A two sided quilt – sounds easy, right?

You have probably seen adult coloring books in stores over the past few years.  Meant as a way to unwind from daily stress, these books can take an adult back to their childhood days of coloring.

Since my crafts are my way to relax at the end of a day, I have not purchased any of these coloring books.  I have however, looked at the books in stores.  The pictures are complex and do provide great inspiration for quilting patterns and applique designs.

Last summer, I paged through one of these coloring books with trees.  Each design featured a tree with unique patterns.  Some of the designs had animals in the trees – owls, birds and even cats. One day I may make one of these, perhaps a tree with many different owls appliqued on the branches.

Directly next to the display of coloring books, was a different display featuring paper craft ideas. One idea showed strips of wrapping paper cut and glued horizontally in the background, and featured cutouts of black or white paper animals, flowers or trees as the main object.  Sorry, but I did not think to take a picture of the display. But, it was a really nice idea.

This idea stuck with me, and besides thinking about making some greeting cards with the idea, I realized that a quilt could be made with a similar design.  At the time I first saw the display, my paper craft supplies were buried in the back of my craft storage closet, so the cards would need to wait.  But, I did have lots of fabric that I could utilize for a quilt.

So, I set out to work on my new design.  Many of my batik scraps were blue and green, which would work well for the background of a tree.

Sorting through the fabrics, I couldn’t decide whether I wanted a the colors to depict a tree during the daytime, the nighttime, or an unsorted scrappy look.  After playing around with a graphic program, I ruled out the scrappy look because it was too chaotic for my liking.  But, I simply just couldn’t decide which of the other two I preferred.  So, I thought I would try something new and make a two sided quilt – one side with bright daytime colors, the other side with darker nighttime colors.  After cutting 2 1/2″ strips, the fabrics were sewn together with some shorter pieces inserted periodically to add some variation to the background.

Since I had decided to try to make the applique exactly reversible, the quilting the front and back together would need to be done next.  When loading the pieced backgrounds onto my long arm machine, I realized that making a completely reversible quilt was going to be rather difficult.

This year, in particular, my ideas for quilts have been easy in the planning stages, but more challenging when actually sewing.  This quilt was no exception.  On paper, it looked straightforward – sew the strips, load it on my quilting frame and quilt away.  Right!  Actually, wrong.  Lining up so many seams on the front and the back of the quilt prior to machine quilting was definitely not easy.  I discovered that even though my piecing was exact, the number and location of the seams impacted the stretch and movement of the two pieces of fabric.  I ended up having to pin along each seam of the layers to try to get my quilting to look right on both the front and the back of the quilt. IMG_1042

Backgrounds

Once the backgrounds was quilted, I decided to get my least favorite part of any quilt (the binding) done before I  would start work on the appliqued tree.  More on that in my next posting.

Since moving into my newer sewing room, my paper craft supplies are now accessible, so cards can once again be made.  That project will be included in a future post as well.

New Craft Room

With three of our four boys living out of town, we have several unused bedrooms in our house.  Earlier this spring, I decided that these unused rooms could be put to better use.

Until recently, my long arm sewing machine was in the smallest of these bedrooms (11′ x 11″), a tight fit for a 10 foot table.  My domestic sewing machine was in our laundry room.  And,  my craft supplies were in various closets throughout the house.

One of the unused bedrooms is a fairly nice sized room.  At 12′ x 15′, it is almost 50% more space than the small room that I was using.  So, I decided to move my crafts into this larger room.  Sorry boys, but the guest room is now in a bit smaller!

After spending a few months planning out the change, I have recently settled in to my new craft room.  I love my new space, and so does my cat Onyx.

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I now have all my crafts (except fused glass) are all in the same room.  This means that I can work on multiple projects at the same time.  I can set my long arm sewing machine to stitch out a computer guided pattern, while cutting a paper craft project on my Cameo cutter and piecing another quilt on my domestic sewing machine.

When moving in to the room, I sorted and organized all of my supplies, and even found some things I forgot that I had. I may not complete more projects, but I will certainly enjoy working in this room, especially with the large corner window.

Some useful features in the room:

  1. wall mounted TV with cable and an HDMI connection view on-line programs,
  2. a love seat that is also a sleeper sofa (a place for someone to sleep if all of our boys come home at the same time),
  3. a side table by the love-seat  to hold my coffee, computer and other items I need handy,
  4. noise cancelling headphones (to block out the sound of the sewing machine when I am watching a program on the TV),
  5. several thread organizers for the various spools/cones of thread that I use,
  6. a large closet for storing a cart with my Cameo cutter, my large format printer and lots of other supplies,
  7. storage cubbies underneath my long arm table,
  8. two desks, a dresser and shelf unit with even more storage,
  9. a mounted drapery rod that is large enough to hang a queen sized quilt for photography, and
  10. an attached bathroom.

Since I now had a dedicated craft room, I also wanted to add a design wall.  Originally I thought that I could make something that utilized the quilt hanging rod. After purchasing fabric (Kaufman Framework Flannel Gridwork), I added a lining and rolled it onto the rod.

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Unfortunately the flannel kept wanting to unroll and not stay neat and tidy.  To try to solve this problem, I added Roman Shade cords to the back of the flannel.  But, when pulled up, the fabric would also slide together on the rod and again not stay neat and tidy.

So, I ultimately attached the flannel to some wooden boards and made true Roman Shades to use for the design wall.  These boards were  mounted at the edge of the ceiling and drop down when needed.  I could only mount one section on the main wall of the room because I did not want to block the air intake which was located on one end if that same wall.  To give me more design space, I mounted the second section above the closet.

This is not ideal because large projects will be split into two separated spaces when working with the design wall.  However, it does put design space very near my sewing desk.  This will be handy when I am in the middle of a project.  I will just have to get used to having large projects split into two sections.  But, since I really didn’t have a design wall before, this arrangement is certainly better than nothing.