Saturday, September 16, 2017

Something Old Something New - How I make fabric selections

Sometimes its fun to start something new.  Actually, I'm pretty sure it's always fun to start something new.  I've discovered Instagram is BAD!  Anyway, Zen Chic started a sew along last month which is hosted on the Bernina blog and I started thinking that it could be a fun thing to participate in.  The quilt is a modern triangle quilt - with lots of scope to make things your own.  No, I rarely sew with a 60 degree triangle, but undeterred... I started looking at fabric options...

Initially, I had a completely different idea about how this was going to look... maybe kinda masculine, and had some fabric in mind as a start off point.  But then, once I had figured out that the triangles involved are relatively small, that using a charm pack as a start off point wasn't such a silly idea, especially since it was going to be heavily supplemented by stash.  Then, when I looked at the charm packs in my possession, I pulled out the least likely one of all, and not one bit masculine looking.

I had bought this Moda Kate Spain "Central Park" charm pack years ago without realising that there were only 5 prints included.  The moral of the story is to check the back of your Moda charm packs to see how many different prints there are, and what to expect about duplicates... anyway... it is a slightly odd mix of fabrics.

Pulling out the orange print helps the remaining prints to make sense.

And it was time to start pulling some friends from my stash cupboard:
Text print: Blithe by Katarina Roccella by Art Gallery Fabrics
Gold print: Lucky Penny by Alison Glass
Blue Dot: Bluebird by Melody Miller
Purple floral: Simply Colorful II by Vanessa Christensen
Gold Floral: unmarked
Greenish weave: one of the Robert Kaufman linens
Black Text: unmarked (although it will be something along the lines of Mama Said Sew definitions)

Returning to the cupboard to find a deeper green, I pulled out some more to add to the pile.  It was starting to look very interesting!  As always, adding more means you can add even more, and I found a toning larger floral and a large geometric that helped to create a cohesive grouping!

Blue Utensils: no marking
Dark green dot: no marking
Log cabin print: Dwellings by Michele D'Amore Designs
Triangle Print: Simply Eclectic by Hoffman Fabrics

Floral: Hope Chest by Blend has a funky purple/brown background, which is similar to the triangle print background.

And both are reminiscent although not the same as the original floral print from the charm pack.

The instructions call for an accent fabric, and a background.  I'm thinking that the Zen Grey Moda Bella Solid will be a good background, and I'm keeping the accent fabric open just at the moment.  I quite like the black print (the purple flowers do have a black centre), but I also like this textural dot as it has that same funny purpley tone.  But I've never mixed the heavy weight linen-ish fabric with regular patchwork cottons in a quilt.  Is it a disaster waiting to happen?

And all together... spanning fabric purchases from at least four years ago to current...

And my Month One triangles.

Because I do sometimes keep to my WIP list, I started back on my RSC blocks for this month, pulling out and ironing my orange scraps, and got my first block pieced.

During the week I managed to sew together my 36th TATW block!  That the last one folks.

And the blocks all laid out...

And looking at it from the other angle.

I have also been plugging along on the baby quilt piecing...

The rows are not joined together yet - but some good progress is being made.

Hoping to link up with Lyn at What a Hoot, RSC at So Scrappy, and Sunday Stash with Molli Sparkles.

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Let there be SEWING!

I've had a really crazy week - being selected for jury service (even though I didn't end up on the jury) caused a lot of stress and upset... not something I enjoyed at all.  I also had emotional ups and downs after investigating a possible new sewing machine... but unfortunately that fell through.  So instead I bundled up my trusty little Bernette machine and took it off to get serviced.  As a result, I turned to some FMQ which I compete on my larger Brother machine.

Last time I worked on my Stack Shuffle Slide quilt, I was partway through the second quarter...

Working on this interlocking boxes sort of all over pattern.

A week later and I've now got three whole quarters finished! Woot.

Looking at it from the other angle, you can see all that lovely texture.  Yum!

Once I had reached this milestone, I was itching to do some more piecing... so even though my Brother can be a bit of a pain to piece with, I set it up and away I went... my strip sets have been slowly decreasing on the TATW quilt and that was great motivation to get some more done.  I think I've lost a week somewhere in this quilt along.

And now I have a heap of new blocks.  I needed to pull some more fabrics as I discovered to my surprise that I had already cut up most of the original pull!  I found some Stof fat 1/8ths that fit the bill, and they have a lovely subtlety that combines well with my other fabrics.

 Only TWO left to go!  Hard to believe that is 36 blocks, with a finished quilt size of 90" square.

With the stink weather we have been having, I figured a nice Spring like quilt was due on the bed (even though we had a frost), so straightened out my Swoon quilt - and remembered that I love it.

Also remembered that it is not quite finished.

I also started a new project!  Oops, but I can't control other people from having babies now, can I?  I really like these green, aqua and yellow geometrics for a Spring baby boy quilt.

Simply Retro by Camille Roskelley has some great simple but effective designs.

And it started looking good pretty early on... I decided to make it slightly smaller than the pattern with only 4 squares across, and 5 squares down.

I've got the top row pieced now, and working on the first sashing strip.

And, because I have other projects already on The List, I pulled out all my orange scraps for this months RSC colour.

Hopefully I'll get a chance to get these ironed and cut out this week.

