Wednesday, February 26, 2020

BOMs Away Week #8: AQS Twilight Flurries

This week I'm back to working on the AQS 2020 Christmas Countdown BOM called "Twilight Flurries".  Last month I had noted that many of the blocks still to be made have a lot of pieces and this month reflects that.  I chose to do Block #7 and Block #3.

I didn't make Block#2 this week because it has paper-pieced units and I wasn't sure I'd have time for that.  Knowing how busy the week was going to be, it had been my intention to pick the blocks and the fabrics for these over the weekend but that didn't happen.  I really didn't think I'd finish these until towards the end of the week but I got them done sooner than expected.   

However, I am learning (or re-learning) some basic quilting lessons while making the blocks for this BOM.  I'm not thrilled with the contrast of the light/medium/dark fabrics I used in these blocks.  When I had picked the fabrics they seemed fine together:

However,  you have to also consider how the fabric will look when it's cut and pieced into your blocks, how much of each will be used and where it will be placed in the block.  I'm only now really paying attention to the size of these blocks --- they are supposed to finish at only 7".  When you consider how many pieces are in some of these blocks, that makes for some pretty small cuts!  Compare how the fabrics look in Block #3 (above, center) and how two of the same fabrics look made up in a 6-1/2" (unfinished) Bow Tie block which is made with fewer and bigger pieces.  Going forward, I'd do well to cut preview shapes to use when auditioning the fabrics I'm considering.  I may re-make Block #3 at some point in the future after I see how it looks among some of the future blocks.

Despite having so many pieces to cut (for so few blocks), it went pretty fast because most of the cutting was very "gadget friendly".  A lot of it could be be die cut:

Speaking of the dies, I thought this was going to be a chance for me to try out the 6" finished Bow Tie die set I got from Accuquilt on clearance a while back.  The HST die for the set makes 1-1/2" finished HSTs (so 2" unfinished) which the instructions I had downloaded back in December said I needed for Block #7.  This is a popular size HST in a lot of Bonnie Hunter designs which means when making future mystery quilts, I could die cut that shape when needed.  A blessing if you know how many pieces Bonnie usually calls for in her quilts!  

However, after making them and then laying them out to prepare to piece them into the block, it became evident that the HSTs weren't the right size.  Huh?  I went back online to AQS and called up the instructions for that block and sure enough, the instructions had been changed to making them 1-1/2" unfinished!  Now that worked in the block design and fortunately, I could just trim what I had already made down to the right size.  Anyway, I still got to try out the die too so it's all good!

The small squares and rectangles for Block # 7 could be easily subcut with the Stripology ruler.

And for quick piecing, in Block #7 the flying geese units could be made with my favorite Quilt In A Day "Two Squares" method:

There's plenty to do for the rest of the week so I won't be sitting on my BOM laurels!  For now though, I'm heading over to Lynette at What A Hoot! Quilts to link up with her and Kate at Katie Mae Quilts for this week's BOMs Away and to see what everyone else is working on right now!

Friday, February 21, 2020

BOMs Away 2020 Week 7: Modern Bohemia

Whew!  After getting the Girl Scout quilt to a top I was finally able to start die cutting the blocks for this month's Churn Dash BOM blocks.  I had picked out the fabrics a few days ago and at that time, I had a clear idea of what I wanted to pair with what.  I guess I should have stacked the combinations together instead of just quickly chucking everything into a storage box!  When I set to combining them last night, suddenly the combinations weren't so intuitive.

However, I picked and die cut what I could before heading out last night to my community garden's the first meeting of the 2020 garden season.

So this is what got pieced today:

Two more 12 inch, three more nine inch, two more six inch but only one 3 inch this month.  Even now as I look at these up on the wall, I think after next month's set, I want to try adding a few where the "print" is in the background and the tone-on-tone is in the foreground.  I'll have to plan some extra time to layout the blocks I have at that point and set up for the change ups to be made in April.

