Friday, October 23, 2020

Summer Is So Over

The last remnant of summer for me was the Summer Sampler quilt project I'd worked on for literally months. Begun back in May with the fabric pull, week by week I sewed a new block. After some fun with the unique (to me) sashing, I finally had a quilt top in September. And now, thankfully, in the midst of Autumn, I have a finished Summer Sampler 2020 quilt. It feels good.

 
I pieced the quilt back taking inspiration from the Summer Sampler "Trellis" block designed by Malka Dubrawsky/@stitchindye. Can you see it on the front there? Most of the fabrics, but not all, were repeats from the quilt front, but all the prints at least were by Carolyn Friedlander. You know, staying with the theme.

Quilting was done in an angled 2" grid using Aurifil 50wt #2021 [Natural White]. Not my norm, but this time all lines were marked with my trusty hera marker, and then I stitched just off of the markings. The result is a simple diamond design that 'fits' with many of the quilt blocks. It's not as dense as I sometimes go, but then again, a 1" grid seemed more than it (or I) needed. 

For binding, the only fabric I had enough of from my Summer Sampler stash was the Essex Yarn Dye Homespun in Silver, and I think it works OK! For sure it has a great texture, and though I thought it might be a little thick for the binding, it actually felt and sewed great. Honestly, it got used very little in the quilt front, so I was happy to let it shine in the binding.

The finish measures 60" square, considerably smaller than the Summer Samplers made in the last two years, though in looking back, not quite as small as the original (2011!). Whatever, as I expected, I love the finish with that sashing! I like gave up sashing so many years ago, and though I confess I didn't necessary enjoy the process, I definitely am pleased with what it added to my quilt block layout. So yes, all is definitely good.

Tuesday, October 20, 2020

Stitch Club :: Embellishing Printed Fabric

Though I started out with larger ambitions for Stitch Club this month, I ended up doing a pretty small project. With a theme of embellishing printed fabric, I ordered up some Menagerie in Mermaid from Alison GlassSun Print, with the intention of cross-stitching its Xs and embellishing some pillowcases. 

But friends, those Xs are small, too small to stitch for long with my eyesight. But I did like the fabric, especially the bee. So I chose another project where I could highlight that one section. I revisited Happy Sew Lucky's Round Pincushion, a sweet puck-shaped pincushion pattern that offers a nice variety of shapes. I chose to make mine 2" tall by 4" across, perfect for my stitched bee.

Speaking of said bee, I stitched with size #8 perle cotton, backing the piece with a layer of batting before I started. The out-line stitches were added to define the design a bit more. 

So that's it. Small maybe, but still let me participate along with the club. Just for the record, I did complete a much larger project using a similar stitching on printed fabric technique a while back - so overall I'm feeling ok about things and anxious to see what's next.

Monday, October 19, 2020

VOTE!

'Tis the season! The upcoming election and the actual act of voting is uppermost in alot of our minds. I've been enjoying seeing the VOTE quilts folks have been sharing, and had been debating if I wanted to make one myself. Suddenly, last Friday night, with my newly arrived ballot waiting for me on the kitchen counter and my Bee Sewcial mates enjoying an evening of sewing, chatting  and "zooming" together, I suddenly decided I most definitely DID.


Without giving it too much thought, I gathered a variety of stash red solids along with a navy and white stripe. I kept things light-hearted and improvisational, just enjoying the process. By the end of the evening, I at least had the top pieced, so it didn't take long to quilt it up the next afternoon. I used Auriful 50wt #2250 [Red], marking out from each letter with my hera-marker and then echo-stitching in sections. Very fun stitching!

Once I trimmed the quilt, it measured just 16.5" x 22". It was while I was making some binding strips that it came to me to piece an exclamation mark in the binding on the right edge. That was just the oomph needed for my simple message.

Friday, October 16, 2020

Shapes

Well Leanne/@shecanquilt's Bee Sewcial prompt this month turned out to be a really fun one for me. A celebration of shapes, reading 'cool' palette-wise, though we had the freedom to use all of the colors, just no neutrals like whites, blacks, greys, or browns.

