Improving my EPP

I haven’t been happy with the right sides together method of whip stitching my EPP pieces together. I don’t like the stitches showing on the front. No matter how careful I am, I seem to always get a few stitches showing. ERGH!!!

Finished star using flat back stitching
Finished star using flat back stitching

I mentioned recently that I had heard about the Flat back stitch for sewing EPP shapes together. I watched the video thoroughly, eventually, and tried it. I like the technique, although it isn’t without hassle and have modified my stitching accordingly.

One thing the video shows is starting inside a seam. The idea is to slip the needle between the fabric and the paper, catching the knot on the inside. I never thought of that!

Flat back stitch using WonderClips
Flat back stitch using WonderClips

I have been using WonderClips to hold my pieces together. It is imperfect at best despite the fabulousness of WonderClips. The video shows using regular transparent tape. Another great idea.

There are a couple of other good things about the flat back stitch. First, you don’t have to bend the paper/card pieces when you insert a piece (Y seam idea). This makes the card last longer. Second, the stitches don’t show at the beginning of the line of stitching, which they can if you are even a tiny smidge not careful. DIY Addict has some info about this after the 2:50 minute mark on her video.

This technique takes me longer, but I like the look and really am not in a rush to get another star attached to this piece.

It is a good day when I learn something new.

Other resources

DIY Addict video: flat back stitch

Carpenter’s Wheel – First Piece

Carpenter's Wheel - first piece
Carpenter’s Wheel – first piece

Hard on the heels of the Peacock was a deadline for the Carpenter’s Wheel. Since I had started thinking of the background for each block in terms of low volume prints, there was a lot of text fabric included.When the text Challenge was announced at my modern guild, I immediately thought of this piece. It wasn’t exactly made specifically for this challenge, but it fit the theme and the blocks were just hanging around, so Text challenge quilt it was.

That meant that I had to get some of it done before the big reveal, which was Saturday. I couldn’t be there due to #politicalwifery. Still, I had options for showing it.

I used some mini charms, which I bought in Oregon, to get the ball rolling, but picked up other text fabrics along the way as well. A few weeks ago, I spent some quality time with the Accuquilt and the 2.5 inch die cutting, what I hoped were, enough squares to make 3 background blocks.

Carpenter's Wheel - Feb 2017
Carpenter’s Wheel – Feb 2017

I refused to compromise my vision, which started with the layouts I worked on in the spring of last year. I wanted some good texture int he background, so multiple squares, rather than big squares of fabric it was to be. I began using the 2.5 inch squares as leaders and enders as I finished the back for The Peacock. I made a stack of 4 patches, which later turned into 3 background squares.

Carpenter's Wheel background block
Carpenter’s Wheel background block

I wanted to see how 4 inch squares would look mixed in. I chose the fabrics carefully and fussy cut in some cases. I thought they fit in and didn’t scream, so I used a couple in each block. This make the piecing go a little faster and add a little relief to the background.

I had to sew into the evening on Thursday in order to give it to my SIL on Friday to take to the meeting. I succeeded and still got to spend time with DH. I have gotten some very nice comments on Instagram and hope, even if unfinished, it is well received at guild.

Stepping Stones Progress

I spent some time over the weekend working on the Stepping Stones. I am ready to just piece without thinking. It never seems to work out, though. I always have to do some deciding or planning or math.

This past weekend required all three. As you might remember from my last update, I had some HSTs to make and was putting it off. I finally made them when I needed some easy piecing. I made a bunch so I would have some choice when I made a few more blocks to complete the top. After I made the HSTs and completed the leftover partial block, the question of the border came to mind.

Stepping Stones Revised
Stepping Stones Revised

I sat down to look at the EQ plan I had and found that I hadn’t completed it. I wasn’t 100% happy with the border I designed for the original Stepping Stones quilt. It is in no way terrible, but I wanted to finish off the groups of squares (red 4 patches set in groups of four, above).

