Deadline, Thursday

32 blocks remain

I’m on target to be done by Thursday.  I have 32 more blocks to complete.  At 16 blocks a day I should be done with this Wednesday.

I’m planning for a scarlet stopper and a multi-colored batik border.  We’ll see what we find when we get to Fabric Depot.  This isn’t anything special, it’s just a bed quilt.

Nested Stars Progress

Almost halfway!

Another vertical column or two and this quilt will be halfway assembled!  I’m more than halfway done, of course, because quite a few of the left hand blocks are done.  I’ve got three more big pinwheel fabs to which I must add green.  I don’t have enough yellow (or green) wedges cut, but I’m getting there!

LouAnn and I are planning a trip to Portland.  Her electric lawn mower isn’t working and we both need backing, batting and border fabric.

While we’re in Portland I want to pick up 2 50 liter bags of hydroton for my aquaponic grow beds.  Oregon Organiks is about 4 miles south of the repair shop and Fabric Depot is between the two.

If we time it just right we can catch lunch at Chang’s Mongolian Grill (same area).  That’s what I call smart planning!

Planning ahead

Art deco stained glass window

The next quilt I’m planning to start is a big hand appliqué project, art deco thing based on a sliding stained glass window (separated the kitchen from the dining/living) I saw online.  I’ve been looking forward to this one for a while but got charmed away by the water color sunset and the obligation to finish the workshop quilt (nested stars).

An absolute jewel of a woman sent me a bunch of really good quality hand died fat quarters just perfect for this project.  I will use those to build the elements of the window on a champagne colored batik background.  I have all the material for this one (sans batting and backing), so it’s just a matter of execution.  It’s all hand appliqué and I may not be physically ready for it just yet.  I can get the machine basting of the layers done and work on the appliqué as my fingers and ability to sit still will let me.

Center of koi pond quilt

But my next-next quilt is in the planning stages.  I want to redo the koi pond center I did for the Guild web quilt using the sunset water color technique in 2″ square dance squares.  I’ve asked Charles (Brandy’s Quilt Products) for the new smaller template set.  I told him not to rush.  I’m still months away.  The art deco stained glass quilt has to get started first.  I may have to do them at the same time, pecking away at each.

I may change my mind and do this one in small honey comb blocks . . . you can see why I plan so far ahead.  By the time I get to the execution, I pretty much know what I’m doing and have all the fabrics collected.

Pecking away

Pecking away . . .

This is definitely an “improve your technique” pattern.  I am getting better at getting clean points and matching pinwheel center points.  I think this quilt is just what I needed to clean up some less than ideal sewing habits I’ve managed to acquire.

At this point I’ve got 15 wedges that need to have green added.  I’ve got a bunch of the center parallelograms ready to install (green added).

I was working across the top and was going to work my way down but going up and down the ladder to get to the top was taking a toll.  I’ll go back to that in a couple days.  Until then I’ll peck away at the bottom half.

Nested pinwheels

Basic nested pinwheel block, click to see the blocks assembled into a pinwheel

A couple years ago LouAnn and I attended the Aberdeen quilt show.  One of the entrants was a lovely nested pinwheel quilt we thought would be a good pattern for a workshop.  The quilt had big blue and green pinwheels and small green and yellow pinwheels on a dark background.  It looked complex but it was a single square.

After a bit of back and forth and discussion, we were able to convince Peggy Gelbrich to teach a workshop in that pattern for our Guild.  The pattern size for the workshop was a ~9″ block.  I wanted a smaller block in queen size.  Yeah, yeah, I know . . . ever the rebel.

Nested pinwheels

This is how far I got on the quilt top by the end of the two day workshop.  LouAnn and I pinned everything to a sheet and I put it away to bring out later.  This is later!

As you can see the background is black.  Rather than use pinwheels in two colors only, I wanted each pinwheel to be a different color.  Each of the large pinwheels is a different batik.  The yellow pinwheels are each of 6 or 8 bright yellows I had in my stash.  The small green pinwheels are all the same batik fabric.  The color distribution is complex enough to require working on a design wall.

