Wednesday, December 23, 2009

The Quilt Files, Episode 17

After all that writing I did in November, I wasn't sure I was going to finish my latest quilt project in time for Christmas, but I checked out a few DVDs from the library and spent a couple TV episodes a day to finish piecing and quilting this twin-size for my little nephew. He's just turned three and almost ready for a big boy bed, and I thought this pattern with lots of different shapes would help make the move more appealing. You can't see from the overall pattern, but there are twelve different fabrics in this pattern, and I chose differing shades of green, turquoise, and teal—all in batiks, of course. When I was done I thought it was so striking it was a shame I would have to give it up. (There are only so many beds in my house. Sigh.) However, you'll see that there are sashings between the rows of patchwork squares, and those sashings are unbroken pieces that are almost two yards wide. So the pattern called for at least two yards of all of those fabrics, even if they were only used for the 4.5-inch-wide piece of sashing ... which means I had scraps of two yards by almost 40 inches for those fabrics. I used a lot of the scrap for the backing of the quilt, but the rest is now in my stash ... lovely, lovely stash.

This quilt also marked a first for me: the first time I tried old-fashioned, finished applique, the kind with hemmed sides. I've done plenty of appliqued patterns with unfinished sides; you leave the edges rough, and use a satin stitch to cover the edges and keep them from fraying. It's a little easier, and creates a nice stained-glass-window effect, but wasn't really suited for this pattern. So I cut out all those circles and half-circles with an extra quarter inch to be turned underneath, and finally broke out the little miniature iron I bought several years ago just for this purpose. You can't just turn under the edges, however; you need to baste them so that they lie flat and don't move when you stitch them to the underlying fabric. It's a bit labor intensive, but easy enough to do while you're sitting and watching TV. I really like the way they turned out.

I also got to have a lot of fun with the quilting of this piece. Since it was a twin size, it was very manageable to do by machine (it took me less than a week), and the instructions were kind enough to suggest various patterns to quilt on different squares. Big circles, little circles, zig zags, crosses ... it was fun trying different patterns on each row. I was almost sorry when I was finished, but maybe I'll try it again sometime ... maybe in pinks? The good thing is, I've finished a whole quilt so I'm officially allowed to go buy more fabric. I know some babies are on the way, so it's time for a new pattern and some new fabrics. Viking Sewing, here I come!

Monday, December 21, 2009

Photo of the Week--12/21/09

You know what? There aren't any pigeons in Tunisia, either. At least not out near the Sahara Desert. What you can sometimes find, or what we found in 2000, was an abandoned set from Star Wars I: The Phantom Menace. Tunisia has stood in for Tatooine since the original Star Wars (no numeral or subtitle, remember those days?) back in 1977. George Lucas left this set here after filming TPM; it wasn't because he planned on reusing it (at least I don't think so, from the state it was in), but because he knew it would provide extra tourist revenue for the locals. We were certainly excited to visit Anakin's neighborhood, climb inside the buildings and see their hollow, undecorated interiors, and take pictures. Here Boy is with a fellow Star Wars fanatic outside Watto's shop, walking around and trying to identify the buildings.

Yes, we know we're nerds.