I am back from 4 trips in 4 weeks. I am hoping I can can get to know my husband again, get back on schedule and get life back to normal. I have finished the last Metroscape block and am ready to start making a quilt top.
Actually, I am ready to do a whole bunch of sewing.
This block is my least favorite. The blue and red, especially the blue don’t see to go with the other blocks. I had 12 different dots and I didn’t want to repeat any, so I used it. We will see how I like it when I put all the blocks on the design wall together.
I finished another MetroScape block. This is the second to last one and I should be able to get a start on putting the quilt together soon.
I didn’t cut my regular Hunting and Gathering pieces, because I was afraid I wouldn’t have enough fabric for the blocks. I am pleased that I have plenty and will be cutting the pieces I need for various other projects soon.
I started binding the Sealife quilt-let the other day. I made a couple of bindings on a Saturday a week or so ago, so they were ready to go. After finishing off the Christmas mat, I got busy on the quilt-let.
It is going pretty well. I can’t remember the last time I bound a quilt that had flannel as its backing. I like it. The threads sink right into it. It is a little difficult to get the needle in, but not terribly so. Once that is accomplished the stitching goes easily.
I think I forgot to put a label on this one, so I will have to do some hand stitching. It’s been awhile.
I finished another block over the weekend. I like the foreground fabric. That light green (sage or light aqua??) is really nice and unusual.
I have 8 of these now and cut the rest of the foregrounds, so I could spread out the colors. I have enough of the dots so that each foreground will be unique unless I decide to make extra blocks. We’ll see how large I want this quilt to be.
It might seem unbelievably boring to see each of these blocks as I put them together. However, they make me so happy that I can’t help sharing.
I am particularly happy with this block. I started out with a cool center, which I love. Adding the dot fabric, which I thought would be warm, fits perfectly. It takes on a warm cast, I think.
I also counted up the dots I have and found 11. That is one short of those needed for the number of blocks in the pattern. I don’t mind repeating one, but I may make more blocks, which means I will have to repeat others. Stay tuned.
This Sealife quilt-let started as a piece of fabric I bought at PIQF. Perhaps I bought it last year?
I bought this piece of fabric to make a quilt for my friend’s grandchild. Since I was giving his granddaughter the BAMaQG Color Round Robin, I couldn’t very well leave her older brother out. I wasn’t up for a full on boy quilt and this piece of fabric seemed to be a good compromise.
I call this a quilt-let, because there is no piecing. I don’t know if there is another name for this type of work, so quilt-let it is.
After basting it in my hotel room on Friday night, I spent most of Saturday quilting the piece using some flannel for the back. I used the lines on the fabric to guide my quilting.
I have to make a binding and sew that on. I didn’t bring fabric to do that so that is a task for another day.
I am not sure this project was on any of my project lists, which means I can’t cross it off. Still, the fabric has been laying around my workroom and now it will be finished so and off to its new home.
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.