Saturday, May 18, 2019

Cheddarback Block 15, that Really Hard Basket

Most everyone in the Cheddarback Facebook group who's made this basket and shared it commented about how hard it was, so I was prepared to cut carefully and sew even more carefully.  I guessed it might take me a while to make it so I set aside today to do it.  And it did take me the better part of the day!

Gay Bomers of Sentimental Stitches graciously provided a non-paper-pieced pattern which is the one I used.  I was extra careful as I cut all the pieces, laying each on a board to keep them in order for sewing.  I sewed 6 triangles to make 3 squares.  I anticipated that they should measure 1 3/8" like the corner square at the tip of the basket.  But they were smaller.  I wasn't sure what to do, especially when I calculated the measurements and they didn't come out to 5½".  I finally decided to sew a scant ¼" seam.

And, surprise of surprises, it worked!  It measures correctly and I didn't lose any points.  (How I wish I'd found a good plaid for the basket.)

Cheddarback Block 15

Well, except for one on the very bottom of the basket.  It's not as obvious as one of the red points would have been.  I had to unstitch and cut a larger triangle of background fabric.  The pattern called for a 2½" square cut diagonally but it was too small.  I cut a 3" triangle and then trimmed it after I sewed it to the block.  

I don't like baskets all that much but I have to admit this one is cute, probably because it's so petite.

I've been working on my Sweet Land of Liberty quilt.  All has not gone smoothly but that quilt will get a post of its own.

I also pulled out my quarter cabin blocks and have been making more as leaders/enders.  I had to cut more red centers and used leftovers cut from the excess backing fabric from a quilt before binding.

I don't have a plan for these but I'm trying to envision them on-point in a strippy quilt.  I have 78 finished and several dozen in progress.  They will finish at 4".   I had to do something with my abundance of strings!

I hope you're having a great weekend.


Tuesday, May 7, 2019

Sweet Land of Liberty Progress and One Monthly Goal

I'm only a week late finishing my blocks for the Sweet Land of Liberty sew-along.  That's okay, every block and every quilt will get it's turn for attention.

The second month's blocks for April included
> the "of thee I sing" angel with flag and banner
> the eagle and flag
> 4 pieced stars, and
> 12 flying geese (mine don't look very primitive)

Granted, I'll need to add hair to the angel and an eye to the eagle (and maybe some writing) but I'm calling this finished for April.

For May, the third month of the Sweet Land of Liberty sew-along (hosted by Lori of Humble Quilts on Cheri Payne's Friendship Group on Facebook) we have a lot more to do.  We'll be putting the top row of the quilt together and adding the upper border and part of the side borders, specifically,
  • sew all the blocks for the top row together
  • cut a wide strip for the upper border and sew the pieced stars to it
  • sew together flying geese for the left side and economy blocks for the right side, and sew those to either side of the quilt
  • attach the upper border to the first row of blocks
  • cut and applique a basket with a star
  • cut and applique about two yards of vines plus berries, stars, eagle on the top border
  • cut and applique the words, "Sweet Land of Liberty" on the top border
  • cut and applique a hand on the upper left
  • cut an applique two birds, a star, and the letters America along the right border

Whew!  This may be my month for watching lots of movies.  The hardest part for me will be choosing the fabric for the top border, though it will take time to prep the applique pieces, too.

My One Monthly Goal for May is to attach the top row of blocks together; attach the top border with stars; sew together the geese and the economy blocks and sew them to the sides; and prepare the basket, vines, and berries.  I think I can accomplish those things if I stay focused.  Whatever else I accomplish will be a bonus.

I'm linking this post to One Monthly Goal May Goal Setting Link-up at Elm Street Quilts.
I'm also linking this post to BOMs Away at What a Hoot Quilts.  Thanks for hosting, ladies.


Friday, May 3, 2019

Results of Testing Pens on Fabric

I want to write with a pen instead of embroider words on my Sweet Land of Liberty quilt, but I wasn't sure which pen to use.  I decided to try out several pens with permanent ink to see what the results would be.  In comments on a previous post several quilters said they'd used and liked Pigma MICRON pens so I included one of those in my trial.

I used a piece of muslin ironed to the waxy size of a piece of freezer paper.  I thought it would hold the fabric in place and be smoother to write on than placing it on sandpaper.

All five pens had black ink.  They are
  • a Faber Castell PITT Artist Pen, .7 mm, with black India ink
  • a Zebra  (Sadly, I neglected to save the packaging for this pen so have no details about it.  Since I placed it with the other pens to test on paper, I know it a pen with permanent ink.)
  • a Pigma MICRON, 08, .5 mm
  • two ZIG Writers, doubled-tipped, .5 mm and 1.2 mm  (I think one of these was older than the other, or had possibly been partially used.)

I identified the pen when I wrote with it, then added a few larger words with some of the pens.

I wrote the same things twice on the muslin intending to cut it in half and wash only one side.  Wouldn't you know, I forgot to cut and after pressing to set the ink, I plunged the whole, uncut piece into warm water sudsed with a few drops of Dawn dish soap.  Ah, well.  It bounced in the water a bit then lingered for half an hour or so.  I rinsed with warm water and pressed the muslin dry.

