More Progress on QAYG Donation Quilt

QAYG Donation Quilt - front
QAYG Donation Quilt – front

I had high hopes for this technique as you could probably tell from my earlier post. I am not quite as enamoured of it after struggling to get the top pieced and quilted.

As you can see from the main photo, the top is done. It has batting on the back as I, per the book, quilted the blocks and then sewed the blocks together already quilted.

QAYG Donation Quilt - back of front
QAYG Donation Quilt – back of front

The problem could have been that I didn’t make the batting large enough and then square up the blocks after quilting them. Not that there was anything fatal about that. Quilting the blocks using this method seemed to distort the blocks and that made them more difficult to put together.

I still have to quilt a back on to it, which seems to me to defeat the whole purpose, but who knows? At least it will be easier for the Charity Girls.

This is a donation quilt and, as Frances says, The Muggles Don’t Know. It will still be a nice quilt, if not show quality.

So I am not giving up yet, but I was reminded that anything that looks too good to be true probably is.

QAYG

Mom wanted to go on a mini-shop hop. She mentioned it a couple of times as soon as she heard about the Jingle Bells (??) shop hop. So, we planned it. Since the shops were kind of limited, I suggested that we visit Friend Julie and add Back Porch Fabrics and Hart’s to our shop hop. We spent the night with Julie and went to Back Porch in the morning.

I have spoken/written about that shop many times. It isn’t a large shop, but I love the aesthetic, the light, the colors. Generally I want to buy everything. Some would argue, in this instance, I did. 😉

That is a topic for another day. On this particular day, Gail Abeloe, the owner was in the shop and she spent a lot of time being friendly and showing us different things. I know she was in top notch sales mode, but I don’t care. It was great.

Quilt As You Go Made Modern - C&T Publishing
Quilt As You Go Made Modern – C&T Publishing

One of the things she showed was a new (ish??) book called Quilt As-You-Go Made Modern: Fresh Techniques for Busy Quilters. This really caught my attention as I saw, from her brief demo, how I could churn out more fully completed donation quilts. Gail included an additional handout/tips sheet with the books she sold at her store.

Almost as soon as I got home, I took some of the red and white donation blocks I had been stockpiling along with some leftover batting from recent longarm projects and tried it out.

First joined/quilted QAYG blocks
First joined/quilted QAYG blocks

While I can’t say, I am 100% successful, I only need some practice and refining of the process. I have several blocks quilted and I am in the process of joining them together.

One of the keys is to join the blocks in such a way that you don’t have to applique a join on a block, which I think was how the original technique was explained.

One thing I need to do next time is to make the batting pieces larger and trim them after quilting and before joining the pieces.

It is possible to use this technique along with regular piecing, so I have been making progress on these blocks as leaders and enders while I piece The Peacock. It isn’t a quick process and sometimes I feel frustrated, but I remember I am also quilting the quilt at the same time.

I’d also like to try foundation piecing straight on to the batting – kind of string piecing, but with large-ish strips.

I never heard of this book and will do a review later, but I do hope to have a quilt top done and “quilted” soon.

More Bias Rectangles (HRTs) Resources

Last week, I wrote a post on HRTs. After writing it and concentrating, mostly, on tutorials, I thought of rulers. Yes, I mentioned the Tri-Recs ruler, but I thought there might be others. I am not sure why I didn’t think of it myself.

BlocLoc HRT ruler
BlocLoc HRT ruler

This idea got legs when one reader (Thanks, Libby!) told me that the BlocLoc ruler system has an HRT ruler. I saw them in an online shop and they look similar to the BiRangle, though different as well.

I am not familiar with this system of rulers, not because there is anything wrong with them. I haven’t used them, mostly because I don’t want to get sucked in to another type of ruler! I do want to support small quiltmaking businesses and I feel the urge to just try them all the time. It is hard since I am such a ruler lover.

Creative Grids HRT
Creative Grids HRT

After finding the BlocLoc rulers I went searching for others. I found a Creative Grids triangle ruler that will help you make HRTs in a variety of different sizes. It is similar in shape to the Tri Recs, but looks like you can make more sizes using it.

I think you could also make blocks with super skinny triangles like Storm at Sea or 54-40 or Fight.

