Big Stitch Update

BAMaQG IRR May 2018
BAMaQG IRR May 2018

I made some progress on the BAMaQG IRR at Craft Night the other night. The image shows the whole piece. Obviously, you can’t see the hand stitching, but you can get an overall view of the piece.

I am not using a pattern or marking much when I Big Stitch. I am following the stitching lines and eyeballing where my stitches go. They are mostly straight lines, a quarter inch from seams.

I plan to use different threads, especially the Sue Spargo threads I have been buying, but at the moment I am using an Aurifil embroidery thread.

BAMaQG IRR May 2018 detail
BAMaQG IRR May 2018 detail

The Flying Geese made some arrow type designs.

You can see, especially if you click on the image to make it larger, that I am doing multiple rows of outline stitching. I don’t want the piece to be stiff, so I probably won’t fill in the whole arrow, but I might do a few more lines. I’ll have to see.

BAMaQG IRR May 2018 back detail
BAMaQG IRR May 2018 back detail

I am pretty pleased with the way the back looks as well. Unlike 10 stitches to the inch hand quilting, the stitches on the back of a Big Stitched quilt are supposed to be smaller, according to Sarah Fielke. Mine are smaller and even, which is what I have been working to improve.

BAMaQG IRR May 2018 detail
BAMaQG IRR May 2018 detail

If I were to put stitches in all the solid areas so there was no open space, the look would be somewhat like one section I already did. The section between the green dots and blue flowers has about 4 lines of stitching that covers the whole area.

BAMaQG IRR Top Ready for Next Steps

BAMaQG Improv Round Robin
BAMaQG Improv Round Robin

The top is finished and I am on to putting together the back. I don’t think I will make my deadline of having this ready for Big Stitching, but I have made great progress and see the light at the end of the tunnel.

There is much more space and lightness in the piece and the solid areas will provide some good spaces for stitching.

BAMaQG IRR 360

Well, so much for squaring it up and getting it ready to hand quilt!

BAMaQG IRR, in 2018
BAMaQG IRR, in 2018

I put this piece up on the design wall and decided that the bottom of the quilt was too heavy. The sections needed space so they could be seen. In order to provide space, I had to unsew some of the quilt, modify and resew.

BAMaQG IRR - midway
BAMaQG IRR – midway

This took longer than expected and the top is no longer in one piece. When it is finished it will be bigger and there will be more space at the bottom. I am more happy as I see the lightness at the bottom develop.

 

BAMaQG IRR - 3/4s of the way
BAMaQG IRR – 3/4s of the way

I am making progress and I see the light at the end of the tunnel. My goal at the moment is to try to get the sides to be same same length (or approximately) as the middle. I am working on the last bit of the bottom, which is sort of improv-y, but more like my normal quilt style, though less planned up front.

I am happier with the piece in general, though I did feel a little bad about messing up others’ work. I do think this is a better piece, designwise.

BAMQG IRR

IRR - June 2016
IRR – June 2016

My Improv Round Robin has returned. Ruth had it for a couple of months because I wasn’t at the meeting last month and she wasn’t sure whether to pass it along.
She added the bottom part with the curves. It is an interesting addition.
I am trying to decide whether to try and get more people to work on it or whether I should just do some work of my own and finish it. I have some thoughts:

  • It needs some space around the edges. The outside top and right side might need some of the turquoise solid to provide some breathing room.
  • It is definitely not square and I need to figure out what to do about that, if anything.
  • I want to add more Flying Geese, which I will do myself. Perhaps I will add them on the right.
  • I am surprised that more people did continue the Flying Geese motif. The time constraints were daunting, however, so I understand.

I do need to look at it for awhile.

Improv Again

I got two new-to-me round robins last Friday. I didn’t have enough design wall space, so I took them out and looked at them. Different elements caught my attention – the squares in Annemarie’s and the applique’ on Michelle-Nicholle’s.

My addition to Annemarie's piece - detail
My addition to Annemarie’s piece – detail

I started with Annemarie’s after I finished the Cutting Corners donation top. I decided to add  the other corner to the top left. My corner has the same look at the corner on the right side. I wanted the elements to be related, but not to be derivative. I wanted to use more of the Alison Glass fabric, but there wasn’t any left in the packet.

I looked at it after I had finished the squares. They looked too square. I had to make up some space (see the bottom strips where the blueberry fabric is?), so I added some strips and kept adding until my addition was large enough to fill the space. The strips look more improv than the squares. I can’t blame my hand for the cutting as it is much better. Habit, I guess.

Michelle-Nicholle's Improv piece -before
Michelle-Nicholle’s Improv piece -before

Michelle-Nicholle’s was harder, mostly because it had the structure of a very traditional round robin. All the pieces in the round robin are getting quite large and Michelle-Nicholle’s is no exception. It is also, I think, the largest piece on which I have worked. There were also only a few motifs I could use as inspiration, none of which were very exciting to me. More applique’ would have been logical, but I just wasn’t in the mood. It was very difficult to think of an addition. I reached back to my early days of quiltmaking when I learned to do improv curved piecing. I added some of that. It is a simple addition, but effective, I think. I may add something else as my addition does seem like much, nor does it help the next person as a jumping off point.

