En Provence Almost the end

I made a lot of progress on the En Provence quilt and it is nearing the conclusion.

En Provence -December 2017
En Provence -December 2017

I started out Saturday afternoon sewing the two halves of the top together. Then I laid out the quilt to see where I was. It was really great to see almost the whole quilt laid out. I think it looks really great.

After seeing the quilt so close to completion, I was on fire to sew the last 4 rows. I took everything back upstairs and laid on that bottom corner on my design wall.  I didn’t have much more time to do that on Saturday and no time to sew.

En Provence Beginning - Dec. 3, 2017
En Provence Beginning – Dec. 3, 2017

Laying out the last corner was huge, though. I found I was missing a couple of Peaky & Spike blocks, so I had to cut some fabric to finish those. It was good, though, because I could switch out some of the Peaky & Spike blocks that I hadn’t yet sewn.

After we came back from a NSGW event on Sunday afternoon, I put the pedal to the metal on my sewing machine and sewed 3 rows. I know there are only 3 blocks left in each row, but there is still a lot of piecing. I also have to add the border and that makes some of the blocks larger, thus more time consuming to sew.

En Provence - 3 good rows
En Provence – 3 good rows

I ended up with what I thought was 3 good rows.

Standing back really helps and I found a mistake. I stopped after the mistake block. It was really too late for me to be sewing anyway and I’d already had to rip out two sections of that block.

En Provence Ooops
En Provence Ooops

Except for the two pieces, I am pleased with how this quilt came out. It is not insane like Grand Illusion, but it was complex enough to keep me interested and interesting enough to want to continue to look at it.

I’ll fix it next time….whenever that is.

Final Weekend En Provence Progress

En Provence upper right hand quarter - November 26, 2017
En Provence upper right hand quarter – November 26, 2017

I added “Piecing” to the hashtags for this post. Immediately my mind revised that as ‘interminable piecing’. I don’t really feel tired of this project, but there are a LOT of seams and I am ready for this top to be finished. Good thing I made significant progress over the weekend.

The upper right hand corner is finished and this means that I have 4 rows of 3 blocks to finish. If I had 4 days free, I could finish the top by the weekend.

I have been sewing the border on as I go along. Using the ‘self-bordering’ technique makes the border much more precise in terms of matching seams. You also don’t have long seams to sew (and match) or borders to add once the center is done. I use this technique as much as possible. It makes my life so much better.

Thanksgiving Weekend En Provence Progress

We had 24 people over for Thanksgiving, so there was no sewing Monday through Thursday while Thanksgiving prep was taking place. I was also working.  I did, however, make some good progress over the weekend.

En Provence, November 24, 2017
En Provence, November 24, 2017

I spent most of the day on Friday sewing. I even declined to watch a movie with the boys in order to sew. They needed some alone time anyway. More than half of En Provence is pieced and I am working on the upper right corner.

I got up and set about sewing pretty soon after that. I usually go for a walk before I sew to get it out of the way, but needed more resting time before I did that. The first thing I worked on was finishing the last/top row of the left hand side.

After coming back from my walk, I laid out the upper right hand side and started piecing. I was able to finish sewing a row and a half of that quarter. I would love to finish this weekend, but doubt that will happen. Bonnie Hunter’s Mystery Quilts require a lot of piecing, which is what makes them such great scrap quilts. Still, I have to sew a lot of short seams and there are a lot more to sew.

Color My Quilt-November

Color My Quilt - November - Melinda
Color My Quilt – November – Melinda

I started my contribution to the November Color My Quilt project for Melinda pretty soon after the October meeting. I meant to do more, but I just ran out of time.

Again, I used all scraps and did some Improv piecing. I was a little mean, but I couldn’t cut off that curve. It was part of the scrap that I used and I liked it. I am sure it will get cut off in the final piece, but perhaps Melinda will keep it.

The pieces have a fall-ish look, but are also bright.

November Color My Quilt Shards
November Color My Quilt Shards

The shards made hung together surprisingly well. I think the colors Melinda wanted were clearly defined and easy to use. There were lots  of blocks this time, which made me happy. Someone made a block using the method from Sarah Goer‘s class.

More En Provence

En Provence, November 19, 2017
En Provence, November 19, 2017

I started out late on Sunday with the piece above. I had finished chopping about a million ingredients for various Thanksgiving dishes and was delighted to find that I had some time to sew.

I had sewn most of the last row together, but had a few more seams, so I put those together and found, suddenly that I was able to layout the last row on the left half of this top. Shocking! I thought I had miles together.

I really don’t know why I keep being surprised by this quilt – how much I have sewn, how much I have left, how well it looks. Perhaps I should call it En Provence Surprise?

