Saturday, October 31, 2015

Finding a Project for a Favorite Fabric

I don't frequently make bed size quilts, but every so often I need one...and then when I do make one I remember why I prefer smaller ones. It's the cutting - there's so much of it!!!  I recently spent about three days cutting pieces for a queen size quilt where the main blocks are made up of 20 individual pieces and each is only 6" square.  Yikes! That is a lot of pieces, however, I finally made all of my cuts and have the pieces stored in labeled plastic bags and sewed my first block.  

I'm using a foundation (paper) piecing pattern from All People Quilt ( called Sea Swept that appeared in an issue of Quilt Sampler magazine a while back.  Making the first block is always exciting: you get to see how the colors and fabrics you picked come together...unless they don't and then you have to figure out how to adjust to make it work.  The colors I picked are similar to what was used in the magazine quilt which is odd for me because I tend not to follow sample colorways. When I saw this quilt, however, the colors were the same as in a favorite batik fabric I had purchased several years ago and have been saving for the perfect project.

Back to that first block.  The colors are lovely and I'm pleased.  It's a snail's trail block: a  block that I've wanted to make for years, and, oh, this quilt is going to be so pretty.  But I'm looking at the block and notice that the twist isn't quite right and I start analyzing and realize that I did not pay attention to the light and dark placement for the four-square unit at the center.  Urgh!  The pattern had indicated the correct placement, but I had ignored it.  Taking the block apart to fix it isn't a great option. Sigh.  

The good news is that this was just the first block and it was my trial run.  Now I know to pay attention when I set that starter four-square unit.  I think of how many I might have made incorrectly if I hadn't done this first one wrong, so this mistake is actually a good thing. Now I have to decide whether to make an extra block to replace this one or to keep it as a "humility block" to include in the final product.

Monday, October 5, 2015

Quilting with and for Friends

This Amy Bradley "Campers" block eventually will be shared in a friendship group block exchange.
I have been going through my collection of quilts recently partly with the idea of "taking them on the road" and doing trunk show presentations to guilds.  I was surprised at how many group quilts I have.

Over the years, I have been a part of a local quilt guild, a couple of friendship groups, and also have some amazing quilting buddies and with each group I have amassed a great collection of friendship quilts.  Some projects involved everyone in the group making the same quilt, but interpreting it in their own way; some were swap-a-block exchanges; one was a "birthday block" exchange; and the most memorable was a round robin that resulted in 11 highly original, ginormous quilts.  Most have been fun, but to be honest, a couple were horribly tedious but produced highly satisfying results in the end.  Some of the quilts include blocks or sections made by friends who have passed or have moved out of the area - these stir the most poignant memories.

Quilting with friends has been and continues to be one of the best perks of a quilty life.