Monday, November 28, 2011

Tumbling Blocks Pillow

I have decided to take a break from Maggie's quilt so I can focus on finishing up Christmas presents before it is too late to send them out.

Greg bought me The Essential Sampler Quilt Book for my birthday.  I am hoping to learn new skills by working on the different blocks in this book.  The first block in the book is Tumbling Blocks which is made using English paper piecing and applique.  All of the examples in the book of this block were made with each of the cubes looking the same with one light fabric, one medium fabric, and one dark fabric used in each of the 6 tumbling blocks.  The tumbling blocks look like children's stacking blocks to me, so I thought I would like to have them be more colorful.  Between the scraps I have and some scraps that Beccy gave to me, I was able to pull 6 colors with a light, medium, and dark fabric in each one.  It was great to find that the template fit inside 2 1/2 inch strip scraps since so many of my scraps are that width!  

Once I became familiar with the piecing, I found that I really enjoyed sewing the blocks together.  It is nice to have a project that is small enough to sew it while the family is spending time together instead of being isolated in my sewing room.  The applique was also not as difficult as I had expected it to be, but I am not sure I am doing it correctly.  I would love to have someone who knows how to applique by hand show me what I really ought to have done.  However, I feel like the finished look is what I had hoped for.

I decided to hand quilt inside of each block using coordinating thread.  My stitches are not as even and straight as I would like, but I did get better as I went along.  Before I try to hand quilt again, I want to learn how to bury my ending knots since I was not able to figure that out on this project.  I also will need a different hand quilting frame.  Some straight line echo quilting by machine finished off the background.  I gave the pillow an envelope closure on the back.
Finished Tumbling Blocks pillow
This pillow is for Anna, and I hope it is something she loves now and as she grows.  It is fun, but I don't think that will be too babyish as she grows.  I asked Hannah and Audrey if they thought Anna would like it.  Hannah said that she would.  Audrey said that Anna wouldn't like it so maybe I could just give it to her instead!  

Last year I saw a vintage quilt in a magazine made up of these diamonds made into blue stars on a white background. I thought that the quilt was stunning, but that I could never attempt something so complicated.  After paper piecing this pillow I think I would like to try to make that quilt even though it would be a long term project.  However, I want to see if I could just cut out the diamonds from hexagonal graph paper rather than tracing a template.  I look forward to having a long term hand sewing project for nights when I want to sew, but not be separated from the family.

Now, I need to get more progress done on some shopping bags!