Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Options for Chain Reaction

I'm still trying to decide how to put together my Chain Reaction quilt.  I tested out 3 new options for the hexagons.   The one on top is the original plan. On the left, is too boring. I really like the one in the middle, but I don't have enough of that fabric to do more than 2 or 3 hexagons, because I cut the triangles out of the same fat quarter. the one on the right isn't bad, although it would be better without the dark purple.

I think what I'm going to do is try to fussy cut the one on the right, to ensure that the really dark sections don't end up on an edge where they will meet the 9-patch blocks.  That will keep some definition between the sections. Then I should be OK, and it won't look quite so busy.  This is going to be a tiny quilt, since I'm working with 6 fat quarters and a bit of yardage.  Silly purchase on my part, but I guess I was thinking of a pattern which used a white background too.

Since it's the end of the month, I'll add my block count here for the 350 Block Prioject.

48 blocks - turquoise diamonds quilt
24 blocks - turquoise rectangles quilt
1 block - patchwork year
9 blocks - modern quilt
27 9-patch blocks for chain reaction

That's a total of 109 blocks completed this month.

January - 74
February - 69
March - 109
Total: 252 blocks so far this year.

Monday, March 30, 2015

No border

Being my typical self, I neglected to consider binding, when I was examining my border options for the quilt yesterday.  So, the answer is, no border. Because I need that fabric to bind it :)  I'm going to cut the strips a bit wider than usual, and aim for a 1/2" binding, to match the sashing dimension.  That is the way I was leaning originally anyway (no border), so the fabric situation just reinforces the decision.

In the meantime, while I pondered the options and read all your lovely comments, I finished the companion quilt.  This one gets a narrow border (it's about 2" finished) and then binding in the same fabric.  It finishes at 60x80, which should make it just about perfect for the twin bed that will (at least temporarily) be in the spare room.

And now my next quilt is up on the design wall. This was supposed to be a calmer version of Chain Reaction, but I don't think it's working out that way. 

Maybe I'll try adding a sashing (if I can figure out the math for how wide to make it) to separate the individual blocks more.

Or maybe I should scrap the fabric I've used for the hexagons and try something less busy there.

Sunday, March 29, 2015

To border, or not to border

I have a quilt top put together!  But now I need to decide if it needs a border or not. I was not planning to border this one, but that was before I added the sashing.  Now I wonder if it needs a bit more. I have enough of the white fabric left to make a 2 or 2.5" border around the quilt.  The blocks are 9" finished, and the sashing is 1/2". What do you think?

 Now that this quilt is done (or almost, if I decide to add borders), I'm planning my next project. Have 3 in mind, not sure which will win out.

First, I have fabric from the Modern Quilt Guild for their Riley Blake challenge.  6 fat eighths from the Cottage Garden line.  I have decided on a plan, and needed some background to go with it. So that meant a shopping trip this past weekend to pick up a Riley Blake coordinate in order to meet the challenge rules.    Plus the ruler I needed, since the challenge is to try something you've never done before.

My other current thought is the "Chain Reaction" pattern.  I like the block design, although I would do it in a slightly less busy set of fabrics.

I also want to make another of the quilts shown above. But I think I need a break from this particular design for a while, so that will go on the back burner.

My stash report this week is looking good, thanks to the finished top. I might even hit black next week, if I can finish assembling the other turquoise quilt.

1 1/2 yards in, for the Modern Quilt Guild Riley Blake Challenge

7 1/4 yards out, turquoise/brown quilt

Stash totals for the year:
83 yards in
79 1/2 yards out
Total: 3 1/2 yards in

Drop by Judy's blog to see how everyone else is doing this week.

Friday, March 27, 2015

It's almost a fix

I decided to add sashing to my quilt, to fix the alignment issues I had when I went to sew together my strippy blocks.  Unfortunately, I should have thought about the size of that sashing just a little bit longer. I made it based on the ideal cutting of those blocks, but life is never ideal and my strips are a bit more out of alignment than I accounted for.  But this will have to do, because I'm not taking it apart again :)  The edges of my squares are going to be a bit wobbly, but I think the overall design is still going to show through.  And I know what I did wrong, so I'm already planning a new quilt, using one of my jelly rolls.

