Thursday, September 19, 2019

A Quilter's Favorite Reward.....

.... a gifted quilt received, put to use and appreciated! My friend sent this shot of her new desk mat in place.  I'm glad to know it worked out perfectly!

Saturday, September 14, 2019

The Latest Gift Quilt: Have Some Moscato At Work!

I'm happy to go to Alycia's  Finished Or Not Friday link up this week with another finish.  Woo Hoo!  The desk mat for my friend is finally

That didn't take too long did it?!?

Reiterating the back story (and if you've read this before, please feel free to skip ahead):  I have a friend that I've made a number of projects for.  She has taken most of the things I've made for her to decorate her cubicle at work.  For years, Melinda Pirone's "Moscato Di Asti" pattern was on my wishlist waiting for just the right combination of desire/need/fabrics to make it happen.  My friend's request at the end of 2017 was for a quilted mat for her cubicle desk.  Leftovers from that year's Quiltville mystery project presented the perfect combination of need and the resources to get it started!

My first attempt to actually start working on this was in 2018 when we had planned to travel together to visit another friend of ours.  This was one of two projects I "kitted" up to take along on that trip.

However, even after the trip plans got pushed back, I kept the two "kits"packed up so I could grab them at a moments notice of travel.  Fast forward to this year and my friend was coming to attend a music event in the community garden I belong to that was held back in the Summer (sigh, yes Summer is as good as over!).  I figured it was a good time to start working on her mat and maybe get it done to present to her.  Of course, the usual "best laid plans" (and the fact that I was working on three other projects at the time) meant that I only pulled it out and started on a bit of the piecing.  It took a lot longer than planned to finish up the other projects so only then did I get to really work on this.  Once it became the focus project, it was full speed ahead!

Last week when I posted I had shown my progress (above).  Only problem was that I had pieced some strips in advance and when I put up the blocks already made on my design wall, I also put up ALL the strips already prepared.  What I DIDN'T DO was check back on my plans for the layout. The strips I laid out filled out five rows of seven blocks and I thought that meant I needed to add enough additional strips to complete that many blocks.  At this point, I had to struggle to have enough of some of the fabrics that I started with to do that.  I did get it done (with a few fabric substitutions and some "poverty piecing" of small scraps) and got it finished.

Except --- Yikes! --- it was now TOO BIG!!  I had only needed FOUR rows of blocks!  The good news is that only meant taking a row back off  and fortunately doing so didn't wreck the balance of the colors in the design.  Whew!  The other good news was that I put some of the extra blocks together to use to  make a small quilt stitch sample for that step in the project.

I had a pretty "marbled" (thanks, Rebecca!) print I planned to use for the backing.  I had planned for the finished top to be 20" x 35" (5" finished blocks set in a 4 x 7 layout).  I had measured the backing piece and it was just about that size, possibly only needing a few extra inches in strips around the edges to widen it a bit.  Yet when I finished the (re-sized) top and held up the backing to it, it was not as wide as the top by a significant amount.  What gives?

Yeah, turns out you have to read the measurements on your mat correctly!  Tip:  when measuring from the short side of the mat, DON'T read the numbers at the end on the long side,  LOL!!
So this of course meant my backing piece though tall enough was not actually wide enough to make a one piece back.  No problem, leftovers to the rescue!  I  had enough of some of the fabrics and decided to try something I hadn't done before --- I cut 2-1/2" strips and created a panel for the middle in the style of a "jelly roll race" quilt!

BTW, in my last post I had said that I thought I had used up all of the original light (white on cream) fabric I originally worked with.  Wouldn't you know it, now I found some more under the pile of the other fabrics!  It wasn't that much (only enough to provide two strips for the backing panel) but it would have been more than enough when I was piecing more block strips. Those strips will also serve as my label area.  Even so, I still needed to add some extra strips on the top and bottom to give me extra for the quilting.

