Monday, April 29, 2019

Spring Colorwash

     I had so much fun in the last colorwash class with Wanda, that I am doing it again. I have enough batiks on the trays I think to make another one, but since it is spring (real slowly around here), I want to use florals. 
     When I did not know exactly what I was doing a while ago, I did make one, but it was sold at a show. I seem to be lacking a lot of colors and values I need, so I will have to really scrounge through all my fabric to find enough- especially oranges, greens and blue greens. 
     I love florals and Debbie always inspires me as I keep going back to her gallery of floral quilts. I need flowers. I paint flowers, I just love them and all their shades, shapes, and textures. My intial efforts here will have to be mightily tweaked and added to.

Sunday, April 28, 2019

Trying to get it done

     For some reasons, I just cannot get in the basement and get some quilts long armed. I never seem to have a big enough chunk of time. 
     We had the upstairs living area floors refinished, and then we painted all the walls and ceilings and then I had Easter dinner.  I feel I have been living among boxes and chaos. I forced myself one afternoon this week to work on a quilt that has been ready to go for a while. I only have a little way to go. I will try later today to get it done and off and the Jack's Basket baby quilts on. 

      One result of painting the walls and moving furniture is that we replaced an old hutch that was kind of colonial (sent it to Restore- a Habitat for Humanity store) with an Amish made one. It is black and has elm doors, drawer fronts and top. We had to go to Ohio to pick it up. 
     It looks real good where we put it against the new grey green paint. My husband has to make a couple of floating shelves above it, but until then my batik colorwash has a place to shine.

Friday, April 19, 2019

Jack's Basket baby quilts

     Every year, Sarah Craig, of Confessions of a Fabric Addict, has an event called Hands2Help. Different groups are listed every year for quilt donations. In the past, I have been fortunate to make quilts to give to one of the groups. Last year, I made a quilt, but couldn't quilt it due to my heart attack, and Sarah graciously quilted it and donated it for me.
     This year, new, is Jack's Basket. It is a group that celebrates Down's syndrome babies and gives a basket of goodies to the family. One of the items is a 36" x 36" quilt. I decided this year to make 4 of them using parts of blocks and a panel to design and create for them. 
     Going through donated block parts and figuring out a great quilt is not easy or quick. I want each quilt to be artistic and beautiful, not just sewn together. I despaired at the beginning as nothing was working. I used graph paper and battled my math skills. As I got the first one done, an Eric Carle panel, the ideas started flowing. In 2 1/2 days, I sewed all 4. Now, I have to sweat and see if I can get them all quilted by the end of May.
Started with a 20" panel
Made piano keys to match the small printed border and cornerstones.
Added the green like the grass.
Frog blocks and turquiose ones were donated, but taken apart, reassembled,
and added a dragonfly border.
Leftover heart blocks were sashed with fun polka dots and bordered with the same.
A bunch of HSTs were sewn into flying geese, some funky dividers and a bright orange border.
Crazy multicolor circles in blue enclosed the bright orange.

Saturday, April 13, 2019

Octagons Delight!

     OBW Octagons continued: After arranging/rearranging the triangle squares in the spaces between the octagons, I had to figure a way to get them off the wall and sew them. 

      In the book, she recommends taking two off the wall at a time. I did not want that kind of torture and knew I would not get those triangles in the right spots, so I pulled out my old friend, freezer paper.
      I already had cut squares that I had place another project on before, so that was easy. I numbered the rows and letter the columns- like A1, A2, etc with painters tape. Then I placed each block with the triangles on the paper and ironed it down. I made columns A through E piles. 
     I chose to chain piece three squares at a time. I put a colored flower pin in each octagon oriented flower to the top, the same color  pin and the same orientation on the freezer paper, and started on each octagon in the same corner and chain pieced. Even if I came back after a phone call or interruption, I knew exactly what piece went where. The only mistakes I made were on the first six blocks when I had not figured out the system yet.
Pin placement to keep orientation piecing correct.
Blocks sewn and trimmed to 8 1/2"
      Every block had to be trimmed to 8 1/2" and I tried to keep the centers consistent but it was almost impossible to keep the connecting blocks having precisely matched up seams. In the book, she says don't worry about it. I couldn't help it.
     I did the webbing technique, sewing two columns blocks together keeping the rows connected by threads. Then I sewed all the rows. All seams in this quilt were pressed open due to the bulk and the bias. I don't usually, but this quilt needs it. 
     I have to say, sewing this quilt together was like little jolts of electricity- I was so enthralled to see what was happening and when I sewed it all- I was awestruck. I just can't believe what this fabric did. I love it. I am not sure how to finish it. I want it to look like it is in a gallery frame with not a lot of attention to the frame. Puzzling the finishing through while basking in the beauty.

Ta- da!!

Thursday, April 11, 2019

Octagons marching along

     After the retreat and the first of the octagon OBW blocks made, I was able to sew all of them together and also the connecting squares cut into triangles. The book was marginally helpful. Some of the steps were left out and I did not agree with her sewing advice. 
    So, I started with this fabric cut into eight repeats (repeat was 12").
      Then, all the pieces were cut and sewn into octagons. I arranged on the design wall.
     Twenty six photos and tries later, I had this.
     Then, I had piles of 8 squares. They went into two piles of 4. They were cut opposite each other. These pile of 4 triangles were arranged into a square, and I used painters tape on the back to hold them together to prevent a matching nightmare. These taped squares were auditioned in the spaces left between octagons. I got real excited at this point.

Groups of triangle squares for filling in. Pretty cool, huh?

Friday, April 5, 2019

Blocks- Sewn Up!

     At the quilt retreat, I was able to sew all 40 Disappearing Hourglass Blocks (MSQC) into the final stars. Now, I have to decide whether to make one large quilt or two comfort ones with borders. Hmm. The Kaffe layer cake came from Missouri Star when there was a daily deal. Such a sucker for those Kaffe deals. 
     Also, I sewed all the OBW octagons (48). When I got home  I moved them around on the design wall over 30 times and 3 days until I settled on one arrangement. I was trying to go from lightest to darkest instead of just matching flowers. Now, I am cutting the triangles from the squares for the corners and placing them. Next post, I will show progress on that. Oh, I love the octagons.
The first placement
Somewhere in the middle of the placements
The final placement

Thursday, April 4, 2019

Quilt Retreat = Lots Done

     People ask me why I go to quilt retreats. They say you have a sewing studio- isn't that enough? The truth of the matter is quilt retreats are focused times eliminating distractions and interruptions- 2 things necessary to complete work in a compressed time period. Also, it is fun to sew with others and see what others are making. Twenty guild women sewing who all get along. And someone else cooks and cleans up. And all the stuff left out for days with no guilt. What is not to love?
     I prep for the retreat when I clip a quilt into columns for assembling. I had three this year in bags and sewed all of them. I completed a bunch of new blocks. And I learned some new things, fixed a machine for someone and taught a label technique. The whole thing cost $205 for Thursday through Sunday, so I am calling it a win.
     The three tops were web assembled. When I got home, I found borders for two of them, the 2 x 4, 3 1/2" one was big enough on its own.
2 x 4 quilt with 3 1/2" wide pieces
2 x 4 quilt with 2 1/2" wide pieces
2 x 4 quilt gray batik border fabric chosen,
border will finish at 3"
MSQC Katie's Quilt
Border fabric chosen, border will finish at 3"