Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Anvil Flimsy

I think I really missed the mark on this one. Now that it is all together I can see that I made some choices that were not the best.

Starting with the background color I requested from the participants in the friendship group. Maybe I should have given everyone fabric for one background color or maybe I should have gone with a medium or dark blue like the blocks we made for Victoria (Bumblebeans).

I seem to remember that I had decided to make  one for myself with a blue background.
Blocks sent to Victoria
Four block center of the directional plan
Then there is the layout, I think it would have been better to have all of the blocks oriented in the same direction. My original plan was to have the blocks in the 2 vertical  rows on the right mirror the ones on the left, then in EQ I could see an underlying square if I had the lower 3 rows mirror the upper 2. However that gets lost with  this kind of block when the "made fabric" sometimes determining the direction that is perceived.

I decided not to trim the blocks to all the same size as they were all close enough to fudge and almost all of them had enough clearance beyond the triangle points so the points would not be lost. Trimming this kind of block would result in lost points where fudging worked  pretty well. I have to admit that one of my own blocks was the worst of the bunch. It didn't line up well on any side and lost more points than it kept. Maybe this is a block I trimmed and decided not to trim any others. It is the block in the lower left of the 4 blocks center of the directional plan photo.

These colors are pretty much right on. I had a hard time getting a true to life photo of the colors in the flimsy up on the wall because the light in my sewing room is not good on this dark rainy day.
What will I do with it?
1. I will quilt it.
2. Then ???????
Jack says he doesn't want to sleep under it because
he would have nightmares. Maybe it can be a picnic tablecloth if it won't
give us indigestion.

So...... what do I like about this?
1. It's done.
2. My friends made most of the blocks.
3. I like the Anvil block enough to make it again but not in made fabric.
4. I learned something (that is always a good thing).
5. I really don't hate it.

Monday, April 28, 2014

Working on Anvil Blocks

I have been working on finishing up the Anvil blocks quilt top.
 I layered up pairs of  4 inch squares to make HST's for border blocks  and I spent a lot of time trimming them to 3 1/2 inches.

 Half the HST's had yellow on one side and half had orange/peach on one side. Then I auditioned strips of yellow print and strips of orange for 1 inch spacer borders
 I decided to go with the orange turned so the strips were vertical ( on the right) for the yellow strips I am using a more subtle  orange and yellow batik stripe also positioned vertical.

I am working on putting the HST's together in sets of 4 that will be stitched to the yellow or orange spacer strips and then attached to the blocks on the perimeter of the quilt top.
The yellow background blocks will get yellow  spacers and yellow HST's; the orange will get orange. The photos on the left show one corner block and 2 side blocks. the HST border echoes the placement of the HST's in the Anvil blocks.

When I make a pieced border I like to sew the border sections to the perimeter blocks rather than make  one long border piece and then attach it to the top or side of the quilt. I get better results with pieced borders doing it this way. I probably would not do it this way if my inner/spacer borders was not also pieced.

I should have had this all finished today. But I  cleaned up the  area a bit and gave a little quilting lesson to my grandson's girlfriend yesterday. This morning I had a short episode of vertigo; afterward I just rested around and watch TV for a while. Now I am back at work on the top but have considered a slight change in the layout. The orange background blocks alternate with the yellow background blocks in a checker board style.  I intend to stay with that pattern but I am thinking of turning  the last two rows 90 degrees for a barn raising set. I have already sewed  the center 2 blocks together in each row so I am trying to work out how I can accomplish this without taking out too many seams. I can't just flip them over without changing the blocks on either side or I will  lose the checkerboard. It is not a difficult thing to do but I want to get it right the first time and not have to do anything over (and maybe over again). I had worked out the layout in EQ and had discarded this idea but when I started sewing the blocks together I had second thoughts.

Second thoughts are the bane of my existence!

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Anvil blocks

 I was unable to stand the bare horizontal surfaces yesterday so I decided to make the rest of the anvil blocks need to make the top.
 the one on the left has made fabric for the HST's; in the one on the left I used made fabric and plain squares for the HST's. For the center block I used all plain fabric (if you can call Laurel Burch fabric plain). I have had this fabric for a long time and hard ever use it because it is too wonderful to cut up for just anything. I have used it one in a while to cut small squares for something or other. I have to remember that nothing is so wonderful that it should live in a box in the closet; if it stays there long enough one day it will turn out to be not wonderful at all.

These 2 squares are 6 1/2 inch made fabric to be used for the centers of anvil blocks. I had 2 squares that I decided to "fix"; one was too small and one had a black and white 4 patch in the center that I had trimmed wonkyas a starter center. I didn't like the black and white. Sometimes you need to leave well enough alone. I am not enchanted with either one, especially the bottom one. I slashed it across the center in two directions and added the orange and then I didn't like it so I slashed it again and added the yellow. Now I am having a talk with myself trying to decide whether to use them or not. I sometimes get really compulsive about the last one or two  blocks I am finishing and work them over and over trying to make them perfect. I think that is what I am thinking here.
Who was it that said "Make peace with imperfection"?

