Finishing the quilt from “you know where”!!

If you have been reading this blog for the last little bit, you have heard the saga of the Christmas pineapple quilt. To make a long story short…..

  • I kept changing my mind about how to make it
  • It doesn’t have a “hook” and I think that it is pretty boring
  • I used my new Wool Pressing mat and ended up being allergic to it. Consequently, I was also allergic to the quilt top!!

Continuing on, I sent it to a friend to quilt and she had problems with it too. First of all, she had tension issues and had to take out a lot of quilting. THEN, she wasn’t happy with the backtracking on the pantograph and wanted to re-do the ENTIRE thing. I said ABSOLUTELY not!! It was at this point that Michael gave it the name of the Quilt from “you know where”!!

So, the goal for today was to get it trimmed and get the binding put on, and I DID IT!!

I started out by making yards and yards of binding, using lots of strips of Christmas fabrics……

Once the binding was made and ready to attach…..

….it was time to square up the top. I had planned to use the laser square but realized that there wasn’t any border on the edge so basically I just “squared” it up based on the edge of the piecing. It may not be exactly square, but it will be finished!!!

As I was sewing all of these bits and pieces together to make the binding, I kept thinking of all of the joins that I would have to miss at the corners. And, sure enough, it was the very first corner that I came to…..

ARGH!!!! I cut some of the strip off and reattached the rest of the binding and off I went again!!

In case you haven’t figured this out, I was really ready to get the quilt finished and was putting the pedal down when I was sewing the long stretches, and then…..

Of course I ran out of bobbin thread…..about half of a side back!!! Will I NEVER finish this quilt!!!

As I finished sewing the first pass on the binding, I realized that I don’t know what color of thread to use when I sew the binding on the top. I normally try to use something that matches so that the stitching doesn’t show but, since I had used lots of different fabrics, that wasn’t possible. Finally, I noticed that the quilting had been done with a creamy gold thread so I used that for the binding. It worked well and, before I knew it, I had finished the quilt.

It immediately went into the washing machine to get rid of all of the things that I was allergic to and then off to be displayed on the bed…..

It will be a great addition to our Christmas decorations and, most importantly, I can put it in the FINISHED column!!!

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Lessons learned

As I was posting the last blog about this quilt-in-progress, I realized that the background for the “squiggle” HAD to be black. Now maybe I will change my mind when I get over to the cooler colors but it sure looks good here…..

Then I got to playing on Electric Quilt (which I am NOT very good at) and came up with the idea of using gradations of black to white in the design as well. I am thinking something like this…..

….where the squiggle is on the black and the other designs (whatever they end up being) are on the gradations. As I lay awake thinking about it, I started to come up with other ways that the gradation could be achieved. Maybe with smaller strips of color, showing many more strata in the gradation or maybe with improvisational piecing where the colors slowly meld and move to the center or out to the edge. Who knows!!!

As I am working on my color extravaganza, I am definitely learning a lot about myself and my stash!! First of all, I LOVE MAGENTA colors and have WAY too many fabrics in that range.

Secondly, I have a different view of the names of some of these colors…..

For example, the “Purple” in the color wheel is what I would consider to be a pink and, in fact, most of those fabrics were in one of my “Pink” boxes, and the “Red-Violet” colors are what I would call Purple. I have also found “Violet” fabrics in the Blue boxes and Blue fabrics in the Purple boxes and “Pink fabrics in the Red box. I guess that it proves how much difference the surrounding fabric makes to how we “read” each color!!

Piecing for the weekend provided another 1/4 of the Color wheel finished and almost another season of “The Great British Baking Show” watched!! I did realize that I hadn’t proportioned the colors properly on this second side so I have ended up with a few more inches of “Red-Violet that I had originally planned. Hopefully it will not be too noticeable in the long run.

As I have moved from color to color, I have been pulling fabrics out of scrap drawers and fabric bins and I hadn’t really realized just how much of a mess I had created. But then this happened…..

…and I needed to get the painters tape to fix it, but where was the tape……

Fortunately it was found underneath a stack of fabrics but this has encouraged me to do a bit of cleaning up before I tackle the Blues and Greens of the color wheel.

Also, I had been using a “spacer” after every strip was sewn onto the foundation…..

This was fine and was certainly fast, but the more I sewed, the more it started to bug me. So, in good old “Bonnie Hunter” fashion, I pulled out my 1-1/2 inch squares and started sewing a light and dark square together with each pass……

YES, it takes more time and NO, I don’t have any idea what I will do with them, but it sure makes me feel good to see this little pile growing…..

