Thursday, September 21, 2017

Blogger's Quilt Festival :: Tinker Toys

I love when this festival comes around every year!  Blogger's Quilt Festival is in full swing and we get to soak up all the beautiful quilts gaining friends and inspiration!  There is a huge online community of quilters and this is our chance to see who they are, what they do and fill our minds with creative ideas!

It's difficult deciding which quilts to share!  I choose to share 'Tinker Toys' just because I love it!  It's rainbow, it's English Paper Piecing, its different!

47" x 62"
It all started with English Paper Piecing and a pattern called 'Striped Octagon' from Tierney Barden.  I love having a hand project to work on in the evenings...idle hands are not good for me...and settled on this one.

When I had what I thought was a good amount of pieces, I wondered what to do with in.  It could have simply been a mini quilt and be done, but I wanted to take it further.  Push myself.  Let it morph into something different!  And it certainly did morph!

Letting the top stew for a week or two, finally an idea came to me on how I wanted to quilt it.  I started with the center panel by making circles in each white square and in the center of each octagon stripe.

Each stripe is quilted in a matching thread using 1/4" straight lines, with some extend through the background. 

One of the hardest parts of making this quilt was matching the lines that extended from the center panel!  Some worked perfectly, some not so much!  I extended the lines in varying lengths, some went to the edge, some started from the edge.  The final touch was matching the binding to the strips that went to the edge!

I love this quilt because it's just plain happy!  Happy and weird and different!

I hope you get a chance to check out some of the other entries in the Bloggers Quilt Festival!  There are some beautiful and inspiring quilts entered!

Saturday, September 16, 2017

This Round Is On Me :: Scrappy Drunkards Path

It really did take a simple, semi-mindless project that got me back in to the swing of things. A couple months ago I had glue basted a big pile of Drunkard's Path blocks that were intended for those days when you just want to sew something or just a little.  A long term project.  So when I found myself low on inspiration and Mojo, I picked those up and began stitching curves.

Last time I blogged about this quilt 'Getting My MoJo Back', I had pieced all the blocks together but hadn't assembled the quilt top.  Mostly because I wasn't sure on my layout! That is now behind me as is the drought of inspiration and oomph!

47 1/2" x 62"
I love this finish!  The scrappy-ness, the circles, the crisp clean feel.  Yes, scraps are good...very good!  

As you can see, I staggered the blocks in each row.  This layout was the best option for the quantity of blocks I had.  A little luck and a lot of ingenuity I had just enough of the Kona White for the background.   

Sandwiched and pinned, I began thinking about how I should quilt it.  My ideas were grandiose and complex and then I came to my senses!  As much as I would have loved to quilt in and around each circle, I knew I wasn't ready to get that deep into a quilting project at this time.  

Instead I went with simple straight lines.  My usual standby!  The more I quilted each line, the more a beautiful geometric design started to emerge.  I had no idea!  Its not like I actually planned the design ahead of time!  I'm calling it my 'Geometric Spider Web'!

Diagonal, vertical and horizontal lines intersect in the center of each circle all the while creating interesting diamonds throughout the quilt.  Here's a diagram of how I quilted for the geometric spider web design.

It was also time to try something a little different with thread.  I've seen so many quilters trying heavier weight thread for quilting and it was high time I gave it a go myself!  

I grabbed a spool of 28wt White (2024) for the top and 50wt Chalk (2026) for the bobbin. Because of the weight of the 28 thread it's recommended to use a 40 or 50 weight in the bobbin and also a 90/14 needle.  It wasn't until I quilted on a practice piece of fabric that I knew it was going to work.  As in perfect!  

I love the look of the 28 wt thread on the top of the quilt.  Because of the thickness, it stands out. Front and center.  A 40 or 50 wt thread tends to blend and disappear in the fabric, which is what I like about a lighter weight.  I'm looking forward to using it again, next time something more intense!  

For the backing I used Kona Breakers.  I thought it would be a nice compliment to the prints in the blocks.  

The binding is a plethora of scraps!  You would think between this quilt and the binding and my Glam Clam quilt that my scraps must be gone by now!  There has been a significant dent in the pile.  I'm afraid I might never be rid of them all!

I am certain there will be more quarter circles, half circles or Drunkard's Path blocks in my future...and most likely they will be glue basted just like these were.  

It was important for me to 'break the ice' and get back to what I love doing...quilting.  There is healing in quilting and doing what you love.  

And wouldn't you know it!  Just when I'm itching to dive in, I have a monstrous deck to stain, two big walls to paint and a bathroom to remodel!  I think I'll be able to fit a little cutting and stitching in between those projects.

