I was just beginning to wonder where the Triple Star and Fabric of the Year 2016 were when Colleen contacted me and said they were done. Thus, the two quilts came back from my longarmer on Friday. I knew they were coming but was surprised when they actually showed up. Not sure why since they were expected. I think life is busy and I am not keeping track of the details very well.
Fortunately, it was a pleasant surprise and it will be even more pleasant when I sew down the bindings and sleeve (on the FOTY 2016) and cross these babies off my list.
The Triple Star quilting came out really well. I like the variation that Colleen did. She quilted one motif into the stars and a different one into the background, accentuating the stars.
She did a simple design on Fabric of the Year 2016, which is also fine. I know she was thinking about using her computer. All over designs work very well for this type of design, but I am not a big fan of computerized quilting. Perhaps I am stuck in the Dark Ages of Quilting, but there you have it. Nobody can complain if I am willing to pay.
I finally was able to get some people to hold up the T-Shirt Quilt so I could photograph it. I finished it at the beginning of November, I think.
The boys would have held it up for me, but I did want it to be a bit of a surprise for the Young Man. He knew I was making it, but I don’t think he knew it was finished.
My BIL and nephew are both over 6’2″, so it was pretty easy for them to hold it up. They are inexperienced quilt holders, though, so I had to keep reminding them to get out of the photo, hold the quilt straight and taut, etc. It was kind of funny.
I was very glad to have waited to give it to the Young Man at his family party. His face registered “ho hum another quilt” but the adults oohed and aahed and really looked at it closely, which was gratifying.
The only design choice the Young Man suggested was that I don’t put the Blue’s Clues t-shirt on the front. I could work with that, thus it is on the back.
One friend can’t get over my backs. 😉 This one is fairly tame, but she has seen other quilts, which have much more piecing. She loves them and that makes some of the drama of piecing the backs worthwhile. Some day I’ll make her a quilt.
After he returned from Scout Camp, the Young Man was happy to hear that I finished his T-shirt Quilt top. After writing several book reviews that were overdue, I spent quite a bit of time working on the back.
It is finally done and I just have to make the binding before I move on. I don’t have anymore of the grey left, so it will have to be green or black or some other color the Young Man chooses.
The pictures are terrible, because the boys didn’t have time hold the top and back up for me. I don’t have a picture of the back, though I hope to get one once the quilt is quilted.
That means that the T-shirt quilt has be OFF the design wall. I am not folding it up and putting back in the UFO area. It has to be ready to go to the quilter. And THAT means that I have to work on it.
So, I am working on the border. The green border is made up of 1″ wide strips, alternating green and black, of varying lengths. which is very thin.
Thin=tricky. Tricky because when chain piecing or sewing using the leaders/enders technique, there isn’t enough thread between the pieces to help keep them from unravelling. At 1″ wide, there are only a few stitches to hold the black and green pieces together. Not chain piecing feels awkward and wasteful. Thus, the strips are very fragile. I pulled several apart as I was sewing them to the larger quilt. Of course, I fixed them, but what a pain. I could have solved the problem by back stitching at the beginning and the end of each border piece, but that would have been tedious, too.
Why put up the with drama, you ask?
Once completed, the border is very effective. The border is intended to “float” in larger borders on either side. You can see the floating effect in the photo above. In this case, the two thin green & black borders will “float” in the grey. Such a border adds interest to the quilt as well
It is, however, really a pain to make. Did I mention that the strips are 1″ wide?
I am pretty sure you will sincerely dislike me when I say this, but I am going to say it anyway. Thin borders need tightly woven fabric.
Yes, thin borders need tightly woven fabric.
Some fabrics tend to unravel and some of the fabrics I am using seem to be unraveling more than others. The Modas are particularly bad in this area. You may love the Moda designs, pre-cuts and designers, but their fabrics are somewhat loosely woven, which means that they tend to ravel.
If you have a 6″ square and one thread frays off the edge, who cares? It won’t matter, because you can easily account for it. With a 1″ strip one thread fraying can make a difference in how straight the border is. I could have used Fray Check, but didn’t think of it.
Tightly woven fabric tends to fray less and, thus, be easier to use when working with thin pieces. Kona cottons seem to be tightly woven as do a lot of hand dyed fabrics. It is pretty easy to tell tightly woven fabric, because it isn’t as easy to see through.
