Quilt Crafting Series Part 1
Good Morning Whovians!
Don’t you just love November? I can practically smell the Thanksgiving feast on the wind, the mornings waking up to see the snow outside, and the glorious cool (sometimes downright cold) weather. And do you know what that weather does to me? It makes me want to craft! Ok, ok, I always want to craft but sometimes in the heat of the summer, with my lack of AC there is little crafting to be had. Sweating over a sewing machine, or knitting up a wool blanket when it’s 102 is too much. Of course there are some good times to be had with doing outdoor crafting, especially bigger messy crafting like yarn dying, but that’s not for a winter conversation. Anywho, I have once again entered into a crafting project and I wanted to share with you all. In fact I woke up this morning thinking “yes, I will listen to my audio book and start sewing!” when I realized I never told you guys about last weekends endeavors. Shame on me! With that in mind, I brewed a pot of tea (Shagadelic English breakfast from The Tea Spot), pulled out my super loud retro keyboard, and here we are!
I confess, I didn’t (and still don’t) have a plan. I got that itching to do some crafting but I couldn’t find anything that excited me. Doctor who related or otherwise. I have some beautiful alpaca wool, but no notion as to what to do with it. I have some TARDIS blue lace weight yarn, but not the energy to wander into lace. I could do another scarf but I have too many of those as is. So what to do? I sat down in my craft room and looked at all the quilting fabric squares I have and decided to do some sewing. I wanted to do something with snowflakes, but then I took one look at the patterns and ran away to hide in a corner. Way too many small triangles with complicated pinning, ironing and sewing. Instead I decided to do something more blocky and simple. I am scratching that itch to craft but not an itch to do something daring. What can I say, I wanted simple. Originally I was going to do a secret sewing project. Show you little snippet of what I was doing as we went until the big reveal at the end. Without a plan, that’s klnda hard to do, and I didn’t want to get all the way to the end in a few months and have to back-write about everything that happened. Also, on day 1, as you will see shortly….it’s a lot of blue, and it’s a lot of squares so I think most readers are going to immediately think TARDIS. Therefore I am pleased to announce that I am going to make a TARDIS quit. It will be of some size, it will require some yardage, and it will be awesome when it’s done. Really what I did was go into the craft closet and pull out all the blue (or blueish) squares of fabric I could find!
The idea that I am following is one of a mosaic type structure, lots of different colors, simple squares, and hopefully a beautiful result at the end. I will do my best to describe what I am doing so you could repeat, but as I mentioned this is sort of ad hoc, plus I am not the best sewer so there’s going to be a lot of steps where life would be easier if you did it more traditionally. If the idea of following a mad woman in a crafting room sounds like fun, then by all means follow my path! You can always ask questions or send emails if some of my ramblings don’t make sense. If you like the idea of a TARDIS quilt but want some semblance of actual instructions, yardage requirements, and I think probably even the exact fabric that you need, then check out what Colorado Fabrics has: https://www.facebook.com/coloradofabrics/photos/a.353738131401838.1073741825.307924765983175/1342357795873195/?type=3&theater
Isn’t that beautiful?! If you aren’t familiar with Colorado Fabrics they are an amazing local fabric store. They moved to a bigger store in Aurora last year and have expanded beautifully. What makes these guys really special is their love of cosplay and all things geeky! I believe they have started a monthly cosplay sewing night. They have classes on the uses of Worbla and really they are a wealth of knowledge, talent, and love for the same things we all love. Check them out, I find that they are worth the drive, and they are about as big as a non-box store can be which is just where they like it!
Okay, so I’ve dug out of the closet all the blue fabric I can find. It’s now time to start cutting! The idea in my head is that the main TARDIS, the background, everything, will be made from the same size square. Now I know that there will be situations where this won’t hold up. The window boarders, the overall edging of the quilt, but in general I wanted this to be mindless and easy. So of course the first question is what size? Don’t want to make the square too big that will just end up not being interesting…the smaller the better, except for then it becomes harder and more tedious to do. In the end I went with a 4×4 square. Now this is the size of the squares that I am going to cut, not the finished squares. As with working with wood the dimensions are never as easy as you want them to be. I can’t tell you how much I hate the fact that a 2×4 is not in fact 2″ x 4″. Drives me insane. Yes I know the reason for it, but that doesn’t mean I have to like it. Well this is the same situation. I am cutting 4×4 squares (which I think are a little on the big side) but they will be trimmed down during the sewing process. They might end up being more like 3.5 x 3.5 when I’m done with them and that feel like a better size to me.
If you want bigger, go for it. If you want smaller, go for it. If you do go bigger or smaller be sure to ask yourself what you want the outcome to be in the long run. You can still follow exactly what I do, and your blanket will grow or shrink accordingly (and before you ask, I have no idea right now the size of this quilt. We all like an adventure don’t we?!) You can also choose to add or remove square from each section, keeping a similar size but with a different level of fineness based on the exact size of the squares you have. Be bold, go with your gut, it’ll all work out.
So here I am making my square and what happens? yup, you guessed in, an inspector came by to ensure that my work was off quality. The furry stamp of her approval is evident on every square of fabric on the table.
After the I inspector left for the next hour, I was able to start doing some planning. I grabbed a set of the more lighter colored blue squares and started to layout the patterns for the paneling on the TARDIS doors. I went with a 3×3 square grid for the panels, trying my best to be random with the different squares but at the same time grouping them in a way that looks good. When this all done, there might not even be that much contrast with the other blue colors so I didn’t get too hung up on it. This is a sample of one of the grids I came up with:
I laid out 5 sets of these grid patterns and I was ready to call it a day.
The height of my crafting table and the height of my chair are not the most ergonomic for working long hours. But at the same time it does remind me that I need to get up and move (and likely deal with other chores) instead of just being locked away in a room crafting from dawn till dusk. But before I packed up everything I decided to do one more thing (mostly because I was deeply engrossed in my book and didn’t want to get to those other chores.) I realized that if I was going to have any success I was going to have to iron the squares. Now if you listen very carefully you can hear 2 things…. first you can hear the screams of long time quilters saying “what, you didn’t iron before you cut?!” and second you can listen to the laughter of long time quilters “hahaha you didn’t iron before hand!” We have established that I do my own thing and I am lazy lazy lazy. That doesn’t mean that when I get to a point and realize that my life will be much easier if I iron that I don’t decide to pull out the iron an get my squares all sharp and crisp.
So I did that, then went off to find something else to do with my day. I left the inspector to guard the project until my return!
In the next installment, we’ll start sewing these TARDIS panels and things will start to take shape. Or at least the little squares will become bigger squares and things move at a faster pace. Then of course it will slow down again as I haven’t cut the fabric for anything else and might not even have enough blue yet. Who knows!! You’ll just have to tune in next time to find out more! Until then happy quilting!!