Saturday, December 7, 2019

Auditioning Borders for Maple Leaves

I found just enough time to sew the maple leaf blocks together--after Thanksgiving, I think.

I forgot to take a photo before auditioning border fabrics.  The first photo is without a flash, the second with a flash.  They look like different quilts!  I think the true colors are somewhere between the two photos. 

It seems I make most quilts one step at a time.  Choose a block, choose fabrics.  Make a few blocks to see how they look.  Make a few more and lay them out together.  Keep adding.  Decide on sashing or not.  Rearrange till satisfied.  Sew blocks together.  Then consider a border.  That's just where I am now.  Considering a border.

I always thought an autumn-colored border would be good for the maple leaves, but when I placed these first two fabrics around the edges, they seemed to drag the whole quilt down.  (I've always had the impression of seeing the autumn leaves as they just begin floating gently to the ground.)

Then I thought maybe light blues similar to some of the ones used as backgrounds in the blocks might work for a border.  Like these two.  I hoped the blues would help the leaves continue to float.  And in the very last photo I added some dark blues.

And then I remembered this brown/black/gold print that I thought might be great.

Here are a few more photos with some fabrics placed around the edges.

I don't suppose short strips of fabric give a true indication of how a complete border would look, do they?  But I don't want to cut the fabric in strips to go around the quilt only to decide not to use that particular fabric.  How do you audition border fabrics?

Below you can see the two different darker blues I auditioned.  I tried a red/orange fabric but wasn't impressed (and didn't take a photo).

Possible border options include
  • a narrow one-inch, dark border next to the leaves with a wider, light/medium border around the edge, and a dark binding
  • a border the color of one of the backgrounds.
  • a dark border
  • a light border
  • or...?
I don't have too much time to devote to this quilt just now, and it can't stay on the floor too long with family coming again soon for Christmas.  I thought if I could just decide on the border fabric I'd know the next step to take when I have time to work on it again.  But then again, rushing through a decision on a quilt is never a good idea (at least for me).


Friday, December 6, 2019

Choosing Fabrics for Cheddarback Blocks 39-43

Again this month my One Monthly Goal will be making five blocks for Cheddarback, a sew-along offered by Gay Bomers at Sentimental Stitches.  The originals of these blocks are here.

possible fabric choices for Cheddarback Blocsk 39-43Some of the blocks in this quilt are so quirky.  For example, the hexagon-like block.  It's hard to tell whether or not the shapes were true hexagons when the quilt was first created.  Over time they've definitely changed shape a little.

And the little basket, top right.  In the original quilt, created decades before the word Nazi was in common use, there is a swastika.  Because we associate the swastika with such evil I don't want to include the pattern in this quilt, but I'd like to stay a little closer to the two-color block and the shapes used in it.  I'm thinking of four little triple bar squares.  But we'll see.

The fabrics are so often a challenge.  A fun challenge, but still a challenge.  And a chance to play, too.  The fabrics above are possibilities.  Some of the fabrics are used several times in the original blocks.  I'm trying to follow that lead but sometimes, it seems, I've used the last scraps of a fabric for the first block and have to find other fabric the next time it's used.  Such a fun challenge!

There's less than the usual time to devote to quilting in the busy month of December.  Most of these blocks are fairly easy, after the fabrics are chosen, so I think I should be able to make these this month.  And that's my One Monthly Goal.

I'm linking this post to One Monthly Goal December Link-Up at Elm Street Quilts.  Thanks for hosting, Patty.


Monday, November 25, 2019

It's Beginning to Look Like a Quilt Top

I really enjoy making these Cheddarback blocks.  This month there was a large one and four small blocks:  two letters and two pieced blocks (not in the original quilt) -- or we could change it however we wanted.  I made the large block, one letter, and three small pieced blocks of my own choosing.  Here they are. 

Block 37
I really like this block pattern.  I wish, though, that I'd had a better brown/grey, one that was just a tad darker.  The colors aren't quite accurate in this photo, but I think the block looks okay in the quilt.

