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Sunday, September 14, 2014

Turquoise Triangle Quilt

 
     Finally finished!    
     I began this quilt in June 2013, when I ordered a half-yard bundle of fabrics from Marmalade Fabrics.   This bundle, with turquoise, white and a pop of chartreuse had 5 fabrics in total.  I wanted to see what I could do with that bundle. 
The fabrics from the bundle.   The dotted fabric and the solid were ombres, so cut up, it looks like more than one fabric.
I had also pulled a chartreuse solid to try, but ended up using just the 5 pieces from the bundle.
      Once I had the fabrics, I had to chose a pattern.   I wanted to try a triangle quilt, and used this Quackadoodle tutorial to get started.  I cut smaller triangles than the tutorial, as I wanted a maximum scrappy look with this quilt.   I started with scrap fabric to practice.   
I used some cheaper fabric I was not crazy about as my test pieces.  I always find the cut pieces far more interesting and likeable that the big yardage. 
       The test worked out, so I cut 5 1/2 inch strips, and then cut all the triangles.
The strips.  I cut the strips to maximize the differences in the tops and bottoms of the ombre fabrics

I used a number of rulers to assist with cutting the triangles.
     I was able to get 140 triangles out of the five fabrics, with just a bit left over to use in a future project.

The pile of triangles.
The left-overs.
     I did a lot of arranging and re-arranging the triangles on the design board.  The result could have been a nice baby quilt (and that may be a project down the road), but I wanted something bigger, so I decided to use the triangle piece as a center panel.
Up on the design "wall".  I use a folding screen with some flannel on it as my "wall".  It is easier to take up and down.  Here it is in the living room next to my sewing machine.
     The trick is getting the seams all together when the triangles and rows are sewn together.  I struggle with consistent seam sizes (even though I use a 1/4 inch foot).  I was pretty happy with how most of the seams turned out. 
Pretty good.

Excellent

Oops.
Once I sewed all the rows together,  I trimmed the sides and added a wide border in Kona white.


     I finished the top in May, and prepared a back, and then did nothing for months. I finally got around to finishing it up during my recent "staycation."

Getting ready to pin.
A close up of the backing.  This was a nice cheery print I found yardage of in the Joanne Fabrics red tag section.
     I really struggled with trying to figure out how to quilt this.  Many triangle quilts I see on-line are finished with echo quilting around the seams.   I initially contemplated straight lines in parallel with the seams and was going to try using frog tape to keep the lines straight on the white.   I had also thought about doing bubble quilting on the dotted fabric, but I just couldn't do it after all the bubble quilting on  this quilt.   
     I happened upon a picture on-line of a triangle quilt which was quilted in wavy lines side to side, using different color threads.  I thought I had bookmarked that site to give credit to that quilter, but now cannot find the link anywhere!  I liked that quilting alot, and decided to tweak it for this quilt.   
     First, I used my walking foot and did straight (ish) lines using white Aurifil thread lengthwise down the quilt, roughly in the middle of the triangles.   
     Still using my walking foot, I put two wavy lines in between (or crossing) the straight lines.  I tried to vary these as much as possible.  The straight lines kept it a bit controlled.
A sideways view of the white wavy lines
Checking out the thread (Aurifil medium teal).  I used Warm and White batting in this quilt.
     I then used the turquoise (teal) thread and sewed a wavy line around each straight line, and then two wavy lines in between each straight line, looping over and around with other lines.  I was using the walking foot.  I might try this again just doing it free motion.  It felt forced at times, and I think I need to get my machine tuned up.   Despite the challenges, I really like how this turned out.
Close-up of the finished quilting


Chester approves.
Close-up of the quilting with the binding, before tossing in the washer and dryer.
After washing and drying.  I wasn't sure how the varied spacing would turn out  after washing.  It looks fine.
The back

A full frontal shot in the bright sun with a calm lake.  
     The finished quilt measures  about 48 x 59 inches.  The center panel is 33 x 43 inches.  It is a nice size lap quilt.
    I was happy to have successfully made a triangle quilt, made a quilt from a fabric bundle, and tried a new quilting technique! I always seem to have more projects than time and was glad to have finished three quilts (this one, the Tranquility quilt, and the Plus quilt from homespuns) while I was on vacation.   
 
Enjoy the beginning of fall!  
 