So with this week's BOM work completed, I'm headed over to Lynette's at What A Hoot Quilts to link up and see what other BOMs were worked on this week and to offer condolences for her family's recent loss of a young relation.

Monday, February 17, 2020

Design Wall Monday: This, That and the Other.....

The blog's been fairly quiet because things have been a bit busy lately and not all of it has been related to my own projects.  So to catch up on recent events:

Bonnie Hunter's "Frolic" mystery is now history!  Well at least in terms of it being available for free from her blog.  Since Valentine's Day, she has offered the newly released digital pattern of "Frolic" for purchase at half price until the end of February!  As for me, I had hoped to finish the top for "Old Tobacco Road", the Quiltville mystery that I had been working on while everyone else was Frolic-ing. I did manage to finally get all the center rows stitched together:

Once the center was all pieced together, the debate became whether to just add a border for a quick couch-quilt-finish (which was how I originally envisioned using the finished quilt) or to continue on and add the Flying Geese borders Bonnie used in the pattern (and was one of the things I really liked about the design).  I have everything for both.... is just a matter of trimming up the center and laying things out on the design wall to finalize that decision.  However, I couldn't do that for two reasons:  first was that it was (finally) time to teach the English Paper Piecing workshop I had been hired to do:

The projects I chose for the EPP workshop.
My community garden President is also the treasurer of her Building Association and after seeing one of my projects we had been in talks for about two years about having me do a quilt class for one of their craft events.  Last Summer we were finally were able to narrow down on the "what" (had to be a hand work class and centered on the theme of "recycling") so I suggested an English Paper Piecing class.  Mind you, the only EPP I had ever done was this rosette after watching an episode of "Simply Quilts" back in the early 2000s!

So needless to say I had to do a lot of research about current methods and notions to bring myself up to speed.  Then I looked around the web and in books for some simple projects that I thought students would be interested in completing either in or after class.  The projects I settled on for students to choose from were the "Scrapbusting Hexie Hot Pad" by Cintia of My Poppet Makes (uses only 6 Hexies), the "Hexie Pincushion" by Jessica of Life Under Quilts (uses only 8 Hexies) and the "advanced" project and my absolute favorite, a hexie mini quilt version of the "Potholder Organizer" by Marti of Sewlicious Home Decor (for the student who really gets into making hexies!).  I love my sample of that one so much that it is now my permanent hexie project carrier!

My workshop was one of four offered over two community "sewing days".  Since I knew I wouldn't have time to make a whole quilt for the class, I lucked up on finding this beauty on eBay and used it as a backdrop/display in the class and to discuss the popularity of the "Grandmother's Flower Garden" style quilts.

It's all done (hand pieced and quilted!) except for the binding which I want, at some point, to add on.  I'm hoping I already have a fabric in my 30's reproduction stash that will go with it.  Hmmm, gives me an excuse to move up my plans for working on a series of quilts using that stash!  Also once again points to the importance of labels --- I'd love to know who did all this work and why it wasn't completely finished.  But then do you label your quilt before it's bound?  I know I don't!

I had originally agreed to do the workshop (my very first!) last November and I made up the organizer and hot pad samples for it back in the Fall.  However, scheduling snafus regarding the class space forced a change in format from just offering my class to hosting a multi-day, multi-class arrangement.  That actually proved to be fortunate for me because it gave me a chance to find and add an "intermediate" level project to my class plans which was the pincushion.  I got that one ready in December for the re-scheduled workshop which at first was tentatively planned for January but then was ultimately finalized for the first weekend in February.  In the end, it went well and I look forward to either doing this workshop again (along with ideas I have for improving how I teach it) or being able to solidify some ideas I have for other classes I could offer.

In between all of that, their organization got a request to do a workshop with one of our community's Girl Scout troops.  After discussions with one of the troop's leaders, we settled on doing a quilt where the girls would decorate fabric blocks.  Originally the plan was to have the girls just use fabric paint and markers to draw out their designs.  However, it was eventually expanded to adding the opportunity for them to get even more creative using felt appliques, decorative trims and to do a little hand stitching as well.  

