Finished: FOTY 2015

Someone asked me why I finished FOTY 2014 in 2015 instead of in 2014. This was before my trip, so the comment annoyed me. Now that I am much calmer and have had time to think about it, I realized that some people may not understand the concept. Don’t worry I am not going to rehash it here, but you can see a detailed explanation of the concept on the Works in a Series page about the Fabric of the Year quilts.

Fabric of the Year 2015: Finished!
Fabric of the Year 2015: Finished!

I finished FOTY 2015 last week (or perhaps the week before). I was still sewing on the sleeve when I took it to BAMQG last weekend for show and tell.I needed DH to help me photograph it and that didn’t happen until last night.

I am pleased with how it came out. I really like the layout using rectangles and squares. The two different shapes add interest, I think.

Fabric of the Year 2015 Back: Finished!
Fabric of the Year 2015 Back: Finished!

I used large pieces for the back, which should come as no surprise. I have been trying to minimize the fiddly little piecing I can get into for backs. I like large print fabrics and the ultimate goal is to get backs done. I need more of that yellow fabric as I used the last bit for the EPP Stars and was short one leg of the EPP stars.

I have started cutting for FOTY 2016.

FOTY 2015 Top & Back Complete!

That big project I mentioned yesterday? I finished the Fabric of the Year 2015 top, back and binding over the weekend. The first thing I did Saturday morning (after tidying up, writing in my journal, drinking tea, starting the laundry, walking and making breakfast for the family) was get down to business with FOTY 2015. That thing has been on my wall long enough and I wanted to move on.

FOTY 2015 Top - Finished
FOTY 2015 Top – Finished

I finished the top on Thursday or Friday. I basked in that excitement until Saturday before moving on to the back. After the massive ironing session I did on Friday, I had some nice pieces I wanted to use. I decided to make the back with fabrics that I really liked.

I went back and forth about borders. Borders finish the look of the piece and stabilize it, but this quilt wants a binding, but no border, so I stay stitched the edge and will have to hope for the best in terms of squareness. At the moment it is mostly square, but quilting is the wildcard.

Speaking of quilting, I also had it in my head to quilt it myself. I really want some straight line quilting. After convincing myself that quilting it myself would be a good idea, I backtracked. I’ll take it to Colleen. I have 3 other projects to quilt. Adding another is not a good idea.

FOTY 2015 Back
FOTY 2015 Back

So, once those tasks and mind games were over, I made the back. Pressing fabrics the night before was a good idea. I found two pieces that I would love as dresses. I don’t have enough so I decided to make a back with fabrics I love.

As you can see, lots of Philip Jacobs, though that purple is by someone else (Patty Slottinger???). I tried to find more of it, but no luck so far. It was a cursory search. I added in the greys just to give the florals space to breathe.

FOTY 2015 - Half the Back
FOTY 2015 – Half the Back

I started to sew to avoid the label for a little while, but after making half the back, I had to deal with the label. That meant testing the printer. Cyan was out (I know gremlins print while I am not home and use up all my ink), so that meant locating some print cartridges and finding the cyan. I had one cyan left (WHEW!). Once the printer chores were complete, I created the label, printed it on paper and then copied on to fabric.

I think labels are vitally important, but making them and sewing them in is a chore. This time the bottom half of the back went very well. Actually the whole back went very well. There was only one spot where I had to insert a small piece. All the other pieces were fairly large, which made process of the back go relatively quickly.

I made the binding on Monday and now the whole package is ready to go to the quilter.


FOTY 2015 Nearing the Finish Line

FOTY 2015 - pre-Grand Parlor Progress
FOTY 2015 – pre-Grand Parlor Progress

I finally got my ducks in a row and got back to piecing/chunking Fabric of the Year 2015. The last time we talked, the piece was in about 9 sections and I was facing some serious partial seaming (left).

After taking the 9k to the repair person (look for a post on that soon), I did a bunch of work and decided to take some time and work on this piece. I could sew a few seams, avoid the partial seaming until the last second and make some progress.

FOTY 2015 - nearing the end
FOTY 2015 – nearing the end

It was great! I have about 2/3ds of the top piece and nobody died. I didn’t have to rip much and the piece looks great!

