I have been on a finishing jag since my post about projects on my mind. I want things out of the half finished stage. I want to feel ok about starting new projects, not that that is really a problem.
I am not finished with anything completely yet, but I am in the process. Three quilts are at the quilter and in the past few days I have finished two more, which will be dropped off at the quilter on the 25th.
I took the FOTY 2011 off of my portable design wall after finishing the back and, instead of taking the portable design wall down as planned, I put the Zig Zaggy quilt up. I have to say that I really, really like having 2 design walls. I only had two sides of the back to finish to make the back big enough to quilt the quilt. Since I was in finishing mode, I just sewed some extra pieces on to the back. Now I will make the binding and be done with it.
I like the front, and the back started out as a good idea, but I stopped working on it because sewing all of those leftover strips was a big pain. I am not doing that again. I am sure I can find a use for strips. I had a much better time finishing the FOTY 2010 back. I used large pieces and it was a lot easier. That is my new mantra for backs: big pieces of fabric.
Here is a the detail of the top. The top came out smaller than I thought. When I was working on it, it seemed huge. Now it seems tiny. Compared to the FOTY 2010, it is small. I guess it is all about perspective.
I have had some interest in the Zig Zaggy Quilt. I have had a lot of nice comments. While, it is not a completely original design, being related to the Oh Fransson! New Wave pattern and the Happy Zombie variation, I thought you might be interested in my version of how to make this quilt.
First, the differences: Oh Fransson’s pattern using templates. Happy Zombie uses the EZ Quilt wedge ruler. My variation uses the longer Philips Wedge Ruler.
Basic Sewing Kit
2 Jelly Rolls (one Jelly Roll will get you 4 rows and a bit of fabric for the border)
sashing fabric (not sure how much you need for this project. I bought a 5 yard piece of Kona Snow and have been hacking bits off for various projects)
Mary Ellen Best Press
10 degree wedge ruler (www.phillipsfiberart.com)
quarter inch foot to fit your sewing machine.
iron & iron board
First, I cut strips of the Kona Snow, selvedge to selvedge, 1.5″ wide. I probably would cut them 1.75″ or 2″ wide if I were to make this quilt again.
One by one, lay out your strips on your ironing board. Spray with Mary Ellen’s Best press and press with a hot iron. Follow the directions on the MEBP.
After pressing the Jelly Roll strips with Mary Ellen’s Best Press, take your strip over to the cutting station and trim off the selvedges. Double the strip. Place the ruler on strip lining up your preferred ruler line with the bottom of the strip. My orange post it was used to remind me where I was cutting each time.
Use a small ruler and line it up against the short end of the wedge ruler. Remove the wedge ruler and trim the strips (remember your strip is doubled) to the desired length.
It is important to lay out the pieces, before sewing, so you know which way the wedges are sewn to the sashing strips. I also found this layout helpful in order to keep the colors in the correct order.
Carefully line up the wedge skinny end or fat end towards you depending on the orientation of the wedge and sew without pushing or pulling the fabric. Remember you are working with bias.
I sew each of the wedges to one sashing piece in assembly line/ chain piecing fashion. After I sew, I press and then lay the wedges in order by color on the floor. You could also use a design wall. Once that is done, all wedges need to be sewn together.
After stitching, I lay the two pieces on the ironing board. The piece towards which the seam will be press should be on top. In the photo above, I am pressing towards the color/wedge and NOT towards the sashing. I spray lightly with Mary Ellen’s Best Press and PRESS (not iron) the seam in the correct direction.
Before trimming, lay the two pieces and eyeball how they would be sewn together.
After eyeballing the sashing, move the pieces aside and trim the sashing so it aligns with the top and bottom of the wedge. This may seem wasteful, but it is a lot easier than trying line up perfectly cut sashing with a diagonal line.
After trimming, line up the corner (bottom right in the picture above) on the sashing so that when you put the pieces in the machine there is a little v that is approximately 1/4″ from the edge (bottom in the picture above). You may not be able to see the v as it may be on the bottom.
Above is what the trimmed wedge group will look like.
After trimming the ends off the wedge group, put it back in it’s place in line, so you don’t get confused about where these colors go. You want to ensure that the colors are consistent lengthwise down the quilt.
Keep sewing the groups together until you have a whole row.
Once you have two rows of wedges completed you need to sew the rows together.
In the above photo, you can see that I carefully pressed the seams in the same direction on all the pieces in this row (towards the sashing). The row on the bottom has the seams carefully pressed in the opposite direction (towards the wedges). In that way, I was able to nest them together before sewing the row. This helped the pieces to line up when I put the rows together.
Notice: LOTS of pins!
When putting the rows together, pinning is very important. Also, using a stilleto and sewing slowly really helped.
Look! The world didn’t end because I pressed the seam joining the two rows together open. It makes the join of the two rows lay flatter. If you have gotten anything from this post it should be that pressing is really an important aspect of putting this quilt together.
You want success? Press. Carefully.
I left two edges wiggly. I didn’t feel like squaring them up.
This project was, in some respects, all about the fabric and using a whole line of fabric. However, it became more about the piecing as I worked through the rows. It was a pleasant challenge to cut, press, sew, press, trim sew and press. I was able to use the bias to put the rows together so the colors would match. I think it looks nice.
