Along with the Octagon 9 Patch, the BAMaQG Color Round Robin came back from my quilter. I really like the quilting. There are different motifs in most of the non-background areas. I have to sew down the binding and then send it off to its new owner.
I don’t dislike this quilt, however it is not a favorite. I do really like the quilting that Colleen did.
The bits in each of the areas with printed fabric look great.
It was back in May that I finished preparing the Octagon 9 Patch for quilting and July when I took it to Colleen. The child has returned and the quilting looks fabulous. There is something about not seeing a quilt for awhile that makes it that much nicer. Also, being almost finished is wonderful, too.
Sadly, Colleen hurt her hand and she didn’t get to the Stepping Stones before she did it. I don’t know how badly, but I know she isn’t quilting for awhile. Hopefully, not too long. I am continuing to sew! (as you probably noticed)
As part of the Sampler Quilt Class and other tutorials I have on this site, I want to add one about putting a quilt together. I thought it would be good to include information about sashing at the same time. Since I have been using this quilt to write the Sampler quilt posts, I thought I would use it to create the latest tutorial.
Process can be a difficult mistress (boy toy??) and she had both fangs and talons out for me on Sunday. I really wanted to just piece a bunch of stuff together, so I took Who Am I? off the design wall and started checking out sashing options for the Aqua-Red Sampler. I thought this would be a relatively easy task and I would be sewing in no time.
HA! I should never think that.
I started off thinking that the version above with no sashing just wasn’t quite right. I have a stack of fabrics that I keep for backs and sashing (larger pieces) so I started to look through them and try them out.
I always use Lorraine Torrence’s rule to “make visual decisions visually”. Well, when I do that I usually get good results. When I don’t, I ruin the quilt.
I pulled out the most likely option and pinned some blocks up on my design wall (2 layers of fabric don’t stick). You can see how optimistic I was that this would work based on the number of blocks I put up. It isn’t terrible, but I didn’t like the way the red was interacting with some of the reds in the blocks.
I thought maybe some blue and I have a nice turquoise solid that I got out. Not terrible, but nowhere near great either. The blocks with the lighter blue backgrounds stick out like sore thumbs and the blocks with the medium blue backgrounds wash out. I wasn’t daunted yet.
I thought maybe I should introduce a new color. I know I wanted this to be a, basically, two color quilt, but I started to think, perhaps, that there was no way to keep that dream alive with the two colors I had chosen. I thought about the green in Stepping Stones n.2 and I picked out a nice floral without flowers that included that green plus the blue.
I couldn’t yank that fabric off the design wall fast enough. It made me think of my man, Phil, though. I tried one of his prints. Also hideous. Well, not hideous, but it really didn’t work. The blue was wrong. The pink was wrong. It looked messy and slapped together.
I decided to try some white. It wouldn’t be my first choice because it is too predictable, but I was starting to feel desperate. Just a little. The white is wrong, too. I am not sure why, but it doesn’t add anything. It was too white as well, as if THAT makes any sense.
Since I liked the dots and was still thinking the white might just too white, so I pulled out a different dot and tried to like it. It isn’t terrible. It does add a bit to the whole piece, but the black dots just aren’t right. There is none of that fabric in the whole piece. I put it aside as a possibility.
Still thinking dots would work, I pulled out a different red dot print. The red wasn’t exactly the shade I would have chosen if I had all the fabric in the world, but the dots were larger and that was promising. Also, not terrible, but also not exactly right.
By this time, I was starting to feel disheartened and needed some input so I posted to Instagram to get some feedback. People were very kind and had some good ideas.
One person suggested navy, which might work, but I don’t like navy much and don’t have any navy fabric – yardage, at least. I might have some scraps. Amanda suggested yellow. I had a nice sunshine-y orange, which I just thought I would try to see. Not terrible, but not right either. It came across as gold in the photos (even the one above, I think). You remember the hunt for yellow in which I engaged for the basket quilt? I really didn’t want to go out and buy fabric. I really felt I had to have something that would work.
I found some cherry fabric, again by my man, Phil, and thought I would try it. The first Philip Jacobs option was still on my mind. I wasn’t ready to give up on him again. This fabric is actually okay. I think ‘okay’ is a step above ‘not terrible’. Still it didn’t scream YES! at me.
Much more sighing went on.
