En Provence Progresses Slowly

En Provence - October 8, 2017
En Provence – October 8, 2017

I am slowly making progress on En Provence. You can compare my progress to the previous post’s picture.

I was able to spend time working on it on Saturday night and some of the day on Sunday. I was able to add a short row vertically on the right and put together a row that I will be able to add to the top soon.

You might be wondering why this piece is taking me forever. I haven’t yet put together blocks, so I have to put the blocks together before I can put together the rows. I need to watch placement of the fabrics. While the piece is scrappy, it is not a charm quilt and I’d like to keep like fabrics away from each other as much as possible.

This quilt definitely has fewer colors than I like, but the controlled palette really enhances the curved look of the piecing. I am so pleased with how this piecing is looking that I can’t stop looking at it. That surprises me since it is just a pattern, not much original.

En Provence – Almost a Quarter

En Provence - almost a quarter
En Provence – almost a quarter

I made good progress on Saturday. I have nearly a quarter of En Provence sewn together. I probably need another row of the pink stars on the top and one the side to have a full quarter, but progress is being made.

I am pleased with the way it looks. I think it is turning out well. some of the light blues are a bit light and do blend with the text fabric background. I hope that will add interest. The larger squares I am adding in are working well. I am very pleased I decided to use a controlled scrappy palette. I think it gives the quilt a cohesion it wouldn’t otherwise have.

I am not sure when I will get to this quilt again, but I hope to finish it soon. I have to day that I kind of just want this piece done. I REALLY like, but I just want it done.

En Provence Clue 7

Clue 7 of the En Provence Mystery Quilt is a cheap date. It is 4 clues in one. Bonnie Hunter explains carefully why she wrote the last clue that way, so I understand. That doesn’t make me happy about it. I wish the additional QSTs/Peaky & Spikes had been clue 7, the squares/HSTs had been clue 8, the additional 4 patches had been clue 9 and the assembly had been Clue 10. I know she didn’t have 4 additional weeks, but still.

When I realized what was going on, I gathered the fabrics I wanted to use and took them over to SIL 2’s house for Craft Night. I pressed and cut the shapes I needed for HSTs and Peaky & Spikes. I only needed to pin and the HSTs were ready to be sewn.

Cutting Peaky & Spikes
Cutting Peaky & Spikes

The Peaky & Spikes required more work. I was planning on cutting the actual shapes using SIL’s Accuquilt die. I only got the rough shapes cut and then was too tired to continue. I borrowed the die and cut them out over the weekend.

Over the weekend, mostly Sunday since Saturday was the BAM meeting, I ran the Peaky & Spike rough cuts through the Accuquilt and sewed those together. I was short on some of the Peakies and will wait to cut more until I see how many I need.

I couldn’t really complain too much because I had the directions for putting the blocks together. I decided to put some pieces and parts up on the design wall to see what I had.

WOW!!!

I really like it. I actually couldn’t stop myself from starting to sew the top together. The images above, from bottom to top, show the bottom left hand corner. I have sewn the bottom pink, corner block and the blue star to its right. They look great and I was tempted to just put the whole thing together last night. Of course, it will take me awhile to put the whole top together, so I slowly backed away muttering soothing noises to my hands, which were itching to sew like a mad woman.

I thought about the quilt a LOT and wonder if I should change the pink stars for orange stars. Yes, it means re-cutting and sewing a bunch more Peaky & Spikes. I might try a couple and see what I think. I like the orange I used in the QSTs and wonder if it isn’t too little.

Background Chaos
Background Chaos

One of the sub clues for Clue 7 is to make more background 4 patches. Sigh. I wonder why she just didn’t have us make all of them in the beginning? This does give me the opportunity to change up the look of my quilt. I sewed one corner and the four patches are great, but I think they would look better with some larger squares interspersed. I think all of the four patches look a little chaotic with everything else that is going on in the quilt. It will also take me less time to cut them.