En Provence, November 21, 2017
En Provence, November 21, 2017

I had to fold down the piece before I could layout the top row. I could have reached, but why? It would have been a stretch every time I sewed two pieces together or checked the pressing. I wasn’t up for it.

It is extremely gratifying to see the top row even if it is just laid out and not sewn yet.

Triple Star is at a stopping point until I lay it out and decide on a final design, so I used donation blocks as leaders and enders. I finished 2.5, which isn’t shabby.

I know it is all En Provence All the Time on the blog these days. It is what I am working on except for gifts, which I am not working on enough and can’t show at the moment any way. You’ll have to bear with me for the time being.

Sticking It All Together

I counted up blocks and rows and units again and found that I am farther along than I thought. It all started when I noticed that I was getting very short of the quarter triangle units. I carefully counted and found that I only have to piece two more rows on the top to finish one whole half of the quilt.

Or so I thought.

Really, I have to piece two blocks top to bottom for the right side. I was shocked that I had so little left to do. I had been sure that I had an equal number of blocks to piece for the right side as I had on the left. I don’t know how I got so turned around, but this is great news! I thought I would never finish piecing this quilt. Yet, I had already done so much.

As a treat, I decided to see how the piece would look once it was stuck together. Sort of.

Merged En Provence Left Half
Merged En Provence Left Half

I put two images together. There are slight differences in lighting, and the bottom is folded up, but you still get the idea. I am thrilled.

I saw another version of the pattern on Instagram. It is by Sylvia, Sommerschiebe. I love how round this circles ended up.

Triple Star Blocks Finished

I had an unexpected day of sewing on Sunday. Mom and I were scheduled to visit her quilt show, but she was called on to act in her Presidential Duties at her church. I was sad not to see her, thought glad to avoid the 2+ hour each way drive. My long commute has prevented us from getting together regularly and that is hard. Mom and were able to catch up for a few minutes on the phone and that was nice.

I sewed instead. I sewed A LOT.

One of the projects on which I made progress was the Triple Star blocks. I have made all the blocks called for in the pattern. After taking Sarah’s class on Saturday, I have a different idea of the layout and may need to make more to get the right balance.

The pattern calls for a straight set – 4 down, 4 across. After Sarah’s class, and after thinking about the layout of the Stars #3 Donation quilt, I want to do something different, more interesting.

Triple Star Potential Layout
Triple Star Potential Layout

I did a quick layout with three quarters of the blocks, which resolved my uncertainty. I like the asymmetrical idea, though I realize that I may need a few more blocks for the upper left and lower right hand corners.

Even if this particular layout (definitely without the toes) will not be the final layout, I am on the right track. Using Sarah’s technique, I be able to cut exactly what I need to put it together.

Sarah Goer Class

Saturday I took a class through BAMQG with Sarah Goer. Sarah is a GREAT teacher and her class, Planned Improv, is fabulous. I liked it, mostly, because it was a design technique that I can use beyond the class. It is a technique that could be similar to using Electric Quilt, but sometimes I need to sit down with graph paper and scribble.

I went to class thinking that I would expand the technique and use it for one of the Niece-phews quilts, if it worked out. I had one nephew in mind, so I brought reds for the foreground and dark grey for the background. I thought I could make a pillow cover for a gift if i was not willing to commit to making a quilt using the technique.

The technique is great. Mary C asked me where this technique had been all her life and I wondered the same thing. Another thing I liked about this technique is that it isn’t quite improv, but it is not a buttoned up pattern either.

Planned Improv Class Block
Planned Improv Class Block

I am pleased with the way the block came out. I think it has potential for becoming a quilt.

The block is 25×24, so I don’t have to make many of them to have a large lap quilt. I have some squares cut, so I can make another block soon.

En Provence – More Progress

En Provence - Start of upper left quarter
En Provence – Start of upper left quarter

I made a little progress over last weekend, after fixing my Oops. I was able to take down the bottom quarter of the quilt top and put up the pieces for the top left quarter. In addition to the three rows you see in the image, I have two more rows to sew to complete half the quilt.

I know I am getting ahead of myself, but I am excited to see the progress of this quilt. It is really a lot of piecing. The result is fantastic, from what I can see so far, but it is taking a long time to piece.

The half rows I am piecing have 75 units to sew together to get the 6 block half row. I say units because I have already pieced the units together. Each blue star has 32 pieces and each pink star (not the border blocks) has 24 pieces. I am glad the units are all pieced, I have to say.

Triple Stars Return

I was hung up on the Triple Star project because I needed to cut a few more pieces. I couldn’t seem to get to it. It seemed like a good thing to do over the weekend while I was home fighting off a cold. Wielding a rotary cutter isn’t always a good idea when taking cold medication, but in this case, all the cold relief was minor.

