Monday, March 18, 2024

SAHRR 24 Parade

Let me start by saying that I don't do mystery quilts. I don't usually like making something I can't visualize at least in a general way, and I have trouble picturing how fabrics are going to work together if I don't know how they will be arranged. And let's face it, I just don't like not having control over a design. But this--this! I have found the kind of mystery I'm comfortable with. We started this online project with a block or panel of our choice and then added borders or whatever according to prompts each week given by one of the hosts. These kinds of quilts used to be made by making a beginning block and then shipping it off to others to add to as a round robin. I think that some fabric might have been sent along with to keep some cohesiveness in the quilt. (You can imagine the kind of control angst I would have with that kind of mystery and group project.) But during the pandemic, I think, Quilting Gail had the idea for makers to keep the quilt at home and complete it themselves using prompts from other quilters. A Stay At Home Round Robin (SAHRR). Perfect for those of us with control issues. It's become a yearly tradition. And I LOVED it. It was the perfect project to give me the control I wanted but to also challenge me to improvise and design something according to unexpected parameters. 

I’m kind of sad to be all done  But it’s also fun to have a finish I can share. If you want to read more details about the making of this quilt, you are welcome to check out the posts of the last few weeks with the label SAHRR 2024 on the right side bar or at the bottom of this post. I'll hit the highlights here. First some garage photos, because that's how I always document what I've made.

Warm, sunshiny weather! (but a little breezy)

Yup, that back is the same little floral I used on the front. I just happened to find it at the big box store where I bought the original fabric. I had ordered the earlier piece, but there just happened to be a bolt end at the store a few weeks ago, and I snapped it up. I really have enjoyed using this print in quilts over the last few years. Sadly, it's no longer available online (and I just read that that store is struggling and in Chapter 11,which explains a lot about supply issues), so I guess this is the end of it except for a piece I have leftover now after piecing the back. I actually bought enough for two quilts because I have another top that I finished while making this quilt, so you will see it once more in my next post. It's a tiny print, but I did match the seam just because. And buying the amount for two quilts was really practical. I bought 3 quilt lengths worth. I usually buy 2 lengths for one quilt and have quite a bit leftover.

I chose an allover freemotion meander for the quilting. Simple, as there was already so much going on in the pattern. And frankly, I was ready for a quick finish once all the fun of the designing each week was over. I know, some quilters would have had a much more exciting method using custom quilting for each section, but that's not me. And by meandering, I could also avoid any thick intersections. So, let's take a quick peek at the different sections and prompts. I made most of my borders about 6 inches wide, using plain (coping) borders along with the ones that were prompted. From the beginning, I decided to put my starting block off center, with two borders for each round--most of them on the right side and bottom of the quilt. (These photos were all taken after washing, so there's lots of texture.)

First, the center block. I made this during an online color workshop with Rachel Hauser during the pandemic.

Border 1: Signature block, prompted by Wendy at Pieceful Thoughts (I'm going to link to the home pages of the quilters so you can see some of their other projects). I pieced my blocks for more color variety. 

Border 2: 2 colors, prompted by Anja Quilts. I chose black and white, which became sort of a theme for the rest of the quilt. 

Border 3: Triangles, prompted by Emily of The Darling Dogwood. I made flying geese with a reverse palette of background color for the geese.

Border 4: Square in a square, prompted by Brenda at Songbird Designs. This was fun, as I had already included one in the corner of the previous border and dreamed of making more someday.

Border 5: "4," prompted by Gail of Quilting Gail, the genius behind the SAHRR idea. I chose to make groups of 4 colored squares separated by a white square. (I also put another signature block in the corner.)

Border 6: Numbers or letters, prompted by Kathleen of Kathleen McMusing. I really wanted to make scallops and figured they looked like abstract letters (D's, U's, backward C's? Take your pick.)

And then there was also my signature of quilted initials and date in that border, which also fulfilled the prompt nicely. I usually use a blended color so that they don't really show to anyone but me, but since this related to the prompt, I used turquoise this time.

Thanks so much to all of these women for setting this whole project up with the thought provoking prompts and linky parties so we could all share our tops. There were so many variations by lots of quilters. And it was a blast to touch base with each other and learn from each other as we designed our tops.

