On a Tear (Sharon’s Quilt)

I thought I would feel some kind of high and float around for a few days afer finishing the back of the Nosegay, but it is not to be. All I can think about is Sharon’s quilt, so I got the blocks out and put them up on the design wall. I had made a design while I was out and about yesterday, which I used to lay the blocks out.

P=plain block (printed fabric cut out) D=block with a drawing on it.

Sigh! There are just too many blocks to make it work. I, then, put them all up so I could see what I was dealing with.

There are three blocks that aren’t up on the wall and with those I have my entire design wall filled.

I am tempted to be artistic, but the practical side of me is telling me just to sew the piece together and be done with it.

A Monkey Finally Off My Back

When I got to my workroom this morning the back of the Nosegay was glaring at me and I could only sigh. I didn’t want to work on it. I had, somewhere in the back of my mind, wished that it would just be done. I thought about taking out Sharon’s quilt blocks and just ignoring the back of the Nosegay. It seemed too big, too much, too old, too depressing. I felt like I just couldn’t do it. Still, I knew that if I didn’t just do it, it would glare at me forever. Since the thing has been hanging around since 1998 and I wanted it done in my lifetime, I decided to just do a couple of rows. After all, if I did a couple of rows every week, it would eventually get done.

I arranged some 1930s scraps that were laying on my cutting table into a largish block and sewed them together. That kind of warmed me up and I sewed on a row of the blue and a row of the 1930s fabric and laid it out. I found that I had sewed more than half! Halfway done! I couldn’t believe it. How did that happen? That spurred me on.
I sewed entire FQ pieces into long rows and sewed them to the back. Each strip took about 2.75 yards of fabric. It took me about 3-4 hours, but I finished the entire back. The back is done. Whew!

I had been wondering if I shouldn’t just take Thoughts on Dots and Serendipity Puzzle to the quilter and bring the Nosegay later. Now I don’t have to. I will call the quilter and see if I can bring the quilts over, then I will be free of them for a time.

I am so thrilled!

I didn’t get through as much of the 1930s fabric as I had hoped, but I only have about 1/2 a bin left. I think I may put the fabrics with each color family rather than segregating them.

I have to say that the colors depress me a little bit with their muted tones and sweet little designs and I am tempted to just send them off to someone.

Sunday, Monday and Tuesday

I started work on the back of the Nosegay on Sunday. This is how far as I got – a strip approximately 5ft by 2ft. UGH! I cursed the size of this quilt the entire time. Something about this piece makes it seem so much harder. Still, I am determined to soldier and use up those 1930s fabrics. I am hoping that some miracle will make it go faster this weekend. Perhaps a change of attitude?

The fun thing I did on Monday was finish blocks 5 & 6 for the Pineapple. I have been slowly adding strips in between working on the backs of various quilts and other projects. A little work goes a long way.

I couldn’t resist setting them all together and taking a photo. I worried about the corners being too close in color, but I think they look OK. I have since moved the top middle block 90 degrees, but left it in the same spot and I am happy with it.

I finished another one of the Cross Blocks on Monday at Craft Night. I probably should not have put the two yellows together, but I did. After I make a few more blocks, I will look at the effect and see if want to take the second yellow piece off.

I decided to take Laume’s advice and do the scrappy look like she suggested in Cross Block Redux. This means that I have more flexibility in using and placing fabrics, which is a great relief. Whatever I do, these two blocks need to be far apart in the quilt. That stripe is very noticeable.

Something Just Wasn’t Right

I know I said that I finished the back of Thoughts on Dots last weekend (weekend before???), but something kept bothering the back of my mind. I keept looking at the back and finally decided that the beige pieces on the inside needed to be on the outside, so I would not have to cut through the piecing that I did on the label when I trimmed the quilt after quilting.

Initially I thought I would unpick the beige piece next to the label (above) and sew it on the outside, but St. JCN suggested that I just cut it and then sew it back on as it would take less time. She, of course, was correct. It was easier, but I had to fill in the edge of one side as it was uneven. That took a bit of time, but eventually I got it done. After a brief worry about the back being way too big for the top and which meant facing cutting the piecing after quilting anyway, I finished the back both IRL and in my mind. This means that that mentally I can move on to the back for the Nosegay.

Bottom right (but photo is oriented sideways)

Bottom left (but, again, photo is oriented sideways)

Top left

Top right

The quilt is too big for the room, so I couldn’t lay the whole thing out, but, hopefully, you get the idea.

Cross Block Redux

By the time this quilt is finished, I will probably have named 137 posts Cross Block Redux n.1…..n.137. We’ll see how interesting this quilt stays.