Michelle-Nicholle's IRR after -detail
Michelle-Nicholle’s IRR after -detail
Michelle-Nicholle's IRR after
Michelle-Nicholle’s IRR after

 

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.

Cheryl’s IRR

I don’t actually have any IRRs right now and I wasn’t at the BAMQG meeting, so I couldn’t take another. I had three in quick succession, with Cheryl’s being the last before my brief hiatus. Ruth‘s and Claire‘s pieces were the other two in the trio.

Michelle and I met at Trader Joe’s again and exchanged IRRs. I took Claire’s to pass along as she wouldn’t be at the meeting either. I headed up to the North Coast again with DH for NSGW/#politicalwifery events and Michelle was headed to Spain. Rhonda was kind enough to take both bags to the meeting for us and I gave them to her at the CQFA meeting.

All of this meant that I had to get Cheryl’s done in time to get it to Rhonda. I had about a day once I figured out all of the timing, so I got down to business.

Cheryl's IRR - before
Cheryl’s IRR – before

Cheryl’s piece looked great when I got it and I was loathe to wreck it, but Michelle had added half a row, so that missing section was perfect for me to complete.

Cheryl’s piece is turning out really well. I love it, thus the feelings of avoiding wreckage. I really wanted to use the Paris map fabric, but couldn’t really fit it in once all was said and done.

I walked around with it on my design wall for a few days and decided to add some Flying Geese. Yes, I am still in love with Flying Geese.

I also needed to add my signature fabric, but I didn’t want to add a large patch or strip as I have on other pieces, because I wanted to preserve the mainly white and turquoise color story.

There were a few small strips left over from other piecing, so I pieced a few of those together to make another strip large enough to handle my signature fabric. I wanted something that would look like it fit in.

Cheryl's IRR - my part
Cheryl’s IRR – my part

I made some Flying Geese. Since those were the main parts, I started working getting Michelle’s strip completed. I added some white and a strip of the black and white stripe, which came to me after looking at the piece.

After making my piece, I think the white on the edge needs to be corralled, but someone else, or Cheryl, will have to worry about that. I am pleased with how my part came out and I think my signature fabric piece fits in well without overwhelming the whole design.

 

Cheryl's IRR - finished with my part
Cheryl’s IRR – finished with my part

I also think the piece needs some space at the top. The bottom is getting to be quite breezy while the top is looking a little cramped. Not fatally so, but a little. It will be interesting to see what happens.

Good things about this IRR

  • no rules about how much you have to do
  • don’t have to add much fabric

Ruth’s IRR

Finished: Ruth's IRR - complete
Finished: Ruth’s IRR – complete

Yes, they are coming fast and furious! I got two at the last BAMQG meeting, as I mentioned. I was able to work on Claire’s piece during my last free sewing weekend, but I didn’t get to Ruth’s. While having little time to sew on the weekend, I have had to cram the work into bits of time during the week. Of course, I forgot to take a before picture. 🙁 C’est la vie. If you imagine removing my part, that is the before. 😉

There is something that makes me think of a castle. The ‘mountains’ could be points of a tower and the curved sections could be arches.

My addition to Ruth's IRR
My addition to Ruth’s IRR

Ruth’s piece has a clear color story and large curved center with triangles seem to be a design focus. The piece spoke to me immediately after I put it up on my design wall. I saw the triangles on the top that looked like mountains and decided to add something similar on the bottom.

I had to do some fancy sewing with background around the mountains since I didn’t want to cut off the tips. I think the background looks like Mary Mashuta’s Pushed Neutral concept and I like it.

IRR Again

Claire's IRR
Claire’s IRR

Next on the IRR list was Claire’s piece. Claire was in my original group so I wanted to make sure I worked on all of those quilts. I received her piece at the January BAMQG meeting.

Claire’s IRR was a challenge. The colors are perfect for Claire, but they are not my colors. Also, many of the fabrics had been used up or smaller pieces were left. This is why the project is called a challenge! I did not let these things discourage me.

I put the piece up on my design wall and tried to see the focal point or the place where Claire started. I couldn’t really tell, so I looked at who had worked on the piece and still couldn’t tell what might have been Claire’s start.

Trying out the Grandmother's Fan idea
Trying out the Grandmother’s Fan idea

I put the focal point aside and looked at the piece. I saw some good curved lines and thought something like the Grandmother’s Fan block might work. I cut some blades and put them up on the design wall.

I really did try to keep, mostly, to the 20 minute rule. I find that rule to be hard as the pieces get larger. Of course, cutting is still a challenge. Also, the curves on Claire’s were not an easy design element. And, right on cue, life got in the way and the piece sat on my design wall for a week or more.

Claire's IRR - continuing the curves
Claire’s IRR – continuing the curves

As I walked in and out of my workroom I decided I did like the curves. At one point, I adjusted the fans so the existing curves would be continued — or give the illusion of being continued.