I was so pleased at how the partial seaming went. It went as planned and looks normal. No puckers or pleats. I can’t tell you how happy that makes me. I didn’t learn partial seaming in any class. I watched Eleanor Burns do it on TV and went from there. (I know I have to get the lesson ready for the Sampler class. Have no fear! In the near future, I will make sure you and Frances know what I know.)

Partial Seams - Nice and Flat
Partial Seams – Nice and Flat
FOTY 2015 - Partial Seaming Required
FOTY 2015 – Partial Seaming Required

Of course the hard part of the partial seaming comes next. I can’t sew anymore “large” chunks together because of the blue section, which requires some fancy footwork (or hand as the case may be). I was called away before I could get started and keep looking at the blue section wondering which seam will go next. I think the key will be to just pick a section and go for it. I am also convinced that a bolt of lightning will hit me and I will think, “why didn’t I think of doing that section?”, then the whole last third will come together and I will be finished.

Until the bolt, however, I think the key will be to just pick one and go for it. Ripping might come up, but that won’t kill me.

FOTY 2015 – Still Chunking

FOTY 2015 - big chunks
FOTY 2015 – big chunks

I made some progress on getting FOTY 2015 sewn together.

I have big chunks, so ~6 seams and I am done.

Sort of.

I have some problem areas that need partial seams or something. I haven’t quite figured it out yet. Partial seams is the best I can do now, but how is the challenge.

Light area problem child
Light area problem child

Problem area #1

I think you will have to enlarge the photo (there still may be a problem with enlarging the photos. Sorry, if that is the case; I am working on it) to see that yellow that lines up nicely with the top chunk.

It doesn’t line up with the bottom chunk.

Blue area problem child
Blue area problem child

Blue Area Problem child #2

This area is a little more difficult. There are more pieces that are problematic and there are more of them.

None of this is mission critical. I will get through it and it won’t be a huge drama. It feels dramatic at this moment. Tomorrow is a new day and things will look different.

Fabric of the Year – Chunking

FOTY 2015 - Chunking
FOTY 2015 – Chunking

I blew through the layout stage and am on to piecing.

Well, relatively anyway.

I gave myself a certain amount of time to do the layout. The time period was about two weeks and during that time, I didn’t take my cutting table or other in-process projects out of the fabric closet. I only allowed myself to work on other projects as leaders and enders and focused on getting this laid out.

This year’s piece was harder to arrange, because the fabrics I used were really different colors than each other. I am not sure why, because individually they don’t look different. The differences in each hue don’t really show up until you put two oranges or pinks next to each other and try and decide which has a lighter and which has a darker value. It is very strange. If I had thought of it I would have kept track of manufacturers and designers to see if I bought different ones this year than last year. I didn’t know that this would happen. It would have also meant that I would have had to keep track last year as well. More data would be needed.

The too-small design wall was a real problem this year, I think. I did not cut the patches down to accommodate the design wall as I did last year. I just crammed them all on the wall. That means that I found some places where I was short. You can see some white spaces on the bottom (near right hand corner). This problem showed up when some of the fabric was taken up by seam allowances and I was able to line patches up more evenly. I have to rummage through my leftover pieces and find some to fill in.

Most of the piece has been sewn into chunks. The chunks are not even because I had some rectangles arranged horizontally and some arranged vertically. With the squares it made for interesting piecing.

The difficulty was what it was and I got the feeling that it was done at some point and started sewing. I talked a little about the sewing when I posted about the Peacock. It is all about leaders and enders, because I only want two unsewn patches off the wall at a time to ensure the piece stays laid out the way I intended.

You can find out more about the FOTY quilts on the series page.

More Fabric of the Year 2015 Layout

I know I just posted a few days ago and for you looking at a computer screen the changes to the piece are hard to see. I promise not to give you a patch by patch update.

FOTY 2015 - 4-17-2016
FOTY 2015 – 4-17-2016

Now is the time where the changes are very subtle and looking for changes in the shape of the areas of color are the best way to See the evolution. I worked quite a bit more on the red and pink areas. “Working on an area” means getting the darkest or lightest fabrics together and blending the mediums into a smooth transition between the two. Mostly it means deciding where a piece goes. As I have said that is not always easy and in this case, I am struggling with some of the off colors in each area with no way to smooth the transitions. Green is a particular problem for me this time around. Green, never a favorite, has a bunch of grey greens included this time and they don’t seem to fit in either grey or green.

