Monday, August 8, 2016

What I'm Working on Now

 Mostly I feel like I'm working on packing/unpacking and laundry.  No one seems to be home for more than a few days at a time.  We have two more family trips to squeeze in before school starts on Aug 24, too.

But I am slowly starting on a couple of projects.  This first one I'm going to bring up north and maybe at least start cutting squares, even if I don't actually assemble anything.
It's not the first and I'm sure it won't be the last Minecraft quilt out there, but this is what WD wants.  I promised him his "big boy quilt" while he was 10.  He'll be 11 in about 5 weeks.  I better get a move on.

I've had the fabric for a while, all RJR hand sprays.  I think it will look good.  The best thing about is they tag the fabric so you can reorder exactly the same color! (no affiliation, just a happy customer)

I am also getting started a signature quilt for a dear family from church who are adopting a second girl from China.  For their first daughter I coordinated an 100 blessings quilt (here).  This time around I'm trying something simpler, for more participation, which is a basic signature quilt.
I've got the white squares ironed to freezer paper for stabilization and am having everyone use Pigma Pens.
 I plan on using the Falling Charms pattern from Missouri Star Co - but somewhat reversed, the squares will be the white and the stairs will be from Gooseberry by Lella Boutique. BTW do you get their Block Magazine?  I love it.  It's all patterns, no ads, fun stories and usually a helpful tips section in the back.  (again, no affiliation)

 I'm also getting ready to celebrate my paternal Grandmother's 100th birthday with my family - so there is some work for that as well, but those pictures will have to wait until after the party.  Wouldn't want to spoil anything!

Friday, August 5, 2016

Quilter's Rummage Loot

   A couple of weeks ago my local quilt guild had a summer potluck and rummage sale.  Members were encouraged to bring in items for the $1, $3, $5 table and silent auction.  The guild wins in three ways.  Stuff members don't want, bought by members who do want, with proceeds going to the guild.

I'm going to share my loot.
 $1 books.  Seriously.  Look at this quilt by Caryl Bryer Fallert.
 1985, and I've gotta say, looks awfully modern to me.....

 Another $1 book and a friend saved Sunday Morning Quilts for me.  I've enjoyed reading through it.  Whether I get to any of the project is another question entirely.
 From the silent auction table, 5 Cherrywood hand dyed fat quarters!  Didn't want to let that one go!
 Some Hello! Kitty flannel fabric and iron-ons.
 More flannel.
 So yeah, some of the Christmas Story panels.  I don't really like the movie.  I have two extended family members who love it. 
 And lastly, which takes the most explaining; A pattern and half finished quilt. 
 There was a bag on the $3 table that said pattern, fabric, and blocks done.  I started looking at it and could resist. 
 Again, not on the top of the list, but really shouldn't take long to finish up.  I think the paper pieced bugs will probably take the longest.  

 Have you gotten any good deals, lately?

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

No-Waste Improv Piecing - A Vague Tutorial

 This Purple Passion Quilt was my attempt at improv piecing.  As I was pulling my purples, I realized that I didn't really have small purple scraps, and I wasn't willing to randomly slice into my purple stash to make and leave more weirdly shaped pieces.  I also don't appreciate the waste of traditional improv piecing. 

I will attempt to explain my process in this blog post.  I truly didn't have much cut off left-overs when putting this quilt together.
This is my purple stash laid out on the ironing board, where I contemplated my approach for a couple of days. 
Then I started cutting.  I cut one two inch strip from each piece of purple fabric that I had.  I cut the strips from the longest side to maximize fabric.  The above picture is after I started piecing.  I matched up sizes that were as close as possible.  I started by sewing the long sides together, for the most part, but in places where I needed a longer strip to match, I pieced the short ends together, then added that piece to a long piece.  Eventually I had all the strips in sections of either 3 or 4 strips wide.
This is where the controlled cutting began.  With the three strip sections, I started making 45 degree angled cuts randomly along the length of the piece.  I changed the angle back and forth at will.
The I sewed them back together, making sure to not match up same fabric sections.
On the Four Strip sections I randomly cut 60 degree angles.  One thing to note about the angle cuts, if you cut true triangles, you can rotate the direction of the strips when you piece them back in.
Above is all the 60 degree, Four Strip pieces put back together.