Letter Block, Substitute for another letter block, and Blocks 37 and 38
The M....  I drew it out on graph paper then cut all the pieces 1/4" wider in every direction.  I stitched the V part of the M and thought I was doing great.  In the original block the V goes all the way to the bottom of the M and that's what I intended.  When I realized it wasn't going to happen I was just grateful that it went at least part-way down to the bottom so it looks like an M.  Drafting letters is not as easy as I thought.

Choosing patterns for the other blocks was the challenge.  I think so many of the little blocks in Cheddarback are quirky in one or more ways:  unusual patterns; common patterns with unusual fabrics; difficult to piece; etc.  I wanted to follow the lead created by the other blocks but came up short of 5" patterns.  And short on time, too, to make, or try out, complicated blocks.  In the end I made the three above.  All in all, I don't suppose they'll stand out considering that there will be 54 little blocks in the finished quilt.

My One Monthly Goal for November was to make the blocks above and sew blocks and sashing together as much as possible except for the two blue Blocks 26 and 35 (the blue ones in rows 4 (right) and row 6 (left)).  Rows 1-3 are completely sewn together, both horizontally and vertically.  Rows 4 and 6 are sewn together vertically except for the blue blocks.  And Row 5 is sewn together vertically.  I don't want to sew partial rows so this is together as much as it can be until I decide what to do about 26 and 35.  With so many blocks sewn together it's beginning to look like a quilt top!

You can barely see that I decided to use the pink-striped fabric for the outer sashing.  Though pale, I like it.  In fact, I like this quilt a lot, quirks and all.  When I finally looked at all the blocks together I thought, Oh, it looks like winter!  And then I decided it's a perfect summer quilt to bring to mind the coolness of winter.

So that's my One Monthly Goal finished for November, and just under the wire, too.  These next two days I'll be preparing for a visit from my daughters, son-in-law, and grandchildren who will arrive on Wednesday.  From then until Saturday or Sunday I'll be immersed in food, cooking, fun & games, and being extra thankful.

I'm linking this post to
> One Monthly Goal November Finish Link-up at Elm Street Quilts
> Monday Making at Love Laugh Quilt
> Design Wall Monday at Small Quilts and Doll Quilts.
Thanks for hosting, ladies.


Monday, November 18, 2019

Quilt Block Books for Inspiration

Don't you sometimes just need a good book of blocks to look through -- for inspiration, for directions, for ideas?  A few years ago Claire of Cspoonquilt mentioned that she has a few books on hand when she's searching for "blocky inspiration."  It seemed look a good idea to me.  I realized I owned one or two then searched for others.  The ones below are some of the ones I use though I don't own all of them.  You can see a better image of a pattern page by clicking on the image.  It will open in a new tab and you'll be able to click again to enlarge it.  These are in no particular order.  Comments about each are below the images.

The It's Okay If You Sit On My Quilt Book by Mary Ellen Hopkins

This is one of those block books you just have to love!  It's not encyclopedic but it has some wonderful qualities.
> There are no cutting measurements given for the block, but....
> Each page has a pale grid background which helps a quilter determine how to measure and cut for the block (if one has a passing knowledge of standard quilt and block sizes).
> Include tips for making quilts, hints for figuring yardage, etc.
> Gives possible layouts and settings for various blocks.
> All blocks are numbered with names beneath.
> There's an index at the back with names of blocks, numbers, and page number.

5oo Full-Size Patchwork Patterns by Maggie Malone

> The patterns are grouped by block size.
> There are nine patterns per page, presented in grey-scale.
> Each block is numbered, named, and has pattern numbers.
> The patterns are at the back of the book and must be copied and cut out to be used.

Encyclopedia Of Pieced Quilt Patterns compiled by Barbara Brackman
> Blocks are presented in more than 24 different pattern categories, e.g., One Patch, Multi-Patch, Strip Quilts, Two-Block, Sash & Block, etc.
> Images are on the right page, block names and creators on the left page.
> Alternate block names are given.
> Index lists blocks and page numbers.
> There are many older, traditional patterns that I've not seen elsewhere.
> Book does not include patterns with cutting measurements.


