Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Bits and Pieces

There is something so enticing about bits and pieces!  Leftovers from a previous quilt, scraps or even stray blocks.

I find it rather ironic, I'm choosing to share that oddment of a quilt instead of the original one. When I see scraps, I become elated!  There's an eagerness to dive in and get started. Obsessively focused.


While making 'the other quilt', I decided to save the corner pieces.  This time they were large enough and well worth the extra time.    


I drew a diagonal line with my Hera marker and stitched across it.  I use a 1/4" foot which leaves a faint line across my fabric, I used that as my guide and stitched the final line 1/4" from that.  The easy explanation...stitch 1/2" from the original line.

You end up with these little HST for future use!  


With a stack of lovelies staring me down, I played with them on the design wall.  My design wall is a vinyl table pad that has a flannel like backing.  It's looking like a tangled mess now-a-days with threads from years of using it!

The fun began by trimming the half square triangles to 2 1/4".  Let me give a plug to the best invention for HST's ever, Bloc-Loc!  Time saver, easy to use and so many sizes!
  
How many options do you think there are for HST?!  So many possibilities!  I ended up with this design.  


I figured out the sizes needed for the missing spaces in the above picture, and began piecing everything together.  
  

Some of these, some of those...


...and eventually they became rows!


With the center finished, I added a couple borders and called it finished! 





Gotta love those seams!



Maybe I'm mild obsessed with scraps.  Who doesn't?  

I believe it is written in the Quilter's Handbook that states:  if you become a quilter, you have an obligation, a duty as a fellow quilter and mighty hunter of textiles, to use every...single...last...piece...of scraps!

Check out instagram for my video diary of the piecing!

video


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Sunday, August 23, 2015

A Sticky Situation

Believe it or not, I'm actually ahead of the game!  I may have learned my lesson after getting three months behind on my Technicolor Galaxy block of the month. This was my last post,  In A Galaxy Far, Far Away,  which shows just how grueling it was! 

We are on Block #7 ~ Hexie Flowers.  Little 5/8" hexies, stabilizer templates and glue.  Glue. I have used glue to stick a template to fabric and hand stitch around the edges, but I have not glued the edges before.  There sure is a lot of gluing in this BOM!  

The first problem I encountered were the templates.  I bought the pre-cut stabilizer templates, and it turns out I didn't read the fine print.  This block needs 84 hexagons, clearly you can see the bag contains 60.  I didn't think it was a HUGE deal, until I tried to find a template online for 5/8" hexagons.  It is a weird size?  I found every other size except what I needed.  At the end of my rope I came across this site:  Incometech,  You can print graph paper shapes in squares, hexies, octagons ~ just about anything and you can make them any size you need. Really very cool!  I printed a copy on a stabilizer sheet (after making sure they were the exact size and the pre-cuts), cut them out and was ready to roll.

     

Fabric was the next step, one I thought would be easy.  I won't go in to detail, just know that I didn't like it not one little bit!!  But I played along. I picked. I cut. I counted. I searched. I did it.

I grabbed the glue stick, snatched the templates out of the bag (plus the ones I laboriously cut), and started gluing one template to each little square and you know what?  This blew my mind, there were not 60 templates in that bag.  Nope.  Not 60 at all.  There were actually enough for all my 84 hexies and then some!!!  Crazy talk!  I may have said a few 'swears', more than a few...but dang!



Putting that behind me, it was time to get crackin'!  This would be my night time entertainment! I'm so out of control, a wild party girl, stop me now!!

It was slow going.  Trim the fabric, glue the edges.  Sticky fingers.  Like really sticky!  I may be doing it wrong, but the glue stick wasn't really that cooperative.  I felt like a hot mess. With a few flowers finished, I called it a night.  
   


...and picked it up the next night...




...until I ended up with...
84 of the cutest little glue filled, hexagons!  



...put them all together and you have 12 colorful flowers...