In the photo, I tried to point out to you, in a very obnoxious color, what I thought of as ‘continuing the curve’. No, the blades aren’t all the same size, but the curve seems to be the most important in terms of design. I hope the curves I added work with the existing curves to create a focal point.

The bad part is that I didn’t square off the fans. I know I should have, but I just didn’t feel like it. I know I can offer to do it later, if push comes to shove. I am hoping that someone else will square them off down the road.

Claire's IRR with my addition
Claire’s IRR with my addition

I am happy with what I did. I gave the piece to Michelle on Thursday and will look forward to seeing what she does.

Now I am on to Ruth‘s piece.

More Improv Round Robin

I had two recent opportunities, the IRR post and the BAMQG Meeting post, to talk about my round robin piece, which is still circulating, and missed both of them.

Jaye's IRR - December 2015
Jaye’s IRR – December 2015

I was able to glimpse the work done on my piece at the meeting last week. I think my piece is looking spectacular. There is a lot of interest because of the improvisational piecing. There is also cohesion because of the limited palette of fabrics.

I am so thrilled that some of that Philip Jacobs (or perhaps Martha Negley??) fabric was added (shells at the top). I love the boldness of it. I would like to take a better look at it as I see some other fabrics tucked into that top section.

As I said before, the pieces are getting quite large and mine is no exception. I think it is probably NICU size right now, or slightly larger. I want it to be larger, but may have to add bits of my own at the end. People from other groups are still working on it, which is great.

Improv Round Robin Again

Angela's IRR - Before
Angela’s IRR – Before

At the meeting the other day, everyone doing the IRR challenge got together and we swapped pieces. We changed things up and I now have Angela’s IRR piece. We were not originally in the same group. Her group was small and everyone had worked on all of the pieces at least once. I didn’t have one to work on so I volunteered to work on Angela’s.

The pieces are getting quite large. I quickly put a signature strip on the side and then started thinking about what I could add that would look great. I liked the castle fabric, but wasn’t sure about just putting in a big strip of towers.

The diamond motifs caught my attention and I started working on adding free form diamonds.

Free Form Diamonds in Process
Free Form Diamonds in Process

I have a hard time being completely free form/improv-y, but I did my best. I tried to make the diamonds not in alignment. I didn’t like the way they looked. I sewed the diamonds to backgrounds and played around with them a bit.

I looked at the piece and saw that dark grey kite fabric. I played around with that fabric and came up with a kind of checkerboard effect.

Finished Angela's Piece
Finished Angela’s Piece

I like the way it turned out. I think the dark fabric adds a bit of a frame to the piece and sets off the diamonds as well. I also like the visuality of the dark fabric going around the corner.

Angela's Finished Piece
Angela’s Finished Piece

BAMQG Round Robin – Rhonda

As I mentioned the other day, I had Rhonda’s piece and I worked on it very quickly, then sent it off to Cheryl.

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

When I got it from Rhonda, it was getting to be quite curvy. There is a lot of nice piecing and I did not want to touch the bottom portion (ignore my slippered feet!) as I didn’t want to ruin anything.

I took a leaf out of the notebook I used in a class at Fort Mason. Sonya Lee Barrington taught a beginning quilt class and one of the techniques I learned was called “Curved Strip Piecing.”

Rhonda's IRR with my signature fabric
Rhonda’s IRR with my signature fabric

I laid the piece over my signature fabric and cut along the edge. I made quick hash marks across the two fabrics and pinned them together. It made it easier to sew the curve, which came out mostly flat. My addition came out super bold. I hope people know they can cut off my signature fabric.

My contribution to Rhonda's IRR
My contribution to Rhonda’s IRR

For the rest of my addition, I used some piecing that was already done. I added some more and then sewed what I made to the piece.

I would have never thought to put half a piece on to someone else’s round robin, but I saw Michelle do it and decided it would fit with my timeframe. Again, I used some curved strip piecing to help make the piece fit.

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.

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 IRR

As mentioned the other day, the IRR is going well. I worked on Michelle’s piece on Saturday. It is, as also mentioned, a 20 minute exercise, so I worked on it early and got it finished.

Michelle's IRR Start
Michelle’s IRR Start

I started with Michelle’s piece, by putting it on the wall and looking at it for a few days. That tactic would have worked better if I had taken a look at the fabrics she included. 😉

I decided, however, that I was going to work on it on Saturday and get it out of my hair.

I did loosen up a bit on Michelle’s. Even I can admit that mine was a bit more uptight than improv. I guess that is part of the process.

Once again, I have a shortage of design wall space. I really think I need a whole room with movable design walls all over it. OR I need to clear my mind of the jumble of projects in it. My mind is an insane mess right now.

Michelle's IRR with my contribution
Michelle’s IRR with my contribution

I should have balanced the piece out by putting my contribution on the bottom, but I wanted to continue those dark solid lines. I really do like the strips of bright. the top of the piece is very happy.

It is headed off to Jen next.