Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Spring Break - Update 4

I'm well on my way to meeting my Spring Break completion goals.

I have finished the 1/2 of the NH Ashley quilt.  Here's what it looks like from the back.  (Oops, I see the flower on the lower right needs some more stitching. )  I'll work more on the other half once my other goals are met.  My green thread solution worked well.

I cut out the fabric and sewed up blocks 4 & 5 of the Pinwheel Party.  You can see all those pics on my Flicker page.  Since the pattern is for a crib-sized quilt, I'm making 2 of each of the 12 blocks, then will have to repeat or make up about 6 more in order to make it Full/Queen size for my nephew David.  It's a block per week quilt-along...and I'm currently caught up.

Next on the completion list was turning the columbine blocks into a quilt top.  Finished up before supper time and ran outside while the sun was shining (between storms) to snap this picture.  Unfortunately, the wind was still blowing which distracted me from the fact that my shadow is covering the right corner.  Oh well.  Hoped to get this done sooner, but lost the strips I'd already cut for the sashing...then found them and discovered some were the wrong size.)  I'm pleased with how fantastic the Hoffman Batik looks.  Couldn't have found a better fabric than those wildflowers!  Plan is to machine quilt this one in random width vertical stripes.  I keep changing my mind on how much detail I want to quilt into the individual blocks.

I have the bindings cut, pressed and ready to apply  for the Double Irish Chain and my daughter's purple quilt.       Was waiting to finish the piecing steps before I changed to the walking foot.   Also prepped the rest of my Josephs Coat blocks, by tracing the design on the back of each of the foundation pieces - ready for basting the last 14 blocks (OK...technically 17 b/c there are 3 from the last set I haven't finished).

Tomorrow's goals:  binding, machine quilting, baste some JC blocks.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Spring Break - Update 3

Limited quilting Sunday b/c of the ride...but did finish the echo quilting that is on all the pink section.  Need to go buy groceries and green thread.

Mid-day update:  The green/lime hand quilting thread no longer exists.  Not a surprise as I think I bought the spool I have on clearance.  After much debate, I passed up the multi-green poly blend thread and just bought an extremely bright green cotton thread.  Works just fine with some bee's wax.  Figure it will shrink more evenly with the other cotton thread and cotton batting when I wash it.  About 1/3 done with the outer border (of the 1/2 I'm working on).  
Bought lots of fresh fruit and seafood, figuring that if I needed to feed the family, I don't want food prep time to cut into my quilting time. :)  

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Spring Break - Update 2

I spent all day Saturday quilting.  Never even got out of my PJ's.  Now THAT's a vacation.

Made great progress on the NH Ashley quilt (Garden of Stitches, Lisa Bongean - Primitive Gatherings).  I have been working on in 4 quarters, to make it more manageable for lap quilting.  Yesterday, was the process of connecting 2 sections, then quilting the connection section.  I was feeling quite pleased with my progress about 11 am, but by evening was only seeing what still needed to be done, rather than what was finished (the whole half empty/half full thing).  I'm also going to run out of the varigated green/lime thread I've been using on the border.  Still deciding if I need to buy more, or find something in the stash that will work.

I think that another long day or several evenings will get this 1/2 done.  But today, the sun is shining and it's supposed to get to 65 degrees.  Going to bundle up and hop on the back of the Harley for a date with the hubby.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Spring Break - Update 1

We're staying home for spring break, and the weather is predicted to be cold and rainy.   This is my opportunity to catch up on all those things that I started over Christmas break...and that need to be finished by Summer.  My goal by week end:  Finish 2 quilts - The SD Ashley Double Irish Chain (needs binding and some missing stitching), and the black silhouette columbine quilt (needs piecing, machine quilting & binding).  Get to the next cut-off point for the Joseph's Coat quilt (35 blocks).  Have at least 1/2 of the NH Ashley quilt completely quilted (Have 3/4 of the field quilting done, but need to join, do the joining quilting, and the outside border).   I really need to finish that one so I can start another that needs to be finished by May 15...but I'm not sure my hands will hold up to that much hand quilting in such a short time.   I may also have to work on some piecing projects, as there are 3 other quilts I want to finish by July 1, and I'm going to have to take breaks from the hand quilting.

First update  is for the JC.  Here are blocks 26-32.  I have the final 3 toward the cut-off started.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Joseph's Coat Progress Report

I have little to report  as PROGRESS on this project since my post a month ago, since I haven't worked on it at all.  But Kellie has asked us to all post updates...so here's the synopsis.

I have 25 blocks finished and ready to piece together, a fact that is unchanged from January 5th.  I am in the process of working on 11 more blocks which,  when completed, will be the next 3 rows.  I have all the background and joining pieces nicely pressed and ready for action.

I like to work on this project while watching TV, which is why I got so much done in the Fall:  I'm a fan of (American) football.  I thought I'd get more done during the Olympics, but finished working on a number of other projects instead (see blog entries re: original columbine blocks, and the 2 Ashley quilts).  If I know that I'll be sitting in a waiting room (doctor appointments, etc), I'll tuck a square or two into a Ziplock bag to take along.  And every few months, I have to attend an all day staff meeting, with a group that is not offended if I do handwork.  I also knew going into this semester, that I would not have any spare time in the evenings, which is one of the reasons I tried to get so far ahead over Christmas break. (I'm a consultant and teach a university course as adjunct faculty.)  With no plans for Spring Break, except relaxing, I hope to increase my "finished" count to 36.  And I'll be finishing this bad boy in May/June (when my classes end, but my daughters are still in school).

Admittedly, I have not been following Kellie's directions exactly.  I couldn't afford the fuseable at the time the project started, and I'm too lazy to do the freezer paper.  I used the back-basting needle turn approach.  This saves me a ton of time with the fuse, glue and positioning steps.  The "up" side, is that I save several hours per block this way, and my points are perfect.  The "down" side is that the points aren't perfectly symmetrical, and the joining step is a little more fussy.  I blogged on those steps in January.   Also, because I'm picking the fabric colors as I go, I have to be more thoughtful about distributing the fabrics evenly, and b/c it's a scrap/stash quilt, there are a few fabrics I'm having to save for the final 2 rows, so things look a little more even.   I find it best to baste & applique 3 alternating center petals first.  This decreases the amount of bulk of fabric hanging around at the center.  Then I baste & stitch the other 3 center petals. The 3rd round is the outer 6.  I prefer to work on 6-10 blocks at once (the exact # usually determined by the next goal cut-off).   I typically work one color at a time, across the stack of blocks.  That way I don't have to continually switch thread colors.

One thing that I hadn't planned, but worked out very well, is that I took the project with me to several social gatherings, and let my friends pick out their favorite color combos for the center 6 petals.  This helped me to keep things random.  And if their choices were a bit odd, I'd just balance it out with the outer 6.  Though I can no longer tell who did which, it's fun to think about the fact that a 6 year old picked one set, and another grouping selected by my-husband's-best-friend's-girlfriend.

This quilt is my older daughter's High School graduation quilt.  She is graduating, 9 months early, in August '10.  She picked the fabrics from the stash.  That has been part of my challenge.  I would have NEVER chosen to use this many different colors of fabrics.  And some of her favorites are the ones that I think don't really go with the rest.  Given my druthers, this would have been hot pink or red scraps on black.

I plan to make this a completely reversable quilt...since the last quilt I made for the daughter, lives on the bed backing side up (but mom, I really like this side...)  I plan to take the big pieces that are left and make a filmstrip quilt. I plan to quilt by hand between the petals so the quilting on the back side looks like a field of curved triangles.