2013 Goals

Sometimes I don’t know why I set myself goals because I pretty well never meet them. I think I managed two things from my list of twelve last year. (I don’t quite want to go check for certain because it’s sort of embarrassing and sort of sad and I don’t like to feel guilty about my hobbies, but I WILL if I think too hard about it.) But it’s good to have goals, to have something to aim for, so here are mine for the year.

1. Simply Solids Bee blocks. (Aeneous group.) This will be one block a month, 11 over the year, plus my own, and it’s a mystery what block I’ll be making each month. (I know what February will look like, but since we send out our fabrics to the other participants in time for our month, I won’t find out until the fabrics/instructions show up each month.) My month is August, and I know what I’m asking for… the same thing I’m asking for in my goal #2 group…

2. Birthday Blocks. There are 11 participants, so I’ll be making/receiving 10 blocks. I requested churn dash blocks in bright solids, which is exactly what I’ll be getting from the Simply Solids bee (unless I change my mind before August). This is a pretty big mix of stuff, again, and some of it is giving me fits already. (Namely one block requested in batiks, and hard to find colours. I think I might have to go use non-batiks, which I hate to do since she did say she prefers batik, but it might be that or else blocks too pink or blocks too purple, rather than blocks just right.)

3. Finish quilting all the finished tops in my closet:

Posh Tot quilts
The Poppy Quilt
First Project Ever
Checkerboard Quilt
Vintage Modern Wonky Star

There is also a half-quilted Amy Butler quilt, a blue and orange big block quilt, and a Plume quilt, which I don’t have decent photos for. I’ll try to fish them out and take a better picture soon. I think this is all of them, but I’m not 100% certain.

4. Don’t start anything else new (except a wall-hanging or two for my mom).

5. Work on some of my unfinished projects.

On the embroidery side of the fence, I have four things to work on (no photos, sorry):

1. The ABCs sampler – nearly done, just not quite
2. The fandom project (Moss’s fuzzy hair)
3. The Illustration-along project (Edward Gory’s limerick cousins)
4. The bird needle-book
5. The crewel twists project

Of all these, I’d really like to finish them all, I can’t seem to come up with an order of what is most important to me, which suggests they’re all important. If I can keep it to these five projects, then I could aim to finish one every other month.

And that’s it. It seems too long a list – I didn’t think I had quite so many quilt tops laying around! – but I’d like to do as much as I can, while still having fun with what I’m working on. I need to find a better way to balance work and crafting because generally if I’m tired after work, crafting is the first thing I set aside, and it shouldn’t be because I find it relaxing and why not use it to wind down after work?

Edited to add that although I’m late for this month, I’m going to start linking up in the future with A Lovely Year of Finishes at Fiber of All Sorts. I only just stumbled across it today (via Pretty Lady Baby), but I like the idea of it. (I liked it last year too, with the 12 in 2012 idea, but we’ll see how it goes!) How it works is there will be a link up from the 1st through 7th of each month, you’ll link up a post about what project you intend to finish that month (finish meaning finish a top or finish a quilt totally), mid-month will be another link-up where you can link another post talking about your progress, and then the last seven days of the month will have a third link-up where you can link to a post about the finished project.

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Work in Progress Wednesday, wait, no, Thursday…: Stars, stars, and more stars

So first up today is this itty bitty stitch I did last night.

Little Kokeshi

Yesterday I had a package arrive in the mail from Sublime Stitching, with two packets of their new floss (for me, and one for my giveaway). For myself, I choose the Portrait and Parlour palettes, and for this stitch I used Portrait.

Sublime Stitching Portrait floss

I freehand stitched the little Kokeshi doll from the Thank You note seen here, slightly larger than the picture (the original was about 2-inches tall, I suppose, and mine is about 3). It came out a little bit wonky, and I probably should have treated the flowers more delicately, but I think it came out really sweet. I didn’t use all the colours from the palette, just the brown, charcoal, pink, and golden bronze. If you’ve read anything about these new palettes, you probably know they have more fanciful names than that, what I really used were Silky Cocoa, Eyeliner, Lip Gloss, and Bronzer. I was in a rush and cut the fabric very badly – it’s too narrow to keep it in the hoop, so I’m not sure what I’ll do with it in the end. Maybe turn it into a little hanging ornament.