I have lost the prepped HSTs from Craft Night, which is frustrating. I went on a frenzy of tidying, which is never a good thing. I wanted to have them sewn together, so I could intersperse the previous HSTs I made with the new fabrics. As it stands, I will need to prep more to finish the quilt. Sigh.

I am really liking this quilt so far. I am glad as mystery quilts are always a crap shoot.

Clue 6: QST Finished

Finished QSTs
Finished QSTs

I finished Clue 6, which I described last week, and that is really all I got done today. I can’t decide if I am happy with the fabric choices or wish I had gone with the darker blues. I supposed I’ll have to see when I start putting the whole piece together.

That being said, I do like all of the fabrics individually so that has to count for something.

I did use the Marsha McCloskey Precision Trimmer. I bought this ruler a long time ago (see previous references to my love for rulers). I can’t remember ever using it, but it came in very handy for these QSTs. There is a dot that marks the center of different sizes of squares that helped me line up the ruler over each QST in a precise manner. Except for sliding all over the place, I was very pleased with the ruler. It worked like a charm I remedied the sliding with some True Grips.

I am also very pleased with the precision of the 6600. The quarter inch seam allowance is excellent, which makes for easy assembly of blocks. All in all a good day even though I didn’t accomplish much.

QST Success

You probably noticed that I was a little annoyed yesterday with the continuing En Provence saga. I am ready to put blocks together.

Monday morning, I got some tea and sat looking at the weird orange sun. I was very pleased to have another day off.

QST Doodle
QST Doodle

As I whined about the unfairness of mystery quilts 😉 to my journal, I started to sketch out colors and make little drawings. Then I looked at some En Provence photos I had saved and thought about what additional color I wanted to add in. I made some

QST Doodle
QST Doodle

Suddenly, I was happy. I decided on a color scheme or a potential color scheme. I had a plan and so everything fell into place.

Later that day, when my mom came over, I looked up some tutorials on quick piecing quarter square triangles. Some I couldn’t understand, but then I found one that is a great tutorial. It had the fabrics placed in the same places I wanted them, which meant I didn’t have to work that little piece out. It’s a small thing, but was important to me at that moment. Also, all the steps were laid out with photos, so I could see everything. I found another tutorial that I would like to try, but haven’t. The look of the second one is much more modern, but I can’t vouch for the quality of the instructions yet.

I used four fabrics to make some test blocks and they came out great. I was very pleased with the tutorial, my sewing, life in general.

Test QSTs and fabrics ready to sew
Test QSTs and fabrics ready to sew

That night was Craft Night, so I spent the time cutting all the fabrics I need. I used fabrics from my Aqua bin and I think I haven’t used fabrics from that bin in a long time. Some are old and don’t seem to have any FOTY parts cut from them. It seems odd, since I love Aqua and many of the fabrics are great. I have to press them, but they are cut, marked and pinned and ready to sew.

This step didn’t turn out to be as nightmarish as I though. I guess it is all about attitude

DONE: En Provence HSTs

En Provence HSTs - Clue 5
En Provence HSTs – Clue 5

One of the projects I prepped at Sew Day was Clue 5 for the En Provence quilt. I used my triangle technique, which made the hardest part of the process, pressing and trimming.

I have to admit that I thought I was done and could get to putting the blocks together.

Sigh.

No such luck. I checked out Clue 6 and found I have to make a bunch of Quarter Square Triangles AND I need to introduce a new color. This will require some thought.

At least I finished something, no matter how small.

DONE: En Provence Clue 4

En Provence, Clue 4 - Peaky & Spike
En Provence, Clue 4 – Peaky & Spike

Yep, I finally finished all of those Peaky and Spikes I talked about in July.

I thought I would never finish and while I was taking a piecing break last weekend I put all the rest of the undone pieces together and sewed.

I never thought I would finish this clue. I have to admit that I am getting sick of all of this prep and would like to sew some blocks together. I am fighting with myself about whether to sew a block or two together or to just follow the clues.

