Saturday, July 28, 2018

Speaking of Scrap Quilts....

Ooops!!  This was an old post that I updated and Blogger (messing with me again) changed it to the current date (which it didn't used to do).  Sorry about that!

September is underway....

I've started catching up on the wool ornaments....

Two down, four to go!
....and there's activity on the design wall......

Sorry for the hazy picture.

These are four patches made as "leader/enders" and braid units I have been collecting to make a quilt called "Confetti".  I'm hoping to enter it in the 5th Annual Scrap Quilt Challenge that the online store Fabrics 'N Quilts is hosting.  Entry deadline is October 15.  I wanted to work on this one because it is the most developed of my WIP scrap projects. 

I try to find scrap quilts I want to make before I have the scraps so that when I process my scraps they go right toward specific projects.  First I saw a "Confetti" quilt in American Patchwork & Quilting (June 2002) and thought it would be a cinch to save up the 2" squares needed for the four patches.  Later I became enamoured of braid quilts and found a design for one in a back issue of Quilters Newsletter (March 1991).  I collected bits and bobs for both for awhile and then one day I found a quilt that used both together!

The pattern on the right, also in a QNM back issue (September 1997) is also called "Confetti" and used both the four patches in the center like the APQ quilt and then braid units for the borders.  Don't you just love quilting!  The queen-size quilt called for 256 four patches and 304 braid units. By the time I saw the Quilt Challenge announcement this year I had 206 four patches but had not kept count of how many braid units I had cut.  However, since it's no longer a requirement that I make a queen-size quilt, I figured I should put the patches up on the wall and see what size quilt might be possible with what I already have on hand.

The only problem?  When I had originally started collecting for the QNM braid quilt pattern, it was designed so that the light braids and dark braids would be pieced on opposing sides of the braid columns so were cut in the reverse of each other.  However, even after I decided on doing the later QNM combined quilt, I continued to cut the braid units that way.  I'm only now noticing that if I'm going to use a white background as per the pattern, the braids as I have them cut will not work.  So the debate now is whether to change the border design to accommodate what I have or use a different (darker)background to provide a better contrast to work with what I have.  I'm still chewing on that choice in my mind and the decision will guide or may be made by my choice of background fabric.

Scraps or Scrappy?

I find that people often mean two different things when they use the term "Scrap Quilt".  For me, there is a distinct difference between "a quilt made from scraps" and "a Scrappy Quilt".  In an "Editor's Note" that was sent in an email back in March entitled "Scrap Happy", Quiltmaker Magazine Editor Rachel Peterson said this about the spring cleaning she was giving her studio:

"I simply had to ask myself, "Can I see this in a quilt?" If I hesitated, if I couldn't picture even a hint of a quilt, that scrap was tossed. A saying kept flashing through my mind that I learned while studying to be a journalist, "Slay your darlings." Obviously they were talking about words on a page, but it applied to my scrap stash. As soon as I cleared all the clutter and itty pieces I would never use, my stash seemed to fit together better. Suddenly I was seeing more potential for fabric combinations and quilt designs."

Now for me this is an instance where the plan is to "make a quilt from scraps".  That is, the goal is to take leftover fabrics and coordinate them together to make a quilt the same way you would shop for fabric yardage in a store.  There is nothing wrong with that approach  if you are setting out to make a quilt using a specific palette of colors and want to use up or put some of your leftover fabrics toward it.  This is exactly how I started the Valentines Day quilt I made earlier this year.  I am a firm proponent of the idea that your scraps cost you the same amount as your yardage so you might as well use them up!

