Saturday, September 16, 2017

This Round Is On Me :: Scrappy Drunkards Path

It really did take a simple, semi-mindless project that got me back in to the swing of things. A couple months ago I had glue basted a big pile of Drunkard's Path blocks that were intended for those days when you just want to sew something or just a little.  A long term project.  So when I found myself low on inspiration and Mojo, I picked those up and began stitching curves.

Last time I blogged about this quilt 'Getting My MoJo Back', I had pieced all the blocks together but hadn't assembled the quilt top.  Mostly because I wasn't sure on my layout! That is now behind me as is the drought of inspiration and oomph!

47 1/2" x 62"
I love this finish!  The scrappy-ness, the circles, the crisp clean feel.  Yes, scraps are good...very good!  

As you can see, I staggered the blocks in each row.  This layout was the best option for the quantity of blocks I had.  A little luck and a lot of ingenuity I had just enough of the Kona White for the background.   


Sandwiched and pinned, I began thinking about how I should quilt it.  My ideas were grandiose and complex and then I came to my senses!  As much as I would have loved to quilt in and around each circle, I knew I wasn't ready to get that deep into a quilting project at this time.  


Instead I went with simple straight lines.  My usual standby!  The more I quilted each line, the more a beautiful geometric design started to emerge.  I had no idea!  Its not like I actually planned the design ahead of time!  I'm calling it my 'Geometric Spider Web'!


Diagonal, vertical and horizontal lines intersect in the center of each circle all the while creating interesting diamonds throughout the quilt.  Here's a diagram of how I quilted for the geometric spider web design.

It was also time to try something a little different with thread.  I've seen so many quilters trying heavier weight thread for quilting and it was high time I gave it a go myself!  

I grabbed a spool of 28wt White (2024) for the top and 50wt Chalk (2026) for the bobbin. Because of the weight of the 28 thread it's recommended to use a 40 or 50 weight in the bobbin and also a 90/14 needle.  It wasn't until I quilted on a practice piece of fabric that I knew it was going to work.  As in perfect!  


I love the look of the 28 wt thread on the top of the quilt.  Because of the thickness, it stands out. Front and center.  A 40 or 50 wt thread tends to blend and disappear in the fabric, which is what I like about a lighter weight.  I'm looking forward to using it again, next time something more intense!  


For the backing I used Kona Breakers.  I thought it would be a nice compliment to the prints in the blocks.  

The binding is a plethora of scraps!  You would think between this quilt and the binding and my Glam Clam quilt that my scraps must be gone by now!  There has been a significant dent in the pile.  I'm afraid I might never be rid of them all!


I am certain there will be more quarter circles, half circles or Drunkard's Path blocks in my future...and most likely they will be glue basted just like these were.  


It was important for me to 'break the ice' and get back to what I love doing...quilting.  There is healing in quilting and doing what you love.  

And wouldn't you know it!  Just when I'm itching to dive in, I have a monstrous deck to stain, two big walls to paint and a bathroom to remodel!  I think I'll be able to fit a little cutting and stitching in between those projects.

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Final Round Robin Hand Off :: Round #5

Round #5 is in the books!  I have thoroughly enjoyed my first Round Robin event.  The hardest part has been the stress.  The stress of not knowing what to do and wondering if it'll be cohesive with the other rounds.


Round #5:  45" x 45" 
I had this hanging up for weeks until I finally had a plan.  That's one of the most difficult aspects of a Round Robin.  Am I doing enough, doing too much, not doing enough, doing too little.    


Start Size: 39" x 39"
This is what came to me for my round.  Pretty, don't you think?  It's a color palette that I don't gravitate towards, so it was a pleasure being able to push myself in that department.  I love the pastels!  Weird for me to say that...but, I have been contemplating a pastel quilt for a while.  Perhaps this will push that idea closer to accomplishing!



Do these blocks look familiar?  Since my last quilt was 'Storm At Sea', I let that carry over into this round.  Which seems to be the way most of my rounds have happened.  Whatever I was or am working on it some way or another gets incorporated in the round.




Here's a little insight into my reasoning for using this block.  I couldn't very well use circles or curves because the previous round had plenty.  But I wanted the illusion of curves, and Storm At Sea does that.  Now, I'm the first to admit that the plan didn't exactly work well.  The other part of this idea (such as it is), was that the shapes and angles in my round work well with the previous rounds shapes and angles.  Grasping here?!


See the curve?  Squint with your left eye and tilt your head back and to the right...see it now?!  I used prints...that evens out the curve part in my book!


This was Marcia's center block.  Having just finished a Drunkards Path quilt myself, I was pleased to see this center for my last round!  Marcia started us off with a great block, and every round after played very well with her colors!



And with that...the hardest part is finished!  I cannot tell you how hard it is to come up with the perfect idea for a round.  Talk about being out of my comfort zone and pushing myself!

