Monday, June 28, 2021

Batik Race Pillow Covers

One of my goals for June was to make placemats for FMQ practice. That concept has evolved; we really prefer a tablecloth instead of placemats, and DH requested pillows for the chaise lounges on the patio, so I'll make pillow covers to use for FMQ practice. 

Earth tone colors will work for our outdoor space, and I have a lot of batiks in earth tones and related colors. I decided to cut strips and make a race style chunk of fabric and use it for the pillow covers. 

I pulled three batches of batik fabrics: Warm Brights (orange, red, pink, gold, etc); Mediums; and Deep Darks. Using my 2" strip die, I cut a lot of strips. 

I added black and light yellow spacers between the strips. When pieced, the spacers will look like confetti sprinkled throughout. Each strip is about half WOF or shorter plus the spacer. 

I assorted the strips into 5 piles, alternating a bright with a medium or dark, and started sewing each pile end-to-end jelly roll race style. This is two of the piles, 2/5 of my strips. I figured it would be easier to press the seams and keep the long strips untwisted if I did it in segments rather than all one. I'll join up the five segments into one, and then start the long seams. In this jumble, the brights aren't visible, but trust me, they're there. 

By my estimates I'll have enough strips for a pieced chunk about 96" long by 82" wide or 192" long by 41" wide. I need 56" x 36" per pillow cover so I'll have plenty with some left over. When I see what it looks like I can decide which direction to cut the pillow covers so the strips look best. 

This could really turn out cool, or it could be a horrible mess. No way to tell until the race is won. Either way, I'll have plenty to practice FMQ on. 

Link Ups: Small Quilts and Doll QuiltsLove Laugh Quilt

Friday, June 25, 2021

Another Block

 My big finish this week is another block for my new snake quilt. Two down, 46 to go. This will not be a speedy project. 

My other big accomplishment this week was to get the sleeve sewn onto my Color Spoke Challenge quilt. No photo, sleeves are boring. Hopefully STLMQG will have a quilt show next year and I can enter the Color Spoke quilt, and it will be ready to go. 

Link ups: Confessions of a Fabric Addict, Alycia Quilts

Monday, June 21, 2021

Lotta Projects, Little Progress

We took a little road trip last week to Santa Fe. Along the way, we had to stand on the corner in Winslow Arizona. Of course.  

Other than that I didn't take pics. We visited the shops and galleries that were open in Santa Fe but sadly many didn't survive the year of Covid and were closed. Since we were travelling I didn't spend much time sewing last week. 

I have lots of projects in work, projects I can work on a little at a time. There are several groups that get together at the sewing room in the Creative Arts Center (CAC). On Monday nights there's Hot Summer Nights sewing, just an informal gathering of year-rounders. On Wednesdays there's a group that sew and go out to lunch. Some of the same people are in both groups and are also on the club's Charity Committee, so I'm getting to know them better.  Between Monday night social sewing, Wednesday go-out-to-lunch social sewing, and prep for retreat, I have multiple projects in work. Tonight I'll take my Color Spoke Challenge quilt to hand sew the sleeve on. 

One of my social sewing projects is another Strippy HST. We cut more strips than we needed for the Charity Committee's kids' quilts, so I pulled all the yellow ones, cut a few more, and found a navy floral print in the club's stash that harmonizes nicely with the yellows. This will be a donation quilt that will go to the local social services agency for abused women. 

Another WIP is the Star Spangled Spiral remake that I'll take to retreat in July. I need to finish cutting for the white blocks and kit them up. The star blocks are already kitted, some already made. 

And after making the test block for the new snake quilt, I committed to the project and started prepping for more blocks. I'll take this project to retreat, too. Blocks require tracing templates and cutting them by hand, and paper piecing the arcs. I have a few blocks traced and a few arcs pieced. 

Lotta projects and little progress, so no finishes on the horizon. Except maybe the sleeve on the Color Spoke quilt. 

Link ups: Small Quilts and Doll Quilts, Love Laugh Quilt, Quilt Fabrication

Sunday, June 13, 2021

A New Project

One of my goals for this month is to prep projects to work on at retreat in July. Lately I've been wanting a challenging project, something more complicated than the donation quilts I've been making. 

