Sunday, March 31, 2019

Still Quilting Drunkard's Path

When I told you that I was almost done with the dark circles on the drunkard's path quilt (two weeks ago?), I was telling the truth. I had already quilted more than three fourths of the circles.  But since progress has been slowed this week, the measurement of the progress has changed, and I am still almost done with the dark circles even though I have quilted quite a few more. The measurement is more in terms of how many I have quilted - about one to four quarter circles a day.

On one of these days, I ran out of thread, so my 15 minutes was spent up finding more thread, winding the bobbin, and finding the next dark quarter circle to quilt and running the lint roller over it to prepare it for quilting. Had I been spending a whole afternoon, these 15 minutes wouldn't have been thought of, but since each 15 minutes counts now, the fact that no quarter circles had been quilted that day does not mean no progress was made that day.

I took Zeus for a car ride, but when we got there, he would not get out of the car!  I think he was afraid to jump, since he got hurt the last time he jumped out of the back.  I think he should be okay from the passenger side. He didn't let me carry him down and I couldn't get him to go down to the floor board so he would have a shorter jump. He is heavy for me to carry and when he isn't cooperative, that makes it that much more difficult. That was the end of our outing. When I got home, he still would not get out of the car, and I had to fashion a ramp from things I had in the garage and distract him with cheese.  My emergency ramp won't work when I am not in the garage so I will have to think of something.


15 Minutes to Stitch: Week 13

This week, I made a bigger effort to quilt every day instead of quilting the whole week's worth at one time on the weekend.  I managed to quilt four out of the 7 days, and was able to make up the rest of the time on Saturday. I spent the time quilting more dark spaces of the drunkard's path quilt. I am thoroughly enjoying the process of quilting the quilt and do like the quilting I have added, but when I try to show the photos, I get critical and see the wonkiness of the stitching and the lint from the batting.

If you only sew one stitch, you have to show that stitch, good or bad. If you sew several stitches, you can choose the best one. I finally got smart and decided I didn't need to show my stitch, good or bad. I take plenty of other photos to cover!

15 Minute sessions of stitching this week: 7 out of 7
15 Minute sessions of stitching this year: 90 out of 90 sessions
Success Rate: 100%

Linked to:
15 Minutes to Stitch

Monday, March 25, 2019

Weekly Progress on 15 Minutes to Stitch

It is that time of the year when you get to see more progress pictures. It is a big quilt, so it is taking some time to stitch.  It is a large lap quilt, slightly smaller than a twin. I am making these deliberately wonky figure 8 shapes for the border. Some of the wonkiness might not be as deliberate as some of the other wonkiness. I am so used to working with small pieces that it is hard for me to quilt farther apart.  I will try again in the lighter areas, but for now, I am going for consistency.


15 Minutes to Stitch: Week 12

This week, I wasn't able to quilt during the weekdays, but was able to minimally make up the time on the weekend. I spent the time quilting more dark spaces of the drunkard's path quilt.  I decided to go ahead and quilt them all in purple instead of switching up the colors so that the spaces all work together as one unit.  I wish I had made that decision earlier because I could have quilted them more continuously earlier!

15 Minute sessions of stitching this week: 7 out of 7
15 Minute sessions of stitching this year: 83 out of 83 sessions
Success Rate: 100%

This time last year, on the 25th, I sewed 2 out of 7 days, so I am ahead of last year. Hopefully I can continue to stay ahead!

Linked to:
15 Minutes to Stitch

Sunday, March 17, 2019

WIP Inventory

Having finished a couple of small quilts, I decided to take inventory of my current works in progress and their current status.  I am hoping that this will help me see that progress is being made during the spring and summer slowdown. These are just the quilts I have been working on in the last few months, and not the other unfinished projects that are stored away.

Some people might be overwhelmed by the number of projects listed here, but I really enjoy getting to choose which project I want to work on. Since they are not standing in a straight line, being worked on one at a time, in order, when progress is made on one quilt, the whole group is making progress.

Here they are in no particular order.


Drunkard's Path

Ethnic Drunkard's Path was started in August 2003 and it is the closest to completion. It is already basted and a lot of the dark purple and blue spaces have been quilted.  I need to finish quilting it and bind it.  It is a fairly big quilt -  a big lap quilt. 