The big thing, though, is my Wonky Star quilt. Which I’m fairly confident in saying won’t be finished by Boxing Day (I’d hoped to send it back to Saskatchewan with my parents so that they could deliver it to my Grandma), but I’m still plugging away at it as if it might still happen.

Vintage Modern Wonky Star

Of course, right now I’m not working on it because I’m typing up this post, which is taking longer than I’d like it to be… I work nights all this weekend, so my sleep schedule is really messed up and in the meantime I have to get the house ready for guests (my little sister sleeps in my sewing room, so I need to clear off the futon before they arrive and at the moment, it’s a Big Damn Mess with all the things that are usually on my sewing table) and then I have to also host and feed said guests, so I really should be quilting madly away instead of talking here.

Anyway… here’s a couple close ups on the quilting I’m doing. Nothing very complicated or special, but it’ll do the job and I think it looks nice anyway, even if it’s not AMAZING.

Vintage Modern quilt top
Vintage Modern quilt top

Just a quarter inch around the inside of each of the stars, so far, but I’m going to have to go back and do something else in the centre, since it needs to be quilted a little more tightly than that. (I used a batting that needs to be quilted ever 4 inches, but my squares are all 4.5 inches, so I’m being cautious – that half inch mightn’t matter, but maybe it will.) Probably I’ll do a smaller square in the centre, or an X, like I did in all the full print squares.

The one bit I’m still having a problem with is what to do with the bits where the star points are at. I did do one of them already, just to try something out, and I kind of hated it. Not enough to pick it out, mind, but enough that it’s the only one that’ll have that pattern in it. Maybe I’ll do some free motion stars, one in the centre of each. I don’t know, I don’t know…

Vintage Modern quilt top

Happy Holidays everyone! I’ll probably not be back until the New Year, although maybe I’ll surprise myself and get something in the weekend between Christmas and New Years.

WIP Wednesday: Vintage Modern Quilt top

Vintage Modern Wonky Star

I wanted to be this far along a couple days ago, but I got distracted by MadMen. I finally borrowed season 5 from the library (I was on a wait list for a long, long time) and even though I sew most often when I’ve got tv I want to watch, I really shouldn’t watch such compelling tv when I’m trying to sew because I just get nothing done. (But Pete, that skeevy creep! And Don! And Peggy!) Six episodes down, and only eight seams to show for it.

Anyway, that’s the wonky star top put together, made using Vintage Modern, some Cotton Couture (the red), and some random white on white fabric.

I want to try this different way of basting, where you clamp it onto a table to pin it, rather than taping it to the floor. Which I’m hoping won’t just save my back, but will also help get it all more taut – I always have issues with the back shifting, no matter how much I pin.

Anyway hopefully it’ll work out, and then I just need to figure out how to quilt the thing. I’m not very good at free motion quilting yet, so I don’t want to try it for this quilt. I’d rather get more practise on something I care less about. Which leaves me more or less with something involving straight lines, but what, exactly, I don’t know… I keep turning ideas over in my head, but nothing is really sticking with me.

Next week is going to be a bit of a crap week – I work six days and both this weekend and next (I usually work alternating weekends) – so I’m not sure how it’s all going to go, but I really, really want to have this done before Christmas. So I guess I’ll cross my fingers (and hope I get through MadMen fast, so that I can focus a little more).