The New Quilting & Patchwork Dictionary by Rhoda Ochser Goldberg

This book was new in 1988!
> Includes quilting tips, tools, styles, means and methods of making a quilt, etc.
> Images are grey-scale which give an idea of light, medium, dark fabric placement.
> Blocks are presented on a grid, though no cutting measurements are given.
> Block patterns are presented alphabetically.
> Templates are included at the back of the book should you not have a rotary cutter.
> Includes index of patchwork patterns.

501 Rotary-Cut Quilt Blocks by Judy Hopkins

This is one of my go-to block books when looking for a particular size block without having to figured out the cutting sizes.  Not all patterns are given in the same size, though.
> The book begins with tips for quilters.
> Includes a gallery of quilt blocks at the beginning of the book, all color illustrations with block names and page number.
> Blocks are presented alphabetically eliminating the need for an index.
> There are cutting measurements for six different sizes of each block.
> There is a layout for each block and the illustration shows how to sew the block together.
> Only one name is given for each block.
> For a few unusual blocks, patterns are given at the back of the book.
> Includes templates for blocks that have unusual shapes or that don't have standard sizing.

5500 Quilt Block Designs by Maggie Malone

> Block images are in color.
> Blocks are arranged by category (9-patch, 5-patch, etc.).
> Blocks are numbered and also identified by name and alternate names.
> Creators are identified with initials; there is a key to the initials at the beginning of the book.
> Includes patterns for 5" letters.
> Has index of pattern names at the back.
> There are no patterns.

101 Patchwork Patterns:  Quilt Name Stories, Cutting Designs, Material Suggestions, Yardage Estimates, Definite Instructions for Every Step of Quilt Making by Ruby McKim

> Most of the patterns are older, tried-and-true favorites.
> There is one pattern per page which includes block sizes and sewing instructions.
> Fabric and color suggestions given.
> Pattern pieces must be copied and cut by hand.

The Quilter's Album of Patchwork Patterns:  More Than 4050 Pieced Blocks for Quilters by Jinny Beyer

> Offers methods for using grids to design blocks.
> Blocks are organized by grids (2x2, 4x4, etc.).
> Grid images for each block are across the bottom of each page.
> Includes many new, more recently created block designs.
> Names and alternate block names given.
> Creators' names given.
> Publication and publication dates of blocks are given.
> Appendices include lists of creators and their patterns with creation dates.
> Includes index with list of block names and tells the page and block number on the page.

Are there other block books you use and love?  If so, please mention the titles and tell what's wonderful about them in a comment.


Friday, November 15, 2019

Perhaps a Little Too Subtle?

I'm looking at the outer sashing on these Cheddarback blocks.  When I decided I couldn't do blue as in the original, I scouted around for another color.  Perhaps I was influenced by Robin's beautiful pink in her version of Cheddarback.  She sent a close-up of the sashing and it's not really pink but a red print on a white background.  I loved it but I don't have that fabric, or any similar fabric.

So I pulled out a white-with-dark-pink striped fabric.  I was certain it would be perfect, but now I'm not so sure.  I haven't sewn any of the pink-striped sashing yet. 

I guess I thought it would appear a little stronger than it is.  I'll wait to look at it in a different light, and then make a decision about whether to use that fabric or look for a different one.  On the other hand, I could easily have used the same sashing I've used between the other blocks and there would have been no difference.  Perhaps this subtle difference is just enough.

I put the blocks on the family room floor temporarily (because the leaves are still on the larger floor) and had to pick them up because we use the family room is the one we use the most.  After I've picked up the leaves I'll put these blocks down.  Maybe I'll search my fabrics for one or two other possibilities before making a decision.

Sometimes -- occasionally or maybe even rarely -- I wish that the first choices were the perfect ones.  But if they were, I wouldn't get to play and experiment, and that would be very sad.