This CG ruler is a little pricey – $18.95. Think of how many quilts you could make! 😉

Accuquilt-HRT die
Accuquilt-HRT die

It also occurred to me that Accuquilt may have a die. They do. The die (#55411) cuts two skinny triangles in a 3 x 6 inch size. You must have a Go! machine to use this die. It is compatible with the Studio, Big and Go! Baby, though you might have to use an adapter. This die is also included in the Accuquilt GO! Qube Mix & Match 12″ Block set. The obvious drawback is that you get only one size.

I went to the Cotton Patch a few weeks ago and they had a whole Accuquilt Center in their store now! It made me want to swoon. If I only had unlimited funds and space! I suppose more time would be useful as well. 😉

Happy HRT making!

Peacock Work Continues

I know I just wrote about my progress on The Peacock a few days ago, but I have made more progress and I am pretty excited. The progress feels kind of like a baby. The first few months of a baby’s life sees a lot of change in their looks. In this piece, each row seems to provide more personality.

The Peacock - Nov 2016
The Peacock – Nov 2016

I spent most of the day Sunday out, but since it is Standard Time and the day started early, I arrived home on the early side. The timing allowed me to spend a few hours sewing. I wasn’t expecting any sewing time and was very pleased. As I am getting towards the top, the piece really looks more and more like something.

I am not sure I am a huge fan of the green (feather) diagonal line, on the right towards the middle, that was formed when I pieced those rows. I am not, however, unpicking. I do like the trails the green solid has made and I am eager to get those sections on the design wall so I can finish working on the final width and layout.

I know I was pretty ambivalent after making the blocks for this piece. I am really interested in how the quilt top is turning out. It is taking a lot of time and work. However, the challenge is really working my brain.

Bias Rectangles (HRTs) Resources

I have an idea to spice up the latest batch of 16 patch blocks I made for the BAMQG charity project using HRTs.

HRTs are half rectangle triangles, which are similar to half square triangles. This shape/block is also called a Bias Rectangle. I wanted to make them using a method similar to the Triangle Technique. Wouldn’t that be great? DH and SIL worked on the math, but they could only get one rectangle and a kite shape out of a similar method.

Sigh.

I went looking for tutorials.

Adrianne of ilovefabric.com and Little Bluebell blog uses one part of the Tri-Recs ruler. She shows a top in the post that she made and details how the ruler works. If you are doing Bonnie Hunter’s 2016 mystery quilt, you need this ruler set anyway. You can buy it for the mystery quilt and have it for HRTs.

It might be easier to cut these shapes if you had a cutting mat turntable. Martelli has one that includes an ironing surface.

The Modern Quilt Guild posted a tutorial on bias rectangles. The tutorial shows how to make 4.5 x 6.5 inch final block size, but notes that the tutorial works for any size as long as you use the same sized rectangles. The tutorial includes directions for “squaring” up the blocks (a rectangle made up of two triangles).

Wayne Kollinger also posted 3 (yes, THREE) different tutorials for making HRTs. First, he talks about just cutting fabric. No tools or special rulers. Wayne’s second method also uses the Tri Recs ruler. The third tutorial uses freezer paper. One thing Wayne says is “the rectangles are twice as long as they are wide. This means that for a 6″x6″ block the rectangles would have a finished size of 2″x 4″. For a 9″x9″ block the rectangles would have a finished size of 3″x6″.”, which is very helpful information moving forward.

Heidi at Buttons and Butterflies posted a tutorial includes what not to do, which is a great illustration of what I found out from DH’s mathematical adventures. From the tutorial you can see what happens without having to do it yourself. 😉 There are a few different techniques included in this post including an Accuquilt technique. The Accuquilt die has the tips cut off for easier matching of patches. She finishes up with a tutorial similar to the Modern Quilt Guild tutorial. Heidi also talks about the differences in HRTs, which I was glad about since I didn’t realize some of the things she discusses.

Kristi of the Schnitzel and Boo Blog uses a similar technique to Heidi, but sews on each side of the center line to make her HRTs in her post. The post includes a quilt tutorial/pattern as well.

Marjorie Rhine from Quilt Woman has a PDF discussthe topic, including three options for making the blocks. One is to use a template, similar to my tutorial on using templates. I supposed the Tri Recs ruler discussed above would also work. Also mentioned are the Marti Michell’s Template Set D or Margaret Miller’s AnglePlay Template. The latter is a companion to a couple of books. She includes paper piecing and using templates as techniques. The PDF includes a lot of useful information.

