Yes, Fabric of the Year 2010 is finished. I took it to the photographer today so that it can be professionally photographed before it goes to the San Jose Museum of Quilts and Textiles Show. This is not a great picture, because the quilt is too large for my quilt holder (DH) to hold it out straight. I will replace it when the professional photos come back.
As I mentioned in the Zig Zaggy post, I am working on finishing tasks for a number of quilts. One of the tasks I finished was the back of the FOTY 2010.
The Zig Zaggy quilt back was miserable to make because I used too many small pieces. I put it aside 4 or 6 months ago and I hadn’t finished it when I started the FOTY 2010 back.
I decided that I would try and use similar colors instead of using all variety of colors. Is this a new way of making backs? I don’t know, but found it a lot easier to use big pieces instead of a bunch of fat quarters. The process went faster and wasn’t so frustrating. It also didn’t take up an entire weekend to make one back. I think that using a similar color will be better for the quilting. I think it will help the quilting stitches blend in.
I built the back on the design wall, which I found to be a lot easier than trying to lay it out on the floor. I really like having a second design wall, as I think I said.
I had the Metro Coffee fabric I had saved to use. The Metro Coffee fabric was printed in such a way that made it too much of a pain to use for another bag. I found another large of piece of fabric in a similar color.
In addition, I used number of the fabrics from this year, but I also used a fabric or two from one of my fabric bins.
Somehow, I found using similar colors was a lot easier to make than using many different colors. I think it took out one decision from the process of making the back.
I don’t know what has gotten into me with this finishing jag. I think some factors were: not having enough time to sew for a week or so which made just want to sew as quickly as possible. Bringing a quilt to the quilter and knowing she could do a just a little more for me made me get on with the bindings so I would be farther ahead when I got the quilts back. I also think that talking with Colleen about three quilts ma and then made me see the possibilities if I did just a bit more work to get more quilts to her. I am behind on FOTY 2010 and finishing the FOTY 2010 top made me want to try and catch up on it.
I knew I would have a good chunk of time on the weekend to sew, so I got a bug in my ear to move through some of the finishing tasks. I also knew that I didn’t want to spend all of my weekend sewing finishing tasks, which doesn’t seem like creative sewing to me. Since I had a bit of time during the week, and small amounts of time are great for making bindings, I decided to make the bindings for the 3 quilts (Frosted Stars, Frosted Stars Leftovers and the Purple Quilt) which are currently being quilted. I also made the binding for FOTY 2010 and will make one for the Zig Zaggy quilt.
It is great that my longarm quilter will machine sew the bindings to the front of the quilt for me. I normally do it myself, but, this week, I decided that having her do it would move the process along a bit quicker.
On my list for this year is finishing one of my UFOs. I need to move through some of these other projects before I can get to that UFO. I have been trying to move projects past the piecing process before I start something new. I am trying to move some of these projects past that point.
When I started piecing Sunday (the only day I had to piece over the weekend) the above photo shows where I started. I felt a little quilt nervous breakdown-ish. The reds and pinks were really making me a bit crazy. I gave myself the day to finish the top, but part of me didn’t think I would get through it.
I started off by unsewing a whole bunch of patches that I had pieced just to get something done on Thursday or some normally non-sewing day. Unsewing got me into the groove of sewing. Above you can see that I have started to get the reds and pinks under control. There was some kind of shift in my brain and working slowly through each patch allowed me to get into the groove and make progress.
Above: four large chunks left to sew together.
The top above is finished. At least the main part is finished. I haven’t decided if I will add another grey border to accommodate the quilting process. I am concerned that the dots won’t match. As I turned away to come to the computer to write, I thought about piping as a way to accommodate the distortion of the quilting process and the dots not matching.
Not completely finished, but well on its way. If I can get the back done I can take it be quilted! YAY!
This is what I was working with last weekend. Remember when the blues were a problem? Well, at the point I took this photo, the yellows and greens were giving me fits and I could tell the pinks were next.
