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Friday, October 20, 2017

Getting Ready for a Quilt Retreat

    For the first time ever, I am going to a quilt retreat.  Three days of sewing and hopefully, fun!   I have no idea how much I can get done during that time - I have never actually had the luxury of sewing for days without any other commitments!  I am packing the following projects, in the hopes that I will get at least some of them done. 

1.  The "Fall"ing Star quilt.



      This is the top I am creating from winning the September Block of the Month log cabin blocks at one of my guilds.  I have these blocks ready to sew together, and am in the process of cutting up more light squares for a border.  I haven't yet decided whether to do a 6 inch, 9 inch or 12 inch border all around.  That may depend on how much fabric I have!   I need to have this top done so I can quilt it up, and show it at the January guild meeting. 

2.   Block of the Month Challenge


     In January, I decided to do a solid brights and blacks version of each of the Blocks of the Month.  So, for example, the September block, the log cabin - I did a version as directed (and which I won back!) 
September Block for Guild
     and a version in all solids. 
September Block for Challenge
        Here is the March block, with greens and creams from my stash. (and rather crooked seams, I fear!) 
March Block for Guild
     I first did a version with a pink, but when looking at all the blocks together, realized this was an odd one.  
First March Block for Challenge 
      So, I recently redid it in the blues and greens that appear in most of the other blocks. 
Second March Block for Challenge - I haven't even ironed this yet! 
     I did what I think is the April block in Easter colors for the guild. 
April? Block for Guild
      My challenge version was done originally in bright orange and bright pink, but when I took a picture,  I realized that there was NO CONTRAST between the orange and pink.  Funny how you see it with a camera, and not with the eye!  
First April Block for Challenge. 
         Redo with green instead of the pink.
reworked April Block for Challenge
        By the time I get to the retreat, there should be 12 blocks finished.  I have 11 done so far!  I plan to sash with black, and also use these orphan blocks from years ago in the corners. 

 3.  Ultimate Carry All Bag 

    When I attended the NYS Quilt Consortium meeting earlier this fall, I saw a quilter using an carry all that looked really nice, and during our little shop hop after that meeting,  I purchased this fab fabric on sale to use on the bag.  Naturally, without knowing what the pattern called for, I got more than needed (I purchased 3 yards!).   I ordered the pattern for the Ultimate Carry All bag from Craftsy, and am hoping to get that underway at the retreat.   (PS - the pattern only calls for one yard of the fabric!)  I have been warned that the instructions are not really clear, so I am glad I'll have others to consult during this process!  
Love this fabric!  Michael Miller Folk Birds from 2015

 4.  Spider Quilt 

       This probably should be listed first.  It is the oldest project underway!  I have been working on this quilt since at least the summer of 2014 (and actually probably before).  I have lots of leftover repro Civil War fabric, and began a paper pieced project for a quilt for my husband.

      I am using a dark Kona gray as the center piece, and then just strip piecing the leftovers to the paper.  I have a good start, but lots more to do.

     Here is a peek at what the finished large blocks will look like.  My plan is to hand quilt this one, but since piecing is taking me years, I am not sure what I will do.  These are not my colors, really, but I do like how the piece will look overall!  


     I suspect that this is plenty to keep me busy.  I'll report back next month how much I got accomplished at this retreat! 
I am linking up to Finish it up Friday at Crazy Mom Quilts.  Take a visit and see lots of great pieces!

Enjoy the weekend -

Take care,
Gretchen


Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Mystery Quilt Progress

The cut pieces - before any piecing! 
     An update on the Magnolia Mystery Quilt.  October's instructions came during the first week of October, but company and finishing up quilts and other matters (all good) made it hard to get to the piecing until this week.  The instructions were easy, for half geese units, 36 going one way, 36 going the other.  I sometimes watch TV while working (currently watching "Death in Paradise," a British murder series set in the Caribbean.  As a result of inattention, I ended up having to count these little pieces out several times.  But, now all done, and waiting for the next set of instructions.  
The finished little half geese units.
Prepping the units to sew.  I do hope this blue marker comes out! 

Using my ruler to trim these pieces neatly.  Sometimes I just wing it with scissors, with varying degrees of success! 

Nicely chopped! 

Little leftovers.  I may hold on to these.  I am doing a workshop in the spring with Maria Shell, and maybe will need little bits of solids!
     I am starting to put together the projects to take to my first ever quilt retreat.   More on that later this week! 

     My little Halloween bibs are on sale on Etsy(link at top of page), if you need the perfect little Halloween treat for the special baby in your life!  

