Wednesday, August 14, 2019

Little Rubies, Green Fabric, Quarter Cabins, + ScrapHappy

I haven't written about Little Rubies for a while.  She is sandwiched, basted, and a little less than a third quilted.  It's going very slowly, though.  Perhaps because it's summer, or maybe because I'm devoting more time to hand applique, or maybe because I'm a little tired of her.


Robin's post reminded me how peaceful and comforting I find hand quilting.  If I quilted one complete fan (six arcs in sequential sizes) every day, I could have this quilt finished in 49 days.  I doubt I will succeed with that schedule but I could at least work on the quilt every day.

This is a poor photo just so the quilting is visible.  I don't mark fans which means some of the arcs are a little wobbly.  I don't mind.  This is just a homey, comfortable quilt, quilted to keep the three layers together, not for show.


And then there's that green fabric.  Six yards, all in one piece.  I've had a heck of a time talking myself into cutting it, or even washing it.  I'm much better at using scraps than cutting into yardage.


But I washed it today and I measured how large to cut the side-setting triangles.  I'll start with a few that are 7",  just to see how they work.  They'll be a little large but it's easier to cut smaller than make larger.   The fact is, I've never made strips from squares and triangles and I don't exactly know what I'm doing.  Let's hope I've got the idea right in my mind!


Sometimes, as with this quilt, I wish ideas for quilts popped into my head fully formed with all the details for the quilt from start to finish:  the colors and fabric to use, the sizes to cut, placement of pieces, the order to sew....  I don't suppose there would be much fun in the process if that happened, though, would there?  I'm sure I would get bored with it quickly.

For anyone who's reading for the first time, on the left are the scrappy quarter log cabin squares I'm using to create a strippy quilt, and on the right is my current idea for the layout, but with more colorful leaves, I think.



Just for fun, this is a photo of today's grey and ominous thundery sky.  I love thunderstorms! 


From these clouds we had a little rain and no thunder or lightening.  A few minutes after taking this photo, the sun shone through the clouds on the opposite side of the road.  Glorious and beautiful!


I'm linking this post to
> ScrapHappy at talltalesfromchiconia
> Wednesday Wait Loss at The Inquiring Quilter
> WOW at Esther's Blog
> Midweek Makers at QuiltFabrication
Thanks for hosting, ladies.

Thanks for visiting!
--Nancy.

Wednesday, August 7, 2019

One Monthly Goal for August, 2019

Motivation is hard to come by these days.  Thank goodness for online, public declarations of monthly goals!

My goal this month is to catch up with Lori's Sweet Land of Liberty sewalong, hosted on Cheri Payne's Facebook page/group.  Below is a photo of what I made the last time around but didn't finish.


This is what I should be doing for August with notes about what I still need to do:
> 4 Economy blocks
> 4 Snail's Trail blocks - done
> couple and tree - done EXCEPT for the lettering
> checkerboard and stars - done EXCEPT for appliquing the stars

So I'm more than halfway finished with that part.

The other part of the August sewalong includes sewing the top part of the quilt together.


These are the pieces to be assembled, mostly ready to go.  I'll have to decide about
> the flag near the log cabin (whether it goes or stays)
> whether to add a heart to the sawtooth star block, and
> whether to add the three flying geese to the flying angel block

You may remember that I increased the length and width of the two blocks on the left, which means I'll have to adjust the other blocks in that row so they all fit with the top section.  This quilt is such an improv-style quilt that I doubt the changes will make much of a noticeable difference in the finished quilt.  I just wanted it to be longer and wider than the original.

I'm just under the wire for the August One Monthly Goal link up at Elm Street Quilts!

--Nancy.
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Thursday, August 1, 2019

Lady Liberty, Little Dolls, and a Tinman

These are last month's blocks for Sweet Land of Liberty which I didn't finish till this month.  This was a sewalong last year at Humble Quilts, repeated this year at Cheri Payne's Facebook group, which explains why I have some months' blocks completed already.


My Lady Liberty is different than Cheri's pattern.  I based this one on Robin's Liberty though they don't look much alike.  I also lengthened and widened both of these blocks.

Lady Liberty needs a face.  I think she looks very serious so perhaps I'll draw her features similar to the face on the right.  Keep it simple for a primitive quilt.


Here's Liberty and her shadow.  Don't you think she looks elegant on the right, sturdy on the left?


I finally decided to draw the words and images on the center of the sawtooth star.  I tried to find Micron pens in colors, specifically red, blue, and green, in the correct size.  I had a 50% off coupon for Michael's but they were doing a reset and had put all the pens in the back.  No help there, so I used the 08 black I already had.  I might add a little red heart and a gold star.  I traced the pattern in reverse on freezer paper then pressed the fabric to the paper and traced the pattern.  Worked like a charm.