Remember the Snake Quilt QOV some friends and I made, a few years ago? 

I was reminded of it recently when a new friend asked me about Loop in Motion. Loop in Motion was from my pre-blogging days. It's hand pieced - no applique - and the blocks were made by my CSQ Piecing Group friends in 2006. 

I'm thinking of a new project that will have blocks like the snake quilt but a meandering layout like Loop in Motion. 

So, this project will require templates and paper piecing foundations. 

Before I get too carried away, I want to make one test block to make sure I'll like where I'm going with this. I'll need two arcs, two corner wedges, and a middle background piece. 

I mentioned recently that I cut way too many strips for the Coral Strippy HST quilt. I can use the strips for the paper pieced arc segments in the snake blocks. 

Which means tracing the templates and carefully cutting the curves with scissors. 

Having learned with the Snake Quilt QOV that a little extra room is needed to square up the blocks, I've added an extra 1/8" on all the outside edges of the block. Here's my test block, untrimmed. A little mis-shapen, and the edges aren't quite straight. 

And all squared up, much better. 

With this project, I'm using one background fabric throughout, and as many orange - coral - pink prints as I can. I have plenty. 

One block down, 47 to go. I'm in no hurry. I can take this project to retreat and make a few blocks there, and take some other projects to work on to have a break from these blocks. 

Notice I didn't post an EQ design of what this Coral Snake quilt will look like? You'll just have to wait and see. It's really cool. 

Link ups: Small Quilts and Doll QuiltsLove Laugh Quilt

PS  - Cherie, do you ever foresee another Snake Quilt in your future? Want to play along? 

Friday, June 11, 2021

The Coral Strippy HST Quilt

 A fast finish...

This started out as a trial of my Strippy HST concept using light feature fabrics and dark strips, the opposite of the other Strippy HST quilts I made. I wanted a controlled palette, not totally random, so I searched my stash for what I had on hand that could work. I pulled a selection of light prints with color in them, not typical low volumes.  Most of them were bargains or swaps or from the free table at guild, so there was a pretty random selection. I narrowed it down to the 12 prints used. Then I pulled all my corals, oranges, pinks, and a few reds, edited them, and cut strips. The palette ended up having a cheerful vibe but also pink for breast cancer, so I figured I'd send this quilt to Happy Chemo for Hands2Help along with the other quilt I sent. 

I love the way the colors turned out, especially the little pops of robin's egg blue in some of the prints, and touches of chocolate brown in a couple of them. Cheerful, positive, but not too sugary.

While I was piecing this, my neighbor encouraged me to expand my FMQ skills and I learned to stitch hearts, so I included them in the quilting here. Yes, they're wonky, but I think that only adds to their charm.

I showed my neighbor my FMQ progress and mentioned that this is intended as a donation quilt. She told me of a need in the neighborhood. So instead of mailing it off, tomorrow several of us neighbors are getting together for brunch and this quilt will be given to one of them. 

For a fast little finish, this quilt feels pretty special to me. The palette, the new quilting skill, and especially that something I made can give a quilty hug to a new neighbor. A pretty good feeling! 

Link ups: Confessions of a Fabric Addict, Alycia Quilts, Wendy's Quilts and More

Wednesday, June 9, 2021

A New-to-Me Skill

 I moved to the best neighborhood for me! On my block and within a couple of other blocks there are at least half a dozen quilters. My neighbor across the street is a master quilter and she's pushing me out of my meander comfort zone rut. She loaned me a little booklet about taking meandering to the next level by adding elements to it. 

I always thought I couldn't free motion quilt except for meandering because I can't do FMQ spirals or feathers. It never occurred to me to build on a meander to expand my FMQ repertoire. My neighbor is very kind, but as a former teacher she also has expectations that I'll practice and improve. She suggested drawing the motifs to get the muscle memory. I found that not helpful so I made a muslin and batting sandwich and just started stitching. 

First exercise: add a loop to the meander.

Second exercise: add double loops or figure 8s to the meander.

Third exercise: add hearts to the meander.

