Sunday, June 27, 2010

Well this was a vacation

And I didn't get any quilting done! What I did do was make a huge dent into sorting and organizing my scraps and thinking about returning the larger pieces left over from the last 2 quilt tops back into the stash and how I'm going to manage that and keep the stash neat. Going through the scraps was fun and nostalgic - seeing fabric from quilts that have been gifted to people years ago, and thinking about making a nice scrap quilt that includes them. I have no photos today, though. Sorry.

I have made some serious progress on my sweater. Six rows of cabling to go and the body is finished! The sleeves shouldn't take me long at all to knit, comparatively (the body has 265 stitches per row or something like that).

I also got my "basting gun" from JoAnn's this week, so I will try it out on the smaller challenge quilt top before I attempt to quilt "Goose In A NY Minute" -- but that's on the horizon: quilting, not piecing, probably for the next month. And also getting some patterns written up (finally!).

Till next time, keep on quilting!

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Completion! (well almost)


I am not going to quilt this thing for tomorrow - I don't want to rush through it. I need to "live" with it a bit and figure out a quilting pattern that will enhance the design and not detract from it. It's a rather BUSY quilt (as many of my designs seem to be these days... what's up with that?).

And had I bothered to notice the patch count before I started, I don't think I would have done this at all. there are 677 individual pieces of fabric in this monstrosity. The smallest 9-patch in the quilt (there were 4 of these) had a finished size of 1 3/4 inches. yes, you read that right. And when you are working that small, you cannot be inaccurate with your measuring, cutting or sewing - at all.

Lessons learned: 1. when I am doing a crazy pieced block that has a lot of triangles in it and odd-angles, I need to paper piece. I lost a quarter to half an inch in the width of the triangle blocks by cutting and piecing rather than using foundation techniques.

2. After spending hours and hours wrestling with split rectangles, doing a straight nine-patch is an absolute joy.

The purple "background" fabric photographed really blue in the pictures, but it's a really dark blue-violet, more towards the violet side of the spectrum (at least to my eyes!).

 (click the picture for a larger view)

I will be taking a little hiatus from my machine for a few days or maybe a week - I desperately need to clean my sewing room and organize my scraps. I think I'll get back to doll design and finish a knitting project. for  a little while. I feel like I've run a marathon...

Till next time, keep on quilting!

Thursday, June 17, 2010


After 90 minutes of doing things wrong I'm giving up for the night. I managed to get one right-triangle piece done - I have 7 more to do. I am having second thoughts about one of my fabric choices - the value is too close to the challenge fabric - I made the same "mistake" on the quilt I just finished.

Those half-rectangular pieces will drive me insane. I just know it. But if things go like for the paper pieced parts (these are NOT paper pieced, and I'm beginning to have second thoughts about that decision, too!), I should be able to finally get the other 7 "blocks" finished tomorrow night. and then the 9-patch blocks which should go very fast, so there is a possibility I could be quilting on Saturday night.

Here are some progress pictures:
the quilt design, to remind you what it's "supposed" to look like.

the first triangle block, done Tuesday night, with the brown paisley challenge fabric. I don't hate it.

The rest of the triangle blocks completed (Wednesday night).

and tonight's progress. Just that one triangle attached to the large one. And a whole lot of small bits of fabric that have been cut out, but I'm not sure can all be used for this quilt. I was expecting things to go more smoothly tonight for some reason.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Woodbrige Heritage Quilt Guild 2010 challenge

I received my challenge fabric this past September at our first meeting of the year, and it's due at the meeting next Monday, so in typical "leave things for the last minute" fashion, I started on it today.

Lucky for me I got my EQ7 Upgrade yesterday and I had some time to install it and poke around in it a bit. So far, it's running much more smoothly than my EQ6, which seemed to have issues with my hardware or wasn't playing nice with everything else loaded on the computer. There are so many new fabrics, blocks, and quilt layouts and I think there are a lot more customization tools available for designing - I haven't scratched the surface yet.

But I did come up with this design for the challenge quilt. It's a small quilt, only 42 inches on a side, but it will be a challenge to get it all pieced for Monday's meeting. If I can get the top done by bedtime on Friday night, I may actually have the thing quilted and done by monday. Who knows?

The brown in the triangles represents the challenge fabric - a brown/beige/purple paisley fabric that our guild leader "hated".

The overall design is a Garden Patch framework (one of the included quilt layouts) with some variable block sizes. EQ7 now adjusts a square block to fit a triangular setting for it automatically, which created the vaguely insane pieced triangle blocks. They are actually rather pedestrian square blocks: Kings Chain and 6-Grid Chain. The remaining blocks are Framed 9-Patch and 3-inch squares of fabric. I haven't tried distorted blocks like this yet, and I'm hoping it will give an optical illusion effect of a curved surface.

I probably could have chosen better colors, but I am in a hurry so I pulled stash fabric rather quickly. There will be progress and completion photos later on. I am paper piecing the 4 large triangles, and that is proving to be time consuming. I only completed one tonight. I'm not planning to paper piece the outer triangles of the garden patch sections, because I think I can construct them with strip piecing and some half-rectangle triangles, so the rest of the top should go together more quickly.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Goose In A New York Minute, Part 3

The top is assembled except for the 2 outer borders. Things took longer than I had thought they would.

Part of that is because I did a lot more ripping of seams that in the past I would have just let go, and another part was because each NY Beauty block had 29 individual pieces of fabric in them! The paper piecing went very slowly. It took an entire day to piece the 4 corner blocks.

I completed the NY Beauties yesterday. I'm not in love with paper piecing. I like how accurate the points are, but I really don't like wasting so much fabric. I guess I'm ready for the freezer paper piecing method. I was doing a little bit of it with these blocks, anyway.

I forgot to add a solid border in between the center section and the large pieced border, and this quilt really needed it. I figured out a way to do it without having to recalculate the entire border and I think it works pretty well: I continued the solid border into the pieced border, bracketing the corner blocks.

I can't get a proper photo of the top yet, since it's pouring rain and the only place I can hang it and then back away far enough for a square picture is outside. So we will all have to settle for the distorted photo of the top laying on the floor... but here it is, sans another 12 inches of solid borders on the outside.

What I really like is the secondary "broken dishes" pattern that shows up in the reversed Goose In Flight blocks in the border. I'm going to work that into the pillow shams that will go with this.