More Peacock

Time does funny things to my head when I am sewing. I know I sewed A LOT over the weekend. Still, I felt like it wasn’t enough. Will there ever be enough time to sew? I don’t know.

The Peacock, end of October 2016
The Peacock, end of October 2016

During all that time, I worked, mostly, on the Peacock. I now have 10 rows sewn together in some fashion or another. I have them mostly sewn together in groups of four rows. They will all be sewn together eventually, but I am just doing this much for now.

I also started to sew some bits of the upper rows together, but nothing major is done up there. I have to get serious about the solids and see what I can make for the background in the upper right hand corner.

Peacock Details

The Peacock "border" details
The Peacock “border” details

As I mentioned the other day, I was able to piece in some of the small blocks.

It isn’t a very linear or straightforward process and there is a lot of fiddling that goes on.

One issue I am having is with measurements. I know each row is 3.5″ wide, so I have cut solids + seam allowance to make up that size with the small blocks. I still run short and have to add other pieces of fabric. I do like the texture the added seams give the piece. However, it is still annoying. I can’t figure out what I am doing wrong.

The Peacock "border" detail
The Peacock “border” detail

I didn’t put a small block on the end of the bottom (first) row and am kind of regretting that. I have a lot of small blocks I want to use and may need to go back and add one. However, the top right hand corner background area is pretty blank and may need some mall blocks there to lighten it up.

You can see the not all of the row ends are sewn on the right side. I am leaving the design open to add more small blocks. I didn’t do that on the left and may need to add some additional yardage to the ends. We’ll see. It may be that I concentrate the small blocks on the top and right.

I am adding different colored solids that kind of match the colors of the print fabrics on the edges and to fill in the background. I bought some solids from the line of fabric, but I have others that go with the fabrics as well. the shiny green solid you see above is one of the first fabrics I bought when I made my first quilt. I have been keeping it all this time and I think it is the right color for this piece.

I bought a lot of black with the intention of using black for the entire background. While I need to drape a piece of black up on the right-top, I decided that it will probably make the quilt too depressing. I am also thinking of using a variety of solids.

The dark blues at the top are ok, but the lavender might be too light.

The Peacock - in process, October 2016
The Peacock – in process, October 2016

More on the Peacock

The Peacock in process - October 2016
The Peacock in process – October 2016

I spent some time on Saturday night and most of the day Sunday trying to make progress on The Peacock. I now have four rows sewn together in a chunk. A fifth is the start of a new chunk.

The piecing is very labor intensive, though not as labor intensive as Y seams. The good part is that I have to put a leader/ender piece between each Peacock seam under the machine. This will equal a lot of additional blocks or, perhaps, a quilt top.

I started to put the small blocks into the ends of some of the rows. That piecing is fiddly and I haven’t gotten all the measurements figured out. Still, I am pleased that I have been able to incorporate those small blocks into the border as I piece. I have more to piece in and have to figure out how to do that.

The Peacock Progresses

During the past little while, I have been flinging curses at the Peacock as it sits on my design wall, taking up space and glaring smugly at me.

No more.

Peacock on Sunday
Peacock on Sunday

I made two cuts on Sunday and was off. With those two rotary cut strips, everything changed. Finishing the piecing actually became possible…. no probable. I only had time for a little work on it, but the piece progresses. I am snatching bits of time where I can and making some progress. It is amazing how something can change so quickly. I do think that, more importantly, my attitude about the project changed.

First, I had along rest with absolutely no sewing. The closest I came was visiting a craft shop that carried quilt fabrics and magazines.

Next, solving the problem of squaring up the piece began to rumble around in the back of my mind until I had a solution I wanted to try. Two cuts and I realized that what I wanted to do would work and it was actually a reasonable idea.

The idea was to cut 3.5″ strips (same width as half one of the blocks), cut a 60 degree angle on one side and sew it to the edge blocks. These short strips work. The black, with which I have started, blends nicely in with the very darkest blocks.

Peacock: More background added
Peacock: More background added

Third, I started to move the blocks around after taking some photos. Some of the blocks looked out of place in the photos. Moving them make the piece come together better.

In the photo, right, I have moved some of the solids around to try and blend the background a little better. I haven’t tried super hard yet and I know I won’t be able to blend as well as I do with the Fabric of the Year quilts, but I want to give the impression of a bit of blending going on. That I immediately started to blend the blocks into an Impressionist look tells me I have much more color blending in my future.

Peacock: Exchanging Black for Green
Peacock: Exchanging Black for Green

Most importantly, I have changed out the black on the bottom and used green (see arrows at the bottom). The black was too jarring near some blocks that had no black. The green isn’t a perfect match to those feather blocks, but it is the green I used in the other feather blocks.