For the first block, I was thinking of rectangles, and used the stack-and-whack method to create a mass of them. I added just a little off-centered 'filler' for some added interest, and trimmed it to finish at 12" x 14 3/4".


For the second block, I had a false start.... I started piecing some scrappy diamonds and they just weren't speaking to me. So I set then aside and pulled a handful of solids from stash, mostly cool colors of course, with a few warms as accents. I had the idea to make a good-size hexagon, though I thought I should 'fill' it with something interesting, which of course led me to some improv stripes. After making a big slab of them, I cut it into 1/8s and shuffled things around. I added in some extra bits just for an added visual, and that was especially fun.

I almost left the hexie as it was, since Leanne said we could do that, but I really wanted to pull some of the color out and and incorporate more 'cool.' Adding a 'border' was a little tricky, since I chose to use a couple of y-seams, but the effect turned out just as I'd hoped. Once I trimmed off the ragged edges, it finished at 13" x 15".


So that's it for me and Bee Sewcial this year. We have November and December 'off,' but I'll be back at some point to do a little round up. Until then....

Tuesday, October 13, 2020

Vista Toscana

It was oh so timely that I happened to cut into the Tuscany View fat-quarter bundle I'd purchased from Fabric Bubb when I did. Because one year ago last week we were in Tuscany, Reggello in fact, in the Tuscan countryside. Though we were fortunate to take a daytrip to Florence, Tuscany's capital, it was in Reggello itself the we experienced THE most breathtaking sunset. And it was that sunset that came to mind when I purchased the fabric.

The colors, all Cotton Couture from Michael Miller, weren't exact, but were reminiscent enough. 


I separated the fabrics in 5 groupings, each with 2-3 key fabrics. And from there I started piecing blocks of improv curves. For most of the sections, I pieced slabs that were 18-22" x 13-14" and then used my 6" square ruler to cut out six blocks. Now and then I made one or two blocks at a time, or inserted another piece into one of the 'slab' blocks.... whatever felt good at the time.


As I worked from one color grouping to the next, I intentionally used some overlap with the colors to create some interrelatedness, just like in nature. I briefly considered rearranging the blocks from the arrangement I'd fashioned on my design wall, but after plenty of affirmation on my progress post, I decided to continue on with what was originally in my mind's eye. 

Wanting to save what little fabric I had left for (hopefully) binding, I found a stash fabric just the right size, and though the palette wasn't spot on, its design definitely was, for the quilting I had planned. 

For quilting, organic straight-line [link to tutorial] felt the obvious choice. Though my original plan involved just three threads, basically one for the top, middle, and bottom sections of the quilt, once I got going I switched it up, and used quite the variety - nine in total. I used two or three for each of the five sections. 

Gotta say, this kind of quilting is something I really enjoy. Between the variety of thread, the improv stitching, and the smallness of the quilt (28" x 34"), it was alot of fun.

And then, of course, for the binding, another obvious choice - some straight matched binding [link to tutorial]. I had a limited supply of the fabrics left, so I kind of used what I had to create a combination I enjoyed.

Considering I purchased this fabric purely on a whim due to the bundle's name, I'm super pleased with the final result.


And boy did it evoke some extraordinary Tuscan memories.

Monday, October 12, 2020

Backing Up

I went back in time yesterday. Just for a bit, and only in that I revisited a project I'd made back in 2013. It was the Wordy Mouse Pad - do you remember? I'd written a tutorial and here's the original.


It came up in conversation the other day when my co-worker went to get something from my office, which I haven't worked in since March. She noticed the mousepad on my desk, and put in a request for one of her own.

The focus of the original is of course that typewriter, cut from Melody Miller's Ruby Star Shining collection way back in 2011. Sad that there was just one lone typewriter left in my stashed piece. I'm definitely a proponent of using those treasures though, so I just dug right in.

It had been ages since I'd cut into my collection of text fabrics, so that was fun. Piecing, quilting, and finishing was easily accomplished in under an hour. Here's the new one!

Once construction is complete, a simple purchased mouse pad is inserted in the sleeves sewn on the back. The finished mouse pad cover measures approximately 8 1/2" x 11", though the size may need to be adjusted depending on the mouse pad you purchase. Nice thing is, if the purchased pad is slightly too big, it can be easily trimmed using a ruler and rotary cutter.