I am entering this in the Blogger's Quilt Festival hosted by Amy's Creative Side.
Take care,
Gretchen
 
 
  

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Tranquility

     This is my first batik quilt and also the first I have created using muted and constrained colors.   I am usually drawn to bright prints or solids, but I must say, I am delighted at how this turned out.  I like how restful and calm it is, and so its name - Tranquility. 
 
     This quilt is a thank you gift for a kind woman who shared her home and her family with my daughter this summer.  Her home is beautifully decorated in light grays, whites, creams and other natural neutrals.  In designing a quilt as a surprise for her,   I tried to find fabrics which would fit into that peaceful and lovely setting.
 
     I decided to try batiks, which offer design interest and depth without being a "print".   I have never actually made a quilt with batiks, although I have used them in various other  projects.   I found a 12 fat quarter medley of  "Pond Mineral Water" Batavian Batiks on sale at Hancocks of Paducah.  That medley had the blue/green I was thinking about for an accent, as well as the natural and gray tones.  I also found a fat quarter medley of light background fabrics, which had some of the light gray fabrics. 
 
     I truly have no sense of fabric needs, even after years of quilting.  I ordered 2 of the Pond medleys (and only used part of one) and ordered the light medley (and used a few of the fat quarters), as well as some yardage of other coordinating gray fabrics.   Needless to say, I can continue making batik quilts from my stash.   It took me several attempts to pick out the fabrics from this stash to use in the quilt.
These are the fabrics I ened up using in the quilt.
 
Here are the fabrics from the "light background batiks" pack that I did not use.  The yellows are blues were a bit too bright.

The "Pond" fabrics which were unused in the quilt.  Too dark or too bright. 
      My goal was to complete this quilt during a long weekend portion of my vacation.  I decided on a disappearing nine-patch pattern for the center of the quilt - which I have used here ,  here and here.   I cut 5 inch squares from ten fabrics, keeping a darker blue fabric (there were three) in the middle.  The rest of the placement was random.  I ended up with 12 large nine-patch blocks for the center of the quilt.  I starched the blocks to help keep their shape after cutting them up.  I also made an effort in this quilt to really focus on the 1/4 inch seams.  That seems so simple, but I really struggle with keeping my seams consistent.   
A sampling of the finished nine-patch blocks before cutting.
     I cut each block down the middle lengthwise and horizontally to create 4 smaller blocks, each with a blue corner square.  (I neglected to take pictures of this step!)    I really had some concerns as I was putting this together.  I was not sure about the color choices, or the block placement.  My first attempt at organizing the blocks resulted in a clumping of the blue in the middle of the quilt.  
I was NOT loving this quilt at this point!
    I had already decided to keep the small blue square in the upper left corner of each block, and then reorganized the blocks, trying to spread out the big blue blocks throughout the quilt, and let the other fabrics fall into place.  The second attempt was more successful.
 
     I moved a few squares around before sewing the whole thing together, and then added a narrow (finished at 1") border in the darker fabric.  I also used that darker fabric (I had two fat quarters from the "Pond" package, as well as some yardage) as the backing and the binding.  
 
     I had ordered a few yards of a lighter batik which featured the grays and ended up having a bit more yellow than I was anticipating, but yellow accents were also found on several of the other fabrics I used.  I cut 6 1/2 inch strips for the border.  I must say that my focus on the consistency of my seams paid off.  I only had one corner that was noticeably off (I am an NOT going to show a picture of that!).  
These seams look pretty good to me, and this picture shows off the lovely fabric. 
Chester inspecting the border.
     Because I wanted to get this finished, I decided to do a simple quilting of meandering vertical lines.  I used Warm and White as the batting.   I stitched straight lines at 1 inch intervals, and then did wavy lines in between.  I used a light gray Aurifil thread on the top, and a dark blue gray Aurifil  in the bobbin.  
I occasionally watch a Netflix show on my laptop while quilting.  Chester apparently liked whatever I was watching!
     I love how the quilting turned out.  The batiks feel different even after washing than regular quilting cotton - a bit more crisp. 
A close-up of the quilting


The back of the quilt displayed by my trusty quilt holder.  
     The finished quilt is 48" wide by 61" long.  It is a nice size lap quilt.    

On the deck chair, in the sunshine.
      I love how this quilt turned out, and I will certainly be working with batiks more in the future.   
      
     Enjoy the end of the summer! 
 
Take care,
Gretchen