Ta Dots and Stripes

I made a list of projects I had in process in my journal and found a lot. Seeing them on paper seemed to galvanize me in a way that seeing them here did not. I like having them here as it makes me accountable, but the combination of paper and bytes works for me.

One problem has been that I have had my design wall set up since last January. I have been using my small design wall, but really need a larger one. I have been hoping to sell the Pind Design wall (you know you want it!), but no luck so far. I finally spent time on New Year’s Day setting it up.

Ta Dots and Stripes in process
Ta Dots and Stripes in process

For whatever reason, the first project I put up was the Ta Dots and Stripes quilt. Yes, that is the new name.

I started working on it as a donation quilt using the Leaders and Enders method while I worked on the Planned Improv blocks. I made some progress, but it is easy to get confused about where what goes.

I found some more dots and decided to make another row of HSTs, so I prepared them at Sew Day and sewed them when I got home. It will make the quilt a little larger.

I thought the quilt would be a donation quilt, but after I sewed a number of the sections together, I think it will become a Niece-phew quilt for one of the nephews.


En Provence Top: Finished

En Provence Top Finished
En Provence Top Finished

Nobody died.

I have just been really busy and haven’t taken the time to post. It is that time of year and my evenings have been spent writing Christmas cards.

The En Provence Mystery Quilt top is finished. I finished it last weekend, I think, and I am pleased with the way it turned out.

You can only see part of it as I only had one quilt holder available. I hope to get a better shot before I send it off to its new home.

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.

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.

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.


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.

Finished: Carpenter’s Wheel

Carpenter's Wheel Finished
Carpenter’s Wheel Finished

Yep. The monster is done.

I spent most of the past two weeknight evenings sewing on the binding and the sleeve. I showed it at BAMaQG on Saturday and now I am waiting to enter it into a show.

I had help holding it up. Two members stood up on a table so someone could take a photo with my phone. I thought this might be my only chance.

Did I mention that the thing is a monster? I know what possessed me, but I am still wondering what possesses me to make such huge quilts.

3 Triple Stars

In between working on putting together the En Provence quilt, I have been sewing Triple Star blocks together. I use the blocks as leaders and enders.

While I am concerned that using the blocks as leaders and enders means I am not as engaged with the quilt, I really have to have something in between the En Provence pieces to keep them in order. While I could make make more donation blocks, I want to make progress on other projects as well, so the Triple Star blocks are the leaders and enders.

Unlike Fresh Fruit, I have to pick a lot of colors for the blocks. I also have a lot more seams to sew, so I do pay attention.

BAMaQG Retreat

I have discussed the Retreat in passing over and over, so finally decided that I should get around to writing about the retreat itself.

BAM 2017 Scrap Attack
BAM 2017 Scrap Attack

The Retreat started on Friday at 10am. Following along with our year long theme, Scrap Attack, the Retreat followed that them as well.

Before arriving at the Retreat, I went to the gym, ate breakfast and packed the car. I had two days at home alone (YM gone at school, DH on a NSGW trip) in the evenings during which I prepared and packed and organized. After leaving to go to the Retreat, we stopped at Always Quilting and The Granary. I wanted to find an open toe Acufeed foot for my Janome 6600. I planned to quilt the Thanksgiving tablemat and needed to see where I was going. The Acufeed foot that came with the machine is good, but not for seeing exactly where the foot is going or following a line. I didn’t get my hopes up for the foot to be available at Always Quilting and I wasn’t disappointed. I resolved to try to quilt the tablemat anyway.

We went to the Granary, because I like that store and SIL had never been there. I bought a couple of pieces of fabric, thinking I might make an extra Cell Phone Wallet with one of the pinks.

Sewing Nirvana?
Sewing Nirvana?

Then we headed the 8 or so blocks to the Wild Palms hotel and to sewing nirvana. We didn’t arrive until about noon, but we set up and got to work right away. Nirvana isn’t easy and setting up took some time.

Once I got set up, my first order of business was sewing together all seven Cell Phone Wallets I had cut out.

Lesson one for quilting retreat is prep your projects. Having several projects already cut out made my output much better than expected.

