Saturday, December 5, 2015

1718 Coverlet

I have followed Mrs. Schmenkman Quilts for years and had been tempted a few times by her projects, especially these gorgeous butterfly blocks. But I never took the plunge. Then she and Sarah Fielke, formerly one half of Material Obsession announced a quilt-along for the 1718 Coverlet. Each month they'd alternate a different set of blocks to make.

I don't know why this interested me. It certainly wasn't the applique. Maybe it was the time period. What kind of a quilt did they make in the 1700s?

I immediately ordered the book online. And before it even arrived, I found myself at the quilt shop looking for inspiration. The coverlet seemed to have a lot of solids, and I did not. I liked the texture of Basic Grey's Grunge so I pulled a few that went with their gray floral. Oh, and the floral also came in a blue colorway. I had my fabric. Now for the book to arrive. 

My latest block finishes at 4.5 inches
and is one of four corners for a much larger block. 
I really don't know why I've stuck with this quilt. I'm not a big fan of applique. The doing part anyway. I admire it, but it's not my thing. But the blocks are small and the applique not too bad. A bit primitive, which works with my skill set. And every time my husband pops his head in the room, he tells me how much he likes the colors.
Yes, that's a deer and not a llama.
I followed the quilt-along at first, but then with such a limited palette I needed to lay out the blocks and balance the colors. There wasn't any yellow Grunge when I first went to the quilt shop, but there was the last time and I bought a fat quarter. I used it as background on the man and woman in the center, and plan more yellow in the center to get around the fact it wasn't in the first five rows of the quilt.

I realized the other day that both quilt-along organizers haven't posted blocks since the second or third month. But I've been happily working away nonetheless.

Looks different in a photo then in real life.
Seeing the blocks in order so far, helps me balance the colors when choosing fabrics. I'm working on the large center block next. Then the three large blocks for the sides and bottom. Then I'll make the blocks that fill in around them. Some are already done as they are repeats of the blocks in the top rows.

The inspiration for this quilt was the admiration of another quilter and a fabric that spoke to me. It's always the talkative fabric, isn't it?

Linking up with Nancy's Quilty Inspiration No. 10. Please visit her weekly link up, and add your own inspiring story.

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Making it work

When Lori posted the finale for her Country Roads mystery, I knew I'd need to add a red inner border like her inspiration picture. With a wider cheddar border. I could see it in my mind.

My stash was not accommodating, however. I had just enough of this cheddar print for the setting squares and triangles if I carefully and creatively cut my fat quarter and pieced the corners of two triangles. I tried finding something else in the stash, but compared to the cheddar, none of it looked right.

On the right in the photo below is all that was left after cutting the setting squares and triangles. Just made it! On the left is one other piece of cheddar that worked with what I wanted for the setting pieces. At first I thought I'd need to use it for the setting pieces, but that would mean no cheddar border. There wouldn't be enough fabric.

That second cheddar piece, a solid, was 7 inches wide. I could cut four 3 1/2-inch border strips, but they wouldn't be long enough. Hmm. Pieced corners would solve the problem. So I drafted something using the blacks and blues, cut the pieces, made one block, and hated it.

My husband also hated it. He told me to make them look like the inner squares. But the inner squares were 5-inch finished and my corner border blocks needed to be 4-inch finished. The proportions wouldn't be right if the border block pieces were smaller than the inner blocks. He told me to make it work. Thank you, Tim Gunn.

Hmmm. I had a scrap of solid cheddar big enough for four 1-inch finished squares, and I mimicked the 9-patch arrangement of the other blocks.

In the photo above, you can see my first corner block attempt on the upper right. Yuck.

Below is the finished top. As I look at it, I think of different things I could have done. I should have put the red strips on the ends of the cheddar border in the center of the border instead. I think it might have looked better for the corner blocks to be against the cheddar instead. But more seams would have taken more fabric that I didn't have. If I'd had more solid cheddar, I would have done things differently in other ways. Maybe use some to put the corner border blocks on point. But if I'd had more cheddar, I probably would have made a plain border, and not have had all this creative fun.

In the end, I'm happy with how it turned out. I like that I used only my stash and challenged myself to work with what I had to make it work.

