Thursday, February 18, 2016

Barrister's Blocks FINISHED!

Four Years Later...

The Barrister's Block Sow-Along started on February 2, 2012.  Sixty-six blocks later, yesterday I finished the last block.  Wahoo!

This project really has been a quilter's path.  I've learned how much more difficult it is to accurately sew tiny units and small blocks.  One little wiggle and everything is off.  I've learned from experience that value is sometimes more important than color.  I've learned flying geese and HSTs go much better with a big can of spray starch nearby!

Here are the final blocks, completed since my last post 2 weeks ago:

Cactus Pot
No particular memories associated with these scraps, but I loved the golden-brown fabric -- it just screams "basket"!

Basket (yep, that what it's called)
This one was a disaster.  None of the blocks had any directions, and I couldn't for the life of me figure out how to complete the piecing without a Y-seam.  I ultimately ended up hand-stitching the remaining seam, and not very well at that.  Argh!

I was dubious about my choice of fabrics here, but I think the paisley makes the block!  All the others came from the bed runner that I made last winter for Beth and Stephen.  :-D

Rail Fence Variation

On the other hand, these fabrics looked good at first -- the aqua and black-and-white are from Bonnie Hunter's Easy Street mystery.  But although the colors work, the fabrics just don't go together.  I might end up making another version.

Leaf Block
The neutral is the background fabric from my niece Molly's quilt

Basket (again)
There was a basket thing going on here toward the end.  The green flowers are actually cabbages!

Jack in the Pulpit
Here I used the same color scheme as Randy did, happy to get rid of some pinks that I have never liked.  Can't say it really does anything for me.  But the background fabric was from the little wall hanging for my dear friend, Annie.  And that's a happy memory!

Sawtooth Star Variation
There are tiny red flowers in the black print.  It really comes together in person.  Used up some civil war reproduction fabrics, too.  The enchantment has worn off.

Streak of Lightning
I love the colors here -- blues from Easy Street and Molly's quilt -- but the block is a bit (!!) wonky.  Another do-over?

Double X
Maybe my favorite in the group.  Although the effect was unplanned, the brown squares on the corners of the center give the appearance of an overlay.

Dove in the Window
Usually when I do a "controlled scrappy," I keep the background fabric pretty much the same throughout and mix up the colors (as in all the other blocks here).  This time I did the reverse, and I like it.  I love how the dark blues just pull you in.

When we moved last  summer, my design wall bit the big one.  Now I really need one so I can figure out what to do with all these blocks.  My husband had a great (I think) idea.  I put the "loops" side of a strip of Velcro along an edge of a piece of flannel, and will put the "hooks" side on the top edge of the trim on the closet door in my sewing room.  I can hang up the design "wall" whenever I need it, and just fold it up and tuck it away when it's not in use.  Yea!

The last eleven blocks and the first nine.
The very first block (4th one down on the left) used the same little red star print that's in the center 4-patch in one of the very last ones (3rd one down on the right)!  Black sashing, maybe?  Or dark brown??

Friday, February 5, 2016

A Blast from the Past (and some new)!


The Barrister's Block Revisited

Way back in 2012, when I'd just started quilting, I started working on a "Sow-a-Long" from The Barrister's Block.  It was lots of fun, although I was so new at quilting that I didn't fully realize the challenges (small blocks, no construction instructions).  Over the year I posted pics of my progress.  You can see them if you go back to my 2012 posts.

While sifting through my UFOs recently, I realized that I'd never finished the complete sew-a-long.  There were about a dozen blocks left to do.  I was tired of working on the Otsego quilts and needed a nice piecing break from quilting Greta's quilt (my current UFO-finishing project).  Perfect.

Today's mini-project was Squares and Diamonds.  All I had to do was reach into my bins of scraps in frequently-used sizes (thank you, Bonnie Hunter, for your Scrap Users System!) and stitch them up.

This is my finished block, with colors inverted.

 I'll do some more cutting in the next few days and then finish the rest of the blocks this month.


Fabric Time!

I had put myself on a fabric diet last year.  I was determined not to buy more fabric until I made some headway on projects that were already underway.  So I still have a bin full of unstarted projects -- but I guess those don't count as UFOs, right?!  Anyway, it's time to dive back in.  These came in the mail this week.

I bought these 1/4-yard cuts on sale from Keepsake Quilting with the idea of using them to learn transparency a la Christine Barnes.  They are tone-on-tone, not solids.  Now that I see them, I'm leaning more toward a stained-glass windows quilt.  Still, beautiful colors.

 I've also avoided pre-cuts, unless I had a specific project in mind (like Layla's quilt).  But these prints were to pretty to passs up.   I love blue and yellow.  Missouri Star Quilt Co. had a gorgeous charm pack that I couldn't resist. (Sorry the colors don't show well -- they really are bright and pretty).

  They also have tons of projects using charms, but you always need some yardage to go with them.  I looked for the same manufacturer (Benartex), hoping that the colors would work together.  I'm really happy with what I got.  Too bad Missouri Star  never has a Daily Deal on "extra hours in a day" to turn these dreams into finished projects.

 Apologies for the poor quality photos.  I used my elderly phone and was too lazy to find my camera.