Friday, July 3, 2015

Comparing Carolina Chain quilts

Carolina Chain of 2"  strips begun in May
  For my Year of Floral quilts, I am really exploring some of my favorite patterns focusing on how they look done in floral fabrics.  There is always the blending effect using florals, and attention to the light and dark contrast of values.  Sometimes the busy print of the florals obscure and disguise the pattern, and sometimes the floral fabrics simmer in radiance due to the contrasts.

   I began the Carolina Chain blocks in May using 2" strips and batiks for the dark and light accent squares through the center.  The block is from Bonnie Hunter column, Addicted to Scraps, from 2010.   It's a simple block....easy to figure out.

   On the design wall, it looked like this.  Interesting chain design develops as it grows.

What I was not prepared for was the radiance that happened by adding the borders.  Leftover pieces were joined into long strips for the border, which were banded with the dark batik.  The photo does not capture the glow from the contrast.  

  I knew the quilting would not show well because of the busy prints.....but crazy for feathers I am.  I stitched bands of feather sprays across on the diagonal....not dense, but enough to satisfy me.  

 Field of Blooms
36" by 45"

  For comparison:  
  The larger version done earlier this year in the same pattern was made using 2 1/2" strips of scraps/leftovers.   Same pattern, two sizes, two different fabric palettes gives you 2 distinct quilt personalities.   I love seeing this happen.

Now I think I have gotten this pattern out of my system and I'm ready to move on.  We are looking at a lot of liquid stuff--rain--instead of sunshine this weekend.  Cookout will be indoors.....enjoy your weekend.
Happy stitching.  

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Ending June with July plans

  Jumping Jupiter....the year is half  gone!  Or is that there's still 6 months left in this year?  Anyway,  June was a small month for finishing, with headway made on two projects for next month.

Finishes for June.....project folder from leftover bargello,  table top strings with flowers, and the floral quilt, Summer Popourri.

Progress made on two projects that should be finished in July.....if I don't get side-tracked.
   Both fall into my Year of Floral quilts category.  Besides a couple of watercolor wall hangings, I have 3 large floral quilts done this year.....Where My Feet May Fall---log cabin variation block;  Metamorphosis----sashed string qult;  Summer Potpourri----just finished using the Faux Braid block.  The  floral Carolina Chain will be a small lap quilt, and the floral bargello will be a wall hanging.

 The smaller floral quilt of Carolina Chain blocks  is pieced and now  quilted.   Binding and label are ready to go on.  So I know I can get this done in July.

    The Let's Book It bargello project is still on the design wall, but I have decided on the border.  This will be my main focus next week.....get border on, and prep for the quilting.

   I have my eye on the next Let's book It project......only I will make a smaller version of what I picked out.  Smaller versions seem to satisfy me right could be the heat and crazy weather  that are affecting my concentration on projects.   Rather than fight a big quilt project, I am taking the simpler path of smaller  lap quilts.  And it is time to start thinking about Christmas gifts.....small is good!  Happy stitching.   

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Let's Book It for June

  A small bargello wall hanging was my choice for June's Let Book It project.  It is from the book,  Colorwash Bargello.  I pulled a lot of fabrics out of the closet.....playing with the layout and rearranging them until I was confused and muddled.

 Arranging the fabrics for a bargello is probably the most difficult thing for me.  There are so many ways to create the strata....all darks together blending to all lights, or two or more dark to light runs.  Each layout will create a different effect.    In the book, all of the lights were grouped together as well as the darks.  I decided to lighten it up a bit in my arrangement, and I used more light fabrics and did two runs of dark to light.

  This was the final fabric arrangement.  The important thing to remember is the last piece will also be next to the first piece in the final arrangement.  So it is important that they work well together.

  I used 2" strips of each of 21 fabrics.  The pattern called for 18 adding on 3 more I would end up with a longer wall hanging.   Two stratas of 21" long strips are made, so I could use fat quarter cuts, too.  Sewn and strata has the seams pressed to the darkest, and the second strata seams get pressed to the lightest fabric.  By pressing them in opposite directions, the sub-cuts are alternated when re-assembled.....and the seams nest for easy piecing.

   The sub-cuts are not all the same width....these range from 2 3/4" to 1 1/4".   So it is very important to have a plan and keep things in order.

   The strata are sewn into tubes and the sub-cuts are made.  I pin the cuts in order to the design wall as I go.  And the design emerges.


   All the rows are sewn together in order.  Really easy sewing, as that pressing trick makes it simple to nest the seams for matching.  And it is time to select the border fabric.......
    I plan on using a 1" strip of the burgundy as the inset border.   The outer border will be wider , probably a 3" strip.  The light purple/cream print is not working for me.   So it is one of the other two fabrics.
   This project will get carried over to next month, and that's the great thing about Let's Book It.  You don't have to finish it to participate.   Pick a project, start it and share it.  You might be motivated to even get it finished!
Linking to Vroomans Quilts for Let's Book It.  
Happy stitching.

