Saturday, February 22, 2014

One Little Corner Finished

I've chosen to go with the third border option from the previous post, which I'm sure will give me fits as I try to swap out blue and cream pieces and keep it the pattern correct. But if you compare the piecing diagram in the previous post with the segment above, you might see a mistake.

See the two blocks the seam ripper is straddling? Well, they are reversed. The two star blocks shouldn't be next to each other, they should be on point to each other. So I ripped away and sewed them back correctly.

And here it is, correct this time. This section only measures about 44 inches (112 cm) on the right sides of the triangle. Since this will finish at about 100 inches (254 cm) on each side, you can see I have quite a long way to go. Right now this piece of a quilt is in our study, right behind where I'm sitting as I write this. I think I can squeeze in an extra row in the space I have available, but it will have to wait until Tuesday, which is my next completely free day. With the color changes that I'm making and the somewhat complex piecing diagram, I need to take this very slowly and carefully. So far, so good.

If you would like to see all of the posts on this quilt, just click here to view them.

Monday, February 17, 2014

A Mistake and a Border Decision

In the last post I told you that I was finished with my blocks for the Blue and Cream Quilt. Well, not quite! I had made the decision to make the quilt square by adding two more columns, so this required more blocks. But after I made six of the above blocks I noticed the mistake. See it? The corner squares are supposed to be cream, not blue. The blue corner squares certainly take away the star shape, don't they? The above photo shows the deconstruction of the block, as I had ripped out the top and bottom end strips before remembering to take the photograph.

This is what it's supposed to look like, much better, don't you think? Now after getting these finished, I truly am finished with the blocks. Now, on to the Border Decision.

The quilt will now measure approximately 93 inches (236 cm) square. I'd like it to be a bit larger so it will hang nicely over my very high mattress. Also, the design of the border should look like it belongs in the quilt. So I played around with the triangles above. These would add about 3 1/2 inches (almost 9 cm) to each side, which is quite a bit. Also, the quilt seems too dark. Horrid photo as I took it at night with artificial light.

Daylight photography is so much better! I then swapped out the plain triangles and squares for their opposite colors, and added a strip border so the blue of the blocks would be floating in the cream background. It's definitely brighter, but that extra 2 inch (5 cm) strip throws the whole design off kilter.

I even fiddled around with some extra flying geese strips along the sides, but decided that would tax my piecing skills to the hilt. So after much swapping of triangles and squares, this is what I ended up with. The balance of blue to cream seems good, not too light or dark, and it will be pretty easy to do. The quilt will measure out to 100 inches (254 cm) square, which is almost a king sized quilt, but at least it will cover the mattress nicely on all sides.

Now my big problem will be how to lay this thing out so I can piece the rows, which are diagonal, without making too many mistakes. I used to lay them out on the living room floor, but right now it is still torn up from the pipe leak. Repairs will start tomorrow, so I may put much of this off until the new floor is in. That way I can lay it out on the floor, transfer each section to the dining room table and sew away.

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Quilt Update

I've made quite a bit of progress on the Blue and Cream Quilt since the last post. I've finished all of the small and large star blocks in both color combinations. Shown here and below are the 12 inch blocks. If you remember, the six inch blocks are just the inside portion.

I cropped the photos so much that you can't see the little pieces that need to be cut off from where the triangles are sewn onto the squares. To help with this and make sure all the blocks are the same size I've ordered the Omnigrid Ruler Value Pack, available at Joann, Walmart, Amazon, and many other places. The pack contains four square rulers two of which are 6.5 inches and 12.5 inches, perfect for squaring up the blocks in this quilt.

I mentioned last time that this quilt will be too small for my bed, so I was trying to decide whether to make it a square quilt or add a border. After measuring the bed again, I will definitely need the extra rows to make it square. Here I've added the total number of blocks that I need. I've finished all the stars on the left, now to start on the remaining five of Block X that I'll need.

This is a closeup of the quilt assembly, it looks pretty challenging, but I'll just have to take it very slowly and pin like crazy! I think I'll still need a bit of a border, so will have to think about that for a while. I may just get lazy and put alternating cream and blue triangles around the outside. I'll lay out the blocks and figure something out.

Ruth asked about starching the fabrics. I arrange the triangles on the ironing pad and spray with the starch, then iron until dry.  This particular brand is clear and has a lovely fragrance, but I ran out some time ago and have been refilling the bottle with starch made from concentrate. See this post for details on how I make up the starch. If you do this sort of thing, it is much, much better to starch the fabric before cutting out, especially when working with triangles. Even if you are very careful, the triangles can stretch a bit, which can distort the shape of the block. Notice the iron shoe on the iron. I bought it when making my son's shirt to keep the fusible web from sticking, and it is very useful for that purpose. I finally took it off so I can get more heat onto the fabrics. I am keeping an old towel with iron cleaner on it and just use it every once in a while to keep the soleplate clean. The iron has a steel soleplate, not non-stick, so the starch does accumulate.

Update on the floor: everything is completely dry and most of the floor is removed. There are several holes in the walls, even the ceiling, that will need to be repaired and painted. This was so the plumber could isolate the offending pipe and blow epoxy through it. Luckily, it worked with only one application. They couldn't go into the concrete slab because it is a tension slab, which basically means that if it is disturbed, the structural integrity is compromised and the house could fall down. Scary!! The insurance is covering everything, thank goodness. The repair estimate goes to the insurance adjuster on Monday, they will cut us a check, then we can get on with the walls and floor. Right now all of the living room furniture is in the dining room, and everything is covered with a film of dust, which will only get worse. But at least the leak is fixed.