Monday, February 27, 2017

Auditioning a Border

My One Monthly Goal for February was to make enough more Buckeye Beauty blocks in the red range to make a quilt.  Done.  The blocks finish at 6" so this quilt, without borders, is 36" x 42".  I think it's a good size for a baby quilt.

I plan to add borders--about 6" wide--on all sides which will make it about 48" x 54".  I don't think I can do a busy border -- no stripes, no large prints, not a pieced border, and probably not a scrappy border -- because the quilt is already busy without adding a border that draws the eyes in another direction. 

I laid several red fabrics along the edge of the quilt today, just to see. 

My first impression is that with the fabrics above as a border the quilt is no longer "in the red range" but becomes a red quilt.  Definitely red.  The reds look stronger in person that they do in this photo.

Giving myself another option, I tried a red and white plaid fabric.  That fabric forms a U on the sides nearest the camera.  On the right far end is another red and white plaid with a little less white.

The quilt looks pale to me now and, to my eyes, leans slightly toward pink.

I know it's not really reasonable to choose a border when there's not enough fabric to go all the way around the quilt but I don't want to cut fabric just to audition a border.  So I'll choose the borders with sample pieces around the edges.

Since the quilt is so scrappy probably any of the fabrics would be just fine.

I'll have to put off cutting and sewing the border till next week.  My oldest aunt's funeral is this Thursday and my daughter and her three little ones are coming to stay for a few days and to go with us to the funeral.  I must put up scissors, pins, needles, rotary cutters, rulers, etc., and do some cleaning.

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


Monday, February 20, 2017

Reversible Blocks

These are my Buckeye Beauty in the red range.  I'm trying to decide whether to make more blocks and whether I think this layout works.  (Many of these blocks are not yet sewn together so they look askew.)  A challenge with this pattern is that any block can only be moved diagonally to keep the pattern in place. I can't move a block right or left and turn it 90 degrees because that throws the pattern off.

But, after the four-patches and triangles are sewn together to make squares they are completely reversible.  They can be sewn with lights in the middle or with darks in the middle. 

I notice how strong the colors look in the blocks with darks in the center.  There's something about having a strong concentration of color that seems especially noticeable when the reds are really dark.  But the darkest darks are pretty obvious when they're on the outside, too.

And then there are the light diagonals and the dark diagonals crossing each other.

These blocks are simple to make and this has been a fun challenge.  I'm probably pushing myself to make more blocks by the end of the month when I still have many of these blocks to sew and press.  But always the question is, what does the quilt need/want?

I'm linking this post to
Oh Scrap! at Quilting is more fun than Housework
Moving It Forward Monday at Em's Scrapbag
Monday Making at Love Laugh Quilt

Design Wall Monday at Patchwork Times
Thanks for hosting, ladies.


Friday, February 17, 2017

First Basket of Plenty, Finished

Finished. I think.

Cheri Payne Basket of Plenty Block 1

And then I think, does that bird need an eye?  Or claws at the ends of its stick-legs?  Or a little definition around the wing?  Whether or not I add those I'm still calling this a finished block.

This basket was made using a pattern Cheri Payne created and shared on her facebook group, Quilts by Cheri~Friendship Group.  She gave us the pattern pieces but did not assign the placement of the pieces.  The result is that there are a huge variety of basket blocks, each different than the others, as participants chose how to add a handle; where to place bird, flowers, and berries and whether to make many or few; and chose their own colors and fabrics.

Cheri's style is primitive.  I don't know that this particular block I've made looks primitive.  It may be a little too self-conscious but considering it's the first time I've tried this style I'm satisfied with it.

Cheri's already posted the second basket.  I better get busy!

I'm linking this post to
- TGIFF at A Quarter Inch from the Edge
- Can I Get a Whoop Whoop? at Confessions of a Fabric Addict
- WIPs Be Gone at A Quilting Readers Garden
- Fabric Frenzy Friday at Fort Worth Fabric Studio
- finish it up Friday at crazy mom quilts
- Finished or Not Friday at Busy Hands Quilts
Thanks for hosting, ladies.


Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Hand Quilting with Embroidery Floss

I'm hand quilting this green and blue Buckeye Beauty with embroidery floss -- a scrappy combination of greens and blues, just like the fabric in the quilt.  My floss box is overflowing with skeins bought through the years and left unused.  Why not put some of it into a quilt!

I've spent several years hand quilting with thread, decreasing my needle length over the years, practicing for small, regular stitches.  (With limited and slow success, I might add.)

But now with a longer needle and bigger thread it seems just as impossible to make long, even stitches.

I'm outlining the triangles a quarter inch (more or less) from their edges and stitching diagonally across the small squares.

About quilting with embroidery floss:  a needle with three strands does not pull through as easily as I thought it would.  And it tends to tangle toward the end.  I'm not ready to judge against it yet, though.  Maybe I need to knot the other end....  I thought about waxing it but then wondered about getting beeswax on the fabric and whether that would spread and/or stain.  I also thought about using two strands instead of three but since I've been using three, I'll continue with three for this quilt.  I'll write more about hand quilting with floss when I've had more experience with it.

I finished cutting triangles and squares for 32 more red Buckeye Beauty blocks.

I've sewn the first seam in the squares and triangles on about half the blocks.  Sew, press, pin, stitch, press again and they'll all get done.  I'm looking forward to laying them out to see what a red/pink/coral/burgundy/rose quilt will look like.

I'm linking this post to
> Let's Bee Social #164 at Sew Fresh Quilts
> WOW at Esther's Blog
> Midweek Makers #59 at Quilt Fabrication
> Oh Scrap! at Quilting is more fun than Housework
Thanks for hosting, ladies.


Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Almost Done

This little basket block is coming along:  all but two pieces are now appliqued into place.  Primitive it may not be but I'm mostly satisfied with how it looks.

I sometimes put off doing things that I think I may not do well.  For example, the tiny berries are the last pieces to be stitched (except for the wing which is waiting for me to decide about fabric).  I've never appliqued anything so small as those berries and I wasn't sure I could make them round(-ish) enough.  Two have come out okay so I think the third one will, too. ( One berry is almost invisible.  Only the bird can see it, and without eyes, at that.  Ha ha.)

I aim for perfection but I never achieve it.  I keep telling myself that this basket block is just practice and that I'll be making more baskets.  I'll get better as I go.

On Cheri Payne's facebook group I asked if people cut away the fabric behind the appliqued pieces.  Of the 12 or 18 who responded there is about an equal number of those who do and those who don't.   Most explained why they did or didn't and I could understand their reasoning.  Since this will be hand quilted, I will cut away behind the applique pieces.

I'm linking this post to
WOW: Sweetly Does It at Esther's Blog
Let's Bee Social #163 at Sew Fresh Quilts
Midweek Makers #58 at Quilt Fabrication
Thanks for hosting, ladies.


Monday, February 6, 2017

An Ambivilant Relationship

I have an ambivalent relationship with pieced quilt backings.  Well, it's more with the making, layering, and quilting of them than with pieced backs on finished quilts.

For a scrappy quilt, I can't think of a better back than a pieced one, especially with well-chosen fabrics.

pieced quilt back, unquilted

For a scrappy quilt, I can't think of a more difficult back than a pieced one, even with well-chosen fabrics.  It is almost like making a second quilt except with larger pieces.  There's all that cutting, squaring, sewing, and pressing to be sure the pieces lay flat.  Not to mention the jigsaw aspect of getting all the pieces to fit together.  Then, one wants the straight lines to be parallel with the edges of the quilt which requires plenty of care to align the quilt (without being able to see the back and top adjacent to each other because there's a layer of batting between).  And if you're a hand quilter there are those extra seams to contend with and quilt through.

And yet, I usually go with a scrappy back because I have plenty of fabric and will never use all of it before I die unless I begin using it for more than quilt blocks -- even large blocks with large pieces.  And I like how they look when finished.

This back (above) is not exactly symmetrical but almost.  I tried to carefully align the back and front so no long seams were aligned and so that the dark green center was centered on the quilt.  But I won't really know how it came out until I've finished quilting it and cut away the edges.