Since our quilt guild started this in February, I haven't even looked at the rounds added to my starting block.  You can see my starting block here: Round Robin :: My First.    I know...I'm on pins and needles!  I wanted it to be a surprise and it will be just that.  Will it still be pink?  Square?  As soon as I get my hot hands on it you know I'll share!

Round Robin...love it or hate it?  Rules or no rules?


LINKING:
TGIFF

Thursday, September 7, 2017

Storm at Sea :: Finish, Just Barely

I had so much fun picking this block for our Guilds Paint Chip Challenge.  Picking, yes.  Constructing, yes.  Assembling, NO!

But...I got it done, I got it done, I got it done!  Frustration from beginning to end, yet I love this block!  
24" x 24"
A quick recap:  Those are the two paint chips I had to work with.  We were allowed to use one other color and a neutral if we wanted.  My initial plan was to add an accent color, in this case pink/magenta.  While pre-planning my pieces to paper piece I had to change plans on so many colors it wasn't funny!  During the entire process I was left wondering how this block would turn out in the end.

You can check out Storm Before The Calm...Storm At Sea, for my first go around with this idea.  



Because I was punting on colors based on what I had on hand, I had to mix and match the centers of the large square in a square blocks.  Not a problem.  Except I forgot about that detail after I finished piecing the blocks and when I was piecing the rows together!  



Pretty blocks ready to sew into rows...but I forgot....

The actual piecing of the blocks was a breeze!  I couldn't have been happier!  When I saw what I had done I wanted to cry, instead I swore a blue streak!  I wanted to say 'screw it' and let it live, but I couldn't!  For anyone who paper pieces you know what a pain it is to rip out those teeny tiny stitches!  But I did.  I might have swore even more!



Once I got back on track, after taking a lot of deep breaths and a few glasses of wine, I was ready to pick thread for quilting.  And then there is the quilting plan...that hadn't quite made an appearance in my mind!  

These are my three thread choices:  #2135 yellow, #4129 turf green and #1148 light jade.  All are 50 wt, and in the end I went with just the yellow and light jade.



I eventually decided I was going to follow the flow of the 'sea'!  I wanted the motion and movement to show.  I first stitched in the ditch and then very unscientifically stitched lines.  All, mind you, very free and organic. 



I put the pedal to the metal and went for it!  I especially love the yellow accent thread.  It stands out in just the right way and just the right amount.  



For the center squares, I did a simple geometric star. The star was completely different from the rest of the quilting, simple.  



I really like how this quilt turned out.  From piecing, to color, to quilting!



Even with all the pitfalls, missteps and difficulties, I thoroughly enjoyed making this block. We may complain (and boy do I) about certain parts of any block, but we love it!  



I could see making another version of this block.  Different colors, different guidelines and larger blocks!

What is the one block that tests your limits, but you can't help but love it?!


LINKING:

Sunday, September 3, 2017

Restocking The Basics :: Must Haves & Gotta Haves

There are basic fabrics we need on hand all the time.  Like white.  Lots and lots of white!! And of course one of my favorite background colors such as gray.  If I could I would have bolts of these two on hand times two!

Kona White, Kona Nightfall, Kona Shadow
  I used the last of my Kona white on my Drunkards Path quilt.  Which was just barely enough, but I got clever and was able to make it work.  I knew I had better get more ordered and the quicker the better.  

I would love nothing more than to buy by the bolt on a couple colors.  Since I don't have a connection the next best thing is buying from fabric.com.  They always have a buy more, save more on most of their Kona cottons.  For 10 yards of Kona white, I was able to get the price down to $4.34 a yard.  That's not bad!  

While white is must, probably my favorite background/backing color to use and have on hand is Kona Shadow.  My dark blue stock was also getting low, so welcome Nightfall!

Pink Flamingo, Honeysuckle, Valentine
I've been trying to find a Neon Pink solid with very little success.  These lovelies made it in my cart for 'just in case', but they were a far cry from Neon!!  I tried unsuccessfully to grab Kona Color of the Year Pink Flamingo when it first arrived on the scene.  When I saw it was actually in stock...I pounced.  Tell me why I didn't buy more than one yard!  Because it's really, really pretty to me!



This is my second batch of Diamond Hexie Stars.  I started making them while I was in Oregon.  Star Light, Star Bright was my first batch.  I've decided these will be my long term project for the rest of the year.  I'm using bright Kaffe Fasset fabrics and fussy cutting for the most part.  But I needed more...and when I was tempted with more...I couldn't resist!



Cyndy at Quilting is more fun than Housework offered up a hand picked bundle to fulfill my EPP diamond project.  I loved her note!  I know!!! What the heck is going on with me and prints?  You'd think I have finally developed a relationship with prints after all these years! 



I see many more diamonds being cut from these fabrics and I think I'll start right now!  

There it is, my latest acquisitions to my stash.  Some must haves, and some gotta haves!

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Thursday, August 31, 2017

Storm Before The Calm...Storm At Sea

It's always nice to try something new.  A new hair style, a new food, a new technique.  It means we are open to trying something different.  