Border fabric

Orange batik for the back, dark green outside border, dark red inside border and gold flange

I pulled the sunset quilt off the design wall and have packaged it away with the black wedges, border and backing fabrics.  I’m short 4-6 more black fabrics needed to fill in the black section.  I’ll have to get by Sisters and pick up the little bits of fabric  needed for the last wedges and centers.  Until then, I’ve put this project away to work on another quilt I’ve had in the works for a while.  I’ll pick it up again in a couple weeks when I’ve collected the last of the fabric I need.

Sunset purple

One section left to build

I got the purple stripe added to the quilt.  I love the dark purple against the dark green.  Lovely.

I picked up the material for the borders and backing.  I got a lovely shades of orange and green batik for the back and a great dark green for the border.  I wanted a fabric with all colors but Fabric Depot didn’t have anything that would work.  The colors were either too bright or too muted or not the right shades or in splotches too big in scale.

I also picked up a gold and a deep red.  The gold will be a flange around the center of the quilt, with the red acting as a 5/8″ stopper between the gold flange and the green border.

Dark green

Dark green blocks are now ready to add.

I finally got the light green section done and the blocks for the dark green section assembled.  I’ll get them sewed together and joined to the body of the quilt top next.  The dark purple and black sections are still left to do, but I’ve less than a 100 blocks left to sew to be done!

I moved the quilt top up to the ceiling so I could work on the bottom and now the clothes line is visible near the top.

Off to quilting

Laid out flat with all square dance blocks attached.

The bog coat is ready to go off to quilting.  Wadly’s going to pick up a Warm and Natural bat today.  I have a nice piece of soft yellow batik for the lining though I probably should use navy.

I basted a strip of material in the center front to hold the edges together for quilting.

Bog Coat

I've used my 4" Square Dance pinwheel template for the border. The navy edge adds a nice finish.

I’ve been participating in a bog coat project with other members of our Guild.  I’m running my plan on this one by the seat of my pants, making it up as I go along. <grin>  Is there any other way?

I have my bog coat basted/pin together to give a glimpse of what it looks like pre-appliqué.  I won’t cut the neck opening until the coat has been quilted.

I’m to the point where I have to get the appliqué done.  I’m planning to use some eclectic fish patterns inspired by concrete stamps.  Should be fun . . . and bright!  <grin>

I’m preassembling the appliquéd fish.  When I’m ready to apply them I’ll undo all the basting and set all the blocks aside while I fasten the appliqué onto the coat body.  That’ll reduce the bulk I have to hold.

Karen’s going to quilt it for me (that’s the plan) and she’ll add other under water elements to fill out the tropical sea theme.

Back to quilting

The bottom two rows are the last of the orange blocks

Now that the planting and planning for the new plant wall is winding down I’m getting back to working on my sunset quilt.

When I pull the top off the design wall to sew the rows of orange blocks on I’m going to resew a portion of the sun.

If you click the image to enlarge it you can see there’s a bit too much slack in the lower right quadrant which causes the sun to lose its roundness.  That may seem like a nit-picky thing, but that part of the sun doesn’t appear to be behind gauzy clouds.  It’s a small detail, but it’s going to drive me nuts if I don’t do something about it.

Having a picture helps me see which blocks need to be swapped or rotated.  See the second row from the bottom?  The farthest left block and the 3rd from the left have the same material at the top.  I need to rotate one of those to break up any impression of a pattern.

Progress 6

The top ~2/3rds of the quilt center is done.
The top ~2/3rds of the quilt center is done.

This last week I was having brain issues (2 and 2 is five, right?) and couldn’t program, so I got the extra purple/navy blocks done for the top of the quilt.  I also got all the intersections between colors sewn and the sun blocks set into the quilt.

Next is another ~20 orange blocks to complete the orange band under the sun, then I can start on the green, dark navy/dark purple, dark green and black squares.

I talked to Karen (MJK Designs) about using silk organza to produce the evergreen tree shading on the left of the quilt but she says it won’t hold up in a bed quilt.  Back to the drawing board.    I considered stenciling the shaded evergreen tree overlay but think I’m going to have to spray the shading on and use the gold metallic paint stick to stencil on the suggestion of light at the edges and branch tips.  I’ll talk to Marti Carrol when the quilt top ready for this step and see what she thinks.

I was at the Washington Star Quilters Quilt Show on Friday.  A vendor there (Eagles Nest Designs) had a lovely pattern called “Dancing Cedars” that might give the perfect shape for the tree silhouette.  I’ve got her website bookmarked so I can go back there when I get to that point in the development of the top.

