Friday, September 9, 2022

Bee Organized Cutting Mat & Ruler Carrier

So, I made a bag.  A very large bag!

I've had these Robyn Pandolph fabrics from the Hannah Bella line in my stash for almost 20 years.  I bought them when Miss Main Street was a child, intending to make a quilt for her bedroom, but before I got to it, her taste changed and she didn't want anything girly or floral.  I ended up making her a quilt with bright batiks instead.  So all this fabric has been patiently waiting for a project to come along.

I am going to a quilt retreat in November.  I will need to take a LOT of stuff with me (fortunately, I will be traveling by car).   A bag to safely hold my cutting mat and rulers seemed like a good idea, so I made one.  

I stumbled on this pattern by Lori Holt.  It is really quite simple to make, though it does require a lot of fabric - I think I used about seven yards in total, plus interfacing and batting.  

I made a few modifications to the pattern to work with my fabrics better.  I made the straps narrower to make use of the floral stripe and I sized my pockets to hold the rulers I use most.  The bag is similar to an artist's portfolio, with large pockets to hold an 18 by 24 cutting mat (or large design boards) and several smaller pockets to hold acrylic rulers of various sizes.

Interfacing helps the pockets hold their shape and I used fusible fleece to provide some padded protection.  The whole thing folds in the middle and snaps shut at the top, with handles to carry it.  

Above  is one side, packed with design boards and rulers...

...while the other side has the cutting mat and more rulers.   The pattern is pretty easy to follow, except that all the instructions refer to fabrics from the line Lori Holt used to make her version.  It helps to make a conversion chart for your own fabric choices and I simplified by using fewer fabrics to work with what I had on hand.  

I'll let you know how well it works "in the field" after the retreat.

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Tuesday, September 6, 2022

Moda Blockheads 4/Little Blocks 4.5

I have 17 4.5" blocks (finished size) made and I am putting this project aside for now.

I've been making the blocks out of Christmas-y fabrics, bits and pieces from my stash.  I like the blocks but don't know what I am going to do with them and have kind of lost the love for this project.  Mostly, I've realized that I really don't enjoy the process of foundation paper piecing.  When I made Rainbow Connection, I was excited enough about my vision for the finished quilt that I could tolerate the process.  Not so much now that I don't have an endpoint in mind.  I much prefer the process of making the regular pieced blocks from the Moda project, and I plan to go back to it as soon as I have a plan for the blocks.  I may even add more from the Little Blocks project.  

But until then, I need a project I can love, and I have something in mind.  But first, I'm going to make some items of a "practical" nature.  Look for an update soon. 

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Thursday, July 14, 2022

Pirouette, A Finished Flimsy

And the top is finished!  It is not quilted yet but I put it on my bed to see how it looks (also to be sure it is big enough).  I enlarged Pirouette, from the book A Scrapbook of Quilts, from 16 blocks to 25 blocks so it would fit a queen size bed.  And I made the outer border 4" wide to add a bit more.  I think it will be about 93" square after quilting.

The color in this close-up photo is closer to "real life" than the photo above.  The 30's reproduction prints are bright and cheerful.  

I had to buy some fabric for the back as I did not have anything big enough in my stash so I went for a wideback fabric (108 inches wide) because my least favorite part of quilt making is piecing the back.  I am going to take this to a longarmer to quilt and am contemplating designs while I wait for the back to arrive.  I want a design that will make the seams in the white areas less apparent.  I do have some fabric for the binding.  It is a blue print, the same blue as the solid I used for the tiny cornerstones in the center of each block.  

This quilt was a good stash buster though I still have enough 30's reproduction prints to make another quilt.  I'm thinking maybe a log cabin.  But that won't be my next project as I have a few things in the pipeline to get to first. 

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Monday, July 11, 2022

Pirouette Update

It's been a while!  I took a bit of a sewing hiatus; I was just not in the mood.  Then suddenly, and fortunately, my mojo returned and I got back into my sewing room.  I have all the blocks finished for Pirouette.  

