Thought J.J. arrived in my blogging absence, didn't you?
Nope. She's waiting until she's good and ready. In the meantime, I've actually been quite productive with crafting, and just haven't had a chance to post much. Knitting and quilting have been keeping me occupied while waiting for my due date (which is February 18, in case you were curious).
The big news of today is...I'm finally done with the Snowball Quilt!! Does anyone even remember this thing? It's been through a lot. Packed and moved, sat all over by the cat...I had planned this as my first large quilting project, and began sewing precisely one year ago. Originally I had ambitiously wanted to make it a queen-sized quilt with a two-coloured border, but I got so sick of cutting out the pieces that I decided to truncate it into a lap quilt. Turns out that it makes a nice crib-sized quilt too, so it's going to be for J.J.'s room.
The octagon design is traditional quilt pattern called the snowball. I first decided I wanted to use this pattern after seeing an amazing Kaffe Fassett quilt of a similar design (although I selected quite different colours). To assemble each snowball, you need one 5" square and four 1.5" squares. You place a small square in each corner of the large square and sew along the diagonal of the small square. Marking this with a pen probably helps, but if you're lazy like me, you can just eyeball it. Then you iron out the small squares to get the nice octagon shape, and trim the excess off the corners. You end up with many, many little scrap triangles...whether they can be used is up to you...if you're willing to work with such tiny pieces go for it! I have mine stashed in an envelope in case the urge ever strikes me. So far it hasn't.
The actual quilting was done on the machine, in rows, stitch-in-the-ditch. You can see some hand-quilted circles in the octagons, which I was working on whenever watching an episode of Lost and needing something to do. I think the Fassett quilt had circles that were machine-stitched, but I chickened out of doing this since I don't have much practice doing curves. Hand-quilting looks beautiful, but is painstaking work. Especially stitching circles. Over several weeks I only managed to do about 20 circles, and there are about 80 in this quilt. I am considering this quilt done, although I may go back and add a circle or two here and there if I feel like it!
The backing was cut 1.5" larger than the quilt top so that I could cheat a little on the binding. Mine's a fake binding...it's just folded over and sewn down using a blind hem stitch. From the front, you can't really tell though, since the thread matches the border pretty well.
All the fabrics I used came from Joann's, which has a decent selection if you are persistent in your hunting. Next time though, I think I'm going to try some online fabric shops that sell more interesting fabrics that I learned about through these nifty quilting blogs:
Now I'm working on a Flock of Triangles quilt in red and white! I saw one in deep blue and white and it looked gorgeous...but I'm on a craft diet and not allowing myself to buy new stash until I've used up a good deal of what I've already got.