Saturday, June 16, 2012

{Post #990} Gifting Quilts

I want some input from those of you who make quilts to give as gifts.  Recently I decided to make some gift quilts.  Some have been small wall hangings or table runners.  Others are baby-sized (40" square) or larger.  Some are large twin-bed-sized or larger for throws.  

Here is my dilemma.  In think only twice in my quilt gift-giving has the recipient told me thank you or that they like the quilt.  I have made many baby quilts and quilts for Christmas gifts over the years.

Having made some quilts for my very particular daughter this past year in preparation for her wedding, I know that some people are very picky about colors, styles, patterns, sizes, etc.  My daughter proved that by "hating" some quilts I suggested and "loving" others.  She loved this one.  Go figure.

The problem is this.  I told a friend I wanted to make him a quilt.  He responded, "I love your quilts."  He was here for lunch (his birthday) this past Sunday.  So I took the opportunity to show him some of the recycled shirt plaid quilts I'm working on downstairs in my sewing room.  I thought he could let me know if he liked one of those.  I had one in mind, and oddly enough, that's the one he liked most.  I could tell he wasn't really thrilled with it though.  It would be a larger version of this baby quilt I just finished:

We got upstairs, and he gravitated to the quilt rack in the living room and started looking through the quilts on it.  There were probably 12 full-sized quilts.  He couldn't find the one he was looking for, which does not surprise me.  The kids take quilts off there to their rooms, etc.  He said he was looking for one that he remembered liking that had "warm colors".  Then he picked the most difficult and time-consuming one I had on there and said that is the one he liked the most.  Well, I'm not willing to put THAT much time into a quilt for a friend.  Seriously.  When I made it, I was thinking that I'd never make one again.  Here it is:

It's like, "Yes, I love you, but not that much!"  

My niece was here for Susie's graduation this past week.  I told my sister (her mom) that I'd like to make her a quilt.  I thought she'd like my recent Florabunda and was going to give her that one w/o asking for her input, as a surprise.  This picture shows half of it.  

Turns out she didn't like it at all.  So I'm glad I did not surprise her with it.  She started looking through some of my books and patterns.  She found one she liked.  It is hard for non-sewers to imagine a quilt pattern in colors different from the ones shown in the sample pattern.  I understand that.  

The challenge (and what I want your input on) is that the quilt (even if it's a small one) take up time.  Some times LOTS of time.  I don't want to make something if the recipient is not going to like it.  But, honestly?  Most people can't even tell me what kind of quilt they like.  They might give a color scheme, but when confronted with it in person, realize they don't like it after all.  Same with a pattern.  They like it, but when they see it in "their" colors, they don't like it.

I am frustrated because I want to make people quilts.  The truth is that I have gotten very little feedback from those I have given quilts to as gifts.  I am assuming they 

1.  don't like them  
2.  don't care about them  
3.  forgot to mention it
4.  whatever!!

Since making quilts is a hobby I love, and I have so much fabric here to use, I want to bless others with quilts they will like.  What do YOU do??


Friday, June 15, 2012

{Post #989} Quilting Coming Along

It is so hard to get a good picture of quilting.  I admire those who do it often with good results.  This AM I started machine quilting my scrappy bargello quilt.  I finished the center with a variegated dark tan thread.  I did a dwirl and twirl pattern.  The dwirling on Pajama Quilter is neat, but I added about half of the surface covered with "twirls".  See if you can see it in these pictures...

The second picture has a row of HST selvage blocks to stretch the back!  I needed about 3-1/2 more inches.

The following picture shows the pebbles I'm quilting in the 5" wide border.  Those take a lot of thread and a lot of time!!  I'm doing them on my domestic sewing machine.  I might try them some time on my Handi Quilter.  I have nearly two borders finished.  That's over 2 bobbins of thread.


Thursday, June 14, 2012

{Post #988} Scrappy Bargello Top Finished

This is a big one!  I think it's about 85" x 94".  Truly large.

