Sunday, March 31, 2013

What to do when a plan does not come together.

 St. Augustine's Garden-

 I'm amazed how the simplest thing can take a plan, turn it upside down and send me searching for alternatives. This is a absolutely Lazy Sunday. I can't work on Lazy Sunday Mystery quilt because I don't have the next installment. I can't work on my Craftst BOM because my granddaughter is not here this weekend, and we do that quilt together.

That leaves me searching my Projects on the Tarmac for the next project. I've said before I have no UFO. I mean how can something be a UFO if you never even started it. I do have a bin of fabrics that are set aside for projects I PLAN to start. The fact that it is supposedly spring started me thinking about the Saint Augustine's Garden quilt I  planned to make for my best friend. This quilt pattern is in the 2011 Winter edition of Easy Quilts.

There are three blocks that go together to make one large block in this quilt. And 20 large blocks to complete the quilt.  The red print above is the center of two small blocks. One is framed with the solid green and the other with the solid red. These stack on one another to complete one side of the block.Those are working out as planned. The problem comes from the long block that sits next to these. This block also gets framed by a nice tone on tone fabric. The center of the block is 9 1/2 inches tall, but only 3 1/2 inches wide. I had hoped to use the cottage print below for this tall block, but at only 3 1/2 inches wide it cuts the print up and you lose too much of the pattern.

I changed to the large floral print which is the border and the blocks (that's how the patterns does it). This required a small change in my tone on tone fabric to frame that block. I had the perfect fabric. Unfortunately I needed 1 1/8 yard to frame the blocks. I have 1 yard. So there appears to be a kink in my plan.

What to do? I looked at fabric, took a nap, looked at fabric, made dinner, looked at fabric, had dinner, looked at fabric, watched the end of a movie, looking at fabric and got on the computer. After looking at more fabric I've decided controlled scrappy is good and I've just going to fly by the seat of my yoga pants.
I am going to make blocks of the large floral and the cottage print, and blend them into the quilt. Each will have a different border, but the value is very similiar so I think it will flow rather nicely.

In the book I reviewed last week they talked about the advantage of making extra blocks and testing them as you lay out the finished quilt. I plan to do that with this project. The quilt is strip pieced so I think once I start to sew it will go together pretty fast. I'll do the small squares first. I have already cut the 9 1/2 stripes for the tall blocks. I've also cut my 1 yard of fabric for the border. I'll take that as far as it will go. Then I will cut and piece and cottage fabric for the rest, which will have a different border framing the block.Makes sense. I think.

So new plan. It will be interesting to see if this one comes together.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Juxtapostion-phase II- assembly & Book Review

The reason there are no pictures outside. The reason I have time to sew! I am home from work so I could get my deer fence installed. Obviously not happening today.  This is spring in Cincinnati for ya!

It's been a busy week and weekend of sewing and assembling rows together. At last posting I reported I had ordered Colorful Quilts for Fabric Lovers from Blue Underground Studios. The authors are Amy Walsh and Janine Burke. I am enjoying this book and have learned a few new things about quilting with a "modern edge". This is my first experiencing at ironing my seams open. I like how the authors don't just say do it, but talked about the benefits and what they like about the appearance of seams pressed open. Since I am not nesting seams I used double pins on the seam of the narrow strip. This really did improve accuracy.  In the book they said that you did not have to back stitch your seams because the rows cross each other. However, I found that as I assembled the rows, some of the blocks seams seemed to unravel just a bit, especially the batiks. This made me just a little nervous. The quilt went together great, still I worried about washing and drying and would those seam, loosen up more in the future. So I decided to go ahead and back stitch the seams. The funny thing is I normally don't, but pressing the seams open felt odd, so I decided to assemble on the side of  strength. It really does not take much longer and the last five rows seemed more secure. (Of course that could just be in my head).

Pinning through the middle of the seams.

Seams pressed open so neatly!

