I received a weird email message early last week and, since I was busy, I ignored it. I didn’t open it, thinking that it was spam I could investigate or delete later.
A little while later, I received an email from the BAMQG Retreat Coordinator saying that I should have received my first ‘clue’. Hhmm. I went back to the ‘spam’ message and it still made no sense, but I figured it was the Mystery quilt project, so I downloaded the instructions.
BAMQG is doing a mystery quilt on the retreat. I decided to play along.
I recently read an article about color that included a suggestion about using a large scale print as a background. One reason I decided to do the mystery quilt was because I couldn’t get this idea out of my head. If I was going to do a project that I wasn’t sure about, I didn’t just want to do the same old thing. I picked a wild selection of fabrics. I am not sure they go together and will tend towards ‘pushed neutrals’ or a ‘low volume’ color story.
First, I went rummaging through my Phillip Jacobs and Martha Negley prints. I have been using those mostly for backs so the opportunity to use one on the front made me giddy. I picked English Rose.
I had the dot on my cutting table. It is very close to the green in the English Rose, but it will be fine (famous last words, right?). The text prints are really different. I don’t think I have used many before and they have been on my mind. In they went.
I may add the charcoal circle stitch fabric by Michael Miller as well. We’ll see.
Still, the quilt will be interesting and will be a nice donation quilt, if worse comes to worse.
I was determined to make the Scrapitude back this past weekend. In order to do that I had to finish the label. I had some time on Friday night and used it to make the label and order some rotary blades.
Rotary blades, you ask? What do they have to do with making a back? There are some tasks that are not hard, but they can interrupt the flow of sewing if you have to stop and do them. I have been trying to identify these tasks and put them into slots of time that are not suitable to sewing.
Making labels, making bindings and ordering rotary cutter blades are three of those tasks, which I have identified so far. I figure that if I put them into these odd slots of time, I’ll get more sewing done. It’s a theory anyway.
I wasn’t up to sewing a lot of small pieces together, so I tried to find some larger pieces of yardage. I found the large piece of Philip Jacobs. I knew I had a large dot piece that I liked with it, so I found that as well and went from there. I always have to piece a bit around the label, but I found that bird and tree print, which was perfect, because I didn’t have to cut it up too much. The trees show up pretty well and I was pleased to see the butterfly. There is something nice about that print and this turned out to be the perfect use for it.
I made the binding last weekend, so this baby is ready to go to the quilter. Yippee!
Last week, I posted about finishing the Scrapitude top. I also talked about the Adventures in Arting podcast in a recent Various & Sundry post. I was listening to it while I was piecing and the discussion they had made me think that I needed to document a problem I came across.
I had problems with this quilt, as I do with many of my quilts.
It wasn’t the pattern.
It wasn’t the difficulty level.
It wasn’t the fabric or other supplies.
The problem was simply the process of being human. Often I will sew to get away from issues in the rest of my life with which I am struggling. I pieced the rest of Scrapitude as we finalized the sale of Super G’s house. It was a tough weekend. Piecing Scrapitude kept my mind on a task on which I needed to focus, but one where my mind could wander.
In the course of piecing, I found mistakes I had made earlier when putting the blocks together. One of them I had already pieced into the quilt and that one will be there for eternity, but I removed several others and fixed them before I pieced them into the quilt.
In the picture to the left, the bottom left hand four patch was set in incorrectly. The foreground white on blue dot square should be in the upper right hand corner of that section in the block, not in the upper left. It isn’t a major error and with all that is going on in the quilt, nobody would notice.
I noticed and cared enough to rip it out. The question I always ask myself is whether I can live with the mistake or if I need to fix it. In this case, I could have lived with the mistake, but decided to fix it anyway.
There are issues with the finished top, but the quilt is very cheerful and I like it. I don’t think I will take up mystery quilts in general, but I am glad I did this one.
I spent almost three solid days piecing the rest of this Scrapitude top. I say “almost solid” because I went and got a pedicure and ate breakfast, went to Pilates and picked up the Young Man on Friday. On Saturday I worked on the taxes, did the laundry and cleaned the kitchen. Yesterday, I got up late, spent a lot of time eating breakfast and reading the newspaper with the family, went to the gym, and worked on some of Super G’s stuff. It felt like three solid days since I had big plans to work on other quilt and fiber projects.