However, I was surprised by her comment that any scraps she couldn't "see" going into a quilt needed to be tossed.  Yikes!!  My idea of a true "Scrap Quilt" and the ones I enjoy seeing are the ones made from every kind of fabric without regard to what it looks like or if it matches.  In quilts like these, the more different fabrics you add, the better they look!  My inspiration/mentor/heroine in that is Bonnie Hunter who, ironically, contributes a regular feature to the same magazine!  Her column in QM is called "Addicted To Scraps" and if you look at her quilts (and you can do so over at her website, you'll see they are full of scrappy goodness and include everything under the sun!  Bonnie always points out and jokes about the "Millenium fabrics" that still show up in her quilts from time to time even all these years after the year 2000.  In fact, people still send her their scraps of that kind of fabric and she has no problem adding them to her latest work.  She detailed her own views on the subject of making scrap quilts in this blog post from 2005

In  those kind of scrap quilts,  you may only worry about value (light or dark) and maybe tone (if you want the quilt to be primarily full of bright/pure colors or muted/shaded/toned colors) but sometimes even those considerations are set aside.  Many of the antique quilt gems we love were made from the scrap basket and suggest that the maker wasn't concerned about liking the way things went together but only with having enough bits to make the finished size quilt they needed.

Ms. Peterson's comment about "clear(ing) all the clutter and itty pieces (she) would never use" means she's probably never considered making a "Crumb" quilt (also known as Mile-A-Minute or Made Fabric).  For these type of blocks/quilts, there is almost no such thing as a piece too small to make a block.  If you google "Crumb Quilt" you'll see what I mean.  I've actually also got one of those that was in the process of being quilted when I stopped work on it and might try to also finish it up for the Quilt Challenge too.

Admittedly, your tolerance for what is "pretty" factors in here.  Some people find these types of scrap quilt ugly.  However, with quilts as with people, beauty is in the eye of the beholder or in the case of quilts, the snuggler!!  That's not to say that some of your scraps can't be reserved to stuff pillow forms or dog beds. But if I can put my scraps in a quilt I'm so much happier!!

Friday, July 27, 2018

Calming Down and Cleaning Up

You know things have calmed down greatly if I'm able to finally get back to my "Bucket List" goals!  Once again, I'm going to try to restart my Double Wedding Ring project because the Quilt Gods have sent an accountability angel:  Jo over at Jo's Country Junction has inspired me to get the DWR back into the quilting rotation with her new Double Wedding Ring Quilt Along on Wednesdays!   

She started this two weeks ago and I wanted to jump right in.  However, first I had another task....

….cleaning off my cutting table, LOL!!  Got to say it's been inspiring to read the posts from The Creative Spaces Blog Hop that's been hosted by Tammy Silvers of Tamarinis and Cherry Guidry of Cherry Blossom Quilting.  Watching all the participants show their studios, favorite tools and how they organize those tools (next week they'll be covering Fabric and Scraps Organization) was the perfect incentive to get my space in order. 
It has taken a while but....

….now, that's better!   So with that done and if I'm going to be sewing, I also need to do some additional studio maintenance -- namely, clean my Featherweight machine. 

If I thought the bobbin case area was dusty, look at the feed dogs!

I also lubed her up so she'll keep running for the indefinite future.  Now she's ready to go back into action!

There's also one other thing I've been waiting to do for her but since I still have to do it, I'll cover that in another post.

Monday, July 2, 2018

Checking in For June --- Two Days Late!

Happy July!  Well June turned out to be a whirlwind of a month and not necessarily for the reasons planned.  Following up on my last post: all is well with my friend -- she was able to complete her treatments with no more help from us out-of-town supporters than just weekly check-ins to keep her spirits up and commiserate on the challenges of dealing with illness.  While I still hope to go visit her (and now it can be just for fun!), we got word during the month that someone in DH's family (also in the South), was struck with a serious illness.  Once we heard that, I put planning to visit my friend on hold temporarily until it could be determined if BOTH of us would need to travel down.  If that happened, I'd make any trip South a "two-for-one" excursion. 

With regards to my own health issue, I believe the treatment plan is working although I missed my first follow-up because -- of all things -- food poisoning!!  The night before my appointment, I ate something that totally didn't agree with me and sat me back on my heels for two days!  It took another two days after that to rebuild my appetite and strength.  However, when I called to cancel my appointment, I immediately rescheduled for another so will go to that next week.  Prior to that and once I recouped, I felt fine so I am moving ahead optimistically hoping that the new follow-up appointment will confirm my assessment.