It is very difficult to figure out where the pieces are going to end up when the piece is done. At some point last week, I dug out my Ruby Beholder (which required quite a bit of searching and some tidying) and tried it to see if it works. My values are all the same – or similar, so it didn’t help much. I am glad I know where it is, though.
At this point, I realized that I had too many diamonds and might need to add another row. This was weird, because of all the math we did to get the layout correct. I think EQ should add a function where you tell it how many patches you have and it tells you options for different layouts.
After a really busy week last week and a day of quilting on the Tarts (Friday), I got back to FOTY 2010. I’d like to get this to the quilter and move on.
The reds and oranges are getting in order in the photo above, but the pinks and reds on the bottom are starting to really be a problem.
The above is me working on the pinks and whites. Lots of rearranging was happening as I was trying to figure out what patch went where. I think, after this project, I will have diamonds out of my system. Perhaps not, but I am thinking yes.
See that big space towards the top middle? I didn’t know, at the point I took this picture, whether that was a space from seam allowances shrinking or was a space because I had arranged fabrics wrong.
When I left the piece yesterday to go do laundry, make dinner and all that other stuff, the above photo shows the state of the piece. That space I described above shifted to the middle of the left side. Sigh. That one means I really don’t know if I am missing pieces. If I need to cut more, I am resolved to do so. The other space resolved itself, so I have hope.
Almost all the pieces are sewn to some other piece, which is good. I did add an additional row, so there could very well be some extra space I need to fill in.
I hung up FOTY 2009 in my hallway yesterday. It can be seen when people walk in the front door. I received a ton of compliments on it, which was very kind of people. I was planning to take it to work, but needed to solve a quick decorating dilema and decided to keep it at home for awhile. I have to think of something new to hang in my office as I am getting tired of seeing Seeing Red when I walk in.
In the meantime, I am still working on FOTY 2010 steadily, though I wasn’t able to do much more than unpick a few yellows this past week.
Pretty much, this is where I started this week. There were still lots of gaps in the blues, but I had started to piece the smaller pieces into larger. One can ‘chunk‘ this type of quilt in the piecing process, but not as easily, or for as long, as when piecing square or rectangular patches. At some point I had to piece long rows together.
Part of this has to do with the arrangement of this particular quilt. The colorwash type arrangement doesn’t lend itself well to piecing the patches into chunks of four patches, as I was able to do with the Eye Spy quilt.
Aren’t the blues behaving nicely? The placement is not ideal and I would do it differently if I had unlimited tints, hues, values and shades, but my FOTY rule is that I have to use what I have, and so far I am happy.
You can see, above, the whole blue section pieced.
I am heading towards the pink on the bottom. Now that the blues are behaving nicely, the pinks are becoming little brats. It reminds me of the Mandrakes in the book, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. That big gap has reappeared in the pink area. Grrrr!
I have been contemplating the yellow and pink sections and doing a bit of playing with their arrangement. I am not terribly fond of a big line of greens or yellows or pinks slashing through the quilt. I prefer more of a blob arrangement (like the pinks are in the above photo – more of an organic shape). I am not sure at this moment how I will have them blend into each other – the blue to pink – if I do the blob arrangement. I don’t have enough yellows, greens and oranges to wash very completely. I think the green to yellow to orange is much easier, but there is a space consideration up towards the top. I’ll have to play around and see what works.
As soon as I arrived home from the retreat, I put up the portable design wall and organized the diamonds. They were pinned on the design wall, so I didn’t have to do much for the part that was already sewn. All the unsewn diamonds were just in the bag of pieces.
My next task was to put all of the reds and pinks back on the design wall. Above, I have put all the diamonds I could fit back up on the design wall.
I was really trying to fix that bottom right hand corner, which meant working on the blues.
The blues are getting better. I am making progress.
But not all of the blues are cooperating.
I felt like I needed to take a lot of pictures, so when I have succeeded in a section I have a record. I am nervous that I will need to recreate it if the diamonds get rearranged. I live with creative people and sometimes they think they are helping by rearranging things.
