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Some quilts give me fits

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I'm going to be perfectly honest.  Some quilts are just a pain and refuse to cooperate.  I love every project when I start it, but there are a few projects that I just can't love all the way through the process.  I'm having trouble with one right now.  I have second-guessed my decisions at almost every stage.


You might remember this one.  I made the first block in January 2017.  Was it really three years ago?  I guess you can tell I lost my momentum.

I did enjoy making all the blocks in 2017.  The trouble began when I had to choose a setting.  I posted about that in November 2017, and I'm afraid I'm still as unsure of my choice now as I was then.  Looking through my ideas, some of the ones I discarded appeal more to me now than what I finally settled on in January 2018.  Maybe I'll be happier with my choice once the quilt is quilted and I scallop the border as I planned.


In the meantime, the butterflies are giving me fits.  I felt I didn't have the FMQ skil…

Choosing the quilting

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My bright blue inventory quilt is finished!  Since it was a smaller version of Sparkling Trail, it didn't take long to quilt once I decided what to quilt.  The planning took longer than the quilting!


There's my attempt at a glamour shot.  OK, I just wanted to admire the daffodils.


And the dandelions.  I have lots of those.  I know they're weeds, but they are so cheerful right now!  Plus the finches love them.


This one is not a glamour shot, but it does a much better job showing off the quilting.  I toyed with the idea of trying different fillers in the various blue fabrics, but in the end I really wanted the blue fabrics and not the quilting to be the focus.  Straight line quilting 1/4" on either side of the seams gave just enough texture to call attention to the blues without distracting from them.

You'll notice there are three stars quilted with a flower consisting of six large petals and six skinny ones.  This was the design I planned to quilt in every star.


I …

Inventory quilt top nearing the finish line

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I had a few moments of doubt about the stars for my Sparkling Inventory.  I pulled out various creams and golds, thinking I could inventory those in the stars, but they really didn't pop on the scrappy blue background.  I didn't take a picture, and those fabrics are are all tucked away in their bin again, so you'll have to take my word for it.

White popped on the blue, but I never built up my collection of white on white fabrics after I decimated it to make Milky Way.  The same white in all the triangles was very bland.  Ah ha!  How about that white Quiter's Linen "Blanc" by Robert Kaufman, the white with silver metallic texture?  That's not plain, and maybe the silver bits would add interest.  Never mind that what I had available was specifically earmarked for something else.  :)



Yes, I think that worked.


I liked the way that looked in the stars, but 10 of the same stars all in a row lacked spark, so I cast about for a second star fabric.  I found this …

Sparkling Inventory progress

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The bright blue inventory is progressing.  After selecting all the brightest blue fabrics in my stash (49 different ones, if you're interested) I was pleased to find that I could arrange them in more or less gradated order on either side of the star path.  I then cut each down to size according to where it would end up in the pattern.


The background is made up of strips.  As written, the pattern calls for some strips to be twice as wide as the rest.  To include a larger selection of fabrics, I made the wider strips from two different fabrics, sewing two narrower strips together to make up the wider width.

This particular version of Sparkling Trail is a scaled down one using 2 1/2" and 4 1/2" strips. If I had made the original throw size as described in the pattern I could have used 4 1/2" strips for the narrow strips, and sewn two of those together for the wider 8 1/2"strips.  I also could have used jelly roll strips (2 1/2" wide) to build up the 4 1/2&qu…

Inventory project fabric pull

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While I was still working out what direction to take for my inventory quilt, I sorted through my stack of quilts for a trunk show.  With Inventory Quilts on the brain, this one particularly caught my eye.

Milky Way has samples of most of the bright blues I had in my scrap bins in 2018.  You can see in the progress picture below that the background is also scrappy, using up most of the white on white fabrics I owned. 

I suppose it is actually a record of my past inventory of white on white, because I have none of those left after making this quilt.
Milky Way is also an example of mixing up the color placement from what is suggested in the pattern.  It uses all the cutting numbers and sizes, and the assembly instructions from my pattern Magnitudes, but throws all the color into the stars instead of in the block backgrounds, and matches the sashing to the block background to make it disappear.
How does this relate to my inventory project?  I decided to flip the color placement.  Where th…

Where did all the grey come from?

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I wondered if I had enough light and medium neutral scraps to make a throw with my three sunflower blocks.  You should have seen the look on my daughter's face.  She looked at my stash shelf, then looked at me and laughed.


She was right.  I had plenty.  In my defense, I wasn't sure how much variety I had in that bin.  Still, as you see, I made it work.  The grey bin now contains a reduced variety of fabrics, and is comfortably full rather than bursting at the seams, but there are still plenty of grey bits and pieces to pull for some other project.

Where did all that grey come from??!!  I'm a brights gal!  This quilt has to be the most neutral, low-volume quilt I've ever made, and even that had those pops of yellow to brighten it up. I just had a look through my quilt pictures to see if I could figure it out. 

Since 2001, I have finished 74 quilts plus assorted table runners and place mats. Four of those quilts have grey backing.  Trimming the backing after quilting yie…

Sparkling Inventory

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I'm a Featured Designer this month for the Just Wanna Quilt Inventory Quilt Project. I sent them a few copies of Sparkling Trail to play with back in January.  Besides wanting an excuse to make another Sparkling Trail, I thought the design would be a good one for an Inventory Quilt because it has a lot of patches.  That leaves room for a lot of different fabrics, which is perfect for taking stock of an extensive stash curated fabric collection.  120 triangles give plenty of opportunities to showcase individual fabrics.

This version was a pretty good snapshot of my red stash in 2014 when I made it.



There are not 120 different fabrics in that quilt, as I used some more than once, but you certainly could use 120 different fabrics if you had that many.

You could even use more that 120 by piecing several fabrics together and cutting the triangles out of that pieced swatch.  The original Sparkling Trail was actually Sparkling Strings.


Oops, it's upside down!  Just the same, you see …

Quilting On Point

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While I was sewing up the sample for my next pattern, I realized I have used on point settings in a few patterns.  It occurred to me that some may find "on point" intimidating.  If you are one of those quilters, let me ease your fears.

Sewing  rows of blocks on point is just like sewing horizontal rows of blocks, with the addition of a triangle at each end of the row.  You don't have to sew at an angle. You're sewing straight lines.



Let's talk about those triangles.  Side setting triangles are the ones that will make up the sides of the quilt.  Corner setting triangles, as I'm sure you guessed, will be the corners of the quilt.




There is no way around having at least one stretchy bias edge on a cut triangle, but you definitely can avoid ending up with those stretchy edges on the sides of your quilt, where they might cause distortion. To avoid having bias edges on all sides of your quilt, you want any triangles sides that end up on the outside edge of the quil…

Sun-seeking quilting

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It's been grey outside for most of the last week and I'm looking for sunshine.  My scrap bins teamed up with a ruler and a book that have been patiently waiting on my shelf for several months to bring some into the sewing room.


I bought the QCR Mini ruler by Sew Kind of Wonderful in the fall, planning to use it to make their Posh Santa for Christmas.  Umm, well, Christmas comes around every year, right?  It might still happen.

I also bought the Mini Wonderful Curves book on impulse.  I don't usually buy on impulse, but this one has several projects I think I'd like to make, time permitting.  I'm starting with the cheerful sunflowers in the Soak Up the Sun quilt.  I didn't really want to make 9 sunflowers, as I have other projects also clamoring for attention, but just three for a runner sounded about right for a short diversion.


Cutting and trimming take the most time with these blocks.  You start with squares and rectangles, and cut curved pieces from those, t…