Sunday, March 2, 2014

Christmas Reveal: Batman Quilt

My little nephew has so many passions, I never know if his latest favorite thing is still his favorite thing when I am making him gifts.  This Christmas, though, I think I hit the nail on the head.  I made him a Batman mini quilt to go along with a Batman figurine and a Batman shirt.  The whole kit seemed to go over pretty well.

This is, of course, another Fandom in Stitches design, this time by my quilt designing idol, Jennifer Ofenstein.  Now, I have to pause for a minute to mention the Fandom in Stitches designers.  They are all volunteers and contribute so much in time and designs that  are open for everyone to use.  Most importantly, every time I have had a question, they are there with courteous and helpful advice and support.  Part of the reason I want to design and offer free fandom patterns -- besides the fun I have doing it -- is to offer back what I can to this incredible community.

I took Jennifer's 5" block and blew it up to 20".  I kept the colors neutral with just black and grey, then added extra black sashing and some Batman logo sashing all around.

Batman Quilt
Finished Batman quilt.

Batman Quilt
The logo.
I can't honestly remember the exact shop were I got the Batman fabric (I bought it off eBay), but to the best of my knowledge, it was from Over The Rainbow on Camano Island, Washington.  I didn't realize they were fairly local to me, and my fabric arrived the day after I ordered it.  I have since ordered several fabrics from them and been very happy with the products and the speed with which my orders arrive.

I zigzag stitched around the logo to keep the quilt layers together, then outlined the bat a quarter inch inside the seam lines.  I then stippled the bat for some interest and bound the quilt.  The backing was the same Batman fabric I used in the sashing.  Except for accidentally cutting the seam allowance off one section for the first time ever when I didn't have enough fabric to redo that section (whoops!), the whole thing came together quite quickly and easily.

Batman Quilt
Stipple quilting on the bat.  You can hardly tell I
had to add in extra sections after cutting off
the seam allowance.  :)

You can find the pattern for the Batman logo here.

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Christmas Reveal: Batiki Bird

Last June my grandmother gave me an amazing book for my birthday called Pretty Little Mini Quilts, compiled by Ray Hemachandra.  Normally I think that buying a quilter a book of patterns is a little like buying someone underwear, because it is highly personal and you never know exactly what they will like.  However, she managed to hit it right on the head.  This book is now my go-to for mini quilt gifts.  There is a wide range of techniques represented, and plenty of different motifs.

So for Christmas, I wanted to make my mother-in-law a little quilt.  My mother-in-law is a flamboyant, gregarious woman to say the least, and I wanted to make her a quilt that captured her spirit.  The "Batiki Bird" pattern by Sarah Ann Smith just screamed out her name to me.  Bright and tropical and plenty of fun ... plus I could see myself not having to do any major free motion quilting since this would only be my second try at it.

Batiki Bird Quilt
My completed "Batiki Bird" mini quilt.  Pattern by Sarah Ann Smith.

I think this was one of my favorite fabric store trips.  The blue I found for the binding is probably one of my favorite batiks I have ever found.  It is one of my favorite teal-y (tealish?  tealesque) colors, and I need to make some couch pillows or something for myself with the leftover.

Batiki Bird Quilt
All finished and bound up.

Once I assembled the quilt, which is actually fairly easy and incredibly forgiving, it was time to quilt.  That was a bit of a nail-biter for me.  I started by outlining the tree and the bird a quarter inch away.

Batiki Bird Quilt
I managed to find the perfect orange scrap for my bird in my stash.

Then I added straight lines up and down with some leaves popping off the sides every once in a while.  To be quite honest, that's how I left it because the idea of doing more really intimidated me.  Those swirly vines weren't there when I wrapped up the gift and stuck it under the tree.  But then my son got into the Christmas presents and changed my mind.  We were getting together at the end of January for Christmas with the in-laws, and he just couldn't understand why there were still unopened gifts under the tree after Christmas.  He brought the unwrapped quilt to me ("Present!"), and I decided since I had practiced more on several other quilts, I would add some swirly vines in between the long lines.  I'm glad I did it, because it added a lot more to the quilt.  Still not great, but at least it doesn't look barren any more.  :)

Batiki Bird Quilt
It may be sad,  but it's quilting.

When I zigzag stitched my applique on, I elected to use the same red-orange thread on the back of the bird as I did on the front.  I love the pop of color on the back of the quilt.  It's not often that I enjoy the look of the backs of my quilts, but I sort of love that this echoes the design on the front in a more sedate form.

Batiki Bird Quilt
The back of the quilt.

You could play with so many different fabric selections for this quilt.  I highly recommend this particular book as well as the other books in the Pretty Little series.