Polaroid Quilt

My Polariod quilt top is done and it was such a fun finish!! 

I joined the Polaroid Greeting Swap 3 this summer, hosted by Johanna Weidner on Instagram, and received a lot of great blocks.  This was the third time that she’s hosted the Polaroid Greeting Swap but it was my first time participating. 

The swap divided everyone into teams of 12 and you were responsible for making two Polariod blocks for each of your team members, a lot of people were nice enough to send a few extras also.  I received some wonderful fussy cut blocks and was also lucky enough to join several side swaps with people on other teams!  I made a lot of extra blocks to keep for myself and when the swap was done I ended up with about 90 Polaroids total. 

In order to make the fussy cutting a little easier I made myself a template out of stock paper.  I cut a 2.5” square and then cut out the center leaving a quarter-inch frame.  I was able to place this on my fabric before I cut it to make sure that each print was centered.  Once I had the template where I wanted, I laid my ruler on top and cut the 2.5 inch square. 

I knew I wanted to make a quilt with all of my blocks and I loved the shadow effect I’ve seen on other projects.  Johanna has a blog post for how to make the Polaroid blocks and also how to add the shading effect.  http://polaroidgreetingswap.blogspot.com/

I decided that Grunge by Moda would make a good background fabric, I wanted something bright but simple that would also match all the different colors in the blocks.  I ended up choosing the Grunge Basics New Cabana as the color.

After playing with a few possible layouts I decided to make simple square blocks with the Polaroids angled in different directions, I wanted it to resemble a messy photo album.  For each block I cut 2 background strips measuring 2.5” x 3.5” for the sides and 2 strips measuring 2.5” x 7″ for the top and bottom.  I used a little over 4 yards in order to make the border on 110 blocks (I ended making even more blocks after the swap so I could get the quilt to have a layout of 10 x 11). 

Once I had the borders sewn on I divided the blocks into 3 even stacks.  I then cut down all of the finished blocks to 6.5” squares with one stack angled to the left, one angled to the right, and one stack centered.  I didn’t measure the “centered” blocks perfectly, some still had a slight angle one way or the other and some had thicker borders on one side, I didn’t want it be too symmetrical. 

When I had all of the blocks cut down to 6.5” squares I started sewing blocks together randomly, I only had a few duplicate or similar prints so it was pretty easy to sew without planning!  I ended up with 10 blocks per row, and 11 rows total. 

I found the perfect fabric for the backing – black and white vintage cameras!!  I love this backing so much since it fits the theme but helps neutralize all of the different colors on the front.

 

I can’t wait for the quilting to be completed, this has probably been the most fun quilt I’ve made yet!!  I really hope there is another swap next year, I’d love to participate again!

Baby Quilts…Part 2

I made a lot of baby quilts in 2017 – five to be exact.  Five may not sound like a lot to some of you, but five quilts total in one year is a lot for me!

The first quilt was completed in January so technically I started it the previous year.  My husband’s cousin (is cousin-in-law a thing?) was having her first baby, a boy, and wanted a southwest theme for his quilt. She is an art teacher and picked a beautiful color pallet of golds, mints, blues, and greys. I knew that she had some specific ideas about how she wanted to decorate the nursery, so I wanted her to also be involved in choosing the pattern and fabrics.  We ended up choosing the Over the Rainbow pattern by Keera Job for Live Love Sew and I used Hawthorne Threads for the fabric. Since they print their own material it is easy to get the exact color and print combinations that you want.  The quilting was done with an argyle pattern which helped incorporate the angles that we wanted, I also used a striped binding which is quickly becoming my go-to for binding.  I really love the way this quilt turned out and it works perfectly with the little guy’s room.

The next four baby quilts were all for my group of friends.  The babies were due within a few months of each other so I knew I needed some quick patterns.  I choose the Summer in the Park pattern by Missouri Star Quilt Company for the first quilt.  It was for a baby boy so I picked a Kaffe Fassett jelly roll with blues and greens and paired that with a solid white jelly roll.  This pattern was a lot of fun to make, although some of the points were hard to match up since the cut is on the bias.  I had this one quilted with little cars and curvy lines.