These can also be made using foundation piecing. Printing a template from EQ7 or drawing the paper template is also possible.

BiRangle ruler
BiRangle ruler

Finally, I have a ruler called a BiRangle ruler. It is by Martingale (I bought it when the company was called That Patchwork Place).

Sew Mama Sew has a tablerunner pattern. She talks about why the Triangle Technique does not work for HRTs.

 

Tuffet #2 Finished

Tuffet #2 Finished
Tuffet #2 Finished

I went to class on Monday with Robin and finished my Tuffet. As I said the other day, I worked on making the cover at home by myself. I couldn’t do the other parts so off to the finishing class I went.

I had forgotten to do the drawstring, so I took my machine and did that part in class. It was fine and I helped another student who was on that step in class as well.

Tuffet #2 bottom
Tuffet #2 bottom

Robin had carpet tacks, or, probably, furniture tacks, this time and many of the people in the class used them to put down the bottom cover of the Tuffet. I did mine the same way I did the last one, which was to hand sew down the grey over the drawn up cover.

We also had a problem with my feet. I wanted the same feet as Tuffet #1. I put 3 feet on and found that the fourth was not the same style. Someone out there has a Tuffet with my last foot. I switched out the feet for a different kind. The new feet are the same color as those on Tuffet #1. No big deal.

The class was pretty full with 4 other people there, two of whom were making 2 Tuffets each! Two of the women making 2 Tuffets and one other woman were all making Tuffets for their children. I am not making one for the YM until he gets his own apartment and then we will see. He will have to ask VERY nicely.

As usual, as soon as I saw the other Tuffets, I wanted those instead of my own. Everyone else said how bright and cheerful mine was.

I love the Kaffe Tuffet. LOVE it! Click on the photo and make it bigger so you can see how fantastic it is. I love the colors – they are bright and cheerful. I also love the juxtaposition of the fabric pattern motifs.

One thing that was different in this class is one student used one fabric per foundation (Katrina’s Tuffet, bottom right), which is a great way to showcase the fabric and makes the Tuffet-making go a lot faster.

Robin is still awesome and if you have a chance to take her class, you MUST! I had a great time chatting with her. I want to help her spread the Tuffet love throughout the world.

Tuffet #2

Tuffet Pieces
Tuffet Pieces

I am heading to another Tuffet class today. I have spent the past few days putting another Tuffet cover together.

I know I have too many projects on my plate right at the moment. Miss Lottie told me that she spent 25 minutes each working on a variety of projects on which she needed to make progress. I decided to do something similar and worked on a bag at the same time I was working on the Tuffet. I alternated the projects. It didn’t work perfectly, but I made progress on both, which is all that I cared about.

When I decided to make another Tuffet, I decided I would make the cover, etc on my own and only take the second part of the Tuffet class. Being ready for the class meant making the whole Tuffet cover myself, which meant I had to do it. I made the foundations and cut all of the strips, but then I just let the piece languish until almost the last minute and I really couldn’t leave it anymore. Once I really got down to it, I was able to make good progress.

Tuffet halves
Tuffet halves

I wanted the Tuffet I made before and this new Tuffet to look similar since they will be in the same room. I used some of the same fabrics, but exchanged others. I am not sure that I like the combination 100% and think that I will use no more than two of the same fabric strips if I do make another one. I am going to finish it, because I am sure it will be fine and now that the whole cover is together I think it looks ok.

I think, because of the difficulty of the fabric choices, there are more Tuffets in my future. However, how many Tuffets does one family need? I may have to buy more armchairs so I have an excuse to make more Tuffets.

 

BAMQG IRR Update

I the original idea for this IRR was to exchange the pieces at the meeting. Our group has been exchanging like crazy for the past two months. I have worked on several as you might remember from the series of blog posts.

I think it was the first time our group had been together since the initial start. We looked at all the pieces and traded them around. Some people changed their boxes to bags for easier mailing. We took the opportunity to exchange IRRs again and we got to see the work that has been done on the various pieces of our IRR exchange.

