13 August 2013

Korean Inspiration #2

The other night in lab, while I was waiting for the centrifuge (bleh!), I finished designing my second Korea-inspired pattern and did all the yardage calculations. I'm calling it Window to Seoul.

The Inspiration: a window shutter in the Secret Garden of Changdeokgung

The original plan

As soon as I got home from lab I pulled the fabric. I had already decided this fabric went together and was just waiting for a use to come along. After a short nap, I dived right in and started cutting. Let's just say I was a little excited ^_^ Of course, in my excitement I managed to mis-cut my Kona Coal. The directions I wrote were right, but it doesn't help if you ignore them... Luckily, I love Kona Coal so I just used this as an opportunity to replenish my supply!

Cut and organized!

I decided to sew it in rows so there are 1-4 repeats of 5 different rows. I made a small change to the middle row, but it didn't really change the piecing much. Yesterday I put the top together and stuck it up on my design wall only to find that I had sewn two of the rows in upside down. *sigh* I probably should have put the pieces on the wall as I was assembling it instead of on the floor/chair/my lap...

Other than those two flipped rows I'm pretty happy with it

Because I don't have any friends, relatives, or acquaintances with a baby on the way (that I know of) I thought this would be the perfect quilt to donate for 100 Quilts for Kids campaign hosted by swim.bike.quilt. I want to donate it to either the local children's home or the Center for Women in Transition, whichever I can get in touch with/wants it first. If all else fails I will just drop it off at my LQS for Project Linus. The current size is about 32"x42" so I'll probably add some borders to make it child sized instead of baby sized.

Better Off Thread

11 August 2013

Sunday Stash: New Project Prep

Yesterday I got fabric for two new tops that are in the works from my friendly neighborhood quilt store. First up is my landlady's daughter's wedding quilt. I'm making Deborah Cohen's Trinity Celtic Knot in red, blue, and gold. Not particularly original, but I think it will look nice.

The second is a Korea-inspired top that I am tentatively naming "Gung Mun," which means palace gate. I walked in with one of my Dongdaemun fabrics that I would say is primarily turquoise, red, and orange and came away with a light blue/turquoise and a peachy pink. I'm quite surprised but also pleased with the choices. If I had bet beforehand, I would have said I would get a dark blue/turquoise and maybe a red or yellow. Good thing I'm not a betting person!

The fabric and my block design plans

Stay tuned for the trials and tribulations that will surely arise from these projects! And, look at everyone else's pretties on Sunday Stash!

09 August 2013

Finished! "Lost at Sea" a DNP Sampler

I've been referring to this project as the "Disappearing Nine Patch Sampler", the "seascapes quilt", or the "blue ocean one" but, since these are all excessively unimaginative names, I've officially decided to call it "Lost at Sea".

Get it? - ocean theme fabric, disappearing...

Aaaaand, moving on. Finishing this quilt was the second thing I did after getting home from Korea. The first thing was grocery shopping. I think my priorities are straight ^_^ It turned out that I only had an afternoon's worth of work remaining: 4 sea creatures to FMQ and one side left to bind. Maybe if I had known there was so little left I would have done it sooner!

The front. It's very blue ^_^

Pattern: Disappearing Nine Patch, Double Disappearing Nine Patch, and variations
Finished Size: 63" x 84"
Fabric: Seascapes by Deb Strain for Moda charm pack (my Christmas present!) with Kona Coal and Charcoal for the background in the nine patches and some blues and teals for sashing/borders/settings. The back is a light gray map/sailing novelty print, some of the stripes from the front with a super awesome quote block, a gray batik, a bright red strip to separate the grays, and some Kona Ash to fill it out. I went with a black print for the binding.