These photos aren't the clearest but you can get an idea of how the pens wrote and weathered the wash by clicking on the photos to enlarge them.

One of the things I love about digital cameras is the macro setting because I can enlarge the images on my computer to see things I wouldn't otherwise have good enough vision to see.  Here are a few post-wash, close-up images.

I liked how the Faber Castell and the Zebra wrote but I don't think they fared well in the wash.  I think with a dozen more washings the writing would fade to a shadow.

I didn't like how the Pigma MICRON wrote but it seemed to be the most resilient to washing.

The Zig Writers wrote okay but, again, they didn't fare well in the wash.

You can also notice that the Zigs seemed to bleed a little, to the point that there was a grey shadow around the writing.

The most interesting thing to me was the fact that none of these pens' ink penetrated the fibers of the fabric.  All remained on the surface.  If you look at the close-ups you can see what I mean. 

One consideration with using a pen is knowing that it won't wash out.  If I make a mistake when writing -- oops!  I'll have to either begin again or find some way to remove the writing by adding a patch or making some other change to repair the mistake.

My Sweet Land of Liberty eagle is appliqued to the fabric, below left, which is coarser than muslin.  A pen may not work.  What do you think?  If I want words on this one I may have to embroider them. 

There you have the results of my experiments with pen and ink on fabric.  I don't know if this is helpful to anyone else but it sets my mind at ease to use a MICRON Pigma pen to write words on quilt blocks.  If I see other brands of permanent marking pens that can be used on fabric so I can experiment with them.


Tuesday, April 30, 2019

April One Monthly Goal Finish

I've finished this top just under the wire!   And this afternoon I wasn't sure it would be a finish for my One Monthly Goal.  I had to go back and read exactly what my goal was.  I wrote in my post, Making Triangle Squares Sashing for Flowers
My One Monthly Goal for April is to cut and sew enough triangle square blocks to make sashing for this quilt and sew the blocks and sashing into a top. 
So this is my version of Linda Brannock's Flowers quilt.  I finished the triangle squares and sewing them into a top with the blocks.  It's a top but not a finished top.  So glad I didn't say "finished top" in my goal statement!

I don't know about you but I think this quilt looks overwhelmed with triangles!  Linda's original pattern (sketch below) makes a quilt that measures 56" x 76".  I wanted a quilt that was wider and longer.  Not including her borders, which measure 4" finished, I added 5" to the width and 10" to the length.  What you see in the above photo measures 53" x 78".  If I leave it like this, I think it will be disproportionately long.

A few close-ups of the quilt, top, middle, and bottom....

Though this met my goal for April, I believe I will edit this quilt and remove the nearly-center horizontal row of 3" triangle squares (as noted in photo, above) and possibly more.

I also intend to add a border of 3" triangle squares (or maybe a single fabric red border) and an outer putty colored border.  In retrospect, I wonder if would have been better to use Linda's layout and increase the size by adding a border of triangle squares and an outer (possibly wider) solid border, as she did.  I doubt I'll go so far as to redo the whole quilt to be like hers, though.

I find it hard to be objective when I'm working on a quilt.  Or maybe this quilt and its colors do just look better in person than in the photographs.  I'll have to stew on this one a little longer. 

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


Friday, April 26, 2019

Angel Flying at Great Speed

Angel with flag for Cheri Payne's Sweet Land of Liberty quilt

I love this little angel!  She is one of the blocks for April for Lori's Sweet Land of Liberty sew-along with Cheri Payne's Facebook group.  I think she looks like she's flying at great speed with purposeful intent, an impression that's probably because the flag pole is bent and her wings are swept so high. 

She needs features on her little face and a banner that sweeps along in front of her with the words "Of thee I sing."  I prefer not to embroider those.  I think the embroidery thread wear away more quickly than the quilt will wear out, especially since I intend to use the quilt for napping or on a bed.

Have you ever used anything but embroidery when adding letters and details to a quilt?  Have you used a pen of any kind to write on the fabric?  How did it write and how did it last through washing and drying?  I have several pens to try but being short on time this month, I thought I would ask you, dear readers.

Thanks for any help.

I'm linking this post to
> Peacock Party at Wendy's Quilts and More
> Finished {Or Not} Friday at Busy Hands Quilts

Thanks for hosting, ladies.

Take care,

Wednesday, April 24, 2019

Underestimating the Time It Takes

So often I imagine how long things will take only to find that, in fact, they take me two or three or more times longer than I imagined.  I probably should have learned by now to give myself at least three times longer than I think anything will take.

Knowing I would have a week to finish this quilt seemed doable, until I laid out the blocks yesterday and began arranging the sashing squares again.  I wanted to replicate the arrangement before I picked them up off the floor last Thursday.  I began sewing them together today.  This photo shows the results of today's efforts. 

