Wednesday, August 31, 2016


Summer 2016 has been the summer of not-quilting-very-much for me.  I started a new job mid-summer.  The job is great but it has taken a few weeks to get used to commuting to the office (I used to work from home two or three days a week) and learning the ropes of the new position.  Here we are at the end of the summer and it's time to take Miss Main Street back to college for her senior year.

I have made some progress on my current piecing project, using Fig Tree Quilts fabric leftovers and scraps.  I cut lots of strips from the remainders of fat quarters and fat eighths....

...and sewed them into strip sets.  After further cutting, they look like this.  

I cut the pieces that were too small for strips into squares.  I'm even using the leftover 2" squares from Globe Trotting, a quilt I made in 2013.

This latest project was inspired by two quilts I saw in blogs, Red Pepper Quilts Irish Chain Scrap Buster, and Seven Letters Quilt as made up by Holly Hill Quilt Shoppe.  My version will be a mashup of the two, with a bit of my own twist.  I'm following Red Pepper Quilts' directions except I downsized my squares to 2".  I really appreciate the pressing instructions in her tutorial because it will help a lot as I put the blocks together.  I have my fingers crossed that as it comes together, it matches my vision!

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Thursday, August 18, 2016

More Thoughts On Starch

For my next project, I'm reaching into the magic basket of Fig Tree Quilts fabric.  Yes, another Fig Tree Harvest quilt!

I've made six major quilts, a baby quilt, and a wall hanging in this series to date.  As a result, though I'm not exactly down to scraps, it would be hard to put a quilt together out of five to eight coordinating fabrics.  But I got an idea for something that is scrappy, where I can use the leftovers from my other projects.  I have lots of partial fat quarters from which I am cutting 2" strips.  These will go into strip sets, which I will augment with 2" squares cut from the real scraps.

Being a convert to starch, I starched the fabric before cutting.  I started with aerosol cans of Niagara but the two cans I had on hand did not go very far.  I had quite a bit of Best Press on hand so I used that but when I ran out, I still had fabric left to starch.  So next I tried concentrated starch (comes in a big bottle), mixed in a 1:4 ratio with water in a trigger spray bottle (I used the empty Best Press bottle).  Here are my thoughts on these different starches.

Niagara Non-Aerosol Trigger Spray - This is my favorite but it is not readily available to me. None of the stores around me carry it and it is ridiculously pricey on  It is easy to spray and get the right amount of saturation in your fabric so it dries stiff without being too stiff.

Niagara Original Aerosol Spray Starch - The price is right, less than $2 a can at stores around me, but one can does not cover much fabric (around 2 yards) so I've been going through a lot of it and feel guilty about the environmental impact of all those aerosol cans.  But it gives the right amount of stiffness and the finish is great.

Best Press - This is billed as a starch alternative and while it gives fabric a crisp finish, it does not get it as stiff as I'd like.  And a bottle does not go far so it is too pricey to use for this purpose.  On the positive side, it comes in some great scents that add that your ironing pleasure.  I'm saving it to use more as a finishing spray.

Starch Concentrate - One bottle goes far when mixed with water in a 1:4 for 1:3 ratio, making it both economical and perfect for getting the exact degree of starchiness you want.  I'm going to stick with it for now, unless I find Niagara in a trigger spray bottle again.

More on my new project next week.

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Monday, August 15, 2016

Quilt Top From Stash

I finished the quilt top I started with fabric from my stash.  The double nine patch blocks are set on point with alternating blocks.

Not having to piece those alternate blocks sure saves time!

I used a double border, just like the pattern directions.  First, a narrow border in green tone-on-tone.

The outer border is fabric from an old Blackbird Designs collection for Moda, red and tan flowers on a green background.  This is the fabric that inspired the fabric choices for the rest of the quilt.  

My quilt top used 20 double nine patch blocks and is 70" by 83" which is smaller than the Plantation Road quilt in the book.  Still, it will be a generous size for a couch quilt.  

I'm happy with this quilt top now that it is made because it will go very nicely in our family room.  However, during the construction process, I came to realize that this look is no longer really me, that my aesthetic has moved in the modern direction.  

Next, I will try to piece the back from stash.

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