Join me as I travel my creative road. Understanding how important it is to document the works we create, I plan on using this blog to do just that, with thoughts, processes and photos. I would enjoy sharing your creative road with you too, so please share your thoughts in return.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Jimmy's Quilt ~

It's 1989 and we are expecting a son. I decided to make him a baby quilt right from the get go. I still had fabric I had used on Liz's quilt left and I knew that the primary colors would work well for a boy's quilt. Also would tie them both together - family. I decided to go with a traditional quilt pattern. I have always loved the Log Cabin blocks, but wanted something a little different with a little more movement. I settled on - Rail Fence.

I decided that I wanted red to be the predominate color in this quilt, so I used 2 different red fabrics in the rail pattern. I had enough of the yellow fabric to use as the backing, which worked out really well - bright and cheerful. Being a crib size quilt and for my son, I hand quilted this quilt. I quilted on the diagonal formed with the rail pattern. I think this helped in further setting the movement of the quilt. I used the patterned red fabric for a simple border turning it to the back for the binding. In the finished quilt I love how it is mostly red, but both the yellow and blue pop.

Jimmy is off to college, using the afghan I made him, and this quilt is folded safely away in his room at home.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Liz's Quilt

When my daughter was born I made her very simple blankie quilts. One was from a panel of fabric of little bears in squares. I would not consider this a hand-made quilt. This blankie went everywhere with my daughter for years and is now packed safely away. Another simple blankie for her was soft flannels with a batting layer with a silky blanket binding border.

As Liz got a little older, I decided to make her a colorful full size quilt from primary colors. Her "Play Quilt" was made in 1989.
Here is the paper I designed her quilt on. I decided on using a more traditional block - 'Spinning Spool'. The yellow fabric was one I had many yards of and could easily find red and blues to work with it. It was young, bright and colorful, just like my daughter.
I designed the spinning spool blocks to take on a pinwheel look with the placement of the 2 solid fabrics that I decided to use with the yellow print.

The quilt does not have a small border, as I designed 3 larger border strips into the design. The solid strips were mitred at the corners. The strips of single spinning spool blocks were cornered with a solid square of the yellow print. This single strip of blocks did not alternate colors as the center did. I had opposite sides matching in color to give more of a border look and also set off the center section. The solid backing fabric was turned to the front in a self bias edge.

This quilt was originally tied. However, once Liz stopped using this as her primary quilt, it needed a little repair work and I decided it might be better if it was hand quilted, not tied. It has been in the closet for the last handful of years, and I really do need to finish the small section of hand quilting left. Liz reminds me of that periodically.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Baby Quilts

Many of my creative projects have been made for specific people to celebrate important events in their lives. Many of my quilts were made for baby quilts and given to fellow teachers and new nieces and nephews. I managed to find some misc. notes and photos on a couple of the first baby quilts I made as gifts.

Two of these quilts, made around 1986, were "Trip Around the World" quilts.
I chose these fabrics to reflect the colors of the rainbow. I thought the idea of a rainbow as being warm, happy and youthful worked well for baby quilts. There was a light and dark fabric for each of the 6 colors of the rainbow. I reversed the order of light and dark for the second quilt. The backs were solid and from the selection of fabrics. Each quilt was finished with a 1 1/2", then 3" border with mitred corners, also from the selection of fabrics. Both quilts were tied with embroidery floss in the alternating dark color rows. These quilts were given to Joan Wright and Dee Massucci. Pictured is my new niece snuggled under her quilt.

"Kites Flying" was a crib sized scrap quilt I made in 1989 for the birth of my nephew Joey Massucci. It is composed of elongated triangles of light and dark calico that when sewed together gave me the look of 'kites'. This was a self designed scrap quilt. The border was a solid 3" strip with mitred corners. The border color was chosen to bring the quilt a little more to the boyish side, as this time I knew a nephew was expected. The solid back was slightly turned to the front for a self binding. I machine quilted around the darker kites to help them pop.

There are 5 more quilts that have been made for nieces and nephews since 1989. I hope to get pictures that I can add here at another time. Each quilt was made with love, specifically for the recipient, but the materials changed and reflected where my interests were at the time. I wish I had been better about keeping records, but it was about making a gift of love, not documentation.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Current Rug - Shirred

Working on my current rug, I got to thinking I should share what I was doing now. I told you I'd be going back and forth as I came across things on this adventure. So.........

Recently, I became the owner of a lot of blanket weight wool yardage and pre-cut pieces ready for a braided rug. All this wool was my mother's. She hasn't braided for years, but had held on to all the wool. I knew I wouldn't use it for braiding, but figured I'd find a way to make rugs with it. Our Tin Pedlar group had been doing some work with Proddy flowers and I decided to look further into what Proddy was. I researched it on the internet and finally got Gene Shepperd's book (see My Books). I started a Proddy rug, which I'll go into on a later post, but that rug has been put aside right now.

In April, the guest speaker at the Tin Pedlar meeting was Rose Ann Hunter . In 2005, she became the artist in residence at Old Sturbridge Village in traditional rug making. She spoke about and demonstrated some of her adapted and developed techniques for knitting, crocheting, and sewing rugs. Her passion for the shirred and standing wool rugs caught my attention. Here was something else I could use the blanket weight wool for! I talked further to Rose Ann after her presentation. She stressed the point that it was all about manipulating your fabric. Our fore bearers used whatever they had on hand, in whatever way they could, to get a finished and useful product.

To me this shirring looked fairly simple to do, with the added benefit of needing very little low cost equipment besides the wool. All I would need was a heavy weight thread (10 oz or button) and a very long needle (doll sculpture 3-5"). That night I started preparing the wool by tearing it into pieces about 1" wide and as long as possible. Once I had a supply of each color I would be using, I started to play around - manipulating. I tried 1 layer of wool, I tried 2 layers of the same color, and I tried 2 layers of different wool. I liked the look of the 2 layers of different wools. Now how tight to shir? I tried keeping it loose and then pushing it up tight. The tight worked for me. Using 2 different wool layers sown together with a running stitch, pushing them up tight, aligning the different wools and then coiling them I got a braided look with a funkiness. I loved how the colors worked into each other.
I don't know how large this rug will end up being. I'll stop when I stop or run out of wool. Having done oval hooked rugs, I had a measurement for the length of the first piece I would sew the coils around. I was off and running........

First I'd do a section with the running stitch, push up tight, untwist/straighten the wools and then stitch along the last coil. In stitching the rug coils together I just push the needle through multiple layers and then push it back out. In and out every 1/2" or so. This rug is so easy to carry around and work on as I have the time. I'm having so much fun working on this one, all my other rug projects have been put aside for right now.

As I've been working on this rug, I've been thinking about other materials I can use and other items I can make like coasters, placemats, square and rectangle shapes. I'm planning to try this with some of the school age children in my child care program with scrap calico and knit fabrics I also have a lot of.