Finishing this top was more work than I thought it would be. The fact that the top was bigger than my design wall should not hamper me as I deal with that issue all the time. It did, though. As I got to the edges, I couldn’t see when to put a 2.5″ square on the almost-vertical sashing and when to put it on the almost-horizontal sashing. That meant that I unpicked and resewed a lot.
The only thing I really had to do yesterday was put borders on it and that small task seemed to take forever. I put borders on to stabilize all of those bias edges and sewed very carefully while I did it. the borders, of course, are scrappy. I mitered them for once and I am pleased with how they came out.
I still have the back, the binding and the label to make. I will use a bunch of Philip Jacobs fabrics to make the back, which makes me very happy. I don’t know what I will use for binding- perhaps another Philip Jacaobs or a white dot to continue the border and focus the eye on the center. I am pleased with my progress.
I have to say that I am sorely tempted to make this quilt again. I want to play with the look of the 2.5″ squares running across the quilt. I have tons of quilts I want to make and will think about making something with those same squares, but in a different pattern.
After finally settling down over the weekend, I decided to start piecing Scrapitude into a top. The top is not yet completely pieced, but I did get a rhythm going and I did make progress. I might be able to finish it this weekend, which would go a long way towards alleviating some of the chaos.
The piece looks really cheerful, which is nice. Sandi said it reminded her of confetti. It does, so I might use that as a name.
As I was piecing the seam allowances were shrinking, I noticed how the lines of squares ran through the whole piece. I think it would have been good to make those all one color and not use that color anywhere else in the quilt — or only in selected locations that didn’t touch the squares.
I forgot to finish some of the triangles. There were two kinds of triangles detailed in Scrapitude Clue #4 Part 2. I had finished all of the smaller version units. I think they must be blocks for the corners. I suspect that the blocks will be placed on point.
I had not, however, sewn all the larger triangle units. I got busy on that and sewed them wrong, so I ripped and resewed. It turns out that I had not changed the ink in my printer, so there was no blue or yellow and I couldn’t see the proper colors. Now they are all finished, nice and pretty.
After I finished those larger triangles, I played around with settings. If the quilt is put together like I suspect it is, there will be a lot of bias edges. I am really hoping that I am wrong.
I have to be because there are some background squares leftover. I am sure Charlotte has some clever setting in mind for us.
I didn’t expect to spend the better part of last Saturday finishing up Scrapitude blocks, but it seemed like the right thing to do when I realized the next clue would be coming out soon. I don’t want to get too far behind and have more travel coming up. It was also pretty easy to work on.
I started by testing out the 9000 by putting one block together on Friday. I had an idea that I would need to take the machine to a new dealer and Friday was my day to do it.
I ended up spending quite a while sewing and the 9K machine acted fine. I went to the quilt store anyway (also the machine dealer I plan to go to for service and repairs next time) and talked to them about the machine. I just didn’t bring the machine in. They are skeptical that they can fix it, if it continues with the same problem. The dealer I went back and forth with 100 times (or what seemed like 100 times) has more experience. While talking to them, I told them that they might have a different perspective since they are quiltmakers. For the moment the machine is at home and working fine.
Saturday I started in again on Scrapitude blocks and just worked on them until they were finished. I have gotten a lot of nice compliments on them, which are much appreciated.
I went to Memphis for work last week and really missed sewing. I arrived home on Saturday around 8. No sewing that night, but Sunday, I got to it. Sandy posted the next clue on Scrapitude sometime last week and people were already finishing up their blocks – yes, that clue included the blocks layout – and I was chomping at the bit to sew. As soon as I got some Sunday chores out of the ay, I started laying the blocks out.
I realized pretty quickly that I would have to rip out the units I had sewn with the large plain triangles and the complex corner units, because that combination was completely wrong. Duh. I didn’t rip them out before, because I was hoping I was ahead and not wrong. Sadly, Charlotte has another plan in mind and I was wrong. I ripped a little and sewed a little and finally got enough of the Jester Hat blocks (I’ll have to look up the real name sometime) to make up 25 blocks. I slowed down on the ripping and started to sew in earnest.
