Tuesday, June 23, 2009

The Ties That Bind, Day Three

So... I went to Tiny Stitches on Sunday afternoon, while hubby and Kay were having Daddy/Daughter time.

The store was nearly empty, which worked out well for me, because I wound up trying out about 20 different bolts to find the right fabric for my quilt. Here are some of the things that DIDN'T work. I was looking for an alternative to the royal blue I went in thinking I might need.

Ultimately, this purply blue batik gave me the best results. I thought it might be TOO strong. Perhaps I needed to just do another yellow border and save the blue for binding? I decided to store it all for a couple of days and then lay it out again. I cut strips 3.5" wide and laid it out again yesterday morning. I laid it out in the front entry hall, so that I would see it as I went through my day. (Thank goodness that Smudge has trained himself to not walk on quilt layouts.)

I like it. So I've sewn all the strips to the triangles. Four more seams to go and I'm done.

Monday, June 22, 2009

The Ties That Bind, Day Two

I had to re-adjust the design for ease of assembly. My first design was more interesting, but I thought if I chose something TOO challenging to puzzle together, I was going to end up with a bunch of half finished piecing and another UFO. I wanted to get the top together while I was excited about it. At first I couldn't decide how to piece the outer triangles, but ultimately I figured out that if I nestled the smaller blocks right next to the larger one, the math would be simple.

I found I could use black as a sashing, if it were not stark. I used the black and white check I bought.

The outer border was a much bigger challenge than I was expecting. Not more checks. I tried every black, white and black and white on black that I have. Nothing worked. Either it was too busy, too similar to the checks, or too stark a contrast. Then I started looking at royal blue. There's enough of it in the quilt and I've always liked the way it plays with yellow and the drama of royal and black together. Pulled my blue stash box, and found I didn't have anything I liked in the amounts I needed. Off to the LQS, again!

Sunday, June 21, 2009

The Ties That Bind, Day One

This quilt just happened. Almost against my will. Like a woman who didn't know she was pregnant and finds her self pushing in the seat of her car, this quilt demanded to be born where I had no plans to make it at all. Nineteen 6" blocks don't make much of a quilt, do they? Since this challenge was announced back in December I've wondered what the heck I was going to make with these blocks. I almost did nothing at all. I got them at the exchange meeting and put them in their plastic baggie and didn't even look at them until Lynda and Melinda came for a visit a week later. We started talking about them and I got them out again. Looking at them, I thought I had some OTHER 6" blocks that I had made YEARS ago, while I was pregnant. I thought I knew where they were stored and dug them out. Turns out the hearts are 5" not 6". But in the same bag were some 9" friendship stars made for me by the Monday Morning Quilters in Boston. They sent me those blocks when I first moved to Georgia. I always meant to do something with them, but didn't know what. I started playing with the three different blocks wondering if I could somehow make a quilt with blocks of such disparate measurements.

Before Lynda and Melinda left that day, I had sewn together the nine hearts in the center, and was already thinking about backgrounds and sashing. After a run to the LQS I had enough yellow to get through the project (or so I thought) and build my stash which was sadly short on sunny yellow. I also picked up a black and white checkered fabric that I thought might work as sashing, but I wasn't sure.

My first thought was to use black to expand the churn dash blocks, but I felt it stopped the design and looked too choppy.

Yellow worked better:

Then I realized I didn't like the stars in the middle of the border. Hearts worked better:

I tried again with black coping strips:

Once again, I chose yellow:

Getting these borders pieced and attached was the end of that first day.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Piecemakers' Exchange 2009

Here is a picture of the blocks I received in the 2009 Piecemakers' Exchange. They are cute, and I love the colors. We were told to use black on white, white on black and a bright color. We were all surprised to see how many had used yellow. And the three reds were all a pinkish red (you couldn't MAKE that happen if you wanted to, surely someone would throw in a scarlet or maroon if you tried to restrict them to pinkish reds!). I like the churn dash blocks quite a lot, and I've never made a quilt using them so this is potential fun.

Thursday, June 18, 2009


I haven't been sewing much since spring began. I could tell you that it's because I was gardening so much more, or because I was too busy with Kay's school and ballet, and I wouldn't be lying. The truth is, I just lost my muse. I couldn't make myself work on any of the projects I have going, and I didn't want to start anything else. Oh, also, I discovered Facebook. Let me just say, don't go there. I take full responsibility for my decisions, but I swear, that website sucked whole days, not hours, out of my schedule!

The garden is doing beautifully, Kay is done with second grade, and tomorrow she will finished the two week intensive program for ballet. What am I going to do with the rest of my summer? I'm going to sew, of course. How do I know? When I haven't been sewing for the past few months? I got a kickstart. The Piecemaker's block exchange was due last week. 6" churn dash blocks, 20 of 'em due on last Monday. On Saturday night I sat down to a nice dinner with Lynda and confessed I hadn't even started. I estimated it would take six hours to make the blocks, and it turned out I was darn close. I turned my blocks in and spent a lovely time with some of the Piecemakers. I looked through the blocks I had received and considered some setting options, but really I wasn't too inspired. I thought the blocks were too small, and I didn't need a wallhanging in these colors. Leaving that day, I thought I might not make anything at all.

This Monday, that all changed. Stay tuned and I'll tell you all about it. Thanks to all of you who have contacted me in the past few months to make sure I was okay. I'm doing fine. Buried up to my neck in yellow squash and zucchini at the moment, but otherwise I'm just fine.