Wednesday, June 22, 2011

What have I been working on?

Wow the past couple weeks have flown by. But they have been productive.

I decided that since I'm not working (and not looking for a job yet), maybe I should see if I could figure out a way to make money from this crazy quilting obsession. Could I design quilts that other equally obsessed fabric-aholics might want to make?

So I decided to begin designing and sewing quilt tops in order to put together a book proposal for one of the quilting book publishers. They have a preferred format for the proposal and like to have samples/drawings, etc. that show what the intended book would include.

So I've designed 5 quilts so far, finished two tops and have two more tops nearly finished.

Of course this could all be an exercise in futility. But even so, there will be finished quilts at the end of the process and the designing efforts have been a fun challenge.

I'll be keeping the quilts a surprise -- as well as the overall premise of the book -- until I know whether my book idea is accepted (or not).

Wish me luck!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

No Fat Quarters Were Harmed In the Making of This Quilt

This was a total scrap quilt. All 930 pieces!

Every fabric came from miscellaneous strips, squares, triangles and scraps from recent quilts I’ve worked on.

The brown inner border was left over from an old Thimbleberries quilt, and most of the blacks in the outer border were left over from the Gathering Baskets quilt (Primitive Pieces by Lynda) that I finished a few weeks ago.

This is my 9th quilt top finish this year – adding to my list of tops ready to quilt.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Using Up My Scraps

I'm working a fun quilt. It is Lori Smith’s “Pinwheels for Caroline”.

I have finished all of the blocks for the center and am in the process of sewing the blocks into rows.

It hasn’t been a “stash reduction” quilt, but definitely a “scrap reduction” quilt. The pinwheel blocks finish 3 inches, so each of the half-square triangles (HST) are 2 inches before sewing into the pinwheel. The HST alternate blocks also finish 3 inches.

I began by pouring through my scraps looking for strips – 2-1/2 inches to 3-1/2 inches for the pinwheel HSTs and 3-1/2 inches and wider for the alternate HSTs, 3 to 4 inch squares, and miscellaneous triangles.

Then, depending on the size of the strip I used one of three methods to make the HSTs:

Squares with line drawn corner to corner, then stitched scant ¼ inch on each side of the line:

Triangles cut using an Easy Angle ruler:

Or Thangles papers (for the 2-inch HSTs

If you haven’t used Thangles, they are a fast, very accurate way to make HSTs. I typically don’t use them on HSTs that are larger than 3 inches, but if you need a lot of HSTs and don’t want to have to square them up, Thangles are a great tool.

Here’s a link to the Thangles website with detailed instructions.

I ended up using three different sewing machine feet while sewing all these HSTs, and then assembling them into pinwheel blocks. When sewing the Thangles, I used an open-toe zig-zag foot so I could more easily see the lines to sew on.

When sewing the triangles cut with the Easy Angle ruler, I used my ¼-inch quilting foot with the fabric guide.

And when I was sewing the HSTs using the “squares” method, I used my regular ¼-inch quilting foot.

I also had to keep switching my stitch length. When stitching on Thangles paper, I used a smaller stitch – 1.6 on my machine to make sure the HST didn't loosen while removing the paper.

I also found it useful to use a 3.5 basting stitch to make sure all of the points on my pinwheels were aligned, however, after the first several blocks I found that everything was aligned well and I didn’t need to take this extra step.

Once this quilt is quilted and bound, I’m going to overdye it with a tan Rit dye to tone down the lighter cream backgrounds. I want the quilt to have an overall darker look to it without the little pops of “light” from the lighter and brighter colors. (At least, that’s the plan right now. We’ll see what I end up doing when the time comes.)

All in all, I’m loving this scrappy quilt -- and enjoying using up a bunch of scraps..

Thanks for visiting, and have a great weekend!

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

So How Long Did That Quilt Take to Make?

I'm always fascinated when someone asks me how long a quilt or stitching project took to complete. I don't keep track of how long something takes -- although sometimes I have a pretty good idea if I made the quilt without switching to other projects or letting it become a UFO for a time. And, for the most part, I don't want to know how much time I spent on a quilt!

On Monday I started to gather up the fabrics and scraps for the pink, green and black "Round the Twist" Alex Anderson design (that I'm going to call "Twist and Shout"). (I showed it in an earlier post, but am including it here so you don't have to look for it.)

I realized that I had a lot of 2-inch strips and squares, plus plenty of partial fat quarters left over. Why not use them in a smaller quilt that could either accompany "Twist and Shout" when I give it to some lucky recipient, or save the smaller quilt for the next baby-girl quilt I need.

I decided one of Carrie Nelson's Schnibbles would be a good option -- and eventually settled on "Plan C", which uses 2-inch squares and strips. It is in her book called "Schnibbles Times Two". Although Carrie's pattern was designed for charm squares, I could just use what I had already pre-cut, plus cut some additional pieces as needed.

Here is the result -- which is about 32 inches square.

The funny thing is that it took LONGER to make the small quilt than it took to make the larger twin-sized quilt. Not a lot longer, but still I expected it to work up more quickly than it did. (It took about "a day" -- or rather one late night sewing and the better part of yesterday.)

Then there's my mom's flannel log cabin. What started out as a 20-block quilt (4 X 5) is now a 49-block quilt. Yep, it is now a king-sized quilt that is 98 inches by 98 inches. We laid it out on her bed and it’s going to look great. (This photo was taken before one more row was added at the right, which will be at the bottom of the bed. The stars will be centered on the bed.)

Now the problem is that we bought enough backing for a quilt that is 84 inches by 98 inches – and it just won’t “stretch” for the extra 7 14-inch blocks we added to the bottom. I thought I’d found an extra 3 yards (which is what it would take), but just got e-mail from the shop I ordered it from that indicated they really didn’t have the fabric in stock. I’m going to keep looking, but will probably end up having to piece something else into the backing.

I can’t believe it’s Wednesday already – not to mention the first day of June! This year is nearly half over! Have a great rest of the week.


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