WIP: Vintage Modern Wonky Star quilt

Vintage Modern star block-in-progress

I’ve made a couple of wonky star quilts in the past, which I’ve donated to Project Linus in Austin, Texas, but I’ve never made one to keep or to give to someone I know. This one is going to be for my Grandma, if I can get it made in time for Christmas. (Well, even if I don’t get it made in time for Christmas, really.) I started working on it quite a while ago and then the light bulb of my sewing machine burned out and it was surprisingly difficult to sew without the extra bit of light. No matter how I shone project lights over my shoulder or across the table or whatever, it was just too dark and shadowy to sew with any degree of comfort. It took a while to find a light bulb that fit (I finally bought one that is longer than the original but has the right watts and whatever and also the same size base – it seems to fit okay in the machine even though it is bigger than the original), and then I seemed to lose my sewing mojo. (Either that or I just got distracted by embroidery.)

(Please excuse the wildly varying light in this photos. They were all taken after it was too dark outside to use any natural light, but the ones on the ironing board are much closer to the project light I use to light my sewing table and they got a really different colour cast over them than the ones taken a little further away. I tried to fix it using flickr’s photo editor but did a very poor job of it and probably made it look worse.)

Vintage Modern block bits and bobs

The last couple days though I’ve sat myself down and got myself back to work on it. I’m on vacation from work this coming week and really wish I could spend the time sewing, but I’m heading to Saskatchewan to visit family for most of the week, where I won’t have access to a sewing machine. (Well, I suppose I could work on my mom’s machine, but that thing always hated me. No matter what I did, I’d get a tangled wad of thread on the back of whatever I was sewing, and then my mom would try and it would work perfectly. I don’t even know.) My goal right now is to get all the blocks done before I leave, and then hopefully I’ll be able to get the top pieced once I’m back. After that it’ll be quilting… well, acquiring backing and then quilting. Which is always where I get hung up. I’m just afraid of quilting, though I’ve been trying to get myself to do a little more of it. I always seem to wind up with wrinkles in the back, no matter how I try pinning it.

Anyway, the two photos up above show what’s left to be done with the blocks. The block up top is of course nearly finished – I just need to get all those pieces sewn together. The stack in the second photo is the last five blocks, plus all the leftover bits of white I’ve got for making the star points. When I started this, I pulled a piece of white-on-white fabric off my shelves and decided to use it, without measuring or anything, and so I didn’t know if there would be enough to make the whole quilt top. And this close to the end… I still don’t know! I’m really hoping I’ve got enough squares and triangles left to do those last five blocks, but I might have to substitute some other white-on-white print for the last block or two, depending how far I can make it stretch without making the star points really small.

Vintage Modern star blocks

So far I’ve got 15 blocks pieced – 11 of them look more or less like this. The Vintage Modern fabric line also has 5 or 6 prints that are just grey on white and I was worried when I started that the white stars wouldn’t pop well enough with those greys mixed in, so I pulled all the grey fabrics (I started with a layer cake) and made four blocks that are just greys with red stars.

Vintage Modern star blocks

I’m going to have 21 blocks in the end, though I only need 20, so I’m not quite sure how I’ll decide which to use. I don’t know why, but I always feel like when you add a contrasting element like those blocks with the red stars, then you should do so in uneven numbers, so it’s a pretty good bet that I’ll only use three of them and leave out the fourth. (Mini quilt? Cushion? Piece it into the back?) On the other hand, if I run out of the white for star points, maybe I’ll not make that 21st block and just use all the grey ones. Anyway, it’s obviously not going to be a bed-sized quilt – 4×5 blocks means 48″ x 60″. I did buy fabric for a border, for which I chose the print on the bottom right of the block in the very first photo (that grey/blue circular one), but it just occurred to me now that I probably should have chosen a red-based print for the border, so that those red stars don’t stand out too weirdly. Hmm. Maybe I should buy something with more red, just in case I don’t like the blue. I’m leaning towards buying one of the prints in flannel for the back (so it’ll be cosy), but I’m waiting to hear back from an Etsy seller to see if she’s got enough yardage in one of the red on grey prints for that.

In any case, my goals are thus:

1. Finish the blocks by November 5
2. Piece the top by November 13
3, 4, 5. Baste & quilt & bind by ??? (Have to get the backing fabric for that…)

Let’s hope I can make it stick.

