Sunday, May 5, 2019

Strip Quilt for H2H

Time for another check-in with the Hands2Help Challenge for this year. At our last check-in on April 17, I had a top to share as well as a bit of quilting. Today I have the finish. Yippee!
We have lots more tulips since this photo was taken, but I wanted to prove that spring had finally come.

This quilt started with a packet of strips I bought on a vacation last June. I knew exactly what it would become when I bought it--a version of the Strip and Flip Baby quilt that I first saw on Cluck Cluck Sew. Sarah also has a tutorial of a version here. I don't usually sew with precut strips, but I had seen a quilt made of these in the quilt store where I bought them and thought it was sweet. (I was also overwhelmed by all the fabric in the store, which often happens to me when I really want to purchase something but don't have a project planned, so buying a strip set was an easy way out.)

I have to admit that when I took the strips out of the packet, I was stumped. For one thing, there were duplicates of most of the strips, but not all. And the colors were quite varied. Many quilts I had seen in this pattern went through a range of one or just a few colors or a range of values. After a whole lot of arranging and rearranging, I ended up with pretty much this order--actually just kind of random, with some groupings of similar colors. I wasn't sure how I felt about repeating the sequence, but there it is.

In the final version, I left off some of the strips at the right end and used them as a sort of border because with all of them, the quilt would have been longer and narrower than I would have liked. 

The other thing that stymied me at first was the uneven lengths of the strips. There was a particular print that occurred in four colors (8 of the strips) that was shorter than all the others. So I had to make that the base width. Rather than cutting all the strips to that length, I lined up one selvage consistently (right where the color met the white edge) as I sewed them together. That way I didn't risk losing a lot of fabric when I squared up the top. 
Here's how the other edge looked. See how much shorter that green print is? I felt bad losing bits of the other strips (at least 3/4 inch of some) but what can you do?. The packet said the strips were 44 inches long. I guess that includes selvage, but doesn't account for the variations. I did notice that online stores usually report a shorter length. Good, because I'd hate to have this discrepancy ruin someone's design.  

Anyway, when I finished sewing all the strips together I trimmed them up even and then eyeballed proportions of the three printed sections. I chose measurements of about 20, 8 and 12 inches plus seam allowance. I have lots of numbers on a scrap of paper, but they don't make sense now, so I'm not exactly sure of those measurements. Then for the contrasting strips, I cut some white mystery fabric that I also bought from another store on that trip, probably about 3 inches for the inner strips and 4 for the outer. Again, not sure of the exact measurements.The actual sewing went very fast. I did fiddle a bit with the addition of the printed strips on the side borders. I'm not terribly pleased with how I arranged them. It might have been better to cut them in smaller chunks and/or mix them up a little more. Overall, I think they're okay, though. 

Here's the finished top hanging on the design wall.

As I showed in the last post, I chose to quilt the printed strips with my walking foot, one foot-width (a scant 3/8 inch) away from each seam. 

This went super fast, except for having to tie off and bury a million ends. I know. I exaggerate, but it seemed like a million. 

I took a break from this project for a few days because of a squirrel, but actually that was good. That project also needed my walking foot, so I was all set.

Then some new fun began. I had read Lori Kennedy's review of the Crayola Ultra Clean Markers for marking quilts. I don't usually like to mark quilts with any kind of colored marker, or even chalk, but her test of these markers was so impressive that I knew I wanted to try them out for some freemotion quilting on the white strips of this quilt. I have been doing fairly limited FMQ the last couple of years due to lingering effects of a shoulder injury. My arm gets really tired. I thought that I might take some of the stress off if I marked lines before quilting so that I wouldn't have to concentrate as much on where I was going and just keep my hands in place to guide the quilt. So I bought the markers and chose to mark my quilt in gray. I used a vague variation of Lori's fabulous flower motif. My flowers had fewer petals and more swoopy lines between them. I drew a sort of grid with my Hera marker to space them out and then just went for it free-hand with my marker. Then I quilted in off white, following the lines, but not worrying if I didn't hit them completely. They were just a guide. I quilted from the top down on each column (five to seven passes) so that I could easily see where I was going. I LOVED it and my arm did not get nearly as tired as usual.

Here's how they looked when done. At this point, I almost wished I had quilted with gray thread. (Oh, you can see the binding here, too. I bought that lovely bit of bias printed gingham print after the quilt top was done. And a tip: I waited to quilt the last line of the printed strips touching the binding until after I machine-sewed the binding to the front because it was hard to gauge just where the line should be before the binding was on. Afterwards, all I had to do was line my walking foot up with the edge of the binding. Worked great!)  

The weird thing about using the marker is that I couldn't show the quilt unwashed (as I usually do) without the marker showing. Oh well. Small price to pay. So here's the quilt on the garage:
The gray lines don't show that much from far, I guess, but are pretty strong close up.

I used a sweet print with a vintage vibe for the back fabric--whole cloth, which is pretty unusual for me. 
Hanging a bit unevenly here

And then the washing. First I rinsed the white areas under running water in my bathtub. That made me a bit nervous. Because these strips were precuts, I hadn't prewashed them, and it looked like some of the colors were starting to run. (Red, green and yellow, I'm looking at you.) But when the marked parts were thoroughly wet, I put the quilt in the wash with my usual detergent and two lingerie bags with four dye catching sheets in each. I washed on cold/gentle with an extra rinse, and when I took the quilt out of the washer, all of the gray was gone and so was the extra dye I had seen. Yippee!! I dried the quilt on low, and it came out in perfect condition. 