My last option for the day was a grey. I was not hopeful. I really wanted to sew and I had used most of my sewing time on an unsuccessful attempt to choose some sashing.It didn’t work. It doesn’t look much better than the white
I gave up and went to sew the latest donation quilt. I am starting to think this quilt does not want sashing and I’ll have to make the tutorial with another quilt.
I decided to make this block after finding I needed one more block to complete my Aqua-Red Sampler. I have never made one of these, so I thought “what the heck?”. I had seen some directions for it and it caught my attention. As mentioned, I had to cobble together instructions from at least three different tutorials to be able to make the block. Below is my version. The tutorials I referenced are noted below.
Finished Block Size: 12 inches (12.5 unfinished)
In this tutorial, the background is turquoise and the foreground is red.
Thread – you might want to use your regular piecing thread for the first part of the directions, then switch to a thread that matches the background fabric for sewing the curves shut
1/4 inch foot
applique’ foot (foot with a center mark)
square ruler at least 12.5 inches square
long ruler at least 12 inches long
snips or scissors
Tool to poke out corners
A pen or pencil you can use to draw on fabric (I like Sewline pencils)
Stiletto or dental pick type instrument (something thin and pointy)
hand sewing needle
Instructions for making a 12″ (finished) Cathedral Windows block
1. Cut 4 squares of background fabric 12.5 inches by 12.5 inches
2. Cut 4 squares for inset pieces 4 inches by 4 inches.
3. Fold each of the 4 background squares in half. This will make your 12.5 x 12.5 inch squares into rectangles (e.g. do not fold NOT along the diagonal).
Hint: I sew all four one after another, but you can sew one at a time, if you prefer.
3A. Sew along the short side, backstitching at the beginning and the end.
4. Open your rectangles and match up the raw edges.
Hint: I nest the center seams and pin, starting in the middle
Hint: leave an opening 2-3 fingers wide for later turning. I mark this with two pins right next to each other.
5. Sew your pinned seam shut except for the opening you have left.
Hint: I backstitch at the beginning and end of the seams including next to the opening. Yes, it is a hassle to start and stop, but I don’t want the edges of the seams to come apart when I turn.
6. Place recently sewn squares on the ironing board and smooth out wrong side out (above). They should make nice squares.
7. Press nested seams in opposite directions from the center out.
8. Press long seams in one direction, being careful to line up edge of opening as best you can. You can press this seam open if you want.
You should now have 4 nice flat squares with wrong sides out.
9. Turn squares right sides out.
10 Poke out corners carefully. I use a knitting needle whose mate broke.
Your squares are now on the bias, so be careful when you handle them.
11. Fold corners into the center. Do this with all four corners and make a new square. The square should be 6 inches.
12. Lay out the blocks in a 2 x 2 grid, so you can see what you have
13. Pin the center triangles of the two top triangles together. Do the same for the bottom triangles. Now your 2×2 grid will be pinned together in two rectangular sections
14. Using a ruler (I use a 3.5 x 12.5 Creative Grids), and your marking implement (I like Sewline pencils), draw a line in the crease under the triangles you are about to pin
15. Line up squares with backs together and triangles pointing to the right.
16. Put your applique’ foot on your sewing machine.
17. Sew along the crease on both sets.
18. Lay out the 2×2 grid again. Now you will have two ‘rows’. You are going to sew the rows together.
19. Fold up the top triangles from the bottom row and the bottom triangle from the top row.
20. Draw a line along the crease at the bottom of the two triangles.
21. Sew along the line. After, you will have your 2×2 grid of squares sewn together and the triangles will be flapping around.
22. Take your foreground triangles and lay them on top of your background
23. Tuck the flaps in towards the center and pin in place. Watch out that the edges of your foreground squares don’t show. Make the edges curve slightly
Note: this was confusing to figure out and it turned out that I did not have all the sewn triangles in the right place. After you sew the triangles together, make sure you flatten them back in their original places, e.g. one layer of background on top
Note: I had to use a thin sharp tool, like a stiletto or dental instrument to tuck in some of the foreground edges. I sometimes use a seam ripper, which is a very bad habit, because if you aren’t careful, you can rip your fabric. You can definitely trim the foreground fabric, but trim a little at a time very, very carefully
24. Pin each edge in three places with the heads of the pins facing the center of the foreground fabric. This is not micro management; this technique will allow you to sew as long as possible with the pins in place
25. Sew very close to the edge of the background. I sewed slowly and carefully. I used the above mentioned sharp tools when I needed a little help. Leave LONG tails so you can knot off and hide the threads
26. Handstitch the other triangle flaps closed with a few stitches. The other tutorials said to use the machine, but 2 stitches is a pain and an irritant on the machine, so I hand sewed the flaps closed when I was sinking threads.
