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07/20/2014 / thriftomancer

Manic quilt finished!

After roughly 7 months of work, it’s finally done. While I had fun making it, I’m quite glad this quilt’s complete.

Here’s the front, created when I got sick during the fall-to-winter seasonal shift:

Manic - front

(You’ll note that I’m using rocks to weight the quilt down this time. This is because the concrete gnome and dove, my old helpers, were busy being completely covered with tiny red ants at the time. The rocks I used instead are smoothed lake rocks from Lake Michigan. I normally use them for sewing weights.)

And a detail of the colored panel. (It’s a shame the photos got so washed out. Direct sunlight on light-colored fabric and wind makes for poor pictures.)

Manic - front detail

And here is the other side, made during/because of my cold in the winter-to-spring season change:

Manic - back
Manic - back detail

This is another backing that I like too much to relegate it to being just ‘the back.’ This quilt is 100% reversible and I’ll absolutely be using it orange-side up as much as blue.

For those curious about the stats, its top and backing are, of course, both 100% repurposed linen. The batting is cotton flannel (Because I found that I had nigh on 20 yards of flannel, previously bough for other projects and never used. 16 yards now.)

07/16/2014 / thriftomancer

Manic quilt again

Around mid-April I got mildly sick with a spring cold/allergies and, as much as I hate being sick, I find I need to do it more often. I always end up making cool stuff. Seasonal changes are usually when I come down with a cold and do impulsive, creative stuff. This time I took a break from the blue-green quilt to work on the manic quilt and finished it.

If you’ll remember, this is the last I showed you of it, way back last year:

Manic quilt WIP

After taking that, I finished the top in black linen like so and stored it away for months to work on the blue-green quilt.

Manic WIP - Top done!

I eventually got tired of seeing it folded up and lonely in the corner and decided it was time to finish it.

First order of business was to make the back. I did have a lot of possible designs that I worked up over the intervening months, but (and remember, I was sick again) then remembered the spirit in which the front was made (Just get up and do it already!) and summarily threw all those plans out. The only piece of the plan I kept was the color: It was still going to be orange.

I hauled out all my orange linen and picked a few shades that I liked best.

Manic WIP - Back fabrics

After carefully ironing each piece I threw them all on the floor in a prototype arrangement pile and started slicing.

Manic WIP - Test layout

Granted, it wasn’t as haphazard a process as the front’s design and fabrication was. Orange linen is much rarer than blue and I didn’t want to waste it, so I didn’t fall completely into a creative berserker rage, but it was close.

Manic WIP - Back panel

That’s the center panel of the back. The whole process of making it and attaching the black linen border/rest of the back took about 4 days, just because of all the cutting and piecing required.

(Improv is weird that way. You work fast because there’s no plan to stick to and you just do what looks right. At the same time you work really slow because you’re doing what looks right and you need to find that perfect piece of fabric for every single spot.)

Once I had the backing done I immediately basted the batting (cotton flannel this time) on, joined the top and back, re-basted the whole thing together, all those necessary steps. Then I folded it up and let it sit for a week and a half while I pondered how to quilt it to best effect. If you’re wondering, yes, that was about the time I started feeling better.

I had some issues figuring it out, mostly because whatever color I chose for my quilting thread would be seen on both sides and I didn’t want too much clashing, flashing colors-type interactions. That ruled out orange and blue. In the end I grabbed black for the black sections and gray for the color sections because it goes well with everything and I like it on its own merits. Worked out well.

Since I like to give finished pictures a dedicated post, they’ll be up next post.

07/10/2014 / thriftomancer

Resolutions: So broken

I said I was going to update more frequently this year, didn’t I? So funny…

In my defense, I haven’t had reliable access to my camera and a maker’s blog without pictures sort of defeats the purpose. Once I get my camera back, though, I’ll have a lot to show you. In the past months I’ve been up to quite a lot, I:

  • Finished the Manic quilt in a burst of, well, mania (Got sick again.)
  • Finished putting together the top of the blue-green stashbusty-quilt (Don’t know if I want to keep calling it “Concentric Squares.”)
  • Encouraged vegetation to do things it normally wouldn’t (My bonsai survived this hellish winter!)
  • Made a really cool red coat/cloak/dress-thing (And a few other clothing items I haven’t shown off yet.)
  • And manufactured a bunch of new tools for myself. A new spindle, needlebook… Cool stuff.

You’ll love it. For now though, have some music. Short Change Hero, by The Heavy. They’re good band and I bet you’ve heard at least one song of theirs already and not even known it. This particular song was the opening song for Borderlands 2.

03/12/2014 / thriftomancer

I return!

I’m back from the Artist’s Market. (See: Going to Market) Didn’t make any sales, which is a bit disappointing, but I enjoyed myself regardless. Got to relax, work on some of my portable projects (details to come), and hang out with other artists whilst subsisting on a steady stream of free hot dogs (Huzzah!); which is a decidedly good way to spend a weekend.

Over the two days I also met and talked textiles with Hanna Christiansen of Golden Raven Studio. She’s a fellow fiber fanatic and just incredibly cool. Gave me tons of ideas and advice about costuming as well as one of her gorgeous dyed bags to use for my spinning, which I absolutely love. (Thanks again!)

My new knitting bag

It’s incalculably better than what I was using before (an endless march of old plastic bags from random shops) and will definitely see a lot of use.

In making news, there’s been a lot of progress made on the blue-green quilt that I’ve yet to talk about. Most of it was done in a nigh-feverish attempt to finish in time for the Artist’s Market. Didn’t end up working out that way, but I did manage to get roughly half of the 3″ blocks pieced to the top. Here’s what it looks like now:

129 little blocks

That’s 129 blocks, which means I’ll need to make 147 more to finish this section. 7 of those I made today. (Didn’t have work because of the heavy snow. Our building closes with the school district.) I also made about 50 more 2″ blocks (I need 504 of those in total), so it’s been a pretty productive snow day.

02/17/2014 / thriftomancer

99 blocks of quilt on the floor

I’ve done a lot of piecing lately and what was once a loose assortment of affiliated blocks is now a solid chunk of quilt top. 99 6″ squares joined together into what will be the center of the quilt.

Blue-green center

After taking stock of my fabric stores vs. the state of my scrap stash, I decided to make a stylistic change.

My original design called for a 13 x 15 array of 6″ blocks, final dimensions 78″ x 90″. The change will be that, instead of having 6″ blocks right to the edge, I’m going to start making 3″ and 2″ square blocks.

There will be 3 rows/columns of each size so the blocks will sort of fade out towards the edges. It’ll give 15″ of space, not quite a border, around the center chunk I’ve got now. The new final dimensions will be a slightly larger 84″ x 96″.

I decided on this change for two reasons:

1) Instead of stash busting and using up all my scraps as I’d hoped, I found I was actually generating more by cutting down larger pieces in order to get the 6″ long strips I needed to finish the larger blocks. If I started making smaller blocks (cores, really), I could use all those small pieces and accomplish my goal.

2) I’m getting tired of the 6″ size. That simple, really.

When I started making this quilt, I made the block cores you’ve seen and thought I might just keep them that small. Not progress to a larger block at all and just have tiny units make up the whole top. Then I did the math and realized I’d need over 2000 of them and my excitement over a tiny core quilt cooled. If I do it this way though, I can use a little of that first plan and see how it goes. Huzzah!