Thursday, December 7, 2023

Sliding Screens got me sewing again

Thank you to everyone who commented on my last post or sent an email.  Your encouragement meant a lot, and spurred me on to a weekend of sewing.  Yay!

This post is later than anticipated, because once I started working in the sewing room to move the winning project forward I lost track of time.  Also, when I emerged from my sewing frenzy I had the sudden and inexplicable urge to deal with some life stuff that I had been actively avoiding - vacuuming, groceries, bookkeeping, folding laundry.  Honestly, actually wanting to do those things happens rarely so I figured I should just go with it and get those done.

So, feeling all organized in other parts of life (not all, but I'll take what I can get), I'm sitting at my desk ready to share Sliding Screens, the top vote getter. Here's where it stood last week.

Sliding Screens (pattern coning soon) in progress

I've been thinking about ways to showcase a large scale print for a while now.  There are some prints that are just too fun to cut down into small pieces for an intricate block where the piecing is the star.  Sometimes, you want the fabric to be the focus.  As many of you suggested, you could also use a small panel (the center is 20" x 27") or fussy cut part of a larger panel to fit.

Ooh, or how about an improv scrappy pieced panel for the center ?

I digress.

I chose to showcase these Cafe Culture prints from Northcotts's 2021 collections. They have been on my shelf for two years and it seemed time to use them.  A larger scale print might have been even better for the center, but this is what I had on hand, and when seen in actual size rather than the tiny scale in a photo that center fabric is great.

 Here's a closer look at the prints.  I'm not even a coffee drinker, but I love these.  

The quilt is essentially a set of borders around a center. I considered constructing it like a large log cabin, but the sashing got trickier that way.  Rounds of borders worked better. The pattern will include a page of tips on measuring and adding borders to minimize the risk of a puffy center or friendly (wavy) borders.  

My preferred method of measuring borders is to lay the border strip directly on the quilt and mark it.  I just wasn't very accurate when I used a measuring tape to mark the length on a strip, and quilting rulers are just not long enough.  Just sewing a longer strip to the quilt and hacking off the extra is easy, but sometimes leads to wonky quilts if one layer stretches more than the other.  

(Side thought:  Should I write a tutorial post about borders? Let me know if you think it would be useful.)

Sliding Screens quilt top (pattern coming soon)

I'm sure you can guess it didn't take me days to add the final rounds to finish the top, but after getting that done I still had some sewing energy left.  I made a little something for a gift exchange at my guild.  I haven't gifted them yet, so I'll hold off sharing for now.  Let me just say, the order in which you layer fabrics and batting does in fact make a difference.  More on that later :)

After the gift sewing, I was still in the sewing headspace and didn't want to waste it, so I started thinking about a backing for Sliding Screens.  Might I have enough to piece a back and skip a trip to the local shop? Checking my fabric shelves, I was surprised to fin a full bin of brown leftovers ranging from yardage (all under 1 yard) to small scraps.  Honestly I was surprised how much was in there, because brown is not a go-to color for me.  I can identify some of the fabrics from Starlit Courtyard and one from Connecting Geese (whose finish it seems I never shared on this blog).  Otherwise, I'm drawing a blank.

I decided to start with the WOF pieces I had available and add in panels made from the smaller scraps. 

Quilt back in progress

I have to say I think I had more fun working on the back than the front, though it is taking shape more slowly than the simple front. You can see above the stripes I made with yardage, and the start of the smaller pieced panels.  I considered making traditional blocks for the middle part, but decided that wouldn't use up enough of the odd sized scraps in the brown bin.  Improv slab blocks aren't fussy about scrap sizes, so I started making those.  I've said it before, it's counter-intuitive but improv blocks take me longer to make than planned ones.  It's a fun, no-pressure creative activity though.

I'll share more about the back later.  For now, I'm off to the annual guild potluck, where I will gift my weekend project and partake of too much good food.

Happy quilting,

When you make a purchase from my Etsy shop from a link in this post, I may receive a refund of some of the transaction fees Etsy usually charges me for a sale.  There is no additional cost to you.


  1. This is such a lovely project!! I think it does showcase those beautiful fabrics so well...I have an older quilt book called "The Fabric Makes the Quilt"--and for this it is so true, isn't it? Nice job and so happy for you that your little "slump" has passed. Enjoy these days running up to Christmas--
    We plan on going for a walk along our beach today just to listen to the waves--aaaah quiet...amid the hustle-bustle of normal days...
    Hugs, Julierose

  2. I do like your Sliding Screens finish. So many possibilities here. I'll be watching for the pattern!
    I am not a coffee drinker, either, but that is a fun fabric collection.


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