Thursday, January 29, 2015

Puzzler Borders

Puzzler blocks are all finally finished and the first border (dark one) added. I finished this while on a quilt retreat with my quilting group last week. The next border will be the turquoise one seen on the right side of the quilt top in the photo above.  After that will be the final one, the Kaffe Fassett "Big Blooms" in the brown coloration seen previously here. I was able to shop the stash of one of my quilt buddies and found the perfect fabric. Thanks, Linda!

I have been adding sleeves and labels to the six quilts that will be entered into our guild's show in March. Not much else going on here.

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Utility Sewing

I have been doing a lot of what I would call utility sewing. Our guild's quilt show is coming up in about eight weeks. I have entered eight quilts and every single one needs a hanging sleeve. One needs a bit more quilting and the binding as well. And then, there are two large quilts that just went off to the longarmer this week. I have been promised that they will be done in plenty of time for me to add binding, hanging sleeves, and labels in time for the show.

Last year I put together blocks made by elementary school children. I mentor one day a week in a public school. The project was led by the school's art teacher and was inspired by the book, "Sweet Clara's Freedom Quilt." This week I finally got it quilted and bound.The story is about a young slave girl who sews a quilt with secret map blocks that will aid slaves escaping to freedom. Quilt historians have pooh-poohed this idea and really, if you have ever seen one of the rare extant slave quilts, you will see why. Roughly made from homespun fabrics that resemble slightly refined burlap,  they are utilitarian through and through. There is no historical evidence whatsoever to support this fantasy. Nonetheless, here is the quilt with blocks designed by the students.

I have also been working on putting "The Puzzler" together. My small group of quilting buddies made the blocks for this quilt over a year's time. Each block has a bit of the inspiration fabric in it that we all used to get us started. The quilt show registrar has said that we need more quilts for the show and I was trying to get this finished in time. But don't like to be rushed, because then I just throw stuff together and regret it later, so this will probably not be in the show.

I gave up making the blocks on time at some point, and needed three more out of the 12 in the pattern. One has been made, but I still need to make three more. They are two of the three blocks in the next row, so work has been halted on the layout until they get made. Peeking out from behind the Puzzler blocks on the lower left is a bit of  Grand Illusion, Bonnie Hunter's 2014 mystery quilt, which has been put on the back burner while working on more pressing things.

I am auditioning border fabrics and the strip on the right is "Big Blooms" by Kaffe Fassett in the brown colorway. I really like it for this project, but wish it had a bit of turquoise in it. Maybe more fabric hunting is in store for me.

Monday, January 5, 2015

One Blue Zebra

This quilt is intended for a friend's grandson. However, after it was finished, I liked it enough to consider showing it in our guild's March quilt show. Little John will have to wait a little bit longer. The fabrics are from the line OrigamiOasis and the pattern is "Starry Migration" by The yellow print with zebras is meant to be fussy cut so as to show only yellow zebras, but I snuck in one blue one, hence the name of the quilt.

I quilted it all over in a 2" square grid with white thread. I had recently seen a video with Katherine Redford about machine quilting with a domestic home sewing machine. One of the techniques featured involved quilting in a spiral. Redofrd advises doing this only after initially quilting in a grid because the circular nature of the quilting can cause the piece to distort. Since the 2" grid was already done, I added a number of the spirals over the grid with yellow thread. The finished size of this quilt is 41" x 53" and I wouldn't recommend trying this with anything much larger because you have to continually turn the quilt around in circles under your needle. This was doable but I wouldn't want to tackle it with anything larger unless you have a pretty large opening to the right of your needle. Some of the new, really large machines would handle a bigger piece. I have a Bernina 560 and this worked well with it.

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Grand Illusion Reveal!

Bonnie posted the reveal of her 2014 mystery quilt, Grand Illusion, at midnight last night. I was able to piece together three of the blocks (two are shown here) plus several of the sashing strips. I had worked out that the 2 x 4 green, white, and black blocks were probably going to be sashing, but the rest was a complete question mark in my mind until the reveal. This is a very happy quilt and the sewing and construction this year is easier than last year's mystery. When you see the overall scheme, the black patches provide a lot of movement in the quilt, almost as though they are handing off one block to the next. Overall I am pleased with the fabrics I have chosen and no complaints about the colors either, as I stayed with Bonnie's suggestions.

UPDATE: This is as far as I got, so this is what I am posting at Bonnie's Monday Link-Up. Click on over and see what her other homies have been up to. Some people have not only finished sewing the quilt top together, but they have quilted their Grand Illusion as well!