Linking up with Leah Day’s UFO Sunday:

UFO Sundays on the Free Motion Quilting Project

First Project Ever: Nine Patch Quilt top

Nine Patch

Well, here’s an old one. I don’t know why it’s taken me so long to write about this, but I guess it’s time: I finished sewing this top together in April! Time-wise, though, that’s got nothing on the length of time it took me to put this quilt top together. You see, this was my first ever quilt project. And I started it approximately 10 years ago.

All the way back in 2001, I was living in Vancouver, going to school at UBC. It was a long way from home and flights are expensive, so for the Spring break (in 2002, by then) (which is called Reading Week where I’m from – it’s in March, which is maybe spring in Vancouver, but not too many other places in Canada) I didn’t go home, but I did go to my Aunt Helen and Uncle Ben’s for the week. They live in Chiliwack, which is… um… less than an hour from Vancouver, I think, maybe? I guess I didn’t pay much attention on the drive. In any case, my Aunt at the time was a very prolific hand-quilter. (As far as I know, she’s still quilting – when I saw her in the summer she was doing a lot of hand-appliqué, but I don’t think she quilts near as much as she used to. She’s always been a crafting butterfly, flitting from one craft to another, and kicking ass at whatever she tries. Lately she’s been into hand-making glass beads and then making various items from those beads.) Whenever we were sitting around and talking, she’d always be working on some project or other, and so she got me hand-stitching some blocks for her. Mostly she did a lot of traditional stuff, a lot of nine-patches in various configurations and appliqué always, and always done by hand. So I worked on nine-patches for her, and then I went back to Vancouver and that was pretty much it.

In the summer of 2002, I moved back to Saskatchewan and then somewhere along the line after, either later that summer or in the summer of 2003, my parents went to BC and spent some time with my aunt and uncle. And while they were there, my mom and my aunt cut out an entire quilt top worth of fabric from my aunt’s stash, which was sent home to me. And I started picking away at it. I didn’t have a sewing machine, so I did it all by hand.

Stitches

When I first started, I drew every single quarter-inch line on the fabric before sewing them together, to make sure everything was “perfect” (you can just faintly if you’ve got laser-eyes see a pale blue line where the white fabrics were marked on that photo), but after a while I got lazy and started winging it. Which means some of my nine-patches didn’t come out nearly so square as they might have done. But also, and this was something I didn’t check, some of the squares of fabric weren’t entirely square to begin with, so my quarter-inch marks were making some of the blocks a little smaller or more angled than perhaps they should have been. In any case, I got the blocks all together, and then because I am obsessive like that, I couldn’t figure out how to put all the blocks together into a quilt because OMG there are 10 different blue fabrics and none of them should be beside another block of the same fabric! And there are 4 different off-white fabrics in the blocks and none of them should be beside another block with that same fabric! And OMG how do I manage all that with 98 nine-patches with randomly paired whites and blues!

I could never make it work, so it sat. And then it sat. And then it sat.

In a Bin

Actually, it sat in that plastic tub off to the left in that photo for most of 8 or 9 or 10 years (even that photo was taken years and years ago, when I lived in Saskatoon for a year in a crappy little apartment, above some man whose teen-aged son would cry his head off for HOURS whenever he came to spend the weekend), however long ago I started it and however long ago I finished stitching those blocks. In the meantime, I bought a sewing machine (well, half-bought, half had given to me for my birthday, a nearly but not quite bottom of the line Kenmore, which has never been serviced or oiled or had anything done beyond my cleaning out the lint and still chugs along pretty well) and started making baby quilts and gifts and starting and never finishing things. And mostly I had this idea that I had to hand-sew the blocks into rows and the rows into a quilt. I’d started it by hand, so I should finish it by hand, right? Well, reality finally set in, and so I sewed it together by machine this past April.

I made myself not be too crazy about where the fabrics ended up: I ignored the off-whites entirely, and separated the 98 blocks into piles by blue fabrics. Then I sat down and drew out a grid and figured out where I had to put the blocks to keep the blues from being adjacent to one another in any way. I put it together in chunks (I don’t like dealing with long rows) and then put the chunks together, and now I have a quilt top.

