Ticker Tape Baby Quilt

Phew!  There has been an awful lot of sewing going on lately, but I am happy to report that the last baby quilt has been delivered.  And this is it. 

Birch_Baby_Quilt

Admittedly, not the nicest of days for photos, but I'm very happy with how this quilt turned out.  It's for one of my husband's colleagues, who teaches environmental science.

It's a ticker tape quilt, which means that scraps of fabric are quilted directly on to a larger piece of cloth (in this case gray), batting, and a backing (navy).  The edges of the scraps are left raw.  One of my favorite things about this quilt is that I can look at it and see scraps from almost all of the other quilts I've made in the last few years, which I think is pretty cool.

ticker_tape_baby_quilt

Having never made one of these quilts before, the rhythm that I fell into was to complete the quilt in sections.  So, I started with the water, and more or less worked outwards from there.  This quilt was a little bit of a pain (literally... lots of pins), and I was surprised at the amount of effort that laying out a fairly even distribution of scraps required.  That said, this was very simple to put together, and I'd like to do another one sometime soon (and not just because my scrap bin is looking a little overwhelmed).

I'm happy to report that there's not much that I would have done differently with this quilt.  If anything, I would have planned a little better (I underestimated the amount of time that it would take to finish).  Also, the back of the quilt is a little messy, so I probably could have done more there.

Here are a few more photos!

Birch_baby_quilt_ticker
ticker_tape_baby_quilt

Washington Capitals Baby Quilt

As promised, I have been quilting up a storm, and here's my second October finish!

washington_capitals_baby_quilt

This quilt is for our former debate coach and professor, who has just become a grandfather :)  He and his daughter are both big Caps fans (so much so that they were able to get us all tickets to the Blackhawks-Capitals Winter Classic last season), so I thought that this theme was pretty appropriate.  Even though it's not my team of choice, I'm really, really happy with how this turned out.

washington_capitals_quilt_back

I don't usually post tutorials on how to actually quilt, but I was pretty dedicated to getting the rink layout correct and to scale.  This required a lot of squinting at google images of rink measurements and then doing fractions to get feet to inches and whatnot.  My big takeaways were that the metric system may have us on that one, and that I should really record this in case I (or anyone else) ever wants to make a scale hockey rink.  My quilt is 43" x 41".

All the measurements here are in centimeters.

All the measurements here are in centimeters.

And here's another close-up of my measurements.

hockey_rink_measurements_closeup

One of the things that I like the best about this quilt is that it's (a little) 3-D.  Most of that is accomplished with buttons, but I also used actual netting for the goals, which turned out pretty darned well, if I do say so myself.

20151013_164037.jpg

And the center ice logo is hand embroidered, with hand-painted stars on the red line.  I love that Hobby Lobby sells an "ice" fabric in both bright white and light blue - it's just a little bit of extra detail that I think brings everything together.

Capitals_center_ice

As with the Gone Fishing baby quilt, there are a lot of things that I really like about how this turned out.  Which is obviously not to say that I wouldn't do things differently, were I to do it again.  Specifically:

  • Most of the stars on the red line look good (I painted them on ribbon with an acrylic paint/fabric medium mixture when I couldn't find an appropriate substitute).  In a few cases, however, the paint has chipped off a little, and I'm not sure that it will stand up to repeated washings.  My guess is that this is more of a display quilt than a wash weekly quilt, so I'm hoping that it will be okay, but if I were to do it over, I would look harder for a printed ribbon substitute, rather than painting my own.
  • This is more of a time management thing, but I feel as if I've been actively working on this quilt forever.  And I have been.  It's one that took a lot longer because I picked it up and put it down so many times.
  • I think I would have considered the bird logo a little differently.  What I did was take the total height of the navy (approximately 22") and make a logo that maximized that height, cut it in half, and sewed it on.  I think that in retrospect, I would at least consider taking the total height of the quilt (~41"), making a logo that fit that height, and then appliqueing the ice rink on top of that (difference shown below).  Ultimately, I'm happy with what I did, based on the actual Caps logo and how it turned out, but I think that if it had been a different logo (so, for future reference), I would have gone with the second option.
Please excuse my PowerPoint image rendering.