Stepping Stones, EQ version
Stepping Stones, EQ version

I played around with EQ and came up with a new design. I am not sure it is the final for a couple of reasons:

  1. I don’t know that the groups of red 4 patches in the corners add anything
  2. I am not sure about the blue/green HSTs in the very corner. They add a little something, like breaking up a series of squares, but they don’t have any reference anywhere else in the quilt.
Stepping Stones #2 Border Trial
Stepping Stones #2 Border Trial

I am absolutely sure that I am happy with the red points that go into the border to finish off the scrappy lines of red that are made of HSTs throughout the quilt.

I want to get the border settled so I can start putting the whole top together via chunking. For chunking, I need to start in one of the corners.

Not Enough Time

There just really isn’t enough time in the day-week-month-lifetime to do all of the projects I want to do. I saw another one the other day that I might be able to slip in while I do other things.

Scrap Quilt Secrets
Scrap Quilt Secrets

I went to The Granary before Friend Julie and I had lunch to wait for her. Just inside the door they have books and magazines, so I took a look at a relatively new book by Diane Knott called Scrap Quilt Secrets**. I have a lot of scraps so I am always tempted to see what clever things authors do with them.

This is an interesting book. There were a few projects in which I was interested. Not enough of them to actually buy the book, and my library doesn’t have it, so, at the moment, I can’t do a review.

There was one quilt I thought would be a great leaders and enders project. It is called 4 Patch Plaid and uses 4 Patches plus some strips and cornerstones. I see 4 low volume 4 patches and 5 colored 4 patches. I like this pattern, aside from the 4 patches, because it looks like you are looking through a window at an interesting 4 patch quilt. I can imagine making many 4 patches in between other projects and suddenly having enough to make a quilt.

 

 

 

 

 

 

**Nota bene: C&T did not send me a copy of this book and I have no affiliation with the author.

Revisiting Projects: Carpenter’s Wheels

Carpenter's Wheels
Carpenter’s Wheels

The last time we talked about the Carpenter’s Wheel blocks I was trying out layouts. One reason these blocks are not next on my list is that I still have not decided on a layout. My mind keeps floating back to the round-ish layout I talked about after being inspired by Scraps Inc.

I think I really want to set these blocks in kind of a round layout and sew a million 2.5″ squares together to make it work. I might have to make a few more blocks.

I haven’t taken a photo of the layout, because my design wall isn’t large enough (I know I keep saying that) so I will really need to figure out how to take a photo and figure out if I need more blocks.

Revisiting Projects: Stepping Stones #2

Stepping Stones: July 2016
Stepping Stones: July 2016

Even though I am planning to work on the Peacock, I am still going to show you the projects I revisted and tell you my thoughts about them.

The Stepping Stones was the first project to go up once the Food Quilt #3 was off the design wall. My other design wall where the blocks have been staring at me for weeks is just not big enough to get a good view of all of the blocks. I really thought I would work on this project next, but the Peacock called to me when I put it up.

This project needs more blocks. I think adding five more blocks along the bottom will be enough. It is a good leaders and enders project, so I will sew the new blocks while I work on the Peacock. After that, the center will be large enough. I want to finish off the secondary designs, which means adding a similar border to the one I designed for my previous Stepping Stones quilt.

As I have said many times, the photos in the book aren’t that good, so it is hard to figure out what part of the design should be emphasized. The edging blocks on the previous Stepping Stones were all different from the center blocks.

In my first version, the “ladders” are much more prominent. In the blue/aqua version, the stars seem to stand out. My colors on this version are a lot more distinctive. My first version was less murky than the book, but more so than this blue/aqua combination.

Here is a comparison of the two quilts/tops:

Looking at the two of them side by side makes me think that I may have already done enough to the sides and can start on the border blocks for the two sides and the top.

