A month or so ago, I sent the Russian Rubix off with a friend who sent it to Austria from Zurich. It is better to send packages from within the EU, but beggars can’t be choosers. It is much less expensive to send quilts within Europe. Whenever I find a willing friend, I ask them to send quilts. When I can, I bring quilts with me on trips. Fabric is heavy, so neither option is ideal.
Markus is my ‘ehemalige Papa’, a very good friend who took good care of me when I lived in Austria. We have been friends and in touch since then. I last went to visit in 2016 and realized my Austrian friends needed some quilts.
I didn’t know his wife Monika when I lived there, but I got to know her in 2016 and like her very much. She made me feel very welcome when I last visited.
I didn’t really get to talk to them about the quilt, but will soon. They seemed very appreciative.
The Russian Rubix was accepted into the New Quilts of Northern California. I had to drop off it off this week and took the time to make the drive to New Pieces yesterday. I could have sent it, but decided that if I went sometime late morning – mid-afternoon I could miss most of the traffic and it would be less hassle than cramming it into a box and sending it.
I did my normal morning routine and then headed out.
I don’t go over there that often. The bridge is such a barrier, for some reason. I didn’t grow up with bridges and when I was in college I thought nothing of crossing the bridge every weekend for some adventure. I brought a sandwich just to be on the safe side. 😉
I was pleased to go to New Pieces again. It has been while and, after I had been there for a few minutes, turning in the quilt, I took some time to look around the store. I was really impressed with the selection of fabrics. They had so much fabric – more fabric than I have seen in a shop since I went to QuiltWorks Northwest several years ago. I distinctly remember practically tripping over bolts as we walked around at that shop. It wasn’t quite that bad at New Pieces, but there was a lot of fabric. There was fabric that I had never seen before, which I LOVE! They have lots of Asian fabric, which is not my favorite, but it was more than I had ever seen before.
I was trying to be strict with myself about fabric purchases since the ‘fabric cup’ in my workroom runneth over. I did find a couple of fabrics – one I never expected to find and the same motif in a different colorway – that needed to come home with me. I also found a grey and a fabric for a gift.
The shop is large and they had a good selection of notions, rulers (Creative Grids), books and thread. It was great.
Normally, I don’t like to post until the quilt is completely done, but the binding on is good enough for me this time. I never thought I would finish the binding on this monster, but I finally did. I am only half way through the sleeve, but that will be finished soon.
I am pleased with how it looks. I don’t find the grey background to be too depressing and the back is very fun. Both Kelly and Gerre asked me about the barcode fabric. It is from Timeless Treasures and I bought it awhile ago I found some on Etsy a few weeks ago when Kelly asked.
I was making a trip to see my quilter yesterday so all week I made a huge effort to get the piece done. I had to put on the last border, make a binding, and make the back. I slowly made may way through all the steps a few seams at a time and was able to get the quilt to a place where it was ready to quilt.
The first thing I accomplished was the final border. I am pretty proud of these borders. I did have put a spacer in on two sides to make two sides fit, but I really feel like, as April Rosenthal said, I have mad math skills. Really, I don’t but it was nice of her to say and it is a nice thought to consider since nobody who knows me would say math is a strong point for me. 😉
In the process of the last border, I did have to make more blocks. I forgot to make the last two corner blocks when I was making the last border blocks last weekend (I think??). I think I was distracted by the Black Friday Sew-in Google Hangout. I was trying to do something rather rote so I could pay attention to what the others were doing, but apparently I can’t count, sew and Hang Out all at once.
The back and top are too large for me to photograph on my design wall, so Friend Julie and Colleen were kind enough to hold both up when we brought it over to Colleen’s to be quilted.
I was really pleased with the photo (despite being taken on my phone), but also with the way the quilt came out. The spacers don’t really show up much and I think the top looks really great.
We talked a lot about the quilting. It will be quilted in Signature Thread in the Cotton Candy colorway, which is a variegated that gets used on my quilts a lot, because it blends with my fabric color palette pretty well. I also chose bamboo batting this time, because Colleen said regardless of the density of the quilting, the quilt will still be drapable. This might be a bed quilt, so drapability is good. Also, I have been wanting to try bamboo.
The back went really well. I used a big piece of IKEA fabric that Kelly got for me. I thought I had 6 yards, but think I ended up with three, thus the piecing of the other part of the back. I used up the background fabric and most of a half yard of the barcode fabric, plus the stitch purple to add a little width and provide some distinction between the two halves of the quilt.
The stitch purple is a bit of a precious fabric and I was reluctant to use it lest I need it for a ‘better’ project, but I decided I didn’t want to use ‘bad’ or ‘ugly’ fabrics for the back because I still have to look at the back and I want the back to be nice, too. And, of course, there is always more fabric.
