Analysis Paralysis

carla Fabric, Questions, Quilting Leave a Comment

Please help! I’m struck dumb by analysis paralysis!

As I mentioned, I have baby quilts to make for twin girls. I have a lot of fabric pulled for it, but I can’t decide on a pattern. I think part of the issue is that the largest pieces I’m dealing with (besides the background yardage) are approximately 10″x10″. I have a few other larger pieces, but 80% are smaller than 10″x10″.

I posted my latest fabric pull photo on flickr and added it the flickr groups for the two guilds I attend hoping to get some opinions.

Here are a couple of shots of the pull:

Analysis paralysis

Analysis paralysis

The navy will be the background, and the hot pink is the binding.

So far my list of potential patterns include:

a) Churn Dash
b) Wonky Stars
c) Flying Geese
d) “pinwheels”
e)  Ribbon Star blocks
f) Card Trick
g) Rectangle Quilt
h) Toss the whole fabric pull, raid my solids, and go for a disappearing nine patch like this one which I am COMPLETELY OBSESSED with – can’t find the source link, sorry!

Help? Please?

carlaAnalysis Paralysis

WIP Wednesday: just under the wire

carla Fabric, Quilting 5 Comments

I’m getting in just under the wire on this one!

My Kaleidoscope is coming along. It’s still hard to judge how it will turn out, but I think it will be good and worth it in the end. I didn’t really consider how long paper piecing 120 units for a baby quilt would take – it is starting to add up and as I mentioned previously, I have four baby quilts due so I need to hurry this one up.

Here’s a shot of my workspace – my dining room table.

Kaleidoscope progress
On the far side of my machine are the stacks of half and quarter square triangles (originally from charm squares) I’m working with and the stack of papers. Behind my machine is my bucket of teeny scraps. Normally I might throw them out but someone in the DC guild / at the local quilt shop collects scraps to stuff beds for local animal shelters. Since these are just fabric (from trimming seam allowances) I figured I’d start a bucket. To the right of my machine is a mini ironing board and iron for pressing; last but not least in the center of the table is the stack of units finished so far.

I made a tiny bit of progress on the two twin girl quilts I need to make after the kaleidoscope.

Fabric for twin girls

I chose fabrics – Lots of 2wenty Thr3e from my layer cake, the rest of the Simply Color layer cake I won a while ago, Field Study, Hyperreal Garden, and some low volume scraps and charm squares to start. I don’t have a solid idea yet. I was thinking maybe wonky stars or possibly the ribbon star block from Freshly Pieced. I need to decide on some center solids. Luckily I have a bunch since I bought them for the Skill Builder BOM that I promptly dropped out of. I don’t know that I have enough of anything to fill a background though. I was hoping to not have to buy any more fabric for this project. I think I need to dig a little deeper in my stash and see what I can come up with.

Linking up to WIP at Freshly Pieced!

WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

 

 

carlaWIP Wednesday: just under the wire

Wrong in the Head

carla Sewing Leave a Comment

Yep. There’s something seriously wrong with me. I got this new book… and every time I think about it or look at it, I think I’m going to lose my shit. It is called 100 Any-size Star Blocks. It has some of the most complicated paper pieced stars in it! Yes. I love paper piecing that much! The entire book isn’t paper piecing, but a good portion of it is. It comes with a CD of all the patterns in various sizes, and the book gives instructions as to how much to increase/decrease to get a specific size block. It’s pretty nifty.

100 star blocks book100 Any-size Star Blocks

 

 

carlaWrong in the Head

A fine line

carla Questions, Quilting Leave a Comment

There’s a fine line between ambitious and overcommitted. Ask me how I know.

Three of my friends have had or are having babies in the next month or two. Four children all together. Of course I offered to make a baby quilt for each of them – and they all took me up on it. And, if you know me at all, you know I am never satisfied with an easy answer.

So for the first one I finally decided on a classic pattern – the kaleidoscope. It’s a really interesting pattern because depending on how you lay out the fabrics the block can totally disappear.

Kaleidoscope QAL // 6" paper pieced blocks Orange, red, yellow with low volume background.

How the block goes together

Kaleidoscope QAL // 6" paper pieced blocks Orange, red, yellow with low volume background.

How they look offset

I found some great instructions at Don’t Call Me Betsy’s blog from a couple of years ago. She hosted a Kaleidoscope Quilt Along which makes 12 inch blocks. I thought that might be too big to get the effect I wanted. I then found a paper pieced pattern for 6″ blocks.

