Monday, July 8, 2019

Spring Housetop - a Gee's Bend Inspired quilt!

Ever since I’ve immersed myself in Gee’s Bend quilts, I have LOVED the housetop block which these quilters use liberally in their quilt making. They come in all sizes in their quilts and it seems to be a common ‘go to’ block for them.

This past April I began piecing simple 19-inch housetop blocks. They didn’t really turn out to look like Gee’s Bend blocks because I used mostly prints - which is predominantly what I have in my stash......although lately I have been trying to add more solids to my quilts because I’ve noticed so many of the quilts which I like have solids in them! I call it “Spring Housetop”.

In this quilt is fabric from some of my other quilts, fabric from a dress I sewed for myself years ago, dresses I sewed for my two daughters many years ago, and simply stash. There is also a thrift shop cotton shower curtain fabric in there!

In process on the wall....actually the center fabric in two of these blocks got weeded out in the final edit....the black in the upper right corner read too dark....and I can't remember why the utensils didn't make the cut!

The fabric in one block was too thin so I backed it with another fabric to give it bulk....

Here are some of the blocks before being quilted.....the lily fabric is left over from an apron I made my mother years ago.....the two tone purple print is from binding on another quilt. I really like it when the same fabric shows up in several of my makes the quilts seem like they're related and connected by a common thread. Ha! One big happy quilt family!

The daisies on the navy background (below) is fabric that I used with a smaller size daisy print in the same colors to make dresses for my two daughters years that reminds me of them! And the turquoise with purple circles is from shorts that my son wore when little. Okay, enough with walking down memory lane!

I like that it sewed up very fast with such big pieces and I sent it to My Long Arm Quilting Service in New York for a Baptist fan quilting treatment. Just got it back recently, sewed the binding on, and called it finished! (Still have to do a label.)

One more quilt on the stack!
Happy Piecing!

~Edith Yoder Schmitt

Monday, June 17, 2019

Optic Strings - Another U&U Project

I ran across The 100 Day Project last week
and realized it was excellent motivation
for me to work on one of my projects 

I have always loved this quilt 
in Roderick Kiracofe's book.

My version will feature a mix 
of solids and reproduction fabrics.

It will also be smaller than the quilt in the book
with a layout 8 blocks wide x 10 blocks long.

Here is the information on the inspiration quilt.

This photo shows my nearly-final fabric pull . . .

And this is what 80 sets of strips look like
when sorted using my paper plate system.

This is that same group of 80 sets of strips
but shown from a different angle.

I can't wait to get started on this one
which I have named Optic Strings.

* * *

My goal is to make a block a day
during the next 100 days  --
and if I get the blocks done in time,
I will include the layout process
as part of my 100 Day Challenge.

Each Monday I'll share an update post on my blog
with the blocks from the previous week.

Here's to making progress!

Monday, June 3, 2019

Two U&U quilts

Two U&U quilts finished:

Sunshine Scraps for Sujata

The top quilt was random scraps for a class I was teaching on Improv Log Cabins.  I’ve titled it “Still Crazy (About Quilting) After All These Years. 

The bottom quilt is titled “Sunshine Scraps for Sujata” which started out following the quilt Sujata demonstrated for this challenge.  Of course, I veered off course.  I used solids that must have been the original charm pack way back before stores had die cutters and a standard size.  They were approximately 4” sort of square.  Close enough for this project.  The prints were from a mystery box I purchased one from a local quilt store years ago with random leftover block of the month kits.  There was a great variety of fabrics in all sizes, all neat and tidy.  I eliminated the corner quarter triangle squares.  I used simple straight line machine quilting.  Fun and Done!

Thursday, May 23, 2019

A Lattice with a Cultural Fusion Quilt!

This past February immediately after completing the Overlapping Octagon challenge for the UANDUQAL, I grabbed Sujata Shah’s book “Cultural Fusion Quilts” and was inspired to jump in and make my first quilt from her instructions. Some of the quilts in here have been on my bucket list for a long time! I love it when suddenly it becomes clear to me what I NEED to sew next....that point when nothing else crowds in front waving its colorful promise and begging to be first, you know?

Lattice Quilt - 64" x 76"

The Lattice quilt took its place at the front of the had long been on my “to do” list and its time had come. I began making blocks.....LOVING the freehand cut curves for the lattice. As usual I made a ton of blocks.....when piecing blocks for a “block” quilt, I find that I ALWAYS make many more than I need. I can’t really tell how everything is going to play together until I actually see it up on the wall and I like plenty of choices without having to return to the sewing machine every five minutes! Even so, it's a continuous process of "yes, no" and "make some more". Often what I think will be perfect as I collect a pile of fabrics....just isn’t.

