Friday, February 23, 2024

SAHRR 24 Border 5

Today’s border for the Stay at Home Round Robin (SAHRR) is brought to you by the prompt from Quilting Gail, who put this whole quilt along together, with lots of prompting input from her quilting friends. Her prompt is “4.” Anything we want as long as it somehow relates to 4.

I had been thinking for awhile of doing something with piano keys and did a mock-up of a design, but it seemed to overwhelm the rest of the quilt. (The keys would have been 2 by 4 inches.) Not wishing to abandon the idea completely, I settled on a row of 2-inch squares. To get the element of 4 in, I separated groups of 4 colorful squares with a white square. I needed something as a buffer between the current border and the last one, so I used the little print that I used on the first border. It’s 2 inches wide, so at this point the border is 4 inches wide.

Now this may have seemed a simple process. But on Tuesday I felt a cold coming on. Sensing that it was only going to get worse, I worked like crazy to get this made before I wouldn’t feel like it. The borders went on easily, but I still had to figure out the corner. (I left a bit of the seam open, so I could add the corner block in.) By yesterday, my cold had hit hard, but I was determined to finish this up. I had some ideas for the corner, including a four patch and several versions of the signature block I had made in Border 1. I spent several hours moving fabric around and photographing to see what it would look like. (Sorry, I'm too tired to organize them to show here.) I was still bothered by the light gray print and how it was kind of low contrast with my other prints, but anything darker jumped out too much. So in the end I chose a block that echoed the one in the upper left corner of the quilt. It only took another hour to put it together (yes, you read that right). I had to make an HST patch twice because of errors in sizing and trimming. Clearly I should not have been trusted with even the simplest sewing. 

I had one more element I wanted to add. My original plan with this quilt was to make 6-inch borders, and I wanted to add more of the black and white floral to bring the border to at least that size. I had some strips that I could use that were actually wide enough to make a 4-inch border. Given the prompt for this week, I thought that was neat. But I ran out of steam before I could make the border. It would have required piecing together three pieces of fabric for one of the sides and then sewing two long seams to attach the borders. Overwhelming, and I was really worried that with my foggy thinking, I’d ruin it. So here’s a preview of how it will look when I get my energy back. I’m giving myself some sewing time off, so I can recover enough to finish up Border 6 next week.

Be sure to go to the Linky Party at Gail’s website to see how the other SAHRR quilts are coming along. I’ll go, too. It seems like the perfect couch activity while I kick this cold to the curb.

(Just a reminder: I'm not affiliated with any company, so when I mention products, services, or stores, I'm just documenting what I used or liked.) 

Thursday, February 15, 2024

SAHRR 24 Border 4

This week's border in the SAHRR (Stay at Home Round Robin hosted by Quilting Gail) is my response to the prompt from Brenda at Songbird Designs: "square in a square or an on point block." Well, wouldn't you know it, I did a square in a square block last week in my third round. I even mentioned to someone that I enjoyed making that block so much I could see making a whole quilt full of it. I felt like I needed to resist a squirrel. So this week I got to make more without chasing a squirrel after all. 

I started by making another identical SQ in SQ block with black points (rotating it for a mirror image of the fabrics). In my Quiltography designing software I made a whole bunch more with the same coloration, but it felt like the block was taking over the quilt, so I toned it all down and used white prints from the scrap bin to surround some of the lighter colors in the quilt. Because I wanted a border 6 inches wide, I added coping strips in the same fabrics as in the second round but reversed the order. (Coping strips. That is a term I learned during this SAHRR. I always referred to those as "skinny borders." Now I know the technical term.) I messed around with the placement for a bit before deciding to add sashing strips between the SQ in SQ blocks to keep the border light and airy. That took a little doing, too, because I first tried to line them up with the SQ in SQ I made last week, but with 2 inch sashing strips, I ended up with a block chopped in half at the top and left edges. (I did need to use a 1-inch coping sash in the lower right corner before using 2-inch ones in the rest of the border to make the strip of blocks long enough.) The borders are symmetrical, so I think it works okay that the SQ in SQs don't line up with last week's. My photo is a little off due to dark room conditions (snowing off and on) and dark green carpet shining through, so the sashes look kind of gray. All of the background is various prints and a few solids, with colors ranging from white to ivory. I used up a fair amount of white prints from my scrap bin.