I am thinking that, at some point, I will start sewing them into four-patches. Surely I will need a 4-inch four patch at sometime in my future!!!

Here is the finished product for the weekend……

The only problem is that as I finish out the on-point square, it sure makes the inside square look BIG. WHAT am I going to put there…..only time will tell!!!!! But in the meantime, I am going to keep coloring along!!

Crayon Box Quilting

One of my goals for this year is to put together some new talks that could be presented to guilds. When I was in the Quilt Judging class we spent quite a bit of time talking about colors and using a color wheel. This got me to thinking about using the color wheel as a jumping off point for a new presentation.

Several years ago we had purchased a book by Victoria Finlay called “Color….a Natural History of the Palette”…..

In it, she talks about the various colors, giving histories of how and where they were developed. It has been interesting to learn more in depth information, although some of it is a bit weird and sad!! For example, “Lead White”, was made by applying vinegar or another acid onto lead panels.   The corrosive action would leave a white deposit of lead carbonate.  This deposit was powdered and left to dry in the sun.  Unfortunately, Lead white was poisonous if swallowed and many early artists were affected.   It was even used in women’s makeup for many years and many died from lead poisoning.

But enough about White….this blog is about color!!

I started looking for a good color wheel to purchase and landed on “C&T PUBLISHING Notions Essential Color Wheel Companion”……

It is 12 inches in diameter which is a great size to work with!! On the outside, the colors are divided into 24 segments while the inner radii show the various tints and shades of those main colors.

Now…moving onto the quilt part of this blog…..

A few weeks ago I was reading a copy of McCalls Quilting Magazine and this quilt caught my eye……

I really liked the idea of making something that could use up a bunch of the scraps that I have been saving and also liked having some open spaces to add quilting texture to. As I thought further, I decided to make a color wheel quilt, forcing me to learn more about color by actually using it!!!

I made some changes to the pattern shown here, including making it much larger and also using bias binding to finish the edges of the strips.

I then delved into my “string” bin and began sorting the appropriate sized strings into color groups…..

…..that looks like a good start!!

Then I took the color wheel and began splitting the colors into sections, starting with the first 6 colors….Yellow thru Orange Red…..

The generous size of the color wheel became important when I started pulling fabrics from my fabric boxes. It was easy to slide the wheel down the folds of fabrics and look for ones that matched best…….

Before I started piecing each section, I lined strips of the color up on the design wall to see if it looked okay……

I quickly learned that I should NOT use the rotary cutter to trim up the edges on the pieced design…..it is TOO easy for it to slip on the many seams and actually cut into the piece…..yes, this came from a learning curve!!! Instead I used a super sharp pair of scissors to do the trimming, although I didn’t trim it all the way to the edge. I will do that just before I applique it onto the background.

After a day of sewing, I had completed a quarter of the colors and I love how it looks…..

….although I cant decide what color to use for the background…..

That is only ONE of the unknowns in this project,. Others include….

  • what am I going to put inside the on-point square…. more squiggly lines, circles, starbursts, applique flowers, etc.?
  • am I going to hand applique the bias tape on or do it by machine?
  • do I want to do a gradation background, or even alternate between blacks, greys and whites….or other colors?
  • what sort of quilting do I want to do?
  • what do I want to add to the outside triangles?

I truly enjoyed looking for the differences in colors and actually got to the point that I could distinguish Orange-Yellow from Yellow-Orange!!!

Anyway, it is off to a good start. It would actually be further along, but I started binge watching the “Great British Bake Off” and kept stopping to watch and enjoy!!!

I will leave you with this quote from Georgia O’Keefe…..

Scrap Breeding

Do you ever feel as if your scraps are breeding in the dark corners of your studio??   Well, that is exactly how I felt when I realized that my one scrap basket was completely full…pressed down and running over, and that there was another box on a shelf with even more scraps that needed to be dealt with…..

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So, I dedicated my 20 minute morning sessions to getting the boxes cleaned out and all of the scraps cut and ready for use.

I subscribe to the Bonnie Hunter Scrap User System.   She suggests cutting strips of 1.5, 2.0, 2.5 and 3.5 inches in width and squares in those same sizes.   I go a bit further and add squares in 4.0, 4.5, 5.0 and 6.0 inches as well.    I try to only cut strips if they are longer than 12 inches, but dont worry if the 1.5 inch strips are a bit shorter.   I also cut rectangles in 2 x 3.5 and 2.5 x 4.5.

It took quite a while to get thru everything and I was amazed to realize that I couldn’t remember what project some of the pieces came from.  And there were some that I would swear that I had NEVER even owned the fabric…..

See….  I told you that they breed….these unknowns were apparently hybrids!!!