Take care,
Gretchen 


Friday, October 13, 2017

Two Finishes - Charity Quilts


        Two finishes this week! Two of the guilds I belong to have very active  programs where they donate quilts to various organizations for people in need.  I got one done for each guild.   On Monday, I finished the blue jelly roll quilt.   This quilt will go to the local City Mission.  I think I heard that over 100 have been donated this year!   I finished sewing on the binding right before I had to leave for my meeting, so I neglected to get a picture of the finished quilt.  You can get the idea from the pictures below!
     The jelly roll top was made by another guild member, and was in a bag with backing fabric and batting.  My job was to finish it off.  I always sandwich my quilts using my large craft table and binder clips.    Much easier on the back than taping pieces to the floor!  If anyone would like a more detailed description of how I do this, leave a comment!  I can put together a tutorial. 
      I had a nice varigated blue thread for the quilting, and   I used my Tiara to do a big loopy pattern on each of the jelly strip rows.  I tried for evenly sized and evenly spaced loops (which didn't happen), but overall, the effect is a happy one.  I'll certainly try this on another quilt sometime!

       Earlier this year I had finished  up two other small quilts for the same guild.    There is usually enough extra backing material to make the quilt binding.  If not, I certainly have plenty in my stash! 

This one had a big meandering pattern in a varigated thread.  
     Just today I finished the red white and blue quilt.
     I need to get this back to the guild on Monday.  This guild works differently, and provides a pattern,  donated fabric already cut, batting and backing.  I needed to sew the pieces together, and then quilt and bind it, creating a twin size quilt for a veteran.  I would have preferred just getting the fabric and creating my own pattern, but I actually think this turned out better than I thought.
Getting ready to pin.  
    I ended up quilting this with my Bernina and a walking foot.  I had a thicker varigated red thread, and just eyeballed each row in thirds, and let the walking foot do most of the work!   I considered adding more lines, but wanted this to be nice and soft!  

       The back was pieced from three fabrics, and the red thread(which I used in the bobbin, too) shows up nicely. 
   
     I am getting ready for my very first quilt retreat in a few weeks.   Can't wait!  I'll be linking up today with Crazy Mom Quilts Finish it up Friday.   Have a great weekend! 

Take care,
Gretchen




Thursday, October 5, 2017

Work in Progress - My Block of Month Winnings

     One of the quilt guilds I belong to has a Block of the Month challenge.  Each month, a new block is chosen, usually with suggestions on color or theme, and those who make the block are then eligible to win all of the blocks.  The winner is challenged to make something with those blocks in time to show off at the first meeting of the year in January. 

     I enjoy taking part in this challenge, and decided to make my two blocks each month - one for the challenge, and one for me to put into a sampler quilt at the end of the year.  More on that in December!  

     Some months there are lots of blocks done, and some months, not so many.  I won the September blocks, a 12 1/2 inch log cabin that was to focus on Fall colors.   There were 9 in all, with one more maybe coming to me later this month.  Not too many, and there is not too much time to do this, so I had to make some decisions if I hope to have a quilt done by January. 



     These are not really my colors, and so I am thinking I might donate the finished quilt as a charity quilt.  So, I want it to be a generous enough size for a lap quilt.       Last week I tried a few layouts on my table, and rejected one as too small (a 3 x 3 square which featured dark and light strips).  One of the 9 blocks is a bit rectangular.  I think a double block was used in the center.  I am not certain that the extra block is coming.   I was unsure what I would do for a wide border, so I decided to ditch that idea.  

Now that I look at the picture, the layout isn't as bad as I thought!
     I had also considered using 8 blocks for a table runner.  But, at 24 inches wide, too big for my table, and again, not my colors, really.

     I also was inspired by some pillows which were entered in the recent quilt show.  I considered making two 24 inch square pillow covers.  I still rather like that idea, but I wouldn't really use them.  
These pillows are beautiful and won first place in the home decor division! 
     I also considered cutting up the squares, and making very large HSTs, and then setting them in a windmill pattern.  Ehhhhh.  Not crazy about this one.  
    However, thinking about HSTs, I thought about using the dark/light contrast for a big star.  I made a snap decision that was the plan!  If I have any hope of finishing this, it has to be done sooner, rather than later!
     The star was the first decision.  The second was the center.   I wanted to keep the scrappy look going.  I decided to use dark fall scraps for the 24 inch square center, and went through my stash to get a wide assortment.  I don't have lots of browns, but I had enough golds, oranges, greens and homespuns to make the center. 
     The log cabin was pieced with 1 1/2 inch strips which finished up at 1 inch wide, so I went with little 1 inch finished squares.    Wow, 576 in total.   I strip pieced eight at a time, which made it go fairly quickly. 
     I sewed strips into 8 x 8 panels, and will be sewing those together. 

     I wanted to do lights for the outer corners to make the star pop, but thought a single print would be too blah.  Keeping with the scrappy look, but not wanting to sew another 576 squares,  I went for 3 inch finished squares of a half dozen or so fabrics.
My assortment of light and tan fabrics to use up from my stash


The finished (still unpressed) corner blocks. 
     I am liking this layout.   Good thing, since I am not about to do something else!   I will wait to see if that last block comes in, then chose the 8 that work the best, and use the left overs on the back.  My current plan is to add about 6 inches on all sides for a border to finish up at 60 x 60.    What do you think of this?


     Thanks for visiting my blog.  I welcome all your comments and suggestions!  I will post more pix when this is done.

Take care,
Gretchen