I intend to use embroidery floss for the hand quilting.  I have it on good authority that three strands are sturdy, durable, and quilt easily.  I hope that's true for me, too.

It's been a few months since I've pulled needle and thread through a quilt in a hoop.  I'm looking forward to hand quilting a few minutes every morning or when I sit to watch TV or visit.

As far as my ambivalence toward pieced backs?  If this quilt back turns out well, I'll be one step closer to loving them.

I'm linking this post to
Moving It Forward Monday at Em's Scrap Bag
Monday Making at Love Laugh Quilt
Main Crush Monday at Cooking Up Quilts
Design Wall Monday at Patchwork Times
Thanks for hosting, ladies.


Friday, February 3, 2017

In the Red Range - February OMG

Have you ever heard anyone use the term "pale red?"  Me either.  Pale green?  Yes.  Pale blue?  Yes.  But pale red?  Never.  We call it pink.  Sometimes pink and red can look unsettling together.  So here I am setting myself the challenge to make a Buckeye Beauty in the red range -- pinks, corals, reds, burgundies, maroons -- with a value contrast in each block.  I'm hoping I can make the fabrics work together and play nicely together.

I have 67 more triangle/square sets to cut for a quilt 7 blocks by 9 blocks.  Of course, I may make it bigger or smaller, depending on how well the reds play together.

These are four of the eighteen are already sewn.  They're much duller than the reds above but I hope they'll settle well with the rest of the blocks.

So my One Monthly Goal for February is to finish cutting, pairing, and sewing 66 different fabrics to make 33 more blocks (unless I decide to make the quilt larger or smaller...).

Have you ever sewn pinks and reds together?  Did they play nicely?

I'm linking this post to One Monthly Goal - February Goal Setting Linkup at Elm Street Quilts.

I'm also linking to
> Finished or Not Friday at Busy Hands Quilts
> Oh Scrap! at Quilting is more fun than Housework
> Show Off Saturday at Sew Can She
Thanks for hosting, ladies.


Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Something New

A few months ago I joined Cheri Payne's facebook group, Quilts by Cheri ~ Friendship Group, where she offers patterns and sew-alongs.  (If you have a facebook account you can request to join.)  The most recent sew-along is Friendship Baskets.  I decided to take the plunge and try my hand at Cheri's style.

Cheri Payne pattern

For this sew-along she gave us the basket pattern and arrangement of pieces for the basket to sew it together but there are no directions for the other pattern pieces -- nor quantity of each.  One flower or four?  Five leaves or two?  We're on our own in deciding how to place the elements of the block, using as many or as few as we want.

When I use patterns it seems like I always change them anyway (I've already changed Cheri's bird pattern), so this shouldn't be a challenge, except that I've never made a "primitive" block before.  As I look at primitive-style quilts my impressions are of patterns, stitchery, and arrangements that are unself-conscious and unpretentious.  There is a child-like quality that leans toward folk-art.  I love the look, but can I create it?  If I spend too much time playing it begins to feel contrived and self-conscious.  And I've been playing for a week or two....

Cheri Payne pattern

Cheri Payne pattern

Cheri will share her finished block just before she gives us the new block, around February 10.  Maybe I'll sew mine by then, or maybe I'll wait and follow her arrangement....  Other members of the group have made and shared some beautiful baskets.

More New
Last week I went to the fabric store on my birthday and bought a few fat quarters with no particular use in mind yet, but they appealed to me.  The store has a smallish selection of reproduction fabrics, so not many to choose from.

As I was checking out the clerk asked me if I wanted a free block pattern and fabric to make it.  Free?  Well, sure.

I came home with orange and text fabric to make a 6" Plus block and a little tag with numbers to be punched each time I get the next pattern.  And directions, of course.

If I return every two weeks I'll get another selection of fabric to make another block, but if I miss a block I'll have to buy it.   I know they're trying to increase business.  When a quilter steps foot inside a fabric store and she always leaves with fabric, right?

Happy quilting to you.

I'm linking this post to
> WOW at Esther's Blog
> Let's Bee Social #162 at Sew Fresh Quilts
> Midweek Makers #57 at Quilt Fabrication
Thanks for hosting, ladies.

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