In response to the post Quiltmaking is a Journey Not a Destination, fellow quiltmaker and blogger, Laume wrote:

“There is a third option – make each block scrappy, but not planned so that the colors in each secondary “stretched out square” is matched. You would get rid of the matched “X’s” in the second option you think look unfinished. Whether the background circles would still come to the fore like the second option, or whether they secondary pattern of dark stretched out squares would come to the fore like the first option, I don’t know. You’d have to try it on paper and see.”

I had no idea what Laume was talking about. I knew it couldn’t be terribly complicated, but I am visual person and the words just didn’t translate. I sent Laume a line drawing of the quilt and she was kind enough to color it in.

Basically, she was saying to make the Xes totally scrappy and just match the curved background pieces. I was leaning in the direction as I had just realized that I used a piece of fabric for the back of Serendipity Puzzle that I really wanted to use in this quilt.

Laume’s idea is an excellent one, because the parts of the Xes really do take up quite a bit of fabric, which means I can’t use as many scraps as I would like. However, I will still have to cut into yardage, regardless, so perhaps it doesn’t matter?

Stay tuned!

Nearly Done! HOORAY!!!!

In between many other tasks related to house, children and work, I am thrilled to say that I have finished the back of Thoughts on Dots. I really buckled down and took every spare moment to work on it. HOORAY!!!!!!

The back is even larger than the top, which made it harder to photograph, but here is an image anyway.

The squares are the reject dot squares which I did not use in the top. The lavendar and beige square in your upper right hand corner is the label. I decided to use the beige for three reasons:
1) I did not want to piece together 100 FQs of dots;
2) I had large-ish pieces of beige (bought them at a time when I thought I might use them as backgrounds); and
3) I decided I did not want to take away from the front. I wanted it to be clear that the front was the main showcase.

I did piece the back, because I have a enough fabric to do so and because I wanted it to be unique. I do see the attraction of buying 107″ wide fabric and just sewing one seam to make the back, however.

Above is a detail of the top of the back.

Above are a couple of details of the other side of the top including the label. Take the term “detail” with a grain of salt!

I made the label by creating a Word document and then print the ‘document’ on fabric.

Above shows the only problem. I think that I may have to take off the beige piece on which I have drawn a line, because it is too wide. I think it would work better if I put it on the outside. That way, I can trim the back after it gets quilted. I don’t want to hack of part of the block that has the label in it or any of the squares. I know it is just the back, but I still want it to look good. I don’t remember right at the moment whether I pieced that beige as all one piece or if I will have to unsew multiple pieces.

And finally, below, here is a better (not great, but better) image of Thoughts on Dots:
Part of the day’s chores involved moving furniture form one room to another. While my workroom does not look fantastic and I lost some shelf space, I do have floor space, once again. YAY! I was able spread the quilt top out on the floor. It nearly fits. Unfortunately, I didn’t actually fit in the room so the image is still a bit wonky. Hopefully, however, faithful readers, you get a beter idea of how cheerful it is.

QA Contest a Bust for Lack of Planning

Today was my day to get the contest quilt done. I was struck with a brillant idea during my vacation before the New Year, but had technical difficulties and then got busy. I finally worked out almost all of my technical glitches with thanks to Deirdre, DebR and Margi and began printing the various parts today. On a whim, I decided to look at the deadline again. I found that the March 12, which had been lodged firmly in my mind, was completely wrong. The deadline was actually March 1. Bleah! At least I didn’t make the whole thing only to only to have it returned to me.

I still like the idea and will put the project on my WIP list. Here is what I did accomplish:

I created a bunch of images and words on my computer then printed them on Inkjet Printing fabric sheets. I needed an eye, so I tried to trace one of Pamela Allen‘s eyes from my Self Portrait project, but it didn’t work. You can see my attempts in the upper right hand corner. The fabric from the printer sheet was too thick and I couldn’t really see through well enough for the eye to look good. A stroke of genius hit me and I copied the eyes, which were already sewed down to my Portrait Project, so I hotocopied them on to a piece of paper and cut them out. Then I ran one of the fabric sheets through the printer again.

This is the background.

On the positive side, I won’t feel the tyranny of having to finish a project this weekend. I will also be able to work on the backs of Thoughts on Dots and the Nosegay.

The Benefits of a Pattern Book

When I first saw this book, I pooh-poohed it as being just another pattern book. I was, however, struck by the pattern for the heating pad cover. I used a heating pad for months. Throughout those long and painful nights, I would wake up to cold plastic against my skin where the cover had slipped off. Or I would wake up to plastic seams lodged in a fleshy part of my hip or leg. I started to have dreams about making the heating pad cover and different techniques I would use to keep the beautiful cover on the heating pad. Velcro and, eventually, glue dominated some of those dreams.

