Posted in Quilts

Space Nerd Remix

Just a quick log cabin this week to use up all those science and space novelty prints from the commissioned Space Nerd Quilt. I added some solids and blenders so I would have enough to make a very large twin quilt. I cut 3 1/2 inch squares of the white constellations print (Lizzy House Whisper Palette) for the centers and then all the blocks are 3 1/2” wide (by 6 1/2, 9 1/2, 12 1/2). Because I decided to make them all square in the end, I cut the 15 1/2 inch strips after the blocks were otherwise complete, which actually made laying it out easier, as I didn’t have the same fabrics end up adjacent very often.

 
No fabric ended up in the same block twice (I think) and very few adjacent. This ended up as a very large twin (~75” x 90”), or double. And the blocks were all so large, it came together at top speed. Fun scrap buster. 

Posted in Quilts

Finished: Eden Quilt

The Space Nerd Quilt has a sister, and it is the Eden quilt. This quilt is also headed to Italy this week to its new home with a girl who loves animals, nature, and the color “acquaverde,” which after many suggestions was decided to be comparable to Kona Ice Frappe.

So I modified the 2nd Grade Quilt pattern from the book Precut Primer Quilt Pattern Book by Me and My Sister Designs to be a bit bigger to finish at twin size, and finally got to cut into my beautiful pristine stash of Eden fabrics by Tula Pink. I added a couple Alison Glass Sunprints and a couple Lizzy House prints from the Lovely Hunt collection for a wider range of colors. This girl needs rainbows.

Kona Ice Frappe made a beautiful background for these super saturated prints, and over time, the new quilt owner will hopefully be able to spot the tigers, butterflies, elephants, and moths that are fussy cut (ish) throughout.

This pattern was super simple, a lot of meditative chain piecing, but with such small blocks, the final effect was almost prismatic, and it was nice to finally put to use all these dazzling fabrics for someone who will admire them.

 

Oh! and I almost forgot that backing. I finally used the Tula Pink Free Fall wideback fabric. I intensely dislike piecing backings, for some reason, so I love widebacks. I had heard that this particular collection had a lot of color imperfection issues, but not in my experience. This was beautiful, exactly the right color, and had a smooth satiny sheen and feel.

 

Posted in Quilts

Finished: Space Nerd Quilt

The Space Nerd quilt is finished and on its way to its new home in Italy. This is the Rapid City quilt pattern from Elizabeth Hartman, described in this post.

I am terrible at quilt photography to begin with, and I was very short on time to boot, as I handed the quilt over almost immediately after completing it. So, my husband had to play quilt holder in our backyard. I’m sad I didn’t get to style or overdocument this one because it was so much fun to plan and make and quilt.


I free-motion quilted this one in a geometric meander, and was careful not to quilt past the quilt top onto the batting because I really wanted to try out this method (tutorial from Cluck Cluck Sew) of binding for the first time, where the backing is folded over as binding. This was partly to save time and energy, but also I wanted a neutral gray binding and both the background and backing of this quilt were already neutral gray. It would have been a waste to bind it separately. It came out really well. It feels much flatter and lighter this way. Like a photo without a frame. I like it.

I’ve already got plans for all the spare novelty space fabric I have from this quilt. Stay tuned for Space Nerd II: the Quilty Sequel.

 

Posted in Quilts, Works in Progress

Rapid City Space Quilt

I got a request for a twin-sized quilt for a boy who loved all things Outer Space. But of course, it couldn’t be that simple. The requester, who would be gifting this quilt to said boy, prefers bright saturated colors and so would need those incorporated among the space-themed fabrics. And “space-themed” needed to include rockets.

Once we had settled on a pattern and I had acquired some fabrics (including some overt, novelty rocket fabrics — not my general fave), an additional AND was given: AND the boy’s favorite color is orange and so that has to be included.

All these parameters just serve to make me feel like a dynamic and flexible quilt maker though. I love just making it work.