We were to make 4 economy blocks and a dozen flying geese.  I just keep making both so I hope these aren't ones I posted last month.


I finished July's blocks the first time Lori hosted this sewalong last year.  Here they are, except for the 4 flying geese, which I didn't photograph.



Many thanks to Lori for hosting this sewalong again.  I think I might be able to finish the top this year!

--Nancy.
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Wednesday, July 31, 2019

Update on My Quarter Cabin String Blocks

When I posted at the end of last month I'd made 80 of these quarter cabin blocks. 


I now have 110 of them. 


It's time to start thinking about strip sizes and how wide each strip should be.  The blocks will finish at 4" but set on point each will be about 5 3/4" across.  So each strip will be at least that wide, or I could make the strip 6", 6½", or even 7".

As far as length, with 110 blocks I could make
- 7 strips of cabins with 15 blocks would measure 86" long.
- 6 strips of cabins with 16 blocks would measure 92" long.
- 8 strips of cabins with 13 blocks would measure 74" long.
I'll need to decide whether the quilt will have a border because that will affect both the width and the length.


The next consideration is how wide the alternate strips should be.  Before I decide that I should probably decide whether I'm doing vines with leaves or something else.  If leaves, I need to decide how large they will be.

I wish I'd measured the space between the cabins when I tried this layout.  I'll lay them out again and measure.


I think the 110 blocks I've already made will be enough if I proceed with a strippy quilt with alternating strips.  I just need to devote some concentrated time and effort to move this quilt along -- decide on alternating strips, their width, and what to applique, then begin. 

I'm linking this post to Lori's Humble Quilts Stringalong post for July, 2019.  Thanks for hosting, Lori.
I'm also linking this post to
> WOW at Esther's Blog
> Midweek Makers at Quilt Fabrication
Thanks for hosting, ladies.

--Nancy.
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Tuesday, July 30, 2019

Perception of Difficulty / Cheddarback Blocks

These are my July 2019 Cheddarback blocks.  When I decide the order in which to cut and sew the five blocks each month, I begin with the one I think will be the most difficult and end with the one I think will be easiest.  Sometimes I'm very wrong.  This month I should have done Block 22 first!  Here they are in the order I sewed them, not in the order of difficulty.  The Block 21 is a 12" block, the others are 5" blocks.

Block 21
Cheddarback Block 21
The pattern for this block had lots of y-seams and, if I could have managed it, would have been wonderful.  But I knew my skills weren't up to it so I created the block an easier way.  Whenever I see quilts online that I don't immediately see how they're put together, I stop and study to see if I can figure out how they were cut and sewn.  When I saw this block I didn't need to study it much.  It looked like a 9-patch made of two different blocks plus a plain center block. 
Cheddarback Block 21 alternate layout arrangement
Since the measurements were given for the width of the blue striped pieces I was able to easily determine the size to cut them and the triangles.  The corner blocks I cut as 4-patches but substituted rectangles for one side.  I think it turned out reasonably well.  For the corner squares I wish I'd had a slightly lighter blue closer to the fabric in the original quilt.

Block 24
Cheddarback Block 24
I was certain this would be a bear to make with three y-seams and its need for precision.  It was easier than I thought, maybe because the y-seams were a little gentler than some.  I was interested to see that in the original the maker appliqued the windows with a running stitch around the edges instead of the applique stitch we use these days.

Block 22
Cheddarback Block 22
This block looked easier to me than the house but it was the most difficult of the five and I pretty much made a mess of it.  I didn't have a good pink plaid and couldn't find one, so I substituted stripes which was a mistake.  Stripes are hard to sew, especially in such a small block.  The triangles were hard to align and I lost some points and misaligned some points.  Some of the seams on the back are a more-scant-than-I'd-like 1/4".  I thought about taking it apart and redoing it but in the end, I decided to call it good enough.  I don't have much purple amongst my fabrics so many thanks to Janet of Rogue Quilter for the ones in this block.  They came in a batch of scraps she offered in a giveaway a few years ago.  Hurray for people who love and share purple who those of us who like it less!

Block 25
Cheddarback Block 25
The challenge of this block was not in the making of it but in finding and choosing a focus fabric.  The fabric in the original has golden flecks on a dark brown/black background with flowers and leaves outlined in teal.  It's not a style of fabric we see these days and I didn't have anything remotely similar.  This was the closest I found.  The corner squares are appliqued in place.  Don't look too closely or you'll see some misalignment.  I don't like purple but I fell in love with the lavender background fabric when I saw it a few years ago.  It's the first time I've used it.

Block 23
Cheddarback Block 23
I love a simple 9-patch.  For this one we sewed a scant ¼" seam since 5½" doesn't divide evenly by 3.  I was grateful it was the right size the first time.

