Friday, January 16, 2015

Recent Creative Endeavors

In October when I saw on Facebook that dear friends were expecting their first baby (a girl!), my immediate thought was: baby quilt! I also knew that a co-worker's mom would be visiting in December and might be able to take the quilt back to the states with her (no way would I ever trust the mail system here with a quilt!), so the push was on to get 'er done!

For inspiration I looked through pictures in my "quilts" board on Pinterest. My goal was to design something fairly simple, since time was a factor. It needed to go together quickly, leaving plenty of time for the actual quilting (I'm a very slow hand quilter). I found myself drawn to the animal quilts, like this, this, this, this, this and this one. There is so much cuteness out there!

It didn't take long to decide on a simple animal silhouette on a white background. My daughter helped me narrow it down to either an elephant or a rhino. My initial idea was to sew strips of green fabric together and cut the silhouette from that, but then I thought how much more fun it would be to use all the colors of the rainbow. Of course then it made more sense to do a rhino, because HELLO! it would be a Rainbow Rhino.

By mid November I had the rhino pieced and appliquéd onto a white background... and then I stalled. I came down with a bad case of bronchitis which stretched on and on and on... Ugh! It's exhausting to cough almost continually. I seriously didn't have the energy to do more than the basics around the house for weeks. I finally started feeling better the third week of December.

The down time did help solidify plans for the quilting though, and also gave me time to add another little detail to the quilt.

Tina was able to go to the baby shower in early December, where the ladies made little fabric birds that were then combined into a unique mobile for the nursery. Tina suggested I "put a bird on it" so I did, right on the rhino's back. Which is not out of character, if you've ever seen a rhino; it's an excellent location for picking off yummy insects.
I liked the idea of using different colors of thread and so did my SIL, who suggested flowers. I loved the idea of Rainbow Rhino surrounded by a field of flowers! I marked a continuous free-hand loopy daisy chain on the background.  It would have been great to have access to variegated thread but I didn't, so just pulled lots of colors from my thread box and went to work. Knowing I needed to have the quilt done by January 4th, in order to send it back with our co-worker's mom, meant I spent 4-6 hours/day quilting, clocking a total of 34 hours before it was done.

Ivan helped me choose the border fabrics because I was having serious DMD (decision-making disorder). I added a narrow 1" border in bright yellow, and then a 4" border using a lovely watercolor-like fabric in purple, pink and blue. But somehow I managed to shift the batting while quilting the background, so when I was ready to quilt the border I ended up having to trim an inch off each side so the batting extended to the edges all around. Knowing the binding would cover another 1/2 inch, leaving a not-very-wide border, I gave myself a break and didn't do any quilting in that area. I quilted "in the ditch" on the yellow and called it good. I'd also stitched in the ditch on the rhino stripes.

I chose to make the binding with the same yellow used in the border, mainly because I had enough fabric (starting to run low on quilting cottons and don't have too many larger pieces left). I wasted half a day and half a yard of fabric trying a new technique for making the binding that I'd found on Pinterest. Very frustrating. I ended up going back and making it the way I normally do. I used the machine to sew the binding on the front of the quilt, then turned it over and hand-stitched it down on the back. Because of insomnia I finished the last stitch at 7:15 a.m. on New Year's Eve -- ahead of schedule! Yay!

So here are photos of Rainbow Rhino, including a close-up of the quilting so you can see what I mean by using different colors of thread -- and how cute is that white-on-white footprint fabric?! Absolutely perfect for a baby quilt, don't you think?

My other crafty project was also a gift for a little girl, but this one a bit older. Delfina is 3 and, like any child, loves to play pretend. I'd seen this idea on Pinterest, using felt to create bird wings, and had been wanting to try it. I didn't have any pink so used blue, white, and a tie-dyed purple and blue for the "feathers" and the tie-dyed felt for the base as well. It took a full day to make the wings, but wasn't difficult at all. The directions said to just use large safety pins to attach the wings to the child's shirt, but I added brooch pins instead. I also covered the wrist elastic in cotton fabric (looks a bit like hair scrunchies) and added fabric binding to the straight sides (because it looked unfinished to me without that detail).

And that's all for now. My most recent creative endeavor was making jam the Argentine way. I'll share photos of that in the next Project 365 post. It turned out great! We were a little surprised at how much it cooked down, but what we did get is über delish. Wish I could share it with you!


The Bug said...

Oh those are FABULOUS! I know the recipients feel extra blessed.

And yes, I want some jam!

The Bug said...

I just hit post on the comment above & a notice popped up on my phone that you'd played a word in our game. Freaky!

Mari said...

You are so talented! That quilt will be a treasure for years to come. (I like the bird on it too, and those little footprints)

rita said...

You amaze me every time!
So glad you have this creative outlet!

Preeti Harris said...

The Rainbow Rhino is the cutest quilt, I have ever seen and the bird adds an extra oomph!!! Do you have a pattern/tutorial for it?
I found your blog from Richard & Tanya Quilts.