I have only a bit to go to finish the top, then on to the label and the giant border. Wish me luck.
I worked on the border for the t-shirt quilt on Sunday. I have about 8 really long seams left before I can start on the back of this quilt. I really dislike long seams so putting the borders of this quilt together is some kind of torture.
The Young Man designed the border. I was all ready to make a floating square border when the Y.M. told me what he wanted, which was two thin strips of fabric surrounded by the grey.
I did a border like this on the Water Kaleidoscope quilt, so I showed it to him. In that quilt, the thin strips are a variety of oranges, pinks and yellows (I don’t have a picture of this quilt. Sorry).
After looking at it (and he really did contemplate), he decided that he would rather have black and green strips alternating than the blues, greens and red that he, initially, selected.
The fickle mind of a creative in action!
The middle photo is a detail of the corner. The piece is very heavy and won’t stick to the design wall, so I have it pinned.
The Y.M. told me he wanted the rows to line up up so the black in the first row touched, but was slightly offset from the black in the second row. I told him that I would use random sizes and see how it went. I think I can, mostly, accommodate his wish, but it won’t be as precise as he imagines.
I gave him my scrap bin to rummage through. This was my way of having him pick out the greens and blacks. He came up with some nice blacks and greens, which were very different than those I would have picked. The greens were all very much in the same chartreuse color line (I am thinking of Joen Wolfrom Color Wheel when I say line, rather than a fabric line). I don’t have enough of the types of greens he chose in the scrap bin for the second colored border. I’ll have him pick some fabrics out of my green bin. I am sure I have more of that chartreuse color.
This quilt feels like it is taking me so much longer than it should. On the other hand, I think I sew faster than most and have higher expectations of myself.
The Young Man is pleased so far. That is what counts.
For those of you who do not follow me on Twitter (@artquiltmaker, if you are so inclined) will not know about my commuting woes. Our local interurban train system is on strike, which makes for longer and more tiring commutes. As a result, I have not had much inclination to sew after work or even write much. I don’t often sew much in the evenings anyway, but occasionally I will cut or press fabric, sew a seam or two or do something.
Still, over the last week, I was able to get the center of the T-shirt quilt mostly together. I need to put on a couple of borders to anchor all of the stretch, but, essentially, the main part is done.
I am also considering a pieced border. I am thinking about 4″ squares surrounded by the grey speckle, but we will see.
The biggest problem with this quilt is keeping the &^%$#@ thing square. I have, actually given up, because each time I trim, I have to trim somewhere else. I can see the sense in sashing all the blocks first.
I started this quilt a long time ago, so when I pulled all of the t-shirts out last week, I wasn’t sure where I was or what to do next. The top photo shows the pieces to use as a start.
I had already trimmed off the colors, cuffs and backs, so I trimmed the other t-shirts in prepartion for interfacing them. That was a trip down memory lane. The small sizes of the shirts are hard to reconcile with the giant boy-Young Man who lives with me now.
I spent most of the day on Saturday trimming the t-shirts and pressing interfacing onto the back of each t-shirt panel. I chose a grey pebbly print that I bought before the Young Man was born to make the shirts a uniform size. After sewing sashing to a couple of the panels, I found that that technique was not working for me. I decided to just fill in between the panels. I had thought about sashing each panel and making little stars as the cornerstones. I am not sure it is going to work, though. I think I just need to fill in between the t-shirts and have stars quilted into it.
When I cut the t-shirts, I was forced to cut them all to a different size based on the design on the front, which is the main part of the quilt’s design. Looking at the all the designs and brands, while working through this process, made me think of the Young Man’s interests and how they have changed. I do think I will offer to make him another t-shirt quilt to encompass his current t-shirts, which reflect his current interests. However, his size won’t change as much during the 4 years of high school as it did during the K-8 period.
In a way, this quilt is about the fabric. The stretchy t-shirt fabric. It is not terrible to sew once the interfacing has been applied, but the cutting is tricky. I also find that sometimes the design sticks to my sewing table as I sew.
I really thought I had more t-shirts, but I guess I was brutal about the ones I chose. the Young Man also wore a lot of plain colored t-shirts as he got older, which are not interesting in a t-shirt quilt.