Three of us facilitated one session in December and another one in January where the girls worked on their blocks in small groups.  I brought my Accuquilt Go! die cutter and dies so the girls could choose shapes and colors to add to add to their blocks using felt that was provided.  One of the troop leaders had asked if we could also have blocks that would quote this year's "G.I.R.L. Leadership Agenda" so I printed those out on fabric (prepared for printing) adding letter die cuts to take them up a notch.  When we were done we had these:

My garden president and I had shopped for Girl Scout themed fabric and the plan was that we had hoped to have some time either before or during the workshop "Sew Day" sessions to put up the blocks (I brought some gridded flannel for a design wall) and work on the layout.  However, there were lot of attendees and each facilitator also served as assistants for the other workshops so I wound up just bringing the blocks back home to work out the final layout by myself.  And that's what's (still) on the design wall today:

I had to combine elements from a few partial blocks and added things to others to fill them out and now these are all ready to be sewn together.  There are places I expect to have to hand stitch the seams in place to work around some of the embellishments.  Once I have the center done, I'll cut the outer borders (GS Cookie fabric!!) and then have to put together a backing.  When we shopped, we had mistakenly also purchased 4-H themed fabric -- in our defense it was sitting right along with the Girl Scout fabric and the colors coordinated!  In fact, the sashing squares here are fussy cut from one of the 4-H prints since hearts were the most requested die cut by the girls.

Edited To Add:  You can see the finished quilt here.

Last but not least:  I've picked out the fabrics for this week's BOM blocks so have to also get those made up over the next few days as well.

Ok, all caught up and it looks like it will be another busy week!

Tuesday, February 11, 2020

BOMs Away 2020 Week 6: Countryside Cottage

This week I'm on my own for posting my BOM progress as there are no link-ups set up yet.  I'll keep checking back as to when I can add mine. 

I'm back to working on the Joann's Countryside Cottage BOM.  This one is always a quickie since the fabrics are pre-selected and the block parts are pre-cut for me.

Easy peasy! And it's a good thing too -- I'm also still working on "Old Tobacco Road" for which I've finally finished the center and now need to decide on borders.  More urgently, I need to put together a quilt top for the blocks made by a Girl Scout troop so will be focused on that today.  Hopefully, I will get back with an OTR flimsy finish before week's end!   

Thursday, February 6, 2020

BOMs Away 2020 Week 5: Christmas Figs

For this week's installment of BOMs Away, I'll be linking up with the co-host of the "BOMs Away" link-up, Katie over at "Katie Mae Quilts".

I'm back to working on the Christmas Figs BOM.  After completing the first two blocks last month (Block #1 is here and Block #2 can be seen here), I thought I'd be working on the next two blocks in the sampler.  However, I had a lot of work I wanted to also get done on another project and a workshop to prepare for so needed some easier blocks to tackle this week than the next two in the book.  I picked these two to work on instead:

This is the Nine Patch block which is Month 3 in the book.

This one is called "Milky Way" and is the second of the Month 3 blocks.  Again the challenge for me in a BOM like this is that since I'm working from a stash I collected rather than the exact fabrics outlined in the book, I have to try and "play designer" and pick out my own fabric combinations.

Next month I plan to go back and do the Month 2 blocks so know that I'll have to plan to start my prep a few days ahead to allow myself enough time to tackle what I expect will be challenging blocks.  Forewarned is forearmed!

Monday, February 3, 2020

Design Wall Monday: Easing Down the Old Tobacco Road

Bonnie Hunter's "Old Tobacco Road" mystery has been sitting on my design wall almost completely laid out for over a week.  Yesterday I finally started putting the center of it together and today got a few more rows done.

I'm trying to bring it to a complete top by the time the latest  "Frolic" mystery season wraps up next week!