Harry Potter Project of Doom part 2

July 10th, 2011

I keep forgetting to add these blocks, but I’ve been steadily working on my Project of Doom blocks for the past several weeks. There are only five left, but I have about 10 left to complete.

Here’s a group of five from the early days:

POD  Week 8

Week 8

POD Week 7

Week 7, a Time Turner! I love it.

POD Week 9

Week 9. And we have a snitch.

HP POD Week 10

Week 10, all those yearly spell books. I only used two fabrics for all those colors, if you can believe it.

HP POD Week 4

Week 4. It took me forever to get this one done because I didn’t want to buy new black fabric when I knew I had yards upon yards of it for my Dear Jane project. I just had to find it.

Modern Baby Quilt

July 10th, 2011
Modern baby quilt by Ramble Queen
Modern baby quilt, a photo by Ramble Queen on Flickr.

My cousin adopted a little girl from Korea last year and I finally finished the quilt. A bad back and a baby have really cut into my quilting time. At least I’ve figured out a way to quilt and not kill my back–I have my machine set up on my high dresser and I do all my sewing standing up.

Anyway, I got the inspiration for this quilt from searching around modern quilt blogs. It was mostly a lot of trial and error to get it looking balanced.

I have to send a big shout out to Crystal for being such a modern quilting inspiration. Without her, I wouldn’t know the first thing about modern quilts.

I also tried a new way of quilting the quilt. I didn’t measure or mark anything. I just eyeballed a bunch of straight lines up and down the back. I tried to vary the width so it would look balanced and not totally “I’m too lazy to actually draw lines.”

All in all, I’m very pleased with the results. I will get it in the mail tomorrow, only 9 months after the little girl came home to her forever family. I believe she will be three pretty soon. I think it’s a good size for a toddler. My five year old has a quilt the same size that he loves to wrap up in.

Back of baby quilt

Baby Quilt

February 23rd, 2011

After my last post, I was looking through posts and realized I never put up pics of the last quilt I finished. I just went through my flckr account and realized the one picture was seriously blurry, so maybe that’s why.

Elsa's Quilt!

This is a little baby quilt from a kit called Spring Fling I believe. I saw the pic and had to have it, though after doing it I think I am not a kit fan. There’s just something about picking out my own fabrics. Admittedly, when I pick out my own fabrics the combos don’t always work.

The quilt was for my very own baby, which is why I never post here any more. I’m too busy taking care of that baby, little Elsa, and her big brother Erik.

She’s ten months old now and is a total menace. A very cute menace, but she’s into everything. Maybe when her brother starts kindergarten in September I’ll have more time to quilt.

Smile baby!

Harry Potter Paper Pieced Blocks

February 21st, 2011

I don’t get much time for “me things” anymore, most specifically sleep, excercise or quilting. When Jennifer started advertising the Harry Potter Paper Piecing Project of Doom I decided to join in. Surely I can handle one block a week, right?

I have two things going against me: lack of time and a very bad back. By the time I finish one block my pinched nerve, or whatever it is, is killing me. I like the block a week format so it feels much more manageable with time constraints and back problems.

The quilt is a mystery, but it has been fairly obvious from almost the beginning that it is some sort of book shelf in Harry Potter’s room. I’ve been having a lot of fun picking out fabrics for the various books and magical items, though it has become obvious that I only have two color families in my stash (blue/green/teal/turquoise and a little bit of orangeish/coral/reddish).

I’m trying to balance my color loves with what might be appropriate for a teenaged wizard’s bookshelf. I’m also trying to balance my idea of the wizarding world (fun, happy, bright bold colors) with the movie idea of the wizarding world (drab, dark, scary). Can anyone explain to me why the movies have to be so damned dark? I know the tone of the last few books is very dark, but seriously? The wizards can’t have the house elves clean a little better and hang some magical light orbs around?

We bought Lego Harry Potter and none of us really care for it that much because you can’t see anything. Way too dark. So annoying!

Anyway, There have been six patterns released so far and I’ve completed five and a half of them. I have not yet tackled Harry’s glasses because I know I will have to sit in my chair a lot longer than is comfortable, but maybe I’ll get to it soon.

