Thursday, March 28, 2013

Quilt Boss: Pinwheels, Placemats, and Procrastination

Back in September, a friend from high school asked me to make some quilts for her sons, as well as some throw pillows, throw quilts, and placemats. She picked a few prints from, gave me a few ideas for design, then trusted me to create something awesome.

I sent off the boys' quilts right before having my baby, and then my productivity level just dropped off. Sure, I had a teeny baby, but let's be honest - I really could have gotten the rest of this stuff done sooner. The throws and placemats became my February project...which carried over into being my March project. But hallelujah, everything is done and mailed.

The throw quilts were 60"X60", and I made two 14" pillow shams to match. The orange, yellow, and blue color scheme came from the print shown above, which I used on the back of the shams and throughout the quilts. I fulfilled my goal of trying something new on this project by using an invisible zipper in the pillow shams.

I'd used regular zippers before, but this was my first experience with the invisible kind. I found the overall effect to be meh. For throw pillows, I'm usually satisfied with making them envelope-style or installing a visible zipper. But some people swear by invisible zippers, so maybe I'll come to love them in the future.

The design for both the quilts and the shams was made from half-square triangles. Another "something new" for this project was the experience of making HST units eight at a time, using the technique described in this tutorial. The process went so much quicker than making each HST individually, and I'll definitely be using the same technique in the future.

Trimming a million little quilt squares puts me right in front of the TV for a long time. So this month and last, I found myself watching a whole lot of "Cake Boss" on Netflix. I just can't get enough of watching Buddy's team do all the work, then seeing how he calls them in so they praise him for how amazing the cake looks. I watched so much Cake Boss, I actually started hearing my life narrated in Buddy Valastro's voice.

"And the more I'm doin', the betta she's a-lookin'!"

As I said, I had to trim a few hundred quilt squares. But it had to be done - trimmed squares just make for better accuracy. Not every seam matched like clockwork, but for the most part, the quilt tops came together pretty well.

"This is the crew...mia famiglia."

Never too early to get the kids started, right? My 7-year-old was a big helper with cutting the batting.

"This thing is gonna be huge!"

So maybe 60"X60" is not a huge quilt, but as far as a scale of accomplishment, it felt huge. These days, if I set the baby down, I'm in for a whole lot of screaming. There aren't a lot of sewing tasks I can do with a baby on my hip. I could only work when I could scratch out some free time. Now, I've got more quilt ideas than I have time or energy to work on them.

I made simple pieced backings from large squares - a few squares were leftover from the front of the quilt, but mostly, I had to dip into stash and pull some coordinating prints. I was thrilled to use up some fabric that I had no idea what to do with.

"These things taste as good as they look!"

I really should make placemats more often - it makes for a quick and easy project. These particular ones used a soothing, low-key color scheme that made a nice break from the bright colors of the quilts.

Six placemats, no sweat.

I was happy to make the backings from brown gingham, which was another fabric that I'd been hanging onto and didn't know what to do with.

"That's how you do it...WASILLA-style, baby! Whoo!"

I finished the pillows a couple of weeks ago and mailed them off. It felt pretty great this morning to get two quilts and six placemats packed up and shipped to their new home in Nebraska.

Coming up next month on Quilt Boss: "Babies and Orphans." Watch as Youth Hostile makes a bunch of baby quilts and tries to finish up some old projects that she forgot about. 

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