Sunday, August 30, 2020

Sweet Dreams :: Woven Stripes

How can it always be that I have a stack of quilts that need quilting?!  They stack up so fast!  I guess when you are on a stash busting mission there are bound to be a backlog every once in a while.  

My woven stripes stash was bound to get the 'busting' was only a matter of time.  'Stash Busting Woven Stripes' I shared my design idea and how I tackled the blocks as well as how I prep the thin woven fabric to maintain its shape.  At that time I had all the blocks, sashing and setting blocks pieced together.  But I wasn't quite done yet!

47" X 62"
At the time I was hesitant to say I wanted to add a border to finish it off.  It doesn't matter how much prep work you do to wovens, they are still going to distort!  Starch is great, but wovens have a mind of their own.  I added a 3 1/2" border using Kona Chocolate and by the time I finished I could see how wonky and wavy it was going to be.  But I stuck to my guns and decided to pin it anyway.  If after quilting it was still awful, I was fully prepared to cut it off and chalk it up to a lesson learned.

Somewhere along the way the quilting gods shined upon me and the border ended up being a non issue.  Don't ask me how or why...I was just thankful it happened!  


I always have a moment of panic when it's time to quilt woven fabric.  The stretch is real and I never want puckers!  It didn't happen!  Whew!  All that worry for nothing!

The backing is Kona Pickle which I love so much!  A few extra blocks placed and pieced and it was ready for quilting!  But how should I quilt it?! 

I stitched in the ditch around the blocks and sashing to start with.  Then decided it would be best to quilt each block with straight lines.  Although you can't tell from the photos, I used 
8 -10 different thread colors throughout the blocks.  The lines are all random which seems to fit with the fabric and design.  The saving grace was the border quilting.  I quilted 1/2" lines that seemed to anchor the border and take care of any wonkiness much to my surprise.  

I had planned on using the same brown for the binding, but after the 3 1/2" border I didn't have enough.  The next best thing I could come up with was using more woven stripes, and I just happened to have a big piece that would work perfectly! 

Washed and dried!  And DONE!  There's something about these stripes and chocolate brown together that scream comfy, cozy warmth!  It's a good combination!  I could see myself in front of a blazing hot fire wrapped in this quilt! 


Friday, August 21, 2020

A Slow Start :: Improv Madness

I was itching to do some improv on a large scale, but it was slow going and I wasn't sure if I had it in me!  

I've spoken about improv and how you need to 'let go' and 'let loose' when doing it.  Don't give up as it changes with each added piece.  You may not like it one minute and the next minute it becomes magic!  

When I started this project I felt like a fish out of water!  Had I lost my ability to think outside of the box?  It felt like I was trying too hard and things were not coming together as I had hoped.  I even mentioned to my daughter that I don't think I can remember how to do this!  

Eventually I took my own advice and kept at it.  While it was slow going in the beginning I eventually found my groove, confidence and was inspired to keep going.  So much so that I couldn't stop!

It seems my favorite color combination these days is pink, orange and yellow.  After pulling every possible shade in those colors, I made half a dozen stacks of colors that I wanted for each block.  The idea was in my head...I just needed to execute it!

Piece by piece, stitch by stitch, add this, cut step at a time.  There were some 'Edward Scissorhand' moments throughout!  Fabric carnage everywhere!

The pieces and blocks came together in all shapes, color and sizes.  I was getting a glimpse of my idea forming and that fueled the fire to keep going. 

It looks like a hot mess!  There is always a method to my madness even though it doesn't look like it!

I'm using Kona Natural as the anchor for the entire quilt.  Adding bit's of it mixed in with the colors as well as the frame around each block.

The flow of the colors is going to be key in this quilt.  This block shows how the orange and pink are mixed in order to get the gradation of color I'm aiming for.

Once each row of blocks were made I added the frame around each block.  On some sides I added a wider piece in order to enlarge the blocks that may have been a bit too small.  This was all going to change with the next step.  I just needed enough to work with.

That next step was yet another border!  This was going to tie the blocks together and further the gradation vision of mine.  

Once I got over the feeling of 'I can't do this', it was pure joy!  All the worry and doubt faded away.  I just had to stick with it and trust myself.

There has been a lot of changes since this photo was taken.  It may still looks like a hot mess to some, but to me I see potential and progress!  I'm hopeful!


Sunday, August 16, 2020

Baby HRT :: Leftovers

After making a large Half Rectangle Triangle quilt (HRT :: Finished & Happy) using my Alison Glass Handcrafted stash, I was inspired to continue the stash busting progress and make one more.  Except this time the blocks were smaller which resulted in a baby version of the quilt.

30 1/2" x 42 1/2"

For those who know me and how I operate, I tend to make as many quilts, wall hangings, baby quilts or minis as I can until every scrap is gone.  Usually each project is a different design from the original, but this time it worked better to keep cutting and making HRTs.  

While cutting the large HRTs for the first quilt from fat quarters, I proceeded to cut the smaller ones at the same time from pieces that weren't going to be large enough for the lap quilt.  It was an efficient method and I soon had a stack of for this future baby quilt. 

The leftover HRTs from the lap quilt were trimmed down and used in this quilt as well.  There weren't many left and I wasn't about to have them sit for long!  The only difference with this quilt from the first one besides the size of blocks,  I added the bright yellow fabric.  I had that one fat quarter left and knew I wanted to use it but was hesitant because it was so electric bright!  In the end it was fine and with careful placement it doesn't hit you in the face!

I ended up quilting 1/2" vertical straight lines with an added bit of flair!  One curved scallop like line in each vertical row.  


I always seem to gravitate towards straight line quilting.  It's never failed me and the effect always makes me happy!