EPP New Sections

I know the last time I talked about this piece was back in February. I have sort of been working on it, though there have been long stretches where I have not worked on it. I got a little fed up because sewing big sections to the big main piece is really a pain and I didn’t want to do it. It made me think twice about La Passacaglia, but that is a tale for another day.

EPP April 2016
EPP April 2016

Finally, I put a new section on and it is looking good. A little boring and staid, but good.

I am going to try to put one or two stars on the main piece instead of larger secondary pieces. It means more handling of the large piece, but perhaps the duration of dealing with the main section will be less.

Cityscape Returns

Along with Flowerburst, I also got back this quilt, which I wish I had called Cityscape. It really does look like a cityscape.

Cityscape- back from the quilter
Cityscape- back from the quilter

I have sewn on the binding. I worked at sewing one whole side per evening so the binding process only took me about 8 hours. The quilt is 82″ x 84″ so quite a bit of work. I used a Kona solid for the back and the binding and it was a pain. The needle doesn’t slide through that fabric like I think it should. I MUST remember that.

Cityscape - detail
Cityscape – detail

The red is the background and I had Colleen think of it as a sky and put clouds in it. She did four different types of clouds in the four quadrants. I think of it as the four seasons.

Cityscape - detail
Cityscape – detail

The black and grey are more like buildings, so she did more geometric quilting in those areas.

Now I need to put a sleeve on it.

Fabric of the Year – Chunking

FOTY 2015 - Chunking
FOTY 2015 – Chunking

I blew through the layout stage and am on to piecing.

Well, relatively anyway.

I gave myself a certain amount of time to do the layout. The time period was about two weeks and during that time, I didn’t take my cutting table or other in-process projects out of the fabric closet. I only allowed myself to work on other projects as leaders and enders and focused on getting this laid out.

This year’s piece was harder to arrange, because the fabrics I used were really different colors than each other. I am not sure why, because individually they don’t look different. The differences in each hue don’t really show up until you put two oranges or pinks next to each other and try and decide which has a lighter and which has a darker value. It is very strange. If I had thought of it I would have kept track of manufacturers and designers to see if I bought different ones this year than last year. I didn’t know that this would happen. It would have also meant that I would have had to keep track last year as well. More data would be needed.

The too-small design wall was a real problem this year, I think. I did not cut the patches down to accommodate the design wall as I did last year. I just crammed them all on the wall. That means that I found some places where I was short. You can see some white spaces on the bottom (near right hand corner). This problem showed up when some of the fabric was taken up by seam allowances and I was able to line patches up more evenly. I have to rummage through my leftover pieces and find some to fill in.

Most of the piece has been sewn into chunks. The chunks are not even because I had some rectangles arranged horizontally and some arranged vertically. With the squares it made for interesting piecing.

The difficulty was what it was and I got the feeling that it was done at some point and started sewing. I talked a little about the sewing when I posted about the Peacock. It is all about leaders and enders, because I only want two unsewn patches off the wall at a time to ensure the piece stays laid out the way I intended.

You can find out more about the FOTY quilts on the series page.

Stepping Stones 2 Returns

As I said the other day in the latest donation blocks post, laying out FOTY 2015 doesn’t make for a lot of tangible production. While I enjoyed making the donation blocks, I did need a little variety and the Stepping Stones parts were handy.

Four Stepping Stones blocks - April 2016
Four Stepping Stones blocks – April 2016

I enjoy these blocks and seeing the way they will be laid out makes me very happy. Turning each on a little bit makes a huge difference.

Even though I may need the squares for the layout of the Carpenter’s Wheel blocks, I have used some of the low volume prints for the white space in these blocks. I have plenty of fabric for the [mythical] Carpenter’s Wheel layout and can always cut more.

6 Stepping Stones blocks - April 2016
6 Stepping Stones blocks – April 2016

Making a few blocks always leads to making more and the six shown give an idea of what the quilt will look like and makes me want to make more.

