Wednesday, February 3, 2016

A great finish and great store

     After the last post, I am trying to be more upbeat. And still trying to beat the migraines. I have had shots in the neck, lidocaine down my nose, and other lovely things that get dreamed up medically. 
     But, I was so thrilled to finish Calico Rose!! I got the checkerboard on and I just love it. It looks instantly at home. Thanks Deanna for the quiltalong! Now, I am trying to determine a backing for it.

     One woman from blog space told me about a store called Delta Patchwork. They had an unbelievable clearance sale- top quality fabric like Marcia Derse and Frond for around $4.00 a yard. I ordered a whole lot of scrumptious fabric I never see in stores around me. The shipping was free. On Monday, a white box was delivered and inside were two bundles. In my migraine haze, I was disappointed because I did not order cutesy woodland fabric that I saw. However, each package was in a plastic bag and individually wrapped in beautiful paper. The taping was impeccable. It had a sticker on the front and a color postcard from the company with a personal message that said thank you for shopping. I was stunned. I waited a whole day before unwrapping as I was enamored with such beautiful packages (think My Favorite things song). The fabric was as I ordered and I was overjoyed.

Awesome, huh?

My most unsuccessful quilt ever

     If you have followed my blog for a while, you have seen the appointed quilt tester, Tugger (the Terrible). This cat will appear at any moment when fabric is laid on the ground, lay on it, scuff it up, burrow, and leave copious fur. He lays on my bed all day in one spot. I have a Heart bargello quilt there and I intend to never make one again. After looking at a woman's blog where she sells cat quilts (Gizzy's quilts) and reading the glowing testimonials of her customers, I decided that is what Tugger needed and I needed for my bed quilt to be spared. 
     I found an orphan block that came with some scraps that was too pretty to be cut up and enlarged upon the theme, quilted on my 301 (very rusty at FMQ on domestic), and bound it. While he was sleeping next to the fireplace (other favorite spot), I laid it down next to him. He promptly got up and left the room. I then put it on my bed in the spot he sleeps. He walked in, saw it, and headed for the guest room where he has slept all week. I guess he didn't get the memo how great it is for a cat to have their own quilt. Whatever room it is in, when he sees it, he turns around and leaves. 
     Trying hard not to feel rejected. By a cat. Yikes.
The offending quilt

Thursday, January 28, 2016

One of the things is not like the other...

     My grandkids love hidden pictures, puzzles, I Spy, and finding things in photos that don't belong. I should have employed them in looking at my Starcross quilt. Even though I took photos all along, I missed it. Once it was all sewn together with lattice strips on the wall, I spotted it. I am blaming it on a) constant headaches, b) age, c) preoccupation with other quilts, or d) all of the above.
      However, now I have to rip out the block and set it in right- rip seams all around it and get it back in. Yikes. Today, I ripped it out, but I am still staring at the lone rogue block. Even though I placed all the blocks ahead of time the right way on individual papers, I got it wrong.
      This was a kit from Craftsy although the colors went where we wanted them. I would have chosen some other colors. When I had it on the wall, I though, as a comfort quilt, it may be too much to look it. I took the white fabric to Joann's and found Kona Bone that matched the corners and made the lattice. The color works to calm things down, however, my technical ability to get the blocks to line up is not where I would like it. I tried pinning through the seams to make sure it lined up, but no. 
      You, the viewer, probably caught the block right from the start.
Early layout

Sashing between blocks
Sashing all around- dumb block is still wrong

Trying to match seams with pin guides
Trying in vain to match up the blocks.

String based Quilt sewn up!

     On page 30 of Cultural Fusion, there is a quilt called Toran. It is a little unusual. It uses string pieced blocks layered and free form cut with solids. I liked the look. I have a lot of string scraps and I wanted to use them in a different way, so this was perfect. I had some 10" squares of light paper from Missouri Star Quilt Company, so I used those for the strips and it worked very well. I was able to trim the final blocks to 9" instead of the book's 8.5", so that helped with the quilt size. I also made the quilt rectangular, 4 by 5 blocks. It is a great lap size. I will not put a border on it. The one in the book had a piano key border, but I like the quilt just like this. 
     I think it will be fun to quilt. Have to make a back first. I shot some photos of the steps if you are interested- might help understand how the quilt was made. Page 30 is worn out in my book. At first you may dismiss the quilt, but it has a curvy flow that I really like. I made the free form cuts more curvy than the book because I wanted the curve flow.
String block, solid, string block, solid layers,
free form curve cut- 4 in a set
Top string piece to bottom, revealing 2nd layer solid 
Pressing the curve seam flat first, then rolling the top back and pressing the block
Initial sample blocks to view
Layout on wall 1

Layout on wall 2
All sewn up and pressed!