Its not shown in a picture, but I filled out the ends so that they would be straight.  I think it was a combination of a couple more cuts, plus adding in the bits I had cut off before. (Using up all the pieces!)
At this point I took the Four Strip pieces and cut them into blocks.  I believe they were 6.5" square.  (take notes, people, if you plan to write a blog post two weeks later!)  The above picture is the blocks being pieced into four rows of four each.
In this picture you can see the vertical Three Strip pieces inserted between the Four Strip rows.  I sewed them into pairs, and then did more cutting.
It was "measured random"  I measured each piece, because I wanted to cut all the strips the same and then be able to move them around, knowing they would fit (no waste).  Above and below show the cuts. This also allowed me to rotate them when I put the pieces together so that less seams would line up, creating more of the improvisational look.
Below, is all the purple pieced together.  To my eye, there were still some pretty obvious straight seam lines that I wanted to break up.

I knew I wanted to use the red/orange fabric, so I experimented with some shapes to break up the lines.
But then I thought of piecing in the ribbons.  I laid them out in a design that I liked,
sliced the lines, and started piecing in the ribbons.
A shot of all those seam lines on the back.  I rarely press seams open. Only when I have to.
And the finished piece, from another direction.

So, you see, with the controlled and measured cutting, I was able to achieve a more improv look with out the cutting and slicing of pieces to make them fit.  Even as I look at this, there are a few more places that I would like sliced up - but I'm pretty happy with it.

I know that this was a pretty vague tutorial.  I didn't realize until I was pretty much done, that I probably should have taken more pictures to explain it better.

If there is a lot of interest, I'll make another quilt and do a better post.

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

I've Got the Blues

Actually, I'm having a pretty great summer.  Lots of trips, lots of family time, and even a little sewing here and there.  This Quarter, however I get to choose the subtheme for my Art Quilt Group: Four-in-Art.
This year's main theme has been color (or colour, depending where you live).  As a recap we've had Microscopic, Music, and Purple Passion.

And so:

I've Got the Blues 

I can see a lot of opportunities with this idea.

Shades of Blue.   
 Things that are blue.
By Scott Schopieray - Fresh Michigan Blueberries
 Being blue

 Or being Blue
 Or possibly having the blues

 What ever your inspiration, the reveal will be November 1.



Monday, August 1, 2016

Purple Passion: A Four-in-Art Quilt

 Four-in-Art Quarter Three has arrived.  If you remember, our theme this year is Color.  The sub theme for Quarter Three is Purple Passion.
 Gratuitous Shot of a bees- and some purple and fuchsia flowers.

So, purple passion.  It's a funny thing, when I started pulling purple fabrics, I had quite a few!
 I don't wear purple regularly, though.  I have two purple clothing items out of all I own.
I did realize, however, that I've made a fair number of purple quilts, or at least quilts with purple.
Jelly Roll Race, Thirteen, Wisteria 1, Wisteria 2

 But I have enough fabric to make a king size quilt!
 I managed to whittle it down to a realistic 21" x 36".
This was my conceptual drawing in crayons while I sat at cello lessons one morning.  I knew that I wanted to add the pops of orange or red to offset all the purple.
 I guess you could call this my attempt at improvisation.  Improv is hard for me.  Especially the waste factor.
 I had originally thought I would approach it the way the Crazy Mom Quilts makes a Scrap Vortex quilt, but my pieces just weren't small enough, or varied enough.

So instead I started with one 2.5" strip of each purple fabric I owned.  They were varying lengths depending on how big the fabric piece was.
 In the next post I'll talk more about how I made this quilt.  I think of it as no-waste improv quilt.  I truly started this with strip piecing - which I think you can see if you look at the over all quilt.
The red strips are actually pieced in, but with the outline quilting, it really looks like they are sitting on the top.  My youngest called them "ribbons" on the quilt.
 Quilting was straight line within each section.
 The back gives a good view of the quilting. 

And now, make sure you take the time to visit all the members of this Art Quilt Group.
The many ways to interpret Purple Passion.

Rachel (ME!)

And our group blog can be found *here*