As you can see, I laid out the various parts into blocks. Most of my Jester Hat units are not 4.5″ and that really bugs me. I think it is because of switching machines, what feels like, several dozen times.
As I arranged the layout, I did a the pieces around to maximize the colors and spread like colors across the piece. Mostly I just laid them out. There is enough variety so, for the most part, no two fabrics are next to each other. Still I thought the piece looked like a bit of a jumbled mess.
I went and got my machine on Monday and used it to make some of the blocks, but after about two hours of sewing, it is acting up, so I didn’t get as much done as I would have liked. 🙁
I can’t be too upset, because I did get quite a bit done. I also had fun on my birthday, got back in the workout saddle AND I was thrilled to be back and playing with fabric.
I am still thinking about the piece as a whole. With Mystery Quilts, it is hard to figure out a cohesive look for the whole when you don’t know what the whole will be. I guess that is the nature of Mystery Quilts. Rather than exciting, it is causing me some anxiety. I think, because of the amount of the turquoise and pink that there is an element of cohesion. Or I might be wishing strongly.
In terms of the scrappiness of the piece, I have been concerned all along. It is easy not to be too concerned while grabbing fabrics and cutting them up. What could go wrong, right? There are a lot of different fabrics and, though most are really clear, there are some dull ones (see that yellow with sailors towards the bottom of the above photo?). I think they are ok in the grand scheme, but I would be happy if they were gone.
I think the dots-as-background pull the piece together, even though the background is made up of a lot of different dot fabrics. Still I have some concerns about some of the darker fabrics. I have arrows pointing to the fabrics that are really B List fabrics, in terms of this piece. There are some others. I am going to leave them, because Maureen said they would be ok. I also don’t want to rip anymore. I am trying to spread them out so that they do not clump together to create a dark spot or hole in the quilt.
And so, I ended up with these blocks. To the right are the completed blocks. they are bright and cheerful and I am glad I used my dots for the background. I think it needs to be the Year of the Dots, a year where I will use my dots.
I have also made some of the triangle units designated in Clue #4 part 1 and Clue #4 part 2. I think this piece will be set on point, but I am not sure how as there are still sashing strips. I do like the look of the two triangle (corner??) units.
I had to finish ripping the rest of the wrongly sewn blocks in order to make the piece above. It looks fairly complex, but is pretty easy to put together.
One good thing about a Mystery Quilt is making all the units upfront. I didn’t like all that cutting, but it really makes this step go fast.
These also look fairly complex, but the same applies. I am getting a lot of bang for my buck!
I finally finished the square blocks for Scrapitude. The above photo shows a sample if the two kinds of blocks required for the project. I still have some pressing to do to completely finish this part.
I worked on them on and off using Bonnie Hunter’s leaders and enders method while I worked on other projects over the past few days.
There is quite a bit of pink, which is a little worrisome. I hope it work out.
I spent the weekend trying to get back into my sewing habit in between the Christmas Concert that is the Y.M.’s midterm exam, buying and decorating a Christmas plus the house and the general chores such as laundry, cooking.
For us it is pretty cold (house has been 52 degrees F/11 degrees C and a struggle to keep there). I now many of you would revel in 52, but remember that is IN the house. outside is 40, which is perfect weather for sewing.
I think I have done most of the cutting for Scrapitude. I tried to be organized and go back and cut everything I didn’t yet cut. If I didn’t cut everything, I got enough cut to be able to make some triangles.
I had started these complex triangles another time, but ripped out the ones I made because I had used the wrong size of square or triangle. This time the process went much better. First I made the foreground triangles.
I am still trying to make them very scrappy, but I did use squares cut in half this time for the triangles.
Also, I know this unit is NOT called a complex triangle, but I have to look up what it is called and haven’t done it yet. Stay tuned for the resolution of that cliff hanger. 😉
There were very few of the foreground complex triangles, so I was done with those pretty quickly.
I mentioned the cat beds and since I had a bit of extra fabric from the gusset, I used a small piece of that fabric for one of the complex triangle units.
