Sunday, February 27, 2011

Closer and closer

If I felt more entitled to devote loads of time to quilting each day, this quilt would be closer to completion. But I don't....and it's not.

Here, though, is a more current photo. It's becoming quite an armful to move around after each addition, so I can only imagine how warm the weight of all this material will be as three layers of love and time and craftsmanship (or, more appropriately: quilt top, batting and backing, and all of those bloody seam allowances) are cemented together with stitching, then finally bound at the edges.

The last time I made a quilt this size was more than a dozen years ago. It was a commissioned piece - predominately teal, with lots of pinks and creams.

I have one more border (just one!) to attach and then it's on to marking and quilting.

Saturday, February 26, 2011


Not even gonna talk about the math (so don't ask).

[sheesh and mumble]

The first two sides are done; messed, stitched, pressed and ready for another 14 squares to be added. If I get crackin', I should be able to get the final two rows of blocks stitched together, pressed and maybe even apply one before it gets dark and I call it a night/day.

On second thought, I will happily settle for getting one of those bad boys layed out, pieced and attached to the quilt top. The last of the border is simply going to have to tough it out until tomorrow. Nyah!

What do you think?

Monday, February 21, 2011

In lieu of an Ohio Star update (cuz there isn't one)

Oh, wait! I guess this would be an update - of sorts.

It turns out I managed to mess up my math, and the pieced four squares border is just a tad too...long or short (depending upon your point of view), and so I find myself having to extend the sashing border to cover the gap. My choices are varied as to how to do this, but my mind's eye has a distinct idea about the finished look, and quite frankly while an additional pieced interior border would look sweet, I am not ready to invest that much more time and effort in this top.

I have narrowed the task down to adding another strip (or two) of sashing between the pink outer strip and the pieced border that will be. The color selection was a chore (mostly because I am limited to what it is I have on hand in my stash (it will require the better part of two-thirds yards), but with help, I think I have it down to a manageable five choices...but here was the field of final contenders.

The last chore - after cutting and piecing the last sashing row/rows - will be to construct twelve more pieced four-square blocks. Yup...I told you I messed up the math.


Saturday, February 19, 2011

P&B Ohio Star photo I promised

Background fabric is the lightest shade of pink, but you almost can't tell.

What a beautiful sunset! Not a cloud in the sky and the colors meld from one to the next seamlessly.

The horizon is that scrumptious pale lemon yellow, with just a tang of strong yellow along the very edge where the earth touches the sky, and as my gaze travels skyward that yellow takes on the slightest green tint as the blue blends in to distance. At that point it all almost takes on a white effect before the blue takes hold and engulfs the rest of the entire sky in the myriad blues God created - palest tints to deepest shades.

From a blush of pale baby blue to endless-universe inkiness - you know, the type of blue that's almost black but still convinces you to see the color. The sky is awash in clear, crisp colors, and it's begging to be looked at, studied, admired, awed and marveled at.

The skeletal trees off in the distance, and those directly in front of me in my own yard, are black and lacy against it all, and it is lovely! Great color ideas for quilt projects. ;)

Before the sun disappeared I had my sons run outdoors with me to hold the quilt top (in it's current state) so I could take a photo in the beautiful natural light. Sadly, the breeze was a little much to get a good, clear shot, but I hope you enjoy the pic just the same. I am busily seaming together the four square triangle blocks (the final border), so hopefully, there will be one more photo of the top this weekend (or early in the week), then I will begin the quilting process. Hoping to make a dent in the quilting beginning next week (or at the very least, start it), but as I've said in the past I am now facing my biggest hurdle - marking the top.

I will keep you posted on that whole ordeal...but in the meanwhile, let me know what you are working on!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Ah, yes

Never forget to look at your calendar (or fail to remember what day of the week it is).

[Tsk, tsk, tsk at my own self]

Up until the night before last, I had managed to do both of these, and only narrowly escaped performing an act of "stupid." I received a quick note from the woman who is cleaning my family's teeth, and it sort of stirred my memory. Whew!

Needless to say not much sewing was done yesterday (not as much as I expected or even wanted to do), but I did take the pieced half squares I had assembled (and pressed the night before) with me to the appointment to pin together. I figured, if nothing else, I would at least be able to whip them off quickly once Karl and I returned home late in the afternoon, and have that portion of the quilt top out of the way.

Now, I am looking at a pile of pieced four squares, an undulating collection of sashing strips, one row of 12.75" blocks in need of joining, and the possibility of having a finished top by this evening (or darned close to it)!!

However, I do have another 'time out' today away from the machine as Karl has an appointment with his therapist at OU, so there will be some additional lost time. But since I also need to get more needles for the machine I will do that while we are out.

See, last night I ran over a pin with the sewing needle in my haste to get the blocks finished, and of course the needle blunted. [forehead smack] I know better, but I really thought that particular pin wasn't in the line of fire when I approached it with the presser foot. Ah well!

It's always smart to have extra needles on hand anyhow.

See you back here in the next day or two, when I will have a photo of the progress to date.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Quilting, quilting, quilting

More like "piecing, piecing, piecing," but there is some progress. So, it's all good.

I have a goodly number of the exterior border together - albeit in various stages. Last night I ended my time at the machine with a dozen or so of the pieced blocks constructed and ironed (and they look good). Then I cut the remaining strips necessary for the additional pink triangles, and the last of the sashing borders, too.

I have yet to cut the backing pieces to size, but that will wait until I have the top completely constructed so there are no mistakes made (like cutting it too small for the new larger size).

