Showing posts with label Strings. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Strings. Show all posts

Sunday, August 28, 2022

Rose Boll Flimsy

I'm still slowly excavating my WIP storage drawers. There are SO many projects in there! I almost wish Ikea storage was less efficient, then I would be closer to the bottom by now! 🤣🤣🤣

Anyway as I mentioned last time I finally made a decision on the border for Rose Boll, my "red and white" version of Bonnie Hunter's Roll Roll Cotton Boll. Bonnie has a triple row of squares set on point for her border, which certainly looks great. I sketched a few colour variations, or maybe a single row of squares:

But I really didn't want to fiddle around with that, and I felt like the quilt was already very busy with all those floral fabrics. When I put it away I was thinking just some chunks of the reds would be best. But I guess I didn't exactly love that either or I would have done it at the time. 

Then while I was finishing the String Tulips top I realized that random string piano keys could work. I like how they have the same visual weight as the centre of the quilt. And they have the right balance between formal and improv piecing. 

Sorry that is a very blurry picture! I pieced the floater from some of the florals with the whitest backgrounds. Because the piano key strings were randomly cut, and not perfect strips, I pieced them on paper foundations using pages from a phone book. The piecing went quickly and I think it is a low stress way to keep everything going in the same direction! It's fun to compose as you sew, too, you don't have to preplan every detail.

I didn't want to do the mitered corner but that diagonal line just felt necessary, to echo all the diagonals in the center. I had to hand sew the inner corners to make them lie flat, but it was worth it.

So here's the whole thing, 89.5" square at the moment! 

I've noticed that I go through a similar emotional range on all my projects. I get the idea and do some sketches and I think, that'll be awesome and I'm all excited. Then starting the project is fun and I like sewing all the early units. Then you have to assemble the blocks and it starts to drag, and then you have to join the blocks and it's even worse, lol. And then the centre is done and I should be happy but I'm usually not. Somehow it doesn't live up to my expectations at that point.

It's not until I come up with the right border, get it sewn and lay out the finished top that i think, well, that's actually pretty good! One could easily say, piano keys, what is the big deal about that? And I think the answer is that if the border is right it flows and it's not a big deal. And if it was wrong you would see it right away!

Anyway, I'm still enjoying working with strings so I'm planning more projects with those. And I'm still really enjoying putting my own spin on Bonnie Hunter's patterns, so there will likely be more of those to come as well! I have a dark background version of Grassy Creek planned that I think will be gorgeous, but I think I still want to finish at least one more UFO before I start anything new.

I'm not ruling out the next mystery, though! Just as I'm writing this I'm thinking a Halloween colour scheme could be fun to try! Black, purple, brown, it could be really lush! I guess we'll see! 🤣

Thanks for reading and happy quilting everyone! 

Friday, May 21, 2021

AHIQ String Tulip Quilt Along

One of the AHIQ founders, Ann of Fret Not Yourself, has been hosting a quilt along with a really charming recipe that combines string pieced blocks and string pieced applique tulips. I've been lurking and admiring it for a while, but I didn't think I had the bandwidth to make it. 

After I finished the centre of Rose Boll and made the dubious decision to put it away, I pulled out Ontario Shores. I finished all those blocks, 

...and made a start on attaching all the sashing. It's looking pretty good. But I just ran out of steam. Time for something new!

I like almost everything about Ann's quilt except the size, so the first thing I did was that sketch at the top to see how it would look larger. Think it's going to be pretty good. 😊

The string tulip quilt along has an improv mindset, so there is plenty of encouragement to do your own thing and run with it. And everyone knows I change designs all the time. 😂

But I do try to preserve the things that drew me to the project in the first place. In this case there were several. Ann has made two versions of this quilt now, one with a blue background and mainly red tulips, 

Photo: Fret Not Yourself

and one with a light print background and mainly blue tulips.