The lower right section of this picture is complete. The rest is sewn into rows, but the rows aren't assembled yet.

I'm linking up over at WIPs be Gone today. One day I'll have something new to show you :)

Sunday, March 22, 2015


Let's play a little game called spot the flaw.  Don't scroll too far/too quickly if you want to play - the answer is at the bottom.

Here's the quilt I've been working on so diligently. All 48 blocks are now cut and ready to be sewn together with a 1" sashing in between and a 4" border. I love this quilt, and it matches the room perfectly. So it is going to be a double-size, for the spare bedroom.  Hmm, apparently I didn't take a photo with all the blocks up.  The quilt is 6x8, not 5x7.

And here's quilt #2. A neat design obtained by setting the blocks on point and rotating them in various directions. I mapped it out in Electric Quilt, and I love it.  All the blocks are cut and ready to go.  The off-cuts from the ends of each strip make up the setting triangles, so I didn't even have to make any special blocks for it.

Now - spot the problem. What small, but very important factor did I forget to consider in this layout?

See how nicely the blocks line up on my design wall?  All the lines go in perfect directions and continue from one block to the next.

But then...

Are you ready?

Do you see what I missed, until I started sewing the blocks together?

The sections which had me the most concerned, where the stripes change direction between blocks, worked out perfectly.  The seams nest, the blocks line up, and life is good.

And then, I went to sew together 2 pieces where the lines continue in a straight line.  And realized that this is what is going to happen.

My lovely quilt is going to look like it was put together by a drunken sailor :(

 So, back to square one (well, square two, since the first quilt is still good to go).  I need a new plan for all these extra blocks and the setting triangles.

I'm linking up at WIPs Be Gone, and on Monday morning I'll also be over at Patchwork Times.  Maybe someone will have an inspiration for me.

Tool (mis)use

I'm almost ashamed to admit what I did with my precious quilting tool this morning.  I hunted everywhere for my exacto knife, and I could not find it. I have no idea where I put it after I used it last time (I know exactly where I thought I put it, where I should have put it).  But I really wanted to get the carpet pulled up in the spare room today, so I can get the remnants out for garbage in the morning.  We only have pickup every two weeks, so I've been planning this carefully.

So, what does a quilter do when she can't find an exacto knife to cut the carpet?  Brace yourself ... I used my rotary cutter.  I did switch the blade out for a used one (designated for cutting paper now) before I started. And even so, it cut through that carpet like butter.  Hopefully the quilt police won't be knocking on my door, for the misuse of quilting tools.

And now that step is done, I just have to paint a section of the wall (which was behind my cutting table) and put down the new flooring. Then I might actually be able to clear out a bigger section of my new sewing room and get everything organized in there.

On the other hand, in sewing news, I picked up a yard of fabric yesterday, which I hoped to use to finish my current quilt. I am running low on whites and in order to keep the last 3 blocks scrappy I needed a bit more. Unfortunately, it was the wrong white - despite my best efforts at matching.  I knew it was iffy when I bought it, but I had to try.  So, 1 yard into my stash this week. And nothing out, because I haven't finished any of my current projects yet.

Stash totals for the year:
81.5 yards in
72.25 yards out
Total: 9 1/4 yards in

Drop by Judy's blog to see how everyone else is doing this week.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Slow progress

It's been a quiet week on the blog. That doesn't mean I haven't been working, but a pile of strip sets isn't much to show for all that effort. A couple of days of stress overload shut down quilting for a bit, so I didn't make as much progress this week as I had hoped to.

I'm still working with my string blocks and strip tube ruler. I discovered a new layout for the blocks - same blocks, completely different result. And soon, I'll actually be able to show it to you.  2 more strip sets to go, then I can cut them, put aside the 35 blocks I need for the first quilt, and lay out number 2.  In the mean time, my wall still has these blocks waiting for the next step.