I couldn’t get that heating pad cover out of my mind so I, finally, checked Denyse Schmidt Quilts out of the library so I could take another look.

At the end of the day it really is just a pattern book, but I decided to buy it because of the way she writes. She does not assume that her readers are morons, like most quilt books. She has a sense of humor (Ready-Set-Sew). The clean, clear lines of the quilts and projects are very restful. Complicated patterns aren’t necessary; simple patterns look great and pack the punch. I also appreciated the clear directions for 3-D items that I have never made before, such as tote bags. I actually feel like I could make a tote bag after reading DS’s directions.

People like Denyse Schmidt should be encouraged, though I would like to see a bunch of her quilts in one book sans patterns. In the meantime I will be satisfied with this book.

Cross Block Lives

On February 23 and 24th, I posted about the Cross Block. The original quilt looks like:

Yesterday and this morning I worked on making the blocks a reality. This is a hand piecing project that I can work on as I get the time or when I am on the road with DH driving, but already I am liking what I see.

Neither is a full block yet, but the one on the right will be soon. I have only to finish sewing on one of the curved pieces before I can sew that unit to what I have. It was fun to have a little project to work on, but I think I will review Jinny Beyer’s handpiecing book, Quiltmaking by Hand: Simple Stitches, Exquisite Quilts to see if there are any tips I can use.

I made the seam allowances on the edge larger so I can trim the blocks to a uniform size more easily.

I am still waiting for Laume to give me more information on her idea for coloring this piece. I can always switch midstream, if I want: My Quilt, My Rules! Laume wrote in a comment:
“There is a third option – make each block scrappy, but not planned so that the colors in each secondary “stretched out square” is matched. You would get rid of the matched “X’s” in the second option you think look unfinished. Whether the background circles would still come to the fore like the second option, or whether they secondary pattern of dark stretched out squares would come to the fore like the first option, I don’t know. You’d have to try it on paper and see.”
I wasn’t sure what she meant so I hope she’ll e-mail back soon.

Everything Old is New Again

Some time ago, I saw an episode of Simply Quilts on Mosaic Quilting. The artist was a southern woman named Shannon Williams and her idea was really interesting. The blurb for the episode is:

“What can you do with all your scrap pieces of fabrics? Mosaic quilt designer Shannon Williams joins host Alex Anderson in studio to give us the answer. She uses scrap pieces to demonstrate a mosaic quilt project called Blooming Sunflower. Alex reads a letter from viewer Kelly Biddle about her mom, Peggy Biddle, and the 50th anniversary quilt she created for her parents. Then, Alex talks to Peggy on the phone in studio about her work. QLT-705”

At the time (2003), after a class with Gwen Marston, I was working on Women’s Work and had a lot of red scraps around, so I started working on a piece using Ms. Williams’ technique.

It is not a project in and of itself. The idea is that it is ongoing and someday will provide enough new fabric so I can cut other shapes out of it. So far, this is what I have:

The long piece is the one I started with and the shape, after awhile, became quite unwieldy, e.g. not square or rectangular and quite useless. I was unwilling to slap some big strips on to make it a more normal shape, because I wanted it to retain that mosaic quality, so I started the second piece (shorter one) in order to sew it to the first piece and make more normal shape. I have considered hacking off a part and sewing it back on to another side/part of the original, but haven’t gotten there yet.

I haven’t worked on it for a long time as the piece has been covered by strips that I still feel compelled to collect for the Spiderweb. I saw the mosaic pieces peeking out from under said strips the other day and was reminded that I have some reds I could add to make the piece larger. Since I haven’t done any sewing this week, I thought it would be something to share with you all.

This is actually the first photo that I took today, but I thought it didn’t show enough of the detail nor did it show the entire piece. Perhaps I should ditch it, but I do like the way you can see how the two pieces will look together. You can also get an idea of how I simplified the piecing for the second piece.

And here is a detail shot that shows the intricate piecing. At the beginning of this piece, I would fit any size scrap in, which made the piece beautifully complex, but also a nightmare of piecing. I need to add some of the intricate piecing to the second piece, but I haven’t gotten there yet.

The other thing about this technique and my particular piece, is color. Since I had the red and use a lot of red, generally, I thought I would make a red piece, because I was sure to use the ‘new fabric’ later. However, there are often other colors in fabric. You can see the white and some blue flowers and the brown in the coffee cup scrap. I think the other colors add interest, but I know that my eyes gravitate to the white. I don’t have a panacea for this, but it is something that I am playing with.