I am also trying out some of the blues at the top, but I am thinking they may be too dark and I might try some light blue. I have a stack of solids I can try. I just haven’t tried very hard to find the right one yet.

I plan to have a sort of irregular line of blocks, as the quilt looks now, though the background will make the quilt square. There are still some unknowns. I don’t know what the quilt will look like exactly. I am not sure how I will make the small blocks float around the edges as you see them now. I will let it mull in the back of my mind and see what comes up.

Peacock Again

Peacock - mid July 2016
Peacock – mid July 2016

The Peacock has been on the design wall and I am not as excited as I was. I thought that it would be quite exciting, but I am not excited now. I am trying not to take down all the blocks and put it away, though I do think that is a very real possibility.

Still I am happy with the basic layout. I think the blocks need some space between them, but I don’t think I have it in me to cut up strips of fabric to put between each block.

Testing squares
Testing squares

I thought that perhaps I would add a Peaky to each block and make them in squares. That means I could put the blocks together with a little space between them. I put a piece of a solid behind a couple of the blocks to see what it looked like. It is hard to see what the whole piece would look like, but even still I don’t really like the look.

I think I’ll just sew the piece together, basically as shown, and be done with it.

Revisiting Projects: Peacock Blocks

As I said yesterday, I finished the binding and back of the Food Quilt #3 and it is ready to go to the quilter. The top was already finished. I was trying to decide what project to work on next when I realized that I wanted to look at the blocks and projects I had been working. I started putting all of the projects up on the design wall and taking a look at them.

Pulling out a bunch of projects and putting a zillion blocks up on the design wall is a lot of work. I am exaggerating. None of my projects have a zillion blocks, though the Peacock and the Octagon 9 Patch do have a lot.

Peacock - July 2016
Peacock – July 2016

I could spend all week going through the projects with you until I made a “big reveal” and told you what I would work on, but I think you should know immediately that the Peacock blocks excited me most when I put them up on the wall. I am not sure why. Perhaps my eye is liking the dark colors?

I also realized that this is the first time I have seen these quilt blocks on the design wall.

The above photo shows a pretty raw layout, but not terrible either. I am still in that gradation mode, so I put the darker blocks towards the bottom. I don’t have a lot of the small blocks, so they will make an asymmetrical border.

I only have a couple of solid blocks, which I talked about adding as tests. The lavender definitely doesn’t work in the current location. I kind of like the way the top of the quilt (without the small border blocks) is not straight. That begs the question of what I would put to make the edges straight. I am definitely not making an edge like that.

My other immediate thought upon stepping back was that the gradation was nice, but that blocks needed a bit of space between them. I might be backing off that thought, but I will put some black behind and in between the blocks to see.

This quilt requires more work, so I may quilt one of my projects while I look at it, try things and rearrange.


Last Peacocks?

Last Peacock Blocks?
Last Peacock Blocks?

I have no idea if this is the last of the blocks. They seem to multiply when I am not looking, so I expect more to turn up.

I do have some pieces left, but they are not in sets for blocks. I had one extra from each block. I think I could match up some of them, but I don’t really know how many will look good enough to include. Thus, I don’t know if I will use them, but we will see.

I made some solid blocks as tests. I don’t know if I will use them in the quilt, but we will see. I’ll have to layout the piece first and see if the solids can fit somewhere.

More Peacocks

In between sewing FOTY together, I sewed more Peacock blocks. I think the pieces are breeding in my fabric closet. I found more pieces for the large blocks and a ton more of the small pieces. I must have been tired to think I was done.

Peacock blocks, batch #2
Peacock blocks, batch #2

Again, in between sewing together FOTY 2015, I sewed Peacock blocks. This batch contains some of the ugly stepchildren. Some are cool. Some will be a challenge to incorporate.

Swirly mini-Peacock
Swirly mini-Peacock

There are a few that I really like. This one looks like draped fabric is at the bottom.

That weird white spot is actually the head of a flower pin. I have not sewn these blocks into hexagons, so that they can be sewed together in rows later and I will avoid the Y Seams. In the meantime, I have used pins to keep the two halves together.

Flower featured Peacock block
Flower featured Peacock block

Another one I like has some of the flowers featured in the center. The blue and green swirls also look like they are pointing to the flowers or curling around the flowers. Such a cool effect.

I just noticed that it was about a year ago that I bought the panels.

If you want more information about this project and my thoughts look through the posts.

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.

Peacock Blocks

The change to Daylight Saving Time is a nightmare. What a dumb idea or an idea whose time has passed. I changed the clock by my bed the night before so when I woke up, I saw that it was already later than usual. For some reason I felt awful. It might have been the dread of knowing that I had lost an hour. I got up and got some caffeine and went up to my workroom.