First Project Ever

It’s give or take on 78 by 90-inches in size, and I’d toyed with the idea of adding a border, but now I think I probably won’t. When I was stitching it up, I was worried that it would come out really drab looking – all that samey navy and all that off-white – and so I’d toyed with the idea of doing some sashiko in some of the white squares, just to liven it up a little, but ultimately, I don’t think I will. It’s not so drab as all that, there’s enough variation in the value of the blues to keep it from being too flat looking, so now I’m not sure what to do with it. There’s a part of me that would like to get my mom to hand-quilt it for me, maybe with some kind of medallion or something very traditional in those white squares, and there’s another part of me that just wants to bang on through it and put just go diagonally through the navy squares and there’s still another part of me that thinks I should send it off to a quilter and have her just do something… nice. (I haven’t done that because I don’t know that it’s square enough. I guess I should properly measure it. Maybe add those borders to help square it up.) I really don’t know, but heaven knows I don’t need to sit on it another decade while I stew over quilting plans.

Wonky Stars Quilt Top

Wonky Stars Quilt by clumsy chord

Wonky Stars Quilt, a photo by clumsy chord on Flickr.

It’s been a while, I know, and my only excuse is that I’ve been lazy. I’ve been working on things, I just haven’t been talking about it.

Well, after almost two weeks of rain, I’ve finally had a sunny day so I could take some things outside and try to photograph them, but it was some kind of windy out there.

This new quilt top was a quick and fun one to put together. I took less than a week (and a whole lot of watching Lie to Me) to put it all together. (I generally finish nothing, over the span of years, so to finish something inside of a week is big! Even if that finish is only a quilt top and not a full on quilt.)

Last year I put together a quilt top of wonky stars in purple (blogged here) and had talked about it in one of my Talk to Me Tuesday videos (see here) and someone mentioned in the comments that they’d like to see how I make those blocks, so I decided to record a tutorial on my method. (Which isn’t edited, though it’s filmed, and was really hard to do because I don’t have a second camera person and I couldn’t get the right camera angle to show most of what I was doing. Frustrating! I’ll add a link about that once I have it finished, in case anyone is interested.) Anyway, since I was making a block for the tutorial video, I decided I should just make a whole quilt was I was at it. And so I did.

Wonky Stars Quilt

And now things go a little further back in time. All the way back in April 2010, John Adams of QuiltDad.com had a GINORMOUS giveaway for his two-year blogiversary. By luck of the random number generator draw, I won a prize of three charm packs: Jennifer Paganelli’s Dance With Me, Valori Wells’ Del Hi, and Dena Designs’ Monaco (donated by Missouri Star Quilt Co.). Westminster, the company that produced those lines, doesn’t use a standard number of charms in a charm pack (like Moda with the 40 charms), and I knew I didn’t have enough to make anything in particular with those charm packs, so I picked up a fourth charm pack for Amy Butler’s Love, since I thought her generous use of colour would play well with the mix of colours in the existing charm packs. And then the fabric sat, and sat, and sat a little more.

When I started planning to work on the wonky star tutorial, the laziest part of me lit up like a light bulb at the thought of using charm squares rather than cutting my own for the block. Yes, 12-inch blocks are pretty standard, but 13.5-inch blocks make larger quilts! And take less time to cut out! I had 100 squares and only needed 96 to make a 12-block quilt! Clearly it was destiny. All I needed then was a single standard colour for the stars to help ground the crazy-cakes mixture of four fabric lines from four different designers, so I pulled the yardage of white-on-white print that was on the top of my White fabric pile, and started cutting. I very nearly ran out – I didn’t measure anything, I just assumed that what I had would be enough – but I managed to make it work, though I did add a couple of scraps of a different white-on-white from the scrap bag and a single star point of pure white. I didn’t plan anything, in regards to layout. I just put my four piles of charms out on the futon beside my sewing table and took two from each pile for a while for each block, and then later I switched to taking three from the two larger piles and just one from the smaller ones, until I got down the end and had only four squares left. I also didn’t plan out where each block would land in the quilt – I just sewed them together in the order I made them, joining rows of three together as they were finished. Once it was done, I thought the crazy-cakes mixture of prints and colours was still too over-whelming, so I added the thick border in red to try to hem in and confine the crazy. I think it works. Or it works well enough, anyway.

