Category Archives: Tula Pink City Sampler Sew-Along

Tula Pink City Sampler Quilt – FIN.

Reading through my previous posts about the Tula Pink City Sampler I can see that I was just brimming with optimism about the whole process. It’s like I knew right from the start that I would absolutely hate making this quilt. But the thing is, even though I often wanted to stab myself in the eye with an ice pick rather than work on it, this quilt was an incredible learning experience. For starters, I learned–oh, who am I kidding? Like I didn’t already know–that I hate fiddly. These tiny, tiny pieces did not get any less annoying as I made my way through the quilt.

sneak peek 1

But the fiddly aside, I realised through the making of this quilt that I’m a pretty confident quilter and that I’ve seen and read enough about quilting to be willing to take some risks and to rely on my own intuition. I took a lot of chances with this quilt that could have ended badly, but didn’t.

sneak peek 2

The City Sampler book is laid out in sections. The introductory section gives basic instructions regarding how to read the cutting and piecing instructions. The piecing section, which is split into shape-based subsections, is arranged in two-page spreads and shows a photo of the finished block on the left side, and cutting instructions and a piecing illustration on the right side. The final section shows various layouts for the finished quilt.

Here’s how this quilt came together. I made about twenty five blocks in 2013, another twenty or so in mid-2014, and then over fifty blocks in a single weekend this past January (I really just wanted to get it over and done with already). I did not buy any fabric specifically for this quilt, and used mostly my scrap bins and some of my stash. As for the colour scheme, I knew I wanted to make the gridlock layout and that I wanted it in the same rainbow arrangement, so when I made my blocks I loosely kept to the colour scheme of the blocks in the book.

While I was sewing the blocks, I put them up on the design wall in the order they appeared in the book (pardon the iPhone photography, as usual. I tend to sew in the evening and the light in my sewing room is appalling).

From 1 to 100

From 1 to 100. At this point, I was still wholly unimpressed with the whole thing.

When all the blocks were done, I rearranged them in the same order as the gridlock layout in the book, and then I started playing around with them, since the colours and values of my blocks weren’t an exact match to the book, so some of the blocks just didn’t look right. After my first layout attempt, I brought the Germ in to consult.

Bringing in the consultants.

He had thoughts.

Schnitzel said she was no expert, but agreed to take a look.

Schnitzel said she was no expert, but agreed to take a look.

Eventually I settled on a final layout and even remade one block that was really bothering me.

I’m not a particularly skilled free-motion quilter and didn’t want my quilting to detract from the quilt. I was also pretty sure that I didn’t want to piece the entire top and then quilt it, because the quilting I had in mind would require me to turn the quilt around constantly, and I knew it would be too heavy for me to manage that easily. I decided to try the quilt-as-you-go method that Maureen Cracknell demonstrates in this tutorial.

I split the blocks into six segments and added the sashing to each segment. The segments were each five blocks across, with four segments made up of three rows, and the last two made up of four rows. Once the six segments were sashed and basted, I quilted each block, mostly echoing the shape of the pieces in each block.

A quilted segment

A quilted segment. Guest appearance by tracked kitty litter.

Next, I sewed together each pair of segments into three rows across, and quilted the horizontal sashing with straight lines about half an inch apart. After that I sewed together the three segments, and then quilted the vertical sashing with the same half-inch apart lines. At this point the quilt was already fairly large, but still manageable through my large machine.

Rub my belly mom! The only thing that'll make this quilt better is drops of your blood!

Rub my belly mom! The only thing that’ll make this quilt better is drops of your blood! At this point the sashing was quilted and I was working on the borders.

Last, I added the wider borders and extended the quilting lines from the sashing to the edges of the quilt, and once all the borders were on, I circled the entire quilt with four half-inch apart lines.

And everything fit! I was able to line things up really well (using lots of pins), and the QAYG just worked! It was magical! The next picture shows how the segments were sewn together. I gave it all a good press before I started quilting, though the quilt is a little bumpy in the back where the segments are connected, but please, reader, ask me if I care. Go on, ask!  This picture also shows how I quilted each block. Lots of extra threads that I didn’t trim, but it doesn’t really matter since they’re hidden behind the quilt back.

Merging the segments

Merging the segments

For the back, I made a diagonal rainbow to more or less align with the rainbow on the front, and to attach the back to the front I simply stitched in the ditch along the sashing borders. Again, it was a fair bit of quilt to fit in my machine, but it was such quick and simple stitching that it didn’t seem at all unmanageable.