So, the pattern I settled on was the Rapid City quilt pattern by Elizabeth Hartman, from her book, Modern Patchwork: 12 Quilts to Take You Beyond the Basics. I am just fresh off making a queen sized version of one of her other patterns, New Wave, and I gotta say, Elizabeth Hartman is a quilt pattern writing genius. This book is a great investment. The patterns look very complicated, and they usually do require a full day dedicated solely to cutting up the fabric and labeling the pieces, but the end results are always worth it. And in every pattern I’ve seen of hers, she breaks down the process so sensibly, from cutting in the most efficient/ least wasteful manner, to choosing fabrics and colors in a way that will make each quilt unique and mod and unified.

This pattern suggests using 8 prints and 8 coordinating solids. She has fully converted me to incorporating solids into every quilt, ever since taking her Craftsy class on modern quilts. But I did sneak one blender into my coordinating choices. So 8 space-themed prints, 7 solids (including orange, of course), and some cobalt blue Sprinkle from Cotton + Steel.

Last week, I spent one full day cutting and labeling pieces as dictated by the pattern, and then the blocks came together quickly (as her patterns usually do because of all the intense preparation). Today will be dedicated to piecing the top together, maybe getting as far as basting and starting the quilting. My hope is to finish this entirely by this weekend, when I will be seeing the purchaser, so I can hand deliver her final products.

One pieced block (of 16 total):

Fabrics are Kona Ash and Black, prints from Lizzy House’s Natural History Collection, astronauts and space shuttles from Makower Galaxy collection, which are really adorable in these small amounts.

Posted in Quilts

Delicious work in progress

 Almost finished with this quick and satisfying quilt project. It just needs binding, and it will be ready for a full reveal. Lemurs and linen and straight-line quilting. Yum. 

Fabric is Lagoon by Rashida Coleman-Hale (not pictured, also a print from Melody Miller’s Kicks collection), Essex linen in Pickle, and Kona in Ash, my current favorite background color. 

Thread is isacord in a color called Baguette, which I’m pretty sure I purchased just for the name, but look how perfectly it sets off the Ash. 

Posted in Quilts

Little Pink Houses final reveal

I took some photos of the final Neighborhood quilt made from Les Petites fabric before it gets sent off to its tiny recipient. 

I quilted doors on the homes, plants and fences and rows in the “vacant lot” spaces, and a little moon holding a star in the corner. 

As always, I am disappointed by my quilt photography skills. I just can’t capture them. But I am not disappointed by this quilt in person. Not a bit. 

Posted in Quilts

Little Pink Houses

I finally had an excuse to get my grubby paws on a stack of the entire Les Petites collection from Amy Sinibaldi for Art Gallery fabrics. A family member custom ordered a quilt for her niece’s new baby. She had the dimensions and a photo of the crib and that’s it. But the crib had these little decorative pillows: a little house, a little moon, and a little star. And the colors were so spot on, pink, coral, gray gingham. I knew. I just knew…Plus, I had been waiting for some excuse, ANY excuse, to buy this collection.

So I used this pattern, Neighborhood Charm, from the Moda Bakeshop to make some more little houses, and threw on some extra prints, mostly all Art Gallery, a little Kate Spain and some Cotton + Steel, too. I would definitely use this pattern again. Came together so quickly and is charming indeed. Plus, it called for a charm pack when I had a full fat quarter bundle, so I’ve got loads of fabric left over.


So cute. I love. I backed it with a Cotton and Steel double gauze and used wool batting so this thing is basically an adorable, quaint, vaguely European CLOUD.

I have used wool batting once before, but realized I have never had to baste it before. I spray baste, which requires a little heat setting to make it really stick. The directions on the batting say to not use any high heat so I was a little worried.

mmmmm…like a steaming hot barnyard


It smelled a little bit like a sunburnt sheep in the studio, but it basically worked fine. I’ll have to wait til it’s bound and there’s daylight to show the finished product, but it is just adorable.

Posted in Quilts

My Dedicated Quilt Photographer

 This woman is the best. She rearranged her whole house, stuck her head in the ceiling fan, and took photos of my quilts in every room at every angle for me. 

