Category Archives: Work-in-Progress Wednesday

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.

Work-in-Progress Wednesday

Huh, is it Wednesday already?

I’ve got a few irons in the fire at the moment, but the most pressing one (pressing! harhar!) is getting Rachel’s quilt finished. On Saturday I put together the quilt back (of which I took no photos because… I don’t know). It is, as requested, mostly black, but I added two 2,5″ stripes near the top and near the bottom with scraps from the front, running from purple to green, in alternating directions. I also included a small square near the bottom with an embroidered dedication, made by mom. It took me ages to put the back together, mostly because I’m one of these people who cut first and then measure, but in the end it turned out just fine.

I spray basted the quilt on Sunday morning, which took ages and was really messy because I was doing it on our carpet which is just covered in lint and cat hair. This normally doesn’t show, except when you’re working with black fabric, so there was an awful lot of de-linting as I was getting it ready to quilt. It was so tiring that I took a couple of hours’ break and went to the kitchen to make some stock and jam, only to come back to this:

Kiwi and Schnitzel, sending me a message to take the rest of the day off.

Kiwi and Schnitzel, sending me a message to take the rest of the day off.

How cute are they?! They stayed in that position for a good three hours and I didn’t have the heart to push them off, so I just left them and puttered a bit more. By the time they finally walked away the quilt was completely wrinkled and hairy and I had to press and de-lint it, again. I decided they were giving me a message to take the rest of the day off.

We had a bank holiday on Monday so I started quilting that morning. Because I insist on making things hard for myself, I decided to quilt each block in straight-line spirals. Is that a thing? Not sure what term to use to describe starting on the outside of the square and working in? Concentric squares? Here are a couple of pictures.

Concentric squares. Notice THE ENTIRE QUILT in that six" throat space?

Concentric squares. Notice THE ENTIRE QUILT in that six” throat space? FUN!

You’ll notice I’m using a regular foot, not a walking foot. That’s because the walking foot that came with my machine has nowhere to slot in a guide. Well done, Janome! Ever so helpful to do that so I’ll pony up £40 for an actually usable walking foot! This might explain why I got a bit of squishiness at the start of some of the squares. It’s obviously annoying, but I’m not especially fussed about it.

Things get a little squashy at the start of each block.

I’m using an Aurifil 50wt thread and I honestly don’t know how I ever sewed with Gutermann. It is AWFUL. I tried using it in my machine after I put the quilt aside and it just jammed up constantly. Infuriating. Anyway, for the top I’ve used a variegated blue/green shade and on the back I’m using a dark grey. I’ve only been quilting the blue/green squares so far, but I’ll switch to the variegated purple when I’m ready to tackle these. For the three feature blocks I was thinking of quilting just diagonal lines in one direction, just to switch things up a bit.

I realized this weekend that I’ll need to finish the whole quilt by this weekend as the birthday girl turns 18 on the tenth. NO PRESSURE.

 

Loulouthi Tiles quilt

Checking in with my first Work-In-Progress Wednesday post.

When my friend asked me to make a quilt for her daughter’s 18th birthday I got really excited. I’ve been wanting to make a version of Tula Pink’s Fade to Pink quilt for a while and having seen this version of it, I figured I could do it almost completely from my stash. So one morning before I went to work I pulled together some fabric and sent her this photo:

Fade to pink 1

The response I got was: “Am thinking vivid, but restricting colours to blue, purple, red? Any views?”

I could get excited about red, but purple and blue? And red, purple, and blue together? I countered with this suggestion of light blues and greens:

Fade to pink 2

The response was: “Just make it purple and blue with a black background.”

Hmm. I was starting to have some doubts at this point. I went to the Abakhan sale hoping to find something because I don’t have much in the stash in those shades, and was looking for some sort of patterned black for the sashing and back (I really don’t like solids), which I couldn’t really find much of. I texted to tell her I was struggling with it and she said: “Oh, no. Just plain black. That way if she hates it she can just turn it over and will have a black blanket.”

I nearly cried. I couldn’t think of anything I wanted to do less than make this quilt.

I had a think about it and decided to abandon Fade to Pink. If I was going to make a Tula quilt, I wanted to at least enjoy it! I looked around and found the Loulouthi Tiles quilt at Stitched in Color, which could work with a limited palette and wouldn’t be difficult to put together (ha!). When I went to Toronto I managed to get loads of plain black cotton at Fabricland for $4 a meter (FOUR DOLLARS A METER! I’d be lucky to pay that for a fat quarter in the UK). Then I went to Sew Sisters and started taking apart their batik wall until I could come up with the right combination of blues and purples. I confess, there was some green in there, too. I was pushing the envelope on this a bit and was afraid that after all that, my friend wouldn’t like it anyway, at which point I’d be stuck with a quilt that the Germ wouldn’t even let me have in the house because its colours would be so. sad.

I managed to get the fabric cut and the top pieced in one day, and well, don’t I just LOVE IT!

Loulouthi assembly

All laid out. Don’t worry, the cats got to it every time I had my back turned and I had to completely reorganize it about three times.

Loulouthi main panels

Main panels detail. I am in flove with that purple.

The outcome certainly turned my frown upside down. These still aren’t the colours I’d naturally gravitate towards, but they work so well together and I hope the birthday girl loves it, too (her mom did–yay!).

Loulouthi top

Finished quilt top.

Since my deadline for this is early September, I’m hoping to finish this off this weekend. I had a possible epiphany about machine quilting the binding and I’m eager to try it and to report back.