The binding will be red, of course. I have lots of red. Hmmm. What if I'd made a red inner border, a thin cheddar border and then a wide red border. Once you start thinking of possibilities, it can be hard to stop.

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Baby quilt inspiration

As I was rummaging through the scrap bin looking for fabric for Lori's mini mystery, Country Roads, I found a piece of this Alexander Henry fabric. I'd made a couple baby quilts over the years that included this adorable fabric, and I remembered that the neighbors are expecting in November. I've made baby quilts for all the babies born on the block since we moved here.

Alexander Henry fabric. An oldie, but a goody.

I was able to fussy-cut four six-inch squares (finished size) from my scrap. I decided that I'd scatter those squares across the top. At first I thought I'd sew six-inch nine-patches, but I didn't like any of the arrangements I sketched out for that. Then I decided to cut coordinating fabric in four-, three- two- and one-inch squares (finished), and combine those units into six-blocks. I cut up the rest of the focus fabric into one-inch squares and included them too.

I pieced the squares until I was nearly out of units to work with and then cut some more pieces. Pieced more blocks and cut more units until I had enough six-inch blocks to make a six-by-six arrangement. As usual, I carefully placed all the squares to balance the color placement, but either something went wrong in the sewing or I didn't notice it earlier, and I ended up with the large dark blue and dark purple clustered together. It doesn't bother me enough to undo it, and I'm almost positive that moving things around would probably result in a cluster of some other fabric or color that would also bug me. Murphy's Law of quilting?

Top is 36 x 36 inches.

The top is 36 x 36 inches. I think that's an acceptable size for a baby quilt if it makes it to the baby shortly after birth. I need to find a little more than a yard of fabric for the backing so I don't have to piece it. Not sure about the binding. Maybe try to use up the scraps from the top or go with a solid black.

Linking up to Nancy's Quilty Inspiration for this week.

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Inspired by what's under foot

This is the rug in my bedroom. I love the pattern and have thought about how it could look as a quilt.

Back in July, I decided to stop thinking and do something. Although I admire the fussy-cut English paper pieced quilts, I wasn't sure that was for me. Instead, I thought I could use a Stack-n-Whack or Four-Patch Posie method to get the effect I wanted. I just needed the right fabric.

Colors are a little off. The top fabric has a brown background.
The fabric above I found in the sale bin of my local quilt shop. I thought that the large flowers would end up filling some shapes while the brown background would fill others. But that didn't exactly happen, and it was obvious another fabric was needed. I found the bottom fabric in my stash after contemplating another fabric for the cross shapes. That would have made a nice quilt, but not my original vision.

It's recommended that you don't wash the fabric when making a Stack-n-Whack quilt, and I would agree. The unwashed, recently purchased fabric was easier to handle and align then the washed fabric from my stash.

The piecing plan wasn't hard to come up with. I'd been staring at that rug for some time thinking about how to put it together into a quilt. I would have to put all the pieces up on the design wall and sew it together in rows. There wasn't an easy way to piece this in blocks.

Kaleidoscope top, 40 x 50 inches. 

This is the top I have now. It's about 40 x 50 inches. I thought I was done, but as I wrote this post and looked at the rug inspiration, I wonder if I shouldn't make a narrow inner border of the light fabric and an outer border of the dark fabric. I'll have to see if I have enough of those fabrics left.

This didn't turn out as I had envisioned, but I like it. I think I may have to resort to fussy cutting and English paper-piecing to get the look I want. That won't be happening for a while though.

Linking up to Nancy's Quilty Inspiration for this week. Thank you, Nancy, for doing this. I'm looking forward to getting a glimpse into others' creative processes.

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Seams better

As the piecing progresses, the top shrinks and appears less chaotic and busy. Although it's not what I had originally envisioned, I like it. Need more time at the machine so I can get it off the design wall. At least it won't become a UFO. It can't come down until it's a top or I'd never get the pieces back in the correct order!

Despite carrying my 1718 Coverlet blocks around with me, I haven't managed to sew them together either. Did manage to get this doves and bells block done.

I have a small pile of fleur-de-lys that are very portable but being ignored. Maybe it's the summer doldrums. I'm also beind on my Stars in a Time Warp. Fabrics pulled for the last four or so. Perhaps today I'll get them cut. Pieced too might be pushing it!