There was another vendor at the quilt show selling hand painted scarves for $1500 each.  Definitely outside my price range and not my style, but lovely regardless.

Progress 5

I'm still short some blue and orange blocks.
I’m still short some blue and orange blocks to finish the connection between the orange to the blue.  I need a whole row of blue plus three blocks and most of a whole row of orange.

Sadly, I’ve been making progress slowly.  It seems that every time I turn around I have something else I have to do.  I want to have this done (including quilted and bound) by October so I have to keep pushing.

Yesterday I sewed the pink stripe in and I have the red stripe ready to sew.   I want to take a second and share the technique.  It’s way faster than hand sewing and as accurate.

Here are the easy steps to this technique.

Progress 4

Click to enlarge
Click to enlarge

I’ve got the orange blocks together and up on the wall in roughly the arrangement they belong in.  Next step is to sew the blocks together in the correct relationship, then cut and piece the adjoining colors.

LouAnn stopped by last week and got to see the work in progress for the first time.  She is loving it, so I know I’m on the right track.

I’ve got two more rows of blue/purple blocks to make one for the very top and one for just above the top orange stripe.  Once I get the orange blocks sewn together I’ll get the blue/purple blocks done.

Progress 3

Click to enlarge
Click to enlarge

In fitting the dark blue/purple stripe to the pink, I realized I have to have another row at the very top of the quilt for balance.  I’ve got more fabric pulled for the squares, I just need to get them cut and assembled.

I’ve got the pink section pinned to the dark blue/purple where it goes.  I’m going to try glue basting the match points instead of pinning.  I’ll let you know how it goes.  I’m after a perfect match so the integrity of the square dance block shape continues throughout.

I took the pink I cut off the top and reconfigured it to extend the bottom of the pink strip.  That worked really well.  I’m going to do the same with the blue strip below the pink.  I may have to add another row of blue squares.  I’ll have to see how much I can use of the part I cut off.

I’ve got more orange sorted out but not cut yet.  I’ve had little opportunity to work on this in the last couple days.  It feels good to be back on it even if I have to do this in bits and drabs.

Progress 1

click to enlarge
click to enlarge

I’ve gotten more blocks assembled.  I have the dark blue blocks for the top done, the blue blocks in the upper middle done and the red blocks around the sun done.  I haven’t sewed the blocks together.

I don’t have quite enough pink wedges cut.  When I was digging through my scrap boxes for the red to make the cloud layer that covers part of the sun I also pulled pink for the pink sky stripe and purple/eggplant/magenta for the dark purple section below the green.  I need to cut wedges from the pink fabrics so I’m sure I have enough.

I’ve got to cut more orange wedges as I have less than ¼ of the number I need.  I have 4 or 6 wedges cut from 16 different fabrics.  That’s not even 100 wedges.  Each orange row is at least 2 blocks high, so 15 (blocks per row) x 2 (rows of blocks per section) x 4 (number of wedges per block) x 2 (number of stripes of orange) = 480 wedges.  That’s not counting the center square.  I’ll need 60 of those and I’m sure I’ve got maybe 30 of those cut.  I’ve got to dig through my scrap box and see how many more orange fabrics I can find.  The more variety in shade and texture the better the section will look.

Below the orange will be green.  I have a really puny supply of green fabrics.  I seem to use those up really fast.  I can see this may be a problem.  I may have to raid LouAnn’s stash and go shopping.  Hmmm.

Sunset Quilt

Click to enlarge
Click to enlarge

I’m working on a color wash quilt.  Don’t gag, it’s not your usual color wash.  I’m using my 4″ square dance templates as the building blocks.  I’m not making pinwheels, just using the block design as a vehicle for delivering random colors.  I think it’s gonna be cool.  Given my penchant for bright colors and eclectric design, you know it’s gotta be different.

Click to enlarge
Click to enlarge

I started by cutting a bunch of pinwheel wedges and center squares and sewing them together randomly with no two of the same fabric in the same block.  Then I started throwing them up on my design wall.

I’m sticking religiously to the square units.  Where the color changes I’m cutting the sections along the division lines and matching the block shape where the new color joins.  You’ll probably need to click on the image to see what I’m talking about.