Add to all of that our community garden has been a hive of activity, most of which fortunately happened before my "incident":  we hosted two days of activities for fourth and fifth grade classes from one of the local elementary schools and then the following week hosted a garden outing day for a homeschooling group.  Our community paper also came by to take pictures and videos and interview our gardeners for a new online feature they are developing.  Then our garden was picked to be in another video feature, this time in partnership with the hot sauce company we grow peppers for.  Finally last week, employees from Google came to do a community service day at our garden and help us with some construction and maintenance projects.  Whew!  No wonder I didn't get to blog before now!

So enough about all of that, let's get to the real point of this post:  I'm glad to say that even with all of that going on, I was still able to make time for some quilting and:

Ta-Da! On Ringo Lake Is A Flimsie!!
 When I had to change my original quilting plans for the year, I decided to spend my time on what I called "mind-less sewing" and for this past month that was finishing the top construction for Bonnie Hunter's last mystery quilt.  I had started it last November with the intention of using it as a leader/ender while I also finished the 2016-17 mystery "En Provence".  When I last left off I was here:
 The blocks were laid out on the wall and it was a slow but sure process to begin sewing the diagonal rows of sashing and blocks together (the blocks in this design are placed on-point).  I realize now that when Bonnie announces a mystery, one thing I usually don't take note of is how big the finished quilt will be.  I probably should since Bonnie is one designer (Victoria Findlay-Wolfe is another) that prefers to design what a quilting friend used to affectionately call "BAQs" (Big A** Quilts)!  When I started putting the blocks and sashing on the design wall, I ran out of wall and still had more blocks and sashing to put up! 
So I had to piece the top half of blocks together in order to make more space on the wall so I could position the remaining bottom half blocks and sashing for sewing together.  While sewing together the top half,  I also started placing and attaching the pieced side setting triangles.

When that was done I had to "scrunch" (technical term!) up the top part to make room to place the rest of the blocks and sashing for the bottom part. 
After the bottom block and sashing rows were sewn together, I needed to be able to see the fabric placement of the top triangles in order to decide where to place the bottom setting triangles.  With only so much space on the wall, that proved to be a bit of a challenge so I had to tape the scrunched up part on to the ceiling in order to be able to see it all, LOL!!  Sorry, I could have sworn I took a picture of that but I guess I was so anxious to try to get this done by month's end, I just rushed forward without getting a shot of it! 

8/28/18 Edited to Add:

Found It!  I knew I had a shot of it!
It took until yesterday to get all the remaining setting triangles attached and then finally get down to sewing up the last two long seams and four pieced corner triangles but it got done!
Needless to say I'm a happy camper since:

1)  I got this done before having to travel which was one of my goals for this.
2) I also completed my goal of completing both of the last two Quiltville mystery tops.
3)  Now I get to enjoy a special treat!
Back in January when Bonnie released the last three parts of the mystery and the Reveal, she had mentioned that there were Quiltville novelties on Zazzle.  I admit, I'm a sucker for quilty novelties and Quiltville branded ones?  I was in!  Actually this helped me out because a few years ago I had purchased two mugs from Dollar Tree that went with my kitchen d├ęcor. 
I also had an orange colored one similar to the color of my walls but I believe one of the guys must have broke that one since I haven't seen it in a long while.

Edited to Add:

Found a shot of the orange mug from back in 2015.
The lime green mug that's left has a big crack down the side of it that leaks a little so who knows how long it is for this world.  Up until then, I had checked to see if the store would get more in these colors but never saw any again. 

So when I saw that I could get Quiltville Mystery mugs in colors and then saw the colors for the mugs for these two projects, well I had to go there!  Since these were definitely more expensive than Dollar Store mugs (although I was able to get them while on sale -- whoot! whoot!),  I will be guarding these with my life!  Originally, I hadn't planned to put these into service until both projects were quilted but with my electronic machines still out of commission (who's had the time/focus to take them in?), I don't expect these to get quilted any time soon --- not to mention I still have backings to make and plan to piece those too.

Panel purchased to piece into the On Ringo Lake backing.
So that was my June!  Let's hope July will be a little more calm (but I doubt it).  A very Happy Fourth of July to everyone!