Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Baskets of Plenty Block 2, Choosing for Block 3

Baskets of Plenty block 2 Cheri Payne
I call this a finished block knowing I will change the embroidery around the star and may add some detail to the stems and leaves.  Those chunky stems give me a chuckle every time I look at them.  No drooping flowers in this basket!

applique star in circle on basket for Cheri Payne basket

I think the star needs something around the edge to help it stand out a little from the red behind but I'm not pleased with the dashed line in this photo.  In fact I've already removed it in anticipation of doing something else.  I think my embroidery skills are not up to snuff.   (It's been many long, long years since I embroidered as a child.)

Choosing the colors for the circle and star was fun.  When I've finished with a block I always question whether a different choice would have been better.  (My motto should be, "Never look back.")  I tried more than a dozen other options, some of which are below.

Baskets of Plenty block 2 Cheri Payne

Primitive is a new style to me. I recognize primitive when I see it but find it difficult to pinpoint in my mind exactly what makes something look primitive? Does it depend on colors, or the pattern, or both, or something else?

I made this as part of Cheri Payne's Basket of Plenty sew-along on her facebook group.  She posts pdfs of the patterns, then we print them and choose which pieces we want to use for our blocks.

It's been both fun and challenging.   It seems I usually change a pattern in one way or another to make it my own.  Many other participants are using wool for the applique but I want a quilt that can be washed and dried so I'm using only cotton.  Some of Cheri's shapes are hard for me to make accurately with turned-edged applique so I've chosen the shapes I can manage and simplified some of the ones that I couldn't.

I'm behind with these blocks since the pattern for the third basket is already available.  I've cut out the pattern pieces and just started playing with colors.

I have two brown baskets.  Do I want a tan/grey basket or a red basket or some other color?  And maybe that pink doesn't work as primitive?

I'm linking this post to
> WOW at Esther's Blog
> Let's Bee Social #169 at Sew Fresh Quilts
> Midweek Makers #64 at Quilt Fabrication
> Needle and Thread Thursday at My Quilt Infatuation
> Finished or Not Friday at Busy Hands Quilts
> Can I Get A Whoop Whoop? at Confessions of a Fabric Addict
Thanks for hosting, ladies.

Thanks stopping by.  Happy day to you.


Friday, March 10, 2017

What a Week! But at Least There's a Finish

My daughters and grands left on Sunday evening after a four-day visit.  (Just for a chuckle this is my 4-year-old grandson wearing his sense of humor and a pair of pantihose pulled up to his shoulders.  He's a character.)

On Monday I was sick and my one-and-a-half-year-old computer didn't work.  I was able to sign in but then the screen turned black.  A friend suggested a solution which, after waiting anywhere from two to six hours, seems to work.  I turn the computer on in the morning and by late afternoon maybe, just maybe, I'm able to use it.  I think I'll try leaving it on tonight.

If you are like me, when one part of your life is out of kilter it's hard to focus on anything else.  I use the computer for music in the background, to do research and answer questions, to manage photos, type my journal, email, index for FamilySearch, etc.  I stitched some scrappy blocks for another quilt but I had trouble focusing on other things because the computer wasn't working.  The computer problem would have been slightly less distracting except that I had some church responsibilities to fulfill.  Thank goodness I bought a little tablet at the same time I bought the computer two summers ago.  It's not easy to use and it doesn't have my word processing program on it but it was better than nothing. 

And now for my finish.  This afternoon I chose a border for this Buckeye Beauty quilt and tonight I cut and sewed it.  This is a very red/rouge quilt.  I like these colors together quite a lot.  I think I'll use this color range for another quilt using a different block pattern.

red scrappy Buckeye Beauty quilt

This is an indoor, nighttime, flash photo which makes the border look more pink than it looks in real life.  I chose this fabric when I saw the afternoon sun stream in the window today.  It looked so welcoming and beautiful. 

This border fabric was one I thought I probably wouldn't use when I wrote the last post about this quilt.  But thriftiness led me to reconsider it for several reasons.  It was a shirt before I cut it apart for the fabric.  I was leaning against cutting into yardage (or even half yards) for a border and I didn't want to take the time to cut and piece a scrappy border.  Aside from the yardage, this was one of the fabrics that had enough to go all the way around the quilt, or nearly so.  (And if it hadn't been quite enough, I would have used the arm or front or back of another similar shirt to make up the lack.)  And most of all, I wanted this quilt done and off the floor.

Do you ever push a quilt just to get it finished?  Make a quick decision that you hope will be the best one for the quilt without thinking too much about it?  If so, do you ever have second thoughts and wonder if you should have taken more time to decide, or wondered if you compromised the integrity of the quilt for the sake of speed?  I'm slow at making decisions and wouldn't hesitate to leave a quilt on the floor for a few months (if I didn't have to move it) before deciding on a layout or a border.  Sometimes it's a burden to be so indecisive.

What a week it's been.  I'm glad it's almost over, but at least there was a finish!

I'm linking this post to
> finish it up Friday at crazy mom quilts
> Finished or Not Friday at Busy Hands Quilts
> Can I Get A Whoop Whoop? at Confessions of a Fabric Addict


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.

I'm also linking to
> Linky Tuesday February 28 at Freemotion by the River
> Oh Scrap! at Quilting is more fun than Housework
Thanks for hosting, ladies.


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.

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