Cross-X Swap, January Update

KristaDecOct Blocks

Krista sent me these too close to Christmas to post (and besides, no one was reading any blogs that week anyway), so here they are on the New Year, now that we’ve all put away our decorations, celebrated, vacuumed and have actually resumed some sense of order in our lives.  Or at least pretend we have.

CrossX all Together 12_13

We are in the (I can never get this right) the Plus and X Friendship Swap.  Or the X and Plus Swap.  I just call it the Cross-X swap, as noted in the title, and all our blocks — thus far swapped — are on my pinwall, above.  Cool, huh?

Cross-X So FarB

As of this post, she is all caught up, but I’m now 4 blocks behind for January.  I can just hear her saying “Neener, neener, neener!”  I’ll catch up, Krista, I promise.  I notice that usually we try to make the background all the same, but in her blocks sent for January, she’s varied the backgrounds.  I’m trying to decide if I like her new twist, but she’s very creative and a really wonderful swap partner, so I need to be open to new ideas.  We try to blog the last Fridays of each month and hey–it’s only the 10th, and I need to get out several blocks promised for a cooperative group quilt, two bee blocks, and I’m working really hard on my Amish With A Twist-2 quilt, too.

Quilt Frolic_front

Quilt Frolic has a new home. During Christmastime, all our children and grandchildren came home, and my youngest, Peter, and his wife, Megan, stayed with us the entire week while waves of family moved in and out of the two other available rooms.

Quilt Frolic_binding

I had this quilt on their bed, and one morning Megan was relating a conversation she had with Peter about how much she like this quilt.  “I mean, I really like it,” she said.  And she asked my son if she thought she could, like, borrow it, or even have it.

Quilt Frolic_back

Megan, that is music to a quilter’s ears!  I gave it to her on the spot.  I was thrilled that she liked it well enough to want it, and I think she was thrilled to take it home.  Megan really liked the fabrics in it–a combo of Amy Butler and some Anna Maria Horner–a kind of fabric that suits Megan well.  She did get it into her teensy little carryon for the trip across the United States, to their home on the East Coast.

Quilt Frolic_label

I am glad that this quilt has gone to someone who loves it!

Quilt Frolic, some thoughts

Home stretch time.

Here’s the quilt top, hanging over the upstairs stair rail.

And here’s the backing hanging over the rail.  I’ve spent most of the afternoon on this.  Do you sometimes feel that making an elaborate back is as much work as the front?  And while I do like the idea of pieced backs (I do it quite often) I also REALLY like it when I can stretch out a swatch of Merimekko fabric and just cut out a back in about 20 minutes. Not 3 hours.  I had to add some Kaffe Fasset trees on the bottom of the quilt, as I’m saving some of my Amy Butlers for a travel bag.  And the trees were just hanging around and given the price I paid for them some time ago, pretty economical.  I really have to think hard when the price tag on a yard of quilt fabric is $12.  I must admit, I have walked away more than I might have in the past.

I mentioned yesterday that I would post a chart to help keep straight the cutting for this quilt.
Click here to download a PDF file: Quilt Frolic cutting directions

I am not interested in giving away Ashley Newcomb’s fine design, originally titled “Rubik’s Crush,” so you will find that you’ll need the magazine  “101 Patchwork Projects and Quilts 2011″ to help you complete the quilt.  My chart is ONLY for clarity for those who want to make this quilt.  Once the cutting difficulties are figured out (the chart should help) it goes together really quickly.  I’m quite fond of this quilt!

Note: if requested by either of the above mentioned parties, I will remove the PDF, and you’ll have to contact me by email for my tips.  Leave a comment and I will respond.

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.