Showing posts with label Scrappy Trips Around the World. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Scrappy Trips Around the World. Show all posts

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Mod Trips Finished

First finish for 2016! This is my version of Bonnie Hunter's Scrappy Trips Around the World. I call mine "Mod Trips."

Mod Trips, 60" x 60"
I started this project on a snowy day in February, three years ago. No snow today! But, it's predicted again for tomorrow.

My goal with this quilt was to make a version that was different from all the others out there. I think I succeeded!

It is straight-line quilted in a diamond pattern on my home machine with the walking foot:

I didn't mark it, just sighted along from corner to corner by eye. There was 28 wt white Aurifil thread in the top, and 40 wt in the bobbin. I used a longish stitch ("3" on my machine, and I usually piece at around 2 1/4), and I was happy with how that looked.

But it was not smooth sailing! I was very tempted to title this post...

Dratted Walking Foot

Three weeks ago I had about a third of it quilted, but the back looked like this:

You can see I originally planned twice as much quilting. But, why was it getting all bunched up like that? First, I thought I did a poor job basting it, because I had to do it on a smaller table than before. Or, somehow the fabric stretched out.

Eventually I realized the problem was the feed dogs. I had them on the highest setting, and they were pulling up the back as they worked. My machine has a pin feed, so I switched to that. Then everything flattened out and the walking foot chugged along beautifully.

But, I couldn't have half of it bunchy, and half of it flat, so I spent a day and a half pulling out all the quilting and re-basting it. I was very glad I'd used a longer stitch!

Except for a little cross in each corner, I decided to leave the quilting at every other row the second time.

It's been so long since I finished something, that I totally forgot how fun it is to sew on the binding! It really is satisfying to wrap up all the raw edges and close out the project.

I don't know how practical this scrappy white binding will be, but it felt like the right choice.

So, yay! One done. The pillows are also quilted, but still need backs and binding. To read all the posts about this project, please click here.

Although I didn't make any formal New Year's resolutions this year, I do kind of have one:

One old
One new
One flimsy
One quilt

Since this is an old project and now a finished quilt, I'm free to start something new! And yes, I already started today:

It is so nice to get the walking foot off the machine, and get back to regular sewing!

Saturday, January 23, 2016


Today I have a choice of musical accompaniment for you! Vintage:

Or new:

Cline's voice is just liquid, but personally I think the second track is a good cure for the first! It's not healthy to spend too much time that blue. :D

But, why am I writing about cheating today? Because I've done a lot of things that aren't Allietare, that's why!

It started with those Hourglass leaders and enders. I forgot how long it takes to prep them for sewing! With the first step done, now I have to cut them apart, iron them open, and draw the line for the second step...

...300 150 times. (300 blocks, 150 sets.) And then I realized that I should keep up with the final cut and iron too... I don't have it all left to do at the end. So, the leaders and enders did get me a little sidetracked, and they're not quite as unobtrusive as I first thought!

To clear my head, I sewed four more rows on Aloha Kisses:

Then I thought that if I'm going to cheat on Allietare, I should do something that really needs to be done. So I finally sandwiched and pin basted Mod Trips:

That's a very traditional back for a modern quilt! I was going to make a pieced back for it, but when the mood struck me to baste it, I didn't want to stop and make the back. So this is a wide back that I bought for something else. Now I know that if I have a specific desire for a pieced back, I should make it at the same time as the front!

AHIQ is next week again, so I've also been making a push on the "modern utility quilt" I started in November:

I am definitely naming this one "Picnic." This week I joined the rows in pairs. Then I just have to sew together the pairs, and add the border.

Next, while I was working on Allietare in December, I decided to join in my guild's Crayon Challenge. This is the crayon I got:

Long time readers know that I have a blindspot in the fabric store when it comes to purple, and I have hardly any in my stash! But, it was a good excuse to shop. The idea of the challenge is to use a wide range of values in your colour. These finally arrived this week:

They are gorgeous! I already have all the blocks made, and the layout finalized. Now I'm afraid that's the last you'll see of it until after the last guild meeting in May.

