Saturday, October 29, 2011

Week 44 - Union

I was happy to see this block for one reason: I got to use almost every last bit of the darker gold fabric I had used in two other blocks. That fabric came from the music-themed quilt I made for my parents. However, this is one of those blocks I am always attracted to, but when I sew it, I dread the job of getting the points to meet up at the center of each side (where the gold fabric has to meet the white fabric in this case).

I sewed one of those seams at least 5-6 times - it looks like two of them aren't right, but I think it's only because the fabric has relaxed. When stretched flat they are close enough.

At the risk of confusing my viewers (one thought a blue fabric was brown, another thought a different blue fabric was green...) here are the fabrics I purchased for borders, sashing, and other finishing. These are all blue fabrics - since Roger likes blue. The aqua on the far right is the backing. The three on the left are Jo Morton 19th Century reproductions.

Now that the recipients have seen and approved this as a work in progress, I can proceed with some of what will have to be done to put the blocks together into a quilt. But I won't start final assembly until all the blocks are done - which will be at the very end of this year. Forty-four down, eight to go.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Week 43 - Right Hand of Friendship

Ms. Brackman had a great story behind the choice of this block for the Civil War block of the week - go to her blog using the link to the right to read it.

I went back to the way this block was colored in BlockBase, and then didn't quite do that either. And I used those 1 16th of an inch increments for cutting these pieces - but it looks like I have one seam allowance that could have been a bit deeper.  Shows up plainly on the photo but I didn't notice it before!  I've been very distracted with the new kitten in our family - she's not a very good helpmate in the sewing studio.

I like this block - it would be fun to make a scrappy quilt with it.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Week 42 - H is for Hospital

I was of course aware of the American Red Cross origins a few decades after the Civil War, but had forgotten that Union field hospitals used a green H on a yellow ground.

Ms. Brackman used the block to symbolize the brave doctors and nurses who worked in the field hospitals. I was happy to have another reason to use this green fabric which I chose before deciding the quilt needed to be blue for Roger. It appears in only two prior blocks - but he should appreciate it anyway because our mother chose it for a quilt I made for our parents several years ago. I changed the directions ever so slightly, cutting the long strips of pink and yellow fabric 1/8th of an inch wider so more of the floral would show.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Week 41 - Red, White and Blue

Back from the trip for Roger and Laurie's wedding outside of Chicago, I finally got this week's block done - I wound up following the lead of Dorry and other quilters and paper pieced a simpler version of the five-pointed star:

The good news is I talked with Laurie and she was happy to learn I was making a quilt for her and my brother Roger. I got to see the living room of her beautiful 100-year-old home in Oak Park Illinois, and this quilt will go perfectly with the furnishings and decorations she has. So now I have confirmed the direction for finishing the quilt. The decision to add blue to the fabrics I was working with came a few weeks after I started it, when Brother Roger announced his wedding in October. All of a sudden I had the idea to make this as a wedding gift. Laurie is a Horticultural Therapist, and I had so many floral prints in the mix, that was easy. And Roger gets dressed up as a Civil War vet and entertains crowds of people:

(Roger has the guitar in the photo above, and is featured in the center of the photo below)

However, Roger has always liked any color, as long as it's blue, so this has to be a predominantly blue quilt. My initial group of fabrics had no blue at all - but you can bet I've been adding to the mix to fix that. I love the way the new layer cake prints combine the blues and reds I was already using, as in the background print of this block.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

...continued from February

I'm in Chicago for my brother's wedding, so there won't be an update on the Civil War Block of the Week today - I'll get to it later this week, but it is going to be a challenging block: a five-pointed star pieced -- not appliqued -- into the background.

Meanwhile, I'm staying at sister Joyce's and we've got the king sized-color-wash quilt out for the next phase of construction - This is what the quilt looked like last night:

The little baggies contain the various shades of red, purple and blue fabrics we cut into 1/2 square triangles last winter. The larger black to very light gray triangles were each cut from a single hand-dyed gradient fabric purchased from Vicki Welsh .

And here are Joyce and Niki working on the layout of the final gradient, which shades from red to blue; upper left to lower right.

When they get a final layout of some of these triangles, I'll be starting the actual piecing at the sewing machine. Meanwhile, I'm doing a repair job on a pair of Niki's jeans.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

On the Frame - a break with I Spy

The Round Robin quilt I wrote about has been on and off the frame in the last month. Yesterday I took it off again to examine what I was doing - it's pretty hard to see the back of the quilt when it's on the machine:

This is the part I was concerned about - in the above photo, you can see I quilted a leaf and curl in every third ray from the quarter circle at lower right. In the last ray, at the bottom edge in the photo, the leaves get very tiny and I didn't like doing it and it will probably just look messy if I make the leaves any smaller. So I wanted to see what it really looks like looking at the entire thing -

Most of the lower part and borders in the second photo is not quilted, -- the lumpiness is tack-basting.

I think there will be a simpler curling motif in the narrow parts of those rays.

Picky decisions aside, I'm happy with the effect of the feathers and leaves in the rays. The special personal elements my Robin friends included in their blocks are showing up just as I hoped they would. Dorry encouraged me not to quilt this traditionally, that is, as individual blocks and sashing, even though the quilt is put together that way. This overall design is much harder to manage because I have to roll the quilt back and forth many times for these rays and fills. But it is bringing the top together and makes much better use of her careful color-wash setting.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Week 40 - Order Number 11

The name of this week's block comes from the aftermath of the strike by Confederate sympathizers on the town of Lawrence, Kansas. This is an authentic Civil War era block - not all of these have been - and it's applique. Applique is not my strong suit, but I think it helps a sampler. I hope we get a couple more before this is over.

My block resembles the model made for the master website. I liked the color combination, and the background print I got in that new set of fabrics made a good scale contrast with the two fabrics I was already using for the project.