Thursday, June 28, 2018

And in my free time....

A while ago I blogged about organizing my scraps.

I mainly concentrate on cutting 2.5" and 1.5" scrappy squares. And the smaller odd shaped pieces get pieced into 2.5" crumb squares.
Here's my most recent crumb squares from this week.  I probably have over 100 made now. Soon I'll start planning of how to use them in a quilt.

The 1.5" squares are really supposed to be for the center of these stars.  (It doesn't look like I have much more than I had in the blog post I linked above.  I guess the crumbs are winning my attention.)
But tonight I couldn't resist sewing those 1.5"squares into 3.5" 9-patches.
And dare I say that these could possibly be more fun than making crumbs?!?
I have something in mind for these. I'll need at least 60.  But I'm not going to reveal what these are for yet...  I still have three tops waiting to get off of the design wall. I'm way behind on Stitching Whimsy.  I'm repairing a Double Wedding Ring quilt top.  The Tree of Life quilt is on my goals list to be completed by Christmas.  I want to participate in a Christmas themed guild challenge for Mountain Quilt fest 2019.  ... Oh! I shouldn't forget the scarf I'm knitting on size 3 needles with fine sock weight yarn and the tatted necklace length trims almost ready to be mailed off.... Pheww..
Thank goodness I have scraps to fill in my free time!!😋

Thursday, June 21, 2018

Inspiration doesn't watch the clock!

It's 3:50 in the morning and I've got my sewing machine running.  Why?  Because I finally got the urge to continue with on one of the projects on the design wall.  This inspiration moment is one of those things that falls under the "use it or lose it" rule.

First, l tell you how this project started. My quilty friends know I love scrappy quilts.  And I will use pieces as small as 1" square.  They'll save their cut away pieces that they would normally throw away for me.
At the beginning of this year, one of the quilters in my guild handed me a stack rectangle fabrics left over from one of her projects.  The prints were interesting as they were, cutting into smaller pieces would have taken away from their beauty.  I was thrilled when I almost immediately knew what to do with them - sash them with a solid burgundy!  All the rectangles were nearly perfectly cut to 2.5" x 4.5", I barely had to do any trimming.  I did have to add one of my own prints to fill in and get a 10 x 8 grid set.

On Feb 13 this was on the design wall.  (Yes there is a project underneath it, "Links" quilt top, and another, "Wonky block" quilt top, under the Links top!  *sigh* I really need to get some finishes done..)
Anyway, at this point I thought the hardest part was over.  Arranging so that the prints are evenly distributed and pleasing to the eye is really hard! at least it is for me. Honestly, even now looking at this picture I want to move them again... but at the time I thought it was perfect :).

The row strips went together quickly with 2.5" burgundy between the prints.
Then I cut the sashing to put the rows together. Now the dilemma hits. Special care needs to be taken to line up the rectangles, otherwise it's going to look like a hit and miss disaster.
Actually there's the option to purposely off set the pieces.  Which would be easier, but I'd still have to use care to avoid creating a zig zag or diagonal pattern.
Lol, I gave myself that easier option, I tried to convince myself to go with it!....but it wasn't really what I had in mind.
I'm not sure what it is about these prints.  They are all different types of quilting cottons: calico, batik, Oriental, reproduction, modern generic... There's really nothing "special" about them. But sashed with the dark burgundy makes me think "elegant." Staggering the rows, no matter how well planned, just doesn't seem like it would give me the feel I'm going for.  I guess, neat and orderly says "elegant' to me. It has a sophisticated aura.

As I'm writing this, I find myself very amused. Because, I am a Whimsy-girl! I like carefree. I like wild and windblown hair. And going barefoot and no make-up. I prefer whiskey over wine, lol.  I could go on and on, but the fact is, even a Whimsy-girl likes to slip on a dress and heals for a fancy night out once in a while. 😜

Ok, now we're all caught up to why am I sewing in the wee hours.  It's because I know what I gotta do. There's no use trying to convince myself otherwise.  Yes, at 12:30 at night, because if I wait until morning, it might wait another day, But it's already been months, and this needs to come off the wall.  Sounds about as dramatic as "now or never" or "do or die," doesn't it? Lol.

Ok! Sewing a row to the first side of the sashing is as easy as measuring and marking about five different points.  Then pin the marks together with one or two pins in between and it's ready to zip through the machine. Easy peasy!

But the second side is more of a chore.  I have to mark every seam line straight across the sashing so I'll know exactly where to align the next row.  Then every mark has to be pinned exactly to a seam, that's 20 or so pins. Haha, it doesn't look like so many when I type the number but it feels like 50 pins when I'm putting them in!!
Carefully line up the seams with the marks..
Pin exactly through the seam stitches...
And because of the nature of a hera marker, I can check the back of the fabric to see if it has been lined up and pinned correctly.