I am also realizing that I should have participated in the scrap swap that Jennifer hosted. After having been burned so many times (still so very bitter that my round robin center was never returned to me, even unfinished), I refuse to do swaps. I know Jennifer would have done her best to make sure things went smoothly and she doesn’t tolerate flakes, but I couldn’t bring myself to do it. Instead, I adopted a new quilter and sent a priorty flat rate envelope stuffed with scraps to a person who is just starting out. At least that way I can feel good about helping someone and not be irked when I get nothing in return. I am much better at freely giving than swaps.

Ok, so enough with the talk talk. Here’s the blocks thus far! They are 10 1/2″ unfinished, so I have to use the camera b/c they don’t fit in my scanner.

PoD week 6

I’m not so sure about the cat fabric, but a boy might have a book about cats. A wizarding boy might have a book about cats of different colors? I don’t know. In my mind, the vial is filled with gilly weed.

PoD week 5


I guess I saved a big scrap of paper doll fabric for a reason. The stopper is a doll dress, upside down. I like the way the gathers make it look like it is narrowing. I don’t know if there are fairies in HP, but I had to use the fabric anyway.
POD week 2

Terrible picture, but the block actually looks ok.

I love my crystal ball. This was actually the first block. I learned I need more contrast in the little lines on the books. I took a look at our bookshelf to kind of see how books look. I think my books will improve with time and experience. It’s fun looking at the photo pool on flickr to see how other people do things and get some inspiration.

Great-Grandma Inspired Block

August 23rd, 2009

great grandma block

Originally uploaded by Ramble Queen

I really loved the block used in the quilt I just inherited and wanted to try it myself. My first thought was to go hog wild and try to match up the prints and make a faithful reproduction. Honestly, though, I don’t have the budget or time. Quilt shops in my area are not child friendly at all (not that they should be, but it makes it hard for a mom to buy fabric). Instead, I decided to do what my great-grandmother would have done and use the fabric in my stash.

I’ve been collecting batiks for a long time but am usually too afraid to use them. I don’t really know how to match them up or use them effectively, but after looking at the inspiration quilt I realized that it is fine to go nuts with the colors and it will be beautiful in the end. Most of my batiks are the colors in this block so I don’t think there will be a problem with unity.

I started by measuring the blocks in the quilt, but that didn’t go so well. I thought it would be so simple to get out my ruler and measure the components, but I didn’t count on the shrinkage factor. I kept getting weird measurements like 3 1/3 and 1 5/8, which aren’t exactly rotary cutting friendly. I don’t know if the wackiness was all due to shrinkage or if it also had to do with the lack of rotary cutter when my great-grandmother made the quilt. I’m sure she used cardboard templates and scissors since rotary cutters weren’t invented at the time of her death.

In the end, I made the half-square triangles finish at 4″ and the middle squares finish at 2″. The sashing will finish at 1 1/2″.

I don’t think the proportions are exactly right. I think I’ll try again, having the middle squares finish at 1 1/2″. it seems like in the original blocks the HSTs are much bigger, proportionally, than the middle cross.

Also, as I was making this block I decided it was a churn dash. I dismissed that before since the middle cross is so much smaller than the HSTs, but the construction is exactly like a churn dash (or Hole in the Barn Door). I don’t know if that effects the name of the block or not. I’m no quilt historian.

Vintage Quilt

August 19th, 2009

My grandma died a couple of weeks ago and my mom is trying to get things squared away and straightened up. I am in Maryland and my family is in Oregon so I didn’t go back for the funeral. I was just there two weeks before she passed away so I really couldn’t find a way to spend so much money and travel so far with a three year old.

Anyway, I asked my mom if I could have any quilts that she found. My great-grandmother was an avid quilter and I thought there might be a couple floating around the house.

I was right! My mom found one and mailed it to me last week. I received it today, packaged with a Roomba, which surely must be some sort of ironic pairing.

I don’t know much about quilt history and don’t know anything specific about this quilt. I can only assume my Grandma’s mother (Ruth) made it, though it is possible my Granddad’s mother (Levi) made it. They were both avid quilters. I have no idea what the time line would be. Ruth died in the 1960s and Levi died in the 1980s. I’m just calling it vintage based on the colors and condition of the fabrics.

Quilt probably made by my great-grandma

Click through for a bigger picture of any of them.