Colonial Bricks


Colonial Bricks was started September 2018. It has been pieced and the backing and binding fabric has been chosen and cut. The backing needs to be wider, so I am piecing the leftovers to insert to make the backing wider.


Sunlight in Winter


Sunlight in Winter was started December 2018. I am making the blocks one half yard of yellow fabric at a time. I used up half a yard of the butterfly fabric, and half a yard of the grunge fabric. I had a whole yard of the grunge fabric and since it is the darkest yellow, I decided to use that half yard to make the squares because I think the squares will show the pattern and it is my darkest yellow.  All of the yellow fabrics are very similar. I like that look but will consider adding more patterned yellows when I am closer to completion. I will not make the whole blocks until all of these subblocks are done.


Uncommon and Unexpected


Uncommon and Unexpected was started February 2019 as a part of a quilt along.  One of the things I really liked about the original quilt is how the cornerstones made the sashing look like circle dancing around the squares, and my eye moved from one overlapping circle to another.  My quilt does that, but the diagonally placed squares, and the striped fabric, and the small number of blocks stop the eye from bouncing too easily at the circles.  I want to add more blocks to help show more of that movement. Some of the border has been pieced but I am still thinking about how I want to accomplish that.


ATC Holder


ATC Holder was started November 2018. It doesn't look like a lot of progress has been made on this, but there has been.  All of those photo corners have been cut and pressed. I think that was the hardest part.  I need to strip piece the cornerstones and once I do that, I think I will be able to piece this pretty quickly. There isn't any decision making left on this quilt until the center has been pieced. It is deliberately plain to let the ATCs stand out.


Circles 365


Circle 365 was started November 2015, and I have been sporadically working on this quilt since then. I am putting the circles together into the quilt top when I have enough, and it is 2/3rd done. The quilt is getting pretty big now so I have decided not to take it out since my blog readers have seen this quilt grow from time to time.


Fourth Rail


Fourth Rail was started January 2019 as a leader / ender to use up scraps.  The layout has not been decided but this one looks pretty interesting to me. I have a lot of pieces already cut so it is just a matter of sewing them together.



You probably forgot about this stitchery, but it is pretty close to completion. It's been a while since I worked on it. The first time I mentioned it on my blog was August 2018, so it was started about then, but I  bought the kit from the thrift store a long time before that. It is made with yarn.


Seiring Genealogy Book


I don't think I have shown you this genealogy book, but I started it shortly after I finished the Priest Genealogy Book in December 2017. I have the pages all ready and all the genealogy information has been printed. I need to make the cover, add the genealogy printouts to the pages and embellish the pages a bit more. The cookie box is going to be used in the quilted cover to give it more stability.


Cultural Fusion Rail Fence

I showed the Cultural Fusion Rail Fence as part of the Dust Off a Quilt Book Blog Hop. It was started November 2015.  The quilt top is done and the backing and binding fabric has been chosen.


Be a Diamond

I will be taking a part of this blog hop. My day is April 25. I want to keep it simple so this will be my April mini of the month.

 Bunny Parade

I am giving you a sneak preview of this quilt which I finished yesterday. This is a free pattern from Moda Bakeshop called Bunny Quartet. The designer of the pattern also provided a tutorial for a carrot on her blog, which I used as you can tell from the photo.  So my bunnies are a trio and not a quartet. She changed the name to Easter Parade, but since I have Elephant Parade quilt in the works, I am going to call it Bunny Parade.

Since it is a bunny quilt, I will show the whole thing to you on Easter. Since the diamond quilt will be my April mini of the month, Bunny Parade is my May mini of the month, so I will also show it to you again in May as a reminder. I don't want you to get tired of it so I am only giving you a preview now.  I know from personal experience that if you buy a Christmas present in July, it still counts as a Christmas present, even if you can't wait and give it to the recipient in July.


Quilt Statistics

 Since I pulled up my spreadsheet to record the finish of the bunny quilt and give you the start date for all these quilts, let's talk about the stats, shall we?  I have started 127 quilts and have finished 99 quilts, which is a 78% completion rate.

It takes me an average of 242 days to complete a quilt. This number has gone down, mostly because of all the mini quilts I have been making lately.  A lot of my quilts get done much quicker than 242 days, but I also tend to pick up projects that needed an incubation period. When I get an old UFO completed, that average number of days to completion goes up, but that won't stop me from working on my UFOs. The stats are there to record my progress, not to tell me what to do.


