Use It Up Challenge…..FINALLY….


When we last left this challenge, it looked like this…..


I quickly finished the 2-1/2 inch square border but there it sat while we traveled and I caught up with my accounting work.

This week I have had some time to work on the project again with the first step being piecing the piano key border.   The first problem was that I didn’t have enough keys cut to finish the border, so I had to do some fancy piecing…..


….and some of the seams got REALLY small…..


Even after all of my fancy piecing, I was still a few inches short but added a little bit of two new fabrics to allow enough for the border.   Having said that, there was not enough to make a full border so I ended up having to add corner squares….


At this point,the piano key border was 3.5 inches wide.

Now is where the rub comes in…..   I still had some tiny slivers of fabric left so decided that I would put them together to make a new fabric to be used somewhere in the quilt.

I took a base fabric, covered it will fusible web and started laying out strips of the left over fabrics…..


After ironing it down, I pulled out some fun threads…..


….and attached the fabrics….


My thinking is that I would make circles that could sit in the cornerstone squares and they turned out looking great…..


Then came the new design opportunity (ie…mistake).  As I was attaching the first piano key border, I decided that it would look better if it was smaller….a LOT smaller.  So, I grabbed the rotary cutter and whacked off almost half of the border.   It looked a lot better, but then I realized that I had now made the border so small that the perfectly formed circles would not fit anymore…..ARGH!!!!

Since there wasn’t much that I could do to fix it, I decided to go ahead and attach the final border and then figure out what the quilt needed.    At this point, I had these leftover strips from the wrongly-cut border….


I was really wanting to have circles somewhere in the outer borders to continue the theme from the center of the quilt.  As I looked at these pieces, I realized that some of them were big enough to cut a 1 inch circle out of…….


Then came the agonizing decision of exactly what I was going to do with these perfect circles.   I started out thinking that I would put the circles all along the outer border…..


I also considered a tiny, tiny strip of mini keys in the middle of the border (see the bottom one) but quickly canned that idea.

By now, I was tired of trying to come up with ideas so I called down to Michael and asked him to come up and have a look.   He really liked the circles in the borders but commented that it should be asymmetrical and not have circles all around the piece. 

BINGO….that was exactly what I was thinking in the back of my mind, but it hadn’t made it to the front of my mind yet!!!

Thus, with help from the Hubby, the top was finished…..


Use It Up – Part 3


After a few days, I returned to the studio to think about where I wanted to head next with the pieced center.

I laid out a 1 inch border of the brown “Grunge” fabric that we were given and was amazed at how well that ugly fabric looked!!!


To make the best use of the fabrics, I decided that the next border should probably be 2 inch squares, as that would fit the quilt dimensions and would also use all of those squares that I had originally cut for the Nine patch blocks.

I also decided that, after another 1 inch border, I will add a piano key type border that will be made of all of the small pieces of leftovers……


In the middle of all of these decisions, I started wondering if I wanted to try overdyeing the center section to darken all of the fabrics and then applique something funky over it.   I spoke with my friend Anita  (who is a wonderful hand-dyer) about my idea and she said that she would be worried that some of the light colored fabrics wouldn’t take the dye.  She also encouraged me that the composition of the piece was good, so I have now abandoned the over-dye idea.

Who knows what new idea will take its place!!!!!

Getting started……


Back in May I posted about a challenge that was presented to a group of friends.  You can check here for the original post about this project.

Well, after laying out the fabrics in all sorts of arrangements, and looking at tons of books for ideas, and changing my mind every day, I finally got fed up with waiting and tromped upstairs to make a start on the project.  I decided that I would just start cutting and sewing and see what would happen!!

I started out by spending time measuring various pieces and trying to determine the sizes that might work best.  I finally came up with the idea of basing the project on 6 inch blocks…..4 patch blocks that use 3 inch patches and 9 patch blocks that use 2 inch patches.

I began making a few half-square triangles and then added some other squares to make a block…..



This is the back of one such block, showing that I had to make a TINY, TINY seam in one of the fabrics to make the patch big enough…..


I then started making 9 patch blocks


After I had made 4 of these I realized that they didn’t have enough contrast so ended up taking them apart and re-piecing them with some light colored fabrics.

On of the fabrics that I was given had large dots on it so I decided to fussy-cut it to make the best use of the dots.  After making a photocopy of the fabric, I played with different layouts so that I wouldn’t cut the fabric wrong…..



Having “un-sewed” and re-pieced almost everything that I did originally, I was pleased to lay them out and see that they looked ok……


Now it was time to see if I could add the 4-patch blocks that I had made.  Unfortunately, I tried every imaginable layout, but they just didn’t look right.  So, I pulled out the thread picker and started taking them apart too.    I turned the triangles  into Flying Geese blocks and laid them out around the 9 patches……


VOILA… last, I can say that I am starting to like the piece!!!!