More with the blues.
Minor changes, but the piece is looking better.
Trying to make the leap from blue to green to yellow is proving to be a challenge. I don’t think there is such a thing as a dark yellow and that one green (smack in the middle of the photo above) is really sticking out and doesn’t seem to fit anywhere.
My retreat project, as you know from all of my preparations, was the Fabric of the Year quilt for 2010. I had high hopes that I would get the whole thing pieced. I enjoy doing the colorwork at the retreat, because I can get a lot of different opinions and I like knowing what other people see. Also, I feel like I have more space to spread out.
Above is the way I started the FOTY on Friday afternoon.
Above is the dark corner. Again, I was trying for the a colorwash kind of look across the quilt from right to left.
As I laid out the piece, it was interesting to see, visually, the amount of darks and colors.
This was the first layout. You can see a bit of the red next to the purple. Eventually, I took all the red off of the design board and put blue next to the purple. I did a backwards ROY G BIV working from right to left, though if you look at it when it is finished, the ROY G BIV will read correctly (see below).
Above, you can see that I have changed out the red for the blue in the center and put the red on the left edge. Most of the diamonds I have to work with for this project are blue. The design wall was not large enough for me to put up all of the patches, so the reds and pinks only got a representative sampling to begin with. As I worked through Friday afternoon and evening, then Saturday, I came to the realization that this piece was going to take longer than I thought. Putting it together was a lot more of an intellectual exercise than I expected. Part of the reason, I think, was that I wanted to put it together in chunks, which made the spaces created by the sewn seam allowances end up in strange places.
Those seam allowance spaces became unexpectedly large as I sewed, which turned out to make keeping track of where pieces went really difficult.
One challenge was the different amounts of colors I had. Another challenge was that the fabrics mostly did not consist of only one color. I tried to block out all but the background or dominant color in my mind in order to place the patches, it wasn’t always possible.
Above, which is the upper left hand section, is the least formed part of the quilt, and still, in the photo above, in quite a bit in flux.
In some ways putting the piece together got easier as I sewed larger chunks together. In other ways, it got to be more of a problem, because the spaces, as I mentioned, between the chunks got larger.
The bottom left corner was really my big problem. I don’t know what happened, but something happened early on and I still haven’t completely resolved the problem in that corner. I am working through it, but as I don’t seem to have a photo of the whole piece after I moved the red, it is proving to be a challenge. I am having to lay out that corner again as I go along. Lots of unsewing is required.
Are you bored yet?
The top right and middle were ok and I was able to sew some large chunks together.
No matter what I did with that bottom right corner, there still seemed to be large missing chunks of patchwork. Sigh. At this point, in addition to taking big deep breaths, I realized I wasn’t going to get the piece finished. Not what I wanted to face, but I wanted to do a good job and that was the reality.
It was a bit liberating to admit that, because I felt like I could look at the piece and didn’t have to rush straight to sewing.
I was able to put a few pinks up as the seam allowances shrank the whole piece, leaving more space. I had faint hope that some miracle would occur and I would finish the piecing.
I was also able to add some of the reds that didn’t fit when I started.
The large seam allowances seemed to keep moving as well.
This was the well behaved part of the quilt right before I took the whole thing down so I could go home.
IYellows and oranges were ignored, for the most part.
Virginia took this picture while she was visiting. It is really helpful to see what other people see in my pieces.
Julie helped me roll up the piece in the flannel of the portable design wall so I could bring it home and set it up again. My plan is to chip away at the rest of the layout and piecing. Not finishing puts me behind in my mind’s quiltmaking schedule, but I am sure there is a reason that I didn’t finish. I certainly didn’t expect the intellectual piecing challenge of this project. I am sure it is good for me.
I spent some time yesterday working on the test piece. I wanted to get into the groove of sewing diamonds again. The Eye Spy feels like a long time ago. Now I think I have a better idea of the sewing, though matching the points and sides of the diamonds proved challenging. I found a book that had some tips and will take a look at that before I start the piecing.