I'll end with some photos and other tidbits about the quilt. It's mud and grime season here, so not many places to take photos outside.
My quilt finished at 53 1/2 inches square after piecing, 52 1/2 inches square after quilting, and 50 inches square after washing. 
I only bought batting (Hobbs 80/20) and the backing. The rest of the fabric was from what I had on hand. Bigger pieces were mostly from the cut-offs of previous quilt backs or backgrounds. 
I used a combination of traditional piecing and foundation paper piecing (which kept the dimensions fairly even). 
I used binding a bit wider than usual, starting with strips cut 2 5/8 inches wide.

I used Superior Masterpiece thread in Granite for piecing, King Tut in Temple for quilting and Treasure in Old Lace for hand quilting the binding. 
My machines were Featherweight for piecing and Singer 115 treadle for quilting. 

If you haven't been regularly following the progress of the SAHRR, I hope you will be able to find a little time to at least check out the linky party with the parade of all of our finishes at Quilting Gail's blog. And if you ever have the opportunity to join such a project, I hope you will consider it. It is such a flexible type of project that you will surely find a way to make it in a way that is as comfortable or as challenging as you'd like.
I'll be donating this quilt soon to (I hope) cheer a recipient through it's whimsical design, uplifting colors, and cozy hug.

(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, March 1, 2024

SAHRR 24 Border 6

Tada! We are finished with our Stay at Home Round Robin (SAHRR) quilt tops, fun projects hosted by Quilting Gail and friends. This final prompt is from Kathleen of Kathleen McMusing: letters and numbers. So many ways to do this--fabric printed with those symbols, blocks that have some sort of shape in them that is a letter or number, actual pieced symbols, labels. Well, I have a confession to make. I already had an idea for this round, and I just needed to make it fit the prompt. Is that cheating? See what you think. 

I had some idea in mind that I wanted something curvy after all of the sharp angles. Specifically, scallops. Not sure exactly why, but anyway, that's what I wanted to do. A bit unexpected maybe, but I knew the colors would fit in with the rest of the quilt. At first I was a bit thrown when the prompt showed up on Monday. How was I going to link the prompt with my idea? I started thinking about abstract alphabet fonts and how they have just a suggestion of a letter. Let's see. Scallops along the bottom could be U's. Oh, that works. (Incidently, my family name before marriage starts with a U.) And then I thought the shapes along the right side could be backward C's. And then I saw a TV commercial for a movie out this week and noticed that the letters in the logo of the title were abstract letters, including D. Oh yeah, my shape is a D, not a backward C. Well okay then. And I was off cutting and sewing. 

Good thing I was feeling mostly better than I had in the last week or so, but I still had bit off maybe more than I could chew. So I just chewed really slowly. This took several days to do. I returned to some really old school designing and cutting. I drew my scallops on graph paper, added seam allowance and traced them out onto cardboard for templates. I added an extra 1/4 inch all around the outside edge to give myself enough trimming room. I traced around the templates with pencil and cut them out freehand using my rotary cutter. (Not quite old school with that last step. In the old days I would have used scissors.) I'm not sure I've ever made half-circle blocks before, but that didn't stop me. I had first thought of making 1/4-circles and seaming them, but that seemed like way to many seams. I just worked super slowly. The finished blocks were to be 2 by 4 inches, a little tight, but I got there. 

Remember I was thinking of a 4-inch border of the black and white print last week? I changed my mind in the end and made a three inch border instead. That way I didn't have to do any extra piecing (although one side already had a well-matched seam as it was the cut-away of a previous quilt backing). Then I surrounded the scallop border with 1-inch finished dotted borders, and ended with a floral border that finishes at 2 1/2 inches and echos the edge of the border in the first round. 

The top finished at 53-1/2 inches square, up from 44-1/2 inches last week. Now all I need to do is remove foundation paper from some of the blocks, give the top a good pressing, prewash and seam the backing, figure out how to quilt this whimsical little top (the hardest task for me in quilt-making), quilt it, and cut and sew the binding. We will be sharing our quilts the week of March 18. Think I can get it done by then? 

Thanks, Kathleen, for a prompt that I could fit into my vision for the last round. Oh, and in case my version of "letters or numbers" doesn't fly with you, I do plan to quilt my initials and date somewhere, which is my way of signing my quilts, so there's that. 

TIme to check out all the other tops at Kathleen's linky party. Meet me there, okay?