It’s been a while since I’ve been to an in-person guild retreat, but the time was right. I had a project in mind, all the fabric, and plenty of time. I cut at home, as is my custom, and assembled the top there. I had a couple back up projects as always, but only spent a little time on one.
The project is a quilt for my grandson who likes soccer, basketball, and plays the recorder. He’ll be 10.
I started with twin size in mind, but added inches to fit the design. I have forgotten how to make a picture so that you can click and see it larger. The light print is basketball themed, the second from the top left that looks like ghosts on my screen is actually flaming soccer balls, and the middle top fabric is music staffs and clefs. He has other interests, but these were the dominant ones when I designed the quilt. Colors were chosen to go with his bedroom’s orange walls. Perhaps it’s a lazy approach to let the fabric prints do most of the work, but it was fun.
Of course even though I bought wide backing fabric, I didn’t get enough. I thought two yards would be plenty. Silly me. So I’ll be piecing the back. I have till January. Should be plenty of time.
You’ve seen this top before with its mix of scraps and yardage–though the yardage is from my stash and old enough to be considered scrap. 🙂 What is new is that I’ve finally started to quilt it.
What prompted the quilting finally was an online class by Christina Cameli, Finding Your Flow. We were supposed to have samples pinned to practice on. I didn’t. But this quilt sandwich was pinned, and I’d been puzzling for a long time on how to quilt it. And while I don’t skimp on materials for donation quilts, I also don’t figure that recipients will care if a quilting design isn’t perfect–especially children.
Thus this seemed a good candidate for something free flowing, apart from my wanting to accent the Ts. By sketching, I first figured how to get the pebble-T into 8 T-blocks with continuous stitching, and the rest is a beginning at combining like Christina does. It seems to me that the technique would be wasted on quilting made up of many prints, but I rather like it on these solids and near solids.
The class and a book, Free Motion Combinations, derived from Covid-19 activities. Every morning at 8 am Christina did an Instagram video of a different motif, sometimes combining them. Once I’d learned about it, I watched almost every morning. I thought I would remember the motifs, but I ended up with a repertoire of about a dozen at most, so bought the book. For people who like meandering, this covers space equally easily.
For people interested in scrappy, the solids here are scraps; the batiks ancient yardage from my stash. It you are further interested in what people do with scraps, check out Kate’s blog where on the 15th of each month she showcases her scrappy ideas and links to other Scrap Happy folk. You might also enjoy Cynthia’s Oh Scrap! blog and link party, here.
Here is a photo of the top for those new to the blog who want to see the whole top.
The official name of this project is “Make it up as you go.” I mention that because I may have to remember it later.:-)
I left off after the third border (here), got two sides of the fourth finished last month,
and got my act together to finish the last two today. I find it interesting that I considered the third border fiddly but not this one with all its little pieces. All I can figure is it’s the difference between working with triangles and squares. I may have liked it better before the forth border. But I have felt that way after other borders were half finished, so it may be a pattern. Here is the full fourth.
I do like it a little better finished, but I’m not thrilled. My original thought had been 1) I wanted a small amount of red, not the big pieces of borders 2 and 3 and 2) the zigzag pattern would relate to the big while the small squares would relate to the center. Well sort of. The zigzag doesn’t look as big in the real as it did ] in my head. I wonder if that is partly because of the widely varied shades of the red scraps? They look bigger when I squint at it. This was one of the two suggested borders in the guild project. In fact I had pictured something like it but not done the math yet, so it was nice to have the math done for me.
The reds are from scraps. As I recall,when I originally made the center HSTs I realized that when you cut batiks up they no longer look like wonderful combinations, but like different fabrics! Since they were varied in the center, I thought to vary them along with other reds at the edge. Most likely I’ll add a narrow strip of the cream background to float the fourth border and bind it in the navy. My overall feeling is that this quilt remains separate parts instead of becoming a unified whole. I suppose that is mostly because of the separate colors of the middle two rows and the matching narrow strips. Any other thoughts as to why?