This quilt was found in my grandma’s bed. She was actively using it, even though it was in such poor shape. She was not ever really interested in quilts so I guess she didn’t realize that it had special meaning and needed special treatment to be preserved.

Does anyone know the name of the pattern? It looks really familiar, but I don’t know the name off hand. I’ve never had any interest in doing a reproduction quilt, but I might make an exception for this quilt.

**Update: Thanks to kkwilter, I believe this block is called Propeller HERE**

Ummm. Except for my Dear Jane, of course. Is it really a reproduction when you are not doing it in repro fabrics?

The most vibrant block

This was the most vibrant block. Most of the others were pretty faded.

I love the color of the background

I LOVE the color of the backing, which is probably why I love this quilt so much. Love, love, love!

The whole thing is hand quilted in a fan design. It doesn’t have a shred of binding left, but I don’t think it ever had any real binding. It looks like she flipped the backing over to the front edge as a sort of binding. I know my grandma did that on the quilt she made me for when I was a teenager. That quilt is only 20 years old and has been carefully put away for most of that time, but the false binding is already shredded. I keep thinking I should put a real binding on it.

Disappearing Nine Patch Baby Quilt

August 18th, 2009

I’ve wanted to try a disappearing nine patch* for a while, but the opportunity just never seemed to present itself. My friend is having a little girl at the end of October, so I started searching around eBay for fabrics. I found a lady who was selling packs of color coordinated squares, so bought two packs plus a couple of yards of the blue fabric. Since I never have time to go to the fabric store, it was fabulous to buy a color coordinated set that someone else put together. I never would have thought of this combination, but it works.

Baby Quilt

I was planning on putting a blue border around it to tone down the pink. My friend is not enamoured of pink, but I have a little boy and never get to play with pink. I didn’t do my math very well so the top turned out bigger than I anticipated. I wanted to keep it small so it was handy as a baby quilt and so I could use some yardage from my stash for the backing. I bought some sock monkey fabric that turned out to have a HUGE print that is only suitable for backing. I was really happy to be able to use it on this quilt. If my friend gets tired of the pink, girly front she can just flip the quilt over.

Close up

Back of quilt

This was not my best work, by far, but I’ve been away from quilting for quite awhile. I forgot all those little important tricks and tips that makes things go more smoothly. I’m not too upset though, since I do want the mom to actually use this quilt. It is not heirloom quality at all. I hope it sees many, many hours of floor time, spit up, and other baby love.

*Disappearing nine patch: Make a bunch of nine patch squares. Cut them into quarters then sew them together again. Mine was extremely random, but you can find tutorials that show you how to make a less random pattern.

Once Upon a Time

August 4th, 2009

Once upon a time, a long time ago I started working on a Once Upon a Time quilt from the Modern Quilt Workshop book. The premise of the quilt is that you use it as a story telling device. You have lots of 4″ novelty fabrics on a background with “lines” connecting them.

I got the top and quilting done pretty quickly, but stalled out on the binding. I decided I wanted to do the binding properly (I’ve been machine sewing it to the back, flipping it down, then machine sewing to the front, leaving a sort of funky seam on the back) because I worked hard on this quilt. Then we moved and I got pneumonia and life went crazy and six months later the quilt was just sitting around with a half sewed on binding.

But now it is done!

The quilt is washed and dried and looks fabulous! Even though I’ve made several quilts, I always hold my breath until they come out of the dryer. I’m always convinced they are going to fall apart. I don’t understand how I am capable of creating something by sewing it together. It seems like magic.

Once Upon a Time. . .

Very blurry–not loving my new camera.

View from the side

Erik, my son and quilt owner, wanted his picture taken with his new quilt. I had to oblige. Also, he got his new Threadless.com t-shirt today and was one happy camper. I still don’t get the humor of the falling banana, but it has made the boy extremely happy.

Erik and his new quilt

Next up, a girly baby quilt in a disappearing nine patch pattern. I have the top together, just need to remember where I put my store of batting.

The Changing Face of Quilting

February 12th, 2009

Several months ago I picked up a bunch of old quilting magazines on freecycle. I haven’t looked at them because it seemed overwhelming, but we are about to move so I need to figure out if I really want them or not. I’m thinking not.