I almost didn’t cut up the Winnie-the-Pooh sweatshirt (dark blue, lower right) as it was so adorable and I remember chasing after the Boy trying to put it on him when he was super tiny. There are bits of schmutz on some of them, but I guess that just means they were used and well loved.
The boy came in and looked at the layout Sunday afternoon, as I was working on it. He liked what I had done so far. He did, however, ask me to remove the Blue’s Clues t-shirt, so I will put that one on the back. It is probably a good thing as my design wall is full and I would like to keep the size of the piece to the size of the design wall.
The bottom photo is what I ended up with after working most of the day Sunday on putting the piece together. I am particularly proud of the section with the smaller pieces (middle right).
can move on to other projects without guilt (not that I have much anyway)
The bad part is that I am out of hand work. Really out, not just sort of out. I am diligently quilting on the Garden quilt so the beading and embroidery on that quilt can be my hand work, but I am not there yet.
Still, I am thrilled to be done with another project. The Young Man piled this quilt on top of the other ones and has slept under it for a few nights already. I took it to BAMQG without washing it and hope no boy smell permeated the room! People liked it.
As I mentioned in a previous post, back in July, this quilt is all about the fabric. I got down to it over Labor Day weekend and made the top. I still need to add borders, but the top is basically done.
You can see that the Disappearing 9 patch block means that there is an automatic border on two sides of the quilt. I don’t want a border on two sides of the quilt. I want the border (a border in this case) to be symmetrical, so I added a row of rectangles and squares.
These blocks actually are quite large. Each square in the block is 6.5″. Once you cut them into quarters they become a manageable size.
I was consistent about placement of red and black, so that the red would end up as cornerstones and the black would be the sashing. I fiddled around with the arrangement quite a bit, as I am wont to do. I wanted to vary the food prints that were next to each other as well as the location of the blacks.
This is what you get once you cut a 9 patch block into quarters and rearrange them. In fairness and honesty, the above are quarters from 4 different 9 patches. You would see the same red, if they were from the same 9 patch, but you get the point. Even if this was from the same 9 patch, there would be variety, because of the different blacks and the different focus fabrics.
Per TFQ’s instructions, I did chunk this quilt together. That method of putting together quilts works so much better for me than sewing blocks together in rows. I also find it easier to keep my blocks placed where I want them placed.
I started cutting when I found myself starting to wash and iron food fabrics AND when I started to run short of leaders and enders.
As you know I made an effort to get the Farmer’s Market fabrics put out by RJR. I was able to buy a nice selection in Pennsylvania. I also scrounged a bunch from my mom when she was done with her food quilts.
After that, it was time to do a test. I want to do a Disappearing 9 Patch. I saw Robin doing one at the CQFA 2011 Retreat and she got a lot of bang for her buck. I want something that won’t take forever, but won’t be boring. First, though I wanted to try it out.
I am thinking I will make the real squares 6.5″. I didn’t want to commit that much fabric to a test, so I made the test group much smaller. The squares for each part of the test 9 Patch are 2.5″ cut. The above shows you the look I am thinking of using: food fabrics in the corners, white on black print on the middle outsides and red in the center. The Young Man gave his seal of approval, though wanted to know where the pizza fabric was, so I’ll have to rethink not including pizza fabric (it isn’t part of Farmer’s Market).
The blocks look good and I think my idea will work. As I said the real blocks will be on a much larger scale. I think that the rearrangement of the blocks in that kind of infinity pattern will look good as well. Things to which I need to pay attention:
not to many green food fabrics in the same block
cut up lots of reds and blacks, if I really want to get moving
This is another way I could arrange the block parts. It has kind of a self sashing thing going. I don’t think I would want to do this unless I added more sashing to the center, which would be a lot more work. I don’t see any reason to cut up the 9 Patch in the Disappearing 9 Patch manner if I am just going to add more sashing to the middle. I might as well cut squares and sash them.
I really should have put a quarter or a dime next to these blocks so you can get an idea of how large they are, but I didn’t think of it before I took the photos. As a result, I don’t know if you will be able to to tell how large the final cut patches are?
As I iron fabric, I cut these large squares out and set them aside. I was finishing up Stars for San Bruno #2 when I first cut these, so I didn’t cut any black/whites or reds. I’ll get to it.
