Saturday, January 21, 2017

Chic Country progress

Chic Country in progress
I need 32 more orange units for the border I'm planning for my Chic Country, but I have enough units to assemble the center of the quilt. I have started joining units into blocks, and blocks into larger sections.

a few blocks in short row, but rows are not joined yet

So far the points are all matching up pretty well without too much fuss.  There is a lot of pinning though.  I hate pinning! I think I'll join the blocks in sections instead of rows to minimize the number of long seams with a lot of points to match.  The total number of points to match will be the same either way, but seems less daunting when tackling just a few at a time!

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Trying to let Chic Country be random...

...but failing!  I have all these two-color quarter blocks done, and I thought I could just put them up on the wall in random fashion.  Nope, I couldn't do it!  There was too much dark here, two same fabrics too close together there and so on.  I fussed and rearranged!

I had to get these up on the design wall tonight to encourage me along.  On its own, each quarter block is not particularly exciting.  Start putting them together and things start to happen!  This week I'll make the blocks that have the orange accents,  then work on the border.  The original pattern doesn't have a border, but I needed one for size so I came up with something that will accent the circles.  Stay tuned!

Linking up with:
Monday makers at Love Laugh Quit 
Moving it Forward at Em's Scrapbag 
Linky Tuesdays at Freemotion by the River 

Saturday, January 14, 2017

RSC butterfly - purple edition

Purple scrappy butterfly quilt block
January 2017 RSC block
I finally caved.  For the past several years I have been drooling over all the beautiful blocks and quilts popping out of quilters' scrap boxes as they join in the Rainbow Scrap Challenge. I've always admired and not joined in because my quilt "to do" list was already long enough.  Last Saturday's linky party showcasing finished RSC quilts just pushed me over the edge and I caved. I'll be making at least one block a month this year.

In case you haven't yet stumbled across an RSC post somewhere in blogland, here's how it works.  Every month a featured color is announced, and participants delve into their scrap fabrics for scraps in that color to make a block (or several) in that color.  You can make the same block (or blocks) every month in each month's color, or you can make something different each month.  It's really up to you.  Every Saturday you can go to the So Scrappy blog and link up a blog post about your RSC sewing for the week.

My big challenge is to wait next for month's color!  I drafted this butterfly block in EQ, and while I was at it, I popped it into a quilt layout.

Or maybe this one:

I really want to make them ALL right now so I can play with them right now.

This isn't helping:

Overflowing box of fabric scraps
What happens when you take the lid off the scrap box

When I opened the scrap box it exploded and the lid won't go back on.  That's just the unsorted scraps.  I also have several plastic shoe boxes of scraps all tidily cut into squares and rectangles.  (I'm not doing that anymore, as you may have guessed from the picture above.)  One block per month is not going to solve this problem.

Still, I'm going to try to stick to one block per month, because I also really want to work on these projects:

  1. Chic Country (52% of the units are made!)
  2. A quilt using all my snowflakes (all 26 of them!) and maybe turning that into a BOM pattern.
  3. Something else snowflakey - because I may or may not have come up with another versatile snowflake design that will need a quilted something to live in.
  4. Three or four new design ideas floating around.
  5. Quilt math tutorials (I've been meaning to start those for a couple of years - it's time to do it!)
  6. Write up patterns for my son's kaleidoscope quilt and for Fundy Skies.
Maybe listing it all here will keep me focused.  Or not.  I'll just have to see how it goes!

Linking up with So Scrappy for RSC Saturday

Friday, January 6, 2017

Finally piecing Chic Country

It seems like I have been cutting pieces forever.  Of course I took long breaks, so it seems longer than actual hours spent cutting, but there was still a lot of cutting for my daughter's Chic Country quilt.  First cutting squares and rectangles, then cutting 2 to 3 curves in each with the Quick Curve ruler, adds up to a a lot of cuts!

But finally, seams are being sewn!  Here are the first two blocks sewn together to make sure I'm trimming things correctly for points to match.

Two Chic Country quilt blocks sewn together

That's a relief!  I'm sure there will be some chopped off and/or offset points in the quilt, but at least I know it's possible!  I did have serious doubts earlier this week. To trim the block, you're supposed to to mark certain points on the ruler and place those on the three points of the unit to position the ruler for trimming the unit correctly.  Actually, the pattern says "align pieced points on or near reference dots".  On or near?  How near?  I was 1/8 off both outside points if I positioned the corner point on the dot, and the 1/8" didn't seem to be in equivalent directions for both points that were off.  1/8"???  Isn't that too much?

I almost cried and quit right then.  I was sure none of the points were going to meet to create the lovely circles in the quilt's design. Why didn't this bother last summer when I made a test block?  Now I had cut up all the "good" fabric and couldn't change patterns and the quilt was going to be a mess! I didn't cry, but I did stomp and scowl. In hindsight, perhaps I shouldn't have been working on this so late at night instead of sleeping.

Untrimmed Chic Country unit
You can see the unit starts out pretty rough!