It was a good feeling to see this fine stack at the end of the process…..

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And, it felt even better to fill up my 1.5 inch strip drawer again…..

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It had taken quite a hit over the last two years as I made my rainbow pineapple quilt and another friend used the same strips to make her pineapple quilt.

The same went for the 2.5 squares……they have been used for numerous quilts made by myself and others…..

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As I added to the 2.5 x 4.5 bin, I realized that I need to come up with a pattern to use some of these up……

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When I was finished I had two stacks of leftovers.   This first one will be handed over to the Guild Charity group to stuff Dog Beds that are made for one of the local shelters…..img_7863.jpg

The second pile are scraps that are too small to use but too big to throw away….

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Most non-quilters would find that statement a bit crazy but I KNOW that all of you quilters completely understand!!!

We are excitedly heading into wedding week and are truly looking forward to the events of the upcoming weekend.    My daughter has been amazing at organizing the event and I am expecting everythng to go well.

Then, it is only 2 weeks until tax season is over.,…..and, the pièce de résistance will be our Guild retreat for 4 days at the end of April!!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

FINISHED!!!!

 

Way back on September 13, 2009, I posted about the start of a project…..

I then posted again on March 31, 2010 about the next step in the process……

On April 11, 2010 I posted about making the back and getting it basted…..

Finally, on July 24, 2011, I wrote about the quilting designs that I had picked…..

 

Notice that the dates have ranged over a period of 2 years.  NOW, over TWO years later (4 years since I started), I have finished the quilt!!!

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I am pleased with how the Mandala patterns look quilted in the alternating blocks…..

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I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do in the outside border, but thought that I wanted to do more flowers.  I eventually decided to work with a vine of flowers and leaves…..

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The first ones that I did were pretty simple and straight forward, but as I worked around the border, I became more adventurous and my flowers became stranger and stranger, but lots of fun!!!

I started the border by using the walking foot to quilt an undulating line around the entire border.  When I got back to the beginning, I switched to a darning foot and re-stitched the vine, adding flowers here and there.   At first I put X’s where the flowers were going to be, but after doing one side, I decided to just go with the flow.

The back was made from leftover fabrics as well…..

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This quilt will now go into a closet next to my favorite chair and will become my “go-to” quilt when I want to snuggle under something!!!!

It is SO good to have finally finished this old friend!!!

Climbing out from under your quilting stuff….

 

Last week I received the following email from a friend……

“I tried to get into my sewing room today to straighten it up because I can barely find my Bernina for all the mess.   Who wants to sew when their creative space is in such disarray she can’t even find the full spool of white thread she knows she used two weeks ago!!!???

I am finally admitting, I need serious help.  I’m holding on to those tiny scraps that I think I might need for an applique hat on some project in the future. I’m clinging to 1″x3″ remnants of fabrics I loved and used at one time.

I’m looking at projects I know for sure I’ll never complete and trying to find a place for them on the shelves – valuable real estate that could be used for far more important (not to mention possibly completed) projects.

I need to purge in the worst way and I don’t know how to begin.  One scrap at a time isn’t going to get the job done.  I know I would be so much more productive if my  sewing room was clean and clear of this fabric baggage I tend to wrap around me and not let go like Aunt Frannie’s mangy fur coat.

If anyone has any suggestions/helpful hints of how to make that first bold move to just get rid of stuff, I’d appreciate it. It’s ridiculous when your fabric scrap (I mean scraps) collection so voluminous you can’t even get to your sewing machine to sew!!!”

 

Haven’t we all felt that way at some time!!!

 

I wrote back that I thought the hardest part was to actually throw stuff away, so my suggestion was that she give it to someone else.  I was able to make a few suggestions including giving her tiny scraps to a group of ladies who use them to stuff dog beds for the local animal shelter.

I also told her that several years ago I went thru several BIG boxes of scraps and cut them into usable sizes of strips, squares or rectangles.  I did this based on Bonnie Hunter’s Scrap User System .     I did add some other size squares to her list. 

I have these stored in two plastic drawer sets and have used these bits to make several quilts.  I also use the squares a lot when I am needing small pieces for an applique.  Instead of going thru my big pieces of fabrics, I first grab the
squares and see if I can find one that works.   They are easier to go thru and doesn’t cause NEARLY as much mess!!

 

Later in the day, I had about two hours to work in my studio and wasn’t sure what to work on….until my eyes landed on the basket of scraps that needed to be cut down…..

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My first step was to pull out all of the larger pieces, iron them and cut them into strips.

The next day, I finished up by cutting squares and rectangles.   The final result of my labors looked like this…..