I also received my Kaffe border fabrics for Allietare. They are gorgeous too! In fact, I like them so much that I decided to make the borders wider, and cut a row of blocks. Instead of a 5 x 6 layout of the black star blocks, I cut it down to 5 x 5. Now I only need 25 black star blocks, and 16 red blocks.

Reducing the number of blocks, however, has not saved time. I felt it would be a good opportunity to "optimize" the blocks, and make sure that my most favourite fabrics stayed in the quilt. The red blocks went back on the wall:

The four finished blocks are on the left, and I chose my favourite pieces for the last 12 on the right.

I also had to optimize the fabrics for the black star blocks. It turned out that most of the Week 4 sections with blue backgrounds, like this...

...were the ones that didn't make it into the quilt. Now that the mystery has been revealed, I see that the white backgrounds work better there. So that is one advantage of being slow!

Now, all the Week 4 sets are done:

Next week I will finally get to the layout of the black star blocks. I'm hoping that once all the decisions are made, it will go fast from there!

I certainly recognize that all this fiddling around with the colours and layout slows down the finishes. But, I have also realized that the opportunity to play with the colours and patterns is the main appeal of quilting for me. So as the saying goes, I'll keep "following my bliss!"

Saturday, December 20, 2014

2014 Year in Review

I was going to do this after Christmas, but yesterday I noticed that the new moon and the winter solstice coincide this year, so now is the time to put the old year to bed, and then make Christmas the celebration of new beginnings that it is meant to be.

So I'm back! Last year Toronto fibre artist Kit Lang did a wonderful post reviewing her projects and learnings from the past year. I believe that improvement, whether you are an artist or an artisan, requires regular reflection and adjustments, so I decided then that I would do something similar this year. Here are the highlights of what I've learned in 2014.

I'd been stressing about UFOs for years, and last January's resolution was to cut them all loose. Clean slate, start over.

Well, it was easy to say, hard to do. All my old projects crept back on the list.

My final thought is that it's like gardening -- cutting away the dead wood makes the whole plant healthier, but over pruning can be equally bad. The trick is balance,

In May I got a new sewing machine, the Brother Nouvelle 1500s high speed, single stitch machine. What a difference it's made!

I've never thought that it's reasonable to spend thousands of dollars on fancy gadgets for a hobby, but I can feel my opinion changing on that. I'm finding that better equipment gives a better result, and makes the process a lot more enjoyable as well.

Also in May, I was able to get this project, It's Warm Inside, from start to finish in about 3 weeks. That was the fastest I've ever done anything quilty! It broke down some mental barriers for me about starting and finishing in a timely manner.

Why was this one so easy to finish?
1. I had all the materials ready to go.
2. It was just 16 blocks, so there was no time to get bored.
3. I planned and cut the whole quilt before I started to sew. Then I wasn't slowed down by decision making during construction.

No, it's still not quilted, but I count it as a success nevertheless!

Mod Trips
Finishing those 16 log cabin blocks empowered me to get back to these Scrappy Trips blocks that I'd started in 2013. You could say they were a UFO whose time had finally come!

I applied what I'd learned. Rather than choosing, ironing and cutting fabrics for the blocks one at a time, I chose and cut everything for the rest of the quilt in one go. This streamlined the process, and it helped me make better choices, because I could see how everything worked together.

Even still, it was a grind to get the 25 blocks done. I think my threshold is around 20 blocks!

On the other hand, the two pillow covers I made from the leftovers were really fun. I think I liked the puzzle of how to fit them all together. That's something I plan to do again!

Over the summer I also put myself on a schedule to finish my "forever project," Texas Star. The schedule was easy, just six stars per week, and it worked.

I had to put my other forever project, Trick or Treat baskets, on hold while I finished Texas Star. Then, as I was finishing up Mod Trips above, I came to a big realization. It's not enough for a project to be interesting, I also need to have an emotional connection with it. Mod Trips is nice enough, and I'm happy it's done, but it's all intellectual.

And the baskets will be the same thing, too much head, not enough heart. I like the grey colour scheme and the fabrics intellectually, but I don't love them. I may start it again down the road in different fabrics, but this version is definitely dead.

Although it's nowhere near finished, this new project Jacks and Cats was still an important lesson. I learned that it is good to have a big stash.

