Thursday, October 25, 2012

Blogger’s Quilt Festival

I must have been napping coming up to the last several Blogger’s Quilt Festivals because I missed them. I still had a lot of fun browsing the entries later but this time I paid attention so I could share a quilt too. Thanks to Amy for organizing another festival!

Scattered Leaves

58” x 67”

Designed by Joanne Kerton

Machine pieced and hand quilted by Joanne Kerton

Category: Hand quilted, throw

This is possibly my husband’s favourite quilt and is one of the first I made without a pattern.  It was also the first quilt I added prairie points to.  My husband’s great aunt had given us some of her lovely quilts with prairie points and I loved the way they looked but feared they were complicated.  After I added the green border to Scattered Leaves it still didn’t look finished.  It seemed a little bland somehow.  I decided it needed more triangles to play off the leaf points and thought prairie points might fit the bill.  They really weren’t as terrifying or as fiddly as I had feared and I think they add just the extra element this quilt needed.


Looking through past blogs and pictures I tried to reconstruct this quilt’s timeline.  Let’s see: I started piecing the traditional leaf blocks in November 2008, finished the leaves by April 2009, got around to framing and joining the blocks by the end of August 2009, added prairie points in August 2010, didn’t get to start quilting it until sometime after March 2011, finally put in the last stiches in around mid February 2012, and I just now wrote up the pattern (it’s now on my patterns page).  That was a long time coming!  I’m trying to pick up the pace a little!

Scattered leaves timeline

Now I’m off to browse the other quilts in the festival.  Thanks for stopping by!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

The other kind of needles

Whimsy is coming along, slowly but surely.  On some days I spend hours hand quilting and on others I don’t pick up a quilting needle at all, but the end is in sight.  On some of the days off from quilting this week I picked up a different kind of UFO and different kinds of needles.


These socks had been languishing on my knitting needles since last spring.  One sock was done except for grafting the toe, and the second wasn’t quite down to the heel.  I’m glad I hadn’t grafted the toe of the finished sock because in the months that I forgot about them, dear daughter had a growth spurt and added over an inch to the length of her foot.  I had to unravel some knitting and add a little lot more length.

I enjoyed clicking the needles together, so I think that once the multi-year adventure that is Whimsy is finished I will start another knitting project. I would like to finish a project in less than several months or years so I’m thinking of a bulky sweater in chunky yarn that will knit up quickly for faster gratification!

Monday, October 15, 2012

Motivated by fractions

Whimsy is finally seeing some steady progress.  I started quilting it on February 26, had a little flurry of activity, then promptly slowed to a crawl.  There were long periods of inactivity and I even lost my quilting callous on my left index finger. Summer was only partly to blame.


Last month I decided I really needed to focus on getting this finished, but it wasn’t until the last 4 or 5 days that I really hit my stride.  This has happened before.  I start enthusiastically quilting a quilt, then the enthusiasm peters out and the quilt languishes, getting worked on only sporadically, until suddenly I become very focused again to finish up.

Today I figured out what triggers the push to the finish.  It’s all about fractions.  Really!  The quilt as a whole is rather overwhelming, but getting past the halfway mark, then the 3/4 mark, and so on, makes the finish seem within reach and I start to obsess about reaching the finish line, so to speak.

Whimsy quilting 2012-10-15In the case of Whimsy,  this weekend I realized I had over two thirds of the green triangles quilted, and if I could get 3 more of the small pinwheels done then I would have less than half of those left to do.  Today I pushed on to get another large pinwheel done so I could say that 3/4 of those are done…I will be settling in to finish that pinwheel as soon as I post this! 

Once I get to this point, I can also guess how many hours of work are left, which helps me set a more or less realistic goal of when I will have the quilt finished.  That helps motivate me too!  Right now I think I can finish in about 3 weeks...if I can commit to one hour a day of work.  No pressure!

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Now for the quilting…



Presenting Autumn Moons, unquilted.  It measures about 47” x 59”. It really does have nice square corners and straight sides.  I just haven’t mastered the art of photographing the wall from straight on.

I still need to prepare the backing and I also need to catch up on home and office chores that I have neglected while I worked on this.  Quilting will wait until at least next week.  This will give me time to waffle some more about how I plan to quilt it!

Speaking of quilting, I have made a bit of progress quilting Whimsy. Here’s my progress chart from three weeks ago and from last night.  I have not been working regularly on this all that time.  Most of the progress was made in 3 or 4 bursts of effort.

Whimsy quilting 2012-09-17Whimsy quilting 2012-10-09

Monday, October 8, 2012

More fall fabrics

Last week I almost scraped the bottom of the fall fabrics bin. This precipitated a trip to the quilt shop for more, since I still had to add borders to my Autumn Moons fall quilt.  My husband came along for the drive and was very useful for more than carrying around candidate bolts of fabric.  IMG_6259He suggested I remove my glasses to judge if a colour was too bright relative to the rest.  As I am very short-sighted, this worked very well.  I couldn’t see any patterns and shapes, just a blur of colours, and the too-bright orange was very obvious then. Wasn’t it handy that I don’t wear contact lenses! 

Having successfully replenished the fall stash, this is the selection of fabrics I played with today.  I really did need the variety for the border I want, but of course didn’t need the whole width of fabric, so will have a lot left over for some other project at some point.  Such a shame!

Here’s a peek at today’s sewing (don’t mind the points, the units aren’t sewn to each other yet!):


There won’t be flying geese all the way around but they will be a nice accent.  I hope I can get the quilt top done tomorrow then move on to figuring out how I want to quilt it.  I’d like to quilt concentric circles in the circles, but I’m not sure I have enough skill to freemotion those even if I mark them.  I could hand quilt them, but I’m still not done with Whimsy and the Canada Quilt is also awaiting hand quilting. I’ll keep pondering a bit longer, but I would like this quilt finished and on the wall this fall.

Perhaps if I now step away from the computer I can get some quilting done on Whimsy and part of the problem will go away!

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Final layout…maybe

IMG_6255My eyes are crossing.  I’ve laid out my maple leaves and drunkard’s path units so many ways I can’t see straight.  I am now stepping away and leaving the layout you see here on the wall to “cure” for a day or two to make sure I don’t need to change things around again.   I’ve said that once before today, then promptly stood and stared and switched a few blocks around to distribute colour values more evenly.  This time I really am stepping away, into another room even!  I need to come back to it with fresh eyes.

I tried very hard to let the colours and shapes form randomly.  Before you say it, this layout is not that layout!  I just couldn’t do it.  My brain insists on more order.

I thought you might enjoy a peek at the iterations the layout went through. I am sharing this at great risk you realize.  As I go through the pictures I just might want to revert back to a previous layout, not remembering or understanding why I didn’t like it earlier…Oh, decisions!

Oh dear, I’m starting to waffle and I’m not even looking at the design wall.  I am stepping away now!