Tuesday, July 24, 2012

A Wonky Finish

Most of my week was spent outside camping and finishing up the binding on my wonky blocks quilt.  I'm not entirely certain if I like the quilting I did on this quilt.  First it's hard to see what the quilting is, and second I'm not too happy with the way the variegated thread looks, I wonder if I should have gone with something solid that blended in... Oh well, I'm sure the little baby that this quilt is for will grow to like it (hahaha no pun intended :).  But before I show you the completed quilt I thought I would share a photo of my little hooligans...

Jordan and Payton
Yeah they actually look like that more often than not...  Anyhow here is that finished quilt!  Yeah  FINISH!

Here are some photo's of the back of the quilt... funny now that I see it in pictures I like it more hahaha.

Well that's about it, just a finish (I love typing that).  So onward and forward, time to focus some serious energy onto "The Big One" (see previous posts  http://quiltingcurve.blogspot.ca/2012/05/big-one.html and  http://quiltingcurve.blogspot.ca/2012/07/working-curve.html for details of this ambitious project for a novice)

I'm linking up to the Needle and Thread Network 

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

The Working Curve

Works in progress mostly this week.  I started quilting my wonky squares quilt, with an excessively complicated butterfly design.  This was the first time I actually marked the entire surface of the quilt.  I'm not entirely happy with how it's turning out but I think it may have something to do with how messy the top looks with all the lines drawn on it.  Here is a photo of the finished quilt top before marking.  I explained how I made this quilt in my post last week.  Any how onwards and forwards.  I'm missing my guild like only a quilter can.  I have so many things I would like to bounce off them!  My husband is as nice as they come but still a poor substitute for the ladies.  Gwen (a woman from my guild in Dawson Creek) gave me some 5" squares a couple months ago saying she didn't really have a plan for them and if I would use them I was welcome to them.  I totally jumped on the opportunity like any good vulture and squirreled them away with thoughts of a disappearing nine-patch brewing in my flighty little mind.  Well I saw my opportunity and went for it.  The photos are not that good (my camera is one of those indestructible ones that mostly takes utilitarian photos, since I literally break everything).   But you get the idea here.

All of the squres that Gwen gave me were of a bright baltic nature. So I paired them with a straight black and, ta-da, instant coolness. I love how it looks a complete mess. The great thing about doing this type of disappearing nine-patch is that even if none of the seams really line up it doesn't really matter. I did however read in the last while that some quilters always iron their seams open. I decided to give this a try... Although I haven't quilted this yet I can tell that, bar the wrinkles in the photo, the quilt does lay flatter. Is this worth the pain of pressing the seams open, and watching that they don't fold EVERY TIME YOU SEW ANOTHER SEAM?!? I'm not too sure. If I may pose a question to anyone reading this: Do you iron your seams open? Why? Any suggestions for a quilting design?

I have also decided to start working on 'The Big One' (dun dun dun) again. Here is a link to the first post of this ridiculous, "eyes too big for my plate" project http://www.quiltingcurve.blogspot.ca/2012/05/big-one.html. Due to our moving across the damn country (well two provinces over), I had to restart drawing the background. I'm happy redoing this though because I feel that I have learned so much more about quilting in the last couple months that a restart was needed (not boding well for a couple months down the road is it?). Anyhow I approached the project with fresh eyes, and new bigger, better ideas! Oh crap I'm so in over my head... Anyhow the idea is to have a Heron standing in water surrounded by water grass and dragonflys, with the glorious sunset behind it. Not too original but a pretty picture no less. Step one: build background out of freezer paper.

So here I am in all my glorious 'I've been at home for three days' wardrobe. I had to tape the freezer paper together to get the size I need this darn thing to be. Yes, I realize this is industrial freezer paper, but my town hardly has 5,000 people and this stuff was hard enough to find. Anyhow, here is a close up so you can see how small and frustrating these pieces are going to be. Oh well, as Willy Wonka once said, 'Little surprises everywhere but nothing dangerous".

The next design hurdle I have to jump through would be the Heron. A bird of awesome grace and hilarious gawkiness, I'm going for grace...
After hours of forcing my control- impaired hands to draw, I came to this final design for the Heron... Yes, there is a body and legs but I like the head best.
Which finally brings me to the end of my current progress. I told my lovely husband as much when he arrived home from an excessively long day at his new job... He replied that he thought that the whole thing was going to be too busy and I should just put the heron, grass, and dragon flies in silhouette. Well, why didn't I think of that? Oh yeah, because Mom (for whom the quilt is for) wanted it to be in colour. I promptly called mom and told her my husband's smart-ass idea. She responded with a irritatingly open-mind saying "That might be nice". So anyhow, I haven't dropped the idea of having a full colour, detail-rich Heron, but I thought I would ask for your opinions on the matter? I will continue to build the background and post photos when it's done, but what do you think? Colour or Silhouette?

