Thursday, August 27, 2015

Step 2

Step 2 of my new project is now complete. Some might call this a finished top, but I'm trying something new with this one, so I have another set of cut & twist to go. 

First, I added an extra border, so that I won't be cutting off all the purple in the next step.  I think this quilt is going to finish larger than I expected (about 40x40), so I'm not sure where it's going to end up. Originally, it was to be a quiltie (24x24") donation.

I'm hoping to get this one done this week, but I just committed to make another quilt on a very short time schedule so this one might have to go on hold.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Layer Cake Fun

I feel like I'm avoiding something. I have no idea what, but I've started about 4 different quilts in the past 2 weeks, and I don't really know why.  I showed two convergence quilts the other day, and then I made this one this weekend.

And when that was done, I did this. This is step 1 of a new project. I didn't actually make this from a layer cake, but I cut my own 10" squares from fat quarters. It's too bad that you only get 2 10" squares in a fat quarter. Lots of leftovers from that - but maybe they'll become part of a final border or the backing for this quilt.

I'm trying an experiment here, so I'll show steps 2 and 3 as they progress.

In the meantime, I'm still working on the scrappy pineapple quilt, using those blocks as leaders and enders for all these new projects.

Friday, August 21, 2015

More Convergence

In cleaning up my scraps, and working on my scrappy pineapple, I decided to sort through my bucket of fat quarters.  I was feeling bored with making pineapple blocks and cutting scraps, so I thought I would try a quick convergence quilt. I made one years ago at a class (see yesterday's post), and I bought Ricky Timm's convergence book when he was in town in 2013.

I pawed through all my fat quarters, hoping to find a four-some which would work for this project.  Not a lot of luck there, but I did put together a couple of options.  I found 2 oriental fabrics that I've been trying to come up with a project for, and 2 matching fabrics in the fat quarter bin. Perfect!  But when I went to iron them and start cutting, I realized that the 2 matching fabrics were not full fat quarters. Rats!  Just one more reason to clean up my bins - apparently I dropped a number of fabric scraps in to the fat quarter bucket.

I thought I'd try it out anyway - how bad could it be? I simply sized the prints a bit wider, and matched them with the narrow pieces I had.  In retrospect it probably would have made more sense to simply make a smaller project, and cut all the fabric to the same size, but I went ahead with this plan.  It didn't quilt work out as I had hoped.  Seems that when you use odd sized pieces, you end up with the same fabric next to each other in some areas of the quilt.  

And then, I wanted the bird in the lower right to be comlete - which meant ensuring it was enclosed in a 5" square. That made for some non-standard cutting dimensions, and I see now that the second set of cuts were too uniform.

So this convergence isn't quite what I had envisioned - but it is a top, and used about 1 yard of fabric.  Now to figure out exactly how big it is, and add some borders to it.

And then, I was having so much fun I just kept going. I had a package of fat eights - hand dyed fabric from Vicki that I won a year or so ago.  I decided to play with it and try one of Ricky Timm's other convergence variations.   I should have planned the layout a bit more - instead I just made some free-form cuts to turn 4 fat eighths into a panel, and then converged it with another 4 eighths.  One last 8th (not sure why there were 9 in the set) plus a lucky find in my stash to create the two side borders, and voila!  I call this "Sunset".

I'm linking up with WIPs be Gone today.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

TBT - Convergence

It's time for another edition of Throwback Thursday!  Please join me (see links at the bottom) and show off one of your earlier projects.

Once upon a time, I used to take classes at a local quilt store. A friend talked me into one, making a convergence quilt based on Ricky Timm's technique.  This was still early in my quilting days, when I bought fabric at Fabricland. I had a few rather poor choices in my "stash" in those days - purchases which were regretted as soon as I got them home.  One of them was this purple batik with flowers. I had it in both blue and purple. The blue was border fabric in Oh! My Stars, and the purple was part of the pieced border in that quilt. But I still had lots left and I wanted it gone.  So, for the Convergence class I pulled that fabric out, and found another purple batik in my stash which actually matched!

A half-yard of each of those fabrics went with me to class, and I carefully cut and sewed and cut and sewed some more, to make this quilt.  Convergence really is a simple project, and goes together really quickly.  And I could not believe the result when I was done. From 2 fabrics I disliked, I ended up with a really neat looking quilt.  I was totally thrilled.  The bright border is another batik which frames the center, and then I bordered it in the leftover purple. 

This was quilted on my domestic machine, with a stitch in the ditch along all the convergence seams.  Then some straight line quilting in the border to keep everything flat. It's about 36" square and was hanging in my quilting room until I reorganized.  I need to find a new wall for it.

I still have some fairly large pieces of this purple batik with flowers in my scrap bin (I think it's been removed from the stash and only scraps are left now).  Cutting scraps, it's been fun identifying what quilts some of the fabrics came from, and every time I see this one I think of the quilt I love,  made from ugly fabrics.

The rules are simple (and flexible :) ). Write a post (or revive an old one) about an old quilt or project that you have - maybe something from your pre-blogging days, or just a project you love that you want to show off again. Please include a link back to this post in yours, and when you link up make sure you are linking to your specific blog post, not just your blog address. You want to make sure people can find your post if they drop by the linkup later.

Add your link, and check out some of the other links for some inspiration. See my sidebar for a TBT button you can add to your blog.

