Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Almost Half Way

(This post is later than I meant. Got sidetracked by some fun today.You can read about it at the end of this post.) It's getting there! I have 4 blocks done on the Big Quilt, and I have the pattern done for the 5th one. 
Too big to lay out in the house
It's going well. Most of the pieces are made from strips that I cut 4 1/2 inches wide to give me some wiggle room. (They finish at 3 1/2 inches wide.) I cut lots of strips after I made the first block, so once I start sewing, it goes pretty fast. Much of my time is spent drawing the pattern on freezer paper. After I made an exact pattern for the first block, I made a general grid on newsprint as a master pattern, and now I just trace whatever lines I need to make the freezer paper parts for each block.

The most challenging part of the sewing is the vertical center seam for each block. 

Lots of seams come together at an angle and I'm finding that it's tricky to get them matched up precisely--even with putting a pin through the intersections. With this bold pattern, uneven joins really show up, especially in areas where a color extends from area to another. When I first designed the quilt I decided to make it a giant nine-patch even though the quilt is really one block that extends out from the middle. (To make it easier to handle, each block is made of two 20 by 40 inch sections) If I had sewed the quilt as one block, there would have been a lot of really long seams and some Y-seams or partial seams, and that just seemed too confusing working on such a big scale. As a result of the plan, some strips that are one color have a seam in them where they cross from one half-block to the next or from one block to another. By being careful to match them, I think it will look fine once it's quilted. (That will be my next challenge: deciding on a quilting design that I can manage on my treadle .) 


Working a reasonable amount of time a day, I can comfortably make one block in two days. So I'm hoping to have the quilt top finished within the next couple of weeks. 



Of course, that depends on how many days I take off for gardening or bicycling.

So here is what I was doing today instead of sewing. A new bike trail opened up in the three counties to the north of us this spring. Today was a glorious day, in the 50's F (10 to 14C), with lots of sunshine and a very light breeze. So we just had to check out the trail in those perfect riding conditions. It's a little over 41 miles (66 kilometers) long on an old rail corridor. There are farms as far as you can see. The fields have just been planted, so the vista is far-reaching, but that will change as the crops grow. The trail is paved in the small towns it runs through, but it's mostly crushed limestone and still a bit soft because it's so new, so it was a good workout. We rode back and forth between two charming towns that are about 10 miles (16 kilometers) apart. I took a few pictures. (I should have taken some of the old buildings in the towns. Oh well. Another time. I'm sure we'll go back.) 



Restored train station, now a museum at the trailhead

I'm finding it challenging to quilt, read/comment on all the blogs l like to read and to do fun outdoor spring activities. Some things might have to slide a bit now and then. Until recently, I was doing fairly regular posts on Thursdays to document quilts I made in my pre-blog days. I might back off on those over the summer to free up time for other activities. We'll see. 

I'm linking up today with Freemotion by the River for Linky Tuesday, Freshly Pieced for WIP Wednesday and Sew Fresh Quilts for Let's Bee Social. Buttons are on the right. 

Hope you are all having a wonderful week!

17 comments:

kris said...

This quilt is so amazing. I am in awe. Are you going to write a pattern when you are done?

Heide said...

What super colors and your seams are amazing! I am new to quilting and have the hardest time with matching my seams. I will be back to see your finished quit!

the zen quilter said...

I love this piece - so clever and so graphic. Can't wait to see it finished!

Camilla said...

This is so beautifully precise! I'm loving reading about this quilt's progress and ow today a bit about other aspects that bring balance for you. That cycling sounds great. It's always an effort to conciously choose what we want to spend our time doing and can be hard to maintain that balance. But so worth the effort. I recently culled some of the blogs I follow but I'm adding yours in to my Feedly reader today!

Whitney Taylor said...

Oh my goodness, this is amazing! I am glad that I am not the only one distracted from quilting and blogging by other hobbies!

Anonymous said...

Lucky to have the beautiful spring weather to distract you! Your quilt is quite dramatic. It is very interesting to see how you are overcoming the various challenges!

Mari said...

Wow, just wow! this looks so great Janine! I'm in awe of the piecing because solids show if you're even a single thread out of line. Can't wait to see this finished! I totally get what you mean about the time crunch, too. Suddenly we all want to be outside. We have to do what makes us happy!

Lisa J. said...

This is coming together quite nicely. I find matching angled seams really difficult. I'm impressed with how good yours are.

Anonymous said...

Your vision and tenacity to tackle such a complicated project are admirable! I agree with our colleagues above on what a dramatic and graphic quilt design this is. Great work!

Deb@newcreativestate.wordpress.com said...

What a fantastic quilt - great colours and design. I can't wait to see it finished!

Bernie Kringel said...

Janine, this project leaves me awestruck. First to design such pattern, then the color choices, and finally the execution. All of it is quite extraordinary. I am nowhere near a place where I could tackle such a quilt.

Great pictures from your ride. Thank you for sharing those! Looking forward to the next progress post!

Karen - Quilts...etc. said...

what bright bold colors are in your quilt blocks - looks great. We have an old rail road station in the next town over that they have redone a bit - there used to be a farmers market there but they moved it - I don't know why it looked great!

Kaja said...

This is really striking! Keep up the good work. :-)
I'm don't blame you for wanting to enjoy the lovely spring instead of sitting inside at a computer.

Val's Quilting Studio said...

Between the bright quilt WIP and getting some good bike rides in....it sounds like spring is very rejuvinating and enjoyable for you. YAH!!!

Lara B. said...

This is going to be one very amazing Quilt Janine Marie! I'm already in love with what you've done so far!
It's totally understandable that you would want to take advantage of such beautiful days to bike and be outdoors. What a fun trail that looks like!

Pedal Sew Lightly said...

Great looking blocks. That's going to be a lively quilt! I love all your lush green grass. Ours is sort of a parched yellow-green here in the south. I'm a cyclist too. That ride looks fabulous and I am a bit jealous.

Preeti Harris said...

Oh my goodness, Janine. This is going to be an award winning quilt. I am so rooting for you. Wow! it is amazing. The fact that you took a sliver of an idea and developed it into this gorgeous beauty is mind-blowing!!!