A person cannot quilt 24/7/365. At the very least, I need to stop to eat and – briefly – sleep. And, I’ll admit it, I sometimes get a thrill out of cheating on my quilts with other crafts. I call them WINQ projects, or things to do When I‘m Not Quilting.
Prior to retiring, my husband worked in the biotech industry, mainly manufacturing medical devices. Not surprisingly, expertise like his has been fairly in demand during the COVID quarantine, so he’s picked up a few consulting gigs on the side. After a little encouragement, he decided to splurge a bit with the money he made and help out a small craft business at the same time, buying a custom-built Star Wars lightsaber from Ultrasabers.com.
Ultrasabers makes a really high quality lightsaber replica – this model lights up, makes all the right sound effects, comes with a specialized battery charger, etc – but I was still a bit worried about it getting damaged if we didn’t come up with a way to carefully show it off. So we worked together to build a display rack that will sit in the middle of our dining room table and store the piece when not in use. (Yes, he plays with it; how could you not? 😉 )
The rack itself is made from a couple of pieces of poplar wood. I’d have preferred pine, but finding wood that can be delivered to your home in a pandemic is surprisingly difficult. Ok, maybe that’s not surprising, but you know what I mean…
The upright braces have “U” shaped holes cut out of them to hold the each end of the lightsaber. Using a hole drill and jigsaw made the cuts fairly easy to do; finding the right height for each piece so that the saber would be level while resting was the hardest part.
The words were added by graphite transfer and filled in with Sharpie markers and then the whole piece was stained. A little bit of wood glue holds the braces in place and there’s also a few felt pads on the bottom so it doesn’t scratch up the table surface. For a final touch, we added some adhesive felt to the insides of the “U”s so that the lightsaber isn’t resting directly on the stain.
We’re really pleased with how it turned out! It looks great in what is becoming more and more a place to show off our fun Sci-Fi related memorabilia and less and less a place to actually eat. Maybe our next project should be a Star Trek food replicator…
This Black Lives Matter art installation from Chicago came across my Twitter feed today. Of all the #BLM street murals I’ve seen, this is my favorite because it feels extra “quilt-y” to me –
Today I finished sewing together the blocks for my Somewhere quilt; here’s a pic of the layout before I made a few color/placement changes –
I didn’t photograph the finished rainbow quilt top because I was in a hurry to clean up my sewing room for tomorrow – July 1 – when the holiday countdown calendar madness starts anew! All the 1-25 number panels are embroidered and I’m ready to begin piecing the pockets.
I also found backing fabrics in my stash for nearly every one of the 56 calendars so I’ll need to start cutting backings and battings here soon as well... is 56 the right number? It might be the right number. I’ve can’t remember. I forget so much lately…
Plus, I continue to be surprised by how useful my stash has been during the Coronavirus lockdown. I only had to buy 2 additional yards of backing for the calendars, and that was to supplement a yard on hand. All the fabrics in Somewhere were from my fabric closet, too (though there isn’t enough backing for it, darn it.)
My hope is to be able to be post finished listings for the calendars in my Etsy store by the end of July, but I might end up needing another month. Which means the rainbow quilt, and the 4 other finished tops that need quilting!!!, probably won’t make it on the longarm until September. What I need is a countdown calendar to mark the days until then!
The Whimzie Quiltz blog doesn’t get a lot of traffic, but in the hope that every link helps amplify black voices, I want to share one of the most amazing quilters I have ever come across – completely cauchy.
You can scroll through her quilts here and here (NSFW) but I urge you to follow her blog, as well. Her work speaks to race, injustice, suppression and censorship in ways that I never knew quilting could. Her style and forthrightness have seeped into some of my own work, changing and improving it – and me.
Please share info about or link in the comments to POC quilters and fiber artists whose work you admire!
I ❤ returning customers, but it’s rare that a customer returns this fast… on June 3rd, I sold a quilted checkerboard game and on June 5th, this message from Desiree R. popped up over on WQEtsy –
I just received a checkerboard set from you that I ordered for my dad for Father’s Day and it is absolutely gorgeous.
My brother’s birthday is coming up and I thought he would also love one.
Together we came up with the perfect theme for her brother’s gift and his video gamer custom checkerboard quilt is shipping today – June 11th!
I can’t promise such a fast turn around every time, but keep custom quilted checkerboards from Whimzie Quiltz in mind… I’m always “game” to make new ones!
