Saturday, May 30, 2020

Quarantine Flimsie #2: Laundry Basket Mystery

My first quarantine project was Gudrun Erlas's "Elvira".   Now that the pieced borders have been completed for Edyta Sitar's Laundry Basket Quilts Mystery 2020, it too is officially a top!  Edyta now calls the design "California" and it's still available for free on her blog (starting with this link) or can be purchased as a complete paper or PDF pattern.

It's pretty big so it was hard to get a good shot of it.  I've already got ideas for how to quilt this.  For me, this turned out to be a really intense but fun project to work on.  It challenged my "Make It Do" and design muscles to work with a stash that had not been coordinated beyond the colors collected.  There were lots of fabric changes made along the way.  There were also changes to how some blocks were made for my version versus the directions in the pattern.  I was just happy to finally find a design for the "Pinks, Browns and Blues" project stash I had put together so long ago.  It was also a perfect "focus" project to help get me through the quarantine days.

In June, Pat Sloan's challenge focus for the month is "quilting your own quilts".  I've been on a tear since before the pandemic to finish piecing projects to the point that I have neglected the next step:  getting them quilted.  That has happened for a number of reasons including the need to get used to quilting big projects on a new machine and of course deciding how I want to quilt them.  I'm hoping to spend June catching up on that big time.

However, June isn't quite here yet and there is another quarantine project to bring closer to a finish and a few housekeeping projects to do before I can set myself up for the quilting sessions.  That next project is another Gudrun design so maybe I'll fire up one of her playlists so I can "whistle while I work"!  Links to her Spotify playlists can be found at the bottom of this post.

Saturday, May 23, 2020

Quarantine Holiday Weekend Sewing

It's a rainy Saturday and we are still under quarantine restrictions although they are starting to slowly loosen up.   While a sunny day prompts taking the opportunity to go outside for a little air, on a drab day like this there is nothing better than to be inside in front of your sewing machine!  

In preparation for today's task: since I've finished sewing together the center for Edyta Sitar's Laundry Basket Quilts Mystery.....

....and had decided on doing this border.....

Edyta Sitar's Finished Quilt

.....I've spent the last two days cutting these:

Edyta gave a number of border options for what is now called her "California" quilt design.  You could go with fabric borders (and she showed them using her "Super Bloom" fabrics), an applique border or this pieced border.  I liked this one because it will allow me to mine the remainder of my project stash.  For it, she used 1-1/2" wide strips cut in lengths from 1-1/2" to 5-1/2" to create the 6" finished border.  So this choice also appealed to me because (as Pam Heller of Accuquilt likes to say) I have a die for that!

The bottom half of the Accuquilt Log Cabin die cuts strips 1-1/2" wide and from 1-1/2" to 8-1/2" long and the top half cuts the strips that are 9-1/2" to 12-1/2" long.   I had originally purchased this die because I really wanted to make a few traditional log cabin quilts.  There are so many layouts for that kind of block and you can make blocks of various sizes depending on how many rounds of logs you piece together.  I felt it would be a versatile die for those reasons alone.  However, so far except for this runner, I've mostly used the die in cases like this where I need a large number of 1-1/2" strips of varying sizes for a project.

I only needed to load my fabrics on the bottom half of the board to cut my strips and cut one or two layers from all the fabrics I have left.  Initially I've put aside the 6-1/2", 7-1/2" and 8-1/2" strips until I sew all the other ones up.  If I need more of the shorter strips, before I die cut more fabric, I can cut down the larger strips.  Whatever strips I don't use for the borders, I'll just add to my Log Cabin Strip Storage Box.

 When a Log Cabin quilt finally gets up to the top of the "To Do" list, I'll be able to grab the accumulated stash in that box to get it started.  If I need additional fabrics in particular values or colors, I will also go through my Scrap Users Box of 1-1/2" strips to add to the Log Cabin strip stash.

Rhubye and I are still working together!
Using my large and small design boards makes it pretty easy to keep everything organized and ready for sewing!  Prior to sewing, the companion sizes of the dark and light strips are stacked opposite each other (so 1-1/2" and 5-1/2",  2-1/2" and 4-1/2" and 3-1/2" and 3-1/2") so I can pick them up and sew them together.  The finished pieced strips are stacked up until I am ready to arrange them on the wall.

In Edyta's border design there is also a 2" finished inner border before the pieced outer border.  I've already cut and pieced together the strips for those too.  I don't have enough space on the sides of my design wall to layout those strips and the border ones so just have it laying on top of the edge of the quilt for now while I play with the color balance of the pieced strips.  Not a bad way to start off the holiday weekend!