So looking at them both, I considered what I like about them.
  • I love the string pieced X blocks around the centre. That's probably my favourite thing about the quilt so I'm keeping that.
  • I prefer the light background and the red tulips, so I'll combine those two things in mine. (And hey, another mainly red and white/neutral quilt. 😉)
  • This is a great opportunity to practice turned edge machine applique with a simple, forgiving shape. I'll just change the design a little.
  • In general Ann matched the centre colour of the tulips with the colour on the main diagonal of the X blocks. I think that's important repetition, so I'll keep that.
So overall, my quilt will look a lot like Ann's. Besides the size, I only have two other changes in mind.

1. Because I'm going to do the applique with my little Eversewn Sparrow, a smaller block will be easier to handle. I broke it down to 10" squares with one tulip each.

2. Rather than Ann's dots I may add leaves to the tulips. My first thought was to sew on spiky triangles after the applique was done. But I didn't love that. It just feels too sharp and aggressive. I love the wider tips of the X blocks, so I'm thinking I'll try that shape for the leaves too. You can see that idea in the bottom left of the first photo at the top. That will have to be pieced before the applique is attached. Or, maybe those could be appliqued too. Idk yet. 😄

Ann provides instructions on how to draw your own applique pattern here. I plan to applique all 3 petals separately. I thought it would be nice to have the strings radiating out from the centre line of the tulip. But, then I realized it would be better to have the direction of the strings in the tulips more or less echo the strings in the pieced blocks. So the vertical line is the right one and I drew a sewing line on all the petals.

I still have SO much Ricky Tims' Stable Stuff from my early attempt at Sedona Star, so I'll just use that as a base for the petals and leave it in the quilt. There are only 24 tulips in my queen size quilt, so I just traced each one in pencil rather than making a clean printable template. I think it's probably better if they aren't exactly all the same.

I'm a little concerned that I've done the most fun part first here. 😂

I had those strip sets in my scrap box, so I threw them in. 24 sets of string petals are now done.

And my scrap box is exactly as full as it was before. Hopefully the X blocks will use up a little more!

Tysm to Ann for permission to use her photos, and this excellent QAL! Next up, the applique background. Probably.

Wednesday, May 19, 2021

Rose Boll Progress


As I slowly excavate back through my UFOs, the next one that caught my eye was Rose Boll, started in 2017 and last seen here in June 2018. I have to admit, every time I read back through those old posts I just laugh. So optimistic!

Anyhoo, I don't think I ever gave much detail about my process on this quilt, so I'll cover that a little now. As you see above, most of the blocks have the same red fabric in the centre as well as the HSTs in the sawtooth edge. 20 HSTs are needed for each block, but I foundation paper pieced them in sets of 24. So, there were leftovers.

I decided to use the leftovers in the main quilt also, and made a few scrappy blocks. Since they were different anyway, I used different colours from my stack of floral "neutrals" for the centres. The gold and pink are from the same collections as some of the reds and whites I used, so it still ties together.

When I started to work on it this year all the string blocks were done, and there were only about 6 of the sawtooth blocks left. I finished those, laid it all out, and sewed together the centre.

As always, lol, I had considerable debate about the border. Bonnie Hunter's original quilt has 3 rows of diagonal set squares in the border that looks great. I sketched a few variations on that, and decided it was too much in my busy fabrics. A single row of squares looked a little better on paper. But, once the centre was complete I realized it's more than enough as it is. I'm just going to do a narrow inner border in gold and a wider outer border in scrappy chunks of red, and call it done.

And then I did a Very Dangerous Thing, and folded it up and put it away without finishing the border. I just wasn't in the mood to iron and cut those red chunks. 😂

insert optimistic closing here

And then I pulled out another project. 😜

Saturday, May 1, 2021

Technicolor Turkey Together at Last!

So the world turned upside down since my last post. There's nothing more I want to say about that, lol. But, I have managed to do some sewing now and then, and I have a few projects to get caught up over the next few posts.

I have an Ikea wardrobe with wide shallow drawers that holds my current works in progress. It's proven to be an excellent system. Even several years later everything is in one place with all my notes and plans, and it's been fairly easy to pick up and sew again.

