Sunday, November 29, 2015

Country Progress

Here is the pony from Month 8 of Lynette Anderson's 2015 BOM for The Quilt Show, My Country House. Mine is pretty much the same as Lynette's design, I just made the legs a little thicker and the stomach a little fatter so she looks more like a pony than a horse. When you search for pony photos online, they all look extremely well fed!

(And if you somehow haven't seen those Scottish ponies in their cardigans, you should definitely have a look here.)

In addition to all the individual blocks that I've been showing, last month I also managed to sew the postage stamp border around the centre house block:

Those are 3/4" stamps, because my quilt is 3/4 scale! There still need to be hearts appliqued into the dark green squares, and the flowering vine appliqued onto the pale yellow border. And the blue bird is still missing from the right chimney.

Even with lots left to do, it was time to finalize the layout so I can finish all the details. So, here it is all pinned up on my design wall:

It's coming along! The squirrel and the owl applique blocks in the top row both have leaves that will overlap the adjacent blocks, so those are not finished yet. And the Month 4 strip across the bottom is completely missing.

But, I don't feel too far behind. Half the flags for the final Month 12 border are already done. Plus, wool applique really is a lot faster than needleturn. And, it makes a relaxing break from working on the machine. So, that is what I'm going to do today! My half square triangles for Week 1 of Allietare are now half done, and I feel comfortable taking a day off. I'll get back to them tomorrow.

So, it's more slow stitching this Sunday, and I'm linking up to Kathy's Quilts again this week. Plus, I'll link up to Design Wall Monday at Patchwork Times tomorrow. Happy stitching!

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

No Picnic

Last week I finished all the blocks for my Modern Utility Quilt. I was determined not to slow down on this one! For example, when I made a cutting mistake, I just added an extra strip to bring the block back up to size:

Extra strips are a classic improv device, I think, but this first one really was a corrected mistake. The second one, well... let's just say I was not averse to another mistake! But after that my orange strip was gone and I buckled down.

My plan was to just motor through. The quilt is too big for my design wall, and since it's already so busy I thought it would be best to just distribute the fabrics evenly and sew it up. First I sewed all the blocks into pairs, and then some of the pairs into rows of four.

Monday morning I awoke with the conviction that I was selling myself and the quilt short with just a random layout. I thought maybe there could be a few "crystallized" areas near the centre of the quilt. And, I realized that I could put just the centre of the quilt on the wall, and then fill in randomly around it while I sewed it together.

Out came the seam ripper, and I hunted through all my sewn pairs for four blocks with this same light citrus-themed background.

Then I thought it would be nice to carry the same background out into the spokes around the corner. There was a lot of hunting and seam ripping required to find the right fabric combinations. Plus, it's trickier when some of the blocks point left, and some point right.

Then I wanted a cross with all red sushi fabric backgrounds, in more or less that spot on the quilt. More hunting, shuffling, and seam ripping.

And finally, an all-green cross a little further down.

Then I just started filling in around those three points. I had to rearrange the sushi cross with the fat ends together, because that's how it fit into the pattern.

Even though I spent an hour or so with the seam ripper, all my prep work sewing the blocks into pairs did pay off at this point. The main layout came together quickly:

There's just a hint of a glow in the centre, and a few interesting repeats to catch the eye. There will still be a full row of crosses to add to the top and bottom, and along the right side.

After my experience with the blues in Collector, I knew the greens would be important here, so I was careful to keep them even. Once again though, contrast is king. I don't know why I am surprised, but I am! I thought the almost solid pin dot fabrics would be more important, but it turned out that the high-contrast large ginghams, and the red and white apple fabric, are by far the most demanding.

I am keen to see it all sewn together now! And then, there will be the question of a border. I know, how will I manage to put a border on this? We'll have to see, but, I do want to add about 4" around, and I don't have enough fabric for more blocks. A debate for next time!

But for now, I'm linking up with the Ad Hoc Improv Quilters again this month. Back in my first Improv post, I mentioned that I wasn't yet in danger of never going back to regular sewing. Now I can feel my whole point of view shifting! I still have traditional projects that I want to finish, and start, but I've already thought of at least five new projects for Improv as well. Maybe I will finally start to reduce my stash!
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