Monday 25 January 2016

Around and around we go...

I'm almost done with the hand quilting around every. single.  piece. of. applique. on this Civil War Bride. It really should be a winter project but we've had some opportune cooler days, and there is the pressure of quilts getting very impatient in the quilting queue. 
I'm so glad each block is different as it keeps it interesting.

Assessing the quilt top for the next step in the quilting - there are a lot of irregular, odd shaped background spaces between the applique. They are a bit bumpy and flappy and, in my humble opinion, need some quilting discipline. But the trick with irregular spaces - what pattern to use? 

Have a look at a few blocks - they fill the background very differently. This one fills the background almost fully...

Biggish spaces in this one...

 ...and odd spaces between the blocks too

I'm afraid it might make a 'dog's breakfast' of it with various sized quilting motifs.  Ideas?
  • maybe some grid quilting or parallel lines - always looks good and gives uniformity across the background 
  • maybe echo quilting - I loved it on my Auntie Green but my feeling is it doesn't suit this one
  • maybe some little crosses stippled  - looks great in big stitch quilting but not sure here - might give it a try just to see...
Indigo Circles (my Quilty 365 sewalong project) - after feeling deplorably behind on this project, I am now quite well on target, having prepped up a storm. It's been fun experimenting on ways to be more efficient with the blocks. I tried out a Youtube method using foil to iron fabric around templates. 

I know one or two other Quilty participant have also discovered this method. 

I was originally using back basting prepared needleturn for my circles - no problem with that but I just thought this might speed up the needleturn. 

Circles do need careful needleturn to avoid those pesky unwanted points. I'm not sure this method has made my circles any more accurate but it is quicker!

Here are the latest 21 blocks. That makes a total of 37 so far.  
I've decided to stitch my 2" blocks into four-patch blocks as I go,  and mix them among the 4 " blocks on point - something like this picture. 

Another little efficiency measure has been the use of  my 4 1/2 " square ruler - to square up and size my finished blocks. I was thrilled to find it is just the right size and invaluable in checking the piecing of those four-patches.
So there we are - every new project brings a little more learning ... or some useful revision! I am sure there must be others like me - I even forget what I have forgotten...sigh.

Tuesday 12 January 2016

Star in the East

Just because I'm trying to be a better quilting-person (at least at the beginning of the year haha!) and avoid the last minute rush for my BOM deadlines is this month's Shenandoah Valley Botanical Album block - Star in the East.

I found the applique less fiddly than the last block but I'm not sure that my making the yellow centre in two strips was a great idea. It has given it a bit of a 'bumpy bottom' in the middle there -  with all the layers over the background join. Ho hum - I wanted to fussy cut that yellow fabric and it fitted best as two strips to make the cross.

Benjamin Biggs : first border completed

The size adjustments I made to the border (last post) seem to have worked - so far so good.

By the way I am now on Instagram (everystitchpics) and you may see more process photos there (see top of Blog side bar). Instagram is so, so quick to update! My IG posts reveals a bad case of 'Quilters ADD' - working on a different project almost every day! Hmm, how many will I finish this year at this rate?

A new feature on my blog - nifty page tabs:
I quite often need to refer back to previous quilts and photos and find it quite cumbersome to find the saved folders or posts. So I have made some pages on the Blog with a summary of quilts completed each year. The tabs to click on are just below my blog header.  It only took half a day to sort that lot - gasp.

My quilting Finish Rate has slowed down since I got back to hand quilting last year! I'm still so glad I did but there could be a traffic jam in the quilting queue in the not too distant future :)

Sunday 3 January 2016

Indigo Circles - running late for the link up

“How did it get so late so soon? It's night before it's afternoon. December is here before it's June. My goodness how the time has flewn. How did it get so late so soon?” 
― Dr. Seuss

..and that applies perfectly to me and my Indigo Circles blocks! That's Audrey's Quilty 365 project. 

They were prepped but not stitched. So yesterday I needle turn appliqued 14 of them in one day - oops, that's not really how I aimed to pace myself, but better late than never. 
Here are all 28 that I've made so far:

I can see this project getting away from me and I really don't want that. The thing that takes some time is my choice to fussy cut the circles. It keeps it interesting for me but takes that extra bit of time. 

It will help to have a lot of squares cut way ahead - piles of 4.5 and 2.5 inch blocks. No excuses now!

I got to visit my gifted Auntie Green quilt this week. My daughter and son-in-law have hung it behind their bed. You can see why she selected low volume fabrics - suits their decor so nicely. The set of four quilt tiles on the wall was a birthday gift I made in 2012 (more details if you click on this earlier blog post) .

Happy New Year! Any quilting plans for 2016?  As for me - I have far too many a fair few projects on the go and might scare myself ( and bore you to tears) if I listed them. 

But one thing I would like to do, and really need to do - is to improve my piecing skills. I can get accuracy with EPP or foundation piecing, but I want to cut and hand piece blocks with confidence and accuracy too. Practice makes perfect they say, but I want to improve the easy way - with lots of instruction!

Sarah Fielke's BOM caught my eye (sketch image from her website).


It has a mixture of techniques, loads of instruction,  and she says there will be (quote from her blog) 
"Exclusive access to a private YouTube channel, where video instruction will be provided for each block or technique each month"

I'm in!  A private tutor -  that sounds just what I need. I've never met Sarah but have seen her excellent YouTube video on Big Stitch quilting and it has been a very useful reference. 
Something to look forward to :)