Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Coins Back

I've been playing around with making a quilt back this week--to the point that it wasn't play anymore. But it's done! I was thinking of using yardage of one of the prints from the front of the Deconstructed Coins quilt to make the back, but then I considered how much that would cost and how much solid fabric I had left from the front of the quilt, and thriftiness won out. I decided to cobble together the solids. That's been kind of my thing for quilts, anyway, and I've usually enjoyed it. 

The first thing I did was even up the edges of all of my leftovers to make rectangles. I had run out of a few of the colors and had very little left of others, so the variety was kind of lacking. Depending on how much fabric I had left, I cut most of the pieces into two or four smaller rectangles so that I could distribute colors better. I really wanted to cut smaller pieces, but then I'd lose more fabric to seam allowance. First, I laid out the pieces on top of the quilt top to get an idea of how they might fit. My idea was to separate columns of colored blocks with narrow strips of Kona Silver (my biggest piece of leftover--15 by maybe 90 or so inches).

No matter how I laid them, I couldn't quite make it work. There wasn't quite enough of either colored blocks or the silver, even supplementing with some pieces from my stash that were close enough to blend in to with the other colors of the top. 

Next, I arranged the pieces in a more horizontal fashion with the largest piece across the middle. That seemed to work better, although I wasn't sold on the wide strip. 

 After playing working some more with my fabric pieces and taking pictures in grayscale, I came up with this:
(This is actually after I sewed most of it together)
And here it is in color:

Getting to this point was quite a challenge. I had to decide whether to lay pieces vertically or horizontally to have enough fabric in each direction to cover and overhang the top for quilting. I wasn't planning to line the pieces up so that the seams matched up, but that ended up being the easiest way to arrange them. I did add a bit of medium pink to the ends of the silver strip in the middle, and I like how it keeps that strip from taking over completely. This backing looks pretty planned for an improv back. If you look closely, you'll see that if you were to cut it in half diagonally, it would be two identical triangles. But I did not measure and plan the sizes of the blocks--I just let what I had left guide me to cut them into the rectangles, folding them in half or quarters to figure out where the cuts should be. When piecing I had to make more cuts to even up fabric after sewing pairs of blocks together. The sewing was a snap after I figured out the block placement. For me, the best way to distribute the fabrics was to use the grayscale photo--that was more reliable than my eye to determine what colors looked best next to each other. 

Looking back, it would have been much easier to pay to buy backing fabric, but learning how to make what I had work seems to have been a worthwhile challenge--and it pretty much used up all the fabric I had pulled for the quilt plus a little more.

Here's one more picture of the quilt top, just because I love to look at it (and I hope you do , too.) 

It's supposed to be really hot here the next few days. I think pressing and basting will be done in the basement where it's nice and cool. Then, on to the quilting. After that, there will be only one WIP to work on! Let's see if I get to it or give in to the idea I have for another quilt.

I'm linking up with Sew Fresh Quilts for Let's Bee Social this week, and Ad Hoc Improv Quilters next week. Keep quilting! 

Friday, July 14, 2017

Quilt Finish and Top

A finish and a half today. First up: the Painted Daisy Quilt, or as I've also referred to it, Big Stitch Project. I wasn't sure if I was done, but some helpful comments on my last post said I was. Thank you. I never know when to quit. I still need to find a UV resisting spray for it so I can hang it on my front door for the rest of the summer, but here it is:

And the back:
The back and binding are from scraps.

Here are the details:
Pattern Daisy from Ruth B McDowell's book Pieced Flowers
Size Block:12 1/4 by 10 1/4 inches (width/height)
         Quilt: 18 1/2 by 17 1/4 inches (height/width)
Fabric Mostly BasicGray Grunge by Moda. I'm sorry, I didn't keep track of the color names. Thanks to Jayne at Twiggy and Opal, I will now try to keep track by taking pictures of bolt ends when I'm shopping. The flower center and binding are Free Spirit Joel Dewberry True Colors Woodgrain (that's a mouthful, isn't it?)
Batting Scrap. Your guess is as good as mine. 
Quilting Big Stitch (1/4-inch stitches) with DMC embroidery thread (four strands) in various colors. Cross hatching is at 1-inch intervals. I didn't use a hoop. If I did this again, I probably would to keep it smoother. I found that I still prefer tiny-stitch quilting, so I'm mulling over another quilt top to use that technique. After all, now that this is done, I need something else for a take-along project.
Binding Cut 3 inches wide and then folded in half for a 1/2-inch finished width. I wanted the binding to stand out well against the door, and I'm happy with how it turned out.  I used to use this width all the time when I learned to quilt. I might use it again, especially on quilts without borders (most of them these days). I know that it's popular to use narrow bindings, but I tend to stretch them too much (I think that's the problem), and they end up wavy. This is nice and flat, with much better corners than when I use narrow bindings. If I use it on quilts again, I'll have to remember to cut my backing and batting wider than the quilt top so that I don't cut off points. That wasn't an issue with this one.

