Quilt for my girl!

The next big use up the stash project is calling. That pile of black and whites isn’t getting any smaller…and I have a few more on the shelves. These are just the fat quarters. There is yardage!

I’m also being tempted by a bunch of turquoise prints

…because I have more of these colors than any other, except maybe orange! But, nooooooo….there is something that has a much higher priority!

My daughter is a big fan of fonts and text and I have long planned on making her a quilt with text fabric. I collected a fairly good number of text fabrics and had good intentions. Well, we know what road is paved with good intentions! I used some of the fabrics on a challenge piece because I had so many. Then I made a quilt with them and it didn’t turn out as I wanted and it ended up as a quilt on hubby’s chair. Then I used some  for a class I took and another bit for another challenge and now, this is all I have left and my daughter still doesn’t have a text quilt!!!!

Looking at the black and white with the little bits of reds I had been using with them did not inspire me at all. I hoped Deb would have a strong preference and showed her these blue fabrics.

And some green fabrics.

Hmmmm–I love those greens so I went ahead and made the decision for both of us! And after I made a couple of plain blocks, I finally figured out how I want to make this quilt.

Primarily little strips like this with green. The green will be spread out more than this, but I’m making the parts with green first. And I remembered as I was doing improv cutting and sewing that this is a sloooooow process! Nothing quick like the strip piecing of that last big quilt. However, it’s the only way to get the result I want, so slow stitching it is!

Yes, I am currently in use up the stash mode, but I can’t get so caught up in it that I forget the more important reasons for quilts. Family always comes first and making a quilt that will make my daughter happy will be so much fun for me.

And I think it’s free ice cream day at DQ so I’ll be sure to make time for that, too! Priorities, after all!



Daily input…

Most days I’m finding are very full and busy for me. This blog writing thing helps me to process the vitals–who, what, when, where, why–and what am I forgetting?!!! When I try to do it on a daily basis, that reflective time helps keep me on track.

The little black and white quilt is ready to be quilted. It’s become a little inside joke to me, but I’ll let you in on it! Those blocks I had were pretty badly pieced and as I assembled this, I didn’t even care.

The center math angle problem went away when I remembered that my goal in all this is to use up stash, not challenge myself with impossible issues! Improv all the way, baby!

Lots of lumpy seams that could not be pressed in opposite directions and I simply sewed them down. I started to dither over too many choices for a border and then used a piece of fabric from the “What was I thinking?” pile.

All the while I was laughing because it felt like I was using garbage and coming up with a cute little product. When I was a kid, to be called a ‘garbage-picker’ was an ultimate insult. Today, I’m a recycler-upcycler and I’m laughing and happy all the way through a quilt like this.

I’m not sure I want to give this to someone for a baby quilt. Those thick seams would not be very comfortable for that sweet little body to lay on! But it will be a good table topper or cover over the baby or a cute wall hanging. And I’m smiling and laughing at whatever becomes of it, because I have used up some of my stash and it’s another project done!


Math brains…

My daughter and I have been working with her son on times tables…boring, but necessary. We have talked before about different kinds of math brains. I call them geometry brains and algebra brains. Concepts, theorems, spatial relationships are all part of the geometry brain and the algebra brain is better at the numbers and equations and operations of math. Some people are blessed with talent in both areas, some in neither. I am waaaaaay better at the algebra brain. I loved working on equations in school and did not like geometry at all. So what do I do in my quilt life? Take geometric shapes and drawings and figure out the math to fit them together………who’d have ever guessed that?

The easy part…half-square triangles, flying geese blocks, squaring up improv pieces…

And this is the final–probably–arrangement and this will be a small quilt. More directional…

And these pieces will just have to live the lonely life of the rejected…until I work on more black and white quilts!

Anyway, all that math stuff is a part of my thinking process when faced with this!

What kind of geometry am I going to need to figure this out? How in the world am I going to fit these pieces together?

Perhaps now is the best time for the improv brain to kick in and add chunks of fabric and cut hunks off until it fits together!!!


Stern talk!

Part of managing a stash is USING what you have and one of the reasons a stash accumulates is reluctance to ‘use up’ those beautiful fabrics. I have quite a few hunks of material that I have ‘saved’ for the perfect project. This batik project looks fine without a border but I cannot stand leaving those bias edges out there to stretch….and they will stretch, even with stay stitching. I found two of those special fabrics that would work for the border AND that I had enough of.

The one on the left drew out all the colors and the one on the right let the colors shine in the center. It took a lot of stern talking to myself to use either one of those……..I love them both very much and did not want to use them up. But, c’mon, what’s the good of fabric purchased for quiltmaking sitting on the shelf and not being used for quiltmaking? Seriously………..and the stern talk worked! I chose the fabric on the left and now there is one more finished quilt top to add to the stack.

I’ve been under the weather for a couple of days, so haven’t made much progress on what comes next. But as I looked over those shelves that I want to get emptied, one shelf was half filled with mostly black and white scraps.

If I can get these used up, it will be a real advance in the stash busting! And if I can use up more of the other black and white prints on the shelves………………oooooeeeeee!