This is how my plan looked. It took a lot of fussing around to get to this final plan, but that really kept me from wasting fabric and sewing time to figure things out. 

Oops, I see that I forgot to flip the top right block

My SQ in SQ blocks finish at 4 inches. I used the same 2 by 4 inch flying geese foundation paper patterns as in my migrating geese border from last week (freebie by Fresh Lemon Quilts), but combined them to make the SQ in SQ by taping two pattern pieces together on the seam lines. So easy. Everything came out exactly to the dimensions I planned. The quilt now measures 40 1/2 inches square with seam allowance (up from 34 1/2--forgot to include the size last week) My miter of the black striped fabric was a lot more fiddly to get in place this week (I don't know why), but I put it together the same way, sewing about an inch of each coping strip on at the corner and then hand basting the miter to make sure the stripes met accurately before sewing it by machine. Then I sewed the remaining edges of the coping strips. 

Yippee for a matched miter!

Thanks to Brenda for giving a prompt that scratched an itch for more Squares in Squares without having to chase a squirrel! If you want to see more of what everyone made this week go over to Songbird Designs for the party. Thanks to Gail for hosting this SAHRR. I never knew a QAL could be so much fun.

(Just a reminder: I'm not affiliated with any company, so when I mention products, services, or stores, I'm just documenting what I used or liked.)


Thursday, February 8, 2024

SAHRR 24 Border 3

This week's border in the Stay at Home Round Robin (hosted by Quilting Gail) is brought to you by the prompt from Emily of The Darling Dogwood: Triangles. I hoped at some point in this project to include some flying geese, so I jumped at this opportunity. 

Sorry about poor lighting. The sun shone all day until I was ready to photograph.

I thought at first of making long strings of them with foundation paper piecing. I love that technique, connecting all the geese in one process. Making geese to finish at 2 by 4 inches seemed right to keep the proportions similar to other parts of the quilt. But to do that I might need to add some borders to bring up the total width of the round to 6 inches (my plan for this quilt), and I didn't really want to make more plain borders this week. So I decided to make migrating geese instead. That would mean making individual geese, but oh well. 

I printed out free patterns for the geese from Fresh Lemons Quilts.

It's been awhile since I've done sew-through-the paper piecing, and I forgot to cut my smaller fabric triangles generously before sewing them, so I had to really take care to get the seam allowances right. It took lots of time to sew them all up, but it was so satisfying. My points were precise and my sizing stayed accurate. 

I needed to come up with some way to turn the corner, so I brought some black back in and some of the prints from my first border and made a square in square with some flying geese around it.

I found a lot of the white geese bits in my scrap bins--even triangle shaped scraps-- and was thrilled to find some of the fabric that is in the background of my starting block: that gray abstract sun print. 

Here's how the back looks with the foundations. I plan to leave them in at least until I attach the next border to keep everything stable. 

I've only taken a glimpse of what the rest of you have made for this round, but I did notice some of what I call "Peaky and Spike" triangles, named by a quilter whose name I no longer remember who is sadly no longer with us. It will be fun to see what others have done with that kind of triangle, as I haven't used them often myself but have always admired them. Be sure to check out the linky party at Emily's website (The Darling Dogwood) to see what everyone is up to, and link back from that to see other rounds. 

Until next week, happy quilting. 

(Just a reminder: I'm not affiliated with any company, so when I mention products, services, or stores, I'm just documenting what I used or liked.) 

Tuesday, January 30, 2024

SAHRR 24 Border 2

Well, that prompt was a surprise. I'm participating in the Stay at Home Round Robin (SAHRR) hosted by Quilting Gail and her friends, who give us a prompt each week to add a border to our initial block or panel. We are on our second week of adding borders, and our prompter this week is Anja of Anja Quilts. Her prompt? "Use 2 colours." (Or in my case, colors, as I'm in the US.) That was it. And then she said we could use whatever design we wanted.