Results in a beautifully matched (not perfect though) and neat front
 I am still uncertain about the raspberry fabric. My hubby said it looks fine.The quilt is together, so it's there to stay.  My son saw the quilt and likes it, but his "favorite" fabric is the dark blue in the picture above. My favorite is it's neighbor, the teal with the circles. He also wanted another row added so he can wrap up in it. This gave me the opportunity to make some darker fabric blocks and tone the quilt down a bit. He probably would have preferred something all dark blue and dark green, but I felt I needed some contrast for this pattern to work. Actually for future reference I saw a lovely all blue batik quilt in the book. The pattern is Crossroads. It is very similar to Juxtaposition. The difference is there are three blocks. The narrow strip sits   differently in each block. When assembled some are turned sideways.Very intriguing!  The blocks are also square, rather than the rectangles of this pattern. I have a feeling I may be making this quilt in the future. In reality if I had seen that pattern first I might have made Crossroads instead. However, I will say that there are certain design elements of this quilt that I really like. No regrets here.

Still needs to be quilted.  Amy Wash said that she loaded her quilt sideways on her long-arm so she could accentuate the vertical design. She used a long-line meander and neutral thread as to not distract from the design.I will send mine out. My son likes a dark blue tie dye fabric back on another quilt so I am hoping Sandy still has some. If not I have a back up plan.

Diagonal Dots 108'' Quilt Backing Blue/Purple
Designed by Windham Studios, this 108'' wide quilt backing features an allover dotted design in shades of blue and purple.I think it will be a nice alternative. I found it on
What the quilt will probably look like all crumpled up on my son's couch or floor.

Some words of wisdom from Amy and  Janine's book Color Quilts for Fabric Lovers.:

  • The Power of the seam. Two fabrics stitched together can look different than when they are sitting next to each other. When testing fabrics sew some together to see if you like the appearance.
  • Color is very personal. There are no wrong combination.
  • Have extra fabric on hand, make extra blocks.
  • Use a design wall.(I use the basement floor, but I can't keep my designs there or the cat rearranges them.)
  • Prewash 108" wide-backing fabrics whether it's cotton or batik,as the nature of the size may cause it to shrink differently.. (Never knew this and will prewash in the future.)
  • Detergent can create wear and bleeding. They recommend Orvus Quilt Soap (My bad..I need to go shopping).
  • I am a process oriented person, so I love how they talk about the inspiration for their patterns. I love how they talk about color, fabrics and building your stash.
  • I recommend this book. I think it will be one of my favorite.

Sunday, March 17, 2013


When your son looks at you with his big blue eyes and a crooked grin and says "Mom I would like a another to put in the living room, you know..for the back of the couch...I don't care what colors...except red..well a little red would be hurry" it is hard to resist.

After all this is the son who never really asks for anything. I am actually feeling pleased that he wants another quilt for his home. So his wish got my brain churning as I started to think about the kind of quilt to make The colors are easy. He likes blue, and grey, and blue. He likes clean lines, and designs on the modern side. With that is mind I started browsing Keepsake Quilting catalog. There where several designs that caught my eye, but I decided on Juxtapostion by Amy Walsh of Blue Underground Studios, Inc.

Pattern by Amy Walsh - sitting on my blocks.

. The cover quilt is done in jewel toned batiks. There is one block This quilt will be a throw so I made 160 blocks. I need to knock on wood before I say this, but "it is hard to make a mistake with this quilt". The most important things are cutting right and keeping that 1/4 inch seam.  That said I have not finished it so anything can happen. This weekend I did get 160 blocks made. It is 10 blocks wide and 16 long.

If you have been following this blog you know that Tranquil Waters by Tula Pink was assembled in vertical rows. This quilt's instructions said to do the same. Amy says that this helps keep your narrow strips straight. She also suggested repeating values in some of the narrow strips. I have done this and like the look. I like this pattern so much I got on Amazon and order the book Colorful Quilts for Fabric Lovers. The book is from Blue Underground Studies, Inc. and  published by C&T publishing. I'll report when I get the book.

Something difference is that the instructions say to iron your seams open. I have to say they do press up nice. However I am unsure about how this will help the seams match. Back in the day when I only sewed curtains and clothes I always ironed my seams open. But with quilting I was always taught to iron to the dark fabric and to nest my seams. This has worked well for me. But I am open to new ideas so I am following instructions!

Here is a picture of my squares laid out on the floor. I have to say it's not a good picture and the fabrics seem to fade out. It's a gloomy day and I sew in the basement. so no natural light today.  I am not sure this is my final layout. I will let it sit for a while..maybe make dinner and ask DH for his opinion.. You can get a better idea of the fabric from the close up of the pattern. When I see this picture if have second thoughts about the raspberry. It is much brighter and not so pink in person. I hope it's not to hot for my son's taste. You can see how using blocks where the narrow strips have a similar values creates longer lines in the quilt. I think that is neat.