"The cure for anything is salt water - sweat, tears, or the sea." - Isak Dinesen

Batting: Quilter's Dream Wool - it's so cozy and fluffy!
Quilting: This is definitely the most complicated quilting I've done so far. I had to draw out a little map beforehand because I couldn't keep it all straight! I used a blue called marine for the top and a steel blue for the bobbin.
  • Middle panels: free motion meandering swirls of various sizes
  • Top and bottom panel: echo quilting of the diamond shape made by the two on point blocks but skipping the square blocks in the corners. There is also a seahorse in each on point block and a shell or starfish in each square that I FMQed using a freezer paper template

Seahorses! and the echo quilting

  • Stripes: a figure-8 thing for the middle one and nothing for the other two
  • Borders: just in the ditch between the two
  • Other: I also did some simple outlining of each panel and those corner squares
New Techniques: mitered corners (in the outer border), pieced backing, FMQing (swirls, figure 8's, and the sea creatures)

This quilt was born out of my extraordinary indecisiveness and need for symmetry. Why are there 2 different grays for the background? Because I got one, worried that it might be too dark, got another, and then couldn't decide which to use. So I made two of every block so that there would be equal amounts of light and dark gray. Why are some blocks set on point and others not? Probably because I couldn't decide which way looked better. Why are there DNPs, double DNPs, and other weird arrangements? Again, because I couldn't decide on one pattern. At least my indecision allowed me to use all 42 squares of the charm pack unlike in the baby blanket where I only used 40 out of 42.

I really like the back, but lining up that stripe across the middle was a nightmare.

The quilting for this was very difficult to decide on as well. I wanted something nautical, but when googling "nautical quilt motifs" everything seemed waaay too complicated. Of course the most obvious ocean thing would be waves but after some practice on paper I affirmed that I am physically incapable of drawing a pleasing wave. Seriously, it was pathetic. So I originally planned to make freezer paper templates but in the end left the waves out altogether. When I finally decided that I wanted "some kind of spiral" to cover the majority of the quilt I started a long process of finding just the right spiral. How big should it be? How sharp should it be? In the end I just sort of did whatever with the spirals and ignored any vision I may have started with.

Shell, seahorse, and echo quilting from the front. I'm real proud of this quilting, if you couldn't tell...

The only thing I ended up not liking was the center DNPs. I wanted them to look like they were emerging from the background but I didn't cut the corners off enough so it kind of just looks like I'm incompetent. Oh well. If I did it again I would make the the top and bottom points into HSTs and take an equally sized triangle off the sides. Not that I'm planning on ever making this quilt again, but I might want to attempt the emerging effect in the future.

05 August 2013

Return of the QAL

I know that the Texas Teardrops QAL ended in June, but I've just started working on mine again. I finished a smaller version on the QAL schedule because it was a gift. This full size version (a.k.a. the nerdy version) had only been fused by the time I left the country.

Progress as of the end of the QAL = not much

When I got home from Korea pretty much the first thing I did was quilt (I think I had withdrawal...). So now all the teardrops are appliqu├ęd, the blocks are trimmed, and the setting triangles and borders are all cut. Hopefully I will be able to get the top completed in the next week. I'll have to vacuum my floor first though, so I have somewhere to put it while I'm working!

If you look closely, you can notice that this WIP is sitting atop another WIP...

I ordered a backing and binding but I suspect I will be in Denmark by the time it arrives which means my QAL will be finished a minimum of 3 months behind schedule. Looks like I'm turning my first QAL into a big ol' UFO, I always do get confused with acronyms...

04 August 2013

Eat MORE Things!

Last Thursday, August 1, was my last day in Korea T_T

I did a lot of eating in my last week and a half, but I'm pretty sure I did nothing but eat the last 36 h I was in Korea. With so many tasty things that will be hard to find at home, who can blame me?

First up, another one of those cook it yourself things - kebabs. After cooking, you dip the meat in either a chile pepper spice mix or, my favorite, salt and fennel seeds.

Some classic Korean things I ate:

naengmyeon - cold buckwheat noodle soup
kimchi soup

sun dae - innards and rice sausage, also good in soup form

ddeokbokki, seaweed soup, and fried things

My last supper: bulgogi and rice beer

the rim is egg and kimchi

makgeolli - rice beer

My very last Korean meal: kalguksu. The name actually refers to the type of noodle, but to me there will only ever be seafood noodle soup (haemul kalguksu).

crab, shrimp, mussels, clams, octopus, squid: this soup had it all!