The second baby quilt was for a good friend of mine that was having a baby girl.   She and her husband are huge animal lovers so I wanted to do something with an animal theme.  This turned out to be surprisingly difficult as I had trouble finding anything that really inspired me.  I had a jelly roll of Hello Love by Heather Bailey that would be perfect for a baby girl and one of the prints in the line had octopuses on it.  I had also wanted to make the Modern Trellis pattern by Must Love Quilts for a while and was able to use the jelly roll for it.  This one had flowers, dragonflies, and ladybugs quilted on it, the cream background really shows the quilting pattern well. Though creatively challenging, I’m happy with the results.

Next in line was a friend from work. She was planning a zoo theme with bright colors for her nursery and as soon as I saw these Robert Kaufman Urban Zoologie fabric panels I knew I had to use them.  The panels originally had some lighter colors, including a baby pink as the natural border, and I knew that I wanted to brighten those colors up.  I chose some coordinating blues, greens, yellows, and oranges and added a new border to the panels, I also made some simple square blocks for filler.  This one came together very quickly and was quilted with adorable zoo animals.

The last quilt of the year is one of my favorite baby patterns to make, it is the Sunshine and Shadow pattern from the Tradition with a Twist book. I’ve made it twice in the past but unfortunately didn’t take pictures of them. I used Hawthorne Threads again to pick six fabrics from three different colors – I used blue, mint, and grey.  I had it quilted with a curly star design and used the stripe binding once again.  One day I need to make this pattern in a large quilt for myself!

I’ve seen most of these quilts many times since making them. It always makes me happy to see them getting worn and used for their intended purpose.

And that’s it for baby quilts, at least for the foreseeable future!

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Baby Quilts…Part One!

Hey Everyone!  It’s been awhile since my last post. My husband and I have taken a few small trips this spring and we all know the backlog that creates when returning back to real life. But for the first time in years I don’t have to count a baby quilt as one of those pending items!

Over the last ten years I can’t remember a time when there wasn’t at least one baby quilt in progress, often times more. Unfortunately, I don’t have pictures of some of the earlier ones but I’m getting better at documenting my quilts.

The first of many baby quilts that I made was in 2009 for my sister-in-law’s first child.  This is one of the few baby quilts that was actually a “baby” size.  I used the Hanky Panky pattern by Darlene Zimmerman and Rachel Shelburne and my mother-in-law picked out the fabric.  Both my SIL and her husband met at Texas A&M so the corner stones of this quilt has the Aggie logo. 

For her second son she helped design the pattern and also asked for a larger quilt that he could continue to use as he got older.  This was the start of making lap-size and larger baby quilts and I’ve made the larger quilts for almost everyone since. This was the first quilt that I ever appliqued and I naively chose the argyle print for the lettering.  I love the pattern and fabric but the appliqued block was definitely a learning process for me.

 

In 2013 I made a quilt for my best friend using the Lucky Square pattern by Sew Crafty Jess.  She and her husband are big travelers and were engaged at Versailles, I used a map of Paris on the back and color patterns to match the baby room on the front.  It’s a fun and colorful quilt.

The quilt for my sister-in-law’s third son was really enjoyable to make. The pattern was quick and easy and I used a lot of bright colors, some were from my stash and others were random fat quarters that I picked up at my local quilt shop.  The quilt pattern is Off Track by Cluck Cluck Sew and measures at 58” x 63”.  I also used a fun backing material on this one, it is a Viking’s travel map from Timeless Treasure. 

In 2016 I finally had the opportunity to make a baby girl quilt and had a lot of fun picking out the fabric.  My SIL found this adorable deer fabric from Hawthorne Threads and chose the Hopscotch pattern from Thimble Blossoms.  This quilt turned out to be one of my favorite quilts I’ve made; the pattern is stunning and the fabric line is gorgeous.  This was also the second quilt that I’ve ever taken to a long-arm quilter and have never looked back.  The basting and quilting process has always been a chore for me and I love that I can just drop a quilt off and have beautiful patterns quilted.  For this quilt I chose a quilt pattern that had ladybugs, dragonflies, and flowers. 

2017 was a really busy year with four baby quilts made, I’ll save those for Part Two!!

Bargello Quilt Tutorial

One of my friends made a quilt last year using Fig Tree Quilt’s Strawberry Fields Revisited fabric line and as soon as I saw it I knew I needed that fabric.  I bought two jelly rolls but didn’t have any plans in mind on how I would use them.  I pulled the jelly rolls out over the winter and decided to make a simple bargello quilt; I had made a similar quilt years ago and I love the design!

