Friday, October 31, 2014

Stonefields quilt has begun

This week I gave myself permission to begin my Stonefields quilt by Susan Smith. No I have not yet finished the border for Sampler Magic but it is cut out and I have started sewing the HST. I really did have good intentions to finish it first but once I had the fabrics pulled for Stonefields I could resist no longer. Since I purchased the pattern from Susan's website, I am not getting the pattern as a block of the month but have the whole pattern. Frankly, I am thrilled that it is not a BOM as I don't have to wait between parts and this is a very good thing considering the mess the jumble of fabrics is making in my sewing room. The first blocks are these little stars. I am machine piecing when possible so these were quick and easy.

Here are the first appliqued blocks. Orange peel.

Next up are these cute Pomegranate blocks. A good chance to do a little fussy cutting.

These circle blocks were fun. Based on some pastry that I have never heard of so now I can't remember the name. I changed the positioning of the little circles to keep things better balance. I planned to use this fabric for the circles in the green one and noticed on Instagram that someone else had the same idea!

These whirligigs gave me a chance to use a larger print.

And finally part one finishes off with this little posy pot. I think this is my favorite.

I have spent quite a bit of time with this quilt this week and just thought I would share a few thoughts on making this special quilt. First, it is by far the most fun I have had in a long time and I am thrilled to be using up scraps of old fabrics. Truly addicting! They are pretty quick to sew but getting the correct balance of fabrics and colors is a much more time consuming than I expected. In looking at pictures of the original and lots of other pictures on blogs and Instagram, I realized that the versions I like the best are filled with little surprises and lots of fabrics. That might mean fussy cutting or a pop of an unexpected color here and there. To help me stay on track I put a pillow and piece of decorator fabric near my design wall in fabrics that are inspiring my color palette. I think I need to add a few darker touches!



Monday, October 27, 2014

Fall Urns finished and pulling fabric for Stonefields

Ta da! After 20+ years my Fall Urns quilt is a finished top. Despite my little errors I am so pleased with how it turned out. Sure hope it doesn't take me another 20 years to get to the quilting.

I am working on the next border for Sampler Magic but got a little distracted pulling fabric for my Stonefields quilt. Most of the fabric for this quilt came from the stash though I must admit to buying a few things once I had ordered the pattern. After pulling from the stash I realize that I certainly did not need to make those purchases. Oh well I have lots to choose from, here is what I am starting with.

The most difficult part was selecting the background fabric. The pattern suggests 7 meters of fabric which will be used in the borders, flying geese borders and many of the block backgrounds. I found a background in the stash that I liked but only had 7 yards, about 3/4 yd short. I had enough of one solid but I had already started a long term project using it as a background and wasn't sure I had enough for both. I then found a few yards of another solid and a few other similar tonals so I am using the first fabric as the borders and then the solid for the flying geese units. And that way I can mix up the backgrounds in the blocks using whatever I have on hand.


Saturday, October 25, 2014

Sampler Magic gets a border

Well, it isn't quite finished yet but I have finally got the first border on Sampler Magic. I am sure you must be sick of seeing this one, I know I am sure sick of working on it, but I have promised myself that this top must be complete before anything new can be started.

Not sure if I can quite stick to that as a new BOM Sew Sweet Simplicity by Jacquelynne Steves starts on Monday and my SIL and I have both decided it would be a fun one to do together. Here are the fabrics I have pulled from the stash. Something fun and fresh for my little granddaughter.

And the Bonnie Hunter mystery is starting soon too and my SIL and I are both doing that one together too! But what I really want to start is this one, Stonefields by an Australian designer Susan Smith. I had been admiring this quilt for months watching various bloggers progress but was reluctant to purchase the pattern as it is quite expensive and I needed to order it from Australia. Finally after listening to me wax poetic about this quilt for months, my DH told me to "just order the thing". So now I have the pattern and I have started pulling fabrics and I am itching to get started.

But first I really need to finish a few Sampler Magic's borders and the last of the appliqué on that old UFO, Fall Urns. I think it is just the incentive I need!


Sunday, October 19, 2014

Make It Work!

