Having been given a jelly roll and a quilting book for Christmas 2010, there is no excuse not to get on with quiltmaking.

Here's what happened next...


Thursday, 31 March 2011

The Animals Came in...

....four by four!

Tee hee - this is so much fun!

Sewing the first row of blocks together later!

Tuesday, 29 March 2011

The Animals Came in...

...two by two!

The quilt book instructions are to sew each pair of mini blocks together - which I've tackled tonight - then sew upper & lower pairs to make blocks, & then the blocks together to make the quilt top.

Seems fair enough - so this evening I have carefully matched the seams of each pair, sewn, lightly pressed & pinned each pair back on the sheet.

There was much referring back to the picture of the layout that I printed out in order to keep the orientation right! I'm pleased that the seam matching bears up to scrutiny - a very satisfying evening.

Monday, 28 March 2011

Er ... no, THIS is the Final Layout!

So I fibbed - looking at the previous post this morning, it struck me that laid out as it was, I would have each big block as a 'X' made of my four mini blocks, & not a square.

Hardly a big deal in the scheme of things, but by moving a single column of blocks from one end of the quilt to the other - hey presto!

I've taken your comments on board about keeping my layout fixed whilst I sew the blocks together along with those of big sister Helen. She emailed me & said 'How about laying out an old sheet on the floor ... and pinning them down ... then roll or fold up the sheet, & unroll next time you have a sewing session. Unpin a couple of blocks at a time & sew together, then pin back in position.'

But even better than rolling & unrolling the sheet, I found an old curtain rail, & a couple of hooks (I'm sure that you're all ahead of me here!) - so I now have the blocks pinned to a sheet hanging on the wall, along with a print out of the above pic, & now I'm all ready to put the blocks together...

Sunday, 27 March 2011

Final Layout!

And three million tryouts later, I have decided that this is how the garden trellis quilt will be laid out: And now for the beginner's question - there are 80 mini blocks here, & it's going to take some while for me to sew them all together (the book says to piece into pairs, then each pair (top) to each pair (bottom) to give twenty 11" blocks, which are then sewn together.)

I really would like the floor back of the attic room, & although I will be printing this pic out for reference, the only way that I can think of to keep the positions/orientations of the squares is to stick numbered post-it notes to each square (or pin a number to each mini block - the air eraser pen fades quite quickly).

Is this what everyone else does?

Saturday, 26 March 2011

Further Layout Musings

Then there's green diamonds in the corners....

... and back to random.

Think it will be random - I keep coming back to that.

Final decision later when I'm going to start sewing them all together.

Friday, 25 March 2011

Project 3 - Assembling II

With all the triangles cut, opened and pressed into quarter blocks, I've been testing out the various ways to lay them out.

My statistics 'O' level taken 25 years ago (ouch!) is too rusty for me to work out how many different combinations there are to make up a 10 block by 8 block quilt consisting of 4 copies of 20 different blocks, but its far too many to check out how they all look.

So I started by laying out the blocks as per the design in the book (light stripe abutting dark stripe all the way through).
Then had a play with picking out diamonds in different colours, then all diamonds.

I'm taking pics all the way (what a great tip, thank you Bilbo!) so I can get back to the design I like the best - but I have to say, that it's the original that I prefer at the moment.

You can dither too long with these things (& this proves that there is such a thing as too much choice!), so I'll decide this weekend, then I can start piecing.

Thursday, 24 March 2011

Project 3 - Assembling

Just how much fun am I having with this?

It's like a jigsaw where all the pieces fit everywhere, and you get a different picture every time...

Wednesday, 23 March 2011

Project 3 - Cutting!

Having been sternly warned of the difficulties of cutting fabric on the diagonal, and how the resultant triangles can go all stretchy if not handled with respect, I have invested 98p in a can of spray starch & have liberally applied to each side of the fabric tubes & pressed them with a dry iron them such that they are stiffer than the board.

I then took the ruler, measured the first triangle (quite a lot of times!), took a deep breath and sliced the fabric tube up to give eight triangles.

Then I had to go and have a sit down - there is a distinct lack of room for error here (unless I wish my garden trellis quilt to consist of 79 and not 80 small squares...)

I cut the triangles from the second tube, then very gingerly opened them out and pressed them flat.

Then I couldn't resist a little play - the contrast might not be all there, but this is going to be so Spring-like, it's not true - I love it!

Monday, 21 March 2011

Project 3 - Cutting Query - Solution!

Well, it's a good job that you lot are all so bright with regard to this quilting lark - & so willing to help out when I get stuck - thank you all!

And above and beyond the call of duty - not only did QuiltSue get stuck into my cutting dilemma, she even went & had a play around with the instructions as given & some fabric to see what they really mean.

Meanwhile, I went & did some hard sums - my maths is more reliable than my seam-skills as yet, so I wasn't convinced that practise pieces I did would give a definitive right or wrong, so I put my mind to work on the numbers, and how the 2 1/2" strips that I started with would end up after piecing, cutting & more piecing (but hopefully no stretching).

Sue said "if you put the tip of your ruler at the top of your tube, the line measures 6 1/4". Hrmph. Told you so.

"Cut as they say and when you open up and press you have a 6" (unfinished) block, so your finished block will be 5 1/2". You can't make it as they say at 6 1/2", and believe me, I tried!"

This means that when you put four of these mini-blocks together to make a big block square, the finished size will be 11", like the book (& my maths says). Spot on. Good.

Nice that the book gets something right - don't they road test these things?
Perhaps it is aimed at a more experience quilter, but if I had cut per the instructions, with the top of the triangle on the seam not the top of the fabric, I would have had chopped the upright triangles 1/4" short, and if I'd have cut per the diagram, the upsidedown half of my triangles would have had the pointy bit missing!