Here they are arranged as they'll be in the quilt.

As challenging as finding similar fabric to the original is and as hard as some of the blocks are to sew, I am thoroughly enjoying this Cheddarback sew-along.

Finishing these five blocks was my One Monthly Goal for July.  I'm linking to One Monthly Goal - July Finish Link-up at Elm Street Quilts.  Thank you for hosting, Patty.


--Nancy.
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Monday, July 29, 2019

Seeking Stripes, SLoL, and a Web

Specifically, red and white stripes, for two blocks in Cheddarback. 
The original fabric is a wavy red and white stripe.




I first chose this stripe, to the left, and used in it one block.  I thought it would be fine but after it was finished, I knew it was too pink.




Next, I used this fabric from my stash.  The color and "look" are better but the fabric is thick, like a bottom weight pants fabric.  I made the block anyway because I didn't have a better fabric.  (The striped fabric is used in at least two blocks.)


Then I found a shirt made of this fabric.  You can't tell from the photo but the stripes are about 1/16" wide.  Very narrow stripes.  I decided it was better than the other fabrics, so I unstitched the first block and replaced it with this.  It looks only slightly less pink than the fabric in the first block!


Of the three fabrics, I think the check looks closest in color to the fabric in the original block but the check fabric is just so thick.  At this point I have to decide whether to keep looking for better fabric or whether to settle.

If I'd been thinking ahead I would have saved all the reject Cheddarback blocks to become their own little quilt.

On  the Sweet Land of Liberty quilting front, I'm stalled on the sawtooth star with the images in the center block.

I thought of appliqueing the hand and flag and using pen for the letters.  I really don't want to embroider but I'm not sure I want to create and stitch tiny appliques, either.  I'll probably use pen.  I already traced the image on the reverse side of freezer paper so I can iron fabric to the paper and have the lettering facing forward when I trace it.  Indecisiveness is one of my downfalls. 

I'm trying to finish July's blocks for SLoL and have just this block to do.  I can finish a 12" sawtooth star in 2½ days, right?

We finally got past that awful heat, humidity, and high dew points of the week before last.  We had a few cool days last week but the temperatures are inching up again.

One last photo.  I don't like spiders very much but there's something about the fiber arts aspect of their webs that draws me to them.  This lovely is outside our breezeway.  Huge and gorgeous!

spider web

I hope you're staying cool (or warm, depending on where you live), and enjoying whatever you're doing.

--Nancy.
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Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Liberty's Shadow and the Fabric Search

I finished Lady Liberty for my Sweet Land of Liberty quilt last week.  When I cut away the fabric behind her I thought it looked like a shadow of herself. 
A number of years ago I'd gained too much weight before and after hip replacements (because even if you can't move you're still hungry) and after I lost many pounds, a friend who hadn't seen me for a while commented, "You look like a shadow of yourself."  I thought it was one of the best compliments I'd ever received. 

About my fabric shopping.  I needed/wanted a pale blue sprig fabric for some of the sashing on Cheddarback.  A few months ago I looked at the two nearly-local quilt shops but didn't see anything I thought would work.  Online at Connecting Threads I saw what I thought would be the perfect fabric.  I really must stop shopping online or, at the very least, lower my expectations.
The fabric on the left looked more blue in the online photo and the pale yellow background wasn't obvious.  It won't work for Cheddarback.  I ordered pieces of the other three because I thought they would work for some other future quilts.  I love the grey on the right.  The other two are okay but not fabulous.  You just can't tell about fabric from an online photo.  Sigh.

Still searching for a light blue sprig fabric, I went (again) to the nearest local quilt shop on the northwest side.  I did not find a blue sprig fabric but, instead, bought one of their scrap bags with lots of small pieces of reproduction fabrics (which I didn't photograph) and these.  I don't know what it is about copper that makes me like it so.  The double-pinkish on the right may be useful in Cheddarback.  But I didn't find a blue spring fabric.

On to the next most local quilt shop (again) on the southeast side.  And I found it, there on the left, below, about as perfect as possible.  Of course, I couldn't leave with only a half yard of fabric after the drive to get there.
I rarely buy purple fabrics so I'm on the look-out for them for Cheddarback.  The first shop had no reproduction purples.  I bought the only two I found, above.  I don't love either of them but I don't suppose you can love every single fabric in a quilt or your heart wouldn't know where to turn.  I like the army green fabric quite a lot and I love the red.

I had an interesting experience at the last shop, which sells mostly reproduction and primitive fabrics.  It's not a very large shop and it's not often very busy.  The table with fat quarters is diagonally across from the cash register.  I usually head there first so I don't have to ask the owner to cut into yardage for me.  The table is often in disarray with quarters tossed on top, some partially unfolded or partially nestled in with the rest, and others stuffed in at any angle.  It's usually hard to see what's there.  Without even thinking I neaten it as I look through the fabrics, piling them in my hand, then fitting them neatly amongst the rest. 

