WIP–Quilt Frolic

Thanks to Lee for hosting WIP Wednesday, where we can gather round and have a virtual quilt frolic.  Yes.  Quilt Frolic.  According to the book Wild by Design, by Janet Catherine Berlo and Patricia Cox Crew:

“Numerous early-nineteenth-century diaries refer to the fun to be had at an all-day quilt frolic.  We think of ‘quilting bee’ as the term for such an event, but in the early ninteenth century, ‘bee’ was reserved for prosaic tasks, like a corn-husking bee.  ‘Frolic’ more accurately capture the excitement and high spirits of a quilting party.”

So, since I’m writing this at night and I’m in my jammies and I can only use a flash in my sewing room, I present to you my slightly less-than-wonderful photo of: Quilt Frolic!  My husband left for a business trip and our school has a flex day for the full-time teachers, so I get a free day.  And I used it to get this sewn up. My work in progress for this week.  So glad to have it at this point. Part of the reason I’ve been sort of hem-hawing around about it is because it didn’t have a name.

Some thought about this “modern quilt,” titled Rubrik’s Cube in the magazine.  I hate pressing seams open.  Period.  Unless I need to control for bulk or for seaming purposes (think “Y” seam), I’m going to go with pressing them to one side.  Whether it’s an representation of the Modern Quilt movement currently in our lives or a carryover from dressmaking, I don’t know, but I can’t see the value or it, since it didn’t seem to impact my accuracy at all either.  And I missed how the seams “lock” into each other while sewing it (pinning is a pain, but I did it).  Since I have some blocks pressed seams to one side and some blocks pressed open I can compare their look on the wall.  In this particular pattern I can’t really tell the difference unless I get up close.  Can you tell I’ve lived through a lot of quilt cycles and fashions?  Yes, I have.

The piecing of the 9-patch parts of the quilt were one demon short of a nightmare.  Either there was something wrong in the printed directions, or else the way they were laid out was extremely confusing.  Some sort of chart would have been more helpful.  I’ll put one on the blog at some point, for those following in my footsteps.

And for those of you readers who skip over all the text and head straight to photos, here’s a close-up, still in “terrible nighttime picture mode.”  I had been purchasing lots of Amy Butler and large-scale prints for a long while, and even after I piece the back out of that collection, I’ll still have. . . well. . . probably enough for another quilt or two.  Anyone else ever over-buy fabric?

I’m sure that’s like asking if the sky is blue.

Here’s a good morning shot of the quilt–much better lighting.

Click *here* to return to Freshly Pieced Fabrics and Lee’s fab quilt-frolicky blog.  Happy Piecing!

WIP–Ready, Start, Resew!


Thanks to Lee at Freshly Pieced Fabrics, who allows us to totally reveal what clutzoid quilters we can be on her WIP Wednesdays.  Read on.

Okay, so this is the plan.  (I think I say that a lot.)  I saw this Rubik’s Crush quilt a year or so ago and it finally came out in a magazine (photo above) and I finally got it cut out, and tonight (roll the drums) I finally found an hour that someone hadn’t asked for and sat down to sew.  Usually I’d sit down and read blogs (because usually I’m tired at night) but it was either sew or read.

I should have read.

I got out my trusty-dusty quilty book, with all its pages and laid out the squares and the little rectangles that go in between.  I sew.  Somewhere in the back of my mind was a nag: check your seam allowances.  I promptly ignored that little voice because I was listening to RadioLab’s podcast about Games and it was way more fascinating than what was going on in my head.  Sew sew sew.

Then Ashley, of Film in the Fridge Fame (love that alliteration–we’ve been doing poetry in my classes) says in her instructions to press open all the seams.

What A Pain.  A Royal Pain.

But I’m good at following directions, so I do this with eight billion little seam allowances because I want to be a Modern Quilt Artist when I grow up.  Oh yes, and whatever Ashley says, I’m gonna do.

I lay out all the cross-strips and all of sudden I realize that I’m a good half-inch longer in my block strips than is the cross strip.  I measure the cross strip.  It’s cut accurately.  This is not what I wanted to realize.  Because that leads to the conclusion that I now have to resew all those seams.  I’m only off by a thread or two.  I can restitch those seams.  That’s not hard.  (Yes, there is another solution, but I don’t see that there is, so I charge ahead.  Keep reading.)

I start resewing.  And if you think I’m unpicking the first seam so I can press everything open again, you are pretty much nuts.