One of the upsides to a 6″ block is I could use many of the charm squares I received from the Low Volume Charm Swap 2. I also cut into the fabric I received from the Text Me fat quarter swap. You have to be a little careful as there are a ton of weird bias edges, but the four larger triangles in each half are made up of a HST cut from a 5″ charm, while the 2 smaller triangles are made from quarter square triangles again from a 5″ charm.

By my calculations I need to make 63 blocks — 126 half-blocks. I have about 36 half-blocks done so far. I figured out I can chain piece about 10 per hour, so only 9 more hours of paper piecing left ahead of me… Hopefully I can get this wrapped up in the next few days so I can put it all together and quilt it this weekend.

Here’s some of my progress so far:

Kaleidoscope

 

6 blocks done as of last night

Kaleidoscope QAL progressA stack of papers, fabric, and a stack of finished blocks ready for trimming. And a laptop with spotify for entertainment!

Since it might be smart for me to dial back the ambition a little bit, do you have a suggestion for an easier baby quilt pattern? Thanks!

carlaA fine line

DC MQG

carla Fabric, Guild, Quilting 1 Comment

Today I went to my first DC Modern Quilt Guild meeting. It was a lot of fun – a long meeting – 6 hours! – but really nice to chat, get some sewing done, and learn a few things, like the Grid Method of making half square triangles. I didn’t take any photos, sadly, but all in all it was a good day.

I managed to get the 6.5″ March Lucky Stars block done. That took forever for some reason – all the pieces and the chatting probably.

One of the most fun parts was one lady brought a huge bag of scraps to dump on the table and go through. I ended up with a whole bunch of 2.5″ strips of Lotta Jansdotter’s Bella. I felt kind of guilty taking so much and I happened to have my gallon bag of scraps with me because I wasn’t sure if I was going to teach my friend to paper piece or not.

I ended up keeping only a few of my scraps – my most favorite ones – and putting the rest out for people to take. I think I took about as much as I put in, so it felt fair and I was able to switch up my scraps. Hopefully I have enough Bella to make the center of a quilt or something. I’m thinking a jelly-roll-race inspired “medallion” maybe.I’m not totally sure what I have.

It was also nice to see someone else appreciate my scraps! A few of the ladies asked if I was sure and I said why not. I didn’t have much attachment to them at this point. I try to use every scrap of fabric that I can so there weren’t many bigger than a 5″ charm. It worked out well.

Thanks to the DC guild for making me feel very welcome! I hope to sew with you again soon!

carlaDC MQG

An Unproductive Month

carla Fabric, Quilting Leave a Comment

I realized my last post was almost a month ago, and truthfully, it was a pretty unproductive one sewing-wise. I do most of my sewing on weekends and it has been one thing after another.

I wen to my first quilt guild meeting on February 12th and I was very motivated and excited to get to work that weekend. Except that was the weekend I found out my car needed $5,000 worth of work. That wasn’t going to happen. After a whirlwind 36 hours I got a loan, test drove cars, and bought a new-to-me used car. This was a really good decision, but extremely emotional and draining.

The next weekend was my boss’ birthday party, and then last weekend, my cousin’s wedding. These were all enjoyable events but they definitely cut into my available sewing time.

I did finally get some things done this week/end!

First, I had two of my fabric swaps come back, which was very inspiring.

Low Volume Charm Swap received

Low Volume Charm Swap received

Text Me: Fat Quarter Swap received

Text Me: A Fat Quarter Swap received

Text Me: Fat Quarter Swap received

Text Me: A Fat Quarter Swap received – I love the little thank you note from the Swap Mama!

On Wednesday I got hit with a 2×4 of inspiration. I sorted the low volume charms, and went through my stash to find the right fabrics for a variation on a plus quilt. I love the design, but it’s gotta stay secret for now! I went from sketch to designed on the computer, cut out, and laid out in about 5 hours. I would have stayed up all night if I didn’t have to go to work! I stacked it all back up and here’s what it looks like:

Secret Plus Quilt stack

Secret plus quilt ready for sewing

 

And of course, since I can’t keep well enough alone, I’ve signed up for yet another swap. This one is shot cottons. It’s got a flickr group, and I think there are still some spots left! I bought Veridian:

Kaffe Fassett Shot Cottons Wovens in Viridian

Kaffe Fassett Shot Cottons Wovens in Viridian

Lastly, I’m making some very slow progress on my Lucky Stars paper piecing BOM. I finished the February 12.5″ star last week and have the quadrants for the 6.5″ star done. Just need to rip one seam, then it can go together and get sashed, and then hopefully I can finish the March ones this weekend also. There’s another quilt guild meeting on Tuesday so I really want to have something to show.

