Friday, October 12, 2018

What I Worked on at Retreat

So Monday, after being at Sew Me for three days, I was almost too tired to write a blog post, so I just showed the bee blocks I made for my friends. Then Wednesday I recapped all the fun I had. Today I'll show the projects I worked on.

First, this one with propeller blocks made by my bee friends, shown here on the design wall as I was prepping for retreat. 

All the rest of the blocks needed were cut and labeled.  After I pieced them, I was able to join all the blocks into columns.

And laid them out on the floor in the hallway.

As you can see, the blocks are offset to create the diagonals, so borders are needed at the top and bottom to fill in the spaces. I was too tired at 11:00 at night to figure out the measurements, so I packed it up and came back to it the next morning.

A sideways view. You can see it laid out with the filler pieces. A couple of blocks will get cut off, one at the top and one at the bottom (sides, in this pic).

And all sewn up!

On to the next project. Sports Plus was planned and kitted up after I came back from Paducah last spring.

Since it was all organized, labeled and ready to go, it didn't take long to sew it together. It will finish at 48 x 56. I forgot to take a picture at retreat, so here it is on my wall at home.

It's a donation quilt, and quilts for older boys are always needed. I bought FQs of some of the sports prints and added other fabrics from my stash.

Several people asked at retreat what size I cut my squares and how I organize/label/pack a project like this for sewing later. I ended up giving an impromptu tutorial. The pieces are cut at 4-1/2" square to make best use of a fat quarter. With careful cutting you can get 16 pieces plus a leftover 2-1/2" strip from one FQ. If anyone is interested in my organization method, leave a comment and I'll write a separate post about that.

Last but not least, I made some headway on this project.

Last year I got a die cutter and I cut a bunch of 4" triangles. I sewed the HSTs together at last year's retreat, then arranged them on the wall after I got home. Here's sort of what the layout will look like, but there have been a few tweaks since.

This year I was able to start sewing the HSTs into rows. However, I soon discovered a problem, so progress was very slow. I only got this far (shown on my wall at home) when it was time to clean up and leave.

Last year I had pressed all the HSTs with the seam allowance going toward the dark side. But with this layout, there are many places where the seams wouldn't nest and would stack up, making it bulky and hard to match the points. So I needed to press the seams open, but I needed to keep the blocks in the right order and in the correct orientation. That meant working on only one stack of HSTs at a time, and placing them very carefully on the ironing board and restacking them so they'd come out in the same order. Slow going! I still have five stacks to re-press and add to the rows.

All in all I'd say it was a very productive retreat, including bee blocks for my friends Marie and Judy. I'm glad I had my projects all kitted up and didn't have to think too much about measuring and cutting.

Lots of projects and a lot of fun to whoop about, so I'm linking up with Whoop Whoop Friday over at Confessions of a Fabric Addict, and Friday Finish at Crazy Mom Quilts.


  1. Yes, please do show how you organize your projects. I have learned over the years to take projects already cut and kitted. But I usually run into issues when I need to lay them out for sewing. You got so much done. I've learned my Featherweight is extremely slow so I've gotten some info about how to get it to sew a bit faster. I hope it works!

  2. I would like to see how you organized your Sports Plus quilt. I want to make something similar but can't leave it laid out for long. Having it kitted up would be great.

  3. Great projects and all so well organized!

  4. A post about how you kit for travel would be wonderful. I prep my pieces but they stay in the studio which makes it easier.

  5. I really love the colors you chose for the propeller quilt. It turned out great! The hst quilt may be taking a while, but it's going to be awesome!

  6. What a busy quilter you have been! You were SEW productive at retreat. I usually spend half my time socializing!!

  7. Looks like you got a lot done. I love the chains in your first project.

  8. Whenever I went to retreat I too kitted my project ahead of time. You did very well getting so much done. I really like the propellers, perfect colors! I would like to know more about your organization:)

  9. You made great progress on your projects and had a lot of fun. A definite win, win weekend.