Saturday, March 11, 2017

What a difference a year makes

It's been almost a year since my last post. Life, work, Instagram all vying for my time. But the top I was working on then is finally finished. Backing purchased, washed, ironed and waiting to be cut and sewn together. Debating whether to use batting. It is a coverlet after all. And if so, what's the thinnest I can get.?And how should I quilt this? Was I too optimistic appliquéing 2017 on this? Lots to ponder, but for now I'll enjoy the top being done.

The completed top. These colors seem truer than in the detail shots.

Being optimistic with a 2017 date.

Most of the blocks finished at 4.5 inches.

Fabrics are Basic Grey floral (in 2 colorways) and Grunge in several bright colors.

I surprised myself by doing a lot of applique.

Saturday, April 30, 2016

1718 Coverlet progress

Slowly plugging away at this quilt. I can't believe I've stuck with it. Maybe because it would be too much work to put the blocks back in the right order if I took it down. .

I finally finished the center block. It was excruciating: time consuming and fiddly. And I'd been putting it off so it seemed to take even longer to get it done! Those 8-pointed stars in the corners are 4-inches. Each one seemed to take a full day to make. Not perfect, but done now, and I'm moving on!

Crappy photos because it's not sunny here and isn't going to be for days. Got some movies from the library and I plan to spend some quality time with this project today.

Monday, January 4, 2016

Graham's quilt

This baby quilt was finished in 2015, but I don't think I showed the finished quilt. It was for a new baby on the block who was expected in November. Didn't finish until December and didn't get it to the parents until this past weekend.

1-, 2-, 3- and 4-inch squares combined to make 6-inch squares and set with four 6-inch squares of the focus fabric print. 

Quilted horizontally and vertically with an elongated zigzag along the block seams and two or three inches between.

The backing, which I forgot to take a picture of, is black with bright circles in orange, blue, green and red. A perfect match for the top. The binding is a solid black. The quilt measures 37 inches square.

Friday, January 1, 2016

A Year of Finishes

Today I finished a book, a block and a top. Maybe that's a sign I'll get some things accomplished this year.

The book: "What Alice Forgot" by Liane Moriarty.

The block: No. 40 of the 1718 Coverlet.

The top: Pumpkin Peel from "Small Pieces, Spectacular Quilts" by Mary Elizabeth Kinch and Biz Storms.

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.