“A Whale of a Time”

Yesterday I posted about the next steps in making a fun baby quilt.

Now it was time to finish it up!!

I sewed the strip-sets together with straight lines and was happy with how it looked…..

It did make a lot of difference to have occasional straight lines among all of the curves.

Once the entire back was put together……

….it was time to trim it into a proper rectangle. I once again used my Laser Square to show the edges….

….and then cut carefully along that long red line…..

Now it was time to fuse down the appliques……

….and add the borders…….

I picked this variegated thread to use in the water areas…..

Yes, I know that this is a serger thread, but I have NEVER had any problems quilting with it and I LOVE the colors that it comes in!!

I used my “Dog grooming bars” to keep the quilt up off of the table and added another table just under my right elbow to keep the quilt from pulling that direction….

Most of the quilting was done with soft curves…..

….although I had to be careful to quilt along EVERY ONE of the fused edges.

When I first started quilting, I thought that it looked horrible but as I added more and more lines, it became more likable!!

When I got to the sky area, I decided to do something different…..

But, it looked horrible, so I spent an hour and unpicked all of it and started over with more curves…..smaller curves this time!!

As I quilted I was concerned because the quilt felt stiff. I wasn’t sure if that was from the spray basting, the fused fabric, or some other anomaly that I didn’t know. I was scared that it wasn’t going to be a “cuddly” baby quilt.

Here is the final photo before washing…..

….and everything does look nice and crisp.

But I am much happier with the photo AFTER washing…..

Now you can see the softness and feel it too!!

Many thanks to my daughter for asking me to make this quilt. It was a fun diversion!!

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Ocean background….

Last weekend I posted about learning to make the curved strips.

They were put together in a series of sets of 4 or 5 strips…..

When it was time to fuse these strips together, I knew that it was important to keep the strip sets straight. If they are angled in any way then sewing the straight lines together with cause the piece to be angled.

But how was I going to keep them straight!!!

Happily, I had an idea to use freezer paper on my ironing board to keep them straight…..

I first ironed a piece of freezer paper on the ironing board…..

…..and then drew parallel lines on the paper…..

Now I had a guide to use to keep the strips straight!!

I moved each strip set to the ironing board…..

…..and split it up into strips…..

I started with the one un-cut strip and placed it on the line…..

I then kept adding strips……

….making sure that the outside lines stayed straight.

Once I was happy with the lines, I removed the Wonder-Under strips…..

…..and ironed it all in place.

When I was finished, EACH strip set was perfectly straight…..

…..and ready to be sewed together!!

Come back tomorrow to see the finished quilt!!!

It is a cute one!!!

In this blog, I post DAILY stories about creativity, techniques, tools of the trade, and lots more about the wonderful art of quilting. If you are enjoying these posts, please subscribe to be notified of each new blog as it becomes available.

Strip cutting

Yesterday we looked at the fabric pull for the ocean/whale baby quilt.

In the original (pieced) pattern, she has one fabric that appears several times in the waves and also in the Sashing. Maybe I should pick that one first.

My eye immediately went to this fabric…..

It has all of the colors that I am wanting to use so THIS will be my main fabric!!

Since I have changed this pattern so drastically, I needed to do some calculations and thinking before I actually started cutting the fabric.

I decided to start cutting strips, mostly at 4 inches in width. As I cut, I reduced that size some for a few of the strips.

The most important thing with this quilt is the fabric placement, so I really want to have all of my strips cut before I start fusing them together.

Also, after looking at the pattern further, I am thinking that it might be good to have some straight lines every so often, so maybe I will do the fabrics in sets of four or five and then sew those strip sets together.

Regardless, I still need to get my fabric placement. 

After a few minutes of cutting, this is where I landed…..

NOT that this is what the final layout looked like, but at least I knew that I liked the colors!!

NOW it was time to start cutting the curves.

I drew the first curve on Wonder-Under and ironed it to the middle of one of the 4-inch strips…..

