Monday, January 30, 2017

Fancy four-patches

A stack of 4-inch squares came to hand and the thought crossed my mind that I should USE them instead of simply shuffling them to another place.  Since the group is working on 4-patch projects right now, that seemed an obvious place to start.  What if I made big blocks out of them and set them all together with some kind of sashing?

Cursory play in Electric Quilt gave me a general layout 
and number of blocks to achieve a useful size.  
Looked simple enough!
Things got a bit complicated, however, when I began putting my fabrics up on the wall.  I chose to add a 4th value.  And this meant I had two different kinds of blocks, plus the natural issues that come with using scraps and not wanting adjacent pieces matching, etc.

I had trouble keeping my diagonal set lined up nicely on the wall!
 I found a vintage piece of orange-y rust that makes a nice complement to the blues.  I like the way those narrow rust lines tie the design together.  But this was what I would call a "nasty" fabric -- not 100% cotton and rather hard to handle.  It required me to approach cautiously with the iron and in spite of being a bit stiff it wasn't very stable on either the horizontal or the vertical grain.  (Once the top was completed I was pleased to drop the last few scraps of this one into the trash!)

Diagonally set quilts always have a tendency to skew out of shape.  I spent the best part of an afternoon measuring, cutting, and pinning to get those borders on the way I wanted them.  And even so I can see a couple of spots that will require some attention during the quilting to ensure a nice flat end product.

I am very pleased with the completed top.

And did this project use up that original pile of squares?  Of course not!  Some of those pieces were the wrong colour or wrong value.  Actually that pile is now larger than when I began --  with the addition of pieces from other fabrics that were auditioned and didn't make the cut!

Monday, January 16, 2017

A couple of scrappy finishes

While it is exciting to start something new I do find that seeing something finished has its own kind of satisfaction!  Over the last little while two scrappy projects have been completed, all the way to the binding.

The Plaid ZigZag quilt has borders, quilting, binding.  I'm glad I decided to use multiple fabrics for the light triangles, and the green inner border that I waffled about seems to be just fine.

Inspired by Bonnie Hunter's design that she calls Narragansett Blues.  Started, as usual, thinking it would "use up" some scraps.  None of the fabric piles seem any lower, but I had lots of fun!  This lap-sized quilt is also completely complete and has found its way to its new home.

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Getting ready for Christmas

Not long ago I came across my brother's teddy bear that my mother had carefully tucked away in a box many years ago.   Pal has been well-loved -- most early pictures of my brother show the bear tagging along whatever the activity.  I believe Pal was once golden and fluffy (there are traces of curly mohair in some of his seams).  But now he is worn smooth and his brown skin shows many broken areas where excelsior stuffing peeks through.

Poor Pal --  he was definitely in need of some loving attention!  My friend Ellen took him home and brought him back with a fresh new outfit -- overalls and jaunty cap!

Bear is pleased to be out of storage and taking his part in the family again.

As the weather grew colder, though, Pal didn't really seem to be dressed for season.  I made him a sweater.



And last time I looked I noticed that Pal was getting into the spirit of Christmas.  

Pal has decided he likes the little zigzag quilt and he is busy
sorting through the Christmas decorations.



Monday, December 12, 2016

Making some progress

Perhaps another one of this year's started projects will make it to the finish line by the end of the year!  (Is is sensible to take this on when Christmas is right around the corner and there are still holiday preparations to be done, you ask? Hey --  I'm sure I read somewhere that the only place housework comes before quilting is in the dictionary!)

Some time ago I began making blocks with plaid strips.  I blogged about it here.  I am happy to report that those blocks have been completed and assembled into a quilt top.
Seven blocks by nine did not lend itself to a traditional symmetrical layout.
 Instead the diagonals zigzag across the quilt.
 

It is time for borders.  Auditions are taking place.
Slab pieces of various medium plaids would do the trick. 
I like this idea, especially because it uses up a few more odd pieces.  That medium green seems to help the transition between the centre and the border.  (And if that particular piece isn't large enough for the job my "mature stash" probably has something else similar to augment it.  Sigh.)


Monday, November 14, 2016

In the Pink

Some of the scraps in my sewing room are sorted by colour.  This is what the Pink and Purple drawer looks like:
Drawer of odd pieces of pink and purple that don't have homes anywhere else.
This is a collection of odd bits.  Anything larger than a FQ, or anything that has been cut into one of my favourite useful sizes is not in this drawer.  And this is how full the drawer is now, AFTER a couple of projects that were done specifically to use some of this!

I spent a happy afternoon picking out squares (and cutting out more squares from some of the bigger pieces) to make this pink and green quilt.
Lap-sized quilt will be used as a Prayer Quilt by my church group.
And I've just finished a quilt  top that will be a gift for a new baby girl. (Since the picture was taken quilting has been done.  Pink binding has been added and is being stitched down as we speak!)
Baby quilt from 2" squares and triangles.

I can't imagine how many more quilt tops could be lurking in just this one drawer of scraps.  Isn't it a wonderful thing that we have such riches of fabric resources that we never need to worry about running out!






Sunday, November 13, 2016

Quiltmaker's 100 Blocks #14

A new edition of Quiltmaker's 100 Blocks comes out this week! It looks like this:

Volume 14 -- on newsstands about November 15

So, why am I so excited about this, you ask?  Because I have a block in this issue, that's why!  And not only that, my block is on the cover!  Right there, first block at the very top!  

Let me know when you see this magazine out there!  (And if you buy the magazine, you get directions for not only my block (see page 38), but 99 other blocks that are nearly as wonderful as this one.)

Monday, October 31, 2016

Pondering the scraps

Lots of things I SHOULD be doing in the sewing room, but this week the overflowing box of plaids caught my eye again.  I decided to work on "just the small bits" and try to get rid of the messy part of the collection.

I cut strips 6 1/2" long and assembled strips of "piano keys".
I made a pile of strips like this -- and most of the plaid pieces were cut a little straighter than this lot!
.
Then I cut triangles from the strips until I had a good pile. 
I added light coloured triangles to pieced triangles to make blocks.  

There are lots of possibilities for these blocks, and I'm still playing with them to see what they might become.  But I know I don't have quite enough of that gold fabric for all my blocks.  What to do? -- make a smaller quilt?  choose another background and make some blocks with each?  or pull out all the possibilities and go scrappy?  The last choice is what I'm inclined to do, but I need fairly large pieces.  Around here, 8" strips count as yardage, not scrap!


Here are a few of the fabrics that came to light on the first look through the stash.  (These are all a bit darker than the photo would suggest -- the fabric I've used in the blocks already is third from the right.)

One great thing about quilting is that there are really no "wrong answers" -- at the end of the process I'll have a quilt and it will be fine.  I just don't know yet what it might look like!

Meanwhile, here is a project that actually did get finished!
Tiny zigzags.  Blocks are 2" finished.  It didn't use up much fabric, but it is done!!