So sadly, the typewriters are gone, but I'm thinking other interesting patchwork and quilting can still make for an interesting mouse pad. So I've ordered a few spares and may just see what I can come up with.

Thursday, October 8, 2020

Rings

From Day One of considering Improv Double Wedding Rings as my Bee Sewcial prompt this year, I really liked the idea and now, with a finished quilt in my hands, I'm more than pleased with my choice as well as my bee-mates' execution of it. My own inspiration block is in the upper-right corner. The black-and-white and "sky blue" mix is more striking than I expected, and I like it ALOT.


The blocks sat on my design wall for a while, as I considered options for bringing them all together. In my gut, I really felt they should stay snug together vs. spreading them out, just like they would be in a traditional double wedding ring quilt. It seemed that would better reflect the traditional pattern I was recreating in a more modern way. 

I'm not sure where the improvisational framing idea came from, but I decided to try a few sections, and I immediately saw the possibilities. Adding pieced stripes into the mix took it up a notch. I can't imagine being any happier with it. Then, once the top was done, a pieced quilt-back was in order.

For quilting, I used Aurifil 50wt #2715 [Robin's Egg] and started by following the curve of Felicity's block, echoing in 1/2" intervals with my walking foot. 

Though I had begun with a different plan, once I'd finished that large segment, I decided to continue echoing the other three blocks in that quadrant, this time in 1" intervals. There was some overlap between quadrants, which led to some interesting sections of grid.

That left the center "background" of the quadrant, which I echo-stitched in 1/4" intervals. It felt like the differing widths added some interest. The quilt was bound in Kona Pacific and measures 60" square. 


At the beginning of this project, I was slightly concerned my prompt would be too simple and not improv-y enough, but I think between the creativity of my bee-mates in making their blocks, the somewhat limited palette, and the finishing 'frame,' it became something very recognizable yet very unique. My thanks goes out to Karen/capitolaquilter, M-R/quiltmatters, Leanne/shecanquilt, Stephanie/spontaneousthreads, Ken/thekinglacker, Felicity/felicityquilts, and Marci/marci_girl for their contribution to this quilt. Their blocks definitely let me create the kind of quilt I had hoped for.

Friday, October 2, 2020

September Fabric Usage

September had a slow start, with little more than Summer Sampler and bee blocks in the first half of the month. But then things started to really look up as I forged ahead on the courthouse steps quilt I was making with the bundle I'd been curating over these last several months. Gotta say that felt great in more ways than one.

So all I brought in last month was one single yard for October's Stitch Club project, Alison Glass' Sunprint Menangerie in Mermaid. Unfortunately, those Xs are pretty tiny to stitch over, so I may need to rethink my stitching plan. But still, the stats are decent for September. And hard to believe, but I've used a net of over 100 yards so far this year. Ummm.... I never would have guessed that was possible. Yay!

September Fabric Usage
Used up: 20.05 yards
Brought in: 1.0 yard
Net: -19.05 yards
Year to date: -106.345 yards

Tuesday, September 29, 2020

Meadow

Over the last several months, I've been stitching one Dropcloth Sampler after another, and they have given me so much relaxing stitching time. This latest one is the Meadow Sampler, the first round one of the bunch.

It was stitched completely with #8 perle cotton, with me selecting the colors purely at whim as I went. I've been adding a couple of new spools to my collection every month or so, and this is the first of my samplers that has just a bit of a variegated thread in it. The design measures 7" in diameter and was finished off with a machine-sewn basting stitch until I decide what to do with it. The stitching itself seems to be the point of these for me, so who knows what I'll do with the stack I'm accumulating. Time will tell.

Monday, September 28, 2020

Summer Sampler 2020 :: The Quilt Top!

After all those weeks of  piecing the Summer Sampler 2020 blocks, it feels pretty great to have gathered all the blocks into a quilt top!


Those hourglass cornerstones were a little effort but definitely worth it. Even before they made it into the quilt, they seemed something pretty special.


And once in, they add spots of interest all around the quilt.