I have been cutting patches for Julie‘s Tumbler quilt for awhile. It seems only fair since she cut a boatload of hexagons for my Eye Spy quilt. Periodically, I get a bunch together and give them to her when I see her. They fit very nicely into a Recchiuti caramel box, so she gets a nice smell of chocolate along with her Tumblers. It occurred to me that I should surprise her sometime and give her a box of the actual chocolates!
I kind of like having a list of patches to cut as I work through new fabric or fabric I am using. There is something nice about collecting a bunch of blocks and then putting them all together at the end of the year or the end of some other timeframe.
The other day, Julie wrote about getting close to the end in a recent post. She is struggling with the same issue I had and that is the edge. When I was finishing up the Eye Spy, I didn’t want to slice off several hexagons to make a straight edge. That is the suggestion that many resources had for the edge of an Eye Spy.
I also didn’t really want to sew a binding around all of those weird angles. I did that once and once was enough. The one weird angle in the Chocolate Box was enough for me. As you may remember, I did some triangle gymnastics on the Eye Spy to finish the edge in order to end up with a straight edge.
I think this is a case of thinking about what design would be best for the quilt. Chopping off hexagons that were fussy cut to include an image would be jarring, I think. If I had thought ahead, I might have made the edge hexagons a solid or tone-on-tone fabric and not worried about chopping them off. Solid fabrics might have provided a kind of border effect.
I am happy with my solution. It wasn’t the easiest solution, but I think it looks good. I am sure Julie will come up with a good solution as well.
I don’t know where this month has gone. Frankly, I am glad February is coming to a close, but I still wonder what happened to the days.
My next longarm day is March 2 and the Eye Spy is in line to be quilted. As a result, I needed to make a back and get the Eye Spy in shape for finishing. I put the diamonds in to fill in the diamond shaped space, so that I wouldn’t have to hack through any of the hexagons (which is what most patterns recommend). I didn’t want a zig zaggy border, so I started out by cutting off the excess from the diamonds. I had intended just to leave the edges straight after cutting – no borders.
While cutting the diamonds in half, I realized that the middle of those diamonds was one big bias edge. This brand spanking new bias in addition to 3 sides of each hexagon being on the bias was asking for trouble during the quilting process. The top needed some stabilization, so I added some borders and corners to the odd shaped corners of the top.
The little star printed piece is the patch I had to insert into the corner to make the corner a 90 degree angle. You can see it really well above.
Above is a picture of half of the top. The quilt top is another monster and I gave up on moving furniture to fit the whole thing into one picture. I am going to have to think up a way to photograph whole quilts, especially these huge things I seem to be making.
I used a new (to me) method of measuring for borders. I measured width-wise (across) and lengthwise (down) in three places on the quilt and cut the borders to the average size. I did have to ease, but the top is flat and I am happy about that. I found one little tuck that I will need to fix before the longarming. All in all it worked pretty well.
I acquired the crocodile fabric a long time ago, perhaps in the early 1990s from a woman named Joan who was getting rid of everything. It is a Joe Boxer fabric and I never saw anything like it. I also never heard of Joe Boxer selling fabric, but they totally should, because their fabrics have such a sense of humor.
At one point, I thought I would cut out the alligators (crocodiles??) and applique’ them on something, but the inspiration never struck. Also, I only have about a half yard, which limited what project I could complete using the fabric. I came across the fabric over the weekend and proposed it as a backing fabric. The Child took a liking to it, so I will use it as part of the backing. Shopping in my fabric closet can be fun!
I had some leftover hexagons, so I put some straight edges on them and will also use this piece for the back. I need to find a nice way of making this bit play nicely with the crocs.
The first order of business this week (after all the cooking and tidying, of course) was to, once and for all, decide how I was going to put the quilt together. Below, you can see I have arranged the ‘blocks’ (two equilateral triangles and a hexagon) two different ways.
On the right the blocks were oriented with the triangles on the top and the bottom of the hexagons (Option A). On the left, the blocks are arranged with one triangle in the upper right hand corner and one triangle in the lower left hand corner (Option B).
