Saturday, February 27, 2021

"Yellow Star on Blue" Wall Hanging

Last time I talked about this project was April when I completed the top and basted the layers together. Then I left it hanging on the display board.

I really can't remember over what time period I worked on the quilting, but by January 7 of this year, I had the center portion quilted:
I marked all of the lines with disappearing ink and free motion quilted it.

I repeated the back and forth lines on the outside of the star in the center as well, except I made the lines wavy to match what was going on with the fabrics. (This piecing was an improv technique learned at the class where I originally made the center star.)
I can't say I think it looks great. Now I know.

In the yellow part, I did curves from point to point that are similar to what was done in the yellow areas of the wall hanging I have been trying to match.
The only thing left to quilt was the outside border, which would be done in a "square in a square" pattern. I thought if I put the binding on first, I could make sure the points lined up exactly on the edge. But I didn't want to tackle the binding because it included piping and that was just a step to far at that point. So it was left hanging again.

Two things pushed me to pick it back up:

1. It was listed on my UFO (UnFinished Object) list in the Ravelry quilting group. I hadn't participated in the UFO Club in the summer and fall, but signed up again in January for the winter quarter, and even signed up for the "send" group. That means, if I finish a project, people would send me a FQ!! (FQ=fat quarter, a quarter yard of fabric. Well, never mind, it's fabric!) One member went so far as to tell me she had one that she had been saving for me--she knows I like elephants so I have reason to believe I'm going to like that one! ;)

2. Joy at the Joyful Quilter issued a "Table Scraps Challenge", with extra kudos for including the Rainbow Scrap Challenge colour of the month. Although I was making this project as a wall hanging, it could easily double as a table topper. And the colour for February was yellow!

Last week, I pulled this star off of the board and took a look at what it needed. Fortunately I had cut all the remaining pieces because without them, I would not have remembered my plan at all. I chose to use blue piping instead of yellow, in part because I just didn't have any more of the bright glaring yellow that I had used on the other one.
I pulled out my Piping Hot Binding book and tool and applied four strips of piping around the edge in pretty short order.

Then I realized the difficulty with quilting the outside border. The piping is designed to lift up--it's only sewn on one side. So do I line the points up with what was visible? Do I line them up with the actual seam (which was under the piping)? Further complicating it was that if I pulled the piping far enough back to not cover any of the points, the edge of the quilt wasn't going to be caught up in the binding seam. /big sigh

I just did the best I could, balancing the need to capture the raw edge and not covering up too much of the little squares.

After that was done, I trimmed the quilt and applied the first two sides of the binding. Then, thankfully, I tried to fold the binding over the edge to see how it would was too small! It also happened that the binding lined up so that a seam would land exactly at a corner--not good! Obviously, I was going to have to remove it and try again.
On another day, I gave my seam ripper a workout and removed the binding. I trimmed the quilt with the smaller setting on the tool and started again, making sure to shift where I placed the binding! No seams landed at the corners and all was good.
I gave myself one more problem before I finished...when I cut the binding to attach the end to the beginning, I measured perfectly and then cut the angle the wrong way. So instead of the two edges aligning,
they made a big empty triangle. 
Did I throw up my hands and walk away? No, I did not. I sewed in a short piece of binding to fill in the gap, thus giving myself more opportunities to practice the skill.
Then it was done. Oh wait. No. I had to sew the binding to the back, which I did by hand. That was done during daylight hours considering it was dark blue thread on busy fabric.

As with the first wall hanging, I sewed two triangles on the top corners for hanging:
You slide the ends of a dowel under the triangles and it holds the quilt up. On smaller pieces, it's a nice way to avoid having to do a hanging sleeve along the entire top edge.

And here are the two pieces together:
I have to admit I didn't really like how the blue and yellow in the outside border lined up on the two of them. (I have no memory if that was a conscious choice or if that's just the way it turned out.)

But when I displayed them side by side, I liked it a lot more:
There were several design things that went wrong on this latest piece. Some I corrected and some I left. Now that's it's finished, I think it would have been a stronger piece and a better match to the first if the light blue area around the star was filled in with dark blue squares instead. But when I made the original block,
I didn't know this was what I was going to be doing with it! :)

It was an interesting challenge to try and make a match to the first piece a few years later. I still had some of the same fabrics, but had to find substitutes for others. Some things I had to piece together to have enough (like the backing) and other things were solved by a combination--did you notice the narrow yellow border is different on the second one? I had to find a second fabric to have enough to go all the way around. I ended up piecing the fabrics together so that the original is in the  middle of each side and the new fabric is in the corners. (You can see it in the detail pictures of the piping above.)

Linking up with the Joyful Quilter February Table Scraps Runner/Topper Challenge, and
Quilting is more fun than Housework Oh Scrap!

Project summary
Started: Center block made June 21, 2018; wall hanging started February 23, 2020
Finished: February 19, 2021
Size: 18"x18"
Pattern: my own
Material: 100% scraps, almost all cotton quilting fabrics
Cotton batting.
Walking foot and free motion quilting on my Viking Sapphire.
All blog posts about this wall hanging: link

Monday, February 22, 2021

Scrappy Trip Around the World Blocks

Remember this project?
This was how many blocks I had done in August.

For the next set, I matched up more strips sets sorted by colour.
My sister had given me this color tool and I finally thought to use the red and green filters to check values so I didn't have to take a hundred pictures and convert them to black and white.
That saved a lot of time!

By the end of December, I had this many blocks:
At this point I was running out of darker fabrics because the blocks use a lot more of it than the lighter fabric. So I thought, maybe I should make some light blocks, like this:
I put it on the wall to see how it would look:
I also wondered about making every other block a light one.
We'll see.

