2015 Swaps

I dabbled in a few swaps in late 2014 and 2015.  It is an interesting process which allowed me to try some new things and actually finish some projects given the deadline and hopeful partner waiting on the other end of the swap.

My first swap was the #merrymodernswap.  After considering a scrappy Christmas tree mini-quilt, I landed on this tree table runner that pairs natural linen with some colorful prints.  A few years ago I made a similar pillow and my swap partner had a similar project on her inspiration collage.  I won’t lie, I felt a little pressure when my partner was revealed as a super-talented pro in the swap game. She nails every swap – project, extra goodies and packaging.  I love how this turned out.  I considered binding but thought turning out would maintain the simplicity and modern feel of the project.  I’m glad I went that direction.  An edge of binding, even in the matching linen, would have distracted from the simplicity of the trees.  And I do love that sole red tree 🙂

 

 

Handmade Christmas table runner sewn in linen

 

For a local meetup, I participated in a zipper pouch swap.  Ellen mentioned loving the new (at that time) Doe collection from Carolyn Friedlander.  I purchased a charm pack and paired some of the prints with other fabrics from Carolyn that I had on hand – gray crosshatch for the exterior and a white/orange Botanics leaf  print for the lining. I kept things simple and let the fabrics shine.  To add some interest, I quilted random straight lines in coordinating thread colors. Those colorful lines are my favorite part of the pouch.

 

Carolyn Friedlander Doe fabric

 

My favorite and most colorful project of 2015 was a Raspberry Kiss Mini made for the #lovewinsminiswap which celebrated the Supreme Court’s wonderful decision for marriage equality. How gorgeous is this bundle of Karen Lewis Textiles screenprints?  The colors are a highly saturated take on the rainbow and worked well with assorted low-volume gray and white prints for the background and sashing.  The rainbow kiss blocks from Wooden Spool Quilts  are so fun and easy to make.  I was challenged a little on layout once my blocks were made, and after at least 20 trial layouts, I decided on the 3 x 3 layout with sashing.  I really love this project not just for the beauty and meaning behind the quilt, but also the challenges it offered me in color and layout and my first hand binding.

 

Raspberry kiss rainbow mini quilt
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First Quilt – Strip Tango for my Niece

I made my first quilt!  It was a gift for my youngest sister who is expecting a baby girl.  I don’t know if I would advise making your first quilt as a gift!!  You might want to practice a little, first. Nevertheless… I had fun with this process and learned so much.  Choosing the fabrics and piecing the top was so fun and actually went fairly fast, in comparison to the rest of the process – sandwiching, machine quilting, binding. 
 Initially, I planned to use Heather Ross’ Briar Rose collection for her quilt, but once I saw the crib bedding, I changed my mind.  I decided to mirror my niece’s crib bedding which features little foxes and orange and aqua tones.  First I found the cute, cute, cute woodland animal fabric used in the center panel  It is “Camp Out” in white from Michael Miller’s Sorbet Collection. From there I chose the other fabrics, also Michael Miller except for the white print (which is Washi). I love the fresh colors and combination of patterns. I purchased the fabrics from fabric.com and really liked using the design wall feature to see the fabrics together.  The backing, which is not pictured, is “Widescreen”crosshatch from Carolyn Friedlander in gray on white.  
Strip Tango quilt
The quilt pattern, which I found via Pinterest by searching baby quilt is Strip Tango from My Quilt Infatuation.  It uses large strips (4.58 x 20.5 inches) which are quick to piece and allow for a little play with the different fabrics. The woodland fabric became a feature block framed by one of the other prints. I definitely recommend this pattern for a first quilt, or when you need to make a quick quilt to gift. 
string tango quilt

So, true confession, I started this first quilt with a definite deadline (baby shower!) without really knowing what I was doing.  Piecing the top was so fun and went very fast….and then the project stalled. I had read about the sandwiching and qulting process, but had never actually done it.  I started reading blog posts and pulling all the dusty quilting books in my sewing room, to prepare myself to jump in!  I decided to take some steps to simplify the process.  I didn’t try pin basting and went for spray basting, which was fairly easy after I watched some youtube videos for tips.  I also did not piece the back, so that also simplified things.

Next, I needed to machine quilt this beautiful basted sandwich.  I should mention that this baby quilt is really not “baby” sized, at 48″x60″ and I really didn’t take into account wrestling this through my small-throathed machine. But, I learned from the experience.  Again, I watched some youtube videos that were incredibly helpful and will add the links when i find them. I quillted in randomly spaced vertical lines with a very loose multi-step zip zag stich.  I got inspiration for the quilting style from a post on Vanilla Joy.  You can sort of see my quilting lines in the blurry picture above. (another lesson learned, take plenty of pictures before you race off to gift the quilt!).  For the center block, I stitched around the outside borders. It was sort of a pain to quilt around this block and I wasn’t quite sure what to do when I ended a row of stitching at the center block (ie bury the threads, lock stitch, etc??), so things got a little messy. Hopefully my niece won’t mind ;-).

For the binding, I kept the process simple and machine stitched.  I think it looks nice. Perhaps, I’ll hand stitch the binding.  I have one last step on this quilt and that is adding a label. After sweet baby girl is born, I want to make a label with her name and vital stats!