I decided to start with the leftover already constructed blocks from previous black and white adventures.  I used to always have leftover blocks because when I was doing strip piecing I never counted for the blocks. I used up the whole strip…cause what else what I gonna do with it?!

And out of that pile of fabric, I only have a pathetically small amount of fabrics that match. I’m thinking perhaps a baby quilt with these instead of adding in a bunch more fabrics.

That’s as far as I’ve been able to go, but those black and white prints are in my sights (should it be sites, like hunting?) and I will be using them! It may take more than one quilt, even, but it will be done!

Confident Beginner?

The pattern rated this quilt as suitable for a confident beginner. I call BS on that! If I were a beginner and was faced with this

I might have quit! Eight seams per block, 4 on the bias, 5 seams to match on each assembly seam, and all meeting in the middle…nah! The confident part is fine, but not the beginner part. It’s more in the intermediate range. For me, it was a little bit fussy, but I got it done. Thankfully, I am NOT a perfectionist, but it actually came out pretty well.

So–here it is!

The pattern doesn’t call for borders, but the edges are bias and a border would stabilize it………..but does it need it? That’s the only other decision to be made for this one and then I get to start thinking about the next one. This is soooooo much fun!

Color dilemna

It’s wonderful when this little pile of scrap is all that’s left after cutting out the pieces for my blocks!

After cutting my squares, they all needed to be cut diagonally. In order to have as much variety as possible, I switched each block so that the cuts were not identical. You know that I believe in the magic of random, so I was sure that this would work out fine!

The quilt is made with 7 full size blocks and 10 half blocks. I thought I could just grab one from stack 1 and one from stack 2 and get some speed piecing done. I kept turning things the wrong way, so I decided to slow it down and lay out all the pieces before sewing. Good thing I did because I kept getting confused!

Then I started thinking about how the colors would–or would not–align. I tried to lay it out so that no two of the same fabrics were right next to each other, though some of the same colors were. Finally I just threw the pieces up in the correct positions and took a step back. Aaaaand, what the pattern didn’t mention is that there are extra pieces! So I didn’t really need to worry if one of the strip sets was short after all!

Back to color–

–very scrappy, but I’m not sure if that’s what I truly want, now that I see it up on the wall. It might be a touch chaotic. But because I originally was aiming for random, it’s not possible to make all the blocks the same! However, I’m pretty sure that I can make one row of each block all the same color. That will at least help to define the squares better. Or is random really happier?

If you saw on FB, I mentioned that I was going to try a little controlled arrangement. I decided that the white was bothering me and moved most of it to the outside edges.

I’m not sure if that’s any better or not!!!

I’d love your opinions and suggestions!

Spring and batiks–right?

My new stashbuster project was inspired by a photo that I backtracked to a free pattern. Now I know you all will want to know which pattern, so here’s the link  Kite Flight  by Robert Kaufman and it’s a beginner friendly, strip pieced pattern.

Easy to make the strip sets, of course, and I was eager to see how the actual measurements and instructions work on my machine, in real life! The assumption with jelly rolls is that the strips are all at least 42″ long and of course that’s not always true. It also assumes that your seam allowance is sewn exactly like theirs. The pattern cautions that there is not waste, which means ‘be careful or you’ll run out of fabric.’

I used my fast stitch machine and I know that the 1/4″ I sew on that machine is a scant 1/4″.  And I used the very edge of the pinked cut as my edge. And the instructions said to press all the seams open…………..fat chance! I am not going to spend forever picking open those pinked edges on a 5 strip set! I just pressed them out each way from the center strip. If it’s an issue later in the construction, I’ll figure it out and deal with it then.

It came out as a skinny 10 1/2″ strip set. If you are a beginner, and yours comes out a touch small, don’t panic! The next step is to cross cut into squares, so you make your squares the same size as your strip set. The objective is to make the square! If it’s 10 1/4″ instead of 10 1/2″, there may be some other adjustment needed later on, but for this pattern it’s more important that it be square.

I certainly did not mean this post to be all about the pattern instructions, because they are fine. This is to reassure you that perfection is not always necessary to achieve great results. And for me, the goal is to use up the stash, not produce an heirloom masterpiece! I quilt for fun, aim for precision and don’t stress over any part of it. My favorite quilt teacher said that fabric is forgiving and it’s a statement that I’ve lived by as I work with textiles.

Now, about that 42″ WOF measurement…so far, so good, by measuring carefully. But how to avoid panic and having to make more strip sets if these are short? I decided while I was sewing them together that it’s a scrap quilt. If it was short I was simply going to add a piece of fabric on the end and cut out the square. In a different situation, I would make more strip sets or seam the ends of the ‘short ones’ together to make large enough blocks.  (And that may yet happen!) I’ve only cut one set so far, but this is what I had left!

I hope all the other strips work as well! I’m eager to keep going on this one. It should be quick and I’m liking those strip sets, so I’m positive I’ll like the finished quilt.

I have to tell you once again, I am having so much fun working on these stashbuster projects! And getting an actual, useable end product is a big bonus!

Quilt on………………..