My plan for the rest of this afternoon is to completely assemble the remaining triangle four squares, and perhaps begin and finish assembling the mid-tone blocks as well. Daylight is necessary for perfectly piecing the dark browns - the seams are tough to see without the sunlight (and my current lighting/work conditions lack proper lighting for doing perfect anything after the sun goes down).

There are roughly a dozen blocks worth of initial piecing to do before I can iron everything and move on to the second sequence, so I am going to say "so long" for the day. Perhaps tomorrow will find the top pieced and me ready for the insane portion of marking the top! (NO, I still am not clear on how I plan to quilt it -- argh!)

See you tomorrow!

Monday, February 14, 2011

Let the piecing commence!

I need to cut another twenty bundles of triangles for the border squares yet, but today I am taking the daylight hours to piece together the bunch I have already cut (the pinks) and matched (the browns and mid-tones), just so I can see how the exterior border is going to look beside the rest of the constructed quilt.

Every time I add a new bit to it, or refine the sizes of the sashing borders, I second guess myself, and then try hard to keep from changing my mind entirely. But, if I begin to piece it and see it as it will be I will stand a better chance of walking away from this one happy and relatively sane.

Seems I say that a lot lately. ;)

Last night as I was nodding off, I had thoughts of making a sawtooth border - as opposed to the four-square triangle configs I had already cut and had at the ready! Crazy, right? This is what I meant by trying to stay happy.

Anyhow, this is the mess that currently resides on the sewing table, but you can see how it will all come together (can't you?). Since the pieces are so large, and the pattern simple, it will be a quick chore, with the cutting of roughly eighty more triangles simply an annoyance. I will tackle that in a while, but for now I will allow myself the enjoyment of piecing the border.

Stay tuned.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

A quick update on the P&B Ohio Star

Over the last two days I have disappointed even myself with the progress of the Ohio Star.

However, I did manage to score the last necessary yards of pale pink (to match the inadequate amount purchased however long ago), and (more importantly) the striped material to finish the backing (another purchase that I didn't make in the proper quantity)!

Lesson #19 - Never purchase material that you like from a store that isn't in a usual shopping zone. That is to say: don't shop at a store that isn't within an hour of your home, unless you are prepared to drive there again in hopes of finding more of that "perfect-rats!-not-enough-to-finish-I-must-have-more" material to finish what you've started.

Rrr-i-i-i-i-ght. That said, let's move on to a few additional lessons to keep in mind.

Lesson #15 - Save your receipts in one easy to manage place.

Lesson #16 - Cut and save a snippet of your material finds with your receipt (if it is something you really love [said with Oprah voice inflection] ).

Lesson #17 - Be prepared to work around having less than you need of that perfect material.

Lesson #18 - Don't be obsessive about finding a specific material (unless you have time and friends with children in college, in a town more than an hour away from your usual fabric haunts).

Hmmmm....maybe Lesson #19 ought to be Lesson #14, but we'll leave well enough alone for now. Oh, and by the way...thanks, Jean (and Barb).

At any rate, I wanted to be at a different state of completion on the quilt top by the end of this weekend, but I have a lot of ground to make up and my enthusiasm is flagging. The photo of brown and pink triangles is what I managed to get done last night, and now that the pink material is pre-washed I can set to work cutting matching triangles so that I may begin to construct the border blocks and border sashing.

The 3 Stooges said it best: "Slowly I turn. Step by step, inch by inch." Maybe more progress will renew my enthusiasm.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

"Getting my quilt on"

It is taking me a lot longer than even I expected to throw myself wholeheartedly - and unabashedly - back into quilting.

When I go 'full-throttle' (quilting) I tend to end up feeling guilty later for not accomplishing much else in a day. It is so easy to just slip into the groove and keep the machine humming once I start. Stopping to make dinner or fold laundry, or even to simply practice social graces is hard to do when I "get my quilt on." Once I settle into the chair and turn the machine on, I only rise to press seams or grab the next set of blocks to assemble (or set blocks into place on the wall for construction into rows).

What else is there? ;)

My stolen moments lately have begun to equal something worth crowing about. Happily, I can report a little progress in the making of the old pink and brown quilt - which has been uppermost in my quilt-psyche for the last couple of weeks.

It took me a while to land on a configuration and size, and - surprise, surprise - I managed to change my mind a number of times before finally arriving at the current configuration. Of course, once I assembled the first row of five blocks, I then wished I had explored turning the silly things on point first!

ARGH! Right? A well.

Not only did I really up-size the quilt top in the process of coming up with a five-by-five block assembly, but I also replaced three constructed blocks with newly pieced ones because I wasn't happy with the fact that over ten years ago I used a poly/cotton blend fabric in some of them!

Thank goodness fabric manufacturers have responded so beautifully to the demands of quilters! There are SO many more styles, colors, motifs and palettes in 100% cotton to choose from than there were a short ten to twelve years ago! [handstand]

So, using my old blocks and (some) new materials (2 reproductions and a couple of new-fangled tickings and florals), the pink and brown quilt is really beginning to look like something. It's gone from a planned 3x5 block assembly (seen in previous blog entries) to 5x5 rows, with large plain, soft pink blocks in between (see photo).

There will be a narrow border/sash around the 25 blocks, surrounded by small-scale squares (proportionate to the larger blocks) comprised of triangles. Those small squares will be set on point and will give the quilt an extra 12" all the way 'round - very necessary to the overall dimensions.

I hated to stop working on it tonight, but dinner duty calls, so progress will resume over the weekend. Stay tuned, there is more to come! Wahoo!