snug

snug

Saturday, May 19, 2018

Odds and Ends

     I am still working on my many blocks for the 'On Ringo Lake' quilt, but wanted to get a project ready for the quilting machine.  I like having the ability to work on a pieced project on my regular sewing machine (a Bernina QE 153) and also something on my mid arm (Baby Lock Tiara II).   Since I finished quilting my little mini quilt (details next post),  I pulled out the block of the month sampler I had finished last year for a guild challenge to get ready to quilt.
     There are not many parts of quilting that I don't like, but I am not keen on piecing backs and usually buy wide backing fabric to avoid this.  However, sometimes I find some good deals on yardage and can buy enough to simply sew two pieces together to make backing large enough for my quilts.  I typically buy 5 yards if there is enough available.  
     If you have followed my blog, you will know that I rarely plan sizes, but just make quilts that end up whatever size they are.   This one was no exception, and my decision to use the old applique blocks in the corners made the quilt bigger than my normal lap quilt.  This will be wonderful for watching TV in the winter, but not so great for making a backing.  The fabric I purchased was not enough!   Horrors - I have to piece the backing!  
     I have a bin of "orphan blocks" and found that I had 11 solid color stars on black.  The raw blocks were about 12 inches square.   I am pretty sure these were a failed project from the mid 2000s.  I know I made a few throw pillows from these in 2008.  They have otherwise languished in the bin.   

    I decided to sew together 10 of the blocks to stick in the middle of the backing. 
     Of course, once I sewed them together, I liked the blocks and how they went together.  They didn't look nearly as awful as I imagined.
     Well, now they are part of this quilt.  But, they weren't wide enough, and I wanted some extra fabric on the sides to center them for the back.   So, I added a piece of the backing fabric to both sides.    I then added a larger pieced part of the backing to the top.  It turned out, this was also not quite wide enough, so I had to add a bit more to each side (to keep the stars centered).
  The piece I added to the bottom was wide enough.  So many seams in this backing piece!
And one more on the top that didn't make it into the photo!  
     The 90 inch wide Warm and Natural will work on this piece.  At least I don't have to also piece together the batting!  
     The back is finally finished, and big enough!
The finished backing.  
     Next step - putting it on my table and pinning it.
     I took a break mid day on Thursday and started fiddling around with solids and curves, just to try something out.    I became inspired, and just kept going.   I started with the one in the hot summer colors, and then ended up with 4!

Quite a contrast  - the freeform shapes and the "On Ringo Lake" blocks! 
     Today, after watching that wedding, I sewed around the forms with white.  Not quite sure where this is going, but someplace fun!   I feel compelled to complete this as a little wall hanging.  Stay tuned! 



  
Take care,
Gretchen

Friday, May 11, 2018

Back to "On Ringo Lake" !

4 blocks, tentatively laid out
       I have the pleasure of being able to work on two projects simultaneously.  One is nearly done, and will be this year's submission to the Quilt Expo Modern Mini Quilt Challenge.   This is an on-line challenge, and photos are due on May 22, so it will be done soon, with its own blog post!   
     In the meantime, I have picked back up with the Bonnie Hunter "On Ringo Lake" Mystery Quilt.  Many quilters finished by the beginning of the year, and several of my fellow guild members have started showing off their finished tops.  I am hoping to finish this by the end of the summer, and am looking forward to starting another of these mystery quilts in the winter!
     I am on a slower schedule, but finally got enough of the last piecing clue done to start trying out some of the main blocks on my design wall.   I hope to finish all those pieces today, and then be able to really lay the blocks out!
     Since I posted this blog, I did finish the pieces, and started putting the blocks on the wall (these blocks are not sewn together - each has 9 little blocks I need to sew together!)  There will be sashing in between, but I wanted to see how it looked altogether.  I think I'll try to keep the yellow zig zag pieces scattered around the quilt.  That is the fabric which seems to jump out on this quilt.   I am thrilled to have a design wall to work with!


    In general, I am happy with my color choices.  The blacks are very dark, the reds are pretty strong, and I have a wide variety of the neutrals.  I am seeing that the tan/golds that I included with the yellows actually read more like a light neutral, and at points, are a bit lost in the design.    I am hopeful that, as a whole, the colors will all show up nicely!

    Happy Mothers' Day to all!

Take care,
Gretchen

Friday, May 4, 2018

Whirl-a-gig


    A little girl recently joined my extended family, and a celebration quilt was called for.  I used some of my extensive 30s fabrics, mostly in pinks and purple tones.     I made four patch blocks with large pieces, since I like to show off those cute little fabrics!  
I love having a design wall!  
   I was planning to do white sashing, and auditioned pink and purple for the middle parts.   I thought the purple was too dark! 
      I added pink to the sashing pieces to create little whirl-a-gigs. 

A shot of the design wall.  Big enough for a few pieces!  I was in the middle of blocking the New York Beauty wall hanging.
      After finishing the top, I felt it needed another pop of color.  Some of the floral prints had a bright yellow, so I used bright yellow thread for the quilting, and for the binding.  It wasn't much, but I thought it did brighten the whole quilt up a bit!   The quilt finished at 42 x 48, a nice toddler size.
     It turned out nice and crinkly (just as I like it!), and is already with little Eva!  Welcome! 

    Yesterday,  I finished my art classes for the semester.  Going back to college and pursuing this was one of the best decisions I have ever made.  I can't wait for the fall!  In the meantime, I am quilting up my Maria Shell piece to submit later this month to the Second annual  Modern Mini Quilt Challenge.  Stay tuned! 

Take care,
Gretchen