First off, I’d like to welcome everyone who followed me over here from Facebook. There literally aren’t enough words to tell you how much I appreciate your support!
I realize that the loss of my micro-sized quilting business from FB isn’t even a blip on the radar, but… fuck Zuckerberg anyway. No shade if you have a FB account! It fills a need for many, and I respect the desire to share your life with family and friends. I just wish the platform didn’t come with a side of misinformation and maliciousness.
In any case, I’m excited about moving forward with my blog instead! Given that, let’s get to what you are here for, the stories behind Whimzie quilts, including this newest one…
Brayson’s Going Places is my most recent finished quilt because… our extended family has grown yet again! In late March, little Brayson, our 3rd great-nibling, was welcomed into the world.
As with the quilt I made for his big sister, I wanted a design that was interactive so the whole family, who love playing games, could enjoy spending time together. It actually took a while to come up with a working idea, but once I hit on ‘playing cars’ everything came together.
This design was inspired by play map rugs you can buy and a pattern shared online by Fairfield, the batting manufacturer. Lots of mass-produced mats have little houses or buildings in the blocks outside the ‘roads’ but I decided to go with traffic signs to keep the overall look clean and uncluttered while adding color. I used shape appliqués from JLdizains on Etsy (they stitched out beautifully!) and added my own funky font to keep it cute for baby.
All the green fabrics came from my stash – I started this just as the pandemic hit the United States, so I didn’t have the opportunity to shop for anything new. You’d think that working from just what I had on hand would have been a constraint, but instead it kind of freed up my mind to explore how different shades would have to work together. Not that there wasn’t a LOT of cursing and gnashing of teeth as I discarded fabric after fabric that didn’t quite work 😀
The backing fabric is from Robert Kaufman’s Out N About line. Finding such a perfect choice was an incredibly lucky break – I may have purchased the last of this out-of-print material in the entire world. The Etsy store I found it at (MorningStarFabrics) had some listed, but the amount was inches short of what I needed. I’d never done this before, but on a whim, I emailed to let them know if they had any additional yardage, I’d like to purchase it as well. Unbelievably, there was just enough to finish this quilt!
Long time followers of Whimzie Quiltz know that including a tooth fairy pillow with a baby quilt is de rigueur; no exception here –
Because of the pandemic, I didn’t get this baby quilt done before Brayson made his debut. I imagine he’s a little too busy to be playing with cars yet any way 😉 so hopefully the delay won’t be held against me. In any case, the quilt is on its way now and, as he grows, I hope he and his whole family have fun “going places” in the future!
Every year I plan a number of new items for my Etsy store. Every year I complain – loudly and often (sorry, Hubs) – about how much work I have to do and how little time there is to do it.
This year, though, I may have finally broken myself… here are the FIFTY-EIGHT(!) quilted countdown calendars started for the 2020 holiday season at whimziequiltz.etsy.com!
The chances of me getting all these finished before November are pretty slim (I’ve still got some from last year that aren’t completely finished and that was a much smaller batch.)
But I’m so excited to see all the ideas I had in my head coming to life! The sports-themed ones and the princesses have been rattling around in there for quite some time. And I’ve been noodling on the three different dog treat designs since last year. Getting everything out of my brain – and onto fabric – is such a thrill.
There’s even a chance now that I have so many individual designs that I’ll open a second Etsy store just for countdown calendars. Or perhaps look for a craft faire opportunity once there’s a COVID-19 vaccine available. Yes, taking on so many projects during a pandemic lockdown has been stressful, but I’m cautiously optimistic, too.
Time to get back to work…
Over the weekend, my husband and I made Harry Potter wands (I’m the PottHead, he was just in it for the chance to make something light up.)
We both used willow branches purchased online – I am not an outdoors person, so finding our own was out of the question. But willow has always been my favorite tree to admire from afar and there was a nice selection of thin branches (for me) and thick branches (to hide the wiring on his.)
One of my favorite touches regarding wands in Rowling’s books is how each one ‘fits’ its owner and that’s what we did when creating ours.
My husband’s is shorter, beefier and quite rustic – the gold paint he added to the bands looks well-worn. It’s a mix of high tech – the lighting – contrasted with natural – the leather wrap. And the matte grey color is classically him.