 

A bargello quilt is a very easy quilt to make and there are lots of different layout options – you can vary the width of the strips for an optical illusion effect or arrange the fabric so the colors zig-zag back and forth.  I kept mine nice and simple and used a diagonal layout.  Jelly rolls are great for this type of design since much of the initial cutting is already done for you.

I started by arranging the strips from one jelly roll out on my table in an order that I liked, there were lots of red and brown prints in this collection so I separated those into two different sections and tried to keep 4-5 strips for each color section.  Since I used a jelly roll I had a total of 39 strips (I removed one piece of fabric that was a solid white and kept just the prints).   Once you have a layout you’re happy with you can sew all the strips together. 

The key to making a bargello quilt is making sure you press the strips properly; you want to make sure you press towards every other strip and don’t press them all in the same direction.  If you press towards every other strip then it helps nest the seams later and allows the quilt to lay better.  An easy way to keep track is to number the strips and press towards the even numbered strip.  Numbering the fabric will also help you later in the process.   

 

Once you have all of the strips pieced and pressed together you need to sew the two end strips together in order to make a large tube.  Place the tube on your cutting table and make sure it lays flat, depending on the size of your table you may have to fold the tube in half.  The selvage ends will likely not align but you want to make sure the top and bottom of the strips are as straight as possible. 

Cut off the selvage ends of one side to square up the piece and then cut the tube into 2 ½” strips.  You should be able to get 16 or 17 strips from one jelly roll tube.  If you are using two jelly rolls you will need to repeat the above steps with the 2nd roll. 

To start piecing the quilt top you will need to un-sew the seam between two pieces of fabric, I started with the seam between the first and last piece of fabric from my strip set (Fabric #1 and #39 in my case).  This strip will be your first row.  You will then need to remove the seam between fabric #1 and fabric #2 for your second row.  Seam #2 and #3 for the third row, and so on.  Sew rows 1 and 2 together, I use pins at every seam to make sure that they line up properly.  If all the seams were pressed towards the even numbered row then they should nest together well.   Once row 1 and 2 are sewn together press the seam towards row one.

You will need to repeat this process for the remaining strips and sew the rows together. 

Row 4 – Remove the seam between fabric 3 and 4

Row 5 – Remove the seam between fabric 4 and 5, etc.

This is an easy pattern to adjust the size for; each strip will finish at 2”.  Since I used 39 strips from a jelly roll my quilt is 78” long.  I used two jelly roll strips sets and was able to get 33 strips (16 strips from one set and 17 from the other), my width is 66”. 

Below is another bargello quilt that I made about ten years ago.  I used two mini rolls with 24 fabrics in each and made two strip sets using the same method above. The bargello pattern alone measures about 48″ x 66″ so I added an 8″ border to make the quilt larger.  This fabric is Charleston IV 1850-1865 by Marcus Brothers Fabric.  

Easy, right?!  Bargello quilts are a quick and fun way to use up some of those jelly rolls that you have gathering dust in the closet. If you’ve made a bargello quilt that you would like to share I’d love to see it!  If you have any questions or suggestions let me know in the comments. Happy quilting!

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Introduction and First Quilt

Hello and thank you for visiting my site! I decided to start a blog to help document my quilt making and to also share any knowledge that I may have.

My name is Laura and I live in Dallas with my husband and dog. I grew up with a mom that was an excellent sewer (she never quilted though). She made lots of clothes for myself and my dolls, homemade Halloween costumes every year, and even made a homemade Cabbage Patch doll for Christmas when the stores were all sold out. She taught me to sew for the first time in elementary school and it was a disaster, I made a pair of shorts that no human could fit into – the waist was about two feet wide and the legs about five inches wide. I’m not sure what I did wrong but quickly learned that I hated to unsew! After the epic shorts fail I didn’t touch a sewing machine for almost 20 years.

In 2005 I read a book from the Elm Creek Quilts series and decided I wanted to quilt. I convinced my mom to take a class with me and bought myself a cheap sewing machine. We both loved the class and have been quilting ever since. This is my first quilt, there are definitely some errors but I learned a lot from the class.

The pattern is Block Watchers Basics by The Quilt Company; it’s a great one for a first quilt since you learn several different piecing techniques.

Since that class I’ve made a lot of quilts, most of them have been gifts and unfortunately I never took a picture of them. Going forward I want to document the quilts I’ve kept and those that I make in the future. I hope that this blog inspires you in some way, helps me make some online quilty friends, and share new skills!

Thanks for reading!

Laura

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