For my serious scrappy work, I made another hat. Someday that unending supply of yarn ends will be gone. Sigh.
If you like to see what others are doing with scraps, check out Kate’s blog (here) for a list of people who often work with scraps and post near the 15th of the month.
My other accomplishment for the month (plus reading a lot of books) was finally hanging a wall hanging.
Back when I made the quilt and took its picture on the sofa under the watercolor, I noticed they went together. Till then I’d not hung any quilts because they just didn’t go with the other art I’d purchased over the years at a local art festival. So I was happy to have one that worked. I dawdled over making hanging stuff and finally asked my daughter’s partner if he would. It was more work than I realized I was asking for, so I’ll have to think of something nice to do in return
The third border has taken a long time. First it is more fiddly (four seams and a trim for each of 48 blocks) so I stalled. Then I decided to cut the pieces for border four before sewing border three because I’d run out of leaders/enders with these two blocks.
The four-patch blocks were mindless enough, but making a patterned block got too fiddly to do much more of it as leader/ender. Since border four was made up of 60 16-patch one-inch square blocks (well a little cheating as some are 1 x 2 inch rectangles), that seemed to have mindless potential. So cut I did. Then it was so hypnotic that instead of making one 2-patch, I made all 120. Next time I needed an ender I made 60 4-patch blocks. But have no fear, mindlessness remains.
But finally border three got finished. I’m feeling ambivalent about it.The dark navy border felt finished. I almost pondered stopping and making a lap quilt. But I wanted to play the guild game, so continued on.This border follows the suggestion exactly. The only change I made was to continue with 1-inch “resting” borders instead of 2-inch ones.
My thinking in planning the colors was navy in the middle to sort of echo the navy in the middle of one block in the center Turkey-in-the-Straw block. Maybe it will have that effect more after the fourth border is added. Stay tuned.
My local quilt guild has some very interesting challenges. This year we were given a piece of vintage fabric, of which we had to use 1 square inch in a 9 x 12 inch quilt.
The theme was something we had done without this year. As an introvert, I have adapted pretty well to isolation But there was one major disappointment: my daughter’s bargain tickets became null when Covid caused airlines to cancel flights. So airplanes would be my motif. I consulted my reference book for ideas.
I found 9 blocks that showed airplanes and several more designs named “Airplane” but were not representational. I chose #904, Airways (Washington), attributed to McKim’s Patchwork Parade of States. A square block. I had a rectangle to fill and also wanted to do more than make a block. I pondered making a city across the bottom, but couldn’t make the combination work. So the idea remained dormant till the deadline was a month away.
I thought of how many times I’d heard a comment about how land looks like a quilt from above. The background would be “made fabric,” an idea from Victoria Findley Wolfe.
So I went to my crumb jar and pulled as many green, gold, and tan bits as i could find.
Not nearly enough. So I dug deep into my scrap bin for baggies of sorted crumbs. Yes, once in the past I actually sorted what I had on hand.
And started sewing.
When I had some sizable pieces, I made templates and tried to fit them on the pieces. Most pieces needed additions.
That process took way longer than I expected. I think the basic idea of “made fabric” is that you mindlessly attach pieces when you don’t have any other ideas, then when you need it, it is ready. Maybe someday.
Finally the piece was finished and ready to mail. It is amazing how quickly a 9 x 12 inch piece quilts up. Time was absorbed not only by making fabric but also by working with the odd angles. I even basted and pinned—gasp! And ripped because when it comes to angles, I am spatially challenged.
So here it is.
It’s all scraps, batting and backing. At last a use for small pieces of batting other than making Frankenbatting.
So the T Quilt doesn’t have a deadline after all. (Plans had changed when I wasn’t paying attention. ) There is no rush for the baby quilt. What better time than now to start something new?