This newly finished, freshly windblown quilt top is somewhere in the neighbourhood of 50-inches by 64-inches. It was finished on Tuesday, June 26, 2012. I don’t know yet where it’ll make its home, but I hope it’ll be loved, where ever it winds up.

Wonky Star Quilt

I have a new finished project and I guess I should really talk about it! Like the quilts in my last post, this particular project is being donated to The Linus Connection in Austin, Texas. Which is miles away from me – I’m in Calgary, Alberta – but after the fires and the drought and heat wave in Texas, there is a lot of need for blankets to help comfort children in need, more even than usual. And of course, the lovely ofenjen is one of their members and a friend of mine, and I’m always happy to help out with this charity that means so much to her.

Wonky Star

So this is just kind of a teaser shot, I suppose, showing the basic blocks that make up the quilt. Ofenjen is collecting paper-pieced star blocks to put together into quilt tops, but I guess I was feeling contrary, because I decided I wanted to make something a little more free-form. And then because I knew I wasn’t going to be making the same star block as everyone else, I thought I’d better make enough for an entire quilt top. I had an awful lot of purple solids (leftovers from a quilt that I’ve got cut out, but have never got around to putting together), so I went into my collection of purple fabrics and pulled out one of my favourite pieces, a poppy print from Alexander Henry’s Good Earth collection.

Wonky Star

I loved that print from the moment I first saw it, and it took me a while to source a piece of it because I think I must have come across it after it went out of print. I often buy fabric with a plan in mind (I just never finish anything…), but this was something I never had ideas about. I just loved it, so I had to have it. The lighter, pinker purple in the poppies was an almost exact match to one of the solid Kona cottons I had, so it seemed to be a great match. And I even liked how it looked with the more berry-toned purples, as well as a pale lavender and even a pale pink.

I had high hopes of making 12 blocks and then putting a single border around it, using more of the AH print, but alas, I didn’t have enough purple (or pink, which I used to help bump up the number of blocks) without using a couple of much darker purples that I didn’t think would work as well for backgrounds, so I settled on making eight and then put the lot on point.

Wonky Star quilt

And I think it looks better for it! Somehow the stars seem to sparkle more on point. And I love the way the different background colours pull your eye around. Sometimes putting things on point gives me a bit of mental trouble because I worry about all the bias cuts on the setting triangles pulling everything out of whack, but this is the second time I’ve done it this year (see the first here, also donated to The Linus Connection) and I’ve liked the results both times.

I usually have a laundry list of nit-picks about the things I make, but this one I only have two small quibbles and neither of them bother me terribly much. I’m not the biggest fan of the purple print I used for the setting triangles, but alas, it was all I had in my stash that was big enough and didn’t look terrible. I think it’s not got quite the right base-note, so to speak, to match the border print – it’s a little more berry and a little less indigo maybe? – but I’ve also sent along enough strips (I think!) to bind the quilt, which I’m hoping will help tie it in a little better to have that extra little frame of it. My second nit-pick is that I didn’t get the print pointing the right direction on the bottom two setting triangles. Really minor problem, and I could have fixed it, but I wasn’t sure I had enough fabric to include binding strips if I cut out extra triangles just to solve the directionality problem.

In any case, it’s another finished quilt top. Not a large one, it’s about 45″ x 62″, I think, but I really hope some child will love it.

Black with Brights Exchange Quilt

You wouldn’t think it, based on the infrequent posts in July, but it was the month of getting things done. I finished up two quilts and a small stack of baby gifts, which was pretty awesome, and although I didn’t start working on it until August, I pulled out a third quilt to get finished. It’ll probably take me a few more weeks – all that’s left is a mountain, A MOUNTAIN, of hand-work and weaving in threads from quilting – but I should have it finished by September. (Hopefully! It’s a gift for my grandma, and her birthday is in September, so the timing would be good.)