Once I had cut it on the line, I realized that I now had TWO strips……

OKAY….that was fun!!

Now came the frustrating part of this venture. I kept saying that I was…..

The problem was trying to get the waves to be opposite to one another, remembering that the wonder-under had to be reversed and that everything had to fit in the strip!!

It simply WASN’T working so I walked out of the studio and had a little think about it!!

The next day, I decided that for each strip set, I would use ONE base fabric and attach strips to either side of it.

This seemed to work better.

The first step of this NEW process was to draw an alternating wave on the backside of the Wonder Under…..

I would then carefully lay the next strip of fabric over the Wonder-Under….

Carry it carefully to the ironing board, being sure to keep the fusible strip on the correct edge of the fabric strip……

….and then iron the Wonder-Under in place, making sure that the cutting line is as close as possible to the fabric edge…..

I was sure to iron on a Teflon mat so that I didn’t destroy my ironing board cover!!

After cutting it out, the strip fit PERFECTLY…..

PHEW!!!! I was losing my mind over this one!!

Come back on Saturday and we will resume the making of this CUTE quilt!!

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Ocean Fabric Pull

A few weeks back I wrote about a request from my daughter to make a baby quilt for one of her friends.

In the post, I wrote about buying a pattern that had 400 pieces in it and figuring out a way to simplify the quilt…..REALLY simplify it!!

At the time, I had done a small fabric pull…..

I left that post by saying that I was going to buy some solids to add to this.

Then I added a LOT of other fabrics so the final pull looked like this…..

Okay…..this needs some organization!!

I pulled out my “Value Finder” and got busy…..

If you don’t know, a Value Finder is a filter that takes the color out of the picture and replaces it with red (or green, depending on which filter you use).

Mine is an older version that isn’t available anymore, but you might be interested in this one….

These can be purchased on Amazon….

You can also look at a black-and-white photo of the fabric and get a similar result…..

I started out by pulling all of the dark fabrics and, using the value finder, ordering them by value…..

That complete, I was ready to move on to the medium-valued fabrics. I actually found it easier to pull out the light-colored fabrics, leaving the medium shades.

Man, I love some of these fabrics!!!

Finally, I arranged the light color fabrics…..

In each case, I initially arranged them the way that I thought they should go, and would then look thru the Value Finder to see if I was right.

It was interesting to see which fabrics I placed incorrectly!!

Now that they were sorted, I was able to look at all the fabrics I had picked….

And, here they are with the Value-Finder attached…..

I was pleased with the range in values and colors, but I needed to trim some more before I started.

I decided to pull any fabric that I couldn’t get a 30-inch strip out of. There is no reason to put a seam in if I don’t have to.

I did keep two fabrics that weren’t 30 inches wide. Both were just too great to leave out!

I also needed to pick my Sky Fabrics. I am thinking of five fabrics for the sky, and am looking at the lighter end of my fabrics and obviously focusing on blue ones…..

I know that there are six fabrics here but that blue & yellow just HAS to be part of the mix.

I think that these will do for now.

If you subscribe to my mailing list, you can receive this free pattern for “Dancing Squares”…..

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I can at last show the finished quilt……

I absolutely LOVE how she turned out, even though the creative journey has been a long one.

Just for grins, I went back a looked at all of the posts leading up to this past week…..

August 8, 2021 – It started out as an idea

November 20, 2021 – Making a Start

November 24, 2021 – OOPS….that is a mistake

November 25, 2021 – Collage Neck& Head

November 27, 2021 – Trimming her down

December 1, 2021 – Background Iteration #1

December 2, 2021 – Backgorund Iteration #2

December 3, 2021 – Background Iteration #3

December 4, 2021 – Background Iteration #4

December 5, 2021 – Background Iteration #4.5

December 16, 2021 – More Background

I am SO glad that I took my time and waited on the background until I knew EXACTLY what I wanted to do.

It can be hard to wait but sometimes you just have to give yourself that time.

So now the question is……