In mid-January, I worked on the heart. I didn't like the dark lines going through the middle.
I made some replacement blocks:
but I still didn't like how it looked. The diagonal lines didn't match up; the red is too thick on those blocks. So I took apart the blocks and reassembled them:
That's better!

I'm not promising this quilt will even have a heart on it, but if it does it will be one I like! ;)

And now the blocks are packed away in a box as I needed to put my Lucy Boston up on the wall. The ideas can marinate while I work on other projects.

Sunday, February 14, 2021

Maybe I Do Need a Fish Quilt

The Instagram algorithm decided I wanted to see posts in the Shoal Quilt Sew Along (#shoalsewalong from Nicholas Ball @quiltsfromtheatttic) and dang if it wasn't right. I admired some other makers' improv-style fish and it wasn't long before I had to try "just one or two" myself.
I pulled out some scraps and tried it out. I decided grey would be the background. (I was already thinking that if I "happened to" make more, I could delve into the leftover greys I'm going to have from my Lucy Boston quilt.)

Over the next few days, I had fun sitting down for a few minutes and making a couple fish.
The blocks are really rough (in other words, not neat, similarly sized rectangles) but there's no sense in working on that until you decide how they're going to fit together.

I started to play with some more complicated shapes, like curved tails:
Making two or three at a time was an efficient way to chain sew the seams, alternating from one fish to the other.
Here's my school:
I didn't think I needed a fish quilt, but now I think I might; maybe a baby quilt so this doesn't get too big to handle. I'm thinking about arranging them as a circling school of fish even though it'll be more complicated to put together.

But for now my fish are waiting in a box. I had to clean up my maker space and I'm waiting for a design space (wall? floor? bed?) to be open so I can work on sewing them together. That is going to require a lot of back-and-forth between the design space and the sewing area, and I just don't quite have the energy for that right now.

This design is from Nicholas Ball @quiltsfromtheatttic.

Tuesday, February 9, 2021

Lucy Boston Milestone

Since August of 2019 I have been working on sewing the sashing around all 56 of my Lucy Boston Patchwork of the Crosses quilt blocks. My Instagram feed has been an interrupted parade of blocks with their new grey perimeters, each one counting up to the finish.
Block 32 of 56, finished Apr 15, 2020

Block 35 of 56, finished Apr 27, 2020

Block 44 of 56, finished Sep 6, 2020
And finally on Sunday, the last one!
Block 56 of 56, finished Feb 7, 2021
At some point I shared the concern that I might get bored of sewing (seemingly) endless grey honeycombs, but really, I didn't. I enjoy the stitching and it was a lot less taxing than when I had to match the fabrics in the blocks! Each block didn't take too, too long so I had regular injections of feeling like I had finished something.

You would think using solid grey would preclude any drama, but I managed. When I bought the grey fabrics, I was planning to use different shades from white to dark grey. After I bought them, I decided the white wasn't going to work and changed my plan. Last April, I pulled out the fabrics to compare what I needed with this new plan to what I had.
You can see the fabric I labeled "3" just has a couple strips left; it was not enough.

Glad that I kept everything organized and labeled, I knew exactly what to order. I made a trip to the store where I got it on the off chance I would get fabric from the same bolt, and they didn't have it any more. Being my last option, I ordered some online and just hoped it would match what I had. Dye lots in yarn is a real thing (as in different batches of the same colourway won't be the same) and I thought that might be true of fabric too. When I got it, I tucked it away because I wasn't in a cutting mood and had plenty of other blocks to sew.

At the end of the year, I got through sewing all the other blocks and finally needed to cut strips from grey 3. But I couldn't find the extra that I had bought earlier in the year. I searched through my maker space and the boxes of my fabric multiple times and could not find it. I finally decided it wasn't worth my time to keep looking and ordered more. Even further removed in time from the original purchase; even more chance of the dye lot not matching.

I received the new fabric and promptly cut it into strips, cut out the honeycomb shapes and glued the 138 honeycombs I needed to finish. I pulled out the block that was waiting to be finished and set the first honeycomb in place:
It didn't match!!

I was so disappointed. And wondering why I didn't check before I cut and glued all those honeycombs when I was already worried the colours wouldn't match!

When I was ready to face it, I tried to find a solution. With some research, a few different things made me suspicious that I mixed up the names. One of them being that fabric I couldn't "find" from April, but funny enough, at the same time I had more of grey 2 than I thought I should!

Now, having an idea of what the grey I needed was called (I suspected I had mixed up the names of grey 2 and 3 but couldn't be sure), I took samples of the fabric to a different quilt store. I don't normally shop there because it's far away, but I was in that city for something else and made the stop.

The shop doesn't have a particularly large section of solids, and they only had five greys. And only one of them was from the manufacturer I needed. And. It. Was. The. Colour. I. Needed!
These colours match!
I was very happy about that, let me tell you. I could have tried an online order, but finding it in person and being sure was so much better!

After that it was simple work to cut and glue another 138 honeycombs for the remainder of my blocks.

Here's a pic of all of the blocks hung together:
You might notice I have also started to sew some of the black connecting pieces between the blocks. And I have started some of the crosses too:
All the centers come from the same fabric, but there are different circle designs.
I'm using three different fabrics for the arms of the crosses, the three bottom ones in this picture:
The top one might be used in the final border.

In a couple places, I have sewn blocks together to get a feel for that:
The lower horizontal seam is sewn

The upper horizontal seam is sewn
I'm still not sure if I'm going to sew it all together in rows first, which is what I see other PotC makers doing online, or try to sew it into sections. Or maybe spiral out from the center.

For now, I'm sewing crosses, which go really fast compared to sashing a block (16" of seams to sew instead of 64"!) and considering how to finish the outside edge. The quilt is visible from where I sit and stitch, so it's easy to stare at it and ponder my options.

May I suggest?

I Say! or at least I did once...