My IRR piece - November 21, 2015
My IRR piece – November 21, 2015

I was thrilled when I saw the work on my own piece. People used the solid turquoise as a background, which was my intention. This gives the whole piece a cohesive look. It is also mostly a square and getting to be quite large. I think I I’d like this piece to be in the bed-sized range.

People have not continued the Flying Geese after the first round or two, which is a little disappointing. There are a lot of rectangles, which I know are much easier than anything else. Hope springs eternal.

Michelle matched the motifs on the pink and blue fabrics in the left middle area beautifully.

Diana's IRR - November 21, 2015
Diana’s IRR – November 21, 2015

I was very pleased with the work I did on Diana’s. I saw that round motif and couldn’t get away from the idea of fussy cutting it. I wanted to make it more elaborate, but I waited until the the morning of the meeting. I made a cutting mistake, which kind of prevented me from doing what I wanted. I am also not sure my skills were up to the task. Diana loved what I did to her piece, which pleased me.

Rhonda's IRR piece - November 21, 2015
Rhonda’s IRR piece – November 21, 2015

Rhonda had her piece at the meeting so I grabbed it. She has tried to jump to another group, but we aren’t letting her go. I am supposed to send her piece to Cheryl after I am done. Other Club Doodlers are clamoring, so we will have to see.

Black & Red Improv Quilt

I was kind of shocked to realize that the last time I devoted a post to this project was back in September. I did mention it last week and meant to write a full post. I was out of town for most of the week for work and it never happened.

Red & Black Improv Top
Red & Black Improv Top

On Saturday, I got back to the machine. I worked on this top, in between other projects. For the Improv top, I seem to be able to make progress on this project, but only while working simultaneously with other projects. For some reason this project does not inspire me to buckle down and work on it by itself.

I tried Improv again and it still doesn’t inspire me. I guess I like the technical precision of regular blocks. Does that make me boring? Perhaps.

Three blocks was the sum total of what I needed to finish to put this top together. The end was in sight! (Let’s not talk about back or binding at the moment). I finished one block completely on Saturday and made major progress on two more.

Sunday, I finished the blocks and then put all the blocks together into the top.

I started on the back, for which I am making different color choices just to give it a different feel. I am choosing some blues so that the back will have a different feel.

Almost there.

BAMQG IRR Progress

More progress has happened on the BAMQG Improv Round Robin. I worked on Cindy’s and then handed it off to Michelle. Jen posted in the guild forum that she worked on mine.

Cindy's IRR Before
Cindy’s IRR Before

The first thing I did with Cindy’s was look through all of the fabric she provided with the piece sitting next to me.

I thought it had a lot going on. I decided to use the turquoise solid (shown at left) as the background with my signature fabric to continue the Flying Geese motif already used a couple of times by other contributors. With a vague plan in place, I got busy cutting and piecing.

The piece I made was a little too short so I added a pink square. There was a  pink solid in the group of fabrics, so I used that.

Cindy's IRR After
Cindy’s IRR After

I really did, mostly, cut without a ruler, but my piece looks very precise compared to the rest of the sections. I know that my arm injury is affecting my cutting. Mostly I have to rotary cut much slower and, apparently that equals more precision.

I like my part. It balances the turquoise on the left side and the Flying Geese do bring repetition and continuity to the piece.

This is also a good exercise in what I can do in 20 minutes. I am not counting cutting, because of the injury, but sewing and designing. I think looking at the fabrics first was a good thing to do. I think it helped jumpstart my process.

My IRR after Jen's work
My IRR after Jen’s work

Jen posted about my piece. Michelle had worked on it and made it into a L. I was a little concerned about that, but only a little. I knew my Club Doodle (the name of our group) pals would come through for me. Jen did with flying colors.

It is still keeping that turquoise background feel, which I am happy about. There are more Flying Geese, which I am also happy about.

I am also glad that the Queen Street fabric is finally getting its day in court.

In terms of administration, I have worked on Jen’s, Michelle’s, and now Cindy’s. I feel like I have worked on more of them, but, perhaps, that is because I also worked on mine. I need to work on Claire’s, Diana’s and Rhonda’s.

More Improv Progress

Saturday and Sunday, when I wasn’t working on Michelle’s IRR piece, I was working on the Improv Quilt. I know both are Improv projects.

