Friday, November 11, 2011

Another Finished Top

In my last post I showed the start of "Safari Stars":

When I originally worked on this design back in 2007, I had scanned all my fabrics into Quilt-Pro and it had been designed to be finished with an outer border of the fabric on the left and a solid black inner border.  But I always felt that the design still "needed something".

Then I pulled out the fabric on the right and it immediately resonated with me.  I had used this fabric as the color inspiration for another project many years ago and made a prairie point border with it (see the "Focus Fabric Feathered Star" in this post).  I felt like the new fabric pulled out the center purple and rust stars better and the whole top melded together.  I also now felt that the inner border needed to be a print and went through my stash until I found the black and white fabric on the table.   But I still felt the corners needed work.  So I pulled out another fabric purchased at the New Jersey Quilt Fest show in 2009 (which you can see a peek of in the lower left corner of the picture above):

I liked this new addition and with it, the right side fabric definitely won out for the final design.  So yesterday I added the additions, appliqueing them on with a wavy edge, an idea I got from the borders displayed on the last quilt pictured in this blog post by Liz about her new Australian Modern Quilt Guild.  Here is the design after the center blocks were all sewn together and I did a final audition of the borders:

And today I have a finished top:

I already have backing fabrics and am trying to now decide on how to quilt it.  I am thinking of adding prominently stitched "Andinkra Symbols" in some of the open blocks instead of doing the embellishments I had considered before.  With one more flimise on the "to be quilted" pile, I think I've reached my tipping point and will be forced to face my fears and rev up my free motion foot!

Monday, November 7, 2011

Another New Project

When I originally drafted this post, it was to contain the details for a new project - a Halloween quilt.  Technically it is two - my plan was to do two designs from Blackbird Designs that would be on each side of the quilt making it reversible.  The patterns are Hallowe'en 1904 and Midnight Silhouette.

I had purchased the fabrics in the early part of the summer and thought it would be just a matter of clearing the decks to get this project done for the Halloween holiday.  Work was supposed to start during the summer with the plan to spend September doing the quilting and have it on the bed promptly for the start of October.  But when September started without the quilt under way, I thought I'd settle for it to make it on the bed by Halloween. I was even encouraged to see that Sinta of the Pink Pincushion blog was also doing Midnight Silhouette and I'd get to have the fun of sewing a project and watching someone else's progress on the same project.

Well needless to say with all that build up you know what is coming.  When the last week of October hit and I was still pushing to finish the Dresdens, I knew it was inevitable.  When the Dresden top wasn't completed by the day before Halloween as hoped, I knew my last ditch plan to spend Halloween week at least starting this project was now history.  So what I was ultimately trying to avoid happened:  like the Valor quilt, this one won't see its holiday until next year.

So with that, what am I working on?  This quilt in progress:

New Project on the Design Wall
 This is a project called Safari Stars.  It is based on the pattern by Sue Harvey that was once on the Quilter's World Magazine website (but there is no longer a link there now for it) and has been on the HSY (haven't started yet) list since 2007.  I've always had big plans for this as a quilt for display and had a specific spot picked out for it at our old apartment.  In our new home, I have a display space opposite my living room where I currently have my basket quilt hung but wanted this quilt to become the semi-permanent display for this area. I also believe that when I have other quilts I want to display in the future in this general area , this quilt will meld with those better than the basket quilt does.   I am hoping this one will be quick work although I am looking forward to challenging myself by adding embellishments on it too.  What kind?  Don't know that yet and while I have some ideas about what I'd like to do, I am also going to see where this one takes me.  What I do hope is that it will be up on the wall before my family comes for Thanksgiving.  Of course now that I've said that, I hope I haven't put the "Next Year Curse" on it!

Friday, November 4, 2011

On A Roll!

Hot off the Dresden finish, the Chronicles Month 8 blocks are done!  In one day no yet, a new record!

But there will be no resting on my laurels:  I still have two more months of blocks in house to work on and the Month 11 packet should come in the mail sometime in the next two weeks.  Then there is an new challenge:  to quilt the pile of flimsies now sitting on the cutting table:  

I also have two other projects I want to try to tackle but we'll have to see if I can get those started.  Enjoy your weekend!!!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Bloggers Quilt Festival Is Here!

It's here, it's here, the best week of the year! 

The Fall Bloggers Quilt Festival is in full swing at Amy's Creative Side.  Click on the link below or on the side bar and enjoy a parade of wonderful quilts!

I don't have anything in the festival this time but I will be drooling over all the lovely things everyone else is showing and picking up new blogs to follow.  So get right over there and enjoy the virtual show!

Merrimac Dresdens & Chronicles Update!

I have great news to report:  the Merrimac Dresdens top is finally complete!!!!
Block detail

I have to admit, this project became an obsession in the past few weeks.  It got to the point that I was not going to be satisfied until this top was completed and I had to really focus to get it done.  I am so glad this one is now in the flimsie pile.  I already have the backing fabric (see pic below) and have picked out the quilt stitch designs for it and look forward to getting it quilted soon.

Added to that I got two more months of the Chronicles BOM done since my last report.  Two weekends ago when I thought I'd be finishing up the Dresden project, I made plans to work on the Month 6 Chronicles blocks.  Once the Dresdens were all "plated" and moving on to the blanket stitching and sashing, my cutting table was empty for a moment and I realized that it was a good time to cut the pieces for the next (for me) month of Chronciles.  This month only called for four blocks and for once didn't require a bazillion HSTs.  I cut the pieces out on a Sunday and they were completely sewn up by Tuesday, the fastest turnaround I've had so far for this BOM.

I love these blocks!  I love the cheddar fabric in them and am trying to source some more since I've long wanted to build a stash of repro cheddars.  But I also love the way these blocks look together.  I don't normally go for quilts that are made up of one (repeated) block.  But this one creates so much interest with just the one block that I feel like you would get a lot of "Bang for the Buck" with it.  The secondary patterns and visual lines created really excite me.  So I am already thinking that I might make these again and create my second "one block" quilt (my first was Eleanor Burn's Quilt In A Day Bit's and Pieces Irish Chain quilt that you can see here).

After I had two rows of the Dresdens sashed and felt I was finally moving into the home stretch, I began to think about what was still to be done for the next few Chronicles months.  Month's 7 - 10 were already in house and Month 11 is expected sometime this month.  I figured if I could make one month's blocks in each week of November I'd be completely up to date by the start of December and then would only have to wait for the last month's packet to come in to finish the top.   

For the Month 7 packet I was back to needing a bazillion HSTs but the blocks were almost completely made up of them so I figured if I could print out, layer and sew up triangle sheets it would mean getting to the block sewing that much faster.   I sewed the sheets up in between sewing the blanket stitching and sashing on the Dresden block rows and cut enough of them apart to make up the first block on the Sunday before Halloween.  Then over next two days I cut the rest of the triangles apart and made the last three blocks. 

I realize that this block is larger version of the "Chisolm Trail" block I did for the Quilt In A Day "Pioneer Sampler":

So for the first time this year, I feel like I am on track.  However there is still a lot of other stuff to be done: a stack of flimsies to quilt, another new project to start, an old WIP I plan to get back to next week and of course the next month of Chronicles.  There's never a dull moment around here!