That is the way of it, though, and at some point, I have to stop and say enough is a enough.

FOTY 2015 Last Patches

FOTY 2015 - Last Batch of Patches
FOTY 2015 – Last Batch of Patches

I found a picture of the last batch of FOTY 2015 patches. Even though I have already started and made progress on laying out the whole piece, I had to post these.

You can see the Sugar & Spice Donation quilt as well as the Half Moon Modern Chubby Charmer in these patches. That is one thing I love about this project: I can go back and see my work for the year in each Fabric of the Year quilt.

Peacock Quilt Progress

As I work on FOTY 2015, I also have to work on another project in between each two patches that I sew. I sew two patches from FOTY rows with two patches from something else. This helps me keep the FOTY pieces in order. If I get too many of them off the wall at once, the order is mixed up and all the work of laying them out is for naught. Of course, even having just two patches off the wall does not guarantee that they won’t get out of order, but I do my best and some ripping does come into play.

As you know I have been using donation blocks and the Stepping Stones blocks (look for a post soon) as leaders and enders. I got a little tired of the donation blocks and ran out of HSTs for the Stepping Stones, so I turned to the Peacock blocks.

I thought I thought I still had a gazillion seams left to finish the blocks, but since I hadn’t worked on it in over a month, I couldn’t really remember and just focused on getting the gazillion down to a billion. 😉

Last of the Big Peacocks
Last of the Big Peacocks

Amazingly, I really didn’t have that many blocks left to sew and I finished sewing the large blocks yesterday. Above there are 21 “big peacocks” and that is all of them. With the blocks I made last time, I have about 60 “big peacock” blocks.

Baby Peacock
Baby Peacock

This does not account for the smaller blocks, which I cut from a smaller strip and will see about using in some way. I have more of those to sew, but will do that when I sew the rest of the FOTY 2015 together. It will be nice to be able to leap into laying out another quilt right away.

At least I think it will be nice. It might be too much after the work on FOTY, but at least the blocks will be ready when I am.

Fabric of the Year 2015 Layout Continues

FOTY 2015 - Layout 4/17/2016
FOTY 2015 – Layout 4/17/2016

I achieved my goal of getting all of the patches onto the wall last Sunday. I was also able to start rearranging the patches into their final positions. To be honest I have about 5 patches that will not make it on to the front of the quilt. They will have to go on the back. Normally, I wouldn’t do that, and I don’t really like it, but I would have to cut about 22 additional patches in order to fit them into the quilt. I think putting 5 on the back is the lesser of two challenges. Also, the process is evolving and I am thinking of this as evolution.

As per usual, there are patches that are not in the right place. Moving the left side around gave me the advantage of putting that section into better, not perfect, but better, shape than it would be normally.

If you have ever tried to blend (gradate? Colorwash?) commercial fabrics into each, you will know it is not an easy task. It is a struggle and I am at the point where I wonder why I do it. Still, I see the value and will continue on.

Problem Children

In every version of the Fabric of the Year concept, there are problem fabrics. Every year I have crammed them into some place, usually a place that didn’t quite work. This year might be different.

FOTY 2015 - Problem Children
FOTY 2015 – Problem Children

The problem children this year have varying degrees of problems. all of them should get into the quilt, to be faithful to my rulers. Some of them will get in to the quilt, perhaps all. I am not making myself any crazier than I already am this year.

You might look at these fabrics and think I am a wimp. In some cases, I might be. The Philip Jacobs print (2d row, 2d from right) will probably fit nicely between the reds and pinks. The pinky red next to it should, too, but it is just off enough to have no compatriots in either pink or red.

The top row’s fabrics are the real demons. What color is that gold (top row, 2d from right)? Yes it is gold, but is it more brown than yellow? ERGH!

The big prints and modern prints like the Cotton & Steel Viewmaster fabric are real problems. They do not lend themselves to being blended in with any other fabrics. I constantly move them from white to color and back.

I will put as many of them on the front as I can, but the rest will go on the back. I just cannot make myself crazy.

Fabric of the Year 2015 Continues

I worked a lot on the piece over the weekend as well as on and off during the week. these blog posts are a little behind my actual process, so you can follow me on Instagram (check the sidebar) for more up to the minute news.

Even though I was on the fence about this year’s edition, I am enjoying the process. This is the ultimate in scrap quilts, even if the scraps were cut from yardage specifically for the process. Perhaps, more accurately, it is the ultimate in charm quilts.