Echoing the front with a rainbow in the back.

Echoing the front with a rainbow in the back. You can see the bumps where the segments were connected.

The binding was also a rainbow, mostly lining up with the rainbow on the front.

And here it is in all it’s glory. And you know? I love this quilt so much. It was worth all of the annoyance and all of the itty-bitty pieces and all of the risk-taking.

All done! LOVE!

Here are some details of the quilting.

Quilting details 2

Quilting detail

And last but not least, I entered this quilt into a show! I finished it on Thursday and dropped it off the same day, and today it was on display for the day at the Patchwork Messe in Erding.

The woman on the left with the striped bag looked at it, turned to her friend, and said: "Now this is art." I squeed.

The woman on the left with the striped bag looked at it, turned to her friend, and said: “Now this is art.” I squeed.

All the things

Yeah, yeah. Sew your stash, finish-along, quilt-along, WIP Wednesday, Finish it up Fridays, quilting resolutions. Whatever. I’ve committed to none of these for 2015, but what I am trying to do is sew more regularly, and not just on the weekend. Or if not to sew, then to do something sewing related at least every day.

This is what’s happening here at Arsch der Welt at the moment. Firstly, it’s been a glorious winter. Yes, I said it, even though it has been snowy and freezing. I am absolutely in love with our tree-lined drive in all seasons, but in winter the bare trees strike me as most beautiful. AND it turns out you can see the Zugspitze peak, which is 160 kilometres south of here, right from the end of my driveway. This absolutely delights me.

No filter.

No filter. The Zugspitze can be seen when you look to the left at the end of the driveway. Joy!

Sewing, you ask?

On the go:

Tula Pink City Sampler: I finished off all one hundred blocks after an insane three-day sewing marathon in which I sewed about fifty five blocks. I split the quilt into six segments, adding white sashing. I’m quilting each segment as I go with straight lines that echo the piecing in each block. Hopefully it’ll all fit together when I try to attach the segments. Cross your fingers that it does, because I’ve submitted it to a local quilt show and have to deliver by the 19th of this month.

Missing U quilt: My blocks for this one started out really random, but have turned more into a free-form log cabin as I’ve progressed. I want to make this one a king size, so need nearly fifty blocks. I’ve made twelve so far. I’ll definitely QAYG this one, with the back of each block a matching colour to the front.

My first few blocks, made back in England. I've added about 8 or 9 since.

My first few blocks, made back in England.

Saltwater quilt: The only FQ bundle I’ve ever bought is Tula Pink’s Saltwater, and I’ve been sitting on it for at least two years. I’ve now cut up the entire range using the Accuquilt 4.5″ HST die and sewn the HSTs. I’m missing a couple of the FQs in the blue range, so I’ll have to see whether I have enough units, but am going for a simple (though still up-in-the-air) layout. For now, I’m putting this one on the back burner since I have a couple of looming deadlines.

Pink-brown baby quilt: I made this from a fabric line sample pack I bought at the Festival of Quilts a couple of years ago. It’s basted and I’ve started FMQing it, but got distracted by Christmas sewing. I have no planned recipient, so quick, someone get knocked up. I’m so uninspired by it that I have no pictures.

Broken Herringbone: Does it really count as a WIP if I only made one block, well over a year ago? Don’t know, it’s haunting me all the same. I’ve actually made quite a few of these blocks in the run up to Christmas, but used them in table runners.

Green broken herringbone block

Green broken herringbone block

Recently finished:

Totem’s blue-square quilt: A project that came together fairly quickly – read about it here.

Upcoming:

Silver anniversary quilt: The party is on August 1, 2015, so I best get cracking. I’ve just settled on using Tula Pink’s Fade to Pink pattern, from Quilts from the House of Tula Pink.

Carpenter quilt: I have an awesome carpenter. He’s building me an awesome bespoke sewing workstation, charging only for the materials (mostly cheap Ikea work tops). I therefore must make him and his wife an awesome quilt. Don’t know what yet. Another gradient quilt? Dunno.

Tinker Tote bag: I started this Craftsy class* (affiliate link, see disclaimer below) bag ages ago and it’s been staring at me reprovingly ever since. I’ve tried to get back to it a few times, but needle issues with constant skipped stitches have stopped me from making any progress on this one, which is lame, since I’m mostly walking around with a freebie messenger bag someone gave me at a temp job fifteen years ago and really now, do I even own a sewing machine?