Our Guild is doing a Paint Chip Challenge that is due at our next meeting.  I was so thrilled that we were going to do this when it first came up at a meeting a couple months ago.  I've seen other guilds that have done these and it always peeked my interest.  Basically, we were randomly given two actual paint chips.  The rules are pretty simple.  We must use the two colors as the starting point and are allowed to add one more color and a neutral.  

Simple.  Realizing our 'reveal' meeting is quickly approaching I needed to get my butt in gear and come up with a plan.  My colors are gorgeous...IMO!  A beautiful teal and golden yellow.


So what was I to do?  Yikes!  There wasn't much time to ponder or worry about my current 'mojo' rut.  Out of the blue the idea of 'Storm At Sea' came to mind.  Its a block that interests me, a block that can be toyed with using colors and a block I could paper piece for accuracy.  
Why not?  Let's do this!

My first fabric pull started with this batch of fabric.  Great start!  Love the magenta!  If only it was that easy!


I'm not much of a planner.  I'm a 'fly by the seat of your pants' kind of a girl!  It's easier for me to play it by ear than plan every detail.  So, when I picked my block and picked my fabric I was sure I had it in the bag.  I did not!  

Storm At Sea
I'm making a 24" x 24" mini quilt that requires nine 8" blocks.  I'll be paper piecing these blocks for accuracy and frankly...you know I love paper piecing!  

The above block was my guide to color placement.  And I tried.  While cutting the pieces for my templates, I quickly discovered I didn't have enough of this color, then that color and then I cut the wrong color...it went on and on!


When I'm paper piecing numerous of the same block, I like to cut all my pieces prior to stitching. I cut, sub cut, cut the wrong color, cut the right color and eventually...finally...I think I hashed it all out.


It was a frustrating process.  Working from my stash didn't go quite as planned.  Whats better: having a well rounded stash of lots of colors or having a stash that has plenty of yardage but not much variety?!  


There are nine templates for each block.  Nine.  I know!  You would thing a little 8" block wouldn't be so involved, but it is!    


The small square in a square is 2 1/2", the larger one is 4 1/2" and the diamond is 2 1/2" x 4 1/2". That little one is just adorable!!

  

Tomorrow I hope to take all the parts and pieces, put them together in a timely fashion with no fuss or muss. 


And hopefully, they will all turn out to look like much like this one.  I have no idea how this is going to turn out.  It could be good, or it could go terribly wrong!  


Storm at Sea is one of those blocks that trick you into thinking there are curves, yet there are none.  In a quilt, there is a lot of movement and flow, which I'm hoping will come through with my quilt.  It's hard to say what will happen.  It could end up being 'The Calm Before The Storm' instead!


It was a fun exercise in making do with what you have on hand!  Have you made a Storm At Sea quilt before?  Would you do it again?

LINKING:

Saturday, August 26, 2017

Drunkards Path :: Getting My MoJo Back

It's taken me a while to get back in the swing of things lately.  I feel like I've done very little in the way of quilting the past couple months.  I thought the best way to get back into the thick of things was to work on a scrap project I started back in July.  My Clammed Out & Scrap Magic post talks about what to do with scraps from a previous quilt.

If the fabrics and color seems familiar, they are!  They all came from the infamous Glam Clam quilt I recently finished.  So many scraps!  


While cutting out the Clams for the Glam Clam, I was left with a ton of scraps.  It seemed like the perfect time to make some drunkards path blocks.


I had a tub full that I glue basted and quickly set about chain piecing those pesky curves. Except...they really weren't that pesky to sew!  

  

I choose to glue baste the curves to save myself from getting frustrated, and so I could put the pedal to the metal while chain piecing.  It seemed like a great idea...and it was!



I marked the center by folding and pressing a crease in each piece.  Here, I marked it with pen so you can see it better.



A small bead of glue goes a long way!  It doesn't take much to hold the two pieces together.



I line up the center point and with the tip of the dry iron I slowly move the top piece around the curve.  It doesn't take long for the glue to set.



Repeat the same process for the other half.



Before you know it...it's done!  There is a little fussing that has to be done when attaching the two pieces, like holding the top piece out of the glue when setting the glue with the iron.



Its worth it to me!  Usually when making this block I would press the seams towards the white. This time I pressed towards the print.  I didn't want the print to be seen through the white, which happens when you are doing just about any block.  



I did a lot of trimming so my blocks were good and square.  These ended up being 4".  I'd like to say they stayed that size!



They did not!  I wasn't terribly consistent with perfection when I slapped these together! When I put four blocks together they were a little askew!  I was only concentrating on lining up the curves for one big circle.  


After assembly, I trimmed all the blocks to 7".  Now that's something I can work with! 


I've played with several layouts since making the blocks, and even had to make more.  The top layout is a possibility, but this last one is not.  In order to do that one I would of had to sew each row together and hope all the seams lined up.  I love the layout and know that one day...it to shall become a quilt!

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