7 Cell Phone Wallets
7 Cell Phone Wallets

I had cut out seven Cell Phone Wallets from fabric leftover from dresses and tunics. I spent Friday making them. I didn’t think I would get as far as I did, but I was able to finish all except for weaving in the last two ends from top stitching. I was shocked that I even had time to turn the pieces. Turning these and poking out the ‘corners’ is not for the faint of heart. I rose to the challenge and got the job done. Now I am going to feel a lot more confident when wearing my dresses, skirts and tunics. I made all of these with D rings and will use the same chain for all of them. I also think I can use the black one with other black outfits.

Thanksgiving Table Mat
Thanksgiving Table Mat

Next, I started quilting the tablemat. 🙁 It didn’t work. I want to follow the lines of the leaves and other Thanksgiving motifs and I just couldn’t see where I was going. I ripped stitching out three times before I gave up. I would really like to get it done before Thanksgiving. Not only to I want to count the yardage as fabric used, I also want to have one less item on my to do list. I have ordered new feet from Sew Vac Direct, a suggestion from Gerre, so we will see.

Poolside Tote
Poolside Tote

No rest for the sad or wicked. I was determined to get as much done as possible. So, next up was the Poolside Tote. Not only had it been taking up horizontal surface space for a long time – ever since I cut it out at Scruffy Quilts back in May, but Tim and I had decided to work on ours together. Julie said she would make one as well, but she wasn’t at the retreat and I have only seen quilts coming out of her studio. You can read about the sewing, etc of this tote in the post from earlier in the week. I am not sure if I will make this tote again. I may need to as it is large and popular.

Mostly Manor Lozenge Quilt
Mostly Manor Lozenge Quilt

I worked on this all day Saturday and a little bit on Sunday morning. Next on the list was the Mostly Manor Lozenge quilt. I had the blocks made so all I had to do was sew them together. Lucky for me, the raffle prizes had all been given away (I won a charm pack of grey Northcott solids-YAY), so I had a table right behind me to use as design surface space.

I sewed fast and got this top done in a couple of hours. I used the Terrain donation blocks as leaders and enders.

In between everything I made three donation blocks. We received kits for 3 donation blocks in our goody bags. I didn’t have a lot of leaders and enders opportunities, so I rushed at the end to get these done. The Committee gave extra raffle tickets for handing in donation blocks and charity quilts and tops.

I really didn’t want to leave and stayed until the bitter end. The Retreat Committee did a great job organizing everything and I was thrilled to get so much done.

Triple Stars Again

In between putting together En Provence, I made some more Triple Star blocks. I have about six done and have to cut some more pieces to make more. I have ten more to make. They are sewn together pretty quickly with all the pieces cut.

This pattern is from Scrap-Basket Beauties by Kim Brackett. Frances turned me on to this author. There is at least one other scrap quilt in this book I would consider making.

TBT: She Had to Have Her Latte

Well, best laid plans. Life, I guess, got in the way of me posting old quilts every Thursday for awhile. I really did intend to do it and here I am again.

She Had to Have Her Latte - 1999
She Had to Have Her Latte – 1999

She Had to Have Her Latte was my favorite quilt for awhile. It looks a little dated now, but I still like it.

She Had to Have Her Latte was one of the first Improv quilts, but done in a different way than people commonly understand Improv quiltmaking today. In this quilt, I cut novelty fabrics into shapes with the primary focus being to showcase the motifs. Other pieces were put in between those focus pieces so the quilt fit together. There was no free cutting or rulerless cutting.

I made this with a friend and we had a whole story around the quilt about a woman who had to have a latte every morning. We discussed why and what it meant. I intended this to be the first in a series of quilts, but they were never made.

Triple Star Test Block

Triple Star Test block - half sewn
Triple Star Test block – half sewn

I made another cutting mistake on the Triple Star and decided it was time to make a test block. I laid out two blocks so I could see what I was working on and came up with some great blocks.

I fooled around with the colors until I was happy and began sewing.

I am really happy I made the test block. Even laying it out on the design wall would have been helpful. This block is not difficult, but it is confusing. Still, the effect is really great.

Triple Star - first block sewn
Triple Star – first block sewn

The block came out really well. I am not sure about that mustardy color and may limit it. I am hoping that it will enhance the other colors. Not sure sure yet.