I will admit that at first I was a bit...disappointed, I guess? I had envisioned my quilt as having bits of many colors sprinkled throughout. I really didn't want to pick just two of them, and have those steal the show. What to do, what to do. And then I had it. This is what's great about these prompts. They nudge us to use our creativity in ways we might not have expected. The answer suddenly seemed obvious: black and white backgroundish fabrics to set off whatever colorful bits might come next. And in no time at all, I had this week's finish.

I knew that I wanted to make a 6-inch border on two sides of the quilt. I have some good sized pieces of striped and polka dot fabric leftover from other quilts as well as some long strips of a floral cut off from from a backing. I cut the stripe at 1-1/2 inches wide to finish at 1 inch. The floral was just wide enough to cut 4-1/2 inch wide strips to finish at 4 inches. I cut the polka dot at the same width as the stripe. 

Can I say I'm really tickled with how the miter came out on the stripe? I sewed those striped borders at the corner first, starting about two inches away from the corner and then mitering them before sewing the rest of the length of the strips onto the quilt. It just seemed easier to do that to make sure the stripes would match up. I also basted them before machine sewing to make sure they stayed in place. I'm not mitering my other borders (unless I use the stripe again) but the stripes just look neat that way. 

The whole quilt now measures at 28 inches square (plus seam allowance). Thanks to Anja for a prompt that stretched my thinking! I'm sure the colorful bits will be back in another round, and those black and white prints will also come back into play. (Hmm, striped binding, maybe?)

I'm linking up with Anja at Anja Quilts, where we can all cheer each other's progress this week. You can read about the beginning of the SAHRR at Quilting Gail here, where there are also links to the other hosts who are giving us our weekly prompts. 

(Just a reminder: I'm not affiliated with any company, so when I mention products, services, or stores, I'm just documenting what I used or liked.)

Wednesday, January 24, 2024

SAHRR 24 Border 1

This is fun, but what a big mess I have. Why I decided to make two rainbow quilts at once, I don't know. Three rooms in my house are now full of scattered bits of colorful fabric. Anyway, this post is about one of those quilts. I'm participating in the Stay At Home Round Robin (SAHRR) hosted by Quilting Gail. Last week we shared our "center" blocks. I used quotes because my block is not going to be in the center. This week we are adding Border 1. The prompt is by Wendy of Pieceful Thoughts. A signature block. She noted that we had a lot of leeway in how to use the block (which is usually a light color with darker points), so I took as much leeway as I could. Here's my version. 

I knew I wanted the darker part of the block in the middle, but I also needed to think about how I wanted to balance colors, proportions, and the amounts of fabric I have available. My first decision was to add a one-inch border around my original block to make a more manageable size (16 inches instead of 14). Then I planned 4-inch scrap-pieced signature blocks using my Quiltography app.

I used colors from the "center" block to plan the signature blocks. The squares in the blocks are cut at 2-1/2 inches to finish at 2 inches. I cut 3-inch squares of colorful and background fabrics to make two-at-a time HSTs for the rest of each block. I was going to use blacks for the corner block, but when I laid them out, that block stood out more than I would like, so I subbed in a gray print for the squares. 

After sewing everything together, I added a print border (finished at 2 inches) to bring the whole finished border up to 6 inches. 

I'm not sure if I like the gray print in the corner next to the border (iffy contrast; maybe a more solidish gray would have been better), but I think I'll leave it as it is, at least for now. 

So there you have my sort-of signature blocks. Be sure to visit the links to see Gail's introduction, the beginning blocks, Wendy's prompt and the links to everyone's progress. Maybe you'll join in, too?

(Just a reminder: I'm not affiliated with any company, so when I mention products, services, or stores, I'm just documenting what I used or liked.)

