Tuesday, March 5, 2013

UPDATE: Postage Stamp Quilt

Had the day off yesterday and since I was caught up on my swaps (hell, I've even worked ahead on the fabric ones--stuff is cut and waiting) it was time to play around with my postage stamp quilt.

I've been pondering what I'm going to do for the reverse side.  I don't really want to have just a generic solid back and since I have a mess of 5 inchers cut (I tend to cut a five inch strip then cut 2.5 inchers from it and 5 inchers) why not make the back from the 5 inchers?  It's also a fun way to practice making simple quilt blocks, practicing making themes or pairing colors.  All that good stuff.

So I worked on my 5 inch square blocks. 

These are the cat themed ones.  I'd love to make a whole quilt top with just cat fabrics.  A crazy cat lady quilt!  There are a few repeat fabrics here but I'm not overly concerned with that for the back.  I mostly want to have theme squares on the back.

I really love the bright pink cat tabloid square on the bottom block.  Goofy stuff like that cracks me up.

Another set of blocks.

Of course I had to have a Steelers block, lest I be run out of my fair city for not displaying some black and gold pride.  I love the black and white fabric paired with the Steelers print.  It's the same shape as the Steelers' emblem but it's neutral so I can use it other places.  And it's "designer" fabric (I think it's an Alexander Henry fabric) that I found at Joann Fabrics for 40% off.  So it was cheaper to get it at Joanns then from Fashionable Fabrics the online shop I go to for remnants (they had it in their remnant bin and I was *this close* to getting it to use with the Steelers fabric, I'm so glad I didn't).

Music notes.  I was surpirsed how many music note fabrics I ended up with.  In fact, I think I have one more that I should have found to use in this block so there would be no repeats.  But I like the catty corner black fabrics with rainbow notes.

MERMAIDS.  I havea  soft spot for them.  I've had that fabric for a while (bought it from the aforementioned Fashionable Fabrics) and had the whole hang up of finding a project that was "good enough" to use it.  I'm forcing myself to get over my "good enough" hang up.  That's how I ended up with so much fabric that I've yet to use for anything.  Time to start using it and not worry about being "good enough". 

The last square is just a totally random one I pulled together from my 5 incher box.  It's just a green theme but I also wanted to match the pattern shapes.  So lines versus dots.  Eh, I was feeling artistic when I paired up that one.  It looks cute though.

Here are some of the wackier ones.  I'm totally in love with the Pop Culture one (top left).  Star Trek, Hello Kitty, Simpsons, and Batgirl/Wonder Woman, Super Girl.  HELL YEAH, all pop culture stuff I enjoy (ok, I'm not a super geek girl over Hello Kitty or the super heros but I do like them).  I love that Star Trek fabric so much.  It's just so geeky and fabulous.

The top right block was another one I just made up from pawing through my 5 inchers.  It's just a wild animals in the grass theme.  I just wanted to use that koala fabric since it's so funky.

The second row has my most ambitious block, the sewing block.  I used 3 inch squares to make 5 inch squares.  The whole block turned out very well and I've very happy with it.  You can't really see it from the pic, but the squiggly fabrics on the bottom right square are needles with thread in them.  And the top left square was an ode to patchwork with the patterns.  It's a funky block but I like it and I think it fits perfectly with the other funky blocks I made.

The one next to it is my Stereotypical Girl block.  It's all "girly" stuff.  So you have princesses and fairys and ballerinas and pink cowgirls and a unicorn and it's all pink and purple and. . .stereotypically girly.

Bottom left.  LOVE LOVE LOVE.  Can I just pause to say how much I love that Olive Ostrich fabric?  Ostriches amuse me to no end in no small part because of a cartoon I saw on Sesame Street in my youth.  I'm not obsessed with them or anything but they just always make me think of that cartoon (and my family still quote the cartoon, in our own bastardized way).  So a Love Ostriches block was perfect.  The larger heart print is from the same line but the other two prints in that block are from swaps.  I did a 5 incher swap and got a lot of valentines fabric in it (which made me happy--especially when two of the blocks were conversation hearts).

Last but not least is the only block that uses fabric solely from my stash and two fabrics from the same line.  I think it's called Out to Sea.  I wanted it the minute I saw it but waited for it to go on sale (I think it's organic, so it was pricier--I love organics but I'm cheap so I wait to score a sale).  I just love the cute mermaids playing with the whales.  That print is also perfect for fussy cutters like me.  I could cut 5 inchers of the mermaids without cutting into any other image.  There's also a small octopus which was perfect for a 2.5 inch square AND there are litle fish printed all over the fabric so even the scrappy bits are still cute (not just plain color or bits and pieces of arms/legs).  The blue fabric is awesome because. . .well. . .NARWALS.  Whales with horns are awesome.  Like the unicorns of the ocean.  The print is super cute and spaced out well which means a lot especially when it's a more expensive organic cotton fabric, I hate feeling like I have bits that I'm just not going to ever use.

The Out to Sea fabric is also some that I'd been hoarding under the fear of "not good enough", so finally cutting into it and seeing that I can use it and the world won't end was a good thing.  I have a half yard of each print so it's not like I'm at risk of running out of it any time soon.

That's another thing this patchwork pratice is teaching me.  You really don't need a ton of fabric to make a quilt.  Little bits really add up.

Which is a great segue to the update on the actual postage stamp side of this quilt.

I did work on it, too.  So much, in fact, that I had to wind the bobbin TWICE while sewing.  I haven't sewed that much at one time in a long time (and once again I'm reminded that I should just wind a whole mess of bobbins at once to make my life easier but I never do--so dumb).

I made a bunch of 2x2s.  First I paired up 200 hundred charms.  Then I took those pairs and mixed them into some sets of 2x2s I had paired up but not stitched.  I just needed to mix the fabrics up a bit more.

This is where my sewn charms are at now.  The box contains all the 2x4s I've stitched so far (a few are showing off on the table).  I need to take the stacks of 2x2s (in the back, not in the box) and make them into 2x4s then join the 2x4s to make 4x4s.  Then even up the 4x4s to make 8 inch blocks.  Then put the neat 8 inchers together to slowly form the top.

I'm currently debating a few things. 

1.  Should I start making 4x4s now?  I feel like I should wait and incorporate more fabrics in for more variety but then I might get overwhelmed.  So I think I'm leaning toward making as many 4x4s as possible from what I have now then starting the whole process over again.

2.  Should I quilt as I go or not?  If I'm going to quilt as I go, I'd better do it at the 8 inch block phase just to keep it simpler.  BUT. . .

3.  The front of the quilt doesn't match up (math wise) with the back.  I'm making 8 inch squares for the front but 9 inchers for the back.  So I won't be able to quilt them together unless I trim down the back squares even more or. . .yeah, that's a lot of thinking I have to do there.  Maybe I should wait and (if I quilt as I go) quilt them at a larger size so I can fill in the space on the BACK (with some border fabric)?

So yeah, I have some thinking to do.  I think the best plan of attack will be to make the 8 inchers for the front then lay them out on the bed I'm making the quilt for and take some measurements.

This is where it gets complicated.


  1. Looking great! I see a couple of the charms I sent you in there ;) Now that I have my 2.5" squares replenished, I need to start sewing again.

    ~Liz (beadqueene @ swapbot)

    1. I forgot to add the pics of the charms I still have to sew. I have about 175 waiting to be paired and 400 ready for trading.

      If you're looking for another place to swap 2.5 inchers, check out the blog "The Curious Quilter". They do a swap a couple times a year, the next one is happening 3/15.