This is a big project and it is finally finished. WHEW!
Friday was the Black Friday Sew-in. I didn’t do anything in terms of giveaways or prizes. No time this year and no prizes. I don’t seem to be a reviewer for Lark any more since they closed their NC office and my contact was laid off. C’est la vie.
I worked on the Russian Rubix for the amount of time I had to sew. I wasn’t able to sew all day on Friday, but I am pleased with the progress I made. My progress:
I finished all but two blocks for the borders. I thought I made all the blocks I needed, but realized, after putting the last border together, that I had forgotten about the corners.
I sewed another border on. Before I actually sewed the border and kept it there, I sewed it on, ripped it off and sewed it on again, but there are now three borders on the RR quilt.
As you can see from above, the top is starting to look like something other than a floppy mess. I am thinking of using Kelly’s letter fabric as the back. I have fabric I may as well use it. I have a nice large chunk and that might make the back easier than piecing a back. Right now I need some easy.
Did you read the UFO post? I was really thinking about this project when I wrote it. This project is becoming painful. However, I refuse to let it beat me. After talking with Friend Julie a week or so ago, I was ready to dive back in. It is often easier to move on with a project after getting someone’s perspective.
I made the top border including the corners, which fit over the side borders. This was not helpful, as they had nothing on which to rest since I hadn’t made the side borders yet. Thus, I decided I needed to make the side borders as I thought it would be easier to put on the top and bottom borders which had the corners if there was enough fabric on the sides to accommodate the corners.
I decided I want this design for the border on this quilt. This decision means that I have to be ok with the idea that two of the borders may have to have a spacer to make them fit. I am not 100% sure the sizing won’t work, but it looks like it won’t. We’ll see as I make more parts of the border, sew bits together, trim other bits and the seam allowances are taken up.
I had a few hours on Sunday and spent the time making a side border. It was really nice to just be sewing. I feel like I haven’t had much time to sew lately, so that was part of the reason I enjoyed it so much.
I have a bit left to do, but essentially I finished the side border.
P.S. The piece, as usual, is too large for my design wall, so I had to use tape to keep the border up on the wall. that is the first time I have done that, but I doubt it will be the last because of the size of the pieces I seem to make.
TFQ said the nicest thing to me on Sunday. It went something like “you should sew. I will press for you” And we did. I worked on the Russian Rubix border and finished the Church Ladies Apron that was making me crazy. More on that later.
I tried to get the whole top border pieced, but couldn’t quite make it. I made good progress and am pleased.
I was worried that the math wouldn’t work out, but I think it will. I wish I had made the sides first so I could sew one on and make sure that it worked. Instead I have to wait until I make both sides and sew them on. Oh well. I’ll plan better next time.
No, I probably won’t. 😉
Regardless, I think that it will work and it will take some time for me to get the border made. In the meantime, it looks nice and I am pleased.
I made some progress over the weekend and it felt good. The whole top is sewn together and I have started work on the border. I didn’t have enough time to do as much I as I would have liked, but I have to be happy with what I was able to do. I really wanted to keep working on the border and will again this weekend or next.
I am not the sort of person who measures out every little piece, so I can just hope that the border works out. I will know when I get to the end of the top row. I know all you math people are screaming about how crazy that would make you, but that is the way I work. It could be that I am making trouble for myself to allow myself the opportunity to fix it. I don’t think so, but you never know.
I did some sewing on the Russian Rubix, but not enough to call the top finished yet. I don’t have dates for finishing the top planned. It will get done when it get done.
I moved around some of the blocks with the blanks, because there were too many blank blocks next to each other. I am making progress. I have 16 blocks together and am sewing two to three together as I have a moment.
Lots of stuff is about process with me lately. That includes the Russian Rubix. I worked on it, finally, over the weekend and came up with, what I think, is a good idea: Dropping out.
By dropping out, I mean that I replaced some of the quarter squares with blank pieces of the background fabric and allowed the pieces to float. There wasn’t much else I could do with this very distinctive pattern and it seemed like the best solution after not really liking the idea I floated last time.
I made a chart of where the blank areas were when I took the last photos. I have moved things around a bit again, though.
You might think that I did a lot of amazing work between Monday and now, but really I made the blocks I showed Monday over the Labor Day weekend and the most recent work, which I will tell you about in this post, was done this past Sunday. It just so happens that I have a lot to say on the blog and haven’t been able to keep up. I could double up topics on posts, but it makes everything so messy in terms of tagging and categorizing and finding posts later. Some of my earlier posts include multiple topics and I don’t like linking to them as I don’t know if you, dear reader, will feel like wading through a long post to find a specific topic I meant you to find. It’s all about you, you know. 😉
So, I got an idea in my mind and as soon as I did the Hell Binding for the FOTY 2013, I put the Russian Rubix blocks up on the design wall to see what my idea would look like.