So I press them all to one side.  I know what this will do to the look of my quilt, because I wrote about pressing/ironing/sculpting seams and all that in the post just below (go look if you want to see an unclothed ironing board).  My blocks will have definition.  They will have some ridges.  They won’t be flat, modern-looking blocks.  I won’t be cool like Ashley.

So I have three inner-parts sewn now.  I have to make 17 of these and I have probably have nine squares in transit.  I’m really seriously considering disobeying Ashley’s instructions and making my centers 8″.  The quilt will probably recover from this gross error.  I may not recover if I have to sew eight billion (minus three blocks) teensy little seams again.  I have discovered the other solution: recut the center strips.

What would you do?  Cut new center strips and move forward?  Restitch?  That sound you hear is me banging my head against the wall as I grade student quizzes, so there’s just no room inside my brain for solutions to serious quilt dilemmas.   I could really use your advice.

WIP–New Projects


Lee!  The ever fabulous Lee! has hosted us all, once again, on her blog Freshly Pieced.  Many thanks!

I always seem to have billions of things I want to quilt, to sew, but somehow don’t think to mention them on this blog.  Not that I’m going to start right now because I have to leave for school in 10 minutes and I haven’t eaten lunch nor brushed my teeth.  I DID finish the grading, though.

But what I did pull out and work on this week was my version of Rubrik’s Crush by Ashley, of Film in the Fridge.  I’ve loved this ever since she showed it on her blog in a sneak peek, so I waited until it was published to get my hands on her pattern.  It’s a perfect way to show off large-scale prints, yet still have that patchworky feel to the quilt. So I started cutting it out.  I got ONE square cut out before I had to stop and move on to other things.  Pathetic?  Not really, because at least I STARTED.

Where she used Horner’s line of fabrics, I’ve had some Amy Butler Love fabrics lingering in my closet. Plus a few others.

The other thing I’ve been working is my Quilt Journal.  It’s been a long process getting the photos ready for this book, getting the book ready (as per my father’s advice, I had a larger spiral added to the spine).  I gathered up all the photos I took–one of which involved a trip to Arizona–and bugged/pleaded/asked the other children for photos of the quilts I had made.  My eldest son Chad (shown here holding an Amish Sunshine and Shadow quilt) and I photographed quilts in the conference room at his work (no one was around, nor using it).  I’ve tried to only include completed quilts in this process, but a couple of tops crept in.  A few quilts are gone forever, with no photos, only memories.  They are also listed.

It was interesting writing about the quilts that I’d made over 35 years ago, and about how much came back to my memory–the feelings, the frustrations.  Each quilt has two pages: the first one with its number (keyed to a master list) and the “verso” where I show the back and include any extraneous photos or details.  Writing in this, and sticking in the photos, is an especially satisfying venture.

My total count at this point?  91. If I get going on this Rubrik’s Crush quilt (or the Christmas quilt–see snapshot below), I’ll have some more to add to my list.

This is my goal.

Hooray! Blues Top Completed

Here it is, hanging over our stair banister, all complete.  Today’s task is to sew the backing (it’s the same fabric as the “fans” just up from the bottom on the very right) and take it over to Cathy, my quilter.

There’s a nice rhythm to piecing a quilt like this: rows and rows and stacks and stacks of squares slide under the presser foot to become a bed covering.  I like the complex quilts, like the Christmas Star.  I also like more artsy quilts like Provence (Lyon Carolings is the real name), where the play of fabric becomes the focal point.

Piecing a one-patch is kind of like vacuuming the house, I think, but certainly in a more enjoyable way.  It’s not fancy, nor particularly noticeable, but when the whole house has been vacuumed it gives off a certain pleasure of being clean, ship-shape if you will, or perhaps even just being done for another few days.  My life has lots of corners like that.  Getting the make-up on when only running a few errands outside the house.  Cleaning off the computer desk.  Finishing a good book. Writing daily in the journal.

It’s the acculumation of patches that makes this quilt, just like it’s the accumulation of tiny tasks that make up a life.  None seem particularly noteworthy on their own, but the bits, pieces, squares, and patterns make the whole.  Make it complete.

Orange Red Pink Zeitgeist

The zeitgeist in the online quilt world this past few weeks seems to be nine-patches framed by white sashing. I see it everywhere. Here, and . . .
. . .here, and . . .

. . . here. I’ve also seen a lot of pink-orange-red combos. So I looked at my stash and decided I had a few pieces that would qualify.

I laid them out on the ironing board.

I cut them into 3 1/2″ squares (finished 9″ blocks are planned), then randomly pieced them together in strips.

Here’s a few, slapped up on the pin wall.