Thursday, November 24, 2016

Lumpy Quilts (and a Sale!)

Happy Thanksgiving to anyone who is celebrating the day!

This post was supposed to show a photo of the blue-and-gold quilt top. Well, I forgot to take that photo, so here is one of the top while being pin-basted:

Also, a finish for the quilt that ended up with the weird lump in the middle:

That lump is the result of too many quilted lines joining in the same small area. What can be done? Only one thing. Just smack it down and hope it stays.

(So far, it has not re-arisen by itself. If it does, I will call in an exorcist.)

On to something a little more celebratory. For the second time this year, one of my quilts is being published in Art Quilting Studio (the cover at that link is also one of my quilts, and was my first time ever published -- UPDATE: a newer cover issue's cover has now replaced it), by Stampington Publications! This magazine has been one of my absolute favorites for years now, so it's not just an honor for me; it's a thrill. It will be out on stands December 1, 2016, at JoAnn Fabric and Craft Stores, as well as Barnes and Noble Bookstores.

For anyone who's followed my blog for a while, you might remember that this piece was inspired by Margaret "Muv" Porwal's art quilt, titled The Solent, at the Free Motion Mavericks blog. It was the most calming project I've ever done. Thank you, Muv.

One more mention: There's a Black Friday through Cyber Monday sale going on at my Etsy shop! Get 30% off list price of any item now through 11/28 simply by using coupon code EARLYBIRD64 at checkout.

Linking up with Whoop Whoop Fridays. Sarah just finished a quilt for her granddaughter and has given me inspiration for a quilt for Lucy!

Next time, the blue-and-gold quilt finish. Until then, stay warm (or cool, depending on which hemisphere you're in) and try not to freak out over your holiday season to-do list. (Advice to self, he-heh.)


Saturday, November 12, 2016

Duh Moments

Life keeps getting in the way of both quilting and blogging, but we'll pretend weeks haven't passed and just pick up where I left off.

Last post showed a log cabin block arrangement with modern prints from RJR fabrics and Quilty Box, along with some batiks. This was my first ever traditional block design and I was liking it. Refresher photo:

Well, here's how far the quilting has gone on that project...

One-third of the quilt. Doing it in sections requires more prep time, but is much easier to handle.
At first glance, it doesn't look bad. But if you look closer, you'll see that any point where several lines intersect has become problematic (duh). Especially the feels like cardboard now (and this is puffy batting) and sticks up at weird angles when you move the quilt around. Thank goodness this is just a learning project!

A break (distraction) was needed. With the most insane election ever looming (should have turned off the tv), and yet another Quilty Box fabric selection (the Free Spirit Fabric 'Wander Collection' by Joel Dewberry) sitting idle, I impulsively retrieved the fat quarters from the latter and feverishly set about finding stash fabrics to coordinate with them.

The fat quarters at the top are from the Quilty Box. The rest are from my stash.
And I very much wanted to design another log cabin quilt. It's just so much more fun than I'd ever imagined it would be (see last post). I ended up with four each of the six different blocks below, made with 2-1/4 inch strips and trimmed to 11-1/2 inches:

(Notice, the 'logs' in the lighter blocks run in reverse order of the ones in the darker blocks. That way, each fat quarter was nearly used up, with only a few short strips remaining for the scrap drawer.)

But here's the kicker--the 'duh' moment--and I've yet to find this idea anywhere online, though I suspect a few thousand people are already doing it:  You know how you can spend hours and hours arranging and rearranging your quilt blocks on the design wall, and then how ratty they sometimes look by the time you decide on the final arrangement?

No need for all that. Because you can do about 20 arrangements in an hour--without touching the fabric blocks. Here's how:

1. Put one each of your different blocks on the design wall (see photo above).
2. Snap a photo.
3. Upload the photo on your computer, and on regular printer paper, print out however many copies you need to give you as many blocks as will be in your finished quilt. (I needed 24 total--four each of the six different blocks, so four copies of the photo.)
4. Cut out the paper blocks on all your printouts with a rotary cutter (I keep one just for paper cutting...use it for coupons, too!)

5. Arrange the paper blocks in whatever way you choose on a solid background (preferably black or white, but I used the back of my green cutting board) and photograph the arrangement.

6. Then rearrange the blocks, and snap a photo again.

Do this with as many arrangements as you wish, making sure to photograph each finished arrangement.
TIP: Move the blocks around with the eraser end of a pencil. It's much faster and easier than trying to move them around with your fingers!
7. Upload all the photos on to your computer, and then eliminate the ones you like least. I went from 17 arrangements to 3 pretty quickly. (It took me two more days to decide on the final one.)
8. Print out your final arrangement as large as possible on regular printer paper.

Use this to guide you in joining your blocks and in drawing your stitch pattern design. To do that, simply put the photo inside a transparent vinyl sheet protector (available at Walmart and office supply stores), and use dry-erase markers to draw your design on it. The lines are easily erasible with a paper towel, cotton ball or scrap of fabric, and you can start over as many times as you wish. (Sorry, the photo below is for the first quilt, and the blocks were done with color pencil before I figured out I could just take a photo of the actual blocks. Double duh. Haven't designed a stitch pattern for the blue and gold quilt yet.)

Next time, the finished quilt top (the blue and gold fabric, not paper).

Linking up with Whoop Whoop Fridays, which I haven't done in months due to computer issues. All fixed now. Check out Sarah's Christmas presents and all the great linkups at the end!

Have a great weekend!