I just looked in the folder and I have two more clues, then I will be, presumably, finished.

The next thing I need to do is make a bunch of half square triangles. Now to figure out the colors.

En Provence Part 4

I went to Craft Night with dark blues and text fabrics in hand. The event was at SIL’s and she has the Peaky & Spike die. I planned to cut up the Peaky and Spikes I needed for the next step in the En Provence quilt.

Peaky & Spikes for En Provence
Peaky & Spikes for En Provence

I accomplished my goal. These are supposed to be purple, but I am not using purple in this quilt. I find purple to be a depressing color when I use a lot of it in a quilt, so I tend to shy away from it.I don’t hate it, I just have other favorites. Since I used blues in the recent 4patches, I am using a dark blue to go with those pieces

I had to dig through a lot of my fabric to find these dark blues. I used up most of the my dark blues on the Stars for San Bruno quilts. I don’t use dark blue that much, but I am finding that it comes in handy periodically. Not all of these blues are super dark. They are, however, different and darker than the blues used in the four patches.

I have started to sew the Peakys to the Spikes, but haven’t gotten very far. Small accomplishments.

En Provence Clue 3

DONE!

I know I am crowing about the tiniest of progress, but I have to take finishes, even semi-finishes, where I can get them.

En Provence Four Patches
En Provence Four Patches

I finished Clue 3, which was a surprise, because I thought I would have to cut more 2″ squares to finish more four patches. I thought I had about 40 more to make. They were done and I didn’t figure it out until Sunday when I counted all the 4 patches up and came up with 171. That means I have 3 extra.

I am pleased, but I know the joy will be short-lived since I have to make more Peaky and Spikes next similar to the ones I made before.

En Provence Update

En Provence with Peaky & Spike
En Provence with Peaky & Spike

I have a very tiny update for the En Provence Mystery quilt. I have enough of the Peaky & Spike blocks finished to make 9 patches.

In fact, I may be completely finished with the Peaky & Spike blocks. I don’t know what goes in the corners and haven’t taken the time to look it up.

This block, the only one I have laid out, is not sewn. Laying it out, however, gets it closer to being sewn. I hope you don’t think this is a poor showing!

I have to say that it occurred to me that I might want to use the blues from the Blue Lemonade Hunting & Gathering box for the colored 4 patches. If the clue asks for 2 inch squares, I’ll be golden or In like Flynn. I have to find the clue and look it up.

En Provence Progress

Four patches for En Provence
Four patches for En Provence

I am doing the En Provence Mystery Quilt. I have just finished step 1. I am very pleased with the four patches I have made. I have part of step 2 finished, and have some Spikes to cut. I am dreadfully behind, but I don’t care. I saw the reveal on January 1 and am pleased to say that I like the quilt design. It is always kind of a crapshoot when you don’t know what the quilt will look like. Not that there is any shortage of fabric.  Some people have already finished theirs and have shown their versions, which is great for me, so I can compare different color schemes. I am happy to pick out colors as I start each step. So far, I have sort of stuck to Bonnie’s suggestions, but I am not going with the purple she includes. Just not my thing. I don’t hate purple, but I think this quilt will stay here so I want something that will work in my house.

This project is part of the reason why I feel like I am treading quilt water. Many steps forward and no finishes.

Finished: Scrapitude

I finished Scrapitude. Yay!

Scrapitude Carnivale Finished
Scrapitude Carnivale Finished

The most I had to do was the binding after Colleen quilted it. The fabric I used for the binding is okay and it was a lot easier to needle than the fabric around the edge of FOTY 2012.

We had some trouble photographing it as the thing is a BEAST so you can see parts of two chairs in the photo. Sorry about that.

Finished: Scrapitude Back
Finished: Scrapitude Back

Not comments on the back this time from the quilt holders. Oh well.

Another Mystery

I received a weird email message early last week and, since I was busy, I ignored it. I didn’t open it, thinking that it was spam I could investigate or delete later.