Two visits ago the owner noticed and thanked me for straightening her table.  I was so thankful she didn't mind!  The last time I was there, she didn't charge me for all the fabric I bought.  I realized when I got home what she'd done so I emailed her but received no response. 

This time she approached me and asked if I'd like a job.  (This is the fourth time in my life people have asked if I'd like to work for them!)  She is interested in having me neaten her shop and offered to pay me in fabric.  It's a bit of a drive so I didn't jump at the offer.  We didn't discuss how often, how long, or how much fabric and I told her I'd let her know.  Anyway, she told me she wasn't charging me for the three fat quarters I had on my stack that day.  So kind of her.

Do I need any encouragement to obtain more fabric?!  On the other hand, how often do I want to drive 35 miles round trip?  There are a few considerations before I'll make a decision.

I'm grateful that my search for blue sprig fabric has ended!

More about what I've been working on soon.

--Nancy.
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Monday, July 8, 2019

Decisions, Decisions: Quarter Cabins and ...?

Almost at the last hour I'm adding a link to Lori's Humble Quilts Stringalong Month 6.   I keep going back and forth about whether log cabin blocks are string blocks or not.  I decided they are, since I've used only scrap strings to make them.  Every so often I pull these out and make a few more. 

quarter log cabin blocks

These will finish at 4" and contain every style of fabric--prints, solids, plaids, most colors, fabrics of different decades, and a variety of string widths.  They are a hodge podge.  I love brights but usually make a mess when I try to put too many together.  Still, I kept making more of these.  I don't pull them out often enough:  I started them in 2014 and have only 86 blocks!

quarter log cabin blocks

I think they usually end up back in the closet, not for lack of strings, but because I haven't been able to decide how to use them.  They're too busy to lay side-by-side in a quilt.  And really, with only 86 made (and another 20 in progress) it would take me more time than I want to spend to make enough for even a small quilt.  (I love the charm of little blocks but my enthusiasm wanes when progress is slow.)

quarter log cabin blocks

I happened to be at Walmart last week on an errand with my daughter and stopped to look at their fabrics.  I remembered reading someone's recent post about a dollar-a-yard sale.  I doubted our local stores would have the sale but, sure enough, there were some bolts, including Waverly solids, for a dollar.  You know I'm not a fabric snob when I use thrift store shirts for fabric but still, I like new fabric to be quality fabric.  But a dollar a yard!  It was too good a bargain to resist.

These solids captured my attention and I brought home 6 yards of the green, a yard of the red, and a half yard of the coral.  Surely I could use them somewhere.  (Have I said how much I love red and green quilts?  They are irresistible to me!  So much energy.)


I washed the half-yard piece immediately (not the others so I could return them if the small piece didn't wash well or feel good after drying and pressing) and was really pleased with the result.  I don't know about long-term wear but the piece I washed felt comparable to Bella and better that Kona (but not quite as nice as Riley Blake Confetti Cotton).

So I had this long piece of green fabric and these log cabin blocks.  A strippy quilt had crossed my mind for those blocks.  What if I put the cabins and the green fabric together?

quarter log cabin blocks in possible string layout with vines and leaves

And what if I added alternating strips of vines with leaves?  I pulled some scraps from my applique box and put them together.  Maybe....  Maybe colorful leaves.  (Or would they be too much color?  I should cut some and see what I think.)  Maybe larger leaves.  Or maybe not vines and leaves but some other alternate stripe...?  Concentric circles?  A series of strips?  Or what...?

quarter log cabin blocks in possible string layout with vines and leaves

The questions I must answer before continuing are:  How much do I love that green fabric?  Will I love it in five or 10 years?   And, will I enjoy cutting, preparing, and appliqueing hundreds of leaves (or any other motif for alternate strips)?

I think choosing a solid color for the quarter cabins is a good idea.  I think it will help unify them.  (And the only unifying factor of the blocks now is the red centers, which use a variety of reds.)  But the other questions....  But I do love that green....  But would brown or black or some other color be better for the cabins?

If you have any thoughts (positive or negative), please share!  Thank you for taking the time.

I'm linking to
> Humble Quilts Stringalong Month 6
> Oh Scrap! at Quilting is more fun than Housework
> Moving It Forward Monday at Em's Scrapbag
> Monday Making at Love Laugh Quilt
> Main Crush Monday (MCM at Cooking Up Quilts
> Design Wall Monday at Small Quilts and Doll Quilts
> WOW at Esther's Blog
Thanks for hosting, ladies.

--Nancy.
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