Here are a few more pictures, then I'll show you the half-finish.
I did the hand sewing part of the binding at an outdoor summer carillon concert at our local university. The music agreed with me--I got 3/4 of the binding on. I'm not usually that fast. Those concerts are such fun. People spread out with picnic suppers on the lawn under the hundreds-of-years-old trees. It's a casual affair. This week there were crows, cicadas and a distant drum line (summer camp on campus) to accompany the carillon. Such a fun part of our summer.

Ah, and here's the half finish for the week. I got the top of the Deconstructed Coins quilt done. Yippee!!
I didn't spend a lot of time balancing colors, and it's not pressed or de-threaded, but it's done! After some dithering, I decided that instead of buying a piece of printed fabric for the back, I'm going to cobble together the leftover solids. It's more work but saves a lot of money and uses a good chunk of stash. And, let's face it, it's me. I did order a bit more Kona Prussian for the binding. I was going to go with a lighter color, but I feel like that border needs to be contained. I hope I like it. I already have a plan for simple wavy lines for the quilting. Hopefully, I'll have a true finish to share in the not-to-distant future. 

If you want to see previous posts of both of these quilts, click on the Painted Daisy and Deconstructed Coins labels on the sidebar or at the bottom of this post. 

I'm linking up today with Crazy Mom Quilts for Finish It Up Friday and with JANDA Bend Quilts for TGIFF. I hope you are having fun with your finishes and half-finishes!

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Summer Stitching

I have banished the squirrels and am back to my current projects. There are lots of fun non-sewing things to do in summer, but I made a surprising amount of progress in a short time on my Deconstructed Coins quilt. I made sashing rows and joined them with the coin rows this week.

My plan was to add one more sashing row to the top and the bottom. But that will make the quilt an awkward almost-but-not-quite square. So I'm thinking now of adding a narrow dark blue strip to each end and then put sashing down the sides as well: the same three patterns of three stripes with a tiny rectangle, two stripes, and squares. It doesn't seem like a lot to do, but really, it's almost as many sashing pieces as I've already made. Oh, well, the fabric supply doesn't seem to have diminished much except the aqua. I'll just keep sprinkling that in. 

So here's the basic plan, minus the details:

Meanwhile, I've been having fun with the big stitch quilting on my little door quilt. And I mean BIG stitch. I figured that since my usual hand quilting is with tiny stitches, I had to make it really different. So these stitches are about a quarter inch--maybe even a smidge more. It's a relaxing take-along project, or deck project, or sit and watch TV project, but I think I prefer tiny quilting stitches. And I'm having trouble deciding if I'm finished. Does it need more? More lines in the petals? More lines in the crosshatching? I don't know. So I think I'll do the binding next and then decide. It might just be time to hang it up and be done. Of course, then I'll have to piece another little something because I'll be out of take-along projects for the rest of the summer and fall. What a problem to have, huh? (I won't call that a squirrel because take-along projects are essential.)

So, what else besides summer stitching? Yesterday we celebrated Independence Day with a lovely rails-to-trails bike ride between two towns a little northwest of where we live. It was a gorgeous ride--much of it through a recreation area where there are no roads to cross. It alternated between well-packed crushed limestone and asphalt, so an easy ride. Both towns have old rail stations. One has been turned into a hair salon. The other is a museum run by the town's historical society. The museum was closed when we parked our car there at the beginning of the ride, but by the time we got back it was opening. The members of the historical society were eager to take us on a tour to share the station's story as well as all the local items they have collected over the years. And at the end, there was ice cream!! What a fun way to end our ride. I love tiny towns and exploring their history. 

Here are some pictures of our ride:
Lots of bridges and views of the river that meanders near the trail. 
And tiny details we saw along the way:

And the train stations:
The station on the top left is the one that is now a hair salon. I peeked in the window. It looks pretty much as it probably always did inside--except for simple cabinets with salon chairs. I'm glad they haven't modernized it. Glary picture through the glass, but look at that floor. Hexie inspiration, anyone?

The caboose was parked at the station turned historical museum. Look, a barn caboose quilt!

Railroad Crossing block, of course! It turns out there is a barn quilt trail in the three counties nearby. I had no idea, but the historical society had a brochure with a map to find them. (Of course!)

I'm linking up today with Sew Fresh Quilts for Let's Bee Social. Happy summer quilting, everyone, if you live in my hemisphere, and cozy winter quilting for the rest of you!