Sunday, September 28, 2008

A Fall Treehouse for Betty

This was, by far, the most challenging block for me yet. It was my first experience with applique and I was intimidated by everyone's beautiful blocks. But, I finally dug my heels in and decided to just have fun with it. I hope you like it, Betty!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Carissa's Block(s)

Here are the blocks for September...

I made three - I'm not sure what got into me :-)

I loved this fabric and dove in as soon as it came in the mail.

I'm pretty excited since next month is mine! I'm trying to think of some good's harder than I thought it would be!

Sorry this took me forever to post - I tried before and couldn't load any pictures! I just realized I haven't mailed them back either!!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Another Block For Betty

Here is my funky tree house block for Betty. I pieced the entire block and used a couple of different decorative stitches the reinforce the seams and add a little pizazz. The ladder is sewn with denim thread and to personalize the block like Betty requested, I "carved" ML + DS (my husband) into the tree trunk.

Monday, September 22, 2008

a treehouse for betty

well, my quilt block for august's common threads project is done. do not ask me how that house is staying up in the tree, or why it's got a super-fancy door with a doorknob, but no ladder to get up there. you just have to use your imagination, people. betty asked that we include our name somewhere on the quilt, so i included my initials as free-form embroidered flowers in the lower left-hand corner.

i especially had fun finally using my multi-colored spool of thread on the tree greenery:

like many of the other participants, i used fusible webbing to "glue" the pieces down, then stitched around the edges. the funny part was that i had been thinking that this was my first foray into applique and then as i was stitching it, i started thinking, "oh, this is sort of like my alphabet quilt...." such short memory i have. but it is a little different to be starting from scratch, design-wise. it's much more like "drawing" with fabric and when it supposed to actually look like something (as opposed to just a pretty pattern or design) i quickly begin to feel my lack of training in things like "perspective" and "angles" and such. oh well. it was a fun experiment and i hope you like it, betty! i myself am oddly fond of the back side of the block:

hmmm..... considering that my bobbin thread was white, there appears to be an awful lot of color on the back..... maybe i had the tension wrong? oh well. it's done and i'm putting it in the mail to you the next time i can get to the post office, along with your fabric for september. sorry it's late!

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Wendy's Treehouse

Here's my treehouse Bettyninja. Come on over and visit for a bit. You realize this challenge only encouraged my obsession with embroidering these blocks, don't you? I think the amount of handwork in this one may have cured me though.

I'm not at all comfortable with needle turn hand applique, so I decided to fuse the pieces. It worked well for my purposes, but I hope the piece isn't too stiff. I'm hoping with washing it'll soften up for you.

What I loved about this block was how free I could be with the design since I'd be fusing all the elements rather than having to figure out how to piece them. I stuck with only the fabrics that were sent to me and was able to use each one in some way. I can only speak for myself, but I like having those limits. Without them, I think I'd never get started each month.

This block also turned into a little bit of a needlework sampler. While blanket stitching predominates the entire piece, if you look closely you'll find french knots, back stitch, crazy daisy, stem and satin stitches. It's one of the smallest parts of the block, but I'm most pleased with the doorknob. Satin stitching and I haven't always gotten along in the past. If the month hadn't been up, I think I could have kept going - split stitch for bark lines on the tree, wood graining on the wood rungs...

It was time to stop though, because I already had a new package of fabric in my mailbox.

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Thursday, September 18, 2008

my treehouse block

treehouse block for common threads quilt bee

I finished my block for the month. I used a modified strategy of applique - iron under the edges like traditional applique but then machine stitching around the edges. the treehouse itself is pieced.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Carissa's Car Quilt--September

I mailed out fabric for the September quilt today (except for Betty's--I'm hoping to finish your treehouse block in the next day or two and mail them together)! I have been looking forward to this quilt ever since Common Threads started. I've picked up a habit of going out to my car (a silver Honda Element) on my lunch break for a quick nap. Or just a quiet place to stretch out and read a book. Is that strange? It's quiet, private (more or less), offers protection from weather (hot sun, chilly winds). Well, regardless of whether or not it's strange, I probably won't stop doing it until the Wisconsin winter prevents me from going out. In the meantime, I'd really love to have a special quilt to keep in my car. This quilt will keep me cozy in chilly weather, and will be a great quilt to spread out on the ground if I decide to hang out on the grass on warmer days. Although it will be kept in my car, you are under no obligation to depict a car or any other form of transportation in your quilt block. I fear that too many appliqued cars may make it look like it's meant for a very hip baby boy. However, I am very fond of this (rather subtle) quilt block by two straight lines:

And I like the wheel-like umbrella stripe thing in this quilt:

The interior of my vehicle is grey and blue, so I've decided to make the body of this quilt dark grey (which is very exciting for me since I can't do dark colors on a quilt I'd keep in the house--I have two mostly white kitties). The final layout of the quilt will look something like this:

This layout was inspired by a few denyse schmidt designs and this awesome quilt by glittergoods:

And I'm considering sewing up a cute matching totebag for it like this one from crazy mom quilts (matching in concept--a totebag for a quilt--but with a design that matches the quilt):

So, with all of that introduction, here's the nitty-gritty instructions--
1. Your finished block should be no larger than 12" and no smaller than 6".
2. It doesn't have to be square (i.e. it can be somewhat rectangular and/or wonky)
3. If you are an overachiever and would like to make more than one block (you should have plenty of fabric--especially if you make a smaller block) you are welcome to do so, but you are under no obligation! Extra blocks that don't fit on the front of the quilt may make an appearance on the back, or on the matching tote bag.
4. Feel free to pull in fabrics from your own stash. This fabric below is the inspiration for the whole quilt, so as long as your scraps sort of coordinate with this, that's fine.

5. When you're done, if you have scraps leftover from the fabric that I sent that you DON'T WANT, I'd love to have them back! However, if you love the fabrics and would like to keep the scraps, that's fine. I'd just be sad if big pieces of it went into the trash.

*a note about the envelopes--in light of some peoples' experiences with mangled mail, i decided to try a sturdier package. i found a big package of these UPS envelopes at Goodwill for cheap, so I altered them a bit to fit our needs better. If you follow the scanned instructions on the back, you should be able to use the same envelope to send it back to me if you want. If you fold your quilt block flatter (to give the envelope more uniform thickness) they might even let you send it for "letter rate" instead of "package rate."

any questions? what did I forget?

Sunday, September 14, 2008

rustic treehouse

I've been dreaming up this block since Betty first posted her cute idea for quilt squares. Thanks for helping me overcome my fear of free form applique! And thanks to Wendy for pointing me in the direction of fusible web!

Here's my little tree house block. I went in the direction of a tree platform, complete with a "no boys allowed" sign and a makeshift curtain to hide secret club activities.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

A tree house for Betty

So here is my block for August - 

I did have a couple ideas in mind for this one but decided to go with the simplest route so I knew I would finish it.

I loved the idea of a curling staircase although mine kinda looks like a looping rope ladder but... oh well.

I loved using lots of different stitches on this one and the applique was fun to do! 

Betty wanted us to write our names on these so I added mine and Hubby's initials to the tree...

This was a very fun idea - thanks Betty!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Betty's Swingin' Chalet

I sure hope this was what you had in mind. Most of it is fused, raw edge applique. I did piece the grass. Hope you like it. Thanks for the push outside my box.