After that, I think I’ll go back to my mermaid/mod times quilt along quilt. I haven’t looked at it since June!

Anyway, this is a very, very old project, and one that I’m very, very happy to have finished. This project began all the way back in 2005 with members of the Quilting community on Livejournal. Someone had an idea to exchange quilt blocks using brights with black, so several of us joined up and we all made one block for each person, plus one for ourselves. There were 13 of us participating, as I recall, though I think one person had to back out in the end.

At the time I was quite new to machine quilting. In the previous couple years I had only done hand-work and then in 2004 I bought my first sewing machine (which I still have/use). I didn’t really know anything about quilting, and had only done nine-patches and some house blocks (by hand) and some very, very appallingly bad shoo-fly blocks by machine. The shoo-fly blocks had been for another exchange in that same community (mine is in the bottom right corner) and I was embarrassed by them (particularly when I got my exchange blocks of which several were immaculate AND significantly more complex), so I wanted to do something impressive and of good quality. I had heard about but never tried paper-piecing, which was supposed to result in perfect crisp points, so I bought a book – Carol Doak’s 40 Bright & Bold Paper-Pieced Blocks – and taught myself how to paper-piece.

Brights with Black block

Perfect! This block, called Chris’s Block in the book, has been used by me many times since then (once, twice, thrice, err… four times at least), usually for exchanges because it always makes an impact. More importantly though, it was something I could be proud of to send away. In fact, it hurt a little to send them all away – what if I didn’t like what I got back? Well, of course I did. I loved the way the bright colours popped up against the black and we got such a great variety of colours and block types. Here are a couple of my favourites:

I’d said before that there were 13 of use participating, which would have led to a rather difficult number of blocks to work with. Then one person backed out for personal reasons, so we would, including our own block, wind up with 12, which is not a bad number. But I couldn’t think of a good way, other than putting the blocks on point, which I didn’t want to do, to make the quilt large enough to use on the couch – my plan for it. So I made enough blocks to bring the quilt up to 16. I had some fun doing that – I made two more paper-pieced blocks and two fairly different looking Antique Tile blocks. Here are close-ups of all five blocks I made:

Both red stars are from the Carol Doak book, as well as the turquoise and green block. (The reds are Chris’s Block and Barbara’s Block, and the blue/green is Jenny’s Block. Doak named the blocks after women she was friends with or knew from the publishing company.) The other two are both Antique Tiles, which was traditional and looked easy enough for my then pretty weak machine-piecing abilities.

Obviously I used the same red/pink prints for both blocks. I’m not sure why, though probably I just didn’t have much of a fabric stash then to choose from. Some of the red blocks I sent away had a couple different fabrics in them, and I kind of wish I’d have had one of those alternates, but it’s not something that bothers me really. My favourite block, though, is the blue and green one. If I were making it now (and if I’d known then that I’d wind up using a printed sashing) I’d have switched the locations of my solid and print blacks, but never mind that. I LOVE that block. I wish I’d had tons of that green fabric, but I only ever had a 10th of a yard (or metre, not sure which) of it. And I have no idea who made it/what line it came from. (Not that I’d be likely to find it now!) I don’t know how well it’ll show, but it’s got little turquoise dots on it that almost perfectly match the solid blue. The kind of watery looking print is a batik with a range of blues and the print in a murky mossy green. LOVE.

In retrospect, there are some things I wish I could change about the quilt, namely I’d like to use a solid sashing and a different print for the border. Probably I’d do a 1/4-inch… flange-style framing border rather than the 1-in thick blue one I used. (What are those types of borders called, when it’s a little flap you can slip your finger under? I’ve used them frequently since, since they make a nice dividing line, but are very thin.)