You wouldn’t think that quilting would change much over the years, but the magazines from the early ’90s haven’t wowed me yet. The colors are really dull and . . . well. . . old fashioned. You’d think that quilting is a timeless art. You wouldn’t think modern colors would make such a difference. But they do! Oh how they do. I am not into reproduction fabrics, and I guess I’m not into late 20th century colors.

Most of quilts they show are just tied. You would almost never see a tied quilt in a modern quilting magazine. I posted about this over at my regular blog and had a reader explain that back in the day the quilt police refused to let you machine piece. I wonder how many of those self-same quilt police now own a long arm machine? I tried tying a quilt once to make it go faster, but after two ties I ran to my machine and stitched in the ditch.

Most of the patterns say you should use polyester batting, which was cracking me up. You will REALLY never see a quilting magazine say that these days. Polyester is the evil step-child that everyone turns their nose up at. I saw a small ad for Hobbs Heirloom wool batting, explaining that it was a unique product that would change the way people quilted. I guess they were right!

There are no rotary cutting directions. Instead there are directions on how to make templates out of plastic or card stock. As if I am going to make templates for squares and rectangles. I had no idea rotary cutting was such a new concept. I can guarantee I never would have became a quilter if I had to cut things out the old fashioned way. Quilts of yesteryear must have really been a work of love. Not that they aren’t now, but even the simplest of quilts must have taken at least twice, if not four times as long as quilts of today. All that scissor cutting *shudder*.

The biggest laugh had to come from an article about the “future of quilting.” It was actually pretty accurate, but it missed a major concept: the Internet. It predicted that in the year 2010 we would all wake up in the morning, log onto our computers and video teleconference with our quilting friends from around the world. Pretty accurate. We could do that if we wanted.

It also predicted that quilt shops and other companies would send out CD-ROMS (very carefully explaining what a CD-ROM was) that would contain their entire catalog. Sort of true. We use websites. Can you imagine all the waste we’d produce if we got CDs from every online quilt shop we like to visit?

It had a lot of ideas about how the computer could be used to store pattern data. We could buy CD-ROMS with patterns and magically search for a pattern, calling up the pattern and pictures of completed quilts. Again, close call, only no CD-ROMS. The funniest bit had to be a little paragraph about how quilters might be able to talk to each other “on-line” with Prodigy, CompuServe or Internet. I admit, I was giggling at the Internet just being Internet and on par with Prodigy and CompuServe. Back in 1994 I had no clue about the Internet and how it would change my life. I couldn’t even imagine meeting people all over the world, buying stuff on the computer, writing about my daily dramas.

It did hit one nail square on the head. It said we would be able to buy software to draft patterns for us. Most serious quilters own at least one type of quilting software. I really need to buy something if I am going to continue the round robin I’m in. I have the Dear Jane software, but usually just depend on Quilters Cache or books and magazines for patterns.

I found the whole thing very amusing, but not amusing enough to keep the three foot high stack of magazines.

M13, Lynette’s Diamond + Tutorial

January 3rd, 2009

M13, Lynette's Diamond

Date Completed: January 1, 2009
Number of Pieces: 12
Description: hand applique/machine pieced
Color Group: purple
Number of blocks completed: 61
Number of pieces so far: 1060+ 139 sashing
Interesting current event: It’s New Years Day so the world isn’t turning so fast today. In personal news, I just found out my sister broke her leg. I want to go to Oregon to help her, but really can’t leave b/c of things that need to be done to settle on our new house.

One of my New Year’s Resolutions is to complete each Block of the Week through the Dear Jane mailing list. This was the first one!

It didn’t turn out perfect, but it was very quick and easy. I’m happy enough with the results.

I took a few pictures along the way so you can see how I did it. I found this method on the official Dear Jane page, though it didn’t include pictures so I had no idea how it was going to turn out.

Step 1:

Applique a 5″ circle of focus fabric on a 5 1/2″ square of background fabric.

Step 1

Click through to Flickr to see photos in a much bigger size.

Step 2:

Sew 1 1/4″ in squares of focus fabric to the corners of the block. Sew on the diagonal in the same way you would make quick pieced flying geese.

Step 2

Snip off the corners and press open.

Step 3:

Cut the block into quarters, flip the pieces around and sew together. I think my seams were not quite 1 1/4″. I am thinking about taking out the seams and redoing it, but I’m not sure I’m that motivated.

Step 3