A little while later, I received an email from the BAMQG Retreat Coordinator saying that I should have received my first ‘clue’. Hhmm. I went back to the ‘spam’ message and it still made no sense, but I figured it was the Mystery quilt project, so I downloaded the instructions.

BAMQG is doing a mystery quilt on the retreat. I decided to play along.

BAMQG Mystery Color Story
BAMQG Mystery Color Story

I recently read an article about color that included a suggestion about using a large scale print as a background. One reason I decided to do the mystery quilt was because I couldn’t get this idea out of my head. If I was going to do a project that I wasn’t sure about, I didn’t just want to do the same old thing. I picked a wild selection of fabrics. I am not sure they go together and will tend towards ‘pushed neutrals’ or a ‘low volume’ color story.

First, I went rummaging through my Phillip Jacobs and Martha Negley prints. I have been using those mostly for backs so the opportunity to use one on the front made me giddy. I picked English Rose.

I had the dot on my cutting table. It is very close to the green in the English Rose, but it will be fine (famous last words, right?). The text prints are really different. I don’t think I have used many before and they have been on my mind. In they went.

I may add the charcoal circle stitch fabric by Michael Miller as well. We’ll see.

Still, the quilt will be interesting and will be a nice donation quilt, if worse comes to worse.

Scrapitude Back

Scrapitude Back
Scrapitude Back

I was determined to make the Scrapitude back this past weekend. In order to do that I had to finish the label. I had some time on Friday night and used it to make the label and order some rotary blades.

Rotary blades, you ask? What do they have to do with making a back? There are some tasks that are not hard, but they can interrupt the flow of sewing if you have to stop and do them. I have been trying to identify these tasks and put them into slots of time that are not suitable to sewing.

Making labels, making bindings and ordering rotary cutter blades are three of those tasks, which I have identified so far. I figure that if I put them into these odd slots of time, I’ll get more sewing done. It’s a theory anyway.

I wasn’t up to sewing a lot of small pieces together, so I tried to find some larger pieces of yardage. I found the large piece of Philip Jacobs. I knew I had a large dot piece that I liked with it, so I found that as well and went from there. I always have to piece a bit around the label, but I found that bird and tree print, which was perfect, because I didn’t have to cut it up too much. The trees show up pretty well and I was pleased to see the butterfly. There is something nice about that print and this turned out to be the perfect use for it.

I made the binding last weekend, so this baby is ready to go to the quilter. Yippee!

Scrapitude Issues

Last week, I posted about finishing the Scrapitude top. I also talked about the Adventures in Arting podcast in a recent Various & Sundry post. I was listening to it while I was piecing and the discussion they had made me think that I needed to document a problem I came across.

I had problems with this quilt, as I do with many of my quilts.

It wasn’t the pattern.

It wasn’t the difficulty level.

It wasn’t the fabric or other supplies.

The problem was simply the process of being human. Often I will sew to get away from issues in the rest of my life with which I am struggling. I pieced the rest of Scrapitude as we finalized the sale of Super G’s house. It was a tough weekend. Piecing Scrapitude kept my mind on a task on which I needed to focus, but one where my mind could wander.

Scrapitude Error
Scrapitude Error

In the course of piecing, I found mistakes I had made earlier when putting the blocks together. One of them I had already pieced into the quilt and that one will be there for eternity, but I removed several others and fixed them before I pieced them into the quilt.

In the picture to the left, the bottom left hand four patch was set in incorrectly. The foreground white on blue dot square should be in the upper right hand corner of that section in the block, not in the upper left. It isn’t a major error and with all that is going on in the quilt, nobody would notice.

Scrapitude Error detail
Scrapitude Error detail

I noticed and cared enough to rip it out. The question I always ask myself is whether I can live with the mistake or if I need to fix it. In this case, I could have lived with the mistake, but decided to fix it anyway.

There are issues with the finished top, but the quilt is very cheerful and I like it. I don’t think I will take up mystery quilts in general, but I am glad I did this one.