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Final Round Robin Hand Off :: Round #5

Round #5 is in the books!  I have thoroughly enjoyed my first Round Robin event.  The hardest part has been the stress.  The stress of not knowing what to do and wondering if it'll be cohesive with the other rounds.

Round #5:  45" x 45" 
I had this hanging up for weeks until I finally had a plan.  That's one of the most difficult aspects of a Round Robin.  Am I doing enough, doing too much, not doing enough, doing too little.    

Start Size: 39" x 39"
This is what came to me for my round.  Pretty, don't you think?  It's a color palette that I don't gravitate towards, so it was a pleasure being able to push myself in that department.  I love the pastels!  Weird for me to say that...but, I have been contemplating a pastel quilt for a while.  Perhaps this will push that idea closer to accomplishing!

Do these blocks look familiar?  Since my last quilt was 'Storm At Sea', I let that carry over into this round.  Which seems to be the way most of my rounds have happened.  Whatever I was or am working on it some way or another gets incorporated in the round.

Here's a little insight into my reasoning for using this block.  I couldn't very well use circles or curves because the previous round had plenty.  But I wanted the illusion of curves, and Storm At Sea does that.  Now, I'm the first to admit that the plan didn't exactly work well.  The other part of this idea (such as it is), was that the shapes and angles in my round work well with the previous rounds shapes and angles.  Grasping here?!

See the curve?  Squint with your left eye and tilt your head back and to the right...see it now?!  I used prints...that evens out the curve part in my book!

This was Marcia's center block.  Having just finished a Drunkards Path quilt myself, I was pleased to see this center for my last round!  Marcia started us off with a great block, and every round after played very well with her colors!

And with that...the hardest part is finished!  I cannot tell you how hard it is to come up with the perfect idea for a round.  Talk about being out of my comfort zone and pushing myself!

Since our quilt guild started this in February, I haven't even looked at the rounds added to my starting block.  You can see my starting block here: Round Robin :: My First.    I know...I'm on pins and needles!  I wanted it to be a surprise and it will be just that.  Will it still be pink?  Square?  As soon as I get my hot hands on it you know I'll share!

Round it or hate it?  Rules or no rules?


Thursday, September 7, 2017

Storm at Sea :: Finish, Just Barely

I had so much fun picking this block for our Guilds Paint Chip Challenge.  Picking, yes.  Constructing, yes.  Assembling, NO!

But...I got it done, I got it done, I got it done!  Frustration from beginning to end, yet I love this block!  
24" x 24"
A quick recap:  Those are the two paint chips I had to work with.  We were allowed to use one other color and a neutral if we wanted.  My initial plan was to add an accent color, in this case pink/magenta.  While pre-planning my pieces to paper piece I had to change plans on so many colors it wasn't funny!  During the entire process I was left wondering how this block would turn out in the end.

You can check out Storm Before The Calm...Storm At Sea, for my first go around with this idea.  

Because I was punting on colors based on what I had on hand, I had to mix and match the centers of the large square in a square blocks.  Not a problem.  Except I forgot about that detail after I finished piecing the blocks and when I was piecing the rows together!  

Pretty blocks ready to sew into rows...but I forgot....

The actual piecing of the blocks was a breeze!  I couldn't have been happier!  When I saw what I had done I wanted to cry, instead I swore a blue streak!  I wanted to say 'screw it' and let it live, but I couldn't!  For anyone who paper pieces you know what a pain it is to rip out those teeny tiny stitches!  But I did.  I might have swore even more!

Once I got back on track, after taking a lot of deep breaths and a few glasses of wine, I was ready to pick thread for quilting.  And then there is the quilting plan...that hadn't quite made an appearance in my mind!  

These are my three thread choices:  #2135 yellow, #4129 turf green and #1148 light jade.  All are 50 wt, and in the end I went with just the yellow and light jade.

I eventually decided I was going to follow the flow of the 'sea'!  I wanted the motion and movement to show.  I first stitched in the ditch and then very unscientifically stitched lines.  All, mind you, very free and organic. 

I put the pedal to the metal and went for it!  I especially love the yellow accent thread.  It stands out in just the right way and just the right amount.  

For the center squares, I did a simple geometric star. The star was completely different from the rest of the quilting, simple.  

I really like how this quilt turned out.  From piecing, to color, to quilting!

Even with all the pitfalls, missteps and difficulties, I thoroughly enjoyed making this block. We may complain (and boy do I) about certain parts of any block, but we love it!  

I could see making another version of this block.  Different colors, different guidelines and larger blocks!

What is the one block that tests your limits, but you can't help but love it?!