Improv Progress, September 2015
Improv Progress, September 2015

The last time I made any progress on this piece was over a month ago. That progress felt forced and unsatisfying even though I didn’t know it at the time. I had the piece up on my design, which meant I had to look at it and that frustrated me. Frustrated me, because I wasn’t happy with the work as well as frustrated because it was taking up my design wall. I need to learn to make smaller quilts.

This weekend’s progress felt good. It was fast and intuitive and right. The piece is starting to look like something I won’t hate looking at.

I am not sure the blocks will end up where they are placed now, but there is a good bet some will stay where they are.

Improv Corner Block
Improv Corner Block

One thing that happened to jolt me ahead in the process was that I laid in bed one night, trying to get to sleep. I spent the time thinking about this piece and made a plan. I decided I would cut a big piece of red to use as a start to make some corner blocks.

I wasn’t completely on board with making ‘B’ blocks for the corners, so I made corner blocks, which are similar to the ‘A’ blocks. I did what I thought would look good. I can always make something different, right?

I like the corner block shown at left, but I wish I had varied the length of the neutral strips more. I did a bit, but not enough. It will be fine once the rest of the quilt is done and I am not going to worry about it right now. I do reserve the right to change it if the design needs it later.

New 'B' Blocks
New ‘B’ Blocks

I did sort of learn from this block and the first two ‘B’ blocks. I didn’t want all the ‘B’ blocks to be heavy, so I varied the length of the strips to give them less weight — or less perceived weight. I also made the centers a bit more interesting. I want people to be interested in looking at the piece.

I have about 7 more blocks to make on this monster. I have some slim hope I can finish it by next week and take it to be quilted. I am laughing, but you can stop. 😉 I know it is a pipe dream, but I would like to move this project along.

Finishing the Tuffet

Sewing the drawstring
Sewing the drawstring

As you may remember, I had a lot of work to do on the tuffet at home in between classes. With some drama, but not major drama, I got the tuffet top together except for the drawstring.

I misunderstood (all me not the teacher) the directions and used the drawstring cording to make the button. This left me short for the drawstring.

I got another piece of cording from Robin and sewed the drawstring in class. I also remade the button, taking out some of the cording and redoing the tightening part with upholstery thread. Robin was very patient with our foibles from between class and that is a great quality in a teacher.

Cover on Tuffet Structure
Cover on Tuffet Structure

Once the drawstring was on, I was able to put the top (or cover) over the structure of the tuffet. I know this picture looks the same as the photo I posted in my previous post when I stuffed random bits of batting under the top so the photo would come out better. Trust me when I say that there is a big fat piece of foam and a piece of plywood under that cover (picture right).

Nota bene: Robin was kind enough to put my tuffet structure together. I wasn’t really able to wield a hammer or the staple gun very well with my hand. This was very frustrating for me. If I had known that the class required wielding tools, I might not have taken it, thus I am very pleased that Robin was willing to help me with the difficult parts.

I was completely thrilled when I saw the tuffet like this and would have been, mostly, satisfied with it, but it wasn’t finished and Robin was definitely encouraging us to finish. It wouldn’t have stayed together either.

Tufting the Button
Tufting the Button

The next step was to add the button and make the tuffet look like an upholstered piece of furniture. Not only is Robin funny and encouraging, but she is also smart and the steps of the class are well thought out. She had an ingenious way of tufting the button through the 2 feet of foam. GENIUS! It was fun and not difficult.

Using the cording (which is like cording for blinds), I made the button look like a jelly fish. After the button was in, I tightened it to correct tufting levels 😉 and tied the button off on the bottom using the jelly fish “arms” and a surgeon’s knot to tie the button and tuft the tuffet. We had some fun talking about ‘jellyfishing’ our buttons. I know that making nouns into verbs is the path to destruction, but the whole class found ‘jellyfishing’ to be quite hilarious and I, at least, couldn’t help laughing over it.

Bottom of Tuffet
Bottom of Tuffet

Next I tightened the cover and drew up the drawstring to keep it tight. The cover was long enough (intentionally) to fit over the bottom of the tuffet, which was a thick piece of plywood.