Please excuse my PowerPoint image rendering.

Anyway, that's two down, and one more to go.  The last one has a fair bit of work left to do, but I'm still really hoping to finish it up by the end of October.  It's a little different, but I'm already tempted to keep it, and usually that doesn't happen until way, way later in the process.

And one last picture.

Wash_Capitals_baby_quilt

Interested in seeing more of my projects?


Half Square Triangles are the Best Square Triangles

... And finishes never happen on Fridays.  These are my strongly held beliefs.

This past weekend, in addition to sanding the stairs and starting to stain, I finished up another baby quilt.  It's a lot of bold.

Front
Back

This quilt is for one of my coworkers (the last one having a baby in the office for a while), who is also our marketing director.  They don't know whether they're having a girl or a boy, and  I felt like the half square triangles and the color scheme fit my coworker's aesthetic well, and the other person in our marketing office agreed.

Overall, I like this quilt, but there are a few things that I would do differently, were I to do it again.  In terms of the strengths of the quilt, I love the color scheme, and I think that the binding is one of the best I've ever done (and now I feel like ironing can go back to being my least favorite part of the process).  I also really like the back of the quilt, and I like that my new labels came in and look awesome (not pictured).

Opportunities for improvement on the next quilt include:

  • Quilting in a straight line - The quilting on this is all stitch in the ditch, which makes straight lines kinda important for a half square triangle quilt.  There are a few areas where that didn't quite happen.
  • Precision - Some of the corners on the front are off by 1/8-1/4 of an inch.  Not very many of them (I caught and redid the worst offenders), but I had it in my head that for some of the smaller ones, the quilting would make them less noticeable.  What really happened was that the places that didn't quite line up made quilting in a straight line more challenging (see above).
  • Planning - I really like the back of the quilt.  That said, I wasn't thinking about the quilting process when I constructed the back, so none of the vertical lines on the back line up with the vertical lines on the front.  On the front, each triangle is quilted, with the exception of the two columns directly opposite the back.  For those, I quilted just the horizontal lines that lined up with the triangles on the back.  Not a big deal, and I think that it ended up working fine, but had I thought about it ahead of time, I probably would have designed it differently.

The other exciting part of this is that with the completion of this quilt, my backlog has dropped to only three baby quilts, and no new ones have been added in the last few months.  I feel like I have oodles of time (which the stair redo process will no doubt consume in full).

Thanks for looking!  Here are a few more pictures!

Back and Front
Fold

Work in Progress: Weekend Edition

Ever have one of those weekends where you feel like you work on stuff constantly and yet, at the end of it nothing is done?  Yeah, that was my weekend (except I did finally switch my license plate - that was a solid check in the box).  I made great progress on two big projects, but I was plagued by technology woes and the completionist in me is like "why did you take all that time to do homework?  Don't you know how many stairs you could have sanded in that 6 hours??"

But that brings me to project-the-first.  De-carpeting the stairs.

Stairs

Note the cats, supervising the process.  They were super helpful.  Anyway,  the carpeting on our stairs was kinda gross, and we've been talking about not having carpeting on our stairs for a while, so I went ahead and removed it.

Other blogs suggested that this process takes 2.5-3.5 hours.  Maybe so, for normal stairs.  Our builder, apparently, wanted the carpet alone to be able to withstand attacks from the Death Star.  Seriously.  There were probably 30-40 staples on each side of each step (with the spindles) and another 20 or so on each riser and tread.  It did get faster when I had worked my way past the spindles, but all told, it still took darned close to 9 hours.

Luckily, the stairs underneath all the carpet are in pretty good shape (with a few long-ish cracks that will need to be filled in), and totally stainable.  We're still deciding exactly how we'll redo from here, but I'm pretty happy to have all the removal behind me, and I'll keep you posted as we go.

Project-the-second was intended to be putting together a quilt top for a colleague who is having a baby in T-4 weeks-ish.  Predictably, I was unable to finish the top, but I did make progress - here's a sneak peak!

Half square triangles are really the best square triangles.

Half square triangles are really the best square triangles.

It's going to be pretty bold.

That's all for now (because I also did not finish my homework)!  Anyone else played the stair redo game and have any advice?