Thank goodness for the kindness of bloggers!  I searched for images of the quilt and contacted a couple of bloggers who have made successful versions of it.  Cindy of Hyacinth Quilt Designs and Marion of My Quilt Diet both replied with encouraging words and tips and assured me their points were off too but that it all came together OK and to just keep going.  Helen from Sew Kind of Wonderful (makers of the ruler and pattern) also replied to my panicked plea for advice and wrote that my points were off pretty much the same way as hers are when she makes this quilt.  She assured me it would all work out.

Trimmed Chic Country unit

Tonight I took a deep breath and wrapped my mind around those points to figure out where to mark the ruler instead of at the stated spots, so I would at least be consistent from unit to unit for the best chance of matching things up.  I made and trimmed enough units to make two blocks, so I could join them and see if my alternate marking and trimming was going to work.

I think I am confident enough to go back to assembly line mode now.  Well, not right  now.  I have, at least temporarily, learned something about staying up too late sewing.

Saturday, December 31, 2016

Last finish of 2016!

Presenting Sparkling Trail, purple batik version!  I finished it with 7 hours to spare to call it a 2016 finish.  I made the quilt top in fall 2015, planning to finish it by New Year's,  and I really didn't want to tick over into 2017 with it unfinished again!

I struggled with how to quilt this.  I ripped out quilting, let it sit again, had someone else baste it for me in an attempt to move it forward (because I was highly unmotivated to baste it again - basting once per quilt is plenty, than you very much) and then let it sit a bit more while I waited for it to start talking.  It was quiet for an awfully long time but it finally started talking the day after Christmas.  Guess what I've been doing most of the week?

You're going to laugh.  I told my coworkers it was going to be simple, quick, light straight line stitching just to get it done.  That really was the plan until the quilt found its voice.  Maybe it considered that a threat and decided it should start expressing an opinion...

So as I was ditch stitching and outline stitching in the stars,  I planned to quilt a simple straight line echo of the "trail" in the background.  However, by the time I finished that, the quilt was suggesting that lines in a different direction behind the stars would really set off the planned echo.  That seemed a fair idea, so I quilted all those horizontal lines 1" apart behind the stars.  May I say that's where the "quick" part of my plan went out the door?

By the time I finished the straight line background, the quilt was suggesting perhaps it needed more curves to balance out all the sharp angles.  Swirls, perhaps.  I was a bit worried about that, since swirls is what I hated and ripped out the first time around.  Still, I chose a looser, hooked swirl (thank you Angela Walters, for the wonderful instructions in your books) and tried it on a small patch.  This fit the quilt much better than my first attempt almost a year ago, so I went ahead and filled in the remaining background with hooked swirls.

Once that was done, the stars looked too puffy.  They needed something to even out the quilting density betwen them and the background.  I leafed through Angela Walter's Shape-by-Shape book and settled on this hooked swirl/apostrophe thing.  She just called it "Diamond 8", and hers are much more curvy than mine, but I didn't do too badly.  The last few were definitely nicer than the first few I quilted!

The border at least was very quick to quilt.  I chose the "Boomerang" design from Melissa Marginet's book "Walking Foot Quilting Designs".  This lovely little book found its way under my Christmas tree and I was happy to put it to good use so soon.

I wish the picture of the full quilt showed the quilting better.  I might have to try again some morning to catch morning light.  In the meantime, this will do.  Either way, I can call the quilt done.

Except, oops, I forgot the label..

Linking up to Linky Tuesday on January 10th because I missed last week's!

Friday, December 30, 2016

Tic Tac Who? pattern release!

Here it is! Tic Tac Who? is a pattern!
My Tic Tac Who pattern is now available for sale in my Payhip and Craftsy shops, and will be available to quilt shops through distributors sometime in January. 

The simple X blocks and plain squares are a perfect balance for the more involved focus blocks.  The focus blocks add just a touch of challenge, but don't require cutting any triangles or any paper piecing.  You can see versions with all three blocks in past posts:  duck, puppy and owl.

I owe a huge thank you to my wonderful testers, who volunteered to make blocks or a full quilt and offered lots of useful feedback.  I hope you will click through to view their versions on their blogs or Instagram.  I love seeing the designs come alive in different fabric choices!

Janet Olsen- Rogue Quilter
Andrée Faubert- Quilting and Learning
Lissa La Greca - Lovingly Lissa
 Marlene Scobbie - Cats and Capers

Sherill Pecere, Lorna Comeau and Elaine Williamson also tested for me.  Though I don't have links, I want you to see their work as well.

Saturday, December 24, 2016

Merry Christmas

Tree trimmed (including 2016's new ornament, made just under the wire last night)

Rudolph quilt deployed.

Cookies decorated (family effort)

Ragoût de poulet simmering. 

Tourtière ready to heat up. 

Table set. 

Dog watching for Santa (gotta watch those pesky reindeer!) 

We're ready for réveillon!
 (That's the French Canadian side of the family Christmas traditions.)

Wishing you a very Merry Christmas, from my family to yours!