I truly thought it would go much faster.  I think arranging the sashing squares is what takes so long.  I look at the photos I took, make notes about which squares to place where, then find the squares and place them....  The blocks themselves are uneven sizes -- 17", 19", 21" -- sizes not easily divisible by 2" or 3" which are the sizes of the triangle squares.  It takes a little time to figure out how many squares for the edge of each block.  If I weren't trying to enlarge the quilt's final size it would be easy enough to follow Linda's pattern.

I'm now wondering whether I can really get this top sewn together by next Tuesday.

Below is the first of four sections to sew together.  I'll have to somehow speed up my process!

When I began this quilt with a Facebook group, Lorraine, the leader, encouraged us to cut and sew the triangle squares for each block as we went along and then, when the first four blocks were finished, to sew them into sashing and attach them to the blocks.  Unlike others who were participating, I uncertain which fabrics I would use for the blocks and decided to wait till the blocks were finished to sew them. Ah, well.  Maybe next time I'll follow the suggestion of a seasoned quilter.

Wish me luck to finish by Tuesday evening!


Thursday, April 18, 2019

Picking Up the Pieces

Nothing impels me to cut and sew faster than knowing that my grands will be visiting and I'll have to pick up the pieces of an in-progress quilt from the design floor before they arrive.  They'll be here in a few hours and my floor is now clear.

This is what was on the floor before.  I didn't count the squares but when I had to pick them up I knew there were a lot.  I have more ready to use if needed because I know I'll lose inches when I sew the squares together.

auditioning sashing for Linda Brannock's Flowers quilt

I took lots of photos just in case I like the arrangement and color balance of this layout and want to repeat it.

auditioning sashing for Linda Brannock's Flowers quilt

But maybe there are too many lights -- corals and pinks --  and I need more reds.  I thought about adding greens and a bit of the purple I used in the flowers below, left, but too many colors and it might look a little circus-like.

auditioning sashing for Linda Brannock's Flowers quilt

I'll play when I can lay the pieces on the floor and leave them again.

auditioning sashing for Linda Brannock's Flowers quilt

I wish I'd been able to sew some of the sashing squares together but it takes a long time to cut and sew triangles into squares:  cut, pin, sew, press, square (if necessary), trim dog ears, repeat.

auditioning sashing for Linda Brannock's Flowers quilt

I believe this quilt will need a border around all those squares, but I'll wait till the top is sewn to make a decision about that.

When I first learned family was coming, it was my younger, single daughter for five days over last weekend until yesterday.  No problem leaving blocks on the floor while she's here.  When I learned that my older daughter and four grands were coming I thought I would have just one week to finish the quilt after they left.  When I glanced at the calendar I was pleasantly surprised to see that the month ends on Tuesday, which means I'll have a week and two days.  I may yet meet my goal of getting this stitched into a top in April!

I hope you're having a wonderful Easter week.


Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Cheddarback Blocks 6-10 for April

These are my Cheddarback blocks for April.  I somehow managed to fit them in between sewing triangle squares for my "Flowers" quilt.  The creator of Cheddarback used a variety of fabrics in her blocks -- cotton, flannel, pique, etc.  Most of my blocks, below, use colors close to hers but the kinds of fabrics are different.  I love the idea of the original creator and I being parallel quilters -- her using the fabrics she had available in the late 1800s, I using as similar fabrics as hers from the fabrics I have available from the late 1900s and early 2000s.  You can see the original blocks at this month's post at Sentimental Stitches.  Block 6 will finish at 12", the others will finish at 5".

Block 6
Cheddarback Block 6
Gosh, those pinwheels are hard!  The placement of the medium squares in the corner of this block is interesting to me.  They cause the star to disappear.

Block 7
Cheddarback Block 7
Gay Bomers, the creator of this sew-along, graciously provided two ways to make this block.  I chose the one without y-seams.  I don't have many black prints so used one with colors the closest I have to the original, but the fabric style is completely different.

Block 8
Cheddarback Block 8
By the time I finished this little basket I thought it was the cutest little basket block and pattern I've ever seen.  It's just so petite and sweet.  It was a bit of a challenge to make and even the original quilter was not able to keep all the points in the basket, though she lost hers at the top of the basket instead of the bottom, where I lost mine. 

Block 9
Cheddarback Block 9
Another square-in-square block.  I managed better with this one than the one in the first set.  I tried to keep the colors and style of fabrics but didn't have a blue and white check like the one in the original.  If I find one I might unstitch and exchange it for this blue.

Block 10
Cheddarback Block 10
Another pinwheel (with my mismatched points in the center). 

Cheddarback Blocks 6-10
Cheddarback Blocks 6-10

I bought fabric for sashing but haven't had time to wash and press it yet.  The creator of Cheddarback used two different fabrics for sashing, one off-white print and the other a light blue fabric which she used around the edges.  I'd like to use both but I haven't found a light blue yet.  I also already have a choice of two red fabrics to use for the cornerstones.

I have a feeling some of other blocks in this quilt will be really difficult for me.  This is definitely not a quilt for a beginner but it's certainly one that will expand my block-making experience.

I'm linking this post to BOMs Away at What A Hoot Quilts.  Thanks, Lynette.

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