But this quilt top has been completed since mid-way through 2005, and these are the things I choose 6 years ago. I was a starving university student at the time (counting pennies to buy apples!), so my budget was really limited and most of what I choose was on sale or gifted to me or already in my then very small stash. I think I was concerned at the time that a solid black sashing would make the quilt look dreary and too dark, so I wanted something with a print. The blue was chosen specifically to keep a pop of colour around the edge, and also to draw a little attention to the blue in the quilt, since I thought the warm colours were more predominant. The outer border, a kind of murky grey/black mottled print was chosen because I didn’t want a solid black, but also thought a more busy print would compete with the already busy sashing. I don’t know why I didn’t choose a coloured print border (except again for the competition with the sashing). Actually, it seems that the chosen sashing seems to be the sticking point. I could have done a lot of different things, if I’d only chosen a solid or a more neutral tone-on-tone sashing fabric.

I remember taking this project to show my grandma once, probably back in 2005 or 2006, and she wasn’t at the house (my grandpa was), but she was by chance at an Embroidery Guild meeting, though they were quilting that particular day. So I took the quilt – then a basted together top – to the Senior’s Centre to show her. Everyone in her guild all had to come have a look. The one comment I remember was that I’d chosen ‘weird’ colours. Hee.

Anyway, holy long post batman! After that point, the top just sat around. And it sat around some more. I was terrified of trying to quilt it on my little sewing machine (very nearly but not quite bottom of the Kenmore line in 2004), and so it sat. Eventually my mom decided that she would hand-quilt it for me, so the basted quilt went to her house. But it was summer, so she decided to wait until winter, and then it sat. It sat in my old bedroom for a couple of years, and periodically I’d tease her about it (since she often teases me about my unfinished projects), but still it sat.

Then this winter she decided it was time.

And so now it’s quilted. She did it all by hand, probably in the evenings whilst watching tv, quilting in the ditch of every single block and crisscrossing through the sashing. (She forgot to do the border, but for now we’re just leaving it unfinished. Maybe we’ll come back to it in a while and do some criss-cross quilting through that as well.) I’m so pleased to have it all done, and it was so exciting when she came out here to visit and pulled the quilted piece out of a bag. All that was left was trimming and binding. When I cut off the excess fabric from the back, I decided to use it for the binding. It was a strange fabric, a really tight weave and somewhat difficult to sew though. I wonder if I used a poly-cotton blend? I don’t know. (I disposed of the rest of the remnants so that they don’t wind up in my stash of good cottons.) But it works for the binding. I did a small section with some of the blue border print as well, which is sort of visible at the top left of the top photo.

So, six years in the making, I’ve finished my first non-baby sized quilt. (It’s about 6×6′.) And my first for-me quilt. SO happy to strike something off the WIP-list! And it’s not quite my oldest Work-in-Progress, but it’s good to knock something so OLD off the list as well.

WIP: Plume Quilt

The Plume Quilt

This quilt top is one of my favourites that is finished. When I first saw Tula Pink’s Plume, I think it might have been the first time I really loved fabric with a lot of pink in it. The turquoise and pink and lime together is just so luscious and it was love. I only bought a layer cake (and later a bit of yardage for the borders and also for the backing, which fabric I can’t seem to find, hence not finishing it).

The pattern isn’t very visible in this particular picture, but it was from a Moda Bake Shop project, though I can’t remember what it was called. I don’t think the original had borders, I added though to make it large enough to be adult lap-sized. Also, I felt like it needed a yellow border to make the single yellow block make sense. (Plume only has one yellow print, and I don’t know why it has it at all…)

I do need to go looking for the backing fabric though because my mom wants to tackle the quilting as a evening project. She has done hand-quilting for me a few times and I’m happy to give her something to work on. I plan to have something really simple done in the center of the quilt and in the yellow border, and then to have a traditional feather pattern quilted into the larger green border.

Left to Do:
– (find and) piece the backing fabric
– baste and quilt
– create and attach binding

This has since been finished in 2018, but I haven’t written a post about it yet. When I do, I’ll delete or anyway edit this.