Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Quilting the wedding quilt

I spent most of last weekend sewing. DD was off to camp with girl guides (scouts) so I had no excuses. Friday night was a disaster - I had cut all of my setting triangles earlier to make sure I had big enough pieces of fabric and I cut the remaining squares for the blocks from what was left.

When I went to lay out the blocks I realized that the setting triangles were all cut too small. The was the result of a miscalculation (I forgot that the sashing would effectively make the blocks bigger) and some incorrect cutting. I was determined to come up with a solution to my problem before I went to bed - how could I use these triangles?

After more calculations, a double check of my numbers, and the cutting of one test triangle I came up with a fix: add a strip of the sashing to each triangle and then trim it to size. I had run out of sashing and I was nervous about cutting any more off of the backing fabric (I am known for not making the backing big enough). I realized that if I cut the 1-1/2 inches off along the salvage it would be okay. It was about 1:30am when I finally turned in.

The end result is a 1-inch border around the quilt. I admit, I like how it's turned out. (Sorry, no good pictures now that it's mounted on the Swiftquilter frame.)

I'm about half-way though the quilting. I'm using an all-over design which is a spiral-feather-flower thing. It's going well and I am sure that I will finish it with plenty of time to do the binding.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

WIP round-up

I was thinking the other day how I have long-term WIPs (I still refuse to call them UFOs) and then other projects that spring up like weeds, grow quickly, and are fully grown and out the door in a flash. What is it about some projects that cause them to languish in the back of the closet for weeks, months, and dare I say years? Are they somehow flawed and are filed in the 'too hard' basket or is it simply that they have lost momentum and need some fertilizer to get growing again?

I hate not finishing things and it pains me to think about lost hours of investment on works that are yet to be completed. I know that I have some good excuses recently - selling 2 houses, getting ready to move, a death in the family, a menagerie of pesky pets...

A few years ago after finding many UFOs in my closet (some more than a decade old) I set my mind to getting them all finished in a year. I was successful and so pleased with myself. But back then I was not involved with block swaps, groups, challenges, blogging, and so on. And I wonder if some of these distractions are stopping me from moving forward on these older projects. Or perhaps these fun virtual exchanges are an easy excuse for not tackling the big jobs.

Two of these lingering projects are still appealing and occasionally call me back. These are the green HST quilt and the blue snowflake quilt. Either one would reach full-flimsy stage if I dedicated a weekend to each cause.

The third is the butterfly hearts quilt which is a disaster and needs to be reworked. This was a case of me taking one step forward, not liking it, and then carrying on for another 100 steps before I came to terms with the fact that I really didn't like it. I should have trusted my instincts. Now I am faced with unpicking lots of machine satin stitch applique - not pretty.

My more recent projects are moving forward. The wedding quilt is 2 blocks shy of a quorum (I need 41 all together) and after coming up short (4 inches) and mis-purchasing a few fabrics for the sashing I have decided to use the fabric that I picked up for the back - luckily I purchased an extra yard. I have 3 weekends to get this one finished.

My tea towel challenge which was on track to finish this month has stalled. It's taken me weeks to attempt hand quilting (I needed a thimble and a hoop). My attempt last weekend was so demoralizing, I'm already thinking of alternative quilting ideas for the center panel. I just cannot hand quilt. It's uneven, it's crooked, and it takes me about 20 tries to take one stitch. Based on my calculations it will take me 59 years to complete at this pace. I don't have that kind of time.

Meanwhile, the round robin that I'm involved with is progressing. I just received the last round - a little flimsy in need of sandwiching, quilting, and binding. It just arrived this week and I haven't given it much attention yet. It will definitely have to wait.

Linking up with Lee at Freshly Pieced.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

To sash or not to sash - that is the question

I'm progressing well with my wedding quilt blocks and have 19 so far. All of my fabric arrived and I think that I have all that I require. However, I am debating the size and layout of the quilt.

Originally, I was hoping to make a bed-sized quilt - that means 72"x72" (or close to it). Calculating using my 8" blocks - that means 81 of them (eeek). Not only is that an optimistic goal (I have 4 weeks to get it finished), the blocks are quite busy looking, so this is probably not the way to go.

So, I am thinking about sashing them and adding a border. It's certainly the traditional way to go and my friend suggested that she wanted a more traditional style quilt. Sashing would also break up the darker crosses that make a great secondary design but seem to be a bit more dominant than I hoped. My two ideas are: use a mid-toned neutral to sash them all.

Or, add dark squares and light strips to sash.

Another option is to lay the blocks out on point. Not only does this require fewer blocks, it also creates a completely different look. I could leave them un-sashed or consider the two options above (or a third?). I like the idea of an on point setting, but am concerned about having enough fabric for the setting triangles which will need to be cut from 6+ inch squares.

I'm always amazed at the changes to a design with a 45 degree rotation.

What do you think is the best approach? Next, border or no border...

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Waiting for fabric to arrive

I mentioned the wedding quilt that I am making in my last post. I've been so busy and decided to buy some fabric for this project online rather that make the pilgrimage to some of the local quilt shops. I do like to support my local shops and I have been burned buying fabric online that turns out to be the wrong color, but in this case I really could not get out to shop.

Of course, I foolishly thought that there was some correlation between ordering quickly (which I did ) and arriving quickly. Now I regret not making time to go shopping because I would have fabric in hand and would be cutting and sewing rather than checking my package tracking twice a day. And, what does it mean that my package was 'processed through the sort facility' in Chicago 6 days ago? Is it still sitting there? Why hasn't it managed to get closer to Auckland since then? (Okay, I've had my rant now, I've learned my lesson.)

I did manage to pick up a few fat quarters at the Auckland Quiltmakers annual show on the weekend and I have made a few blocks using bits and pieces from my stash. For some reason, I always need to buy lots more than I need - I guess I want to be able to pick and choose from a selection.

...later the same day... one of my two orders was waiting for me at home this afternoon. Apparently the 'processing' in Chicago also included getting on a plane, crossing the Pacific, and arriving at my house. At least this means that the other order currently processed in Los Angeles should show up soon.

My goal was to make 2 blocks per day, but since I am only sewing some days, I might need to up my goal. So far I have made 9 and have cut out enough for another couple. I've run out of fabrics for the backgrounds so the next delivery is needed for more.

Linking up with Lee at Freshly Pieced again this Wednesday.