I never thought of making it before, but this block did kind of take my fancy. This is kind of a strange block, partially because of all of the layers. It is lumpier than I expected. Warn your longarmer about it.
Fons & Porter Cathedral Window block– I originally found the instructions in one of their magazines as part of their ‘learning to quilt* series’. I had to go looking for other instructions when I found the directions had no sizes or actual cutting instructions. Directions are brief.
Sometimes Crafter Cathedral Window block – some missing detail, but has the instructions for cutting the right sized patches. I also don’t like it that the viewer cannot enlarge the photos to see the details.
*Nota bene: not sure if this is the correct name, but it describes the basic idea of the series.
I found some directions for a machine pieced (machine sewn?) Cathedral Window block and it was bugging me, so I decided it would be the last block in my Aqua-Red Sampler. It wouldn’t be the same as all the other sampler quilts and I would get to finish something today while progressing on something else.
I started with the Fons & Porter directions I found in one of their magazines. 🙁 These directions did not tell me what size blocks I was making or what size to cut the patches. The directions were not that helpful either. I am not sure what the company that owns Fons & Porter is doing, but they aren’t doing themselves any favors by hiding this crucial information.
I went to the web and found two tutorials. I used them in conjunction with each other, because neither had all the information. Sometimes Crafter had the right size, so I could tell what sizes to cut and Lovely Little Handmades had excellent directions though used different sizes patches.
My block is still in process, but it is coming along very well.
I have some hand sewing to do, which neither tutorial recommends, but I don’t care. It is the way I want to finish my block.
I decided to create a tutorial. I think the quilt world needs a more complete Cathedral Windows block tutorial in the 12.5 inch (unfinished) size, so look for that soon.
When I finish this block, another decision will be made and I will be able to put the Aqua-Red Sampler together.
I carved out about 6 hours yesterday where I just sewed. I finished a donation block and started another. I started and finished a Color My Quilt shard. The biggest deal was that I worked on the Rosalie Dace piece I started in Sisters. I haven’t really worked on it since the trip, but my mind has been working on it. I finally cleared off the big design wall enough to get it up there.
I thought I would keep adding letters, but the number of pins in the piece (a problem at Sew Day I can talk about later) and unfused bits flailing around demanded a different course. The quilt really wanted me to sew down and fuse down letters so I did.
The two sets of ribbon/trim letters are sewn down using a zig zag stitch in varying widths. It really took forever because I sewed very slowly, but I am pretty pleased with the way it came out.
For the ‘mary’s daughter’ piece, I used an Aurifil violet-ish color on the top and the bottom.
For ‘William’s Mom’, I used clear Auriful in the top and an an orange 50 wt in the bobbin. I started out with orange in the top, too, but it obscured the circles that are part of the design of the ribbon.
I feel good about the work. I am so pleased to be making progress.
In going through old photos, I found photos of the Handbag Sampler I have been talking about recently.
I haven’t actually found the blocks, but, at least, I have a photo and sort of know what I have.
I found a photo of a Nosegay block that I made (or am in the process of making as well. The 9th block is good, because that means, if I find the blocks, I can just put the quilt together. I don’t have to search out fabric, which is all very distinctive. Of course,in terms of learning, it isn’t quite as comprehensive a Sampler as the Aqua-Red Sampler. There is no applique completed.
I have to find the blocks before I decide what other blocks to make.
Yes, I worked really hard over the weekend and finished the top!
I also finished the back and binding, so the piece is ready to go to Colleen. Yay!
I started playing around with colors in 2012, so this quilt has been hanging around for longer than I thought. Those first tests were a lot different than what this quilt turned out to be. I am pretty pleased with the colors, though the darker turquoises do stand out. At least they are evenly spaced.
I have another group of fabrics destined for this pattern. Regardless of whether I actually use those fabrics for n.3 remains to be seen, but I don’t think I am quite done with this pattern yet. I’ll need a different border. This one is fine, but not for a second quilt.