One quadrant of Techicolor Turkey was already sewn together. I had made a very nice colour sketch of my planned layout for the rest, which saved my life on this so I highly recommend it. 😂

I made the blocks as part of the Rainbow Scrap Challenge in 2017. The blocks are Bonnie Hunter's Talking Turkey design with my own pieced sashing.

When I put the quilt on hold, the border plan was for something mostly neutral with a few pops of color. But I didn't love it. While I was sewing it together I debated several different ideas, maybe multicolour strings or piano keys. Eventually I decided that an all neutral border would let the blocks shine. I carried the sashing out into the border, with some neutral strips sewn in between. This allowed me to sew on the border before I sewed the four quadrants together. If I can avoid a long seam I will!

At first I thought I would alternate light and darker neutrals around the border, but as I laid it out I liked it better with all the dark strips on the outer edge. I think a multicolour scrappy binding will be the right finish for this.

In any case it was really nice to get something done for the first time in a long time. I finally have a dedicated sewing area, which is making all the difference. It is easy to just leave the project there and work on it for a few minutes when I have time.

Apologies for the recycled photos from Instagram. If you follow me there, @lakeviewmonica, you will see things a lot sooner, lol. These days I am mostly on mobile and don't fire up the computer that much. I had to scroll back to August 2020 to find these pictures, so that must have been when I finished the top. 😅

I hope everyone is hanging in there! I'm going to queue up a few more posts over the next couple days. You know, while the computer is running and before I go back to emojis and likes on mobile. Happy stitching everyone!

Saturday, August 19, 2017


Last night I said to myself, "Omigosh, tomorrow is Saturday already!" Saturday is the RSC link up, and I have done very little sewing for two weeks now. But today I managed to shift into gear and make a start on my neutral string units for Rose Boll.

Although, "neutral" seems like the wrong term for all my rosey florals!

A few of these fabrics have been in my stash since the 90s. And of course, I did buy a few more too.

My first thought was to keep these strings very light. But, the alternate sawtooth blocks are quite stark and high contrast. So, I decided to put in the darker pink and gold strings to balance the final quilt a little better.
I am getting keen to see how it will look all together!

This is 14 done, and 50 needed, so there is still a lot to do. But, it feels like good progress.

Click here to see all the other variations on neutral at RSC today!

Saturday, August 5, 2017

Whisperin' Turkey

If the name of these Bonnie Hunter blocks is Talkin' Turkey, then this low volume colourway must surely be whisperin!

When I was deciding whether or not to start this project, the idea of these inverse, white blocks was the clincher. And I'm so happy with how they turned out!

I already knew I was on the right track when I finished the string units:

I really think this is my favourite colour scheme.

I've been saying for a while that I'm ready to close the book on all these text fabrics (yes, sorry). But now that I am near the end on this Warm Wishes fabric, I will miss it. It has been just the right touch in so many projects! Maybe I will have to look for some more text fabrics after all.

Anyway, once again only three blocks are needed for this month's colour.

But, I definitely hope to re-visit these white strings in a future project! We'll see how things shake out. 

And as always, you can see all the other variations on "light" at the RSC link up, right here.

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Red for March

The original Bonnie Hunter Talkin' Turkey quilt is all in shades of red and beige. I can see why! The red blocks really pop.

These blocks are so fun to make! This has been the most string units I've made for a project so far. They are so effective that I've been making an effort to take photos before I cut them. Do you see the sushi fabric?

I still had a scrap left!

Interestingly, I found that it's hard to have a range of values in red. You have to run between pink and black, or rely on red and white prints. Or red and black prints.

I bought quite a lot of that Canadian flag fabric from Connecting Threads. I think I'll be using it for many years!

And there are still a lot of Kaffe Collective scraps as well. Most of those are originally from Collector.

So, that's March done and dusted. I'm zooming along! What will be next?

But for now, don't forget to check out all the other blue blocks still being made for RSC in July, right here.

