Thursday, July 9, 2015

Irons in the Fire

As in "many" irons in the fire. I have lately been on a tear with piecing. After a bit of a hiatus (I had several compelling books on my Nook), I am back to sewing every day. Last year, after a visit to our guild from Cindy Felts of Piece 'n Plenty Quilt Guild in Rolla, MO, I have been inspired to make small "doll" quilts. Cindy has a nice collection of vintage small and doll quilts, plus a number that she has made herself. She gave us a very interesting trunk show on the topic last spring. These small quilts are kind of like potato chips - it's hard to stop after just one. The first one I made is so far my favorite:

It's a Jacob's Ladder with some of my favorite cheddar fabric. The fabric is Prairie Cloth and I order it from Mary Jo's Cloth Store in Gastonia, NC. My supply was running low, and yesterday Mary Jo's was able to ship me a bolt of it - 15 yards. Ought to last a while. Prairie cloth is a nice fabric and is relatively inexpensive at $3.99 per yard. Order a bolt and get a 20 cents per yard discount! I love a bargain.

Doll Quilt #2 is a Little House quilt. made entirely from stash, including the batting and backing. After ditch quilting the border and sashing, I hand quilted it. It is a steep learning curve with hand quilting and me, that's for sure. Half of the battle is accurate marking, where I fell down mightily on this project. In places I didn't even use the same template to mark and didn't discover the error until the top was finished. Oh, well. Live and learn. Moving on.....

Doll quilt #3 made use of the cut offs from the Cultural Fusion Rail Fence quilt top I made a few months back. Again, the cheddar fabric made an appearance. I couldn't help it; it was made for the colors in these little wonky four-patches. The quilt is sandwiched, but not yet quilted. I am toying with the idea of hand quilting this as well. I certainly need the practice. The idea of quilting through all those seams is daunting, however. The four-patches finished at 2". There is a seam nearly every place you would place your needle. We will see. Maybe machine ditch quilting with some big stitch perle cotton hand quilting.

This is the latest - Doll Quilt #4; the broken dishes blocks finish at 2" and are going to be made from my small stash of Japanese "taupe" fabrics. Taupe is in quotation marks because as you can see, they are not all actually taupe. Daiwabo has quite a range of colors, albeit all are fairly subdued (for me) in tone.If your local quilt shop doesn't stock these, One World Fabrics has an excellent selection. One local store here in St. Louis has a nice selection of them, but I have ordered from One World Fabrics to add more variety to what I have. Their customer service is quite good.

Next up is this baby quilt, made in the lavender/purple with gray colors requested by the mother-to-be. It is an adaptation of a Kaffe Fassett pattern in his "Simple Shapes, Spectacular Quilts" book. The baby is due in September and my thought is to hold this one back until the baby has arrived. I have already made and gifted a more utilitarian flannel quilt to the mother at her recent shower. It is free motion quilted with spirals in the snowball blocks. I quite like the soft colors in this one, made for a baby girl.

This last quilt top was a several-years old UFO. With my recent experience making triangles and hexagons with Gyleen Fitzgerald, I felt I could again tackle this one. However, laying the blocks out in rows of half hexagons does not necessarily make this easier to sew together. There is still a big technical issue in getting the points to match up. It looks okay from a distance but there are several places where the the joins could have been more elegant, to say the least. Without Gyleen's "dog ears" to help point the way to precision piecing, it becomes quite a slog to get those points to match up. Again, live and learn. 

The top was started with a different technique and so it was finished following the pattern directions. It is "Jelly Roll" by Fig Tree & Co. The black borders are being auditioned. I thought the small black border would look good and contain the exuberant center. It is too heavy, though, even in this reduced scale. The pattern calls for a 4" inner border. What is showing is a 2" strip to finish at 1.5". The large white on black polka dots I really like, but maybe not here. This one is going to have to tell me what it needs. Right now it's not talking. It will stay up on the design wall for a bit while the old wheels are turning in my head.

What's under my needle today? More of these:

Yes, more of those darned half hexie blocks in beige, beige, and yet more beige. They are about 5" in diameter and will be the background of a raffle quilt being designed by one of my quilting friends. The border "gold" fabric is in reality not anywhere near that dark. My photo editing software changed it, otherwise it is practically invisible. It will make a very subtle overall honeycomb pattern. They will be be overlaid with small colorful hexies forming some sort of floral arrangement. The completed idea is in my friend's head; the rest of us are simply executing it. Blindly, I might add.

I volunteered to sew up the background pieces in the interest of consistency. These require concentration and precision in cutting and sewing to get them to all be alike. I dread sewing them together, but fortunately that will be someone else's headache. 49 full hexies or 98 half hexies are needed for the central field of background. I have 54 already complete. My goal is to get the rest done by Sunday when we are meeting for our Stitch and Bitch social. Not sure I can get there by then as all day Saturday our guild has a workshop and I am taking it.

My neighbors directly across the street are in the process of selling their house, which is now under contract. Now begins the trail of carpenters, lawn people, and radon detectors. Today the workmen are jack hammering the concrete front porch steps into chunks. The steps looked fine to me. It will be semi-interesting to see what will replace the old steps. The noise is a nuisance and as my sewing room faces the street, if I want to sew I am going to have to endure it. Actually it's not much quieter anywhere else in the house as all the windows are open. We are experiencing unseasonably cool weather in the 60s in July! In the Midwest no less. 

Long post, - time to quit procrastinating and get down to sewing those beige blocks.

1 comment:

  1. lots you have shared today, the doll quilts must be so fiddly to do being so small but oh so worth it. Love the lilac baby quilt and the reserrected UFO, also the hexies, I am coming round to rather liking beige these days