If you are a fan of Project Runway you are familiar with those famous words uttered by Tim Gunn as a means of encouraging a designer when something is not going well. Or at least that is what they mean to me. Well yesterday I had a "make it work" moment in my studio working on the borders of my old UFO,Fall Urns. If you have read my blog for any length of time you are probably aware that I hate doing borders. I consider them my quilting nemesis and clearly for good reason! It started out fine. I had finished the appliqué of the 4th border and needed to sew on each side and miter the corners before adding the corner appliqué. I carefully measured the sides and marked each border in the center and the appropriate distance to each end. I don't mind mitering corners so that was not the issue ( though these days I always cut my borders with extra length to give myself a little wiggle room when I am mitering the corners). Anyway. I did the first corner with no problem and trimmed it. I went to the next corner and discovered that one of the pieces of fabric was too short. Aghhh! What I did not realize when I did the first corner was that these borders had been cut to the exact size, over 20 years ago, and the bit extra on the first corner should have alerted me to the fact that I had incorrectly centered that border. I could not take it off and start again as I had already trimmed the miter and I certainly was not going to make a whole new border. Plus I had no more background fabric. So in the manner of quilters throughout the ages I added a tiny scrap of fabric from the trimmed corner and made it work.

It isn't perfect but I will just look at it as a learning experience. Oh and then when I was prepping the corner appliqué I discovered that I did not have enough stem to fit under the appliqué in one corner. This fix again is not perfect but it will do. I just added a bit more stem with a little join in the bias and fit it in. The two sides are not a perfect match but I can live with it. You may also have noted that the birds are not quiet in the asme position in each corner, another issue of measurement but I can live with that too.

Oddly enough these difficulties make me think of the women making quilts long before we had all our modern conveniences such as sewing machines, rotary cutters and mats, xerox machines, light boxes, Frixtion pens and good lighting. All of these are things I take for granted and certainly go a long way to making my quilting more accurate. But it is the imperfections and whimsy of the antique quilts that really draws me in so I am going to let these imperfections remain as part of my quilt's history and consider it working for me!


Now I can just relax and get stitching those corners.


Sunday, October 12, 2014

Sampler Magic ready for the border

I am working away on the appliqué quilt shown in the previous post and am really hoping I will have a finished top soon. But there is not much progress to show so instead here is the finished center of Sampler Magic.

Here are a few close ups of the blocks. I missed a few of them as I stupidly deleted a bunch of photos.

Now on to the pieced border. I really want to get this finished up as I have my fabrics picked for Bonnie Hunter's mystery quilt. Check out her Quiltville blog for the details. The fun begins the Friday after Thanksgiving and the free directions are given out once a week for 6-8 weeks. I have changed one of the colors from yellow to orange to suit my guest room decor and look forward to working with this fun group of fabrics. Great to be using fabrics from the stash though I did buy a few greens and may need some more black.



Sunday, October 5, 2014

An old UFO and design inspiration

Look what I just pulled out. An, old, old UFO that I designed and started back in the early 1990's that I am calling Fall Urns.

I remember the time very well as I was working on this long before we moved to Boston for one year in mid 1995. My home was decorated in shades of teal, peach and rust and I decided to design a very traditional 4 block quilt, usually done in red and green, and use my decorating colors. Well as usual, life got in the way and a move put this quilt on the back burner. When we moved again a year later our new home was completely different and my colors were yellow, green and raspberry. Little incentive to finish this quilt. Happily I had packed everything away very neatly in these two containers. All the fabrics, templates, pattern and design notes are there and since I only have one border and the 4 corners to finish I think I may be time to work on this one. And look at that great pillar fabric that I had purchased for the backing. I remember a crazy trip back to the store where I had purchased a small amout for the birds hoping that they would have enough for the backing. It is such a great print that I am almost afraid to now use it!

My home is now done in teal and ivory so this will be a perfect fall wall hanging which should provide me with the incentive I need. Looking at this old UFO has been such fun. While my appliqué has certainly improved over the years, I am amazed that I was doing broderie perse back then and had completely forgotten. The vases were fussy cut, something very popular theses days but not so much in 1993. And I so wish I had continued designing. This was done 20 years ago and we had far fewer patterns available. I did almost all of my own designs then but somehow as patterns became more available and I became busier raising my children I started just purchasing patterns. I started designing again a few years ago but still make many quilts from patterns, why I even ordered a new exciting one this morning, but seeing this old project has inspired me to start getting some ideas out of my head and onto paper. And hopefully someday they will be in fabric at last.