15 Minutes to Stitch: Week 11

I spent this week making the Bunny Parade quilt. I also took inventory of all of my works in process.

15 Minute sessions of stitching this week: 7 out of 7
15 Minute sessions of stitching this year: 76 out of 76 sessions
Success Rate: 100%

I checked my results from last year, and I was at 100% on March 18th, so I am on track for this year.  The following week, the 25th, I sewed 2 out of 7 days. I'll see if I can beat that this year. It doesn't sound like a high bar to reach.

Linked to:
15 Minutes to Stitch
What I Made on Monday Yes I did make all of these today, why do you ask?
Peacock Party

Tuesday, March 12, 2019

Scalloped Border on Quilt - Tips and Tricks

In my last post, I showed you my completed quilt with a scalloped border. Kate asked me for my advice on making a scalloped border. I'm glad she asked because I was thinking about writing a post to remind myself how to do it in case I want to do it again, so I am happy to oblige. Most of this will be in the form of YouTube videos. I watched several videos to get ideas, and am providing my favorites.

I watched this video from Missouri Star Quilt Company. It uses a tool to draw the borders. I used a plate.

What I learned from this video is that the steps of making a scalloped border:

1. Make a quilt top, include a plain border. I recommend adding a slightly bigger border than you think you need. It is going to look smaller once everything is done, plus it looks smaller with holes cut out f it.  I also figured if it turns out horribly, I could trim it and make a smaller straight border.

2. Quilt as desired.  A general overall design probably works best for a border so you don't have to take the scallop in consideration. Quilt the whole border, even the part you will be trimming off so you can get all the way to the edge. I missed this step, but next time, I will trim the quilt square (or rectangular).

3. Measure the scallops.  Divide the quilt in half to find the center.  And then divide into whatever number sections you want. I used a freezer paper template to try it out first. I folded the freezer paper to find the sections, and found a plate about the size of those sections, which was a dinner plate. I drew the scallops on the paper and tried it out on the quilt to imagine what it might look like. Cut on the marked line on your freezer paper and press the paper to your quilt to secure it.

4. Mark your cutting line on the quilt. I used a washable marker, which worked out well. I took the scallops all the way to the edge of the quilt, but the video shows space between the top of the scallop and the edge of the quilt. I guess it depends on how big you want your border to be. I did manage to get stray lines where I made mistakes, so I recommend using a washable marker even though, technically if you do it right, you can use something that isn't washable since you can trim it off. Remove, reposition, and press the freezer paper and mark the entire quilt. You can extend or shorten the lines to make the scallops fit and look pleasing.

5. Once you have the quilt marked and are happy with where the scallops will be, breathe deep and cut your quilt on the cutting line.

6. This isn't in the video, and I am not sure it is necessary, but I folded my quilt different ways (joining left and right sides together, joining top and bottom sides together, and diagonally, one at a time) to compare the scallops to make sure they were balanced, and trimmed the ones that weren't.  My end result isn't exactly the same on all sides, but it is pretty close.

Then I watched this video on how to make continuous bias binding. This tutorial lets you use a rectangle to make the binding and avoids having extra triangles left over.  It also is continuous so you don't have to cut the strips separately and sew them together. The piece looks weird as you are sewing them together, but it might be easier to make this binding this way instead of sewing the strips to each other one at a time. I think I may make binding like this in my future quilts even if they aren't scalloped.

I sewed the binding on the quilt like the Missouri Star Company video showed.

Lastly, I wanted to share this video with you from Sugaridoo. I wasn't looking for a video on how to sew down a binding because I have done it lots of times. I have really enjoyed watching Irene's videos about her cute projects and her life in the Netherlands, and was surprised by how much I learned from this video. She uses a different way to sew down the binding, a stitch in the quilt, a stitch in the binding, which I think is probably more secure than the blind hem stitch I use - stitch in the quilt, catch a few threads in the binding, stitch in the quilt.

I didn't make a notch in the quilt because it didn't seem necessary. I don't know what the corners are supposed to look like but they look okay to me without the notch. I was expecting to have a fold at the scallops but there isn't one.