Linking up for the first time ever since I just figured out how to do this... I hope


Sunday, July 8, 2012

Endless Skies

The land of endless skies has eaten my family.  We all finally arrived safe and sound in Saskatchewan and things are finally settling down into a normal life again.  I was disappointed to learn that the guild in town doesn't meet up during the summer.  I have more poking around to do but at this moment I'm one lonely quilter.   I bought fabric for yet another baby quilt.  I drew up a pattern on my trusty graph paper trying to see if I could build a wonky blocks type quilt.  Here are the plans I drew up.  Its hard to see in the photo but
basically nothing lines up.  I used each little square on the paper like it equals 3 inches then I broke up the area of the quilt into squares in the multiple of 3's, then added half and inch to the finished block for seam allowance.  Here is my breakdown:

Blue (17) - 3 1/2 x 3 1/2
Purple (6) - 3 1/2 x 6 1/2
Yellow (7) - 6 1/2 x 6 1/2
Dk Green (1) - 6 1/2 x 9 1/2
Red (9) - 9 1/2 x 9 1/2
Lt Green (6) - 12 1/2 x 12 1/2
Orange (4) - 15 1/2 x 15 1/2

Center Black Squares (33) 2 1/2 x 2 1/2
Center Black Squares for Blue (17) 2 1/4 x 2 1/4

Easy right!?! Nope not that easy....
I honestly don't mind drawing up patterns and seeing if I could make something like this work, remember I'm new to this whole thing and I'm still training my brain to think like a proper quilter (Ooooh I want to make one of those...).  Anyhow the hardest part for me was figuring out how to make such a complicated quilt with the limited amount of fabric I had.  Black center of the block easy, but otherwise I had only 6 other patterns to work with.  Well there is nothing to be done about it because like heck you can get me to go and buy more fabric (I panic when I enter a fabric store... it's a wonder I actually bought this stuff).  Well whatever I decided just to jump into it and get 'er done.  Well to save myself from an embarrassing amount of swear words at this point of my post I'll just let you know that as deceptively simple as thus quilt may appear it's not.  Here is how I made the blocks.  First I cut 2 1/2 inch
step 1 
step 2
step 3 
step 4 

strips from my selected fabric, then I sewed the black square to the strip, I used a pair of scissors to cut the piece off to from step one.  Sew another piece onto the other side, iron.  Sew the remaining two sides of the black square.  Now depending on the estimated size of the finished block the size of    the strips may change.  For this project I used a combination of 2 1/2 inch strips and 3 1/2 in strips.  Because once you get a finished square in step 4 it measures approx. 6 1/2 inches square, and now it's time to make the square wonky.  I highly recommend having a 'square up' type ruler for this project.

I needed to cut this square down to a 3 1/2 inch block so I layed the ruler on top, tried to center the ruler as best I could and slice and dice.  This is super fun but a little tricky.  Make sure you check your lines TWICE... yes that quilting curve totally caused some colourful words to exit my mouth.  Turn the block line up your ruler and cut again and tada you got yourself a wicked cool wonky block.  Once you have this cool block it's time to start sewing on the next strip set to give the block a little more depth.  I did

 eventually figure out a faster way to chain piece and assembly line this quilt but unless one was to sit down and plan a lot more (or if you have a huge array of fabrics) it's hard to make this quilt go together quickly.  I was also slightly appalled at how much fabric was wasted (especially the first couple blocks).  But I was able to salvage much of the waste to make the smaller blocks.  Make the big blocks first, and use the scraps to make the smaller ones.  Again because of my limited number of prints my design wall played a huge roll in putting this thing together.

I laid out the quilt on the design wall and proceeded to sew the pieces together that I could, and ended up with this.  Now I knew that I was going to have to do some fancy planning to put the whole thing together but I remember looking as this so happy at how far I had come when I got stumped.  In theory I knew all I had to do was leave a 1/4 in open and put it all together... well but... huh?  I went and had a beer on my back deck and pondered my troubles.  Although it is that simple I found that you want to do things in a certain order otherwise your seams don't lie flat or your will end up with holes.  Well after a little fortification I was able to figure it out but I also found that 1/4 inch wasn't enough space for me I ended up leaving about 1/2 and inch and it was much easier.  Anyhow the top is finished and I have already started on another project.  I haven't decided exactly how I'm going to quilt this wonky blocks quilt but I'm sure it will come to me at 2 am one of these nights.
Pretty cool eh?