Showing posts with label Flannel. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Flannel. Show all posts

Thursday, 19 November 2015

Green Diamonds Lap Quilt - Diamonds are forever

This is a lap quilt I made for a male friend of mine in 2014. I had previously spoken with him about colour preferences and already knew he would not want loud prints, flowers, bright colours, stripes etc. but looked for something fairly neutral.

Green Diamonds, Patchwork, Lap Quilt, Man Quilt, PuppilallaNaturally, loving bright jewelled tones and candy colours, I had nothing of such a reduced nature in my stash, so I went to the fabric store of my choice to peruse their selection. At first, I was a bit at loss to decide what might work.

Finally, I settled on the beige and sage green solids and paired those with a very soft chequered cotton flannel and a stronger cotton weave with aubergine and green threads causing the fabric to scintillate  like beetle wings. Very nice.

I had decided on a diamond pattern fairly early on in the planning process and only had to decide how I wanted to place the colours. As this was the first time that I worked with diamond shapes, there were problems to overcome (darn, does this flannel have to stretch so much…) and a lot to learn in the process. Here you can see that on several occasions despite my best efforts and meticulous prior pinning the points did not always match up.

The next time round, I work with triangles or diamond shapes I would definitely baste the rows prior to sewing them together properly. 

I can hear you think, you know… “What? Do you mean to say that you did not baste beforehand? Shocking!” 

Well you have to remember that I am entirely self-taught and had no sewing family members or friends to help me out. Therefore, it only along the way, by looking at Craftsy classes, reading blogs and tutorials and actually sewing that I pick up the tricks of the trade. Don’t worry I will get there eventually.

Green, Diamonds, Patchwork, Lap Quilt, Quilt back, PuppilallaFor the backing I framed the soft flannel with the beige solid. I quilted in the ditch and followed that with parallel shadow lines, which created a pretty pattern on the back. The front however, due to part of the quilting lines disappearing in the ditch, kept looking uninspired and boring. That is the only misgiving I have about this particular quilt of mine. I still find it is looks off somehow because it lacks texture. I also still alternate between liking and disliking the quilt’s colour scheme. =)

Another item on my bucket list ought to be ‘learn to free motion quilt on your little domestic sewing machine’. Up to now I have mainly quilted my projects in straight lines and when I was quilting the layers of this quilt together, I got to a point, where I felt adding more lines would get too much and subtract from the overall impression of the quilt-to-be. With hindsight I would certainly disagree with myself but what is done is done.

Diamonds, Patchwork, Lap Quilt, finished Quilt Top, Puppilalla
The quilt was bound in the same flannel and made a birthday present last year. All in all it turned out - not spectacular - but OK. I am satisfied with the outcome and had a good learning experience. The recipient likes and uses it and that is the most important bit anyway.

I think I am nearly done showing you my past quilting projects. Apart from the odd bit here and there, like a soft toy meant for the Toy Society or the up-cycled peg bag from a former linen table runner, we should be able to look at present and future projects from now on.

Sunday, 13 September 2015

Faux Chenille Baby Blanket – Bring out the Elephants!

Faux Chenille Baby Blankets. When you look at the word ‘inspire’ than the first definition listed in the dictionary is to stimulate a person to some activity. And how can one not be inspired when such pretty examples of Faux Chenille Baby Quilts are around. Just have a look at Dana's blog MADE for a beautiful example or at Allie's version as seen on her blog Miss Lovie.

Anneliese from Aesthetic Nest created a very illustrative walk-through, and with her tutorial in mind I set out to make my own version for friends in Munich who had a baby boy on the way. 

Faux Chenille Baby Quilt Blanket Cotton Flannel Puppilalla

What impresses me, as much as it makes me jealous, is the sheer variety and availability of fabrics on offer in the USA and Canada. From what I have seen online, other quilters who attempted Faux Chenille blankets, have chosen mouth-wateringly pretty and matching tones of cotton flannel fabrics. 

Those are just not as available here in Berlin. For this blanket I checked out about six different fabric stores around town, that if they stock cotton flannels at all, each only had between 4 -10 different fabrics stocked. And from what was available, I saw mostly prints that did not coordinate and hardly any uni-coloured flannels. There was just simply nothing to choose from. I also checked online but the selection – at least in German online shops - is similarly uninspiring. To import from the USA however is forbiddingly expensive due to postage and import taxes. Thus, it came down to making do with what I could lay my hands on, which was a bit heartbreaking because I had a colour scheme in mind but was hampered by the lack of choice. *sigh* 

Faux Chenille Baby Quilt Blanket Cotton Flannel Puppilalla

In the end, I chose two blue and one red chequered cotton flannel, which worked well together. Differently to the suggestion in the tutorial, I decided that I wanted the frayed chenille of the final project to be held in place by not only one layer, the printed backing fabric, but by a second layer for more stability. Therefore, one of the blue flannels was arranged in a double layer as to make up a fourth layer of flannel stacked on the cotton print fabric. When it came to cutting the quilted channels, I cut the three layers of flannel from the second layer upwards and took care not to cut into the printed fabric or the first layer of flannel that made up the foundation. 

Instead of merely using one cotton print for the backing, I decided to have some fun with this side too. I matched the 'Safari Soiree - Ele Train Teal Elephant' print by Dan Stiles for Birch Organic Fabric with the cream coloured 'Ice Cream' print by October Afternoon for Riley Blake and machine embroidered another big elephant on top to keep things interesting. 

Faux Chenille Baby Quilt Blanket Cotton Flannel Applique Puppilalla

I had also cunningly gotten the name of the future baby boy out of the parents to be. At that stage I took a chance and applied the name in bright colours onto the backing fabric and hoped that ‘Jacob’ would not turn into ‘Frederick’ or any other name at the very last minute. 

Faux Chenille Baby Quilt Blanket Cotton Flannel Puppilalla

Thankfully, I got lucky there and the boy really was named ‘Jacob’ at birth. 

Faux Chenille Baby Quilt Blanket Cotton Flannel Puppilalla quilt lines

As you may be able to make out the quilted lines are neither strictly parallel nor always evenly spaced apart. On the chenille side this fact is hidden by the fraying and on the other side – uhm – I am banking on the brain's tendency to even out irregularities the eye perceives. (One advantage of optical illusions =) 

Faux Chenille Baby Quilt Blanket Cotton Flannel Puppilalla

I cut the channels by hand with scissors and can confirm other quilter’s reports of hurting hands and calluses forming in the process. 

Faux Chenille Baby Quilt Blanket Cotton Flannel Puppilalla finished

Here is the finished blanket: quilted, cut and seam bound. The flannel frayed nicely after having been washed and dried. Considering the (perceived) difficulties at the beginning of the project, I am pretty happy about how my Faux Chenille Elephant Baby Blanket turned out. 

My friends in Munich were delighted to find this unexpected present in the parcel post and have been using the blanket frequently, I am happy to report. 

Faux Chenille Baby Quilt Blanket Cotton Flannel Puppilalla Finished Project

So, bring out the Elephants!