The idea is to break up one row of blocks and make them look a bit off from the other blocks so the quilt is not as boring. I would put some of the grey in between the full ring rows in order to highlight the difference.
I put the separated blocks off center from the full blocks. I don’t think there is much differentiation and the parts still look like blocks and the blocks still look like rings.
Seeing it all up on the wall like this makes me think that I should just put the whole thing together and be done with it. I have already done a lot of work on this project and I don’t want to ruin it. I am also ready to be done with it.
Alas, I have a ton of pieces and parts that which have not yet been made into blocks. What would I do? Make a second one? Cut squares out of all those octagons? Donate to charity?
Nota bene: I was kind of shocked that there was a dearth of posts at hte beginning of August. I feel like I have been working on this project all the time. I realized that I had been making parts with leaders and enders and not really making discernible progress until I put a bunch of blocks together.
Another project I advanced was the Russian Rubix project. I made the six blocks you see on the left, but I also made parts for other blocks.
In the course of making the parts, I got an idea to make the quilt more than just a bunch of blocks. As soon as I get the FOTY 2013 top off the wall, I will try it out and take a photo.
The above is just a Photoshopped version of what I am talking about, but I think that adding in a couple of rows like the above, perhaps spaced with a thin piece of background in the middle of the blocks will make the quilt a lot more interesting. We’ll have to see.
These blocks had been sewing into quarters and placed on my design wall, where they stayed like that for weeks. I think I had some sort of grand illusions of adding in different colors or something. Last weekend, I just sewed them together, photographed them and put them in the pile with the other blocks.
There will be other opportunities for messing with color on this project and I was sick of looking at these blocks. I also wanted to make progress on shuffling around the stuff on my design wall.
I sewed a lot of triangles to octagons, but many of them are not finished. For the ones that were finished, I started to put them together into quarter blocks and hang them on the design wall. I thought I might be able to sew a few more blocks, but the quarters were just about all I could manage.
As you could see from my Design Wall post last week, I worked a lot with cool colors, which meant that the quarters had a lot of cool colors. I tried to keep the cool colors in each block to a minimum, but still have some arranging to do.
I am still wondering about the ratios of colors in blocks. I have a lot more warm colors to work with. Intuitively that seems to mean that I should put more warm fabrics in each block. Practically, I don’t know.
As I mentioned, I was avoiding the Petrillo bag on Saturday and ended up working on this project.
One of the annoying things about this project is that it takes 36 seams to make a block. This means that I sew and sew and sew before I make any progress.
On the good side I sew and sew and sew and then, all of a sudden, I have 6 blocks done. It is nice to see the blocks once they are done.
I have been trying to work through each color and then attach it to a different color to avoid duplication when making the 2-octagon subunits. It doesn’t always work and will look better once I have all the blocks done. The problem is that, in a picture like the one above, it looks like I have used the same fabrics in all the blocks.
To a certain extent I have and it bugs me, but then I remember that I am not going to, necessarily, put the blocks above next to each other in the quilt.
I also get bored with the same fabrics, so I try and move through the stack of colors so I have more from which to choose. As a result, I have some quarter block units to put together still and octagons waiting to be paired with other octagons.
The progress continues, though I only have 10 blocks at the moment. I will keep sewing and make more.
I have been piecing parts of the Russian Rubix blocks together, but not putting as many blocks together as one might expect.
I am trying to sew grey to all of the octagons, so I have a lot of choices when I go to make the blocks. It is a good plan, but doesn’t always work, because I get bored and want to make blocks.
So, I make a few blocks then admonish myself for having no self control and go back to making the pieces and parts for awhile.
I am pleased with the group of fabrics I put together. It is fun to see the different fabrics next to each other and in different combinations. I made one small booboo on one of these blocks: I put the same fabric in one block twice.
In the grand scheme, I don’t think it will matter since there will be several octagons next to each other and the different quarters of the blocks will create new rings when they are put together. Still, I want you to know that mistakes happen and life goes on. I did consider ripping it out and putting in a different quarter block (2 octagons). I may still, but for now I am going to leave it. I really don’t think people will notice much.
Also, SIL said that the light blues dropped out because of their value on the grey. She was right, but there is something in leaving them in that creates a bit of movement. I plan to space them away from each other, if I can, when I lay out all the blocks.
I had three of the four shown finished for a long time, but I couldn’t seem to get the fourth one finished. Finally, I did and wanted to take a photo so I could remove these blocks from the design wall and fill up the space with new blocks.