I hear the groans! Over a year ago I resolved to only buy fabric for specific projects, and to stop buying just for stash. But I've changed my mind.

What I've found is that when inspiration strikes, it is very helpful to be ready to go. I bought the magazine and started this project on the same day. The whole thing flowed together beautifully, and it was super fun to be able to ride that initial wave of inspiration. For me, I think that's the best way to work.

Yes, I'm a little worried that now the brakes are off the shopping cart, but actually, I've bought less fabric recently.

Ink Week Finale

November's lesson was about the importance of the blogging community. Really, it should be whole separate post, but I'll just keep going here.

I am so appreciative of all you, bloggers, readers, and commenters, for the support, encouragement and inspiration you provide!!

My project Down in the Garden, had been languishing with just a few of these herb pots done, when I noticed that Kaaren at The Painted Quilt had started it too. She encouraged me to get back to it, and crucially, added my blog to her blog list.

That's so important, because I can see the traffic coming in from her blog, and it's very motivating. It is very helpful to borrow someone else's confidence when your own is flagging! It gave me the encouragement I needed to just go for it with Ink Week.

Then Mary Corbet recommended the series, and sent a huge spike in traffic my way. But, right between parts 3 and 4, a family emergency briefly knocked things askew. Once again, it was knowing that people were watching and waiting for the rest of the series that got me back on track and helped me to finish. And I'm so happy I did, because it turned out even better than I'd hoped!

So, when I say that I appreciate you all, it's not empty words. I really mean it! You make me better. Thank you!

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Mod Pillows

Back in July I showed you the pile of offcuts that I had from the Scrappy Trips Around the World blocks that I used to make my Mod Trips quilt. Now that the flimsy is finished, I decided to make two 20" square pillow covers from the remaining strips. I had 37 pieced strips left, each with one red square and five light squares. For the first pillow I was able to make a scaled down version of the loops in my quilt:

But, there weren't enough red squares to make another loop, so for the second pillow I opted for an asymmetrical cross:

I think they both have that "mod" feel.

And now, with the pillow tops done too, I am really feeling like I have completed a milestone with this project. There are just a few squares left over for the scrap bin. Next month I hope to start the quilting, but for now I want to see how far I can get with Jacks and Cats before Halloween is upon us. Lots to do!

Monday, October 20, 2014

Mod Trips

Here, finally, is my finished flimsy, made from a variation on Bonnie Hunter's Scrappy Trips Around the World blocks. From the start I wanted to use the blocks in a graphic, modern way, that is hopefully different than anyone else! I used 25 of the 12" blocks, so it is 60" square. To see how I made the blocks, please click here.

The rounded rectangles remind me of the late 1960s "mod" style, so I'm calling it Mod Trips.

I made half the blocks on my old machine, and half of them on my new machine, so the seam allowances were not perfectly consistent. It was a bit of a challenge to get together (!), but on the whole it worked out better than I had any right to expect.

I'm considering some fairly intensive free motion quilting for this, but I think I'll do a practice run before I commit to that! In any case, it feels good to have it done, because it took way longer than expected. As usual!

Monday, September 1, 2014

25 Trips

I finally finished my last four Scrappy Trips blocks today. This brings the total to 25 of the 12" square blocks, which will make a comfortable 60" square lap quilt.

I started these blocks on a snowy day in February 2013, after seeing them here and there around the blogosphere. 19 months ago! It was the great quilt at Nifty Quilts that started me thinking. Her quilt is 96" square, or 64 blocks. I feel like I have been sewing and sewing and sewing, and I am relieved that I only wanted 25!

Remember that pile of off cuts from last time? I used 6 of them for the 25th block of the quilt:

I've learned more about my preferences while making this quilt. Repetitive machine sewing like this is not my thing. I'd rather have more challenge, or at least more variety, as I go along.

And although I love scrappy quilts, I've realized that I don't much like actual scraps. All of the strips for this quilt were cut from yardage in my stash.

There's only one fussy cut square in the whole quilt:

I just had to tweak it a little to get that seated figure to fit in the square.

