Friday, December 27, 2013

'Tis the Season to be Quilting

I had a super-productive Christmas Eve. I was off work, so I machine quilted the half-square triangle quilt. It reminds me of the way sunlight shines through the leaves in a forest, so I'm calling it "Sunshine and Shadow." I also made a mocha pecan pie and sweet potato casserole and had Christmas Eve dinner with friends. I offset my hard work on Christmas day, when I pretty much did nothing at all.
I am in the process of finishing the binding on "Sunshine and Shadows;" I also need to make a label and a hanging sleeve for it.
I'm working on machine quilting a quilt that I started way back in 2009. The pattern comes from one of the Nickel Quilts books (all of the patterns are made from 5-inch squares). I remember cutting up a lot of random fat quarters to make this quilt. I eventually realized that fat quarters are not a cut of fabric that I habitually use, so I quit buying them and tried to incorporate as many as possible into this project. I'm calling this one "2 Penny Lane." My cat Skeeter approves.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Next UFO project: Half-square Triangles

I dug this quilt top out from under the ironing table a couple of weeks ago. I actually can't remember when I started this, but it was probably 2-4 years ago. All it needed was borders. But because the pattern was so simple, it needed a pieced border to give more interest. Pieced borders are a pain, because they have to fit exactly. It takes some (fairly) accurate sewing, some fiddling and some calculation to make that work. After playing around in EQ6 for a bit, I settled on hourglass blocks as a good complement to the half-square triangles in the center. The problem was that the half-square triangles were a weird size, 3 and 1/8 inches (why, I have no idea). EQ6 will only go down to quarter-inches in their blocks. So, more calculations. Inner border needs to be thicker than I usually like, half the width of a block, to make the math work out. Count the blocks, dig through fabric stash for greens, yellows, and oranges. Realize that I don't have most of the fabrics in the center of the quilt anymore. Substitute new ones. Cut, cut, cut. Sew, sew, sew.

And here it is. With borders. And you can't even tell that only 3 of the greens in the border are in the center of the quilt, and none of the yellows and oranges are. I call that a win. I got it basted, and now I just need to quilt it.

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Quality Time With UFO's (Unfinished Objects)

Last month I got sick. So I spent many more hours at home than I usually do, sneezing and wishing my sinus headache would go away. I brought things home from work, but I also used some of the time to try to finish some old projects. Remember this one? The chevron quilt inspired by photos of hot air balloons that I started in 2010? I didn't like the way the quilting was turning out so I shoved it under my sewing table and left it for a couple of years. Finally I admitted to myself that I wasn't going to finish it unless I fixed the problem, which involved ripping out a lot of machine quilting. And re-quilting it. And binding it. And now, it is FINALLY finished. This is probably the closest I've come to a monochromatic quilt, and the color scheme is more relaxing than in my typical work. Here is the back:
While I was at it, I also finished up a comfort quilt for a friend. This isn't really a UFO, since I only started it Veteran's Day weekend, and it never got put away somewhere for months or years while I worked on other things. But a finish is a finish. The pattern is by Bonnie Hunter and is called "Scrappy Mountain Majesties." It is a variation on a traditional pattern called delectable mountains. I love the electrifying color scheme.
And here is the back:
The third quilt I've been working on isn't finished yet. I am still hand-stitching the binding and haven't put on the hanging sleeve or added a label. I started it last year in a Bonnie Hunter crumb-piecing class (crumbs refer to small scraps). I worked on the blocks more this summer, then put it away again for a bit. When I pulled it out last month, all that needed to be done was to sew the borders on, baste it, and quilt it. I had a lot of fun designing mid-century modern doodles for the quilting design, a la Lucienne Day. I'll try to post some close-ups of the quilting later.