I discussed previously that I thought the edge would be a problem. I finally decided that I would go with Option A. Mostly, I decided that I could better figure out how to make the edges straight using the diamonds. With Option B, the side edges seemed like they would really be a problem and I would end up hacking them off, which I didn’t really want to do. You can see the edge that seemed to be a problem on the photo above left.
I stood staring at the above piece for a long time trying to figure out what do next and how to deal with the edges. I decided that I would only hack parts off as a last resort and I was looking at pieces for the edges to see which motifs wouldn’t be compromised if I cut them in half. That still left me with the problem of how to finish the edges so that they could be bound in some normal manner. As the picture above shows, those points on the top and bottom don’t qualify as easy to bind. As an aside, I have no problem with doing difficult bindings, but there has to be a design purpose as in Pink Spider Looking at the Stars from my early days of quiltmaking.
This is a close up of one section so you can better see the connections between the pieces.
This is one unit. After finally deciding on a plan to put the blocks together, I began to look at a unit and see what it needed to create a flat top edge. One thing I did with a hexagon was to sew one triangle to the bottom only. That creates one unit with a flat edge.
Having successfully created one flat top piece, I sewed a triangle on to the bottom of another. It wouldn’t butt up to the unit I already created, so I sewed a triangle to the side. Doing this made me realize that I needed to decide on which angle I would be sewing the units together. Once I made that decision I would have to strive to sew triangles to the top pieces to make straight lines to match that angle.
By sewing the black and beige unit to the larger diamond unit, I was able to to make the flat top longer and keep the straight line angle for sewing additional units together in place.
My challenges didn’t end there, though. I had to work out the next section. The way I started (above) obviously wouldn’t work if I wanted to avoid set in seams.
In the overall scheme, the above depiction might work, depending on the way I sewed the piece together and how the rows lined up.
I sewed another red triangle on to the opposite side. This gave me a straight line. With this succeeding, I started to realize that I only needed to sew a triangle on to the bottom and the left side of each top piece. You can see how the black and beige piece fits with the tropical drinks patch.
Above you can see the macro view of how I will sew the lines of the units together. I will sew from left to right.
I still have to make the rest of the top and that is what I am working on now. Stay tuned!
This week was kind of crazy week work-wise for us. As I result, last night was the first time I got back to the Eye Spy. I spent the time with a bit of sewing, a bit of cutting and lot of puzzling. I am puzzling through the best way to put it together. As you may know, I like to jump right in and start sewing. This gets me into trouble sometimes, but I do enjoy just sewing. Puzzling through problems isn’t so bad as I can’t always visualize the whole process. Of course, if the problems become too problematic then the quilt pieces usually go back into the closet.
I started working on the sewing on that Sunday where I introduced the piece but I didn’t take the edges into account. I am very much into my self bordering technique and would like to use it here. I used it on the Interlocking Triangles quilts and some others. Essentially it means that I don’t like to hack off bits of a border block to end the quilt.
I attempted to work on this yesterday while I was sewing triangles to hexagons. My dilemma, defined, is that I really don’t want to just randomly hack off the edges to make a straight side. Nor do I want to apply a binding to an edge that needs a miter every two inches.
First, I broke the hexagons I have sewed into two groups. Left, the pieces are arranged in a way where the triangles are pointing up. In this orientation, there are no straight edges. The side edges could be okay with a slightly irregular edge made by putting the piece together in chunks using diamonds (see far left).
The top and bottom edges would be a piecing nightmare, however, because I would have to inset triangles somehow. I can imagine that this would be a top that ended up becoming a permanent member of the UFO/ WIP list.
Right, the hexagons are arranged in a way where the triangles are pointed to the left. This is the way that Simply Quilts suggested putting this top together and what the directions on the package of templates suggest. Still, hacking off the edges to make this work makes me cringe. I was considering putting fabrics that were allover prints on the edges so the mutilation wouldn’t be as brutal. I don’t know.
Hack off the top & bottom or the sides, depending on layout.
Choose to piece the quilt in chunks using diamonds and do inset piecing to make a straight edge along the top and bottom.
Deal with very uneven edge in the binding process.
Add some other shaped pieces to the edge in a uniform color (more red?) to make the edge square.
Left is a detail of the corner of the piece with the section I have sewn together and arranged with the triangles placed pointing left.
I’ll have to troll the web and look at what others have done.