I kept the bias and the softness of the Moda Jelly Roll strips under control with Mary Ellen’s Best Press.
You cannot see the edges because I had to take the picture at an angle. I even stood on my desk and wasn’t tall enough to snap the top straight on.
I want you to see the edges, because I want your opinion on what I should do for the borders.
First, I am only applying a border to two sides. The other two sides have a slightly angular edge and I want to keep that as a design element.
Second, I am not much into chopping off edges, even if that is the piecing pattern. I prefer self bordering my quilts, which finishes out the design from the middle. This is a different kind of quilt, which makes me think self bordering isn’t possible here.
Third, if self bordering is possible, I don’t know that I have the patience.
Fourth, the spiky border, a la Gwen Marston, seems to too spiky for this piece.
In the second photo, you can see the two edges, where the color ends abruptly, that I will border. My first thought is to sew some strips of Kona Snow on them and then add soem color somehow. Fan like elements, perhaps?
I had some fun over the weekend piecing the Zig Zaggy quilt. I felt a great deal of joy in my sewing this weekend. I know that sounds weird. It is a weird word to use for sewing, but I can’t think of another word that expresses how I was feeling. I am in love with piecing and color right now and simply, as I said earlier this week, cannot. get. enough.
I decided early in the weekend to try to piece the entire quilt over the weekend. When TFQ and I are together we can get an entire quilt top done. We do large wall quilts or up to single bed sized in a weekend. I got over the idea of finishing the entire quilt top over the weekend, but I made significant progress. Best of all I had fun.
The first order of business was to spend some time piecing the first row together. I had to figure out how to do it.This way of putting together the quilt goes completely against what I told Frances not more than a month ago. However, this quilt is not really block based, so it has to go together in rows, I think. I tried a couple of different things, but finally settled on a process for the fourth row.
Piecing the first row together meant that I, first, needed to organize the colors and the fabric designs in such a way that there was variety in the layout. Once I got that task finished, the rest was just rote sewing. Not completely rote sewing, but enough to force me to keep my mind from wandering too much.
Some mind wandering is always in order and I spent some time thinking about the border. I’d like to do a spiky border a la Gwen Marston. The more I think about it and the more I look at the four finished rows, the more I think I won’t do it. We’ll see.
The Zig Zaggy quilt is one on which I made minor progress this weekend. In between other obligations, I worked on two Anna Maria Horner Multi-tasker totes. The whole time I was sewing the bags together I wished that I had some leaders and enders prepared, but I didn’t and I was too lazy, apparently, to stand up, cut some Kona Snow for the leaders and enders.
It seems like such a waste to cut thread after each seam, which is why leaders and enders are great. The sewist can turn a non chain piecing project into a chain piecing opportunity.
Finally, on Sunday, I dragged my carcass to the ironing board, pressed some Kona Snow and cut a bunch of strips for the Zig Zaggy quilt and some squares for the Corner Store quilt. Now I can use the Zig Zaggy quilt pieces as leaders and enders.
I decided that making the small wedges from the 18 degree circle Ruler by Creative Grids and Lynn Edwards that Happy Zombie suggested was not going to work for me. Too much work and not enough bang for my buck. I didn’t know what I was going to do until I saw the 10 degree ruler. One of the things I bought at the Long Beach show was a 10 degree wedge ruler from Philips Fiber Art. The idea clicked in my mind when I saw it. The man at the booth went to the booth next door so he could tell me how wide their Philips Ruler was (I am using a Jelly Roll and didn’t want it to be much wider than 2.5″).
I am using Happy Zombie’s idea, but making the wedges longer. They are approximately 9″. I think this change will make the quilt go faster.
The problem is that I already cut a few patches, which will leave me short of a couple of the fabrics. If I decide quickly, I can get another Jelly Roll in the Me and My Sister Favorites, but I also want to substitute some fabrics for the patches that I cut.
My idea was kind of sparked by some of the antique quilts I saw at Long Beach. Some of them have patches that are completely different colors than related motifs. I don’t want to choose completely different fabrics. I’ll find some similar fabrics in my fabric closet and replace one wedge for each small piece I cut. I found a pink today as I was cutting patches and that will work for one of the pinks I already cut. Th fabrics won’t be from the Me and My Sister Favorites collection, but I hope it will look interesting and not like I am a moron.
This past weekend I mostly worked on the Blue Janus Quilt, which I called the Blue Quilt in a previous post. Those squares required a lot of chain piecing and I needed something to piece in between so that I wouldn’t have to cut threads each time I wanted to press as I moved farther along in the process.
I decided to start the Zig Zaggy quilt and use the pieces to help with my chain piecing.
First, I looked at the Happy Zombie site again and confirmed the sizes. then I cut some samples. Happy Zombie used a special ruler and cut 5″ long wedges. Elizabeth Hartman from Oh Fransson! blog originally used templates and cut the wedges longer. I decided to use Happy Zombie’s method and trim later.
I cut and sewed a few together, think I would do another colorwash look.
I am not doing the colorwash. With just the purples it is too boring. the purples are all the same value and just don’t look like the colors are gradating. I am going to mix up the colors. I just didn’t get very far.