Monday, August 28, 2017

Winding Down to the End of the Month

Somehow August just seems to keep on going... I managed to piece together all the Tillies Lane blocks into one huge square.  This was one of my Epic Quilt Challenges from the start of the year.  Now I just need to make some final decisions on borders.  One challenge at a time.

I have also sewed and sewed and got through "almost" all of the TATW blocks for the last two weeks.  These blocks I had sewn the strip sets, but not subcut or repieced.  One more block to go, and then these 8 are finished, and only 8 more to go until the quilt top has all its blocks pieced.

I decided to trial a Saturday night sew in with Barefoot Quilter on instagram... I'm not much of a night time quilter - having my sewing cave in an external garage means it is not overly social or pleasant to disappear to in the middle of the night.  And having something move in there that was not me, kinda put me off the whole experience.  Once the heart rate had returned to normal, I reorganised my blocks into a totally different layout, and am now pondering whether I like the offset square look... excuse the dark depressing middle of the night photo!

or whether to go back to the multiple radiating squares...

As the month end approaches, I realise that I haven't started the Carol's Quilts mystery for this month (don't tell Charlotte).  So today has been spent cutting and piecing the first few units of this months mystery.  We are up to Month 4 now, so only two more months to go before the mystery is revealed.  Very exciting!

No Rainbow Scrap Challenge for me this month - this months colour was neutral, and I decided that my rainbow didn't need neutral.  I'm looking forward to next month to see what colour we are working with and get back into this project.

And I think that about finishes my monthly roundup.  Next month I'm keen to get the last four My Tweets blocks framed, and attached to the centre unit, and get back to FMQ on the Stack, Shuffle Slide quilt.  Lots going on here...

Sunday, August 20, 2017

In which nothing really gets finished at all

It seems like it was just last week that I was sewing bias stems... wait, it was just last week. 

And this week it has been more of the same... just a different coloured basket (the moment when I realise that the photo is on my instagram photos and not on here).  Anyway - just imagine the picture above and change the basket to purple. 

I didn't manage to finish this border section this week - by Tuesday my week has turned into a rerun of Groundhog Day last week, so I changed things up a bit and sewed together my strip sets for the next four TATW blocks... which I didn't get finished either.

Saturday was set aside for Tillies Lane and I put my "get it done" pants on and made the remaining 20 hourglass blocks and cut enough plain squares to fill in all the gaps.  I had ended up with a whole heap of green blocks, and needed a mix of other colours to blend things in.  It was actually a lot harder to place all the blocks in this final top section compared with the other three sides - where I just randomly put down colours that I liked, making sure that the next block was not the same colour. 

And progress by this afternoon - I have two larger chunks put together on the top section (far left, and far right), with the middle section still mostly unpieced.

I had bought a metre piece of this little floral fabric, just because I liked it.  Accidentally placing it next to my Tillies Lane project made me realise that although it has limited colours (only one shade each of red, yellow, blue, green, white and the grey background) - it toned in really well with the multicoloured blocks.  Funny how you can never really pick how fabrics are going to work together.  I would have thought that  border fabric would need to include a whole heap of colours to work with such a wild range of blocks.

The quilt pattern finishes at 63" so I would want to add a border regardless - I just need to decide whether it needs a narrow plain border first... or to just whack a larger - maybe 5" border on.

Life it always full of decisions isn't it?

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Mini Milestones

I have had a few mini goals in mind this week:
* finish the first applique border for the Orphan Block Medallion Quilt
* get the left hand side of Tillies Lane pieced
* get this weeks four TATW blocks completed

Yes... mission accomplished.

I decided to add these borders as partial seams, meaning I could add one basket block onto each side panel - and complete the applique; instead of needing to complete the machine blanket stitch on all the basket blocks after this border is completely attached.

Playing with the applique shapes, I decided I quite liked this flower flowing into the previous border.  I left a small amount of the flower unfused and only partially sewn.  Then once the border was sewn on, fused the last little bit down.  Now I just need to sew the last three petals.

And the partial seam end - once the remaining borders have been added, I will hide the end of the other bias stem under a leaf.

The other end of the stem... a long piece of stem that will need to be sewn into the other basket, once all the borders have been added.

Tillies Lane... it just keeps getting bigger and more exciting.  I can finally see light at the end of this tunnel.  I love looking at all these little scraps.

And the four TATW blocks for this week.

And the blocks so far... I am officially over half way now :o)  Actually I've got two more than what is showing... I need to reorganise my room now if I'm going to add them onto the design wall, and the design floor is currently occupied.

As far as construction of these blocks goes, I finally worked out that with my colour placements, it was easier to make a light set, and a dark set of strips for each block.  The light set I press away from the light solid (towards the centre), and dark set I press away from the dark strip - or the strip in the centre, as it is not always the darkest fabric.

Then after sewing the strip sets together top and bottom, they are subcut, and arranged in order.  I've found that visually, I need to follow these steps, to make sure that I don't get confused.  The sets all need to be pointing in the same direction.  Then I start unpicking seams, starting with the left hand strip and the top seam, and moving to the next seam down on each set.  

Once I've unpicked the first four sets, I flip the next two sets over.

And unpick the last two seams.  Opening out the sets is when the magic happens.  This is the order that the strips open out into.  Pretty but not what I want.

So I reorganise the sets to make the centre diagonal stripe the dark one.

All ready to piece together!