After I had already finished my quilt, I found this tutorial which shows you how to make a scalloped border without a separate binding. This may be easier, but since I didn't have any trouble with a binding, I guess it depends on your preference. This video shows a different way to measure the scallops so it is worth watching and learning as well, even if you do want to use a binding.

Making a scalloped border on a quilt wasn't as difficult as I thought it would be.  It really doesn't take a lot of extra time, apart of measuring and marking the cutting line, and makes a big impact. It is a great way to make a quilt more special. To modernize it, you could use a quilt top that is made in a more modern style, or put the scallops on just one or two sides to make it asymmetrical, or have a really large border to have more negative space for quilting. You can also cut the shape other than a scallop.

Linked to:
Works in Progress - I just finished this quilt, but there are lots of quilts in progress!
Friday Foto Fun

Sunday, March 10, 2019

Butterfly Wreaths -- Quilted Scalloped and Bound

I finished quilting the scallops for Butterfly Wreaths.  It wasn't as hard as I expected it to be.  I wound up having the exact amount of thread I needed to make that last row of quilting. I switched to another slightly darker thread, which will be fine because it shows on the back and not the front. I followed the instructions to make bias binding, and I wound up having the exact amount of fabric for binding this quilt. When you add in the seam allowance, the scallops don't wind up being as deep as they looked when they were being cut.

Here's what it looks like from the back. There are several different colors of thread on the back, but it isn't obvious and adds interest. It looks so pretty, I'm not sure where to add the label.

The wind posed this shot.

It isn't finished yet!  I will wash away a little bit of stray marks where I marked the cutting line for the scallops, and then will be adding these beads in the light squares. I have to justify all the beads I buy to embellish quilts, and I have enough of these leaves for all of the squares.

[Edited to add: I am going to call this finished for now. This quilt finishes at an awkward size - too small to be a wall hanging over the couch, and too big to fit comfortably on the bulletin board.  It will probably serve best as a table topper, which means I shouldn't be adding embellishments on it. Also I need to get to the backlog of quilts that also want to be finished.]


15 Minutes to Stitch: Week 10

This week, I spent quilting and binding Butterfly Wreaths. Also learning how to scallop and do bias binding.  Yesterday, I started another (hopefully quick) quilt. I am almost done touching every. single. thing. in the master bedroom to see if it sparks joy. I have a couple of box lids of things I have kicked out of the room and I need to find new homes for them. After that, I need to do some general cleaning before I tackle deep cleaning another room.

15 Minute sessions of stitching this week: 7 out of 7
15 Minute sessions of stitching this year: 69 out of 69 sessions
Success Rate: 100%

Linked to:
Oh Scrap!
15 Minutes to Stitch Week 10
Slow Sunday Stitching - I stitched the binding on this quilt.
Moving it Forward 
What I Made on Monday 
Needle and Thread Thursday

Friday, March 8, 2019

Butterfly Wreath

I've been talking about the Butterfly Wreaths quilt for a few posts, but just realized I haven't shown you the whole top. Remember how I told you that these blocks were like eating potato chips, that you can't eat just one?  Well, I binged on a whole bunch and wound up with this size. Sewing them together wasn't as much fun as making the blocks because there are a lot of seams matching at the points, making it very bulky..

I added plain borders. I sandwiched and quilted the center. The backing is the same as the border.  I drew the scallops with a marker, using a plate, because I knew I would chicken out if I didn't. (It's a children's washable marker.)

I quilted lots of scallops on it. This picture was taken when I ran out of thread. I have quilted the last row. I cut out the scalloped border yesterday and will work on figuring out the bias binding. I haven't done that before either!

Tuesday, March 5, 2019

Quilting Butterfly Wreath

I took a look at my current works in process and thought about how I wanted to quilt them. The ideas came fast and furious, so I figured I may as well start.

I added a plain border to the quilt.  I didn't have a fabric that tied everything together so I figured a plain one would work.  I auditioned a green, a gray and a beige in addition to the blue, and they all looked about the same so I went with the blue one.  I am planning on making a scalloped border - I've never made one, and this one is a good size - not too big, not too small - to practice.

The lozenge shape seems to disappear in this quilt so I have decided to quilt them to highlight them, a quarter inch from the edge.  I am doing them in zigzag lines across the rows and then back down the other side. I thought about maybe not doing all the rows, to highlight different parts of the blocks, but that might just be laziness so I have decided to commit and do them all.