I got the pieces cut and was back in business making Triple Stars in between putting En Provence together.

I finished n.12, which had been in process for a few weeks. I was also able to finish a second.

I am finally making progress on this project again. Three more blocks and I can put the quilt together.


En Provence Oops

As if I didn’t have enough piecing to do on En Provence, I had to spend some time un-piecing and re-piecing. It happens, I know, but I was pretty annoyed with myself when I realized my error.

En Provence Oops
En Provence Oops

The alternate blocks that are on the interior of the quilt have a half square triangle at each corner to keep the chain that zigzags across the quilt whole.

Does that block look like it has four HSTs? One at each corner?


The question, then, became could I live with the error or did I need to unpick?

One consideration was that I had already sewed that block into the quilt. If I could live with it, I could save a lot time. However, the block was only sewn on two sides, so I wouldn’t have to rip apart much of the quilt.

En Provence Broken Chain :(
En Provence Broken Chain 🙁

However, I noticed it because the chain was broken, so clearly the error was noticeable.

Also, I would be short of four patches.

Fixed En Provence Oops
Fixed En Provence Oops

I decided I couldn’t live with it and fixed it. I am happier now.

Another Triple Star

I really feel it keenly when I can’t sew, so I think I am posting every little bit of progress so I don’t seem like a slacker in my own mind.

Triple Star #11
Triple Star #11

This is the most recent star that I have made.

Due to some cutting errors I repurposed some of the pieces to other uses in the Triple Star. This means I have to cut more before I can make much more progress on the rest of the stars. I have one in progress and am sewing as much of it as I can, but I have to cut.

As much as the flippy corners method is a pain, I do like the look of the Friendship Star in the center.

Four and a half more blocks to go.

En Provence – Tiny Progress

En Provence - late October 2017
En Provence – late October 2017

I made an effort to make some progress before I went off on my 5 days away from my sewing machine. I was able to get an En Provence column done. In case you can’t tell by comparing my last update photo with this one, it is the column on the right.

I have decided that adding rows and columns isn’t going to work, so now, while I still have the quilt on the design wall, I am laying out a row and sewing it together, but I won’t sew it to the whole piece. I will use it as the first row of the upper quarter. Once the whole quarter is made, then I will sew it to the piece shown above. This will prevent me from having to sew too many long seams.

After the top left quarter is sewn, I will work on the two right quarters and do the same. At the most, I should have 3 long seams.

SIL Works

I have to say it is great to live around the corner from another quiltmaker. It is even better that she is my SIL. We had Craft Night on Monday, as usual, and I got to see some of her new works.

SIL MassDrop Donation Quilt
SIL MassDrop Donation Quilt

In terms of donations, she is on fire. She took one (or, perhaps, more) of the MassDrop fat quarter packs given out at the Retreat and has made two quilts so far from it.

The first one has a self-bordering effect, but the ‘border’ is  is part of the design. I like the larger and smaller squares for the design. She made another version as part of her seasons series using Pointillist fabric that is super cool. I’ll have to take a photo and post it sometime.

The other donation quilt, which I failed to photograph, is brilliant. She is using the stitch and flip method with Jelly Roll like strips, so the piece is quilted at the same time as sewn. The design comes out like a giant log cabin. This technique would be great for a charity Sew Day activity and would produce a lot of small quilts quickly.

SIL Design Wall, October 2017
SIL Design Wall, October 2017

SIL also has the Terrain quilt on her design wall. She has a layered effect going on on her design wall. The right arrow is pointing to it. You can also see some of the large back I made (arrow on the left is pointing to it) for the Terrain .

One of the good things about having a quiltmaker nearby is the almost instantaneous dose of inspiration. I can walk over, see what is on SIL’s design wall, go home and be reinvigorated.

Mostly Manor Lozenge Top Finished

I had an evening of sewing to myself last Friday night while everyone else was at the Cal football game. I started out with a goal of adding a column of blocks to En Provence. I ended up finishing the Mostly Manor top instead.

Mostly Manor Lozenge Top
Mostly Manor Lozenge Top

I made the blocks last Fall, put them together at the recent BAM retreat, cut the borders at Craft Night and now they are a quilt top.

I had the borders cut and when I ran out of Triple Star pieces to use as leaders and enders, I realized I could add the borders as leaders and enders in between sewing the En Provence blocks together.

Once the borders were on, I further realized that the back wouldn’t be much more work. I had some hoops to jump through (making the label), but with that done quickly and a few large pieces of backing fabric on hand, I had the quilt ready to take to Colleen.

I brought the quilt with me to PIQF and dropped it off at her booth, which saves me a drive. YAY! I am so glad this project is moving along. Perhaps it will be ready for the giftee for Christmas or shortly thereafter.