FOTY 2015 - First Pass
FOTY 2015 – First Pass

I thought my first pass was really good, but as I walked around and past the design wall, I realized that the transition from dark to orange wasn’t working. I looked at FOTY 2013 and saw that I had transitioned from dark to red. That meant moving all of the pieces on the left side and reversing their positions.


I am trying to enjoy the process, a constant battle because the next project is always newer, fresher, more fun. Moving a few hundred pieces was not my idea of a fun day. That dreaded “it will be fine” phrase popped into my head and I knew I had to just start taking pieces off and repositioning them.

FOTY 2015 - Off and Back On
FOTY 2015 – Off and Back On

This exercise actually turned out to be a good one. I was able to restack the color groups and think about them again. I looked at the pieces in each color group in relation to each patch. I used it as a way to further refine the layout while the patches were off the wall.

FOTY 2015 - After the Swap
FOTY 2015 – After the Swap

I think this was valuable, as the left side looks a lot better, not only because the red is at the bottom and lighter colors more towards the top, but because the placement of patches within each color family is better.

My next goal is to get all the patches on the wall.

Fabric of the Year 2015 Starts

I posted a beginning layout photo to Instagram and one reader (is that the right word for Instagrammers who follow your feed?) asked if I knew it was 2016. I politely explained that I was working with the patches from last year and hadn’t quite started 2016’s version yet. Unlike you, dear reader, s/he does not read the blog and doesn’t know how this project works. ?

I have to admit that I almost gave up on putting this one together. I just felt like I didn’t have it in me, which is why it is April and I am just laying out the pieces now.

There are a few reasons. My design wall is the primary one. It is too small and I have just complained about it in my IRL circles rather than doing anything about it. I AM going to do something about it soon. I have a plan and having a plan means that I can execute that plan.

Next reason is that the project is feeling a bit stale. I don’t think it really is, but it feels that way to me. Part of that feeling probably came from having three of the quilts rejected from QuiltCon. I keep telling myself that clearly the people who did not jury in my quilts cannot appreciate the work that goes into them.

Third, I have a lot of projects on my plate and that I want to make. Doing one that is similar to the seven others I have made seems futile.

However, it is an excellent mind puzzle and color exercise, so I am back in the saddle and I have given myself until April 26 to get the piece laid out.

Sorted color piles
Sorted color piles

The first step is to sort all the pieces into general color piles: all the blues together, all the reds, etc. Normally I have several plastic boxes with patches, but this year, I used a large Recchiuti box and all were in one place. This step gives me an idea of how many patches in each color I have to work with.

The first challenge is to get all the pieces on the design wall. I can do some basic laying out before all of them are on the wall, but I can’t refine the placement without seeing the whole piece.

Starting the layout
Starting the layout

As of this writing, the patches are not all on the design wall. Since time is ticking, I need to work on getting that particular step done. It starts with putting a few patches in one color up and then the next. Making them all fit on this subpar design wall is the key. I am determined not to trim them all this year, like I did last year, even if I have to layer the pieces more than I would usually.

FOTY 2015 - First Pass
FOTY 2015 – First Pass

When I finished a good chunk of the layout, the above photo shows my first pass.


FOTY 2015 Mid-March Update

Darla, of the Scientific Quilter, is hosting the #March-a-long event. The short version is that you do something quilty for 15 minutes per day. I failed last week, but was doing pretty well especially since I have a lot of ironing of fabric to do. After ironing comes cutting and that means more FOTY fabrics. Yes, I should starting putting FOTY 2015 together. I haven’t quite gotten to it, but soon.

FOTY 2015 Mid-March 2016
FOTY 2015 Mid-March 2016

I have cut a number of patches for the quilt and it is interesting to see the themes that crop up in my patches.

That purple on the bottom looks a lot better cut into smaller pieces. I pulled it out to cut and wondered what I was thinking when I bought it. Good thing I have no problem cutting up fabric.

FOTY 2015 (early March)

Fabric of the Year 2015 (early March)
Fabric of the Year 2015 (early March)

I think I have said that I am nearing the end of cutting for FOTY 2015. Here is another batch and I really am about to start laying out the piece.

I just have so many ideas in my head that I can’t seem to corral them in order to make any progress on much of anything.