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The basket at the back contains the little string bits that will be put into dog beds and the small stack on the back right went into my “string piecing” drawer.

I am so glad that my friend ask the question because it made me think about what I needed to do too!!!

Catching up

 

Well, things have been happening around here, but I simply haven’t had time to post about them!!!

The main reason is that we are getting ready to head out on a three week adventure to Turkey.  Once again my husband will be working while I get to play….such a HARD life!!!!

One of the tasks for today was making sure that all of our electronics were charged up and ready to go so our bedroom floor looked like this…..

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but at the end of the day we had charged up two telephones, two Kindle readers and a total of FIVE camera batteries.  Hopefully we are ready to pack tomorrow.

Packing day is always fun.  We each get out all of our clothes and lay them on the bed.  Then we go thru all of the stuff that has been stacking up on Michael’s futon and decide what gets packed and what goes into our carry on bags.  Then comes the trick of getting everything into the suitcases AND keeping them under 50 pounds each. 

This will be a harder task for this trip because we are traveling in an area that will be cool and rainy as well as one that will be hot and dry!!!  But, so far we have never had to carry an extra suitcase and I am hoping that this will be the same!!

On the sewing front, I have been working on a few things, mostly trying to get my studio cleaned up a bit.

I have been working on the scrap quilt that I started in the Pat Speth workshop and realized that I was going to have to lay it out completely before I could start piecing.  The problem was that I didn’t have a design wall that was big enough.

So, I packed up and headed for our local art center that has a wonderful fiber room and I camped out for the afternoon while I auditioned settings and then worked to sew them together.

My first layout kept all of the darker blocks along the outside edges…..

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but it didn’t seem to sparkle the way this one did…… DSC02931

This was my set-up for the afternoon as I pieced along.DSC02933I plugged my new mini speaker in my I-phone and enjoyed piecing and singing all afternoon.

Here is the finished center section…..

DSC02980  My initial thought had been to add a fancy pieced border but will have to think on it a bit first.  I did lay it out on my bed and realized that it is probably one row too long so I may be un-sewing some before I continue.

My other fun project was making a tote bag to carry on our trip.  I always try to take a simple bag that I can put my computer in when we are walking somewhere and I don’t want to take the full backpack. 

I had one already…..

DSC02963 but, since I had owned (and used) it since 1977, I decided that it was time for another….notice the frayed handles!!

This was one of those projects that I thought “dont need a pattern….this is easy”!!!  Always the first mistake!!!!

My plan was to make the outside of the bag from one fabric and then line it with a second one.  Imagine my surprise when, after turning, I found that the bag had one fabric on one side and the lining fabric on the other!!!!DSC02960

….so much for my great planning!!!!   At least the fabrics went together well so I now have a double sided bag!!!!

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Enough for now…..  the next posts should be coming from Kars, Turkey!!!

Little bits of time for sewing

 

My sewing time has been confined to an hour or so at a time and I have been having fun working on blocks for the quilt started with Pat Speth. 

It has been good to have something that I really don’t have to think about but can just grab some fabrics and sew, sew, sew!!!!

 

Here are my finished products….so far…….

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This is the design that I am thinking of so far…..

quilt …although I may change the borders before it is all over.

I need 80 blocks to complete this configuration and have finished 50 so far……

 

One of the fun things is to see the little slivers of color mount up as I square up the blocks…..

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I would normally throw these away, but think that I will keep them for awhile and see what develops!!!

Good tips from Pat Speth

Pat Speth was the speaker at our guild meeting last week and we spent about an hour enthralled with the 30+ quilts that she showed and the tips that she gave.

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Her newest book is about making pieced borders and she had a wonderful demonstration where she showed over 30 different border ideas for one quilt.  Here are a few of my favorites….

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The absolute best tip that she gave was to not worry if the inner borders were different sizes.  She suggested that it was more important to make the border pieces easy to work with…..no 7/8ths of an inch measurements!!!

I had always stayed away from different sized borders because I was afraid that it would make the quilt look weird. 

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But, does THIS quilt really look strange??  I found that I never noticed the quilts where the borders were different sizes until Pat pointed them out to us!!!

Here are a few other quilts that are made with 5 inch units….

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I left the meeting quietly planning borders in my head!!!!

A few stitches on a Saturday…

Yesterday I was able to find a few minutes to do some sewing, so I pulled out the “Tillie’s Treasures” quilt top that I started with Pat Speth this past week.

Here is where we are so far…..

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I am not too sure about the pink blocks…they may end up on the back instead of  the front.

 

Last night I was restless and wanted to do something else in the creative vein so grabbed my sketchbook and had a little fun….

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