Quilters Lead Pieceful Lives.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Poppies In Bloom

I made this striking double bed-sized quilt for my cousin Bobbie.  She loves blue and white, so she picked out the fabrics. It is difficult to see in this photo, but the top background fabric has a white-on-white swirl pattern that looks somewhat like rose (or poppy!) blossoms.  The back has a small white-on-white wonky geometric pattern.

The pattern, called "Poppy!" (by Ruth Powers), is really just one poppy, and it calls for using freezer paper. However, to look better as a bedspread, we decided to make four flowers. I then adapted it to use the paper-piecing technique.

This is probably the largest paper-pieced work I have ever done. Each petal square is 24" x 24" and contains 144 pieces (spread out over 14 subsections)!  Though all four use the same fabrics, each is slightly different from the others, just as all natural blossoms would be.

The quilting: For the flowers, I used a medium blue thread, and a free-motion pattern like this:

I did this separately in each mini-section of the petals to simulate veins (or at least striations). So some of the lines are lighter than the petal section, some are darker, and some blend. The purple and gray areas were done with matching threads.

The background was stippled in white with my usual squiggly lines to reinforce the swirl pattern of the front fabric.

And, as I did for Karen's Kwilted Kubes, this quilt was made in 8 sections; the four flowers, mid-top and -bottom, and the two side pieces. They are clearly visible in this photo since it was backlit. This allowed me to easily quilt each section on a standard machine and then sew them together when the quilting was done.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Laptop Bag Experiment

My daughter Emily got a new lap top recently. Of course, it was a different size (bigger!) than her old one, so the padded sleeve she had did not work. What to do!?!?!?!  Checked several local merchants, looked on-line at a bunch of sites.  Lots of different sizes....how could we be sure if any particular one would fit the new PC snugly? And the colors and styles available....not exactly what she wanted.

What to do?!?!?!?!?! If only there was a pattern available to make one!  So we searched and found this (free!) one at Sew Mama Sew.

Em and I worked on it together. We improved the pattern by adding a front pocket and doubling the interfacing to add extra cushioning.

The pattern includes the formula to determine the size for any laptop. We wanted the end result to fit the dimensions of hers, but be just big enough to hold the PC snugly. Since we added the extra layer of interfacing, we had to tweak the formula. Hence the experiment!

We first made a "test" model of just the outside front and back using muslin. When we slipped the PC in, it was already snug. Uh-oh! So we made a second version a 1/2" wider. This seemed better, but without the double-interfacing and lining fabric, there was still a significant margin for error that hung over us as we began the real case.

Though the directions were pretty clear (and had excellent accompanying photos), we made a few mistakes along the way (like using the wrong color thread). So we both got practice in ripping! But nothing that we couldn't easily recover from.

Finally we were done!!! We put the PC in! The side dimensions were right on, but it was sticking out just a tad on the top. So we ripped the bottom seam and resewed it at 1/4" instead of 1/2".

Here is the result:

With a strong Velcro strip and a matching yellow lining.....

A perfect fit!