Monday, April 21, 2014

Fixing the Jellyroll Race Flimsy

I cleaned up my sewing room on Saturday and all  horizontal surfaces were bare, yes, BARE. I found creative places to stash things so they are out of the way awaiting decisions of what to keep and what has to go.
The next order of business is to finish up some things so they are not sitting around in an unfinished state taking up space on recently cleaned horizontal surfaces.
Right after the Jellyroll Race I said I was not going to fix anything but today I decided on one quick fix, only one.
The left shot below shows flimsy before the fix the place where I took the rows apart where too much white/light came together.  On the right you can see where I turned the bottom section around and sewed it back on to break up that large light patch.
The photos below show a side view of almost the entire flimsy; before is on the left and after is on the right. As usual, I am having second thoughts; however I am not going to fuss around with any more changes. I am going to sew 2 1/2 inch striped strips (the same stripe as the spacers)on the top and bottom edges. I want to make it just a little bit longer and I will use the same stripe, cut on the bias, for the binding.

Today we took a ride through the Metropark system to an area near Akron where there is a Blue Heron nesting site. There are over 50 occupied nest and it looks like they are awaiting the hatching of the babies.  We made a stop at The Polkadot Pincushion quilt shop and then it was about time to eat so we stopped for supper before heading toward home. We made one more stop, at Joann's, where I got batting for the Jellyroll quilt  and one or two other WIP's that have been waiting to be finished.
It was a good day.


Saturday, April 19, 2014

Quilt Camp Block

I have been playing with a block that will be an option for some of the more experienced participants.
 Everyone will be given the option of making  uneven Rail Fence blocks but those with more experience can opt to add a connector corner. I hadn't made a sample yet but talked to someone yesterday who voiced some concerns about the connector corner. I decided I should at least make 4 blocks to see how they would go together in 4 block sections.

The blocks are 6 inches, finished, and these 4 block sections would become 12 inch blocks.
These are 3 possibilities. I have yet to play with them to see how they work in a full quilt layout. Because of our time constraints we probably would not want to add the extra step of sashing the blocks. Sashing would avoid having to match the points of the triangles  that would come together.  The block in the upper right would probably be the best choice for that reason. I will play with these in EQ a little more after tomorrow.   Today I need to clean up my sewing room a little and get out to the grocery store for some last minute items.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

A New Toy

I have a new little machine to take to classes and sewing get togethers. Last year someone brought hers to our sewing retreat and 3  people went out and bought one after seeing hers. They are all really pleased with theirs.

I didn't really need another machine. My Bernina is in great shape after a trip to the sewing machine spa, I think it is better than it was  brand new. My Janome Gem is in good shape too, no problems there, but my Janome is a little  older and doesn't have some of the features of the newer models. Probably the main  thing is that I only have 3 stitch lengths to choose from and that doesn't always suit me. My Gem doesn't have a sewing table extension and I know I could buy one but after seeing this machine I decided that maybe I should  buy a new machine.
I read all the reviews and I checked often to see if everyone was still happy with their machine;  when I saw that Costco had reduced the price for this month I decided to buy it. It is an inexpensive machine but it has a lot of nice features and the manual  is one of the best I have ever used, as well as having a DVD instruction video. I wasn't swayed by the 130 stitches because I have never use more than a few on my Bernina but they are kind of nice to have. It is lightweight, only 13 pounds, which is 1 lb. more than my Gem.
I have been playing with it and I like it. I will keep my Gem till after Quilt Camp in June in case someone needs to use it but then I think I will give it to my great granddaughter. She already likes to sew and I think having her own machine will keep her enthusiastic.

Friday, April 4, 2014

A Finish

I finished my little 24 inch square table topper today. I had the  machine quilting and the binding done a few days ago but I couldn't decide how to quilt the four 4 inch plain light squares.  In the end I "big stitch"  hand quilted it with 2 stands of hot pink and 1 strand of yellow embroidery floss. After I decided to hand quilt it I agonized over how to mark it (I always have to agonize over something). I wanted my petals to be even and when I practiced drawing them on paper they looked pretty bad. I used EQ to draw one petal and used the  EQ Wreathmaker  tool to get the 5 petals even. I printed it and cut it out and traced it onto a piece of pressure sensitive label paper and cut that out for a tracing template that would stick in place while I traced. I used a "Sewline" water erasable marking pen to trace around the template. I love that pen and am so happy someone told me about it. I had tested it to make sure the marks would come out and then pressed the test area with a hot iron and no marks came back.

I Quilted in the ditch around the blocks and around the squares in the blocks  centers and also in the  ditch around all the patches in the made fabric center squares. I used 2 rows of stitching with the #4 Bernina stitch in the all of the sashings.
I had cut some  striped fabric for the binding but it just didn't look right. With no border on a small piece it seemed to need a fabric that was already there. So, I pieced together some  strips of the yellow for the binding and it looks just right to me.

I think that this little piece has a 30's look although there is no 30's fabric in it anywhere.