The layout is the whole raison d'ĂȘtre for this quilt. I'll show that next time, when the blocks are joined. When I had it up on my temporary "design wall," it was clear that I'd have to put it together very carefully, without rotating any of the blocks, or the pattern would be lost. So, I labelled each block in the upper left corner, so I'd know which way is up:

I noticed that not all the blocks were as square as they should be. Let's hope it goes together well!

Monday, July 21, 2014

Moving the Chains

It is now well over a year since I last posted on this project, which is my variation of Bonnie Hunter's Scrappy Trips Around the World. After I finished Edward's quilt this project became more insistent, so I have been working on it again, on and off. In American football they say "moving the chains," because if you keep moving steadily down the field, 10 yards at a time, eventually you will score a touchdown.

I think this is going to be a whole summer of "moving the chains" as far as my projects go. No exciting plays, just steady work. For example, this Scrappy Trips project is not great for blogging. With its two colour scheme, all the blocks look pretty darn similar:

Although this second block shows the danger of text-based fabrics in the upper left corner, where "hello" has become "hell," lol.

I also will have quite a few offcuts left over:

Each strip set yields seven or eight 2.5" slices, and only six are needed for each 12" finished block. With 12 blocks finished, I already have enough leftovers for more than 3 blocks, and I am debating what to do with them:
  • I could add another row to my quilt, which is currently planned to be 5 x 5 rows, or 60" square. My planned layout requires an odd number of blocks though, so it would have to go up to 5 x 7 rows, or 60" x 84", which is quite a bit bigger and a whole different quilt, really.
  • I could put them on the back, but it wouldn't match up well with my quilting plan.
  • Pillow covers. Maybe more pillow covers than I really need.
I'll have to see how it goes. In the meantime, I'm also still trimming hsts for my redesigned double star blocks, sewing a few hourglasses for the Hourglass Ticker in the right sidebar, piecing Texas Stars, cutting and appliqueing baskets, and doing a whole range of stitchery projects. I have a vague plan to finish one BFF block every Wednesday until that project is done. That will take me through to November!!

So, lots to do. :D

Friday, March 8, 2013

Scrappy Trips Variation

The original instructions for these Scrappy Trips Around the World blocks are here. If you look closely, you can see that I have introduced a slight variation:

The red and white fabrics down the main diagonal alternate, while all the others remain the same. I did this for two reasons:
  1. I don't want the main diagonal to distract from the red squares in the final layout.
  2. I'm hoping that down the road people may look closely and wonder, "how'd she do that?"
Well, this is how!

Each block uses six half-WOF (width of fabric) strips. Because I am almost always cutting from full-width pieces of fabric, I naturally get two half-WOF strips, so it makes sense to sew the blocks in pairs. I sew them together in the same order for each block, using a different red and white fabric in each set:

I continue to follow the instructions until both sets get to this point:

Then I pull out every other strip:

And replace them with the corresponding strips from the other set:

VoilĂ ! Another two blocks done. :)

Friday, February 8, 2013

Snow Day

For the most part Toronto has not seen the bad weather that most of the northeast has received this year. I often say that we have a protective bubble over us! Today, though, we caught it. It has been snowing and blowing all day, and we have had at least 30 cm (one foot) of snow at our house.

A good day to stay inside and sew! I know two other ladies from my guild who said the same thing to me this morning. I started a new quilt! I made two of these:

And two of these:

These are the Scrappy Trip Around the World blocks that seem to have taken Blogland by storm (I have storms on the brain today). Bonnie Hunter posted this demo in 2005. Recently Hetty made a few blocks, which caught my eye. Then LeeAnn made her massive 96" square version, which really tempted me. I was holding the line, though, until I had a look at the Flickr group, which is at 1300+ photos and counting. I started to look for interesting settings and I was a goner.

Usually the line of contrast runs from corner to corner, but I saw one quilt sewn this way on the Flickr group. You can make some cute layouts with this block.

I love the way it looks like a collage of old newspapers! All the fabrics for this quilt are from my stash. I bought the text-based fabrics for another quilt (Collector, actually), and then changed my mind and decided to use just one fabric in the background there. Personally, I think this quilt is a way better use for them!

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