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Stash Report - August 16th

Can you believe it's already the middle of August?  Kids will be back to school soon, and fall will be here before we know it.

I keep forgetting to share this finish.  This is the companion quilt for my earlier baby boy quilt.  Oops, the picture didn't rotate today. I wish I knew the magic incantation to figure out whether or not it would.  This quilt is a growth chart and baby book panel - an odd choice for a quilt, but tall panels are not popular for donations.  Hopefully someone will like this - it has a nice soft flannel backing..

I've also managed a few more blocks for my scrappy pineapple. Slowly but surely, this is coming together.  I'm sure we'll all be sick of seeing this on my design wall, by the time it's a full quilt :)

On the stash side, I managed to stay out of quilt stores this week, so I have nothing out and nothing in to report.

Stash totals for the year:
95 3/4 yards in
185 1/2 yards out
Total: 89 3/4 yards out
Drop by Patchwork Times for more stash reports today. 

Thursday, August 13, 2015

TBT - Scrappy Trails

This quilt was my first scrappy quilt. It was a mystery as part of a local quilt guild, back in 2005, just after I started quilting.  The pattern was a mystery quilt created by Judy Hopkins, named "Scrappy Trails to You".

Even then I knew that scrappy was a challenge for me, so I stuck with very similar tones in each of the two colourways that were used in the quilt.  And since I was still a very new quilter, I did not actually have many scraps, so all of this fabric was bought specifically for this project. The pattern is relatively simple, being all composed of squares and half-square triangles.

I quilted this on my domestic machine, way back then.  It's a cross-hatch pattern, running through the center of all the blocks.  And the binding is scrappy, using some of the leftovers from the fat quarters which were used for the quilt center.  An interesting choice for me, since I tend to bind my quilts in the border fabric rather than something that stands out like this.

I have to assume this quilt was donated. I do not have it any longer, and I know it wasn't a gift to any of my family.  But looking at the pattern, I am tempted to make a new one with the same pattern. I'd have to reverse engineer it, but as I said it does not seem to be very difficult.  Mostly it would be the placement of colours that requires the most planning and though.

I still have many of these fabrics in my scrap bins. I know that because I recognize a number of them from my scrap cutting efforts of the past week.

Please join me for Throwback Thursday fun. I love seeing all your Throwback projects. So many lovely memories in all those early quilts.

The rules are simple (and flexible :) ). Write a post (or revive an old one) about an old quilt or project that you have - maybe something from your pre-blogging days, or just a project you love that you want to show off again.  Please include a link back to this post in yours, and when you link up make sure you are linking to your specific blog post, not just your blog address.  You want to make sure people can find your post if they drop by the linkup later.

Add your link, and check out some of the other links for some inspiration.  See my sidebar for a TBT button you can add to your blog.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Confessions of a scrap hoarder

I have never been a fan of the various scrap management systems that you see out there.  I always thought it was wasteful to cut my scraps into predetermined sizes - because what if I cut 3", and I pick at a pattern than needs 4" blocks.  Or 2" - those I could cut down from the 3" blocks, but then there'd be that 1" waste.  It just seemed more conservative to keep the scraps whatever size they end up, and wait to cut them until I need them.  So every time I made a quilt, all the bits smaller than about 6 inches got mushed up and crammed into one of my scrap bins.

Then, I started making my scrappy pineapple. And I was digging my way through all my scrap bins, trying to figure out what I have, which pieces are big enough to bother using, and having to iron and cut all of them to prep for my blocks.  What a pain. And what a mess, as I dug through all those bins.

What I realized earlier last week is that I may be saving some fabric by not cutting my scraps, but in fact I don't know what I'm saving it for because I never make scrap quilts. And the reason is not so much that I don't like them, or don't want to make them. It's because I dread trying to dig through all my bins, pulling out scraps, ironing, and then finding out that I don't have enough of the colour I need anyway. So it's much easier to just grab a bunch of fat quarters (or buy more) to fill the 'scrappy' requirements.

So, as I was sorting through to find bits for my pineapples, I decided that I needed to sort things out.  I figured 2.5" strips is the most common size I use. And if I buy myself an "easy angle" ruler, I can use 2.5" strips for half-square triangles too, so they become even more useful.

Based on that logic, I then decided that 5" strips make sense. They are big enough that I can later cut them down for 4" or 3" or whatever I need. Or cut in half for two 2.5" strips.   So, I decided to cut my scraps into those 2 sizes.

And then, I realized that I'm left with a lot of still rather large pieces - so I cut 2" strips where I could. And the final step was 1.5" squares. I have a bin of these already, for a vaguely planned watercolour quilt - so anything without a larger use was going to get cut down to this size for that future plan.

I briefly considered 1" strips, for a (dream) of an ohmigosh quilt one day, but that's mostly a pipe dream, so I decided not to deal with those tiny little bits at this point.

At this point, I have cleaned out 4 drawers of crammed in scraps, and reduced them to these 3 tidy drawers of strips, plus my 1.5" bin of squares (which is now full, and will have to be relocated).  Lots of room left in these bins, now that the fabric is all cut and folded neatly in strips.  And lots more scraps to tackle. So far I've done my blue, brown, orange and some purple scraps. But I have big rubbermaid containers and at least 3 bags of more colours waiting for my attention.

I think I'm going to be happy with the end result - I guess the truth will be in whether I make a scrappy quilt in the near future :)