Monday, January 15, 2024

SAHRR 2024

I'm doing it. Joining the SAHRR this year. What is that, you ask? It's the Stay At Home Round Robin that Quilting Gail has hosted for the past several years. Usually in round robins quilters begin a quilt by making a block, and then they pass it around to other members in a group, and each person adds a border before returning it to the originator to finish. But in this round robin, each quilter begins the quilt and then keeps adding borders at home following a different prompt each week from a group of quilters selected by Gail. Check out her introductory post here to find out more about this year's SAHRR. 

I have always enjoyed seeing the resulting variety of quilts. So it's time to join in the fun. Here's my starting block.

This block is from four Bear Paws I made during an online color workshop I took from Rachel Hauser in 2020 to keep myself sane while staying home during the pandemic. You can read the details about them in my blogpost from May 2020.  At the time I tried a layout of this larger block, but I wasn't sure that I'd use it that way in a quilt. When I decided to join SAHRR this year, I knew that I did want to use this layout. I had just enough leftover background fabric in my scrap bin to make the sashing. I also used a square of the black print fabric in the center that I auditioned way back when I made the originals. I did do some surgery to replace the two yellow claws with ones in a slightly darker shade because I didn't want them to fade into the background.

This block is 14 inches square, which might be big for the beginning of a quilt with the potential of six borders, but I'll assess things as I go and make adjustments if needed. I have no plan at this point, which makes me a tad bit nervous. I'd like to use only fabrics I have on hand for the top, but I'm leaving myself open to buying more fabric. I'm eager to see where this quilt is going. 

Thanks to Gail for hosting this fun way to begin a new year. And to her helpers who will inspire us with their blocks and prompts for the borders. I'm linking up to the first linky party here at Quilting Gail.

Hey, how does a SAHRR sound to you? Are you ready to join the fun, too?

(Just a reminder: I'm not affiliated with any company, so when I mention products, services, or stores, I'm just documenting what I used or liked.) 

Friday, January 5, 2024

A New Baby Quilt

Our new great-nephew is here, so I can finally share my adventure from the last few months. Here's a sneak peek.

And the story:

We knew this baby was coming for quite a few months. He was a major surprise for his parents after a long journey of disappointments and grief and letting go of a dream. From the time I heard that he was on his way to our world, I was excited to make one more baby quilt for a great-nibling (new word to me--I had to look it up). 

Around August I was ready to get started. I checked in with my niece, and she said she might be decorating the nursery around a piece of Australian artwork that her husband had bought years ago. While I was on vacation I saw an Australian line of fabrics and bought a few fat quarters for inspiration. After I got home, I kept fooling around with them, but they just wouldn't tell me what they wanted to be. Meanwhile, my niece sent me a photo of a rug with bold geometric shapes that she was looking at for the nursery. (You can see it here if you want to.) Without a second thought about what the words "looking at" might mean, I pushed aside the uninspiring fabrics and jumped in with both feet (and hands), looked up the rug online, and designed a quilt based on some of the shapes and the colors in the rug. You know how quilters are, of course you do. We have to get making. I was inspired.

I even made the rounds of the local and online fabric stores to gather the fabrics to bring my design to life. And then I got to work. Here are the first blocks I made, and they are still my favorite ones. 

More blocks followed quickly--I was in the zone.

Until I had quite a design wall full of them. (Excuse the blurred photo--we were having a string of dark days, which were not kind to photography.)

I constructed the quilt in batches of like blocks. My original color scheme was taupe, yellow, orange, turquoise, blue, navy, and snow, with a bit of gray. Early on I focused mostly on the blocks with taupe, yellow or orange. This was moving along fast. Until I got a message from my niece. The geometric rug just wasn't working out. Ulp! She had decided to go with a navy blue rug. Well, that would still work. But she had also decided against the artwork.  And she was looking at some wallpaper with sharks and whales in it. Can you hear the screeching tires? Stop the quilt making. My color scheme was wayyyyy off. Two days later I had a new color scheme in place--never mind that my niece was still "looking at" the wallpaper. 