The left hand corner section of the above photo is pieced. You can see the piece getting smaller as I piece it. There are two diamonds in the machine, which is why there is a big white space in the photo.
Aside from matching the points, I also had some trouble with the border diamonds and corners. As a result, I think I will start in the center and piece outwards. I’d like to piece the diamonds in chunks and it might work better to start piecing them in groups of four. I’ll try it and see.
I didn’t measure the finished diamonds, but you can see the significant change in size. It will be interesting to see the big piece develop.
To give you another view, I have overlaid the patch/unfinished diamond on top of the finished piece so you can see the difference.
Except for one diamond, all of the diamonds for Fabric of the Year 2010 are cut, bar one. I am now in the stage where I have to make sure that I have enough border patches. I also needed to figure out what the arrangement of the diamonds would be.
My first task was to count my diamonds. It was fun to go through the patches and see all of the fabrics I cut. I weeded out a few duplicates and came up with 330 diamonds.
Next, I needed to figure out the layout of the diamonds. I thought I could figure that puzzle out by doing some division, but, as it turns out, diamonds are whole different animal. The rows are not right next to each other. There are, as I see it two rows for each segment. The inside row (eg if you think of the bottom most row of the quilt, one row up is the inside row) is one diamond smaller than the bottom row and so it goes up the entire quilt. One row is, for example, 10 diamonds across. The next row up is 9 diamonds across. One row up from that is, again, 10 diamonds across and so it goes up the entire quilt. This means that you can’t just assume that to make a quilt of 330 diamonds could be designed by taking the square root of 330 (18×18=324), which you could do if the patches were square or rectangular.
When I realized this, I had to get my resident math genius involved. DH began working on the problem and realized the difficulty of the math.
DH ended up making a rectangle or square out of the diamonds (imagine a rectangle drawn around the two diamonds above) and worked out the problem that way. After a few hours, it occurred to me that EQ7 might have a solution. It has elaborate explanations on how they count diamonds.
As DH came up with different arrangements, I tried them out in EQ7. We still had to count the two rows of diamonds and then multiply to be sure that we would use the most number of diamonds cut. There was no way, in EQ7, to put in the number of diamonds and then have the program determine the arrangement. That would be a great feature.
Eventually, we figured out the arrangement: 20 diamonds across by 9 diamonds down. The above is from EQ7 and the coloration was just a quick way of making the layout stand out a bit. It seems like a bit of an odd shape, but I have to remind myself that the diamonds are taller than they are wide and, thus, it appears that the arrangement will work.
My next step is to cut one last diamond, because for this arrangement I need 332 diamonds. I am planning to use the Metro coffee fabric from Monaluna. I did buy that fabric last year, so it fits with the theme. I am not sure what I was planning to make with this fabric, but after spending another 1.25 days making a back for a quilt I just finished (just the top and the back; I haven’t done the quilting), I am sick of pieced backs. I am still going to make them, because I see no point in not using fabric I already have, but it is so much easier to use larger pieces of fabric. To give myself a break, I am planning to use a large piece of the Monaluna fabric on the back of FOTY 2010, thus I want to include a diamond from that print. Before I cut the diamond, I decided to make a Jane Market tote from that fabric.
I cut a bunch of border triangles and I need to count those to see if I need to cut more. I need 38 top and bottom triangles total. I need 16 side triangles total. I am good on the corner triangles, though I did find them a little hard to cut. The Fast2Cut corner ruler did make it easier.
I still haven’t finished the test piece. I started it, but haven’t been using my sewing time well lately, so I am behind.
Finally, I will arrange the patches at the retreat.
Above is the last group of diamonds for 2010. Hopefully, I have to count and make sure I have the right number to make some kind of even quilt.
My first order of business was to decide on the border fabric. I had an idea in my mind and, luckily for me, I think it worked. I pulled a selection of diamonds and laid them out on a large piece of Michael Miller Ta Dot in Stone.