Whoo-hoo! I can do this!!!  Now granted, it's a table-runner sized practice piece, not the bulk and weight of a quilt to maneuver, and I have the benefit of a stitch regulator on my Bernina. But I'm amazed that I could jump right in and do this, and I know I'll definitely build on this new skill by practicing on donation quilts. 

Speaking of, did I mention my great neighbors? I was making a donation quilt for Hands2Help when I learned of a need in my neighborhood for a comfort quilt for someone dealing with cancer. Instead of mailing my Coral Strippy HST quilt to Happy Chemo, I'll give it locally. And I've already been practicing my new quilting skill on it. Look: hearts!

So many more possibilities... I'll continue to work through the exercises and practice the motifs, and enjoy both the process and the results. 

Link up: Quilt Fabrication

Monday, June 7, 2021

Coral Strippy HSTs

 More Strippy HSTs! I wanted to make a version with light feature fabrics and darker strips. It's all about the contrast but the other Strippy HST quilts I've made had dark feature fabrics and light strips. 

I pulled a selection of fabrics in the orange - coral - pink range for the strips and then found some light prints in my stash that would harmonize with them. 

I cut two 8-1/2" squares out of each light print and creased them on the diagonal. 

I cut lots of coral, pink, and orange strips. Lots. Way too many. Strips are 2" wide and 13-1/2", 11-1/2" and 8-1/2" long.  The side triangles are 4" squares cut in half. 

When sewn together the strippy unit is larger than the 8-1/2" square. 

Making sure the crease in the light squares was perpendicular to the seams in the strippy unit, I sewed a scant 1/4" on each side of the crease. 

Then cut the unit apart on the crease and pressed toward the light triangles. 

Blocks were squared up and trimmed to 8" unfinished. 

I started with 12 light prints and two squares of each; each square and strippy unit makes two blocks. I ended up with 48 blocks for a 6 x 8 layout which will finish at 45" x 60". 

Now the blocks are on the design wall. I played with some layouts and I'm going with this one. 

This is the same block I used for the PCQ charity quilts in May, tutorial here. This block has turned out to be more versatile than I ever imagined. 

This quilt is intended as a donation quilt that will go to a breast cancer patient. I was going to send it to Happy Chemo as part of Hands2Help, but there is a need in my neighborhood so it will be donated locally. 

Link ups: Small Quilts and Doll Quilts, Love Laugh Quilt

Friday, June 4, 2021

STLMQG Color Spoke Challenge

 Back in April I was working on quilting the Color Spoke Challenge, the quilt I made from the 2019 STLMQG BOM challenge. To recap, we had to choose one "Spoke" of the color wheel and use only that color plus neutrals. I chose yellow-green, called "pickle" on some color cards. Each month's BOM had a theme or a challenge such as nine patch (my Card Trick block below) or curves (Drunkard's Path block), or paper piecing, applique, fussy cutting, flying geese, etc. 

I made all of the monthly challenge blocks and added in a few blocks of my own, plus smaller filler blocks. The black and white striped setting was inspired by Jen Kingwell's Gypsy Wife pattern plus some quilts with black and white stripes I had seen on line. Those stripes are pieced, finishing at 1" wide. It was a challenge puzzling the top together. 

After quilting in April, one of my goals for May was to get this quilt bound, labeled and finished. I didn't quite make it by the end of May, but I was able to get it done this week. 

It's big - about 65 x 78", too long to fit on the wall. 

I took the above two photos with my phone, which takes clear pics but cannot handle yellow green colors. It makes the "pickle" green look like some horrible muted chartreuse. 

Much better color with my old camera, but no matter how carefully I focus and hold the camera steady, pics taken with this camera always come out blurry. 

Anyway, back to the quilt - 
The quilting is mostly stitch-in-the-ditch between each stripe and around the blocks. There's SID in the blocks, too, and stippling in the white parts of the blocks to flatten them to let the the yellow-green parts pop. There's a little FMQ point-to-point and some traced circles. Lots of starts and stops!

I'm hoping to enter this quilt in STLMQG's quilt show in July if they're still planning on having a live show. I'll have to ship it back to St. Louis, of course, but that's no problem. I'm just happy I got this quilt done in time.