Monday, January 30, 2017

Geese Redux

So.  The Otsego quilts that I started several years ago (when I had far more ambition than knowledge) had all these flying geese units.  I had never even heard of flying geese.  Anyway, I ended up having to get more fabric to make more geese.  Fortunately I was able to find the two fabrics I needed on line.  Now it's time to get them cut and use the geese as leaders/enders for other projects.

I had originally cut a bazillion triangles to make the geese.  Not only were they poorly cut, but I managed to distort them while sewing and again while pressing.  For these final units, I wanted them to be perfect, or at least much better.   These can go on top of the bed, the ugly ones can go against the wall, right?  I decided to use the 4-at-a time method.  That meant figuring out the sizes of the cut pieces.

I used ugly scraps from my stash to make the test units.  The first set were WAY too big!  I think I had mistaken the cut size for the finished size.

Well, yeah.  These are clearly too big, but there's plenty of room to get a nice 1/4" seam allowance on the top of the dark triangle.


 Now to trim the unit up.  The unfinished height should be 2-3/8" and the width 4-1/4".  Height good.

Width, not so much.  About 1/8" off, but the whole point is to make units that are correct.  I had made oversize units on purpose, but clearly this was not going to work.

OK, second try.  It seems that I had mistaken the finished size and the unfinished size of the pieces when I calculated the first units.  Time for a second go.

These worked out great!  And the only trimmings are the dog-ears and a couple of threads.

Plus, i got rid of some scraps that I was pretty sure I never would use.  I am now convinced that Bonnie Hunter's Scrap Users' System is the way to go.  Even if some pieces are just too ugly at whatever size, they are perfect for making test units and blocks.  I am so over the Civil War reproduction fabrics, but they did the job here just fine.  And they won't go to waste.  Doggie bin!

Bonus!  When the last geese were done, this was my bobbin.  Absolutely DONE.  Can you see the tiny piece of thread still hanging in there?  How often does that happen when you are trying to just get those last pieces through the machine?  

So now all set to quilt a baby quilt for someone who arrived when I was away from my machine and then move on to other projects.  Can't wait!

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Some Things Aren't Worth Finishing

For the last couple of years -- about half of my quilting life -- I have saved skinny strips left from squaring up yardage or left over from cutting strips for piecing, even strips of backing that remained when a quilt had been quilted and trimmed.  Creative or cheap?  You be the judge.  The jar you see below was crammed with skinny strips (at least 1", not quite 1-1/2").

The little pink and white rectangles at the back of the photo were left from Annie's Women Heart quilt.  I don't even recall why I have so many.  Did I cut the wrong size?  Or just too many?

I had the bright idea that I could use these scraps as leaders and enders to make a postage-stamp quilt.  This past weekend I started sewing some up, just to see whether the project was worth pursuing.  Funny, what seemed like a lot of fabric turned out to be not so much.  I thought I had a lot of variety, but ended up making little piles of two-patches to be sure there weren't a lot of the same fabric in a row.

Of course, when half of each square ends up in the seam allowance, they do end up tiny!  That's OK.  I don't know what this might turn out to be.  Maybe a doll quilt?

But I forgot how unforgiving small units can be.  A wobbly stitch or two will throw the whole thing off.  It doesn't really matter, of course, if this is just going to be a doll quilt (the doll will never know).   i could continue by foundation piecing to add stability, I guess. But with so many other projects in the queue, is this really worth continuing?

If I just take the time to cut the remaining yardage for the flying geese in the Otsego quilts, I can be using those as leaders and enders and maybe even get the quilt tops finished this year.

So maybe I'll just toss all these strips and squares and this little 5" piece into the doggy-bed bin.  Still, it's been fun to revisit so many other quilts.  Finished:  Annie's Women Heart quilt; the Civil War block swap (now on my bed!); my niece Molly's baby quilt and her blended-family applique wall hanging; and the first quilt I ever made. Unfinished:  the Otsego quilts; Easy Street (the first Bonnie Hunter Mystery that I tackled); blocks from a class I took at Pieceful Quilting (R.I.P.); placemats that I've cut but haven't even started sewing.  And up there in the upper-right-hand corner is a dark green fabric from the early 1980's.

If every quilt has a story to tell, this one surely tells the story of A Quilter's Path, a journey that continues.

By the way, this is the doggie-bed bin where I toss scraps of fabric and batting that are bigger than lint.  When there's enough, I'll sew up an ugly piece of yardage and stuff it with this stuff and give it to my friend who volunteers in a shelter.

Those foam squares?  Oh, I got those back around 1975 to make soft blocks for my daughter.  Never got those finished, either.  She's now 42.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Snow Time

Snowy Days and Paper Piecing

So over a year ago I posted that I wanted to learn paper piecing.  That didn't happen until just last week.  As part of my seasonal mini-quilt project, I decided to make a snowman for January, and the one that I found was a paper-pieced pattern.

I was going to tackle it by myself, but had the opportunity to get some expert help from Elizabeth at Riverhead Sew and Vac, my new local LQS.  Good thing -- I think I would have gotten frustrated if she hadn't been able to help me out.

This little guy is more than twice the size of the original pattern, and I still had to add a 2" border to make it fit on my 12" quilt hanger! It's got a snowflake pattern in the white-on-white, but it doesn't show up here.  (It also went from white to beige in the editing process.  Whatever).  I had plenty of embroidery floss and #5 pearl cotton for the eyes, nose and arms, and a nice assortment of buttons, but something was still missing.

i knitted him a little scarf (3 stitches wide) with some sparkly red yard that seemed to do the trick.  Happy January, Mr. Snowman!