TFQ suggested that I make a sample piece to test the size of the finished diamonds. I have been working on this piece and really got going the other day. I got out the rulers and started cutting. After cutting a side piece, I realized that the Tri Recs ruler was the wrong angle! Duh!
I didn’t have a chance to get a new ruler before the BAMQG meeting on Saturday, so I went with paper templates and the Fast2Cut rulers. I am not cutting around the paper templates, but used one for a guide for the side triangles. I found a sweet spot on one of the Fast2Cut rulers for the bottom triangles.
I got the idea of cutting this way from all the Fons and Porter I have been watching. I was able to cut about 14 triangles from each strip, which made the cutting go very quickly.
Above is what I ended up with. I am not sure about those chopped off corner angles, but I will see if they when I do the test.
Yesterday, as I mentioned, I went to CQFA AND the Bay Area Modern Quilt Guild Meeting. I was a little concerned about spending so much time away from home, because I had hurt myself earlier in the week and wasn’t sure how my body would handle it. It turns out that I was fine. I wasn’t 100%, but I had healed enough not to be cranky and miserable.
I headed down to CQFA after performing some family duties at the crack of dawn. I was a bit early so I stopped at Starbuck’s and caught up on a few things. The meeting wasn’t as serious and busy as the last one, which was nice. We organized the meetings for the year and will have a social/big show and tell in July. We were able to spend a lot more time on Show and Tell, too, which is my favorite part. People at CQFA do the most unbelievable work. I wish I had taken a picture of Dolores’ quilt as it was GORGEOUS. She made a sun out of silk tie fabric. The sun was yellow, but then the piecing was a colorwash from green to purple radiating out from the sun. It was beautiful from close up and far away. A real stunner.
This was but one of a number of gorgeous quilts. I brought the Zig Zaggy top and the Flea Market Bag since I haven’t really finished anything else that wasn’t given away. I was also really busy last week and even though I started getting ready early I was still racing around at the last minute trying to get stuff together.
I didn’t get to go to lunch with everyone, because I wanted to attend the Bay Area Modern Quilt Guild Meeting. Yesterday was the first time the meeting was on Saturday. The President jumped through whatever hoops she needed to jump through to get the community room for us on weekend days, so we were able to have a sew day. It is a nice room – big, has power, good lighting and some space for food items.
I didn’t want to bring my sewing machine, but I brought my FOTY 2010 project so that I could work on the side and bottom/top triangles. Sadly, I forgot the actual diamonds, so I had to improvise with a paper pattern. I’ll write a separate blog post about cutting the triangles.
It was very informal so people walked around and looked at what everyone else’s projects. The projects are really different than the CQFA projects and it was good to see a different side of quiltmaking.
I brought the Stars for San Bruno to show everyone and people pledged to make some. They were also interested in my FOTY project so I talked to people who stopped by my table.
Angela had a nice bag. She made it from a pattern in the book from That Patchwork Place,The New Handmade.
I have a vague memory of hearing about this book, but don’t remember seeing it. I looked through it briefly and found the bag pattern Angela made to be best one. There were a few others that were interesting, but wouldn’t be on the top of my radar. They don’t have it at my Library, so I will have to see if I can find it at another one. I am interested in making a bag like Angela made.
First, it is a good size.
Second, the pockets are great. Angela had her actual small, leather purse in the top, large pocket, but her cell phone and other devices are in the front pockets for easy access.
Third, I like the way it stands up.
Fourth, the design had a long enough strap to wear across her body.
Fifth, I really like the shape, because it is a useful shape! While I still want to remake the leather, saddlebag style handbag I curently, this pattern has some possibilities for interim hauling.
Finally, Angela used a great combination of fabrics. This has nothing to do with the pattern, but I think that is part of the reason I looked at it twice.
