i'm still following along with the Iron Craft challenges every week, as if i don't already have enough projects on the go!
i'm really enjoying the inspiration though - that's one of the things that i miss about swapping on craftster.org, i LOVED making stuff for people that i'd never make for myself. i'd figure out what my swap partner was into, and then brainstorm projects to make that they'd like, and it led to a lot of fresh ideas and concepts.
the Iron Craft challenge for week 6 was Winter. this week was actually a contest, they've decided to do that from time to time, so they gave everyone a little bit more time to get it finished - thank goodness! i had the idea for mine days ago, but i've been feeling so crummy this past week, and using up all my energy (aka spoons) on dealing with car stuff and family stuff. eugh!
i decided to make a quilt with snowflakes appliques, and each snowflake would be different, because i would fold them up and cut them just like paper snowflakes.
in addition to the snowflakes idea, i'd been doing some googling about the quilting technique of "quilt as you go", because i'm thinking about taking a quilt as you go class at a local shop next month. i came across multiple techniques, and there was one technique that i particularly liked, and decided to use for this quilt.
i didn't make it to the fabric store until yesterday, and i was the last customer to walk out of the door when they closed at 5:30, but i found exactly what i wanted - a blue dotted fabric that looks like snow (and it's flannelette, which is even better!), and a light blue linen blend to use for the main squares.
i came home and popped my fabric into the washer, and got started on the snowflakes. i ironed fusible webbing to the back of white Kona cotton, cut out 4" squares, and then just treated each piece as if it was a piece of paper. i wasn't able to get as detailed as i would've been able to with paper, because the fabric was much thicker, but i still think they turned out pretty cool.
after i'd made the snowflakes, the other fabric was preshrunk, and i started cutting. i cut 8.5" squares of the flanelette backing/border fabric, 6.5" squares of the blue linen, and 6.5" squares of cotton batting. i peeled off the paper backing on the fusible webbing and pressed the snowflakes onto the linen, and then i layered them on each other, with the backing facing down and the snowflake facing up.
i added a few pins in the corners, and started free motion stitching. i quilted the blocks really heavily, because i wanted to ensure that the snowflakes were secured, and also because the loops and swirls i was stitching reminded me of a snowstorm, and i liked that effect.
once i'd quilted my squares, i laid them out, and started assembling the rows. i took two blocks and laid them backing sides together (right sides facing), and then i stitched along the edge of the batting and linen squares.
this left the rows looking like i'd sewn them inside out, with the seam allowances showing on the front. i pressed them open, and then folded the edges of the seam allowances underneath themselves. i topstitched down each side, enclosing the raw edges.
after i'd finished all of the topstitching on each row, i joined them together with horizontal seams, and repeated the process.
this is a detail of the back of the quilt - see the seams, and then the topstitching?
the back is made up of squares, not a solid or pieced backing like you would normally see on a quilt.
this technique wouldn't work as well with an obviously printed design, because you would really see the individual squares, but it worked wonderfully with the all over dot design.
and it was so fast! since you're quilting each block as you come to it, by the time you join them together and topstitch the seams, you're done! i really like the technique, and i have a bunch of other ideas that i'd like to try. i really doubt that i'd ever make a queen sized quilt and quilt it myself, just on a regular sewing machine, but if i was doing each block individually, i totally could. which just opens up so many more possibilities... and then if you think "they don't really even need to be squares"... way too possibilities and not nearly enough energy or time!
so that was my entry for the challenge. i managed to get the pictures uploaded to flickr 20 minutes before the deadline - cutting it close, but i did it!
now i need to start brainstorming for this week's challenge, "Midas Touch". (i can't believe we're already 7 weeks into 2011! how the hell did that happen? no wonder i can't keep the days straight, they're whipping by at ridiculous speeds!) but i won't start on it until i finish my valentines - i'm hoping to get them mailed by valentine's day this year. they'll be late, but still much earlier than last year!