February Lucky Stars

February Lucky Stars 12.5″

Edited to add: I finished the 6.5″ block also last night! Here it is:

Untitled

 

February Lucky Stars 6.5″

carlaAn Unproductive Month

WIP Wednesday

carla Fabric, Quilting Leave a Comment

This week I don’t have a lot to show, but I did make some progress on my enormous HST quilt. I spoke to some ladies at the quilt guild and they said I should quilt it in at least one other direction (or more densely) to keep the batting from shifting. I was thinking I might try to do some diagonals. I need to get some clamps too – they told me there are bicycle clamps that help keep things rolled up.

WIPs

Here it is with the gray essex linen for the binding.

WIPs

I also purchased backing, batting, and binding for my take on a jelly roll race. The argyle will be the backing and the orange will be the binding. It matches some of the solid strips in the quilt top.

WIPs

Lastly, I got pieces cut for the February Lucky Stars blocks. I’m a big fan of the ziplock method of organization – I have one for my thread and bobbins, several for different kinds of scups, etc. They are cheap and easy to replace so I like them.

It will be a little while before I get to actually sewing the Lucky Stars blocks – I have my walking foot on my machine and it’s a pain to switch out, so I’d like to just finish the HST monster first. That may or may not happen. We’ll see.

I’m linking up to WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced!

WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

carlaWIP Wednesday

Quilt Wrangling

carla Quilting Leave a Comment

I haven’t had a lot to share lately, because I’ve been on a cooling off period after my last round of disasters. I just haven’t felt like sewing. I was always one of those “smart” kids growing up who didn’t fail – I hate failure – and it’s hard for me to get back on the horse afterwards.

I decided I’d switch gears and pick back up trying to quilt my HST monster. This quilt is huge – approximately 90 x 108. And of course my perfectionism is coming out and I HATE the quilting job I’m doing on it. Sometimes it is really frustrating being your own worst critic.

HST quilt wrangling

If I assessed it objectively, it really isn’t THAT bad. The lines are uneven in spots, and some lines are worse than others, but overall it isn’t terrible. I’m using the edge of my walking foot as a guide and going down one side and back up the other of each row and column seam. I’m about 2/3 done on the horizontal axis so far.

HST quilt wrangling

This is where the wrangling comes in. I have tried about four different methods today of wrangling the quilt through my tiny harp space. First I had the extension table on and was just forcing the quilt through the harp, but it kept getting stuck, either on the table or on the harp. Every time the quilt gets stuck or I have to maneuver it, the line goes crooked.

Then I took the table off and rolled the quilt, securing the ends with rubber bands. This helped, but the middle kept unrolling and creating bulk.

HST quilt wrangling

Most recently I’ve taken to safety pinning the roll to the quilt, which again, seems to be helping keep it under control, but the rolls are more rigid now and are getting stuck on the edge of my dining room table.

HST quilt wrangling
I’m very frustrated and considering not quilting the other direction – just making do with “horizontal” lines. According to the batting packaging this would be OK (I’m using Quilter’s Dream Wool batting which says it can be quilted up to 8″ apart.) It does feel like giving up or cheating though.

Do any of you have suggestions on how to quilt wrangle? Getting a machine with a bigger harp space and getting a longarmer to finish this quilt are both out of the question. A longarmer might be a possibility for another quilt I’m working on as a Christmas present to myself (Lucky Stars BOM), but for the majority of my projects I’m going to have to be my own quilter.

After that whiny post, here’s a picture of my cat Jewel to cheer us all up!

Jewel

carlaQuilt Wrangling

Fabric Hoarding

carla Fabric Leave a Comment

Sometimes you just need to get it out of your system. For me, that was buying fabric. I tried to put off buying fabric just because I liked it, and focus only on buying fabric for projects. That lasted only a little bit. Putting it off just made me want it more, so I decided to just go for it. It seems to have worked. I can look at fabric again without going crazy wanting it. 😀

Fabric hoarding

Top row: Farmington Feathers by Martha Negley, Fabric for text swap.
Center row: Les Amis.
Bottom Row: Essex Linen in various colors.

I had to put in orders for the Text Me swap, and I had been eying the Farmington Feathers, and Les Amis for a while and both were in danger of disappearing. I’ve also been dying to try some Essex Linen, so I decided to get some of that too.

I’m very happy with my purchases. I think some of the Essex in Natural or Slate will become a tote bag with the x and + blocks I’ve been working on. The Les Amis small print might become the lining. The feathers are going straight into the “hoard” pile. I don’t know what I’ll do with them, but I love them probably more than anything else in my stash. They are SO beautiful in person.

Are there any fabrics you can’t help yourself from buying?

carlaFabric Hoarding