As I did with another project this summer, I used preview paper to decide on the quilting.  I wanted to highlight the "stars" and wound up doing a combination of a swirl and outline quilting on them.  For the background the best thing was the simplest:  stippling (fast and easy).

As usual, I didn't really want to change threads too much.  I found a nice medium gray that worked on the dark areas however, it was too dark for the stars.  I was going to use white thread on the stars but realized that using a light gray actually worked better --- it made it all look like it was stitched with the same thread and giving the subtle contrast in color a nice overall balance.

Last was the binding.  For myself, I probably would have gone with a dark purple or burgundy but my friend likes lavender so I went with that for her benefit.  And clearly there's no question that the fabric I used is 100% cotton:

So my friend will have hers and I put a binding on the stitch sample and now have a little mug rug as a momento of working on this project!

My friend has two projects for her home that she wants me to make, but both will require design work.  I bought EQ8 last year so working on those may be an opportunity to get familiar with that program.  No time soon though, I've got QOVs to get to next!

With this project and post done, now I can go see what our gracious link up host Alycia is up to and check out what everyone else worked on this week.  Got a Finish?  Even if not, link up and let us see what's inspiring you this week!

Friday, September 6, 2019

Finished Or Not Friday --- WIP Edition

I can report in early for this week's "Finished Or Not Friday" (hosted by Alycia over at her Alycia Quilts/Quilty Girl blog) because thankfully, I don't have to have anything finished!

The "Emerald's" blocks at the top of the wall are being put away for now.

I am currently working on a desk mat for a long time friend of mine.  I've made her a few mug rugs (seen here and here) and quilted a panel for her (here) that she purchased when she attended her first (and only) quilt show with me a few years back.  All of these are displayed in her cubicle at work.  She had asked for the mat at the end of 2017 and had nudged me about it again in November of last year, hoping to get it for Christmas.  At that moment I had a lot going on so told her it would have to wait until at least the New Year.  Well, I guess it has simmered long enough!

This is going to be my mini version of the "Moscato d'Asti" pattern by Melinda Pirone of Sew Precious Creations.  I had always liked this design and the coloring but never had the project space to embark on making it for myself.  When my friend put in her request, I knew it was the perfect thing to make for her because Moscato is her favorite wine and lavender is her favorite color!  The original pattern used jelly roll/2-1/2" strips to make a lap sized quilt.  Since I'm shooting for a 20" x 35" finished mat, I'm using 1-1/2" strips instead.  I had made note of this pattern when I first saw it yet when I finally had a good reason to go purchase it,  I couldn't find it available anywhere!  Fortunately, the design was an easy one to figure out how to do.

I had hoped to have gotten this done by the end of August but all the recent Red, White and Blue projects got in the way of that.  I had cut the fabrics out back in May 2018 because we had discussed making a trip together to visit another friend of ours and I had hoped to take it along as a travel project.  When the plans fell through, I figured that having it already prepped would make it easy to start working on whenever I was ready to tackle it.

Empty food containers are great for mini quilt kit storage!

A lot of the green and purple fabrics were leftovers from making Bonnie Hunter's "En Provence" mystery.  The problem is that I thought I had cut enough strips to make all the blocks but now find myself short!  In the picture at the top of the post, you can see I have enough of the two-color pieced strips and have placed them where I need to add more blocks to the layout.

I will need more colored long strips and attach light HSTs (which I have) to the ends of them.  I also need  more short light strips to attach to the short color strips I have.  However, I don't have any more of the light fabric I used!  The white-on-cream print I used was leftover from making my second QOV top.  I've searched that stash and checked my project notes --- nope, there's no more.  Fortunately, I've got a couple of scrap stash sources that have yielded a supply of "close enough" light strips that I can cut down and hopefully that should cover my needs.

So maybe just maybe the weekend will yield a finish?  I've got an appointment to go to this afternoon and things to do over the weekend so I'm not holding my breath!  When I get back later today, I'll be headed back over to Alycia's to see what everyone else has got cooking or coming down off of their design wall!