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Purple for January

Since I'm starting the 2017 Rainbow Scrap Challenge halfway through the year, I've decided to go back to the beginning and fill in the months I've missed. The colour for January was purple.

It seems that I've gone back to my purple-blind ways, because there were only two purple scraps in my scrap box -- the birdcages and the Scottie dogs. Everything else was cut new from stash. And I used almost every purple fabric I have!

But, once I had these string sections made, I was really loving purple once again. The mix of purples is so juicy!

Now that I've properly read the instructions, these Talkin' Turkey blocks went together just fine. I really love the mix of techniques! It keeps me interested.

I also am finding that one colour at a time is a very efficient way to make blocks. My stash is mostly sorted by colour, so I only have to open one box. And when the blocks are done, it is easy to put the fabrics back again! Filing the fabrics back again is always the hardest part of stash maintenance. :D

The next RSC link up will be on Saturday, right here. I can't wait to learn the colour for July!

Saturday is also Canada's big 150th anniversary, so I think I'll do a red & white retrospective for that. No new project! I've been racking my brain, but, I haven't had any exciting new Canada-themed ideas. There are already plenty out there!

In the meantime, purple is done. February will be aqua, and the strings are already looking good!

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Technicolor Turkey

After many years of resistance, this week I succumbed to the Rainbow Scrap Challenge for 2017 (RSC17). My inspiration is Angela Neff's rainbow version of Bonnie Hunter's Talkin' Turkey quilt. Angela started hers in 2013, and the flimsy is here, in 2016. Sounds so familiar, doesn't it?

But, despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary, I still believe that I can start halfway through the year, catch up, and finish by December 31!

I have not one, but two copies of the pattern:

So, the block should be a piece of cake, right? Well, I have to admit that I mainly buy patterns so that I can take a photo for the blog and support the designer. I don't need a pattern for a traditional block...I skimmed the instructions and jumped right in.

The RSC colour for June is yellow, and my plan called for four yellow blocks. The centre nine patches went fast...

...and then things started to go awry. I used Stable Stuff for the string foundations, with the plan to leave it in the final block. I have no photo, but this is exactly what happened. Déjà vu! Stable stuff is a pain to remove, but, I did it.

Then, I thought I would save a step and trim the string blocks after they were sewn onto the middle. The pattern said that I should have about a 1/4" extra all around. So why were my blocks coming out scant? Something must have happened with that Stable Stuff and all the ripping and ironing I had to do. I kept going, and with plenty of steam and firm ironing, my block finished just 1/8" short all around.

In the middle of that, my big iron died, and I had to press the last seams with my small travel iron.

At least I got one block done! I put everything away for the day. Then I thought, no wonder it was tricky -- those 6" nine patch blocks are 8.5" on point, not 9" like the pattern says. It must be a mistake! In both books?

I re-read the pattern. The instructions say to cut the nine patches at 2 + a fraction inches, and I assumed that fraction was 1/2. It is not. 2 1/2" is too small, so my nine patches were too small, and the whole block was doomed. Is it finally time to get eyeglasses?

The other three blocks were already cut, but I was able to sew a scant seam, and they came out right. The first, problem block is on the top right:

I'm lucky that the yellow is low contrast, so the problem is not obvious. I'm keeping that block! But, now I have about 100 beige 2 1/2" squares for a future project. Back to the cutting board!

Usually when I run into this many problems, I think that maybe I should pass on the project. But this time I am not deterred. All the problems are solved now, hopefully. I only want 36 blocks, and I think around 7 a month should be doable.

And you know, my old iron wasn't doing a great job with all the fusible applique anyway. I was constantly finding little unfused areas that were probably left by the steam holes. A new, flat-bottomed dry iron is on order!

Best of all, I've remembered that I start thinking I need glasses every June. Why? This dratted tree:

Japanese lilac tree
The city has planted these everywhere, they are all in bloom now, and my allergies are in high gear. By mid-July the world will be clear again.

So obviously, this was all the trees' fault. Certainly not mine.

For many other yellow blocks, and probably shorter stories too, check out the RSC link up, right here.
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