Monday, October 30, 2017

Stars and Stars

You might have noticed I like star blocks. Perhaps it's related to my astronomer husband. In any case, stars have been forming in my sewing room. (Did I mention he studies star-forming regions?)

I did finally remake Jelly Bean Stars, using the leftovers of bright fabrics from my Wandering Geese remake, just as I made the original from leftovers from making the original Wandering Geese.  I tweaked this version a bit.  Here are the two side by side.

Magnitudes (2017) and Jelly Bean Stars (2012)
With a few more years of quilting and designing under my belt, I decided the smaller stars in the sashing needed to shine more.  In the original, honestly, they look more like little X's joining the blocks.  A combination of extending the small star points into the border and making the small stars the same color as the large ones made them pop more. I also decided there was enough to look at here without having a triple border.  Making the borders the same colour as the sashing makes everything else float on the background and gives a more modern feel.

I think this new version has a crisper look than the original.  It's all spiffed up, so it needs a new name. Stellar magnitude refers to the brightness of a star, and I have big (bright) ones and smaller (dimmer) ones on this quilt.  "Magnitudes" seems a fitting name.

Magnitudes is now quilted and has a pretty blue binding but I haven't had time and pretty weather together at the same time to take nice pictures yet.  I wanted this quilt finished sooner than later and had too much on my plate already, so I sent it to Liz Meimann of A Quilted Memory for all-over longarm quilting.  Here's a peek until I can get proper glamour shots.

And a peek at the back too.  I found the perfect backing, but it was 60" wide and needed 66".  I really didn't want to buy a whole other length just for that 6", so I pieced a strip from scraps and inserted it into the back to make up the required width.

I love the way the back turned out, but honestly, "just slapping fabric together" for those improv blocks took me longer than planned blocks would have!  I really wanted to use up little scraps from the front though, so improv it was.  

I will be re-writing the pattern to reflect my design tweaks and to include additional sizes, and re-releasing it as Magnitudes. I just need to write up a different star quilt pattern first so it can go out to testers.  Then, and only then can I play with my Anne of Green Gables fabrics!

Saturday, October 21, 2017

Pink RSC butterfly

October's butterfly block for the Rainbow Scrap Challenge is done!  The colour this month is pink.  I'm glad this is about scraps, because I didn't have many big bits of pink to work with.

October RSC butterfly block: pink

I reached for the 60 degree triangle ruler for this one.  The upper wings are just rows of little 2" tall triangles.  The lower wings are a log cabin style block built around a triangle instead of a square.  Looking at this one I wish I had played more with the lower wings in the rest of my butterflies.  Not enough to want to remake any though!

I skipped the grey and neutral months, but I made two blue blocks so I now have nine butterflies.  I had planned to make extra of some colours to bring the total to 12 but I have decided to just use the nine I have.  I may remake the yellow one in stronger yellows though.  I'll see how I feel once I make the setting locks and see how everything looks then. Here's the flutter:

Nine RSC butterfly blocks

When I started making these in January I shared two layouts I was considering. Of course the more time passes between the idea and the execution, the less likely I am to use the original idea. When I decided I'd stop at 9 blocks, I tweaked things a bit, adding a few Spring Blooms blocks.  By the time I finished the last block on Monday, I wasn't sure about the blooms idea and I went back into EQ and tweaked things again.  Here's the final layout...unless there is too long a gap between now and when I actually assemble the top, in which case I might change my mind again.

I have enough background fabric but not enough green so this weekend I'm shifting to finishing up a few things.

  1. Lemoyne stars using various construction methods to decide which one to use in a pattern
  2. Binding the new and improved Jelly Bean Stars sample  
  3. Adding borders to a new larger and "grown up" Starlight Wishes
  4. Not finishing up, but at least making progress hand quilting Chic Country 
I really want to cut into my Anne of Green Gables fabrics, but I'm saving those as a reward for tackling the short list above.  We'll see how I do!

Linking up with
ScrapHappy Saturday at So Scrappy 

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

A tale of two fabrics

I started working on Lemoyne Star blocks in batiks last week.  Here's what I was hoping for:

This was not last week's attempt!  Last week's block turned out like this:

I think this looks like a hot mess.   I love this batik print, but it didn't work here at all!  One problem was that the dark background in the print and spots where the blue is deeper blend into my block background too much.  Another is that the scale of the print is too large for the pieces so the pretty gets cut up and lost, and I'm left with, well, this.

This was just too depressing to deal with last week.  What to do?  Start a new project, of course!  I worked on that the rest of the week and pieced a backing for it today.  It's all in bright, pretty leftovers from my recently finished Wandering Geese quilt, and the pieces and colours all played together just as they were supposed to.  I'll share more about that one later this week.  Anyway, working on that cheered me up considerably, so I had the courage to pull out the Lemoyne Stars again.

I bought a few brighter, smaller scale batiks to substitute for some of my previously selected batiks.  I still love the first selection, but they are going to have to find another project to play in (oh, the hardship!).  Tonight I made the lighter block above, and I think I can keep going on that track.  First I'll need to press my new selections that got forgotten in the dryer last night.

I think I will leave that for tomorrow evening.  Right now, as the weather had cooled off, I feel like an evening with a quilt pooled in my lap while I hand quilt it sounds appealing.  I have made woefully little progress quilting my daughter's Chic Country so I had better get to it while the mood strikes!

Sunday, October 1, 2017

Wandering Geese, Take 2

Wandering Geese, Moda Grunge version, had its photo shoot at a local conservation area yesterday.  The weather was beautiful for a walk, but a little breezy for pictures!

 (I'm not sure how to embed video here, but if you want to see what I mean, you can see the video on Facebook here.)

We did manage to get a few pretty photos by ducking into the woods.

I love how the quilt is just floating here!  I'm surprised my husband's feet aren't showing, but I'll take it!

We gave up on the shot I wanted, of prairie and sky in the background. Laying it down on the ground on the prairie path was the closest we could get.

My husband indulged me, stepped off a path (after I checked for poison ivy), tripped on some vines and set up this quilt on a tree shot, hanging it off a large knot like a towel on towel hook.

This quilt was quilted entirely with my walking foot, using black Aurifil thread to stitch in the ditch around every patch and diagonal lines one inch apart in the background.  I toyed with stitching triangles of some sort in the piano key border, but realized as I was marking them that they would be too busy.  I opted for two sets of straight lines running perpendicular to the piano keys.  These lines, and a few extra ones in the large flying geese, are stitched with a variegated Sulky Blendables thread that picks up all the colors and seems to add a soft glow.  I couldn't get that to show up in my picture, but it worked really well.

This quilt will replace the original on the cover of the pattern.  I just need to take a few possible covers to the printer's and see which photo looks best in print.  The colors on my computer monitor and the printed page seldom agree!

In the meantime, I'm using up scraps from this quilt to make an updated version of Jelly Bean Stars in Moda Grunge as well.  Pictures of that will follow eventually, but for now I'll share one more picture from yesterday, just because I have about 50 of them to choose from (gotta love digital photography)!