For example, the yellow/green (below) seemed to be too stark....and it needed to exit the premises. I liked the darker leafy green but only had a limited amount so I had to piece a few 9 inch blocks before cutting the lattice strip from the middle....but no problem there. I began with different reds and had to jettison them, but rather late in the game the orange/red fabric showed up and I felt it to be perfect. Yay for a touch of Orange!

Happily I found that I could cut 7.5 inch squares instead of 6.5 inch squares (per instructions) from the pieced units (which began with a 9 inch square) so I was able to make a slightly bigger quilt from my efforts with less fabric loss. Win Win. Sewing the curves was FUN!

I also ironed my seams open when joining the seemed to help with more accuracy at the join.

Witness my rather large pile of leftover blocks.....a few of my originally chosen 'reds' and 'greens' didn't make the any rate, there is another quilt somewhere in here I suspect....but it will wait for another day.

This quilt was machine quilted by me in an irregular cross-hatch. A great deal of the fun of machine quilting my own quilts is traveling across all the fabrics and enjoying them all over again while they are playing nicely with each other in a unified whole! I’m sure the same is true for hand quilting. We’re doubling our pleasure, right?!

 Pieced Lattice Quilt Back

And there's my first finished quilt from Sujata Shah's book!

~Edith Yoder Schmitt

Friday, May 17, 2019

The Lattice Quilt Intrepretation

This is the quilt that I ended up with as the answer to the #UANDUQAL. I adore riffing off of quilts in the Unconventional and Unexpected book by Roderick Kiracofe. Trying to keep with the same look/feel/vibe of these quilts while using more modern day fabrics never gets old.
The Lattice Quilt in red
It was quite the challenge in many ways and I wrote quite a bit about the journey over at my personal blog.  I also combined this challenge with another one over at AHIQ blog, the #AHIQRED challenge where Red is considered a Neutral.
Original Inspiration quilt
There are several more quilts in the book that I have bookmarked for future interpretation attempts. So much joy in these charmingly make-do look quilts. It often makes me think that we could take our quilt-making attempts a little too seriously at times! Thanks Sujata for the great QAL! You gave me the perfect excuse to try making yet another quilt in the book!

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Overlapping Octagons and Y-seams

For the UandUQAL organised by Sujata Shah I am reproducing the Overlapping Octagons quilt from Roderick Kirakofe's book, "Unconventional and Unexpected". I haven't done much to it over the last few months; this is the present state of this lap quilt.

I have made octagons with red centres surrounded by predominantly dark blue strings.  With this choice I aimed to use up most of my blue and red Civil War reproduction fabrics, and with the red I succeeded and have added more modern reds, but the blue were all so dark I soon started introducing flashes of other colours.

At present they're not overlapping, but I have more red squares cut, and here I've positioned them where red squares will go in the final design.

I am pleased that the overlapping octagons have now emerged.

The octagon blocks have Y-seams at each corner, and inserting the second set of red centre blocks will involve more Y-seams. I wasn't happy about this at the beginning, and so tried making hourglass blocks in the corners, as shown here:

This is one of two hourglass blocks I retained, before I gave up on them. At each of  the corners of this hourglass block five fabrics come together making very bulky seams which I couldn't get to lie flat.

Doing Y-seams, however, means joining only three, which will lie much more easily, especially if the last string in the side panel continues into the corner triangle, as here below.

Sorry about the fuzziness!
In this corner above, one of the four string sets ends in a separate triangle; this is one of the string sets I originally joined to an hourglass block. I rejected that method because of the lack of continuity between the string set and its triangular ending as well as the bulkiness of the join.

There was only one thing for it: Y-seams. I dreaded the thought! Now I'm becoming an expert! Practice makes perfect, they say, and I've had a lot of practice! The secret lies in:
  1. starting sewing the seam at the opposite end to the Y-join,
  2. stopping two stitches before the point of the join and backtracking a couple of stitches. That unsewn space gives you some room to manoeuvre.
  3. starting each seam four stitch lengths further than the join, stitching back two stitches to fix the seam and then stitching the seam further until two stitch lengths before the point and backtracking two to fix the seam.
The mistake I made when I first tried Y-seams was to start at the point where everything came together. It's very crowded there! Much easier to keep your distance from everyone else at the party. Approach slowly and stand still when you're close enough. After following a tutorial from Mary Huey on sewing tumbling blocks, it was plain sailing for me! Mary illustrates the process with lots of excellent, clear photos.

Happy sewing


Tuesday, May 14, 2019

Progress on UandU Quilt

It has been a very busy few months. With all that is going on I am considering my UandU inspired quilt as a very slow cooking project.

I have managed to make enough of these foundation pieced blocks to make a large enough bed quilt but the question is when will I be able to cut the center squares and actually make the quilt top.

I will work on lot of hand projects this year. Who knows? I may even come back to this to hand stitch the blocks.

What are you working on today?