Stretching Art and Tradition is coming up early next year. This year’s entry is being held to show next year, but we have also been given a theme for next year: When One Door Closes. (Wonder where that came from. )
This time the size requirement has changed to 24 inches by 36. A little easier than the old 18 x 36. So I started thinking. As you will remember, I prefer more abstract design, and that makes following a theme sometimes challenging. Also I have some Japanese kimono silk that I’d like to use; working with silk would be the new technique.
The first idea I had was an overall 9-patch structure composed of 9 9-patch blocks, each adding one more light square (well, rectangle and an odd size at that).
The idea turned out to be more interesting conceptually than visually. So I shifted to a grid of 4-inch squares with a dark to light movement. First try
I plan all the light squares to be the silk with fabric manipulation for variety and the dark to be one shade of dark, varied textures (velvet, cotton, satin, corduroy) and maybe different close hues ( brown, purple, black).
Not sure I like the clump of four, though the idea was to have it reappear after being blocked. Again the visual interest may not equal the conceptual. So I tried again.
I’m liking it better but not committed to it. Stay tuned.
After this step was finished at the retreat, it was time for them to graduate and become a project. So after a while, I laid them out and did a bit of rearranging so that fabrics that drew attention to themselves were somewhat spaced. Then sewed.
It won’t make it to this year’s Toy and Joy, but the fire fighters need the quilts (and quilts get delivered) all year. Usually a fire fighter representative picks a dramatically large batch up at the December meeting, but with Covid and virtual meetings quilts had to be dropped off early November. It will just not get to the guild’s total, and that’s not the end of the world. It will augment next year’s.
This top is made 100% from scraps. There were only threads remaining after I cut the 72 squares for the alternate blocks. If you like Scrappy projects, check out Kate’s blog and follow links that are there. https://talltalesfromchiconia.wordpress.com/
You can hardly tell that the final border is made of squares, and that was the plan. If there had been enough fabric it would have been a plain strip of the same batik that is in the center block.
I like the narrow brown border, but it didn’t solve the balance issue. And I see why not. The area between the two narrow borders functions visually as a unit. Even though that had been my intent, I’d not made the next step to think balance. Rather I’d used the 2, 3, 4 inch units to figure the next. (Interestingly, I’d treated the middle two as one, but I didn’t carry that concept through. ) So a 9-inch outer border might have worked, or a 6 if I had had enough fabric. And a use for a larger quilt. I was aiming for something near 40 x 60, and it is 46 x 64. ( Do I get extra credit for a palindrome measurement?)
Put on your sunglasses for the back. Are you ready?
The bright is the rest of the fabric in the alternating squares of the final border on the front. When I use only 2 fabrics on a back and have enough fabric, I like to use the “zipper” strip to join them. I think it looks more like I designed it than that I ran out of fabric. And it doesn’t add much construction time.
This was supposed to be the post that said, Top finished. But I laid the last border out and am not sure.
My first thought was that the problem was that the two last borders should not be the same size. If so, I can only learn not to do that again and just finish it up. My second thought was that the blending shades had gotten boring. Interestingly, it looks better in the photo than in real life. The photo has more value contrast.
I am thinking of a narrow brown border before the final one. We’ll see. ( I already have to fudge the length so adding a half-inch border wouldn’t be a problem. )
Meanwhile I am happy with the strip of one-inch squares.
The first layout for that border was a disappointment. I did my usual construction of apparent randomness, and it just looked messy and busy. Chaotic even. (Sorry, I didn’t document it. ) Then I got the idea of matching the previous row, tried it, and liked it. I matched all but the light pink; otherwise, too much pink in spots.
A note about color. Last summer in her color class on Academy of Quilting, Elizabeth Barton mentioned that using cool and warm variations of a color gave a piece added depth. The batik already had that feature, my pink scraps came in orangish and purplish. So I tried it and like it.
I’ll be working on the top tomorrow so I can consider using any early suggestions. Later suggestions will be mentally useful to consider. They just won’t make it to this quilt.