I am starting a new spinoff business wherein I upcycle clothing into keepsake or memory quilts, and these photos will help my new web store stand out, for sure. 

My samples were all twin sized, so Madame Photographer had to be really creative with angles since all the beds we had to use were doubles. 

I am just so pleased she was willing to do this product photography for me. She does not usually do product photographer per se, but she does take my family’s photos every year and she is just the very best at it. I myself have never once taken a satisfactory photo of my quilts, and I have photographed about 40 of them so far. 

So exciting things are on the horizon for La Bizarra, and I can’t wait to show them to everyone. 

Posted in Quilts, Tutorials

Machine Binding Tutorial: Step One (optional)

Yesterday was a huge binding day for me. This year has been an incredibly productive one for me, as far as quilt making goes, and I think a key to this has been the systematic approach I’ve ironically just stumbled into. I spend a few days just cutting the fabrics for several quilts that I have planned. I spend a few more days just piecing those together. This week, I spent all of Saturday just cutting and adding borders to 3 different quilts. Then I get my machine all set up and foot swapped out for my free motion foot, and spend an entire day (or 2…or 7) just quilting all those quilts.

This has worked out so well because I’m just changing out my thread and bobbin color on quilting days and for each particular quilt. I get so much more piecing done when I can keep the white cotton thread and bobbins going, no changes.

So today was a binding day. And since I don’t know anyone who does their binding the same way I do, I figured this was a good opportunity to post a tutorial. First tutorial!

I exclusively machine bind (I don’t hand bind. I know a lot of quilters have attitude about that, but I simply feel no shame in my game), and I use a combination of the no-tails binding method (see this excellent tutorial by Flourishing Palms for a detailed look) and the more typical folded corners method. The traditional (with tails method) has always bothered me because it requires you to leave an additional 10-15 inches of binding loose before you start stitching, and then you lose most of that when you attach the tails together at the end of your binding. The no-tails method only uses an extra inch or two at each corner, which is better, and easier, IMO. But the way I do it, I only need an extra 2-3 inches of binding. So much less waste. And you get one stitched up mitered corner, and three folded over mitered corners. It’s hard to explain. Like I said, I’ve never met anyone who does their binding the same way that I do. This does NOT mean my way is superior. But I dig it. So I’ll show you.

Today, I’ll show you step one, which is a completely optional step, really. But I’ve started doing it, and I highly recommend it. I serge all the way around the perimeter of my quilt sandwich using my Brother Serger. Not everyone has a serger, and for quilters, they are completely unnecessary. But I happen to have one because it’s fun and easy to make and mend baby hats and tshirts and blankets. It’s also nice to be able to quickly mend all the clothing in my home with no loose edges to get frayed in the laundry. You know I’m not hand washing ANYTHING, right?

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Although completely unnecessary, if you have one, this is yet another fun use for it. Serging the quilt sandwich tightly connects all three layers so that when you stitch your binding on, your backing can’t fold over and get caught up, and your batting can’t wiggle its way out and make you miss your backing in the stitches. Also, if it takes you awhile to bind your quilts, they are protected from fraying while they sit around in the queue, and if there is some sort of emergency (an incident involving cat vomit comes to my mind, but i’m trying to forget) you can wash that quilt before it’s bound, and it will survive.

You will need to trim the edges of your quilt sandwich at some point anyway, so this just does that for me. The serger winds thread around the perimeter of the quilt, sealing in its quilty juices, and cuts off anything to the right of this thread web with its helpful blade. So I simply run each quilt through, one edge at a time, with the metal line of my serger foot (shown at the bottom of the lightning bolt in photo) directly aligned with the edge of my fabric. Where fabric meets batting. If you’re a little off, it doesn’t matter too much, as you’ll see in the next steps. I’m very imperfect at all of my steps.

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I cut off the thread tails at each corner and that’s it!

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Look at that delicious stack of serged quilts! They are ready and waiting for step 2.