Friday, August 9, 2019

I Left With A Quilt, I Came Back With A Quilt (Or Four)

So ummm, last time I blogged, I was very pregnant and had just finished a quilt for SHB#2...two years later I have birthed the SHB#2, made a whole bunch of random things (plushies! a tiny hut on chicken legs! art! more than 250 nativity figurines!) and a few costumes. Due to said SHB#2, who is less inclined to play by herself than SHB#1, I've opted to do save my me-time for making things instead of blogging, relying on Instagram to quickly document most of my finished projects. I do miss the more detailed, longer form of blog entries though, and always meant to get back into it. Now that the new school year is starting and I have cosplays to finish before SVCC next weekend, this is the perfect time to procrastinate with a blog entry, y/y?

Since my sewing area is accessible to the kids, and I don't really need more clothes (more on that later), I haven't done much sewing until recently, when SHB#2 got old enough to (kind of) understand that she needs to leave Mommy's things alone. And even then, I was so brain-dead most of the time, I couldn't handle complicated things like fitting or figuring out new patterns, so I've defaulted to making quilts, which are not easy per se, but at least once I have the pieces laid out, it's more or less mindless sewing of straight(ish) lines.

I made this from florals that I inherited from the school drama teacher's mother-in-law's stash. All straight lines, and can you tell that I really didn't think too hard about the placement of my blocks?

I mean, look at how haphazard all the piecing on the backing is!

After the stashbusting quilt, I made a few quilts for important babies in my life:

Very simple, vaguely sportsball field-esque look. 

A dear friend's baby had a difficult start in life, spending time in the NICU and then working hard to recover for the first year of his life, but now he is a healthy, thriving boy who outweighs my own little girl, despite being almost a year younger! Maybe one day he will play sportsball for one of his parents' alma maters, you know, because the quilt I made him is so inspiring...j/k.

The back was fleece (no batting inside, since San Diego weather doesn't require a lot of warmth).
 I'm glad the school colors don't clash. 

Another dear friend had her third daughter, and I wanted that little girl to have something special of her own that wasn't a hand-me-down from her older sisters, so I made a Harry Potter and Star Wars mashup quilt so that she would have both of her parents' fandoms to wrap her in love. And then because those are also two of my big fandoms, I made an almost identical one for SHB#2. Like her big brother, Chewbacca is her first favorite SW character (SHB#1 has since moved on to Darth Vader, mostly because his lightsaber is red), so she enjoys pointing him out.

This was a challenge to design (even though it's all just rectangles) because so many SW fabrics are so dark, and HP fabrics are so bright, so to put them together in one quilt and have it look somewhat cohesive was tricky. I'm inordinately pleased with what I came up with!

This is the back of the one I kept. The one I gifted had a border of Hogwarts house crests instead of the spaceship blueprints shown here. All of these licensed character fabrics are from Joann's. 

And lastly, one of my college friends struggled with infertility for many, many years, so when she found out she was expecting, I knew I had to make something for her baby. She and her husband are huge LOTR nerds (they previously attended my LOTR birthday party and her husband won the trivia contest), so I wanted to incorporate that somehow into a quilt that also illustrated their story. While googling LOTR-themed quilts, I came across this amazing art quilt, but I knew I wouldn't be able to replicate something like that, nor would it really be baby-friendly. More googling of landscape quilts yielded this one, which seemed much more doable with its pieced strips (yay straight lines!). I decided to try to combine these two ideas to make my own take on an "Into the West" quilt; the more I thought about it the more I was set on it as the perfect representation of their journey. They had walked through the wasteland of Mordor in their quest for a biological child, and now after all that exhaustion, they were finally getting to sail into the west, into the rest and peace and hope of the Undying Lands. Not that having a newborn baby is at all as restful as I imagine Valinor to be, but you get the idea.

I had purchased a sizable lot of quilting cottons in various colors a year ago from somebody else's destash (some of the pieces were used to make up the rainbow blocks in the HP/SW quilts), and I tried to use those as much as possible in this quilt. I figure elves and hobbits would be all about being green and not purchasing new fabrics, right? The only new fabrics I had to buy were some browns for the cliffs and the backing fabric. Anyway, I started by laying out my fabrics in a semblance of the final image, then I got to all the tedious cutting and sewing of sky and water strips.

I initially wanted to have hobbit boles at the bottom, hence all the green bits. After doing some measuring, though, I realized it would end up being too long of a quilt for its width. 

Figuring out the cliffs and greenery was more fun and challenging. I wasn't sure how to attach them, so after more googling I treated them as appliques, folding the edges under and hand-stitching them down. The little boat was done the same way, but I interfaced the pieces since they were so tiny and fiddly to work with.

I chose a neutral gray, vine-y backing fabric; I wanted a fabric with some kind of busy pattern to disguise my inevitable quilting errors, and vines seemed appropriate for the elvish theme of the front. For the binding I went with a plain solid navy blue since I figured the edges would get dirty fastest and I didn't want to take away from the design. The quilting was all sort of haphazardly done; I didn't mark any of my lines beforehand and just sort of sewed with a vague plan in mind. I think it turned out pretty well, all things considered. One day I'll take a quilting class and figure out how to do things the real way instead of just winging everything...

This quilt took a month's worth of nighttimes and naptimes, but since AP exams were over it was mostly a relaxing way to wind down after a hard school year. We were even able to make it down to San Diego as an entire family to deliver it in person at their baby shower; it was gratifying getting to watch them unwrap it. This is why I'll probably only ever make quilts for people I love a lot -- I don't think most people would be willing to pay for the hours and hours it takes to make one, but this is the best way I know how to show how much I care. I may not be a baby person, but I'll be a sewing-for-your-baby person as long as it's my idea and not an outrageous request that belongs on @canyousewthisforme!

These last two pictures taken by the mom-to-be's sister. 


  1. Not being much of a quilter myself, but being the daughter of one, I'm impressed! Of course my favorite is the sailing to Valinor one, I can definitely see the tie in. But the others are lovely as well.

    The comment about SHB1 liking Darth Vader due to the lightsaber color makes me laugh, because that's exactly what my Hobbit would do, down to the color. He hasn't seemed to latch on to Star Wars much yet, but he sure likes his Kylo Ren lightsaber.

    1. Thanks! I'm always a little curious what "real" quilters think of my quilts, but am scared to find out...just don't look too closely at my stitches!

      SHB1 goes through phases of which SW character is his favorite...he was really into the rathtars and the Imperial Guards for a while too, but of course the common thread in all of those is the color red. It's funny how favorite color is really such a big determining factor for little kids!

  2. Oh, that LOTR quilt is a thing of beauty, and something to be very proud of!

    In a very non-pressure-y way, I've missed your writing and I'm glad you might blog more again! I've always found your blog inspirational--I started scouting for fabric at thrift stores because of you. Although really, some who've seen my fabric stash may think that's a bad thing...but! Those people are wrong :) Welcome back!

    1. You are so sweet! I do miss blogging but when it comes to making things or writing about making things, obviously the actual making wins. I'm glad to hear that you've started looking for fabric at thrift store -- it's such an overlooked resource!

  3. This is so beautiful and special—it’s wonderful! And blogging is an excellent form of procrastination! ��

    1. Thanks! Blogging is definitely a way more time-intensive form of procrastination than instagramming...

  4. These are all really cool! Getting realistic looking sky and water is hard with quilts and you did a really good job

  5. You´re back! Soo glad to see :) Welcome to the club of having 2 SHB-s around. Mine are a bit older (7 & 4) but I totally understand being brainwashed, tired and sewing rather than blogging. I love your quilts. And costumes.


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