There were a lot of other projects going on. Lynnette was making whirligig blocks and I got a little lesson in how she was doing that. Angela was in the process of getting ready to quilt a 9 patch she had just finished basting, so we chatted about quilting it. She had also made a Little Wallet, but she put a loop with a clip on the outside so it could be clipped to a larger bag. GREAT idea! Joylily was working on samples for a book. Julie had a Sizzix machine and was telling us about the variations between the Sizzix, Go and one other brand of cutting machines. Ruth was combining some embroideries she and her sisters had done with some quarter log cabins she had gotten from a swap. She found some out of copyright designs on Flickr. Another great idea! Someone was basting a table runner. People brought books so others could look at them. Lynette did a 10 minute demo on the tube method of making bias binding. She made me want to try it again.
One great thing about watching these folks work is that they use all sorts of tools I haven’t used. Ruth was using one of those square rulers with the slices in it to make strips. I had never seen anyone use it, though I have looked at it in shops numerous times. Julie uses the Sizzix to cut appliques and other shapes quickly.
Aside from feeling like a complete geezer at the meeting, that group is a real working group with a nice feel to it. And nobody calls me a geezer! 😉
I shouldn’t buy stuff right before Christmas, but I did anyway. Nobody is going to buy this stuff for me anyway. I went to Joann to get a gift (well, look for one that I didn’t find) and decided to get serious about finishing the FOTY.
I am trying to finish the journal I have going. I only have a few pages left and they seem to be magically expanding the more I write. I have been writing a lot of lists. One of the lists I wrote was things I wanted to accomplish during my vacation. On that list was to decide on the border fabric for the Fabric of the Year quilt for 2010 and get busy cutting those pieces. I know I didn’t need a special ruler when I made the border for the Eye Spy, but I also remember that the triangle gymnastics I went through were a pain. I decided to buy the specialty rulers while at Joann. (Actually, I bough the side triangle ruler at the Granary when I was having my quilt appraised. More on that later.)
I also saw Fons & Porter using their Pyramid ruler. I haven’t tried it yet, but like it much better than the ruler set I looked so hard for in October. I like the lines. I am acknowledging that I might not like it after I try it.
I needed another pair of scissors as my Ginghers are too hard on my hands . I have been using them to cut out the Little Wallets. It is a good thing those wallets don’t take much to cut out, because my hands couldn’t handle much more. I have some bags in my future, thus the scissors.
I was also almost out of machine needles. I couldn’t remember what I normally use, so I just grabbed some. I also bought the leather needles, because I want try sewing the future journal signatures (like in the Red Journal) together and I know I will need a serious needle. It might not work, but I will try.
I have some cool handmade paper that has been hanging around and somehow my mind put all the pieces together and I will use some of that paper for my next journal.
I never used more than one coupon at Joann and they let me use on for every regularly priced item. I was shocked at how much I saved and felt a little guilty about it.
These diamonds could also be called Late Early December Diamonds. You pick and I’ll go along with it. I am nearing the end of my pressing and cutting. I don’t think I have anymore fabric enroute and I plan on keeping it that way. Famous last words, right?
That stripe at the top is my committment to making another Interlocking Triangles quilt. I have the Mixmasters Fizz and the P&B Fizz which are destined for that type of quilt as well. I worked on a design, but am thinking I may just use the same design I used for Spiky Stars. It is a good design and will look different with different fabrics. We’ll see.
Shall I make a New Year’s Resolution to that effect? I never make New Year’s Resolutions, so that would be new. We’ll see.
Don’t you love the red/pink and turquoise combination? I got a great idea for my red/aqua quilt. I love the quilt I saw on Flickr, but it didn’t feel right. I was thinking that I would do it, because I hadn’t found anything better.
Yesterday I was Internet-free (not by choice), but saw a new pattern by Fig Tree Quilts before the Internet died. 60 degree equilateral triangles hang down in one of the versions. This pattern caught my attention, but I didn’t really think much about it until later. Then I saw a few more quilts using this triangle on some taped Fons and Porter episodes using the same type of patches. One was called Kalamkari Strippy (#1307). I am feeling more excited about this new idea. I am also so interested about how the colors on my design wall and these two types of media came together to inspire me.