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Re-purposed plate rack

    I had a very cluttered and messy note board by my stash closet.  Originally it had photos and note cards tucked into it.  Lately it was just layered with stuff!  I thought I would straighten it up.....yuck!  It was also a big dust catcher along the top edge. and the fabric cover was faded.    Time for it to go.....which left a bare spot.
   I debated on a couple of a hanging magazine bin. or a magnetic board.   I figured they would get stuffed and cluttered up also.  Instead, I looked for something that could be re-purposed that I had on hand.

  An unused plate rack just fit the space.   Sir Old Man used the 3M hooks to hang it for me.  He suggested I hang the tape measures on it, as I was always hunting for them.  Now they have a home to return to after use!
   I glued  ribbon to the end of a clothespin for holding favorite note cards.  A couple of "S" hooks can hold small project samples.
   Maybe I can keep this little set up neater now. It sure looks a lot better.
Linking to Sew Many Ways  linky party. 

Friday, June 26, 2015

Friday Finds June 26

There are some great charts for help in solving tension issues on a long arm....or  Tiara machine....all from Handi-Quilter.  All  of these are from the HQ Blog.
For common issues like skipped here

For tension here.

Steps for perfect tension......don't we dream of here.

  The info is good, basic, and a great reference to have on hand for anyone with a mid-arm/ long arm machine.

scrap quilt  Great layout for those crumb blocks.

  Perusing quilts, I almost skipped this one.  What caught my eye was  the layout.   Crumb blocks of different sizes achieve unity in this setting.  Big, small and in between work so well together here.  I enjoy the mindless stitching to make crumb blocks but then end up with so many this is one I want to remember.

  And that's it for this week.....I will probably take next week off as company will be here.   I just need a few cooler days to get some baking done before they arrive.  I just hate to heat up the house with the oven  when it is 98 degrees outside.  I know, it's summer, but this is ridiculous weather for June.
  Yikes, I just realized June is almost to get one more thing finished.  Happy stitching.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Summer Potpourri

   Years ago on early summer mornings, I would gather blooms for the petals to make potpourri.  Daisies, and cone flowers, cosmos, and rose buds, and my favorite lavenders were snipped and then laid out to dry.  By the end of the season I would have a colorful mix for holiday gift bags.   I still have a yard full of blooms, but no longer do the  gathering for potpourri.

   Which leads me to this recently  finished quilt, named Summer Potpourri.   All the blooms of summer captured in  a quilt in the early morning sunlight.  Capturing memories in is part of what I do.

  This is the block I used......a quarter log cabin---ala Faux Braid layout.  
I love this versatile block.  It works up great in scraps, batiks, or my florals.

  On the design wall, I experimented with the layout.  The final arrangement was the old favorite, barn raising.  I just off set the final layout and added an extension into the border.

   I used a 1" purple strip to frame the blocks before adding a 6" border.   As I joined the strips for the border, I inserted a few random squares.....some of those flower petals that fell out of the gathering basket.  Actually, it is my way of camouflaging/ disguising  the joining seam.

  The quilting shows better on the back, which is a simple white muslin.  A lot of open swirls throughout the center blocks, and leaves and vines along the border.

 Summer Potpourri is 58" by 72".....bound and labeled.  Binding is a mix of floral prints.

  Another finish for the Year of Florals.....and not a dent in the stash!
   I have come to the conclusion that the stash will always be more than I need or can use.  No matter what I do.  The stack/pile in closet stays the same---insert evil grin---do you think fabric fairies visit me at night and leave more?    Maybe I will leave some cookies out for them tonight.

  Happy stitching.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Now where was I?

   I got side tracked last week on some small projects, but progress has been made on a couple of other things.    The quilting is done on the large quilt of quarter log cabin blocks.  I used a large over all swirl in the center and a vine of leaves and a couple of feathery things in the border.    I will be finishing up the binding today.......and get a sleeve attached too.

   New Let's Book It project:
   The small bargello strips pinned to the design wall.   On to the sewing.....first, I sew in pairs and press.  Then the pairs are joined.....until everything is joined. By keeping things pinned to a design wall I don't get confused and mix up the order.  That is always the challenge in a design like this.

All the rows are sewn here.  I like the gentle flow of this one.

   Fabric choices:  I used 19 fabrics here, and about 8 of them were light in value compared to the rest.  Using more  dark fabrics would give a heavier feel to the piece and I was wanting a lighter piece that captured the sunlight.

   This will rest on the design wall until I find just the right accent and border fabrics.

    So that's where I am.....finishing up and thinking up new things, some baking thrown in, a nap or two, and staying out of the heat.  Happy stitching.

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