I replaced the orange with dark red (there were some sharks with open mouths in the wallpaper), and the yellows with more blues and gray, and added some blacks to the navies. The taupes would still work. Then I set everything aside and went on vacation for a week.  After I got back, I made myself wait just a little longer, and made some placemats instead of jumping back in on the quilt. Then I unsewed all of the yellow and orange parts of the blocks--not nearly as fiddly a task as it might seem. 

Near the end of October, I checked in with my niece. She had ordered the wallpaper. Yes!! Back to work full steam.  I started by sewing all the reds in place of the oranges. I did make new quarter-circle blocks. That seemed faster than resewing the old curves. 
Another dark photo, I know. You can see the page I printed of the wallpaper. The actual wallpaper has much larger sharks and whales, but I was using it as a reference for colors. I did a little extra shopping locally for more blues and grays, focusing on fabrics with subtle patterns that seemed to me to look sort of like shark or whale skin and water. I know they look solid here.

More block parts up on the wall. It got to be a messy process but moved ahead quickly. 

And just like that, a top, ready to baste.

So, lets look at the finish, shall we, and then I'll talk about the quilting and back...

For the quilting, I decided on wavy lines with my walking foot. I started in the middle and worked toward the top. The waves got wavier and wavier as I went. Yikes. Then I went back to the middle and worked toward the bottom. I tried and tried to get wavier to mimic the upper part of the quilt, but no matter what I did I just couldn't duplicate that design. So instead, I intentionally made the waves flatter and flatter. No sense fighting the quilt. I'm going to call it a design element. There are currents in the water at the bottom of the ocean and waves at the surface, right? That's my story, and I'm sticking to it. 

Here's a bit of a close-up. 

And my initials/date.

And the back.

I've had this Joel Dewberry woodgrain print for quite awhile. I had bought 4 yards of it thinking it would make a good back someday. Well, here's someday. I was thinking "boardwalk" for this quilt, because my niece's family lives on the west coast near the ocean where there is a long boardwalk. Never mind that the boardwalk where they live is cement. I was hoping that maybe there was a wooden pier. (It turns out their pier is wood. Yay! I found that out after I sent the quilt.) It needed some pepping up, so leftover water colors worked just right for a band across the top. For the binding I combined leftover navy prints. 

Here's a close up of the back.  

And here are the stats: 

Pattern: My own, inspired by a geometric patterned rug, and designed with the Quiltography app.

Block size and piecing: 8 inches finished. No-tear paper foundation piecing wherever possible.  

Size: 56 1/2 inches square before quilting. 55 3/4 by 56 inches after quilting. (I trimmed the quilt about 1/8 inch bigger before binding to try to keep the block points intact as much as possible with 3/8 inch binding.)  52 3/4 by 53 inches after washing.

Fabrics: Wide variety of subtle prints and a bit of Kona snow.

Batting: Fairfield 80/20

Thread: Superior Masterpiece in Granite for piecing; Coats and Clark quilting cotton in Nugrey for quilting and machine part of binding; Superior Treasure in Antique for hand binding.

Machines: Singer Featherweight for piecing; Singer 115 Treadle for quilting and first seam of binding.

 After I washed the quilt, the light was good in the guest room to see the prints, quilting, and texture. So here are the glamour shots. It's too grubby outside this time of year to go on location anyway.

This quilt sure came a long way from first idea (busy Australian prints that I didn't show you but are now stash enhancers) to yellow and orange brights (also now stash enhancers) to moody ocean colors (mostly used up). Perhaps it is a lesson in "look before you leap," but honestly, the whole experience was fun. And I'm just a bit tickled that the design worked by just tweaking the colors. And it's kind of funny that it was inspired by a rug that is no longer relevant. I hope Baby J and his parents (and big sister) will enjoy it for a long time. 

I hope you have or have had the opportunity to make a baby quilt for someone. It's such a joyful gift to make. And whether you look before you leap or not, I hope all of your quilting adventures are as much fun as this one.

(Just a reminder: I'm not affiliated with any company, so when I mention products, services, or stores, I'm just documenting what I used or liked.)