I needed to just sew, so I looked at the projects I had that were at the rote sewing stage. After a very short deliberation, I pulled out the Peacock blocks and started sewing.

Peacock Blocks
Peacock Blocks

I don’t remember how many sets I cut up at the Retreat, but the prep I did there allowed me to just sew pieces and parts together. I now have about 40 blocks. When I say blocks, I mean two halves of blocks because I can’t sew the pieces of the blocks together until I lay out the entire quilt. Once I lay it out, I will sew it together in rows.

It was great to just sew. I only had to sew straight seams. I didn’t have to make a lot of decisions beyond how to press the seams and the stack of blocks got bigger and bigger.

I wanted to do more, but don’t I always? That was the kind of sewing that I needed. I finally feel like I am making progress.

Peacock Quilt

Peacock Panel
Peacock Panel

I realize that I have not discussed the One Block Wonder/Peacock quilt recently. The last time I talked about it was last June!!! I can’t believe so much time has passed.

Frankly, I was stuck and needed some hand holding. This is the main reason I get stuck on projects. Since Pam is in Atlanta, though very willing to help via email, I set up a date with Maureen to work through my issues at the Retreat.

TA DAH! The peacock project is finally moving forward. During the time  I spent with Maureen at the Retreat she talked me back from the ledge with regard to cutting up my panels.

I had read the One Block Wonder book, but being shown is different than reading. This technique is definitely a challenge to learn from a book. The technique is based on repeats, but since panels are panels, I decided that each of my panels would be one repeat. This worked out pretty well.

Cutting Blocks
Cutting Blocks

I had decided on a width for the strips with Pam’s guidance (3.75″, in case you are curious), so with Maureen’s help, I lined up the panels and eventually began cutting. It was good to do this at the Retreat, because we had big tables. I know now that I would not have been able to do this cutting in my workroom.

My panels were about 24″ x 44″. I had to lay out the complete panel flat and there are 6 layers stacked on top of each other after you have lined them up according to the directions in the book. It was helpful to have the big table. I put new blade in my rotary cutter and that was helpful. I only had a 45mm cutter. A 60mm cutter would have been very useful, but nobody had one to lend.

The key piece of helpful information during the cutting process was that there was a little wiggle room if I didn’t cut the panels quite right. One of my panels was not printed like the others and was causing me problems. Maureen’s comment helped me relax knowing that everything would be ok.

Another very helpful piece of info, which relates to wiggle room, was that the cut edge of the panel could be squared up before the next cut. The maker cuts through 6 layers of fabric, which is difficult in any case, but even more difficult when juggling a ruler, a big table you can’t reach across all with spectators watching. I had enough leftover to square the edges, but not enough to make another set of full sized blocks.

I did take what was leftover and make some smaller triangles that I will perhaps sprinkle around the edge.

Peacock Hexies
Peacock Hexies

Each set of triangles is pinned together waiting for its turn under the machine. Some of them look like they will make really interesting blocks. Others are mostly black and may not make it into the quilt.

I also have a number of solids that coordinate with the panel and I may sprinkle those throughout the the quilt. I’ll have to see.

I did start to sew blocks together after cutting them up, but I have not yet made very much progress. I had to try each one to see how I wanted to sew it together. Because you are essentially using triangles, there are three layout options for each block.

The above blocks are some samples. They look a little strange, because they are not sewn into hexagons. Three triangles are sewn together, two sets for each hexagon, then they are pinned together until the layout is finalized when all the blocks are sewn together in rows. I could sew the hexagons together and sew them using set in seams, but I am still not over Attack of the Hexies and I don’t want to go there again just yet.

Yes, I did save a panel to use for part of the back.

I am still a bit scattered with my projects. This will be a good leaders and enders project when I don’t have others ahead of it in line.

Peacocks Moving Forward

Peacock Panel
Peacock Panel

The picture (left) looks like the others I posted, but it is an actual panel that showed up at my house.

I received the panels for the Peacock One Block Wonder. I know I said last time that I bought the panels from Miller’s Dry Goods and I was waiting for them. They came quickly and I am ready to wash and start the project. I have to clear up some others first.

I saw a number of One Block Wonders at the Fair last weekend. In the midst of life, I volunteered (it was too much effort to try and get a replacement and nothing family oriented was happening, so I went) to sell tickets for the BAMQG Opportunity quilt at the Fair. It got me in for free, so I had a half an hour of quilt viewing as well.

Anyway, I saw a number of One Block Wonders at the Fair and was slightly horrified at what I had gotten myself into. I didn’t like what they had done, mostly, which made me question myself. I had to reel myself in and remind myself of Pam’s version and stay the course.