On another topic, my husband brought home a bottle of buttons for me today.  

I don't need more buttons and I don't purposefully collect buttons but if offered a bottle of buttons, I'll accept with a thank you.  My goodness, these are the dirtiest buttons I've ever seen!  Since this photo I've washed them several times and they're still not clean.  More photos of them later.

I'm linking this post to
> Finished (or not) Friday at Alycia Quilts
> Peacock Party at Wendy's Quilts and More
> BOMs Away at What a Hoot Quilts
Thanks for hosting, ladies.


Friday, November 8, 2019

Almost Enough Leaves

A few leaves, side-by-side, in no particular order.

maple leaf blocks for quilt

I have 56 leaves, enough for a 7 x 8 layout, with another bunch in progress to replace several too-light, too-yellow blocks and enough more to make a 7 x 9 layout.

When I began these leaves a few weeks ago I was wishing for the autumn color we didn't have and imagining the wind rustling them as the sun shone through their bright colors.  Sometimes the leaves almost shimmer when the sun glows and the wind blows.  Some falls the colors in Ohio are amazing and truly, every leaf color in this quilt is a color we see on trees -- during a good autumn.

Now that these blocks are sewn and I see them on the floor, I question having used seven or eight different background fabrics.  The backgrounds began with leftover scrap fabric, continued with a few 3½" strips cut from yardage, and finished with fabric from several shirts.  I love the colors and I love the colors together but will I be able to arrange them in a way that creates a unified quilt?  I hope so!

One more consideration is sashing.  I've thought of a narrow 1" sashing between all the blocks.  From the beginning the fabric below was in the back of my mind as the perfect fabric.  But when I tried it this morning it seemed to darken the quilt too much.

When all the blocks are finished I'll play around with the arrangement of the blocks and fabrics for sashing.  To me, that's one of the fun parts of making a quilt.

I love these simple leaves: 14 pieces, 13 seams, cut, pin, stitch, press, and zip, they're done!

I'm linking this post to
> The Peacock Party at Wendy's Quilts and More
> Finished or Not Friday at Alycia Quilts
> Off the Wall Friday at Creations... by Nina Marie
Thanks for hosting, ladies.


Thursday, November 7, 2019

November's One Monthly Goal

It's Cheddarback, the sew-along hosted by Gay Bomers, again this month.  You can see photos of the original blocks here on Sentimental Stitches.  The block patterns are always free the month they're published, or $5.00 after that.

There are five blocks for November: one 12" block, Corn and Beans, I think, using two different pinks, a brown/grey print, and a black stripe; two small patterned blocks suggested by Gay; and two small letters.  Or, of course, we can make no letters and four small patterned blocks using any patterns we choose.

I'll also work on sashing this month.  The original Cheddarback uses a light blue sprig print fabric for the sashing around the outside edge.  I chose a light blue that was as close to the original as I could find.

I thought it would work and I thought I would like it but when it came right down to it, seeing it between those blocks around the edge, I knew I couldn't use it.  I tried several other blues but didn't like any of them.  I started auditioning other colors and think I will use this pink and cream stripe. 

It came from a size small lady's shirt.  There is enough fabric to cut the required 14 sashing pieces which measure 2½" x 12½" but, sadly, I'll have to piece it--and match the stripes--to get them.  The seams won't be obvious but it would have been easier if the lady who donated the shirt to the thrift store had worn a size large or x-large.  But I won't complain.  I'm happy to have this fabric.

So, my One Monthly Goal for November is to
  • choose patterns for the small blocks (letters and/or pieced blocks)
  • choose fabrics for all the blocks
  • cut fabric and sew the five blocks
  • cut fabric for sashing and sew together sashing and blocks (except Blocks 26 and 35, unless I decide to include them as they are)
November is a short, busy month.  I hope I can meet this goal!

I'm linking this post to One Monthly Goal November Link-up at Elm Street Quilts.  Thanks for hosting, Patty.

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