To be a bit cliché, this shoemaker is a professional Web Developer and her child is this blog, but it was past time to launch what I have of a new design. All the content is still here, everything else is a work in progress (kind of like most of my sewing projects)!
In 2015, I worked my way through some of my oldest unfinished projects, turning boxed-up, almost forgotten fabric into quilts. This second quilt of 2016 is more of the same. This one started life as a pack of 18 fat quarters in February 2011 (my fourth quilt started), and is now a 54×72″ quilt using up almost every bit.
I planned out this nine-patch with a twist, cut all the fabric out, sewed the heart section, and even created all the strip piece components for the blocks, then packed it away. The remaining construction comprised sewing lots of three-patch strips together into nine-patch blocks, then the row and column piecing.
I finally finished the top during a self-designed mini retreat when I found myself spending a snowy vacation day in Utica (thanks to Shelly and Sew Wilde Quilt & Co for providing workspace for me and my machine that day!).
I don’t recall why I purchased the fabric or started this quilt (although I think the inner dialogue may have been “hey, buy, buy, fabric, sale, sale, Fat Quarter Shop, buy, buy buy”). I do vaguely remember wanting to quilt it ambitiously for one of my first few quilts, but can’t pinpoint exactly how. The end is a rather scrappy quilt with very little thought into where each block would go apart from the pieced heart, and quilting that is far beyond anything I’d previously attempted when I cut the first pieces.
The backing and binding are solids that I bought years ago for this quilt. While not my first choice as my style has evolved, I stuck with them to get them out of stash. I considered doing something more complicated in piecing the back together somehow, but I only had the six 2.5″ squares leftover after finishing the top and a nine-patch for my history quilt. The brown reminds me of the ubiquitous brown glazed underlining in Victorian bodices, continuing the theme of old-timey romanticism with the color scheme, heart, and reproduction fabrics.
I quilted a few ghost hearts into the quilt, then did the rest in an orange peel pattern that was simple to pull off with the nine-patch construction of the quilt (although far from perfect). It seems appropriate that the orange peel quilting looks like exes and ohs. The hearts are quilted in two shades of pink, while the orange peel is mostly beige with a few pink highlights.
I used wool batting for the first time since my War of 1812 Challenge quilt, and am not sure what I feel about it. It is wonderful to cuddle under during winter here in VT, but I’m not sold on the texture and drape of the finished quilt. I’m also worried about washing this one, uncertain how the Quilter’s Dream will react.
As my mother very bluntly noted on an in-progress social media post, the colors and design of this quilt are really not “me”. Yet I’d count it as one of my favorites. There’s just something about it that makes me happy, and it’s pretty apropos to the time of year. I foresee it being my quilt of choice here at home until spring comes around. That is, if Moof doesn’t keep stealing it.
At the start of the year, I made a resolution to address all of my works in progress in one way or another. I cheated in a few ways (mostly unintentionally), as I only listed quilt projects and accidentally left off one entire quilt. Then, I spent most of the spring not sewing anything at all.
I haven’t made as much of a dent as I’d hoped, considering it’s the start of September (even my mid-year progress report is behind), but I have whittled down the list.
High-school T-shirt quilt—I pieced the entire top together in July, and the backing is in the mail. Status: plan to finish by the end of the year.
EPP Crosses (née Farmer’s Wife)—I’ve continued to slowly piece these EPP blocks together, although months go by between times I work on it. Status: long-term project, no estimated finish date.
Witches Bubble Brew—I sewed the background together, and added embroidery to the concept. There’s still a ton of qpplique and quilting to do. Status: plan to readdress in 2016.
Meta History quilt—I scavenged the scrap bin for 2.5″ squares from older projects, made sure I have squares from all of my recent projects, and modified my plan a bit. Now, the squares have a dedicated home and I’m committed to adding squares of the scraps of each quilt to this box before I call a project “done”. Status: long-term project, no estimated finish date.
Miniatures 9-patch—I’ve been using the strip-pieced chunks as leaders and enders for another project, and have 75% of the blocks finished. I can’t find the heart section that I pieced 5 years ago, so that will keep me from finishing until I figure out where I put it. Status: blocked, plan to finish by 2/2016 one way or another.
I’m working on a bucket list for quilting, more for my sanity to get it down on paper and out of my brain than for public consumption. The #1 item is to finish the myriad projects I’m already working on. Some are whiling away in boxes, some I am actively working on. It’s gotten a little out of control; I have eight!
Even when you strip piece, it takes forever to cut out the bits needed for a 54″×72″ nine-patch. (In other words, not a whole lot of actual sewing has happened this week.)
But cutting out and constructing this quilt prompted a thought to ask you about: are you extremely judicious about cutting with as little waste as possible or do you vote for speed and efficiency, figuring you can use the scraps for something else, no matter how small?
When I cut out the half-square triangles for the nine-patch, I made sure to cut them to exact measurements rather than doing them so that one half was waste (for that project, at last) like I’ve seen some tutorials show. I’d like to say that I did this because I needed to make sure my FQ pack would stretch as far as possible, but that’s only part of the issue. I really am just crazy about trying to fit everything into as little fabric as possible. It works great for sartorial and historical sewing, but am I just making things hard on myself in the quilting world?
So, wise ones, what approach do you take? Some grey-area “depends on the project” approach? What makes you decide to cut down from a larger block, or cut exact measurements?
I spent some time working on two different projects this weekend: a quilt and a vest.
On Friday, I received my order of a 18 fat quarter pack of Miniatures by Julie Hendrickson for Windham Fabrics (ordered from Fat Quarter Shop). I wasn’t planning on starting on the quilt from it for a while—I already have some of the pieces for another cut out, but once I received the fabric, I just couldn’t help but listen to the creative voices in my head yelling about what to do with it, going all oooh, ahh, how romantically-colored.
The plan is just a pretty basic strip-pieced nine-patch with a twist or two thrown in. Stay tuned for more on that. For now, I spent time cutting out the 2 ½” strips needed for the strip piecing. Some day I’ll have a dining room and a dining room table—or better yet a dedicated sewing room—that makes cutting out strips easier on my back. Ouch.
Why a simple nine patch?
I want something deliriously simple after the bargello.
The fabrics make me think “old-fashioned and traditional,” and you don’t get much more traditional than a nine-patch/postage-stamp-esque quilt.
I want really quick blocks so that this can get finished in between my applique class project, the vest, and another quilt I’m already working on.
Outside the realm of quilting, a friend wanted a copy of a wool vest he owns that has seen many better days. So, I’m working on that. To do so, I had to make a copy of the existing vest without taking it apart.
Here’s how I did it: I draped my coffee table with a towel (for cushioning/pinning loft), then craft paper taped over that. Then I just pushed pins through the seam lines and important parts of the vest which gives me a line to trace. I didn’t take photos all the way through the process, but here is one of the front sides partially done:
Then, I used the resulting pattern to make a muslin pattern. That’s where it stands. I’ll start constructing the real vest this week.