* An affiliate link means that I may get a commissions if you decide to purchase anything from the company I linked to, in this case Craftsy.com. I only recommend products and services that I use and love, so I know you’ll be in good hands.

Work in Progress Wednesday, the City Sampler Edition

Remember when I was working on the Tula Pink City Sampler sew-along? Me neither. I started 2013 with about twenty blocks done and finished it with about twenty. In my defense, there were six months there where I wasn’t sewing anything at all, but that’s just an excuse.The truth is that I’m not so much digging the whole thing. For starters, it’s fiddly. I cannot be doing with blocks made of three thousand 1.5” squares. They’re irritating to cut and irritating to sew. I don’t mind the simpler blocks, but the scale is just annoying. Practically none of my blocks are finishing at 6.5”, and the ones with lots of tiny pieces are lucky to scrape 6”. At first I kept unpicking and redoing, but then I decided I just don’t care if my blocks are 6”, as long as they’re finished already.

All the same, I’ve decided to push through, if only because the blocks are taking up a huge chunk of my design wall, which could be dedicated to something I’m actually enjoying.

In the last couple of weeks I’ve sewn about twenty more blocks, so I’m getting close to the midpoint. Here are a few recent blocks, and how it’s looking so far. For the time being I’m just separating the blocks by colour. I’ll arrange them properly when (if) they’re done.

Linking up with Work In Progress Wednesdays.

City Sampler Sew-Along

I’ve never been good at long-term projects. I am easily bored and even more easily distracted, which is why I’ve resisted joining any sew-alongs making the rounds in the quilting community. Until, that is, Tula Pink published her City Sampler book.

I should probably mention I don’t especially care for sampler quilts, but I was so impressed with Tula’s first book, Quilts from the House of Tula Pink, that I had to buy this one, and when Sara from Sew Sweetness announced she’d be running a sew-along for the book, I decided to play along.

True to my word about not being any good at long-term projects, I jumped right in and made nine blocks in one weekend, and then promptly forgot about the whole thing. However, now that I’m documenting my quilting, there is somewhere to be accountable for it so I’ll try to get a block or two (of the hundred in the book) done each week, and to hopefully finish the quilt by the end of the Sew Along in January. That’s doable, no? It’ll also ensure that I sit down at my machine and actually sew at least once a week instead of just dreaming about and planning my sewing projects.

I was incredibly lucky to see and touch the Gridlock quilt in person this weekend at the Festival of Quilts, and I am even more motivated now to get this quilt made. I can’t even describe how much this quilt… glowed. It was so, so beautiful in person–so much more so than in the book!

Tula Pink Gridlock quilt

Another shoddy, fuzzy iPhone picture, you say? Tula Pink Gridlock City Sampler

In the book, each two-page spread is dedicated to a single block. The left side shows a photo of the finished and quilted block, and the right side provides an illustration of how to piece it. It’s a simple and quite lovely presentation. The last part of the book offers a number of block assembly options, and I’m going with the Gridlock assembly, which has the blocks arranged (shockingly) in a rainbow range, with vertical and horizontal sashing. Quite helpfully, the blocks photographed in the book are from the Gridlock configuration and are already arranged to create the rainbow range, so as long as I stick to the colour scheme in the book for each block, I don’t need to calculate how many blocks I need of each colour in order to attain the range.

Like my Missing U quilt, I initially planned to only use scraps for this quilt, but realized I’d never finish it if I waited for scraps, so I’ll cut into fabric as necessary. Since the blocks for this this quilt are quite small (6.5” unfinished), they don’t call for much fabric anyway. That said, I’ll still go to scraps before turning to my stash, so I won’t be making the blocks in the same order as the book, but rather will go with whatever scrap colours I have.

Here are the pictures of the blocks I’ve done so far (more dodgy photography, I know. I started constructing a lightbox this weekend to make sure that this never happens again!)(who am I kidding, the iPhone is never more than a foot away from me and is always the first camera I reach for)(but I promise to try!). You can also follow along on my Flickr stream, where I have a set dedicated to this quilt.

Mosaic

I took my sewing machine in for a service (and um, to help recover the feed dog screw I may have dropped into it) so I spent last night cutting up pieces for five or six more blocks. I’ll cut a few more this week so I can power through the blocks as soon as I get her back.