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Catching up

This top got put together awhile ago. I haven't blogged in the last few months because I have been too tired from work to spend time on the computer when I'm not working. Of course, I do spend time on the iPad. So I'm trying blogging from the iPad. We'll see how that works. Haven't posted much on Instagram so I'm not terribly hopeful.

Besides finishing the above top, I've been working on the 1718 coverlet blocks, Stars in a Time Warp blocks, and started something new.

I'm not following that closely the 1718 coverlet QAL block order. Once I've figured out the piecing I'm doing all the blocks that are pieced that way instead of the one specified. But the design wall is filling up, so I'm not feeling too far behind.

I'm stumped on the last fabric for Stars in a Time Warp: a pillar print. Can't seem to find anything in my stash. Otherwise I'm caught up making two of each block, alternating white and the focus fabric.

Here's the new project. Too busy? Should I use a plainer fabric like I have on the upper left or stick with what's going on in the rest of the layout?

Sunday, March 8, 2015

1718 Coverlet QAL and other projects

Multiple projects going on here. The border strips for the Grand Illusion Mystery are pieced. So close to finishing, but, ugh, long seams. I'm putting them off. I have several Time Warp stars cut out. Five types of madder and indigo, which I'm piecing in between my 1718 Coverlet blocks.

Seems like a lot of applique in this quilt, which is not really my thing, but I'm determined to stay focused. I'm piecing the blocks as much as possible and appliqueing as little as possible, which is still a lot for me. . 

I'm enjoying it though. Especially when the days are sunny and staying light longer.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Oh, my stars!

32.5 x 32.5 inches

A non-quilting friend visited recently and art directed my houses top. After trying different options, we both concluded that the top was finished the way it was; there was nothing more to add except a purple binding. ... Once it's quilted, of course.

A dozen stars so far.

Double pink was this week's featured fabric.
I've been making two versions of Barbara Brackman's Stars in a Time Warp each week. One with the focus fabric for the star and the other with the fabric as the background. I decided to use Kona Snow as the other fabric in each block. Not sure how many stars there will be in the end (I can always buy more Snow if needed.) or how I'll put them together. For now, I'm happy to search my stash for the appropriate fabric and make two blocks every week.

Fresh Cut and a selection of Grunge from Basic Grey.
Saw this post Friday night and decided to jump in. My copy of the book won't arrive for a few days, but that did not stop me from buying some fabric yesterday for the quilt. I've never been tempted by Dear Jane or the Farmer's Wife quilts, but the 1718 Coverlet spoke to me. A handful of blocks every month for 11 months seems doable. We shall see.

I cleaned my sewing room the other day. Found a couple tops without backings or prepped binding so while I'm waiting for my book to arrive, I hope to get that done and to finish putting the border section on the Grand Illusion mystery quilt. I have to "unsew" a few parts that were attached in the wrong order so I'd better get to it.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Plugging away

I'm slowly getting the blocks together on the mystery quilt. Only eight more to go before I can start on the borders.

Slow going on the hand quilting for this one too.

I've spent quite a bit of time this week rummaging through the stash. I put away some fabrics that I can't find now. They must be somewhere in the sewing room, but I haven't found them yet. Why is it that whenever you put something away in a special place you can never remember where that place is? At least I found some Prussian blue (or what I think is Prussian blue) for Barbara Brackman's "Stars in a Time Warp" QuiltAlong.

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Sewing without knowing

For the last couple of weeks I've been madly cutting, sewing and pressing to complete the units for Bonnie Hunter's Grand Illusion mystery quilt before the final reveal. Almost made it.

Not sure why I decided to do this. I have enough ideas and UFOs to fill all my days and nights should I live a few lifetimes. Maybe it's the sewing without knowing what the end result will be that has a certain appeal. Sort of mindless. Well, as mindless as keeping the pieces in the right order can be. Or it could just be procrastination; I have two backings to make that I've been putting off for awhile.

I'm constructing my blocks with the sashing on two sides. Then I'll sew the blocks together in smaller sections so I have only one really long seam to contend with across the quilt at the end. Forget where I learned that trick, but I love not having to sew as many long seams as you would when sewing rows together.