Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Handmade Christmas: Small Quilts

This year I made a bunch of small quilts for Christmas using my 5 year old's drawings. I have been saving drawings for a while, intending to embroider them. But I really don't have a lot of embroidery training, and although I like the way it looks so much, I don't have the patience, really. I am an immediate gratification kind of person. So I made these.

I start by tracing the drawing onto white or cream muslin. I just used a pencil because I can never find my wash out pen and I've decided to stop buying a new one every time I need one. So, trace it onto the fabric. Then I just start sewing strips of fabric around the center, log cabin style. I go specifically for wonky here and I am never very careful about measuring my finished size, in fact I just eyeball it, making it bigger than I need.

Choosing the fabric is my favorite part of the project. I just have a thing for making color and pattern combinations. Really, it's the most fun.

Then I pin a piece of batting and backing fabric to the back, um, obviously and just start sewing. I use a lot of pins and start out by sewing the picture. I just shorten my stitch, let up on my tension, and go really slow. I go over each line two or three times, and sort of break the drawings into sections in my mind so I can sew them easily.

After sewing the drawings, I change the thread to white or pink or something coordinating, and just quilt all around in a square spiral, through the log cabin parts.

Next I add any hand stitching, appliqué or buttons. The back of the snowman quilt actually got kind of messy, so I stitched another piece of fabric over the back, to hide the mess. I think maybe it just made it look messier.

Next I wash and dry them to crinkle them up and fray the edges.

Then I just sandwich them into frames. Some of them really didn't fit into the frames (remember that I totally didn't measure?) So I just cut into them until they fit, then washed and dried them again to refray the edges. Some of them fit the frame size pretty closely, and some of them are smaller so they kind of "float" in the frame, with a piece of colored paper behind them. Oh, and I actually bound one of them and added a hanging sleeve on the back. I just felt that it should be free.

There are no rules in this type of little quilt. I just looked at them and tried to think of what should go where. You probably notice influences from some other craft bloggers. With all the great inspiration out there, it kind of just mixes together into our projects, doesn't it?

This was a fun project for me, but of course my daughter Zoë felt like I totally wrecked her drawings with some of the colors that I chose. I guess that's what happens in collaboration some times.


kirsten said...

dude, alisa - those are awesome!

Steph said...

I LOVE THEM! They look great!! An absolute cherished heirloom someday (when she gets over the color choices).

Jeanne said...

Well the Grammy just loves hers!!!

Kristin L said...

These are great! I have been saving up drawings to do pretty much the same thing so seeing these is really inspiring. The wonkiness of the log cabin strips and other additions accentuate the drawings wonderfully.

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