We marked where the feet were to be inserted (there are holes drilled in the plywood that are covered by the tuffet cover) and stapled the cover to the plywood. Robin, again, helped with mine, though I was able to do a bit of the staple gunning (I am right handed, but had to use my left hand, which isn’t as good at tasks as my right, so I was a bit of a danger to myself and the class, thus the assistance. ) Julie helped as well.

Robin Stapling my Tuffet Cover
Robin Stapling my Tuffet Cover

I am pretty sure that I would have been reluctant to staple through my cover (All that work!!!), so I think it was good that Robin did most of it for me. Nobody died in the stapling of the cover and I lost my feeling of preciousness over it.

I cut dime sized holes in the cover and cut away the batting and foam so that I could insert the feet.

I also made the bottom. Stitching it down started a long discussion, because many of us were whip stitching our bottoms about various methods of speeding up the whip stitching, which took a lot of time. Katrina, an awesome quiltmaker (I took the Pineapple class from her), who works at Scruffy Quilts suggested that we use Steam-A-Seam in the 1/4″ tape version to keep the bottom in place and then whip stitch at home. Robin hadn’t thought of that and since she is still reviewing the process, to a certain extent, thought that might work, but wanted to try it. I plan to make another tuffet (perhaps two) and will try it. I enjoyed sitting there and stitching, but it is a step I could have easily done at home. One of our classmates tried the  Steam-A-Seam and it seemed to work out very well.

Auditioning Feet
Auditioning Feet

I went back and forth on feet quite a bit. Robin’s source stopped production while they retooled their factory (or something), so her inventory was a bit low. At first, I thought I wanted white feet. That would have meant finishing them myself, which I knew was not going to happen. Then I decided I wanted the feet to match my furniture, which has a cherry color. I took some that were a more beigey brown kind of wood that I thought would match (make visual decisions visually!). I compared them with my other furniture and found that they were not the right color.

Robin didn’t have any that were the exact shade. I looked at all of her feet and finally decided on the bun feet (shown right). They are darker than my furniture, but have a tinge of red and on the bottom of the piece, they are ok.

Once the bottom was on, we carefully put in the feet and the tuffet was finished!

Completed Tuffet
Completed Tuffet

It was such a thrill to take home a completely completed project. That is one bonus of doing the stitching in class: I went home with NO additional work to do.

The class is a little on the expensive side because of the finishing kit, but it is worth it to get the finishing kit from Robin (West Coast Tuffets), because everything is there and in good order and well documented.

 

Julie's Tuffet
Julie’s Tuffet

I love Julie’s Tuffet. She used a batik jelly roll and it really fits her personality. It is so cheerful and this is a gorgeous picture of her!

Robin's Tile Tuffet
Robin’s Tile Tuffet

Robin brought a few tuffets to show us. She made a great, rich looking tuffet from a whole piece of fabric. She gathered the center under the button rather than cutting the fabric into almost-points and it looks really amazing. I think some experience with gathering or making a few tuffets first would be required before doing this kind of tuffet. I do like the idea of whole cloth tuffet. Can you imagine one with some Philip Jacobs fabric?

All in all, I really liked this class and want to take another one. I want to make a tuffet in the colors of the Stepping Stones blocks even though it will do with nothing in my house as well as another for the living room so I can put my feet up.

Go forth and make tuffets!

Improv Progress

I am still feeling like I am in some weird in between place with my projects. There are projects where I am at a strange point that seems to be stopping me. I have to count up all of the FOTY squares and figure out how big I need to make the quilt. I need to cut some more squares for the Octagon Nine Patch, which has been languishing for, what feels like, a long time.

Improv Top in Progress
Improv Top in Progress

I decided to work on the Improv quilt again and get that project farther along.I finished a second ‘B’ and decided to sew it, along with the first ‘B’ block on to the quilt. I like what is happening and I can see where I go next, to a certain extent, but I think those 2 blocks look heavy. I might put them on the bottom, but I will see if I can lighten them up with more red on the three sides.

One idea I had from looking at the photo above is to make sure some red meets the red on the bottom and continues over almost to the corner. That will mean making that part of that corner side block last and making sure I remember. I think if I do that, there will have to be a bit of one of the black and white prints in the corner – or a strip of red alternated with black and white prints.

Improve top - turned
Improve top – turned

I also thought of making those blocks the bottom. Heaviness works on the bottom. The photo (left) is the same one as above, just turned so you don’t have to turn your head.