The unique sashing was what really drew me to make this quilt. Sashing has not been on my radar for years, but the uniqueness of this design made me want to try it.


Due to the whimsy of one of the Carolyn Friedlander fabrics, here's one of the spots I especially love. This finished top is in line for quilting, but hopefully it won't be too long. Working on a backing now!

Week 1: Trellis     Week 2: Infinite Pinwheel
Week 3: Lakeside     Week 4: Tide Pool
Week 5: Brae     Week 6: Convergence
Week 7: Diverge   Week 8: Direction
Week 9: Midsummer     Week 10: Zephyr
Week 11: Swamp Rabbit     Week 12: Orbit
Week 13: Glimpse     Week 14: Like a Butterfly
Week 15: Flux     Week 16: Daylily

Wednesday, September 23, 2020

Autumn Steps

If you've paid any attention to my Fabric Usage posts this year, you may have noticed that during this Covid-time, I'm been slowly curating a stack of fabrics with an admittedly, unknown purpose other than to use them together. 

[Top to bottom: Ruby Star Society Warp & Weft Chore Coat in Persimmon + Diamond Textiles Crossed in Mustard + Art Gallery MakerC+S Dusk Till Dawn Moonchild in Grass + Kona Grellow? + Carolyn Friedlander Harriot Textured in Roasted Pecan Yarn Dyed + Essex Yarn Dyed Homespun in Roasted Pecan + Giucy Giuce Redux String Theory in Tangerine + Ruby Star Society Speckled in Earth Metallic + Carolyn Friedlander Architextures Crosshatch in Tangerine + Kona Tigerlily + Ruby Star Society Spark in Butterscotch + Kona Cedar]

After all these months, I finally have a quilt!


It took me a while to decide on a quilt design, and even though I liked the traditional courthouse steps I chose, as the piece grew larger, I briefly considered cutting it into quarters and mixing things up a bit. But I persevered, and now that it's done - measuring about 72" square - I'm really glad I persisted.

Strips of fabric measured from 1" to 4 1/2" wide finished, chosen willy-nilly from my stack as I sewed along. I'd cut a few strips, sew a few, then evaluate and see what I wanted next. 

I found a 3-yard length of an oldie but goodie in my stash for the beginning of a pieced back - Meteor Shower from Tula Pink's The Birds & the Bees line. To that I added what I had left of the Crossed in Mustard, and what I don't think was Kona Pink Flamingo, but very close to it. For quilting thread, I also had a very perfect Aurifil 50wt #2320 [Light Toast] on hand, and it ended up suiting every fabric of the bunch.

After having trouble sourcing my 'normal' Warm & White batting, I've been using Quilter's Dream Cotton in the Select loft these last few months, and I think this is the largest quilt I've used it in. For quilting, I hauled out my back-up machine, just to use its easy-going serpentine stitch, which made the process pretty quick, especially since I just followed seam lines in one direction, so the range in density resulted in a drapey and cozy quilt. 

Between quilting less densely than usual and deciding to throw the quilt in for a quick wash and dry, as the photos show, I've got a much more crinkly finish than my norm. And I love it! Somewhere along the construction process, I'd decided this one would be a perfect new autumn throw for our own home, so the crinkles and cozy are totally fine by me.

Wednesday, September 16, 2020

Summer Sampler 2020 :: Daylily

So bittersweet, this last block of the Summer Sampler 2020 sewalong! It's been a fun one, and with no traveling this summer, I've been able to keep up every week.

Daylily, a design by Lee Heinrich, consists mostly of half-square triangles, maybe not my favorite in bulk, but at least they go together so nicely.

And with that, I just had to pull out all my blocks and see how they look together. I'm anxious to see them with their sashing, and that'll come soon enough, but for now, things are good.


Week 1: Trellis     Week 2: Infinite Pinwheel
Week 3: Lakeside     Week 4: Tide Pool
Week 5: Brae     Week 6: Convergence
Week 7: Diverge   Week 8: Direction
Week 9: Midsummer     Week 10: Zephyr
Week 11: Swamp Rabbit     Week 12: Orbit
Week 13: Glimpse     Week 14: Like a Butterfly
Week 15: Flux