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?

Monday, April 29, 2019

"Scrappy Spring" finished!

This "Scrappy Spring" top pieced in April 2019 has been machine-quilted and bound all in the same month.....I'm being a busy beaver trying to finish up some projects before I launch into new starts.

I quilted evenly spaced straight vertical lines one inch apart. Finished size of quilt is 55 1/4" x 62 3/4". I'm telling myself to make quilts that I may want to hang on my walls a bit smaller from now on because my latest pieces take up too much room for the wall space that I have.

Thank goodness I had enough of the purple/plum solid fabric for the binding.

Spring feels yellow and purple and white to me because of the forsythia, daffodils, grape hyacinths, violets, and lilacs that bloom in my yard.

And.....there's the RED in my two-year-old Japanese Bloodgood tree!



Sunday, April 7, 2019

Scrappy Spring!

Over the past four days this has formed up on the design wall.....

It began with two blocks lying small nine-patch block hand-pieced many many years ago by my then young daughter....

and this stray log cabin just lying all ended up to be 56" x 63".

Other pieces lying about from the most recent tops found their way in and then the large scale border fabric joined it all together. There are fabrics from secondhand used clothing in here....fabrics from clothes I sewed for myself and my daughters more than a dozen years ago....mixed with my stash.

It feels good to get more of my scraps into a completed top!

Thursday, April 4, 2019

A Bit of Progress

After many, many days of working/playing 
with small pieces of purples, greens, and grays,
I needed a change of pace color-wise.

Time to pull out my Not a Mystery project.

I pieced ten more center string/strip sets
and trimmed them to 4.5" wide before
adding 1.5" red batik strips to the sides.

(this process was inspired by Teresa Rawson's

The red, green, blue, and orange segments
 in the project box are wider and I am using those
for the ends of the strip/string sets to avoid
too-small pieces in the block corners.

(I re-discovered them when I pulled out
the box to get my red batik strips - after
I had pieced these ten center sections)

Eighteen blocks done.

Seventeen more to go.

(original plan was for a layout
5 wide x 7 long with 10" finished blocks --
but I'm also thinking about a minor adjustment to that plan)

Wednesday, April 3, 2019

Duet OPUS: Nolia and Me

The third quilt made from hand-pieced tops given to me by my sister who had them on her ‘burn pile’ during a cleaning frenzy until I intercepted that disastrous plan and asked her to send them to this one which I call “Duet Opus: Nolia and Me.”

After my sister saw the first two quilts I made from her deceased mother-in-law's tops, she asked me to make her and her husband a big one for their queen bed. I was happy to do this and she sent me two other colorful tops that she had hung onto after I encouraged her to throw NONE of these tops away.

This big quilt - about 96 x 96 inches -  is made from these two original tops.....

As usual, I de-constructed the most colorful and interesting blocks....discarding fabrics that were too slippery, heavy, thin, or otherwise undesirable.....and added in fabrics from my own collection. You will notice the big patches of solid patches on the left in the first top ....also the bedspread strip at the bottom.....and there are two blocks  with 'cheater fabric' in the second top.

I decided to use the tropical floral borders on the top and bottom of the second top as a unifying element and intersperse it throughout the many blocks of the final top.
After organizing and re-piecing blocks from both tops, I found I still needed a bit more length on one end so I pieced a row of eight smaller log cabin blocks from mostly my own fabrics.

I machine quilted this top in two half pieces and one smaller piece containing the end blocks -  simple straight lines with the help of masking tape - and then I joined them in the middle, cutting away excess batting and fabric and hand stitching the backing 'join’ together....then finishing the front with the straight quilting lines. Worked like a charm although it took some effort to manipulate this heavy piece through my simple domestic machine. Where there’s a will, there’s a way! I decided I was going to be the boss of this thing!

Pin basting on the kitchen table.... 

Machine quilted in straight lines in two separate pieces.....

My trusty Husqvarna Viking machine.......

Here are a few shots of the individual blocks...


Orange double knit in this block....

Red double knit fabric in this block.....

 Sharing the quilt with my aunts...

And here is sweet Nolia (1921-2010) at age 77...the hand piecer of the original tops....a woman whom I have never met but with whom I feel a warm kinship and connection because I have had  the privilege to work with her fabrics and colors....she certainly had an eye for the joy and beauty in color and she has blessed me richly.