I realized that I don’t talk much about ripping out stitching. I do it all the time and this week was no exception.
I have been eager to finish the Stepping Stones n.2 top as it has been on my design wall for too long. In my rush, I put a block together wrong and then put it in the quilt. With one seam to go to finish the top, I had to rip out a bunch of seams. Yes, I had to. I looked at the quilt for a long time time, trying to decide if I could live with the mistake. I didn’t want to rip when I was so close to finishing, but I just couldn’t live with the problem.
The look is almost right, but if the viewer looks hard, there is a disruption in the pattern. Also, all of a sudden two like fabrics were placed together, which I really worked hard to avoid all through the piecing process.
I am sure you can’t avoid the big circle, but refer back to the photo above to see the problem. Look down and to the left one row to the see the duplicate fabrics (not circled.
Yep. I ripped. I thought I would just take out one row from one block and sew it back in. I ended up taking part a good portion of the lower right hand corner. The photo with the arrow is before I ripped out some other pieces.
I am in the process of sewing the bottom back together and finishing the top.
I wouldn’t normally put a quilt together like this (you know I like chunking!), but it is too long to fit completely on my large design wall. I put the top quarter (ish??) together and and then flung it over the top so only the bottom couple of rows are showing. That allowed me to move everything up and work more on the middle. I hope also, to work on the bottom, but I will probably have to move it up again.
I am always amazed at how good quilt tops look sewing together. I really like the top part of this quilt and it took me so long to get to this point. Yes, I have a lot more cutting and a lot more sewing, but I am thrilled, finally, to be making some progress!
I have been in a sewing drought for the past few weeks. Not because I didn’t want to see but because I had no time.
On Saturday, in the late afternoon, I got back down to business. I came back from being out most of the day and started sewing on the Stepping Stones n.2 blocks.
I still haven’t cut all the pieces I need to finish the border blocks. I have been cutting and sewing alternately which allowed me to sew 2 blocks together before dinner and that small amount of progress really made me feel great
Every month or so I have been going on and one about various projects on which I need to work. It occurred to me that some of the projects are so old that I should haul them out and take a new photo. I sighed hugely at the work involved in that little project, because some of them are well stored. I do think it is a good idea not just for you, but for me as well. I started with something accessible. The last time I looked at these pieces and parts was in 2014.
The pieces and blocks for Pointillist Palette quilt n.4 (??) are in my sewing table, so I was able to pull them out (and shake them off a bit) fairly easily.
The reason I think this is a good exercise is that I can see what I have. As you can see I have 5 blocks already made and many squares cut. I am sure I need at least twice as many blocks, but this is a good reminder of what I have.
Also, looking at the pieces and parts reminds me I need to look at what my original idea was for this quilt. Was it a Night theme or did I already do that.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The Octagon Nine Patch is ready to go to Colleen and I put the Stepping Stones blocks back on the design wall. The last time I talked about this was only in March, so not an eternity ago. There is a lot of work to do on this piece: more cutting for the border. I am tempted to sew the upper patches into blocks and then sew the upper blocks together. I can’t really fit the whole piece on my design wall and that seems like a good solution. I am afraid I will end up with some blocks with all the same fabrics next to each other, however. I know it will look a lot better sewn together. It looks a lot more defined in the photo than it does in person.
I can’t decide if I am determined to get this done this time or not. I started this in about December of 2014, so it has been hanging around awhile. I should get it pieced and off to the quilter. I am not quite feeling the love. What a shame.
I finished the top and back over the weekend. I started this project in 2015 and am really glad to be done with it.
It is a nice quilt and I will send it off to friends after showing it around.
I made an effort to use cool colors on the border to pick up some of the cool colors in the Nine Patches. I think some of the darks in the border are too dark, but live and learn. This is not a pattern I will be repeating.
I tried to make the piece look like it was woven and I think, if you get close, you will see that impression. At least I hope you will. I couldn’t completely keep like colors away from each other, but I did my best. I am pleased with the way the whole thing came out.
I was fortunate to find a piece of Kaffe in my backing pile that fit the quilt widthwise. I only had to make a strip to cover the rest of the vertical. I was thrilled. Not only was the Kaffe the perfect size, but the colors make it look like it was made for this quilt. Yay!