It looks ok, but I remembered that there will be other blocks on each side of those new ‘B’ blocks.

Yes, all the blocks are sewn together. I just wanted them sewn.

Improv Progress

Improv A Blocks
Improv A Blocks

After using some Flying Geese as leaders and enders, I switched to using the large Improv blocks as leaders and enders while putting together the T Donation quilt. The Improv quilt is not a good project for leaders and enders as I really should have it on the design wall and be looking at it all the time as I worked. I really wanted to make progress. This project has been shuffled from corner to corner of my workroom and I am forgetting my plan. My design walls were full of other projects, so it was what it was.

I added a few more strips to make the center (A) blocks more even then sewed the four center blocks together. This breaks my ‘Chunking It” rule, but I just wanted to see the four blocks together. Somehow with them together, I was able to start on the B blocks.

Improv B Block #1
Improv B Block #1

They look pretty good and I got excited about working the B blocks. I had bits and pieces that I made in class that I hoped to use, though I wasn’t sure what I was thinking when I made them, so I kept going. The first one went together relatively quickly and that helped me move forward with the others. I am working on about 4 at once right now and expect to have a big group of them done at once. We will see.

Use Your Good Fabric!!!

Here is the short version of this post: Use the Good Stuff! 😉

The other day I posted about the Enchanted Plume panels I bought and SherriD commented that she had a panel she was “saving.” This comment made me think about my fabric, what I have to use and what pieces I love. As I have also mentioned, there is no shortage.

If you use your favorite fabrics, you will see your favorite fabrics more regularly. The yardage won’t be folded up in a cupboard or closet waiting for the perfect project.

If you use your favorite fabrics you will enjoy and use the quilt more.

If you use your favorite fabrics, it will be easier to take pride in your quilt and show it off.

If you use your favorite fabrics, you will want to make more quilts.

Win-win for everyone.

One issue I have run into is needing more of a fabric I love when I want to make a slight variation on the project. This happens a lot with bags, particularly bag linings. Generally, I am out of luck. I do make the FOTY quilts so I can try and figure out if I like a fabric enough to get more before it goes out of print, but, still, generally, I am out of luck.

In 2007 or 2008, I made a quilt called Thoughts on Dots. This is a quilt made from all dot fabrics. I had some beiges that I thought “would be fine” for the back. The quilt lives on my bed and now I have to live with beige. I love the dots on the front, but I don’t like the beige.  The beige isn’t even depressing beige, but it is still beige and I would have much rather put a color or one of my Philip Jacobs fabrics on the back. If I had, I would be much happier.

Scrapitude Carnavale, on the other hand, is a masterpiece**. I love the quilt, because I used fabrics I love throughout the quilt. It makes me happy every time I look at it. The back has fabrics I love on it, too, so I don’t mind if the back is showing.

Fabrics get Dated

The sad part of saving fabrics you love is that they will get old and dated and you won’t love them any more. I feel bad about this because I used to love these fabrics so much and now they just inspire a Meh kind of reaction when I see them. I should have used them right away. Live and learn.

There is always more fabric

The good part of using fabrics that you love is that fabric companies are churning out new designs every day and they are bound to have a new design you also love!

What is the Good Stuff?

What the good stuff is depends on you. What do you like? What do you like today? Some weeks ago, I bought a FQ pack of Alison Glass fabric. This pack was not in my normal colors. I thought I had better use it right away in case the colors and designs lost their appeal. Already the love is waning, but the quilt is in process and will be done soon. No problem.

I think “The Good Stuff” changes depending on our mood and influences, though the underlying favorite colors (e.g. turquoise and red for me) or motifs (e.g Dots) will remain consistent. I think we all, at certain points, expand our horizons or veer off in a new direction like I did with the Alison Glass fabrics, but will veer back when push comes to shove.

I have decided that the perfect project never comes along. Projects come along that are more perfect than the last, but I have not yet come across THE perfect project. I think we find projects that are perfect for us at the time. In order to make each new project the best project we can, we need to use our best fabric.

The good news is that there is always more fabric.

 

 

 

 

**Ok, ‘masterpiece’ is in the eye of the beholder. This quilt will not win best of show anywhere except at my house. I love the colors, the fabric and the quilting, so, for me, this is a masterpiece.