Friday, May 1, 2020

More on the Laundry Basket Mystery Quilt

Back when I started Gudrun Erla's "Elivra" Quilt Along, I mentioned I had also picked out Quarantine Project # 2.  It was another fun opportunity to participate in a sew along that would use a stash of fabrics I had already gathered and had been looking for project to apply them to.  So these....

...have become this....

This is Edyta Sitar's Quarantine Mystery Quilt 2020 that she has now officially named "California".  It has taken me a lot longer than expected to pull this one together!  Since I wasn't working from Edyta's fabric line (she used "Super Bloom") and I wanted to emphasize the theme of my stash (Pinks, Browns and Blues),  I cheated a little on this "mystery":  since the block placements were revealed as each "clue" dropped, I could make decisions as I went along as to what colors to place where.

Bonnie Hunter is also doing her "Unity" quilt along the same way.  I am watching that one from afar since I currently have two Quiltville mysteries in progress, three more that need to be quilted and one of her free patterns basted!

When I started in on Edyta's mystery, I had to be mindful that I was working from an existing stash and with the pandemic, I was hampered a bit by not being able to shop as freely I would normally be able to if I decided I needed "stash enhancements".  On the plus side, this meant I could also try to be creative with placement.  There have also been times when I've had to really do some design contortions to try to make the fabric I have stretch or to be able to use prints I really wanted to see included in the design.  Some examples of this:

This block was pieced in her pattern as four HSTs.  I opted to try to speed things a bit by die cutting it as parallelograms.

Well, except for these three --- I didn't have enough of this fabric to die cut all the parallelograms needed but did have enough to cut the last six pairs of HST triangles needed to make it the way she patterned it.

Edited To Add: Another change that happened between the initial block piecing and the final layout was that the bottom triangles of these chevron blocks changed from having all the same color background triangles to having a different background print on the "pointed" end (as you will see in the pictures that follow of the center of the top ).

I had a fan fabric in the stash that I had won in a de-stash giveaway a few years back.  I had always hoped to showcase it in whatever design I chose to make from this collection of fabrics.

The time for that came in Part 12.  Rather than the pieced blocks patterned for the corners of the large center star, I decided to do some fussy cutting instead.

Edited To Add:  Don't know what fussy cutting is or have never tried it?  Check out tips and application ideas here and here!

Although I liked the center "glow" of the pink floral background fabric for the star points, I wasn't convinced it worked within the top as a whole.  I eventually changed  it to a tan print with little pink and blue flowers in it that I felt didn't compete as much with the fussy cut fans.

Edited To Add:  It should also be noted that those blue HST star points were originally pieced into the big blue and brown blocks in the first outer border.  However, as I started doing up the other blocks in the first and second round, I realized I didn't like them used there after all, held on to them and fortunately, they found a better place in the large center star block.

There was also some "Poverty Piecing":  the center of this square....

....was actually pieced together to feature this motif.

This is what's left of the original pieces of fabric I had which now that I think of it, were probably fabric samples I had gotten with some I ordered way back when I first started quilting.

The small fat eighths of this print that I had didn't allow for cutting out the particular motif I wanted in the size I needed.  There were other motifs in the print that would have allowed that but of course those were not the ones I wanted!   Once I decided I could use this one, I had to "poverty piece" together small cuts from different sections of the fabric to create a piece big enough to cut the square needed for this unit.

Interestingly, Edyta's design actually called for the center "square" of the small center star to be made from the HST triangle corners of the four blocks that make it up (for more clarity, see Part 15 of the mystery).

Four of these.....

....make this!
Needless to say my star block is made up of the pieced together Square In A Square block, four Flying Geese and corner Triangle Squares instead.  I think it's my favorite block in this project!

And of course, what's a big, busy project without a few piecing snafus!!!

Really?!?  What was I thinking???

There, that's better!

In between working on all of this I was also sewing up masks for my husband's job so I really had to juggle between the decision making and stitching for this project and that production work.  Both the juggling and this project turned out to be a way bigger challenge than expected when I started this but it was also a fun diversion during this very crazy time.  I don't know when this particular stash would have been ignited and a project with it embarked on if it hadn't been for the pandemic and quarantine orders.  Can't say that I'm unhappy about it at all!  Well, at least I won't be once it's all sewn together.

Oh! And I already have two ideas for the quilt label:

I either want to make something using these extra fans I cut out or make this block from Edyta's "Little Handfuls of Scraps" book or maybe I'll wind up combining the two!  Can't wait to see what eventually happens!   I'm hoping it won't take until we are no longer required to "shelter in place" for me to get this pieced into a top!  Although I also still have the outer borders to decide on.  Edyta gave suggestions for six different borders!   I really like the pieced piano key one and am hoping I can tease that out of the fabrics and scraps I have left over.

This definitely provided a much needed break between following the news reports.  And there's still more Quarantine Quilting projects coming!