That little purse holds a special surprise - some beads I will be adding to the light centers of the quilt.  My quilts do not like to be rushed.

In case you are tempted to make some of these broken dishes blocks, this video gives you some ideas about different settings you can use for these blocks.

Linked to:
I May Have a Scrap Problem

Sunday, March 3, 2019

Time to Quilt

When I showed you my progress on Uncommon and Unexpected, I thought I was done with the quilt top and just needed to quilt it.  There are a lot of quilts in the queue to be quilted and that is where I need to be making progress. I decided to clean up the space since I wouldn't be needing any fabric, cutting supplies, quilt.

Before we go any further, can we just stop and admire those stars in the quarter triangles used as cornerstones? So many of them turned out to be whole stars. I don't think I could have centered them like that if I had tried to do it.

We now resume regular programming. When I was putting things away, I saw how many quarter square triangles I had left over. Normally leftover blocks get saved for the back of the quilt, but I decided that I would use them for the front as a border. 

I wonder if my quilt tops are getting bigger because I am procrastinating quilting them. Anyway, so now, I am auditioning layouts and fabric for a border.

15 Minutes to Stitch: Week 9 

My time this week has been spent going through the master bedroom and deciding whether each thing that is in there is worthy of staying in the house. I am keeping most of everything, because the bedroom was the first room I ever did this process on, but this time, I am mostly finding homes outside of the bedroom for a lot of the things. I really want to minimize what is in this room to eliminate allergens and make it truly a space for respite.

There were even a couple of days where I forgot to stop and sew!  I was able to more than make up the time at other days of the week and have the quilt top (minus the border) done for Uncommon and Unexpected. 

 15 Minute sessions of stitching this week: 7 out of 7
15 Minute sessions of stitching this year: 62 out of 62 sessions
Success Rate: 100%

Linked to:
15 Minutes to Stitch, Week 9

Do you have any opinions on the border? Anything you particular liked or didn't like?

Friday, March 1, 2019

The Imposter

When I saw the quilt Sujata showed in her Uncommon and Unexpected post, I was very excited about making this quilt. Here's an improv quilt I can make just by looking at it closely.

For some reason though, some of it was just TOO improv for me.  I didn't study it to see what parts were bothering me, but maybe because the black pieces don't seem properly balanced in the quilt.  Maybe it was because I had been watching Lynne carefully choosing the layout of her Parade of Zebras quilt.

Sujata had shown a layout of how to make this quilt, and I decided to make it with properly trimmed blocks like the Cultural Fusion quilt. See the sashing on the top left side, to the right of the brown square?  See how the brown is part of the cornerstone but also part of the sashing?  I liked how same fabric is used for the cornerstone and the sashing. Sujata is doing that by making lozenge shapes instead of quarter triangles.

I could mimic that by using the same fabric in the cornerstone as the sashing. It would look like it was the same piece but it wouldn't really be, and wouldn't require any inset seams.

I made a few of those, but then I realized that instead of trimming away the excess and sewing it back on, I could just combine the cornerstone and sashing, then trim the combined piece to 6 and a half inches so it would fit properly. I had made the cornerstones improv and big enough that this was easy to do. I only did that for a few blocks because I wanted it to look like a mistake instead of a deliberate design choice.

If you had told me oh so many years ago that I was trying to deliberately add mistakes in a quilt, I would have laughed at you.

I decided to balance out the colors of the big squares and then let the sashing and cornerstones fall where they may to keep the improv, but not too improv look.

That picture is on the design couch. Do you see how it is rudely pushed aside the drunkard path I am supposed to be quilting?

But as I was sewing, I kept moving around the pieces, and wound up with a very planned looking layout for the big squares. This is why I can't spend a lot of time on the layout - I change too much as I sew. I did well in making sure the pieces were being sewn as they were laid out, but as I sewed, I kept changing my mind about the layout.

I pressed the blocks and even picked up the seam ripper and took off piece in the middle so I could make it the right size before even thinking about it.  This is very unusual for me, because I usually think through the necessity of pressing or ripping before I do it, and this time it just happened.  I had to force myself not to press the blocks and nest seams. I don't need good points for this quilt. It is a quilt that just refused to be improv.