There is still work to be done in the form of hand stitching.  
Marked and ready.  One, two, three...

Quilt Porn Picture of the Month

Progress.  And ahead of time for a change!  Block #7...you are soon to be history! 

My first ever hand stitched hexies completed!  I was hoping a rhythm would come to me once I started, and it did.  I've always admired people who do English Paper Piecing.  Now I see why they love it so much.  There may be more of this in my future!  


I used a whip stitch to join the hexies.  I think I did it right! 


For those who are participating in this Skill Builder BOM, Jenn @ A Quarter Inch From The Edge will be hosting a progress link up on the 12th of each month starting in September and going through December.  A fun way to share our progress no matter how much or how little you have done.

Who out there uses glue in their quilting?  What are your thoughts on this technique?  I see the benefit in a dab of glue for hexies or for that first piece of fabric in paper piecing.  I'm not sure anything beyond that is for me.  We'll see!

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Making A Splash With Cool Waters

It's finished!  Top to bottom, side to side, round and round!  Washed, dried and photographed! I'm happy to share with you the finished 'Cool Waters' Quilt!

COOL WATERS
53" x 70"
This quilt sat patiently off to the side waiting for me to finish other pressing matters.  With its number up next, I needed to figure out how it would be quilted.  It's always a challenge!  


As always, something will break loose and an idea will come forth!  I grabbed my ruler and Hera marker ready to hit the floor!  (meaning lay the quilt out and mark it!)  The blue circle is a plastic frosting lid!  I highly recommend this unconventional tool (wink)!  If nothing else, the frosting is delicious!  I used it to make the curves in the lines, and it worked fine.  You don't always need a special quilting gadget to get where you need to go!




I moved my machine to the end of the table for the quilting.  It was long and I didn't want it falling off the table and dragging me down!  I marked most of my lines on each side of the panel and then went back after the first phase of quilting to fill in.  I choose not to quilt the 'bejeebers' out of this one.  Instead, I kept it loose and fancy free!


  
I'm calling this quilting Circuit Board.  Or maybe Minimalist Circuit Board.  Since I only did vertical lines leaving out all the other crazy things a real circuit board has!  



The center panel I kept even more simple.  Straight vertical lines.  I could have done so much more, something different, but decided to keep it clean.  Simple. Uncomplicated.  No frills.





With that in mind, I did spruce up the back!  The front had more than enough white.  I pulled four coordinating colors, cut 16" squares and staggered them down the back.  It's nice to jazz up a plain white back!  



There is something calming about this one.  The cool colors remind me of water.  The gentle lapping of waves, the flow of the tide or the rush of a river.  Water soothes and calms me. 
  

Block:  Shadow Block 
Denyse Schmidt Modern Solids:  charm squares
Kona Snow:  front and back
Bella Grey: shadow
Batting:  Warm & White
Thread:  Aurifil White



Have you ever used an unconventional 'tool' for quilting?  What was it?  It's so interesting to see what we come up at the spur of the moment!


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Friday, August 14, 2015

No Rest For The Weary

I wouldn't have it any other way!  I love to stay busy.  Busy, busy, busy.  I've never been much on taking it easy, taking time off or taking time away.  Instead, I continue to play with fabric day in and day out.

In some ways, I feel as if I'm trying to catch up.  When I started quilting in 2005, I quickly became addicted and found my creative outlet.  The more 'balls in the air' the better!  

Do you remember my 'Cool Waters' Quilt Top?  I wasn't sure how I was going to quilt it and then I got an idea!  Light bulb moments are great!  I just finished sewing the binding on last night.  It will hit the washing machine today and I share the finished piece in a couple days. I'm pleased with it.  I'm anxious to use the rest of the Denyse Schmidt charm squares for another project soon.  


 I thought I had lost my notes on my Illusion quilt, but found them in the most unlikely place.  Why would I put them in my Low Volume fabric tote?!  Go figure!

