Thursday, November 21, 2013

a simple doll blanket

If you look back at my early blogging days, you would see lots of doll quilts.  I used to make them all the time for my daughters, for gifts, for quick finishes in between larger projects, for trying out new techiques and designs . . . well, I guess I had lots of reasons for making them.  I don't make doll quilts very often these days but recently I had a reason to so I took out some of my favorite fabrics and put this together pretty quick.  

I wasn't even thinking about writing a tutorial so I didn't take any photos of my process but it was so simple, I just wanted to quickly tell you what I did.  Basically, you just need one fat quarter of flannel, one fat quarter of backing fabric, and some scrap fabric.  I used QAYG (quilt as you go) to make a log cabin block the size of the flannel.  I then put that right sides together with the backing - stitched around the perimeter leaving a small opening for turning and then topstitched the perimeter (I actually only top stitched the top which is where I left the opening but if I was to make another one I would probably top stitch around the whole perimeter because I think it would look nicer on the back.)

And then my little helper and I went into her sister's room to take some photos!

Wednesday, November 13, 2013


I had no real reason to make this quilt.  In fact, I had lots of other quilty and non-quilty things I should have been doing but when I was cleaning up my sewing space, I somehow put a few of these fabrics together and just started sewing.  Okay, maybe not "no real reason," I was organizing the room so that I could start a new quilt, I just didn't know it would be this one.

My first thought was to make a simple patchwork squares quilt but that just didn't quite seem right with these fabrics.  Right before I started cutting the first square, I thought - maybe I should finally try triangles.  When I tried piecing triangles last year, it didn't work out so well but I figured it was time to try again.  

I think only one triangle on the top row has a point but by the time I got to the bottom row, I was closer to figuring out the piecing triangles thing - well, kind of.  I still had several missing their points but at least more triangles had them than didn't!

I used a textured solid fabric for sashing between the triangle rows which I really like and will definitely be using again.  When I was looking at the photos, I was surprised to see that it looked like the sashing fabric was the same color as the fabric in some of the triangles.  But you can see in the photo below that they are actually at least a few shades away from each other.  

And quilted it with straight lines spaced at about 1/2".  It would probably be more accurate to call it organic straight line quilting as not all the lines are actually straight and not all are exactly 1/2" apart.

I wasn't sure what to do for the binding but ultimately decided to use sketch in mist.  And then I finished it by carrying the quilt around my house taking about a million photos!  I figured I'd only use 7 for this post though.  

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Quilt Photography Workshop - Color

For October/November, the challenge for the Quilt Photography Workshop was to learn about and work with white balance to get accurate colors in your photos.  In the challenge post, I suggested starting by learning how to work with the white balance presets on your camera and then eventually learning how to use the custom white balance setting.

Right after posting, I was so happy to receive an email from Erica offering to write a post about how to do just that!  You should definitely click over and read Erica's post - her explanations and instructions are so clear.  After reading her post, I was immediately able to start using custom white balance settings on my Canon.  Thanks Erica!

I started my challenge by setting the aperture, ISO, and shutter speed and then varying nothing but the white balance -  using both the presets and custom setting - as in the photo above.

That worked fine for the first fabrics but then when I was taking photos of this quilt top (concentrating on the reds and pinks), I couldn't figure out how to get the color right in the bike path print - it is dark pink but it kept looking red.  These photos were taken inside during the day and there was a large window behind the quilt top and a large window to the right of it.  I then moved and stood between the quilt top and the window so there was a window in front of the fabric (behind me) and one to the left of it and the fabric finally looked like the dark pink it actually is.  Well, at least it finally looked that way on my computer screen but as someone wrote in a comment on the challenge post, what looks like dark pink on my screen might still look red on yours!  

So, for me, I really just look at white balance as part of the big puzzle - that you have to get the right combination of aperture, ISO, shutter speed, and white balance.  Not to mention composition!  I know that sounds like a lot of work per photo and I can see why it would be tempting to switch to manual but I really think it gets easier over time.  Once you know how it all works, it is easy to change the settings to get the shot you want.  

The next link up won't be until January but I hope everyone plans on taking lots of photos over the next couple of months.  I'll write more about it in a different post but the next challenge will be all about the details.  So, I encourage you to get lots of close-ups of your upcoming projects - we'll want to see the quilting details, the binding, the intricate piecing!  And either as part of that challenge or for a future challenge, I want to work on composition again so maybe think about that when you are taking photos - especially if you are making lots of holiday gifts and you have holiday decorations around to include in the photos.  

Okay, your turn - let's see what you did for this month's white balance challenge.

If you are sewing blogger who wants to participate in the Quilt Photography Workshop, please add your link here to your post about the this month's challenge. Please do not link to posts on other topics. Please visit as many of the other links as you can since that is how we'll all be learning, right?!?! At the very least, visit the three bloggers who linked up before you. When the link tool asks for your name, instead write what you time you usually go to sleep at night.

I'll leave the link up open until next Sunday so make sure to come back so you can see everyone who joins in.

And please link to this post either with a text link or using the button in my sidebar to let people know about it. Thanks!