Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Genome Quilt: Finished!!!

It's finished, and I absolutely and completely and positivly love it! I actually finished the quilt the middle of last week, but wanted to wait until the weekend to get proper photos of it before posting this post.

This quilt has been a looong time coming, for those who haven't followed along for the entire process, here's a summary. I started thinking about it September 2009, and buying the first fabrics for it shortly after that, and then some more in october, but I didn't have all the fabrics until I went to Perth in April of 2010 and bought a stack more. Cutting started in May 2010 at the inaugral MMQG SASD, and after some more cutting, was piecing in May too. The fabric selection was then finalised with a last few additions to bring the quilt up to size and match out the dark/light fabrics. By the end of June I had made all my HSTs and worked out the layout. And then the requirements of working on my thesis seriously amped up and the quilt stayed pinned on my makeshift design wall for a VERY long time, with very little piecing having been done on it. But plodding away on it a block at a time I started to make some progress and then made real progress at the MMQG retreat in May. Then, as I had some extra time while waiting for thesis corrections the piecing started to roar along in June and July, meaning that I finished piecing the blocks, and then the top, in mid July. Quilting progressed well in July, partly due to having big chunks of time to work on it while I was watching the Tour de France, and a crafternoon or two, meaning that by last week (Mid-August) I was onto binding and finished the quilt very shortly thereafter! All of the posts about this quilt can be seen here.

The concept of the design was "stolen" from Beverly St Clair, who explains the concept of the quilts on her site. Briefly, giving the HST a dark half and a pale half means that the unit has 4 possible orientations. The four orientations then represent either A, G, C or T from the DNA code. The code that I chose is mouse integrin beta3, which is the gene around which my PhD focuses, and the first 1225 bases of the gene are included in the quilt. I love that it's a thoroughly geeky quilt but you wouldn't know unless I told you.

When choosing my quilting design I wanted something that would add to the quilt, encouraging people to look at the quilt top as a whole, rather than separating it back down into its individual units. It took me a while to settle on a design, but when Jo suggested concentric circles this time last year when I was visiting Cowslip Workshops with my Gran I instantly knew that this was the quilting design for me. You can see the design I chose particularly well on the back of the quilt (above).

So over all I'm incredibly happy with the quilt, but if I were to do it again there are a couple of things I'd do differently. Firstly in my fabric choices, I think I would not have included some of the paler aqua fabrics (visible in the above photo) and chosen some darker fabrics instead. They're a lot paler in value than the other fabrics so have given a sort of pale line across the quilt where they are in the gradient.
Secondly, it's not really visible in the photos, but in person you can see the seam allowances of some of the white fabrics through them, I think because the backing is dark and the wool batting isn't all that solid so doesn't provide a good shield from the colour. It's not a disaster, but in future I will remember it and either use a more solid batting, or "underline" the quilt top with some white fabric between the top and the batting.

(A huge thanks go out to Mindy and Claire for helping me with the photos)

Monday, August 15, 2011

So incredibly close...

There are two big projects in my life at the moment that are both almost complete - my PhD and my genome quilt. Today was a big milestone day for both of them - I gave a full draft of my thesis to my supervisor, and currently more exciting (because i'm fed up of being cold all the time), I finished the quilting on my genome quilt!!!!!

So this evening I cut and joined and pressed the binding, and after a quick trip in my lunchbreak to go and get thread tomorrow I intend to spend tomorrow evening sewing the binding onto the quilt. I'm SO excited that I'll soon be able to sleep under it!!

Friday, August 12, 2011

"Oh Beehave" - August Block

August is Andrea's month in the MMQG quilting bee "oh beehave". Andrea is making the "small plates" quilt from Elizabeth Hartman's book "the practical guide to patchwork". As the blocks are very simple she asked us to make her four blocks:

I hope you like the blocks Andrea, I enjoyed making them, the fabrics are gorgeous.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

A Pair of Skirts

I showed you a sneak peak of this skirt quite a while ago, but have been particularly hopeless at putting this post together to show you the whole thing.

A pair of skirts

A while back me and my friend Mindy were in spotlight and Mindy spotted some navy over-sized gingham on the clearance table. So we decided to make a pair of skirts with the fabric, loosely following Gertie's gathered skirt tutorial, but with the addition of pockets.

Look, pockets!!

We bought 3m of fabric, which turned out to be exactly the right amount - after we'd worked out how much fabric we needed for the skirt panels at our desired lengths we were left with this much fabric:

Not even a full gingham stripe left over!

Mine is lined with some lilac lining fabric that I had lying around. And I'm considering shortening it by half a stripe in length, but haven't yet because I'm lazy.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

A lovely crafternoon

Yesterday I spend a lovely few hours enjoying a "crafternoon" with some friends. A very nice way to spend a Saturday afternoon.

Nichola and Claire knitting up a storm

The others were all knitting - Claire and Nichola being very acomplished knitters and Mindy just learning.

Mindy learning to knit

I was, surprise surprise, working on the quilting of my genome quilt top.

I'm making good progress with the quilting, with maybe 1/4 of the top left to go - all the circles are marked now I just need to plod along with the stitching to get it finished.

Above shows the awesome little goldfish bag that I've been using to hold all my quilting supplies - it was a gift from my lovely friend Kelly and is perfect for the job.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Cathedral Windows Inspiration

At last week's Sit and Sew Evening for MMQG I got chatting to Bek about cathedral windows quilts, and out conversation has whetted my appetite for giving one of these quilts a go. I've been pondering it in the back of my mind for a while, it has come forward slightly recently.

In this vein, I've been looking at pictures of completed Cathedral Windows quilts to get some inspiration with regards to what fabrics I may like to use. Here is a collage of some of  my favourite ones that I found on flickr (photo credits listed below the image)

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

"Oh Beehave" - My Finished Quilt

So, I have finished my quilt for the MMQG quilting bee "Oh Beehave". As you may or may not remember, I asked the ladies in the bee to make me two wonky star blocks - one red on sand, and the other sand on red. I then put the blocks together into essentially two tops, and quilted it with perle 8 thread by hand - first 1/4 inch around all the stars (on the front and the back), and then adding some more stars into any big spaces that still needed some stitching.

I was initially thinking of binding it in a solid red a little bit darker than the red in the quilt, but didn't manage to find any fabric in any of my local quilt shops in the right colour. However, while I was at Amitie the lovely lady serving me suggested a stripe that they had - which conveniently happened to be in exactly the two right colours.

I have entered this quilt in the "Quilts from All Over" show that's being organised by Hawthorn Rotary Club, so added the binding to finish the quilt this weekend. Now I just need to add a temporary hanging sleeve before the show.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

"Oh Beehave" - July Block

 Just realised that I had this post written as a draft but hadn't published it yet...

July's block for the MMQG quilting bee was for Frogdancer. She asked for a quilt as you go block following this tutorial:

This block was fun as it was something different. It took quite a long time to quilt the 1/4 lines and my lines were a little more wonky than I would have liked them - sorry about that Frogdancer. In all honesty, most of the fabrics in this block are far from what I would choose, but they come together really well and I'm sure that the final quilt will be gorgeous.
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