I wanted to recreate this quilt  Black + White = Illusion because I love it and thought...why not?!! I pulled out the good old black and white fabric and thought I could just get to it from my notes. Not the case!  I seriously tried to take decent notes for the first one.  I thought I did.  I couldn't figure out what the heck I was talking about!  I ended up making a couple test blocks (again), and this time...certainly I took better notes!

Please tell me I am not the only one who writes cryptic confusing notes?!  I could say I learned my lesson, but I'm sure I have not!

This quilt top will be ready whenever I am!


Briar Rose, Briar Rose!  You are a delightful, gorgeous stack!  Believe it or not I have decided to part with this stack of fat quarters.  I'm still a bit shocked myself and must admit...a little saddened!  

The first step in recovery is letting go...and let go I shall!  

These will be going to a friend in my Guild.  I'm sure she will cherish them as I have, and I hope she will use them as I have not!  I made one quilt with them and I still have some decent sized pieces left, all is not lost!  In a way, it feels really good!  Who knows, this could be a new beginning! 


And lastly, after painting my toe nails with the skill of a two-year-old, I took a moment to play!  I don't usually paint my finger nails and, I'm not sure one nail out or ten counts, but I painted 'A' nail!  

It still looks like a two-year-old did it, but hell...it was fun!  Cross hatch...take that!!  So, my artistic skill do not cross over to nail painting!


Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Threads

Alas, I get to share my latest pride and joy!  I started with one thing in mind, and it quickly had me wandering down a slightly different path.  Quilts have a way of doing that, especially when there is Improv involved.  


THREADS
47 1/2" x 62"
Scraps.  It turned out I had roughly a million and 74 gray scraps.  Here's a few.  They were from bindings, borders, blocks, end of fabric chunks.  Light gray, dark gray and every thing in between.  I was determined to use every last piece...and I did just that and then some!

Once I found inspiration (this quilt by Debbie @ A Quilter's Table was it!), my plan became clearer.  


I roughly cut my strips the same length, overlapped my pieces, grabbed my ruler and sliced! No math and perfectly perfect was not allowed.  Pairs and pieces were strip pieced over and over and over again.  


Still there were scraps!  Left over bits from the first step that would surly not be forgotten. I was looking for something more, something to bring the design together.  Plus, the quilt needed to be larger, different, unique.  

That's when I decided a center panel would be the way to go.  Bust the scraps and solve the problem!



My monochromatic quilt was becoming a reality.  And then...this overwhelming, uncontrollable, forceful urge for color barraged my brain and wouldn't let up!  I succumbed. I surrendered.  What?!  One color?  No color?  I couldn't help myself and in the end I went with a variety of color!  Just a touch here and there, a smidge, a minuscule amount.  Enough to see, but not enough to over take the design.



The layout was coming together.  Piece by piece.  Chunk by chunk!  I could now straighten up my pieces and put this top together!  

The first step was to make the pieces in to blocks.  This way I could add a strip here and there for length and then the panels could easily become one.  


Which it did!  With flying colors!  I cannot tell you how happy I was when the entire top was finished!  I felt like I received my first A+ in math, won the lottery or talked myself out of a speeding ticket!  I was a proud Mama!    


Of course we all know this wasn't the end.  There was the million dollar question of how to quilt it.  Make it or break it, as they say.  The fear.  



Was short lived.  This quilt screamed random, organic, funky and imperfection.  I used a variety of grays in the beginning and then went back and added a line of color.  Not a lot, just enough.  The center panel was the only section that has both vertical and horizontal lines. There wasn't a path to follow, a direction or line.  Keep with the vibe!


I am beyond pleased with adding color.  To me, it was just enough in both the piecing and the quilting with out being hugely prominent.  






With filaments of color intertwined throughout, I decided to name this quilt 'Threads'.


The initial idea was monochromatic using only scraps.  The scrap part...I did use every single one, but did have to bust out more non-scrap fabric.  It still qualifies as monochromatic, right?  


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