Based on the layout I devised for my nephew’s Stepping Stones quilt, it looks like I will only need two more blocks and then border blocks for the width. I thought I measured 8 blocks across my bed, which doesn’t account for border blocks. I want to make the border blocks to finish the design.  There are two blocks around the whole edge of the previous SS quilt and I could eliminate those if I thought the width was too big. Measuring next, I think.

I am really pleased with how the blocks look. Now to get FOTY 2015 off the wall so I can layout all the blocks I have and see what I am facing. After months of feeling meh about quiltmaking, I am finally excited about several projects! Yay!

Carpenter’s Wheel Layouts #2

In between other things going on here in the Artquiltmaker Workroom, I wrote the book review of Scraps Inc. As you may have read, I was lukewarm about the book in general, but everything can provide some inspiration.

Carpenter's Wheel Layout #8
Carpenter’s Wheel Layout #8

One quilt (from the related blog post) that I didn’t think should be included in the book** provided inspiration for the Carpenter’s Wheel layout, however. I don’t think I have quite enough blocks to make this layout work. I can’t really tell since the design wall isn’t large enough to give me a good sense and the proportions of this layout are off. I might try it on the living room floor since I can see it from the upstairs hallway.

Carpenter's Wheel Layout #9
Carpenter’s Wheel Layout #9

My SIL suggested a regular on-point 3-2-3 layout. I tried it. This might work without the bottom two blocks, but with those two blocks, it looks crowded and odd. If I do this layout, what will I do with the bottom two blocks?

I have more work to do on this piece, so stay tuned.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

**Nota bene: There is nothing wrong with the quilt and it is very modern, but it uses very few scraps, thus I didn’t think it fit the definition implied by the book. YMMV.

Carpenter’s Wheel Layouts #1

Lots of design work going on in my workroom.

Before I allowed FOTY 2015 to take over my design wall, I did a little bit of layout design with the Carpenter’s Wheel blocks. I don’t want the layout to be a straight block layout. I am willing to piece a bunch of low volume alternate blocks if I need to (rote sewing- YAY!). I only have 10 blocks, which adds to the design challenge.

Color Group Donation Quilt
Color Group Donation Quilt

I was first thinking of designs that were similar to a donation quilt that Kathleen and I made. It was all Kathleen’s idea, but I happily went along. Donation quilts, as I have said about 12 million times, are good for trying out new ideas.

I wanted to stretch myself with these blocks. I like the linear effect of the donation quilt and wondered what I could do with the Carpenter’s Wheel blocks that would give the same effect?

I tried out different linear type layouts. Of the above, #1, #6 and #7 are my favorites. I like the idea of giving these blocks some space and all of these layouts give the blocks space. That might not be the case with alternate blocks made up of low volume prints, however. I might be able to mitigate it by not including any patches that have a large concentration of black. We’ll see. I may need to do a test block.

#1 is a bit too symmetrical and I wonder if that layout is not stepping out of my comfort zone enough?

Back to the design wall, I think.

Visiting with Improv

Improv Round Robin - March 2016
Improv Round Robin – March 2016

I got a brief glance at my Improv Round Robin piece before Ruth whisked it away to work on.

More of the Philip Jacobs print is showing up and that is creating some interesting results. I do think the piece needs more space, so I will add more solid or, perhaps, someone working on it will add more solid.

Carpenter’s Wheel #10

Carpenter's Wheel #10
Carpenter’s Wheel #10

I made more progress on the Carpenter’s Wheel project over the weekend. I worked on this one in between working on the Cutting Corners donation top. I put in some newer fabrics and that makes me very happy. I am totally in love with that flower print I used for the center. It is by Studio E and that blue is fantastic! Especially since it is not turquoise. 😉

Now I have a dilemma. I now have 10 blocks. That is a very awkward number with which to lay out a quilt. I am going to look at the blocks and see if I can eek out two more unique layouts. If not, I may make two more of my favorites. I will also try to lay the blocks out in different ways to see if there is an interesting layout which will work for this piece.