In my mind this extra attention is a chore... Ahhh, but the results are so much worth the effort!!  Look how wonderfully even and orderly.  It looks smooth and sleek. Professional.
Do I dare say elegant?
So far so good! I'm sure I have the confidence now to continue. There's three more rows to attach, but I also need sleep.
Maybe, Inspiration will slip into my dreams and give me the perfect quilting design, that's the next dilemma mountain to overcome.

Wishing you Joy and Health!!
Thanks for visiting

Monday, June 18, 2018

Bring on the challenges!

Ok. Back in April I joined a BoM (block of the month) challenge presented by the National Quilt Museum.  I blogged about Adding another project to 2018.  I'm following the NQM BoM announcements through their Facebook profile, National Quilt Museum FB page,

Well, I ran into a hiccup from the very beginning.  June is the third month and I haven't completed April yet! Because of traveling I've gotten very behind on all my projects.... well, that's not completely true. I should be saying I've let traveling be my excuse to lag on my projects...

The whole idea of this NQM challenge is to push us out of our comfort zones. We are encouraged to try new techniques we've either avoided or haven't heard about.  The April Block was about a new take on EPP or English Paper Piecing.  I have been doing traditional EPP for years and was confident in getting my block done... until all the smaller squares were ready to be assembled then I realized the traditional method doesn't allow for the outside seams to be free for machine piecing to sashing or the next block... so I may have to redo April Block.

The June challenge is inspired by the exhibit Japanese Quilt Artists.  It is a pieced background with Mt. Fuji appliqued onto it with hand embroidery embellishments.... But I am not working on the June block yet 😜.

Today, I want to tell you about the May challenge that was inspired by surface design artist Regina V. Benson. The challenge is to  "use surface design and dyeing techniques to create one of a kind fabrics for this block" and use the hand dyed fabric to do organic improv piecing!
This is my finished block!!

I used a package of Tulip Fabric Dye Purple/Violet for permanent, solid coverage.
I found it very easy to use... almost...
I'm not very patient with these things. The package directions step 4 says to submerge in dye mixture, step 5 says stir continually for 15 minutes... (I stirred for maybe 10 minutes)....then occasionally for 45 minutes ...(I lasted maybe 30 minutes.)
the first few pieces are at the bottom of this wet heaping pile.

There was still plenty of the dye mixture in the pot, so I decided to see what would happen if I continued to use it. And I varied the lengths of time the fabric was submerged in the dye. I wasn't very scientific about it. I didn't record times or the order in which the pieces were submerged. The pieces on top were the last and I found out I didn't let them sit long enough as most of the dye was washed out in the final step. So, the next day I redipped them in the reheated steaming dye mix and let them sit for at least an hour. This time they did retain a bit more dye for a lovely light lavender tinge.  (those are at the top right of the next photo showing all the pieces together.)
LOL, luckily the dye mixture started fading.  I was getting ready to dip my whole stash just to find out what would happen with different prints.

I couldn't resist dipping some black and white fabrics. I love the results!
On the right is the original black and white fabric. The left side is after washing the dyed fabric.

I'm just as pleased with the results using Kona White fabric! I got so excited with it I dipped it all without saving a piece to compare, lol.

After all was washed and dried, I moved onto making my challenge block.
I'm getting a reputation in my quilt guilds for saving all the tiny crumb pieces of fabric that are often thrown into the garbage.  Now, many of the quilters save their pieces to give to me.  These pastel yellow, pink and blue stripes and plaids were "crumbs" that were given to me and happened to be sitting on the sewing table when I sat down to work.  Bonus is that they all have curves in varying degrees. I've been antsy to attempt improv curved piecing! IMPROV!! is the second part of the May challenge! It's perfect!

In the next photo you can see that piecing these pieces together takes special care.  There are tons of tutorials on the internet, just google curved piecing or search in pinterest, you'll find several blog tutorials easily.

and more pictures of my progress. I started with the shorter curves and easily progressed to the longer waves.  AND I was so pleased to see how well they turned out on the first attempts!!

and again a picture of the finished block 

I'm thinking I should redo the April block challenge with some of my purple dyed fabric. And continue the theme in all the coming blocks. And if by chance I run out of my hand dyed fabric, I'll just go get another packet of purple fabric dye to make more!! OR... why wait? I could try blue, or green, or red, or orange, or .....!!!! Buahah!! There's no telling what's next!