So it was time for more photos. 
As you can see, I had (once again) gotten carried away with dense quilting. With the shrinkage (maybe a little more than usual because I hadn't prewashed the fabric), the flowers pretty much disappeared and I got mostly crinkly texture. I could have just done stipple quilting for the same effect. Oh well. Trying out the markers was great fun and a big success, so I'm glad I did it. And maybe the quilt will relax a bit as it's used and show those flowers a bit more. One thing I do like is the contrast of the dense columns and the more minimally quilted prints. Neat feel. 

My initials and the date are hidden below. Pretty sure they'll be my secret in all those crinkles.

Now the stats: 
Pattern: Variation of the Strip and Flip Baby Quilt on Cluck Cluck Sew
Fabrics: Amorette 40 Karat Crystals by Kaye England for Wilmington Prints; mystery white fabric; Quilting Treasures Bleeker Street (backing); Amberley Dark Peony Gingham by Brenda Riddle Designs for Moda (binding)

Batting: Warm and Natural 
Thread: Superior-- Masterpiece in Granite for piecing; King Tut in White Linen for quilting; Treasure in Old Lace for hand stitching binding.
Marking for FMQ: Crayola Ultra Clean Washable Marker in Gray
Binding: 2 1/2 inches cut, double layer, machine sewn to front and hand stitched on back
Size: 62 by 64 inches, pieced; forgot to measure after quilting, but I don't think it changed much; 58 by 58 1/2 inches after machine washing and drying.  
Machines: Singer Featherweight for piecing; Singer Treadle 115 for walking foot and freemotion quilting.

So what did I learn from this quilt? 
--I loved using those Crayola markers for planning my FMQ! I will definitely do that again.
--If I'm going to keep quilting so densely--probably will, because it's fun--I will need to keep expecting texture, not pattern, in the finished quilt.
--I still prefer to choose my fabrics from multiple lines, but precuts are easy to sew for a quick project. And they are a good way to purchase fabric when I'm on vacation and want to support little quilt shops. 
--I really need to keep better notes while I'm working so I can accurately record my measurements when I'm finished with a project. Given my quilting history, probably not going to happen, though. 

This might be it for me for my H2H projects this year. I still have a bundle of fat eighths that I won in the giveaway last year. I think I'll use that in my next project, but it's still in the thinking/planning stage. I also want to make a little whole cloth quilt. I'll still donate them, but probably after May. If I do get one done, I'll link it up at the party. 

I'll see you again for the party the week of May 19. I probably should have saved this for then, but it's easier to share this now before I lose even more details. (Ha!) And now I can get on to something else.

I hope your H2H projects are going well if you are participating this year. Have fun quilting!

Here's the link to the H2H check-in with Sarah this week at Confessions of a Fabric Addict. Be sure to go over there and drool over all the quilty goodness.

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


Terri said...

Your quilt is springy and upbeat. Just right for H2H. Love it.

Vicki in MN said...

I love it and think you arranged it just fine. Thanks for sharing about the marking pen, I'll check out her tute.

Linda said...

I love everything about this quilt, and the backing is wonderful. Your quilting! Oh I love the contrast between the straight lines and the floral. I've got to check out those markers. It would be a great relief to me to have something to follow in FMQ. I get very tense when I do it, although I do enjoy it.
I know exactly how you feel about walking into a fabric store. I can't wait to get there, and then I can't decide. Too much choice! So the precuts are perfect.

PaulaB quilts said...

You ended up with a charming quilt and a lot of good lessons learned. I’ve worked with pre-cuts and have found the uneven measurements in the strips. The only way to deal with it is like you did by lining up one age and chopping off the rest.

Kathleen said...

What a great quilt for H2H and will be well loved by its new owner. I am glad you tried the markers and liked them. I will add a few to my stash to experiment too - I had heard before these were great. Love the more elaborate quilting in the white, maybe a pale thread color next time to give it more emphasis but keep the quilting dense?

Mari said...

What a happy quilt! It will be perfect for H2H. I'm always in awe of the quilting you do on a treadle. This time I'm in awe of your bravery with the marker! I would have been too scared to do it. It's a lovely finish--congratulations!

Louise said...

Oh, it turned out so sweet and inviting! I love the soft colors and all the yummy texture. Thank you so much for your step by step description of using the markers. I can totally see how that would be easier on sore shoulders (a problem I have, too.) Not having to squint ahead to see what happens next must have been so much simpler. Also very useful to read that a stipple would have ended up having about the same final look! Sometimes its fun to do the fancy motif just because you want to, and to also be realistic about how that will look after the kind of washing a comfort quilt will endure :)

Bernie Kringel said...

Great finish Janine!! I love the colors and the choice for backing is so sweet - Most interesting to me is the crinkled finish causing you to lose the shape of the floral motif. I had not really thought about that occurring as a result of quilting densely. So many pretty quilts have such intricate quilting but so often we see these before they are washed. Makes me wonder what some of them look like afterward. It makes sense to quilt like that on a mini which will hang. But on a bed or lap size quilt, maybe not as much?

Jannette said...

What a great quilt! Love your use of some of the strips on the sides - that's a great way to make it wide enough, as well as inserting the solid coloured strips. That made me think about using the Cluck, Cluck, Sew tutorial in a slightly different fashion - how would it look if you made more vertical strips and then stitch them up "bargello style"?
I'm going to look around for a jelly roll and give that a try!

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Sarah Craig said...

Spectacular quilt and quilting, JanineMarie!! Yes, washing takes out some of the definition, but the dense quilting gives it such texture - and it's like a kind of I-Spy to find the pretty designs. Keep up the good work!

Preeti said...

Fast and scrumptious!!! The simple design makes the fabrics shine. Speaking of fabrics - Love the colors - they are reminiscent of a grandma's hug. And speaking of hugging and cuddling, this quilt gets an A+ on the snuggly factor. I am sure it will make someone very happy while keeping them warm :-)

Love Of Quilts said...

Cute as can be!