This is how the quilt lays out. The colors here look horrid. Much better in person.

Closer review of select blocks.

You can see now the narrow stripes carry from block to block.  

 So for now the quilt and I are resting. I'll come back later and decide on the final layout. I'll put the vertical rows together and label them. Hopefully I'll get to start putting it together this week  The jury is still out on the raspberry blocks.It was part of a collection and does pull color from another batik. So anyone got an opinion? Should they stay or go?  Do I really want to make more blocks?  Will I really be okay with it if I don't change it? Maybe I'll just call that son of mine over and have him decide for me.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Bonnie Hunter's Lazy Sunday Mystery Quilt

Okay, I admit it. I am hooked. I had such fun and learned so much from doing Bonnie's Easy Street mystery that when I saw she had a new mystery quilt in Quiltmaker I subscribed to the magazine. The first installment is in the March/April issue.

If you have done any of Bonnie's Mystery quilts on her Quiltville site you have been spoiled. I have a binder of instructions and illustrations from the Easy Street project. In Quiltmaker there is one page of instructions. Yikes I am feeling a little insecure. Bonnie nearly held our hands for Easy Street. After that experience it sort of feels like being thrown into the deep end without swimmies. Nevertheless I am motivated to see this project through to completion.

The colors that Bonnie chose are close to the Easy street palette. I wanted to do something different. I changed orange to yellow and my blues are lighter rather than teals. I also have a much more limited selection of fabrics in each color. I am also taking some chances with color and patterns selection in my light prints or tone on tone fabrics. I have selected some fabrics with motion and color. I am excited to see how it comes together.
Lazy Sunday fabric selection.
.The first step was easy. There are two different sets of four patch blocks and two sizes of half square triangles. It was easy to put together. I have to confess I do not use the magic triangle. I am mostly cutting from yardage or fat quarters. I do not have sufficient strips of fabric to go totally scrappy.

four patch blocks
You can see in the blocks above my "light-tonal" fabrics is not exactly settling into the background.

All step one blocks

If you look close at my green blocks you can see that the larger blocks  print fabric(speckled fabric) actually work well with my multicolored background fabric. This is just a happy accident.

Reluctantly I have put my Mystery Quilt away and will not so patiently wait for the next issue of the magazine. I hope I get to use the yellow. It just speaks of Lazy Sunday afternoons.

Friday, March 8, 2013

Economy Blocks-March Craftsy BLock of the Month-

Jana and I are still working together on our Craftsy 2013 Block of the Month quilts. If you have been following our progress you know that grandma (me) is doing the quilt in reproduction fabrics. I am old school. Jana has decided to be thoroughly modern and use bright colors and modern prints. She is new school. So the old school/new school project continues.

March's block is the economy block. It included a drafting lesson, which I am sure will come in handy some day. I'll have to go back and watch it again. I admit that I was not paying attention. This weekend we just wanted to get our blocks done? My January and February blocks where a little on the dull side so I decide to brighten things up with another fabric that I feel compliments the reproduction fabric. Here is my block.
Grandma's old school Economy Block.

Jana has contiued with her cheerful bright selections. She had considered using orange for her setting triangles, but we thought it might overpower the block. She went with blue instead. I think it turned out beautiful. I have no idea what kind of fabric she will end up using for her background. In the project picture the background all appears to be a white/natural fabric. I am not sure if using the blue in this block will throw a wrench into the process or not. She is pretty adventurous and is trusting her instincts. We tried out several fabrics before she pick this blue. I am actually pretty amazed at the  "eye" she is developing at her young age.  Here is her "new school" block.

Jana's Economy Block

This project has been very good for learning how to carry a color theme through the various blocks. Each month the blocks have been very different, and since we are both doing our own fabric thing it is exciting to see how these blocks are coming together. For now Jana has used the dark blue in each block. She also used the red fabric in her February block.

old school-new school

Grandma and granddaughter-side by side.
So we are keeping up with the project and excited for each month to come along so we can do the next block. Stay tuned and keep quilting together!