Saturday, June 27, 2009

Scrappy strings

Here we are with the scrappy strings quilt on my new design wall, which I put up just in time. Next step: combine triangles into squares, squares into rows, rows into a solid piece, etc.

Also on the back burner but now moving forward: journal sized quilts attempting different techniques.

In the meanwhile, temperatures in the Hideaway rise early these days, so I've set up the family room in the house for summer scrapbooking, for those hot hours when the house is cooler than the studio.


Friday, June 19, 2009

Scrap usage

I have multiple boxes of fabric strips, much of it from borders, bindings, and sashings that I cut too much of - or decided to go in a different direction once I saw how they looked on a particular project. With all those strips, I decided to make a string quilt. A good, mindless thing to do while pondering my next project.

The blocks above are 12.5" square (a block comprised of two back-to-back triangles, all strings parallel). I originally started out sewing strips together and then cutting out the blocks, but felt there was too much waste, so now am foundation piecing on quilter's grid, a triangle at a time. The foundation helps stabilize the strips that are cut cross grain and on the diagonal.

Back in 1975, I made my first quilt, a string quilt from our discarded clothing (ah, the memories!). I well remember how tedious the cutting was - back before rotary cutters - and wondering how it could hold together with 1/4" seams. It turns out that it didn't hold together that well, but I shouldn't complain. It got heavy usage for a dozen years, and if some seams of the gauzier material fell apart, who's to be surprised? I've looked all through my photos from those years and can't find a one that includes a picture of that string quilt.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Great Grandma's block, round 1

Because of my travels and other projects, I've been inactive in the International Friendship Quilters group for awhile, but their definition of a round robin, one in which you sew the rounds yourself instead of sending the quilt around and hoping it will actually eventually make it home again, intrigued me, especially since I had this block above, made by my great-grandma on her treadle sewing machine in the early 1900s.

Do you see where Great-grandma apparently ran out of one of her colors? This block has been sitting in my collection for awhile, waiting for attention, and I decided NOW is the time.

The Ostrich Quilt term comes from IFQ. Each month for the rest of the year they will reveal instructions for a new block to be included in the quilt. You can incorporate the block in any way you want, and are allowed to sit out (put your head in the sand like an ostrich) for one round, if you wish.

I haven't previously done anything with Great-grandma's block, because it included colors that are not common now, and that aren't in my preferred color palette. However, I also recently dyed 30 yards of fabric, and decided some of those colors will work.

The first block was revealed today, a square-in-a-square. Since tonight was guild night in the Hideaway, I got busy and made 20 squares from my dyed fabric and added them to Great-grandma's center block. It looks more interesting already, I think. I am looking forward to seeing what block will be introduced for the next round.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Aster go round

This is the quickie quilt I talked about earlier, but I ended up sewing it yesterday. It's about 48" square. The fabrics came in a half-yard pack that I purchased at Web Fabrics in Purcellville, VA. As with the "Gingko go round" quilt, I fused quilter's grid to fleece, and used that as a foundation for sewing on the strips. I did a little quilting on the nine patch, but it wasn't needed elsewhere because of the foundation piecing method. No batting needed. I kind of randomly put it together, and think belatedly that the binding should have some pink in it. Not going to change it now!

This is taken with my new camera and edited with the latest versions of Photoshop (Elements 7.0). I haven't gotten to the intuitive level on either one, having owned them for about two hours, but I'll get there eventually. This quilt is actually brighter than it looks in this shot.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Beverly's BOM

This is Beverly's BOM, hanging on my design wall. I am in the process of enlarging the wall, since this 4x8 piece of rigid insulation (looks like beanbag chair pellets all squished together; works fine, since I don't iron on it) covered by fleece isn't wide enough.

After finishing with my three-day dye session (to be finished when I locate the three extra yards of ready-to-dye fabric I have somewhere), I got to work on the block-of-the-month (BOM) quilt I started early 2008. Beverly Fabrics in Fair Oaks produced a sandwich baggy of batik pieces each month, along with a pattern, and for the most part I was able to cut and sew the block as soon as I got it. I would never save this kind of work for an all-day-put-the-blocks-together project, because as much as I like the blocks, doing them is tedious. I think what I dislike most is trimming between sewing steps. In spite of that, I would have done their BOM this year, except I didn't sign up soon enough.

Around each 12" block I sewed a 1/4" batik border, then a 2.5" shaded mitered border. My original plan was to place these pieces on point, separated by plain blocks, but when I saw the 3D effect would be lost, I changed my mind. I now need to decide about the border, which will make it a full-size bed quilt, my first bed quilt in awhile.

Dyed stack

This is the rainbow of fabrics (30 yards) I dyed in my potting shed about a week ago. It was a lot of fun, but I learned one thing: This fabric is a lot coarser now that it is dyed than it was before. I don't plan on using Kona PFD for dyeing again, because if I were to make a bed quilt of it, it would not feel good against one's skin.

I am wondering if I wash it again with fabric softener, if it will help. Will have to test.