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Batik Rail all quilted up!

     Despite having some long arm issues, like having the hopping foot get loose and bust the needle guide and waiting for new ones in the mail, I was able to finish up the Batik Rail Fence inspired from the book, Cultural Fusion by Sujata Shah. I quilted each big block section differently- one pattern for the dark fabric and a different for the light. This helps me to try different things and practice more. I used Mocha Glide on the top and blue Omni in the bobbin.
     I really like the quilt. I have 7 blocks left, so I need to make some more to get another one done. All the batiks I have now are too dull for this and my local quilt shop closed in December. It is so hard to see if the colors on shops online are bright enough. It used 6" WOF strips. First, the quilting detail photos.

Whole quilt minus the not yet done binding-what color, hmm, or scrappy?

Monday, January 18, 2016

Oh, so close, Calico Rose!

      Except for the checkerboard border, almost done with Calico Rose- 2" scraps! Never worked that small for so big. A big thank you to Deanna, from Wedding Dress Blues for the free pattern. This is the third quilt of hers I have made. Her directions are just excellent! Loved the whole long process. It has been a great Leader/Ender quilt. Now just to get more checkerboard done. The more different scraps you have, the better looking it is.
     Now I will need to find another scrap leader ender to make!
Laid out on wall
All webbed up 
All sewn up, checkerboard waiting to be added
First white border on and first checkerboard on one side

Saturday, January 16, 2016

Alternative to (shudder) Snowballing on Starcross

     In a past post, I whined about snowballing. This is when the base piece has square placed in the corner, sewn on the diagonal using a drawn line or crease, one corner of the top square is folded back to the base corner, and two layers have to be cut off behind the fold. Just hate it. Hard to sew precise, hard to trim, waste, etc.
     In my migraine haze, I was going through my rulers trying to plan a blog on tools. I picked up the Easy Angle Ruler I learned to use doing the ill-liked Grand Illusions mystery- I did learn some precision piecing on that. I thought, why can't I do all the cuts on the small squares and base pieces using that ruler so could sew a 1/4" seam against the seam guide and everything lined up, no awkward cutting off pieces behind, etc.
     I was pleasantly surprised how well it worked. I trimmed in sets of 4 pieces to keep accurate. Yes, there is more cutting beforehand, but after sewing the block, it all just presses so nicely (with starch of course). 
     To make sure I did not screw up the order, I laid each block when the individual components were done on a large piece of newsprint. I stacked up all the blocks this way. Then, I take the top paper and put the second column face down over the first one and chain stitch all three. I use a leader ender (border for Calico Rose) and then take column three, open up the first chain stitched set, and put column three face down on column two, leader/ender. This way, all the rows are held by thread, ready to sew the two horizontal seams. I then press the seams and put it back on the paper. I will sew all the remaining blocks this way. After they are all sewn, I will sew the rows, chain piecing from one block set to another. When I reach the end of the blocks, I will chain piece all the last row seam. This way, no piece ever gets out of order no matter how much my head hurts. Requires no thinking, just being a robot at that point.
    If I would have been smart enough to figure out the Easy Angle earlier, I would have cut 2 1/2" strips and cut all the triangles out from that eliminating any waste from the 2 1/2" squares. I could have cut 4 1/2" strips and done the same thing probably with the base squares. Would have wasted less (it is Kaffe fabric) and been more precise I think. And no Snowballing. Hopefully the photos will help someone.
Easy Angle ruler, 4 blocks with white triangles,
4 blocks with star point triangles.
Later, I cut both sides of this block at a time and it worked fine
The block laid out on paper.
2nd column laid face down on first column, last column put in order to move to machine

At machine, column 1 and 2 together ready to chain piece, third column standing by in order
First chain pieced blocks through, leader ender following. 
Chain pieced blocks opened like book, third column face down on column 2, chain pieced
Block back on paper. Needs two horizontal seams sewn. Will be chain pieced when all blocks in stack are done.
Nothing gets out of order or rotated wrong.