I used a variegated grey thread, Aurifil 50wt Silver Fox (#4670) for all the quilting.  It blends nicely on the front and has a subtle effect on the back.  

As usual I added the extra blocks to the back.  I can safely say there won't be another Handcrafted quilt in any form (maybe a mini mini?!) after this baby quilt.  Stash busted and I couldn't be happier about that!


That doesn't mean I don't want to make another HRT quilt though!  I'm honestly frothing at the bit to jump into another one with different fabric.  I was pretty impressed with the Creative Grids Perfect Rectangle Ruler and would love to give it another try!   

However that will have to wait!  It's time to get wild and crazy and make something that isn't so precise and tedious! 


Saturday, August 8, 2020

Stash Busting Woven Stripes

As I slowly make my way through my stash, I still get that tingly feeling of great accomplishment that I'm doing it!  With each quilt, each fabric line, there is a big sigh of relief that I've finally used what's on hand.

This latest quilt began as an idea for a long term project, but soon spiraled out of control and I found I couldn't stop making blocks!  Good intentions!  I don't know what made me think I could make a block or two here and there.  In the end it doesn't really matter since I ended up with a fun and pretty lovely quilt in the end.  As for the woven stripe stash, let's just say there will be another quilt or two in the future!

This photo almost looks like its computer generated!  I promise it is not!  I've sewn together all the blocks and sashing thus far, but plan on adding a border.  When it will get quilted is another story.  Maybe that should be my long term goal since I always seem to let these quilts sit for weeks on end until I quilt them!

I had a lot of the stripes already cut in strips in my stash, but there was more work to do.  Cut more!  If you've ever worked with Kaffe Fasset woven stripes you know they can go wonky just by looking at them!  I always starch before cutting and hope for the best.  I doesn't take much for this fabric to become distorted no matter how much starch you use. 

My plan was to use a foundation of paper in an effort to keep the stripes as straight as possible.  I found some newspaper print in the basement that was originally packing paper that I ironed flat, cut to the size I wanted and marked with guide lines in pencil.  Drawing the lines ended up being a big waste of time for the most part.  I could have saved myself time by drawing one line to work from as I really didn't use the other lines at all.  It was all for the greater good of keeping things straight. 

My strip width varied from 2 1/4" to 1" for the sake of variety.  After I stitched the first two strips on to the paper using the center marked line, I could make my way across the block by adding the remaining strips which turned out to be a pretty quick process.  I did have to fold the foundation paper back and trim much of the time, but I found my rhythm and couldn't seem to stop.

After making a stack of blocks, I would neatly trim each one to 7".  I used the 45° line on my cutting mat in order to keep the diagonal the same on each block.  Again, once I found the rhythm of cutting it went fast.

Something I don't often do with my quilts is add sashing.  This was destined to be a quilt that required it in order to bring it all together.  I auditioned several color options, but ended up using my go to accent color for woven stripes...Kona Chocolate.  It always seems to be the perfect compliment to the colors of the stripes.  Plus it feels 'comfortable' to me.

The sashing is 1 1/4" finished, with a different color setting square in the center of each one.  A little added pizzazz!  The blocks are pretty gorgeous I think!

Even though this is a random scrappy quilt, I still laid out the blocks before sewing could begin.  I wanted to be in control until the very end scrappy or not!  

As it stands it's all pieced.  But I think I'll add a border for containment sake!  It'll be a big surprise in the end!

With all the starch prep, there was still a lot of stretch with the stripes.  I hope when it's time to quilt it that it won't be an issue.  I see lots and lots of pins in my future!


Saturday, August 1, 2020

Fractured :: Improv

I'm not sure what I've been focusing on these days.  Some days it's mini's or pot holders, and with a little luck a quilt or two.  But with all that and more, it's always a welcome relief when I can get back to my love of improv.

15 1/2" X 23"

Every so often I come across a pile of scraps that are in need of being used.  These colors have found their way into several other quilts and wall hangings, yet there are always scraps leftover.  This time I finally made it to the end and while I may revisit this color combination again, I won't be using this never ending scrap pile!

The day I started this project I was completely unsure what to do.  I layed out my pieces and waited for some sort of inspiration to hit me.  Instead my daughter grabbed a couple pieces of fabric and said 'do something different, use these'!  Well that was easy, except it wasn't!  

I had never thought to use such colors!  You can see just how uncomfortable I was with the selection because I used as little as I could!  The dark color looks black but it's actually Moda Grape.  In order to please Britt and to get into the project I powered through and threw caution to the wind!

Part of what was leftover in my scraps were half circles.  Instead of reinventing the wheel, I decided to slice and dice the pieces together and add 1/4" strips randomly throughout.  Inset circles always intrigue and excite me, so of course I had to 'go there'.

Instead of using one large background piece for the inset circles, I pieced together my background trying to make it as improv-ish as I could.  Curves, 1/4" strips,'s all there. 

Once the large circles were finished I added pieces to the sides and threw in a few more inset circles to meld it all together.  I was having fun once I got into it!  The true test is in the end when it's 'a thing' and finished.

Then again it really wasn't finished until I quilted it!  That took some time.  I mean, what the heck was I going to do?!  With many of my wall hangings I take the opportunity to hone my free motion chops!  I'm never sure where it will end up, but I continue to try.  

I used my circle rules aiming for random perfection.  They aren't perfect, but they are more perfect than if I had done pebbles!  Stippling, straighlines, circles, wiggly little things...the kitchen sink.  It's all worth it to me in the end.  Anytime I get to play is a good thing.

The final touch was hanging corners and a three color scrappy binding.  When I do a lot of 'normal' quilting I like to end the streak with something crazy.  Improv is my palette cleanser.

I've promised myself that one day soon I'll make a large improv quilt again.  I don't even know the last time I went there...but I think I remember how much I loved it!!