It just occurred to me that I am pushing my comfort level with this project which is what all the back and forth and drama is about.


Going for Broke with Peacocks

Enchanted Plume panel by Timeless Treasures
Enchanted Plume panel by Timeless Treasures

I decided to make the peacock One Block Wonder project. I was really on the fence, as you may have gathered from my previous posts, about making it. I talked about some of my concerns in the last post and had decided not to make it. Things change.

There were a couple of things that made me decide to do it. 1) I was able to find the Timeless Treasure panel on a website. 2) I saw Maureen’s blocks and 3) I really like the colors in this panel.

I was easily able to buy the panel from Miller’s Dry Goods, which I found unexpectedly after doing a simple Google search. The line is fairly new so I wasn’t expecting that it would be available yet. I am still interested in the group of solids shown with the panel, but they are not as important. I think they might make a good addition to the quilt, but I don’t know what the final quilt will look like, which means I don’t know how they would fit in so we’ll have to see.

Maureen read one of my previous posts and brought her One Block Wonder blocks, as well as a piece of the original fabric to show me at the retreat. I didn’t even know she had worked on a One Block Wonder and was very pleased to see what she had done. Pam’s class using a panel seems very different from using fabric, but there are quite a few similarities as well. I was pleased to see how different Maureen’s blocks looked from each other and she confirmed that it is fairly easy to avoid ending up with the same blocks, which adds to the variety of the quilt. We encouraged her to work on her OBW quilt, but she worked on other projects. I would love to see what she does with those blocks.

I do like the colors of the panel. There is no cream, as there was in the other yardage I considered, which is a bonus. I am annoyed at cream backgrounds lately. They look dirty to me.

Maureen assured me, as did looking at her blocks, that the black would not overwhelm the piece. There is plenty of blue, especially turquoise (!!!), in the panel as well.

This is a limited collection for Timeless Treasures and I only bought the panel. If it doesn’t work out, the effort will make a great donation quilt.

More Peacocks

Enchanted Plume Panel by Timeless Treasures
Enchanted Plume Panel by Timeless Treasures

 I had pretty much decided to skip the One Block Wonder this time. I really like how Pam’s piece came out, but wasn’t sure I could replicate her success with work as interesting or cheerful. I have seen others that are not as nice.

When I saw the fabric on sale I looked at it and really made a conscious decision not to make a One Block Wonder project. I thought really hard about the logistics, time and money required to make the project and decided no, not now. I didn’t like the fabric enough to commit. I took the book back to the library and that was that.

Yay! Done deal. Moving on.

Then, yesterday morning, I went on Instagram and saw a new Peacock range by Timeless Treasures (damn you, social media!).

 The colors in the panel are much richer and bolder. The design of the panel is more complex and way more interesting. The motifs are much more stylized and lush. Oh, and, Timeless Treasures, thanks for including those awesome solids that match the panel. Just what I needed. More temptation!

This is another good reason NOT to keep your tablet by your bed.

So, now this idea is back in the thinking pile. Here are some questions for you to answer:

  1. What do you think of the panel?
  2. If you saw it in the store, would you think of me? (since, of course, I am always first on your mind. 😉   )
  3. Do you think a finished pieced piece would be too dark?

Libraries and Peacocks

I had to go deposit some checks the other day. Since I was walking I stopped by the library and borrowed the One Block Wonders book. I started reading it before I went to bed the other night and I am less sure about the project.

Majestic Beauties Peacocks Panel
Majestic Beauties Peacocks Panel

First, the original panel I was thinking of using probably won’t work, because it has too much white in the background. I found the fabric on the site called Melinda’s Fabric Shop. I never used that shop before and they have quite a bit of variety as well as a good layout on their pages.

Since the site had related prints right on the screen showing the panels, I looked through the other prints in the line and there are some others that might work for this project. I like the squares print that looks like tile (Wilmington Majestic Beauties Tiles, #F6898), but that print, according to the book might also not work because there is not enough variety in the colors and shapes.

Peacocks fabric
Peacocks fabric

I kept looking and found another print with the peacocks that has more variety in the design and not as much white in the background. It also incorporates some single feathers and the tile. The heads of the birds are a smaller part of the design, which is also kind of a relief, because I really don’t want heads in many, if any, quilts that I make.

The concern I have with this print is the size of the repeat. I can’t tell from the website so I sent them a message. The book says that there will be too many duplicates if the repeat is too small.

I still haven’t looked through my large pieces of Philip Jacobs fabric, but need to do that before I go out and buy more fabric.

I was pretty excited seeing Pam’s version, but as I read the book, I am less excited. I am not thrilled about sewing more hexagons together either. Been there done that.  The whole project just seems a lot less interesting after reading the book. Perhaps that is what I felt when the book first came out.