It is not really my kind of fabric, but one piece won’t kill me and it is the right colors.
I also made a lot of the complex triangle units with a background square and two foreground triangles.
The red kind of dominates, but it is ok. I could have used more green as well, but I am sure it will all work out.
I am pleased with the way they came out. I think I must have had a good cutting day because they all went together really well.
I didn’t sew on Scrapitude during the Black Friday sew-in, but I did cut. As you know, my original plan was to cut as needed. I wanted to see what would look good. Really, I wanted to exert some control over the process.
It was hard to move through the clues without having cut in advance. I don’t like to cut a lot at once, but I buckled down last Saturday and Sunday and spent a few hours cutting.
I was able to finish cutting the 2 7/8″ squares, the 2.5″x12.5″ strips (probably for sashing) and the 5.25″ squares. All of the above were from background and most of it I had to cut from yardage, though I did have some small enough pieces for the smaller cuts.
I also was able to finish cutting 2 7/8″ squares from foreground fabric. I rummaged again through my scraps to find large enough pieces that were cheerful enough.
Since I wasn’t limited to the dots on white, like I am for the background, find the right sizes was easier.
There are some really bright and loud looking pieces, but I think it will work out in the end.
I did pick and choose so I had a variety of colors. I think I was able to use all scraps for the foreground.
I spent the day home alone yesterday. DH is at a retreat for the Natives and the Young Man had a band review.
I got up up at 4:15 to get the Young Man to his 5:30 call time for the last band review of the season. DH usually does this chore, but we made it and did ok together.
I was kind of shocked, but when I got home at about 5:45am, I went back to bed and slept for another 3 hours, fitfully, but slept. I am usually not good at going back to sleep if I have been woken up in the morning. It was still pretty dark out, so perhaps my body thought it was still night?
It is kind of strange that I am getting some days home alone. I have always had one here and there, but they are getting a lot more frequent now that the Young Man has a life. The day was also a lot better than my last day home alone. I worked steadily on sewing projects, which was great. I made quite a bit of progress — perhaps not the progress I have made in the past, but I feel like I am really back in the saddle.
The bad part of the day was that my back hurt so I kept a hot pack on it all day, which meant I kept going down to the kitchen and heating it up. While the hot pack was heating up, I would do 2 minutes worth of dishes. Now my kitchen isn’t a huge pigsty from the massive pot of sausage soup I made.
I finally finished all of the triangle segments for Scrapitude. The photo above shows the last 24 or so, which took me forever.
I heard through the grapevine that Scrapitude Clue #3 is posted. I just went and took a look at Sandy’s blog and it is true! One of the things about not cutting everything up front is that I am not ready to go on the next step. I do get to break up the cutting with sewing, though.
In my last Scrapitude post, which seems like I wrote it an eternity ago, I talked about making the triangles more scrappy using a special ruler. I am glad I decided to make it scrappier, because even the few fabrics I used multiple times seem like I used them too much. Once I see what these sections will be used for, it might make no difference. Or I may need to remake some. I’ll just have to wait and see.
Don’t get me wrong, I don’t want the new sewing part of Scrapitude posted, because I haven’t finished the last step and I still have cutting to do. Read that last sentence as I am behind. I still really want to know what the blocks will look like so I can make better decisions about fabric choices. This is the ‘fun’ of a mystery quilt, I suppose. I am enjoying the fabric choices I have made so far.
I spent some time on Saturday sewing the segments together. I have 104 of these triangle segments, which means that I need 24 more. I have some foreground fabric, but all of it has been used several times, so I think I need to cut some different ones. I am probably in the same position with the backgrounds, though I know I haven’t cut enough yet.
Once I am done with the triangle segments, I’ll get back to cutting. I think I have some more 2-7/8s squares to cut. My cutting plan got interrupted when I left town and now I don’t know where I am with any project, which is why it was easy to get the Round Robin done. I could start and finish.
I saw that Daisy posted some photos of her Scrapitude progress on her Flickr stream. Good fabric choices. I like the triangle segments she has made. Her photos reminded me that I still need to do those segments with the squares and two triangles. Sigh.