Mine, on the other hand, is so representational of me. I chose a wonky branch, with some interesting bends and sanded all the bark off. For the handle, I cut the ends off of a large wooden spool and glued them a hand-width’s distance apart, then fashioned a long snake of Sculpey clay and wrapped it around the area between to resemble thread.
As a proud Ravenclaw, I chose a metallic blue for the color (or I had metallic blue spray paint leftover from another project 😀 ) and added a touch of bronze to the spool ends so they’d stand out.
Our next plan is to create a display, but that might have to wait until we get tired of playing with them. I’m sure at some point I’ll stop wandering around the house saying “Accio!” while waving my wand, but in the meantime… “Evanesco!”
2020 Whimzie UFO Challenge
Space’craft’-ing my way through a galaxy of quilts and quilted projects started but not yet finished
Like a meteor shower, the quilts keep coming… With POP! Gregory, a quilt for my nephew, I’m up to 5 gold stars on my 2020 Whimzie UFO Challenge board ~
Oh, who am I kidding. It’s May 1st and I sure wish I had more than 5 quilts finished at this point in the year. But it’s time to start working on holiday items for the Whimzie Quiltz Etsy store so this might be the last completed quilt for a while.
Here’s the deets about each of the finished quilts if you want to know more ~
For several years now, I’ve been making each of my 16 nieces and nephews a very special quilt – I call them N ‘N’ N quilts 😀 – starting with the oldest and working my way by birthdate down to the youngest. And I just finished the quilt for #14!
The last time our nephew Gregory visited us here in San Diego he walked in the door and the first words out of his mouth weren’t, as I expected, “Hi Aunt D!” Instead I hear ~
“You have a gold Funko?!?”
Admittedly, my Funko POP collection is visible from the front door, but it’s not like it’s in your face… still, I couldn’t help but giggle at his priorities. I guess collecting runs in the family 😀 (Just FYI, the gold POP I have is Jill Masterson from Goldfinger. Too young for Bond movies, he wasn’t as interested once he found that out.)
So when it came time to create Gregory’s N’n’N quilt, I decided to memorialize this moment in fabric ~ with a quilt designed to look like a Funko POP! featuring my mint-in-box nephew himself!
I’ve done a lot of appliqué quilts over the years, but this quilt has the largest ones I’ve ever created – the ‘doll’ part alone is nearly 3 feet tall! In fact, they were so big, and so layered, that I cut out the backing behind the appliqués for the first time ever so that the finished quilt wouldn’t be too thick to drape. (Because of this, I ended up with a bit of ‘ghosting,’ or seeing the background through the top fabric, in a couple of spots. But I’d rather see a bit of that than him not be able to curl up comfortably with the quilt.)
Like most kids, Gregory is obsessed with video games, so I chose a fun fabric from Camelot called Game On for the back. The colors of the video game controllers definitely influenced my choice for fabrics on the front of the quilt, but when I asked for a photo of him to use as a reference he was wearing that same neon green! So the color scheme will probably be a hit…
When it comes to the actual quilting, I may have over quilted this quilt just a bit. My thinking was, because of there was so much appliqué, that I needed a lot of stitching to hold everything in place. And everything is definitely held in place 😀
I chose a mix of quilting techniques ~ there’s pebble quilting, stippling and, in the outside border, an interesting blend of pebbles surrounded by stippling that I’ve never done before. Also, there’s some stitch-in-the-ditch and some quarter-inch piano keys in the white areas. I like the way it all came together in the end, though; the various textures have a nice flow. And the drape did finish nicely. Definitely curl-up-able (of course that’s a word.)
I lived through the Beanie Baby craze, even purchased a few (still have a Germany bear around here somewhere.) I know fads like Gregory’s ~ and my ~ current interest in Funko POP!s won’t last forever. But, sometimes timelessness isn’t what’s needed. Sometimes all a quilt needs to do is reflect a shared experience, a fun memory. It’s the little moments that I have with my nephew that are truly collectible, and, ultimately, that’s what this POP! Gregory quilt represents.
*Regarding that headline ~ Doing my part to help the Every Little Thing (ELT) podcast get the word nibling added to the dictionary (the more a word is used in daily life, the more likely dictionaries are to include it.) A non-binary word like nibling to collectively refer to all my siblings’ offspring would be so handy! Seriously, with 16 nieces and nephews (plus 3 great nieces and nephews), I’m definitely on board with the campaign to make nibling much more common.