Pirouette is in A Scrapbook of Quilts by Joanna Figueroa and Carrie Nelson.  It is a great quilt book, well worth having in your library.  The directions call for 16 blocks, set 4 by 4, but I am enlarging the quilt to fit a queen size bed so need 25 blocks.  

I wanted a retro look so I am making this quilt using 30's reproduction fabrics from my stash.  I've had this fabric a long time and it feels good to be finally using it.

The first step is to make a zillion "building blocks" out of triangles.  I used Triangles On A Roll to make mine.

Next step is to sew the blocks together into the quilt top.  More soon.

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Friday, April 29, 2022

Blockheads 4 Update - Some Finished Blocks

I'm working on Little Blocks 4.5 and the 4.5 inch blocks in Blockheads 4 simultaneously but progress slowed when first, I injured my right index finger (not a rotary cutter accident but the finger hurt making using a rotary cutter difficult) and then I got Covid-19 (a very mild case, like a cold).  I've recovered, and so has my finger, and I'm caught up on Blockheads 4 blocks.

So here are five of the first six blocks.  I chose not to make one (Block 3?) because it had too many pieces for me to manage in the small size.  However, I may go back and make it later.  These blocks are good practice for piecing accuracy and as mine improves, I am more confident in my ability to manage the tiny pieces.  The biggest challenge is the build-up of seam allowances on the back.  

I'm using fabric from my stash for this project, a mix of red and green Christmas prints and assorted backgrounds.  I'm not sure yet what setting I'll use; I had a couple of ideas at the start but I've seen some interesting settings from other participants so am undecided now.

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Monday, March 28, 2022

I'm Going On A Quilt Retreat

I'm going to a quilt retreat called Sew Brimfield.  It is being run by the ladies from Brimfield Awakening.  This will be my first quilt retreat and I am so excited.  Have you been to a quilt retreat and do you have any tips (please leave in the comments)?  The retreat is in northern Virginia so I can drive and takes lots of stuff, plus it is in early November so I have plenty of time to plan projects.

The Brimfield Awakening team is all about English paper piecing, but you can work on any type of quilting at the retreat, with room for a sewing machine, etc.  I have a hand sewing project called Dot Dot Dot (pattern by Laundry Basket Quilts); this is very long term project for me so I'm sure I'll still be working on it in Nov.  If I have a quilt finished and quilted by then, I'll likely take it along to bind it.  And I'd like to take a piecing project as well.  Lots of time to plan!

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Thursday, March 24, 2022

Progress On My Weekday Quilt Project

I'm working on two quilt projects simultaneously.  It isn't my favorite way to work on quilts but one project is a block of the week, with new blocks dropping on Fridays so I work on them on the weekends usually.  I fill in during the week with the other project, Pirouette, from A Scrapbook of Quilts, by Joanna Figueroa and Carrie Nelson.

In the past month, I've gone from the fabric pull... lots of HSTs... the basic blocks.

I have about fifty of these blocks made; I need 100.  I'm enlarging the quilt from the original design with extra blocks so it will fit a queen size bed.  It was pretty slow going at first because I am a fabric placement obsessive.  Each block uses 10 smaller blocks (the HSTs) and I would hem and haw over which to place where, what colors and prints look best next to each other, and so on.  I finally landed on a system.  Because I used fat quarters and triangles on a roll, I have 28 HSTs in the same print combinations.  I put them in separate piles on my table, lined up in rows so the colors were fairly dispersed.  Then I made a block using HSTs 1 through 10, the next block used HSTs 2 through 11, and the next used HSTs 3 through 12, and so on.  I adjust only to avoid having two triangles of the same color next to each other, but it rarely happens.  It is working well and I spend less time obsessing, more time sewing.

I made this project bag a few years ago; I have a few.  They are handy for keeping all the items for a project together - the pattern, fabric, precuts, etc. - until I get to the project.  This one is holding the finished blocks.  

I'll be back soon with an update on the weekend project.

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