Saturday, January 17, 2015

Backing a Bet

This week was a wrap (no pun intended) for my second quilt-as-you-go project, again destined for The Center for Women and Families, and happily finished in time for their February fundraiser auction.

I'm more than pleased to say that this was made entirely on my late mom-in-law's 1962 Singer 503a Slant-o-matic sewing machine (at right)--and that every time a strip of four blocks was joined to the previous four, the ol' gal pounded through 10 layers of fabric and 2 layers of batting at each intersection, with no hesitation. Then again, I've seen video of this model stitching through 12 layers of denim.

I'd be stunned if my newer machines could do that, sorry to say.

As mentioned in the last blog post, there are some really funky blocks in this quilt (95% pieced from the upholstery fabric samples donated to me last year):

The arrangement of blocks was decided taking only the fronts into account, since they were my focus. The backs of the blocks had been cut from only a few different fabrics. Knowing it would be impossible to do a perfectly balanced color/tonal arrangement of the fronts and backs, I decided to let myself be 'surprised' by however the back of the quilt turned out.

So, believe it or not, I didn't really look at the back until everything was joined. I just crossed my fingers and figured the block backs might just serendipitously fall into at least a halfway sensible arrangement...

...and this is what I got.

I mean, seriously?!!??

Remind me to never go to Vegas. Haven't been there yet, and maybe this is why...I am one bad gambler.

Oh well. By the way, the only truly interesting back piece was this one...

...which was also featured in part as a center motif on the front of one of the blocks.

After cleaning up the studio and putting the leftover strips and squares away, I retrieved this very important storage container from the closet...

Note the name on the label. Lucy Maeve is our first grandchild, due in just a few weeks! Time to decide what to make from some of these prints I've accumulated.

Also finished this week were the pieces of another knitted sweater for Lucy. Today they'll be stitched together. This is the only part of sweater knitting that puts me off. The knitting itself is fun, but sewing everything together by hand with yarn...not so much. Also, it's been years since I set a knitted sleeve, so my memory is fuzzy regarding how best to ease it evenly and baste it. Here's hoping these flower pins and Pinmores won't make the stitching awkward. We'll soon find out.

Next week I hope to have Lucy's undersea quilt sandwiched and basted, since the back is finished!

Also this week I took a couple of hours to play with Derwent Inktense watercolor pencils. They'd been languishing in a drawer since purchased, months ago. My intention is to eventually use them on fabric, but I started with paper to practice.

The first lesson learned was that, at least on paper, you don't need to put much color down. Look what happened to the original sketch (left) after water was applied (right).

Yikes! I had no idea it would get that intense (hence the 'Inktense'?). But something tells me the difference might be more obvious on paper than it will be on fabric. That will be the next test.

The second lesson learned was that if you're married to an artist, he will notice (and kindly point it out) if you have put more than one light source in your sketch.

Time to go see what some other quilters have been up to. I'm linking up over at Confessions of a Fabric Addict's Whoop Whoop Fridays and at A Quilting Reader's Garden for WIPs Be Gone. I hope to have some free-motion work to link up with Lizzie Lenard's Free Motion Mavericks by next week. Check out all their reader links, too.

Have a wonderful week!



  1. Thank you for your kind comment on my blog. You will see a grandchild is so special. I hope every goes well!!! Your quilt is amazing and the sweater is adorable!
    Love from Amsterdam

    1. Thank you, Maartje! We are so excited about Lucy's impending arrival. And I can't wait to teach her to quilt! :)

  2. What an interesting quilt. (Backs are backs, and not required to be as wonderful as the fronts... Don't sweat it. It's much nicer than some fronts I've seen.) The owner of this quilt will have lots to see and texture to enjoy, as well. I love the panel with the flower bouquet. Thanks for showing it.
    I'm just now finishing my grandgirl's baby quilt, and she turns 1 early in Feb. It's a hugs and kisses design I did with paper piecing.

    1. Thanks, Terri! LOL I couldn't believe how much time was spent trying to arrange the backs on the other q-a-y-g project, the first one I did. That's mostly why I let the chips fall where they would on this one--but I sure didn't think the colors would clump together that much. Oh, you have a little granddaughter, too--how wonderful! I hope to see the baby quilt on your blog. Have loads of fun finishing it and giving it to her.

  3. Great quilt, Linda. I've made several like that one, and wonder how you got the sashings to be so accurately lined up at the intersections - mine would be a little wonky - I'm thinking it must be something in the assembly. My neighbor had a Slant-0-Matic. it sewed through everything! Wow what a difference in the sketches. I'm really interested to see how they do on fabric. Thanks so much for linking to WIPs Be Gone. This is just the kind of post I was hoping to read at the party.

    1. Thank you for having me on the linkup! Well, I start with squared blocks of course, and every time I pin one block (or row of blocks) together, I check to see that the free edges, the ones folded back on each other, are as well-matched as my seam edges--even if I have to pin them in place, which I usually do. It basically helps keep things from going wonky while stitching the seam. This all seams to end up in fairly well-matched intersections...although, I could pick out at least one or two spots where the sashing doesn't match up so perfectly. Yes, that Slant-O-Matic does sew everything! My mom-in-law made everything from wedding dresses (mine) to pinch-pleated draperies and corduroy bedspreads on this machine. She also taught me to sew on it, so it has a very special place in my heart. With the Derwent pencils, I'll probably draw and color a basic flower on a few different fabrics and then see what happens with the water. Looking forward to it. :)

    2. Haha, I just noticed I wrote seams instead of seams...kind of appropriate, though.

    3. Um...seams instead of seems. Wow, can we say, 'one track mind'?

  4. But Linda, tell your favourite artist that it's not necessarily Planet Earth, is it? One sun is setting and the other is behind you. Nothing wrong there.

    The latest quilt is an absolute hoot. Great fun on the front (monkeys in green as well as blue!) and top marks for bravery and letting true random sort out the back. You would have agonised for several weeks if you had tried to arrange both front and back.

    Lucy Maeve! Such a sweet name. I'm going a bit mushy here. It's the Irish blood in me.

    Love, Muv

    1. Good call on the dual light sources Muv, thank you! :) (lol, Mark just saw your comment and got a chuckle out it it, too.)

      Oh, you are so right about the backs vs. fronts of the would indeed have taken weeks if I had deliberated. That was one of the quickest and most incisive decisions I've ever made in quilting, and even though the back didn't turn out as well as it could have, I'd do it again.

      Get mushy all you want--I did, too! Yes, Lucy is somewhere between 1/4 and 1/2 Irish, and her mommy's maiden name, Shannon Dunnagan, couldn't be more Irish!

      Love, Linda


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