

strips of precut quilting fabric in different print designs

I was a little leery of using unwashed fabric so I combined it only with other fabrics I hadn’t gotten around to washing. I picked two designs out of the strips and made a really simple design of rectangles for a laptop sleeve.

blue and green laptop sleeve

Overall, it went ok. The strips have a pinked edge that I had to watch carefully with matching edges and stitching. But the fabric has enough body to stitch nicely. I still have problems maintaining a consistent seam so things didn’t turn out quite as I intended, but I picked the sashing fabric because it was busy and would hide badly matched seams or various other small flaws. Nothing went horribly wrong in washing the quilted fabric so that was nice.

I made a envelope sleeve with a large overlap and no closure, basically something for keeping the laptop from getting scratched. The opening is on the side so I can access the power connector without removing it from my bag. A while back I bought a padded sleeve like this and discovered it’s really handy to keep the machine packed away but still plugged in.

I have many strips left so now I’ve started a larger throw size quilt. It’s intimidating to draw out a design with hundreds of tiny squares but so far it’s been going ok. I divided the fabrics into blue-green and yellow-red piles, setting the ones with a white background aside for another project. I’m doing kindof a 4-patch thing with some larger squares of other fabrics.

I may try some wider strips or squares for a specific project but I think I’m mostly going to stick with regular washed fabrics. I do a lot of regular sewing so I always have scraps to work with. The idea of buying fabric to cut up specifically for quilting still seems a little strange (although I have to say I’ve done quite a lot of it the past couple months. Nothing like a couple discount coupons to motivate.)

I have plans for several larger quilts, although I think I’m going to have them quilted by someone else. Small things are ok but bed quilts are quite a handful to baste and stitch.