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Monday, October 7, 2013

Doing the Numbers

Progress on the Carpenter's Square for Friday (yeah.  THIS Friday):

(Not the real colors - just place holders)
The center of the quilt will have 64 blocks (8 x 8).

I cut 32 squares of the background fabric and 32 squares of the miscellaneous colors.

1/2 of the background squares just stay as they are.  So YAY!  16 blocks finished!

The other 16 neutral blocks will become 32 triangles, which will blend with 32 colored triangles.  That's 32 blocks paired, pinned, numbered, & ready to sew.

The other 32 colored triangles will be joined together to make two-color blocks.  Sadly, those
16 blocks are in limbo until the others are sewn.  I want to do as much sewing as possible with squares instead of triangles, because the bias is going to be stretchy.  If I need a matching pair, I'll sew two squares using Tiger Tape as a guide.  If it's a singleton - I only need one square with that particular color combo - then I'm trying to keep one of the fabrics whole to minimize stretching.  It's a little bit more confusing to not have everything in triangles, but my organizational skills are way ahead of my sewing skills, so it's worth the trade off to have all my seams flat and even.

So here's my plan:
  • Monday - stitch up ALL the blocks already pinned and maybe cut, press, and use the "extra" triangles from those blocks to line out the rest of the blocks.
  • Tuesday - finish blocks and assemble the center panel.  And buy backing fabric.
  • Wednesday - add border, piece the backing, and make the quilt sandwich
  • Thursday - prep the binding & use it to tie the sandwich into a birthday bundle (since there's no WAY I'm getting this thing quilted before Friday - we're talking a king size quilt here!  The quilting alone is gonna take some time!)
Totally doable - right?

Friday, October 4, 2013

Progress without Sewing?

I know I'm on a crazy deadline.  MC's quilt (at least the top) by 10/11.  Two other quilts (completely done) by beginning of November.  The raffle quilt somewhere in between there.  Sometimes it's hard to go step by step when I feel like I should be SPRINTING AHEAD.

Last night was Project Runway with my sister.  She's still nursing a broken foot so we both needed some chilling-with-my-sister time.  Roaring fire, tons of candles, and a couple sleepy cats - it was just the ticket.

But that whole deadline thing.....

I have most of the squares cut for the MC's carpenter's star but I'm seriously dithering over background, borders, and color placement.  Since every half square triangle is unique, I can't just sew then position.  I had to get it all sorted before I could stitch anything.

I loaded up all my scraps, a print out of the design (Thanks EQ7!) and some scissors.  For every 9" square, I created a 1" stand-in.  Armed with a glue stick, I cut all the little squares into tiny triangles and glued them on the pattern.

Mock-up of ManChild's Carpenter's Star

I have to say, this was loads of fun.  I may have to make some Christmas cards or something this way.  Very satisfying - all those little bits of color & the instant gratification of glue.

It was also a GREAT process for my quilt.  I discovered that
  1. I was totally over-thinking the color placement.  I have to be precise (so the triangles merge into diamonds) but those diamonds looked pretty great in a random arrangement.  OK - not exactly random.  I can't actually do random.  But the evenly-distributed-non-symmetrical arrangement that passes for random in my brain.  And
  2. The scrappy background I planned was too busy for the design.  It made the star just fade away.  Using one neutral made the star really pop.

I'm so glad, in the race to the finish line, that I took time to get that sorted.  Now I can charge ahead with piecing and assemble.  Best part - I figured it out without having to take (or rip out!) a single stitch!

- sash

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Make To-Do list: CHECK!

Seriously - it's been over a week and I don't get to update ANYTHING on my WIP list?  Oh - not true.  I finished the MCGF's quilt.  Phew.

I also started two new projects.  Finished one - start two?  Not what I'd planned.  But first, Missouri Star Quilts announced their Iron Quilter II competition.  I thought "Why not?"  So I've designed a quick, cute quilt.  I just got my "mystery ingredient" charm packs in the mail and I've played with the colors a bit.  I need a good long day of sewing to make progress on it.

The other new project is the result of (finally!) deciding on a pattern for the MC's quilt.  It works with the Northcott Stonehenge fabrics and I think it's simple enough to finish before his birthday.  Which is in 9 days.  So no pressure.

Tonight I got all his fabric ironed and about 1/2 of it cut.  I decided on the background color.  That all feels like progress.  My goal for tomorrow night is to cut the rest of the squares and maybe play with placement while watching Project Runway with my sis.  The belle-soeur is visiting this weekend, so between cleaning the house, visiting with her, a choir retreat, and the usual weekend recovery naps...

Yeah - I better at least get everything cut tomorrow night and final arrangements decided.

I can do this.  Who needs to sleep, right?

- sash