quilting

GFG Progress

It’s been a while since I shared my Grandmother’s Flower Garden quilt progress, and since English Paper Piecing is the perfect traveling / waiting room craft, I’ve spent a lot of time with it over the last few weeks. Seems a good time for a progress report!

GFG update

At the last flower count, I had ten finished. Now there’s 21! Whee! And two more in progress:

GFG update

And a little while back, I cut 285 hexagons from fabric in preparation, which is another 15 flowers-worth:

GFG update

That’s basically how I’ve been working this quilt. I start by laying out my whole collection of 1930s fabrics and pairing prints for flowers. I was really excited about it this time, because I had some new fabrics to add into the mix: a couple I picked up in Amsterdam, a lovely gift from a friend (thank you, Karen!) and some pieces donated by a kind stranger in answer to my plea for scraps (thank you, Rebecca!)! Then I cut hexagons from the fabric over an evening or two, for as many combos as I can come up with. Then make the paper-pieced hexagons and bundle them into little stacks with rubber bands (as you can see above), then start sewing them together. Lather, rinse, repeat. By the time I finish this whole stack of cut hexies, I’ll have 36 flowers sewn.

GFG update

I also finally laid them out on my bed today, to get at least a vague idea of how many flowers I need to make. It’s only a basic estimate, and doesn’t really count the amount that I’ll want to hang over the sides of my bed, but as a start, it looks like I’ll need to make 70 flowers. In theory, it’ll actually be more than that, but that’s a good number to aim for. This is actually not nearly as bad as I’d expected! Once I finish all those cut hexagons, I’ll be about halfway finished – with the flowers, at least. That’s, like, 5 years ahead of my estimate. Sweet!

But. (There’s always one in every project, isn’t there?) My flower estimate is based on one round of white hexgons as the garden path. Like this one. But if you look at my GFG Pinterest Board, you can see that’s not the only option for the path, and I’m suddenly not sure what I like best! Double-white path? Diamonds between whites? Aaak, too many choices! At least I know I can keep making flowers for a while before I have to decide. What do you guys think?

Snow Crystals Progress

Snow Crystals Mini-Quilt WIP

This week I’m working on adding borders to my Snow Crystals mini-quilt – I tested out those zig-zags in all different layouts and they worked best as a simple stripe around the block. Paper piecing those long strips and getting the stripes straight is a pain in my ass, I’m glad there’s only four of them to make!

Snow Crystals Mini-Quilt WIP

And a wee square of polka dots in the corners, eep!

Orange Peel Blocks

Orange Peel Mini-Quilt WIP

They’re here! My hand-stitching pals returned their finished blocks to me last weekend, and they’re SO DAMN PRETTY!

Orange Peel Mini-Quilt WIP

I’ve played around with them a bit and decided on a basic layout concept, so now I will have to arrange them into a final layout (and photograph it so I know how it goes), press and trim each one, then start sewing!

Quilting and Advice

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I decided to go with straight lines – close in the sashing as I’d thought the other day, and in a sort checkerboard vertical-and-horizontal pattern in the blocks, as suggested by a friend. It was a very clever suggestion of hers, because the block layout is basically checkerboarded already. It should work very well. I haven’t decided how closely the blocks will be quilted, but I do prefer the feel of dense quilting over a looser, fluffy quilt.

I did consider free motion quilting and even did some practice, until I decided two things. 1.) I don’t actually like that all-over squiggling type of pattern, I’m not sure if that has a name. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying all those beautiful quilts with that sort of quilting aren’t amazing. I just don’t think it suits me that well. Maybe I’ll change if I get better at it, but I love other patterns like pebble quilting and feathers, so maybe it’s just not for me.

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I did practice it anyway though, figuring it was as good as anything to get the feel of the free motion, and it’s … not the worst ever. Better than the first time I tried, that’s for sure. But that’s when I decided 2.) I’m just not ready to free motion a whole quilt yet, not one I’m afraid to mess up. Exhibit A:

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What am I doing wrong that causes those spiky curves on the back? I first assumed it was tension, but a fiddle with the dial made no change, good or bad. Am I simply going too fast, do I just need to slow down and take the curves more steadily? I fully expect to have to practice this a lot to be any good at it, but learning new skills can be very frustrating when you don’t even know what to work on! I’ve got some dog blankets planned so that I can practice on something I’m not as attached to.

In the meantime, I’m SO very pleased with how my Mod Sampler is coming along. My gut said to go straight anyway, so there you go. I hope to have some time to continue over the weekend. (Though the development of a new knitting design may prohibit that, it depends how much progress I make on that today!) Photos when I’ve finished the quilting, of course!

Mod Sampler: progress and a call for help!

Mod Sampler - front

Huzzah! The front and back of my Mod Sampler quilt are finished! I managed to get some photos over the weekend, right before a terrific rainstorm swooped down on us, as you might have guessed from the evil look in the sky.

Mod Sampler - back

They are also now basted into a lovely squishy quilt sandwich, all ready to be quilted. Whoop! Except that I have no idea how. Hmm. One of my commenters asked about this when I first showed the finished top a little while ago, and I hadn’t thought about it yet. Now I have, a lot, and I still have no ideas. See, here’s the thing: I’m actually maybe more fond of straight line quilting, it looks so crisp and tidy and, if used nicely, really makes the quilt’s design pop. So I’m tempted to go with a straight line design of some sort. I like the idea of four-ish very close quilting lines in the sashing, making a kind of grid. But if I did that, I have no ideas for what to do within the blocks, but they’re large and need quilting in there somehow. Maybe close concentric squares in some way? That sounds like it’d look nice but kind of be a pain to do on a home machine, am I wrong? If I did that, are there any experienced quilters out there who can help with a plan of attack? Should I start with the center squares, then the sashing, or the reverse, or neither? Any tips would help!

On the other hand, I do also like free motion quilting and I suspect I’m shying away from it just because I’m not very good at it and I don’t want to mess up my pretty quilt. But I’ll never get better at it if I don’t ever do it, right? I’ve spent a lot of time browsing Flickr for quilting inspiration and I’m a little bit obsessed with quilting like was done on this quilt by Blooming Poppies – very close straight lines, but not ruler-straight. Beautiful. But I think its suits her amazing modern quilt design, not my girly-pretty Mod Sampler. So I go back to the grid-in-the-sashing idea, but still have no good ideas for the blocks. Arg! I have the day off tomorrow on account of how it’s my birthday (!), so I really want to spend a quiet day with my quilt and some wonderful music.

Mod Sampler - front

Any ideas or suggestions? Help me, internets, you’re my only hope!

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