I like the way the borders turned out.  I had enough of my two favorite shirts to make 2 sides from one and 2 sides from the other.  The second shirt had a smallish chunk off one corner to lack making the whole side, so I just pieced another chunk onto it, ironed it over, and cut it square.  Since the sleeves and shirt bottoms and other places on the shirt have curved edges, there are lots of strings and odd-shaped pieces to work with.  As they are squared up, there are even MORE strings and odd-shaped pieces.  

Here is a close-up of the border that needed one tiny piece to make it complete.  See the brown thread seam?  For reference, the blue and white striped block in the background is 2" square!  Finally figured out how to use the macro setting on my camera.

We went from having 16 here for nearly a week down to having 3 :)  ~  (think what you will...)

I have an eye doc appointment in 45 minutes.  They are notoriously late and slow, so I will have some time to read or whatever in the waiting period.  When I get back, I have a few chores to do, then I'm going to piece the back for this and start the quilting.  I am going to use navy blue thread and do dwirling a la Pajama Quilter.


Wednesday, June 13, 2012

{Post #987} Side Benefit of Insomnia

Coming right on the heels of my "mostly dead" post...I woke up at 4 AM and could not get back to sleep.  I stayed in bed with high hopes of going back to sleep, but it didn't happen.  So I got up at 4:30.  Eventually I started finishing the piecing for this quilt...Scrappy Bargello.  I just needed to cut and add 4 pieces to the panel, then slice and resew, then sew all 6 sections together, then put on a yellow inner border.  You'd have done the same thing, right?

The first picture is the center hanging over my quilt frame. You can see about half of it.  The second one is it on my design wall.  I had two yellow shirts that were very similar in color, so I alternated strips of the two shirts.

Now I'm deciding if I should make do for an outer border with a variety of dark shirts or buy (eek!) enough of a dark plaid to have the same fabric for the outside border.  I think I'll probably sew dark pieces end to end and hope it doesn't look too bad.  I am going to use brushed cotton plaid for the back...just big rectangular pieces enough to make a backing, nothing fancy.


Tuesday, June 12, 2012

{Post #986} Mostly Dead

Princess Bride is probably my favorite movie.  At least in the top three.  If you've seen it you will understand this, "I've been mostly dead all day."

My daughter Susie had her high school graduation this past Saturday.  So much fun packed into a few hours.  All week we were shopping and planning and shopping some more and planning some more.  That was just for the party.  All my children came home by Friday night (Elisabeth was a surprise guest!).  My parents, Susie's friend Abby (from CO) and 3 of my sister's children were here.  Whew.  No wonder I've been mostly dead all day.

Got up at some early hour this AM and went back to sleep.  That is rare for me.  Then I went to the sewing room (where I've been very little the past week) and pieced a few blocks while I did laundry (it was after noon, as in after 12:00).  Had laundry from DH and me as well as 3 loads of towels and 2 loads of sheets.

Speaking of laundry detergent, I just made a second batch. The first one lasted us SIX months!!  I love it.

Here is what I've been working on today.  Had just a few blocks finished when I started this AM.  I took pics of straight set as well as on point, then I started sewing them together on point with string-pieced triangles.

I took the pic with my hand to show perspective on size.  The alternate squares are 5-1/2" square.  The ones with the shirt squares sewn around them are 3-1/2" square.  

Here is what it looks like now with the top left two rows sewn together.  

My design wall is 48" wide, and this nearly fills it.  Many more blocks underway.  I need to piece lots more setting triangles.  

Seems to me that I prefer quilts set on point.  How about you?

I saw this online somewhere and liked it, but it was straight set.  I thought it would make a good recycled shirt quilt.


{Post #985} Fancy Hairdo ~ Twisted Headband

We had lots of people at our house the past few days.  ALL my children were here at one time.  At one point that wouldn't have seemed so noteworthy, but now that the oldest 4 are gone most of the time, it is a force to be reckoned with.

Emily had the prettiest hairstyle, and I tried it out.  Looks better on her, but hey, that's what nearly 50 does for you.  This is a sloppy rendition...might try it again later now that I've done a test run.

Here I am sitting on the bathroom counter so you can also see the back:

I basically started at my left ear and worked my way all the way across.  I couldn't remember what Emily did with her hair at that point, so I gathered the rest into a ponytail and wound the twist around that.  This would be nice (for me) for a fancy dinner or something.