Monday, November 25, 2013

More Baby Projects and Bit of Art

I was continuing my baby project binge, working my way through my stash of flannel. This first pair of burp cloths was made using a Raggedy Ann and Raggedy Andy flannel from my mom's fabric supply. My mom passed away in 1979 and back then your fabric supply was not yet coined a "stash". Since my son and his wife are due with their first child in late March, I wanted my new granddaughter-to-be to have a bit of her great-grandmother to clutch in her tiny little hand. When I mentioned the print to my daughter-in-law she exclaimed that she loved Raggedy Ann and even dressed up as her one Halloween when she was a young girl. I had less than 3/8 of a yard but by using a plain white flannel within for the center triple thickness I was able to eke two burp cloths out of it. Kismet. Guess it was just meant to be.

Here are some other flannel burp cloth combinations from my spree. These are for a Christmas baby. One has the old fashioned nostalgic antique toy feel (but I still had to sneak in those spots) and the other is rockin' with the Dr. Suess modern vibe of wonky stripes (with my signature polka dots).

I have always like owls but whooo knows whooo these will go to? At first I tried to pair the owl print with something in the pink/orange color family or swirls pattern family but nothing seemed quite right. Stripes did the trick. I picked the yellow to go with the owls' breast feathers and the green to go with the leaves.

The jungle print wanted to be paired with some hot primary colors. The speckled one "tingles" my "funky" bone.

While I was churning out quick projects I sewed up some cloth books. They will get set aside for a holiday. The bunny  book is quite small. only about 7.5" x 7.5".

These next two are larger, 10.5 " square and 9.5" square. Actually the Christmas beavers on the left were not for a book but rather came from a panel of eight pictures by Cicely Mary Barker by Fabri Quilt Design titled Season's Greetings. But I thought the images were so darling I sewed them up as a cloth picture book. It does not have words but there is certainly a lot to speak to in the details of each page. I may consider using up other pillow/picture panels I have in that way. The Night Before Christmas contains the entire Clement C. Moore poem with Mary Engelbreit images and the panel was printed with the intention it would be made into a book.

I realize that fabric designers are artists. But normally one thinks of an artist as a sculptor or painter that uses a medium other than textiles. Seeing books for children made up like this makes me think what a wonderful way to introduce little ones to artists and the world of art. Children can hold a mini-museum in their very hands and even take it to bed with them. I learned a lot from writing this post by looking up Mary Engelbreit and Cicely Mary Barker in Wikipedia. And to think, I bought these panels just because I liked the fabric!

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

WIP: McCormick Commemorative Quilt Blocks

Last Saturday I attended the 50th birthday celebration of my college dorm.  McCormick Hall is the only all girl dorm on the MIT campus and was dedicated to facilitate the advancement of women in science an engineering at MIT by giving them an environment to live in that made them feel safe and at home among female peers. Many lasting friendships were formed during those four college years.

To commemorate the event, participating alumnae were encouraged to submit a square to be incorporated in a quilt. I made one each for myself and four college friends. In one corner I placed our name and graduating year, in a second corner our major, i.e. course of study. The third corner reads 5th River East, which states what suite of rooms was our college home. The final fourth corner tells something quirky that I remembered for each of us. I bordered the blocks with a print that was "loud and obnoxious" as I considered it. I wanted it to be graphic enough to stand out and be a unifying sign that the five of us, went together. Then, when the quilt was assembled, the blocks would relate to each other even if scattered throughout the quilt top. I was also trying to be kind to whoever assembles the top from the varying size squares they will get by providing a border that can be trimmed.

This is my block. I had a thing for owls in college and my room was decorated with them. I'd crocheted my bedspread in afghan stitch blocks with intarsia owls.

This is my friend Sue's block. She and I used to take our study break to eat ice cream just about every night. 

My friend Margaret was a chain reader (as opposed to being a chain smoker). I still do not know how she fit that in with all our other studies!

My friend Brenda used to hula dance professionally in high school. No, she was not from Hawaii. She was from Maine. Go figure...

Norma loved food, cooking, and eating. I also picked this particular print to represent her because it also reminded me of her flaming red hair.

It sure was fun making these blocks and thinking of good times and friendships while doing so. So that too much time does not elapse from the event til this post, I am posting this from a mobile device at the airport on my way going home. I am skipping stats this week and will correct my typos and picture sizes once I am on a real computer.

WIP: Preparatory Stretching

It has been too long since my last post. That is because we have been traveling and, when we are home, remodeling has been invading our lives. I am just now getting back to my sewing machine after an extended hiatus. It feels so good. It is my yoga.

You know how an athlete stretches to warm up his muscles before an event? I stretch before launching into my quilting by making burp cloths. I know at least three moms-to-be who are due within the next four or so months. And new babies really do need burp cloths. So here is the fruit of my labors. Their labors are yet to be.

Yesterday I pumped out six burp cloths made from two fat quarters each. The back of each is wrapped around to be the bordering edge fabric on the front. In the front center section the flannel has been folded over double to increase absorbency. I could have made each pair the same instead of making each pair a complement of the other but I like for them to be different. They go together yet you can remember which one has been used recently if a glance does not distinguish it.

This barnyard set has my signature polka dots. I did both orange and green because I could not decide which I liked better.

Houses are not typically a baby theme, but I loved the colors.

I made three more burp cloths from three fat quarters and three 1/4 yard lengths. I realized the 1/4 yard lengths could be folded along the grain rather than cross grain and still be used for the double thickness center section. I just love when the fabrics that I have in my stash, although purchased at different places and at widely varying times, just come together in an unexpected way. Those middle sections came from 9" full width fabric strips that were part of on-sale cuddle quilt kit. The backs and outer edges were flannel fat quarters I had in my stash.

To provide proof of my excuse for my long absence from quilting I offer this "before" picture of our living room. The "after" picture is still to come.

I will hook up to WIP Wednesday at  but for now, here are my stats:

Completed projects since 10/3/13 WIP post:
  1. New hardwood floor, rug, furniture, ceiling fixtures and painting in living room
  2. Trip to Boston and Oklahoma City
  3. Bloomers to match two baby dresses (see dresses in September 10, 2013 post)
  4. Nine burp cloths
Ongoing projects:  
  1. Classic Cars strip quilt (August 3, 2013 post)- need to back, quilt, and bind
  2. Grinch quilt (May 22,2013 post) - all borders added, need to back, quilt, and bind
  3. Jack O'Lantern Trio (February 2, 2013 post) - awaiting FMQ
  4. Chicken quilt - awaiting FMQ
  5. Overlapping square wall hanging - awaiting FMQ
  6. Mask quilt (October 19, 2011 post) - hidden away awaiting inspiration for arranging hexagons
New projects since 10/3/13 WIP post:  
  1. Making preparations for bathroom remodel
  2. Nine burp cloths
Stats since last WIP:
     Completed  projects - 11
     Currently in progress - assembly completed on 5 of 6;  finishing is my bottleneck
     New projects - 11 involving sewing