Thank you all again - what a nice bunch of people quilters are!

Sunday, 20 March 2011

Project 3 - Cutting Query!

Now I have ten different 42" tubes of fabric made up of two light/dark pairs of strips sewn face to face, & the next step will be to cut the tubes into triangles, but I don't find the book totally clear on this bit - and of course, this is a new technique to me, so can I double check?

Here's the extract - with instruction on using an Omnigrid 98l, but also giving instructions to cut if you don't have a triangle cutting ruler (that's me) taking your ruler and marking with tape a line running across the corner, 6 1/2" along each edge. Handily, my Creative Grids ruler already has this line marked on (but I put this red tape line across anyway, for clarity).

Well, when I line up my tape edge with the bottom of the tube, the point pokes above the top end by about 1/4" - enough to make a triangle with a chopped off top.

And if I move the ruler so the point touches the top edge of the tube, the tape line is about 1/4" below the bottom edge of the fabric. (I've checked my seam work, and the 1/4" seams are accurate).

So to the crux of the matter: should the triangles should be just that - triangles - with the purple lines I've drawn with the air eraser pen zigzagging properly point-to-point all the way along the tube?

I'm afraid that you'll have to peer quite hard the pics to see the purple marker line (like all pics, click to enlarge, then backspace to return), but before I go cutting, I'd like to make sure that I'm cutting in the right place...


Joanna quite rightly points out that the excerpt at the top is the instructions for Omnigrid 98L users - so here is the extra bit of instruction which is relevant to non-Omnigrid users (me!).

Thursday, 17 March 2011

Project 3 - Piecing

That felt like a very productive evening!

Once I'd divided the lighter from the darker strips (those are relative terms!), & made a pile of each, I picked one at random out of each pile and sewed them together & pressed the seams, so now I have 20 light/dark double strips.

The next step will be to piece that lot together (and again), then do some jiggery pokery with the cutter on the diagonals. Plenty of scope for cock-ups there, with no wriggle room on the amount of fabric...

Project 3 - Garden Trellis Quilt

Tonight, I find myself with an unexpected spare evening, so I've had a further mooch through the Jelly Roll Quilts book & a riffle through my jelly roll (kindly given to me by big sister Helen for Christmas - which is where we came in).

I've decided that I like this Garden Trellis Quilt most of all, and I plan to start sewing the strips together this evening.

I've even got some rather lovely border fabric all ready from a pair of patterned curtains from the charity shop which I'm hoping will go rather nicely.

Even though the fabrics in the jelly roll are quite similar in tone, I've split the ten different sorts into 'dark' and 'light' and hope that will provide a sufficient contrast.

Well, we'll see...

Sunday, 13 March 2011

Christmas Quiltalong! March, Pt5 - final

Once family commitments were out of the way this afternoon, I sparked up the sewing machine & started to think about piecing the two QAL block.

As it turns out, it's a good job that I didn't do more yesterday, because having had a look round at what all the other QAL bloggers have been up to, I spotted that Lynn had laid out her blocks slightly differently - so I had a play with mine & once happy with what I'd got, I put them both together - so now there are four blocks.

The QAL has been so much fun again this month - thank you again to Sue and Cathi for organising - & before next time, there is knitting to keep me busy!

Christmas Quiltalong! March, pt4

I felt that I had a good start today, but I have fallen behind - partly due to messing about with the new sewing machine, but later on, with the dawning realisation that my cousin will be paying a rare visit tomorrow, I made a batch of biscuits.

But because the abbey crunch style biscuits are not Christmassy - delicious though they are - they don't more than a passing mention here.

Of course, this held up the sewing, so I although I have all my pieces trimmed & ready to go, the sewing together will have to wait until I get a chance to carry on tomorrow.

I've thoroughly enjoyed my day though (thank you, Sue), but given the lateness of the hour, I think that I will keep the pleasure of catching up with all at the other bloggers' posts until the morning.

Saturday, 12 March 2011

Christmas Quiltalong! March, pt3

Mum's sewing machine feels really odd after the ol' F&R machine that I've done the previous blocks & my project 1 on, but none the worse for that.

Bit of an irritating habit of unthreading itself at the off, but that's only because I'm not used to how much thread to have through the needle to start with.

In fact the take-up is really smooth - no humming as you put your foot on the peddle before bursting into life with a great gallop.

So I have a great pile of half square triangles pieced and cut - now I need to trim them before putting the sewing the whole lot together...

I've come down for a fortifying yuletide sherry!

Christmas Quiltalong! March, pt2

I hope that I'm not making a strategic error here - & all the experienced quilters will tell me that I am, I'm sure - but I have changed sewing machines since last month's QAL.

I haven't gone & squandered a load of my hard-earned on a new machine (not just yet, anyway!), but swapped machines with mum for the time being.

The theory is, that if I am going to buy an updated machine in time, having a bit of experience with a couple of types of older machine will mean I've a better idea of what I want from a new one.

So I approach this month's QAL blocks with trepidation - I have the fabric for both blocks cut, & now I have to actually do some sewing...

It's too early for a glass of fortifying Christmas sherry, isn't it?

Christmas Quiltalong! March, pt1

How exciting - today is the second Saturday in the month, which can only mean one thing - the Christmas Quiltalong is with us!

I have some jobs to do (and a skip to paint, but that's a tale for the allotment blog), but I am very much looking forward to recieiving the instructions for sewing this month's quilt blocks.

So good morning to all who are taking part this month, and - of course - many thanks go to Quiltsue and Cathi (Sue hosting this month) for organising.

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