on the frame now…
on the frame now…
When pressing fabric, sometimes the iron drags on the print. Turn the fabric over, wrong side up, to allow the iron to glide easily.
If fabric is dark, it can be hard to see the edge of the ruler for rotary cutting. Turn the fabric to have the wrong side out. The wrong side is usually lighter and doesn’t have a distracting print showing. It is easier to make accurate cuts. (I’ve done this for a long time. And I read a tip similar to this in the Stashbusters Yahoo group a few weeks ago. I don’t remember who wrote it.)
Sometimes the paler, unprinted side is better for color or value in your quilt. Turn it over and take a look. You own both sides of the fabric, so you might as well see which side you really want to use.
Do you turn your fabric over? When is that helpful to you? Share with us!
This morning I finished my sixth Medallion Sew-Along sample.
The center block is made from a pattern I shared here. It measures 15″ finished.
I started the quilt using Track 1 instructions. It uses the 15″ center, followed by the first border set. That set includes a 1.5″ border and a 3″ border. You can see them above as the rust dogteeth against a gold floral background, and the green leafy print with copper corner blocks. This border takes the top to 24″ finished.
The second border set in Track 1 adds a 4″ border, taking the top to 32″. A 4″ wide block border, if the blocks are square, calls for six blocks per side, not including corners.
But I couldn’t make it work. I opened this sample so many times, trying to decide what to do next. Frankly I haven’t been emotionally involved with this quilt at all, making decisions even more difficult.
I finally decided on the hourglass border you can see. I’ve used it before, and it’s an easy design for execution. With the right color/value combination, it creates a sense of dimensionality. Fine. Whatever. It works, it’s easy, and it looks good. Go with it.
So I built the blocks. And then I experimented. Green against the green leaves, gold against green leaves, brown, bronze. And still I was uninspired.
At that point I could have just given up and put the whole thing away. Or I could have given up and made the strips and sewn them on. Be done with it, already!
Instead, I did something I encourage others to do. I asked for help. I asked my friend Karen to take a look, to help me see something I wasn’t seeing. She is the one who suggested the 1″ strip of brown paisley, between the green leaf border and the 4″ hourglasses.
It was the right thing to do, but it was off track. No, Track 1 has no allowance for a 1″ strip preceding the 4″ border.
So I jumped the track. Instead of the prescribed Track 1, this top finished as a MY-choice Track 2.
Adding the narrow spacer tied the borders to the center, adding unity and richness. The variation of values adds depth and a feeling of light emanating from both the gold and green leaf prints. And though the quilt could have gone larger after that, I decided to stop.
I quilted it with a mid-sized meander, and the binding is attached to the back and machine-stitched down on the front.
No, I’m not emotionally involved with this quilt. But it has gone, in my opinion, from uninspiring to quite pretty. I’ll enjoy using it as a table topper.
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After a productive January, my energy level fell off at the beginning of February. February has historically been my least favorite month, and the continuing cold this year hasn’t improved my opinion at all.
No pressure, right? I don’t do this for pay, either the quilting or the writing. No one will fire me if I don’t produce. So rather than push too hard, I decided to coddle myself.
I did get a few things done. The mock-Amish baby quilt is finished. Once I’ve shown it at my guild meeting this month, I’ll send it off to The Girl and her husband.
And I managed to make a 4.5″ block for my small group’s round robin. It will be the center block for mine.
My round robin Triangles quilt and the Mexican embroidery quilt are labeled and hanging.
I’ve moved along the green and brown Medallion Sew-Along sample. I should finish the top today. Once I get agreement (from all the competing voices in my brain) on how to do the back, I can make that and quilt it.
And I have a much better idea how to do the next part of the Tree of Life sample.
So what’s still on my UFO list?
1) Green and brown Medallion Sew-Along sample: finish top, make back, etc.
2) Harlequin medallion: make back, quilt, bind, label, hang in dining room
3-5) Medallion Sew-Along samples: XOXO; African fabrics; Tree of Life panel
6) 6-pointed star: assemble points and decide on a setting, go from there…
7) Crayon blocks from Outer Banks 2009: divide them into 3 or 4 sets, sash, quilt, etc.
8) John Deere project with granddaughter: schedule time with her…
My top priorities for March are the first three, and a project to start for a friend.
There are plenty of other things to work on, also. My life is full.
How does your project list look? What’s your top priority for March?
Though we’ve usually been blessed with great neighbors, we haven’t maintained ties with all of them. As we’ve moved, or they have, some friendships have faltered. Others, though, remain.
Seventeen years ago we moved to a new home. The neighbors to our right had lived across the street from us at our previous home. They thought they could get away, but we followed them! And next to them lived a woman with her daughter, a beautiful girl about five years older than our son. Over the years The Girl and Son developed a special relationship. When he began taking clarinet as a fifth grader, he balked at practicing, which led to frustration for all of us. The Girl played clarinet in the high school band, and we asked her to sit with him while he practiced. With that simple solution, he practiced willingly and improved dramatically. And they forged a friendship that continues to this day.
The Girl grew up and moved to college. After grad school she married a high school classmate. As a wedding present I made this mock-Amish quilt. It has a disappearing 9-patch center. I’ve always liked the graphic impact of it.
Last fall we found out that The Girl and her husband are expecting a baby, due in a couple of months.
In January I decided to demonstrate how to turn a medallion center block on point. I considered what center block to use and chose a star-in-a-star. Years ago I made a wall hanging with a similar design, and it had an Amish feel, too. So as I pulled fabrics for the tutorial, I looked for a mixture of darks and brights to emulate it.
What I found surprised me. My stash is full of bits and pieces. Until last year I rarely bought a full yard of anything, unless I had a plan for it. Often I run out of fabrics with just scraps to go, and often I sub in others for those that have run out. But I had enough left of a dark purple to create setting triangles and a border. And I knew this would become a special project, much more than a tutorial sample.
This would become The Baby’s quilt.
The purple fabric was from the back of the wedding quilt you see above. As a friend said, “the wedding quilt is having a baby quilt!”
You’ve seen the back of the quilt already, but here it is again.
Construction of the top was very simple. The focal point a variable star framed by variable star points. The complete star-in-a-star measures 16″. With the striped green interior border, the center is 20″. Turning the center on point took it to about 28.25″. For the last purple border, I cut it as wide as I could, given what little fabric was left. The finished quilt is 46″, and I think by chance the proportions came out very well.
Then I was faced with quilting. While I could have done a simple edge-to-edge pattern, I wanted something to highlight the shapes. For the first time I used a ruler base and ruler with my long-arm machine, to create a zigzag design around the outer border, and to echo the interior lines. Besides that, I free-motioned a spiky leaf through most of the background. I still have a lot to learn with my quilting, but generally I’m very happy with how it turned out.
The last challenge will be delivering the quilt and watching while it is opened. Because The Girl lives in another state, we hope to use Skype or FaceTime to see them open it.
Good neighbors are special, but good friends are precious. We are fortunate that The Girl, her husband, and her mom continue to be part of our lives. And we look forward to meeting The Baby later this year.