My year in quilting

 

Jellyroll race quilt - quilting in progress

This year has been all about quilting for me.  I’ve been really enjoying participating in the Cambridge Modern Quilt Guild, which is full of extremely talented quilt artists.  And I do not use the word artist lightly!  My work is total amateur hour compared to many of these quilters.  With that said, I’ve been learning a lot and thoroughly enjoying the process.  Here are the highlights of my quilting progress since January or so. Continue reading

Rainbow raspberry kiss quilt top

Rainbow raspberry kiss quilt top in progress

After much indecision, here’s what I came up with!  Still a rainbow, but not as linear as my initial arrangement.  I added more warm blocks to better balance out the cools, and I mixed the blocks up a bit so the color transitions wouldn’t be too harsh.  If I’m honest, I’m not 100% happy with it, but I am NOT ripping out any seams at this point!

One thing I learned during this exercise is that I wasn’t born with an eye for color arrangement.  Getting that perfect mix and balance is really hard!  I admire people who are good at this, and I hope to get better with more practice.  There are few things in life that can’t be learned, right?

Raspberry kiss quilt - seams pressed open

Here’s a close up of the back.  The internal seams of the blocks are pressed to one side (to the darks whenever possible), and the seams connecting the blocks are pressed open to avoid bulk at the points.  All seam allowances are 1/4 inch.  There are approximately a million loose threads stuck all over this quilt top, but hopefully I’ll catch them all during basting!

I’m debating adding a thin white border around the edges, for two reasons: (a) to give the blocks a bit of room to “float,” and more importantly (b) to give myself a little wiggle room during basting and quilting.  Maybe it’s just my lack of quilting skill, but having only 1/4 inch seam allowances on the edge of the quilt often results in uneven edges for me.  I feel like the quilt top shrinks a bit during quilting, and it’s nice to have a little more fabric along the edges to compensate.

By the way, this quilt is huge.  It’s currently about 74″ x 90″, without the border or binding.  I don’t know where/how I’m going to baste it…. so suggestions are welcome!  I may have to use the huge table at Gather Here for this beast.

Will keep you posted!

Summer vacation

Raspberry kiss quilt - blocks assembled into rows 1

That’s right folks, I’m on vacation!  After a very challenging summer at work, I’m taking a few days off to recover before all the craziness associated with the fall semester kicks in.  It’s my favorite type of vacation, too: staying home with nothing planned.  I feel so freeeeeeee!!!

Case in point: I am writing this post out on the roof deck in the middle of the afternoon with a belly full of sushi and a cup of coffee brewing.  My sewing machine is in the adjacent room along with my rainbow quilt top in progress.  Maggie (my sweet kitty) is napping on her cardboard scratcher, and all is quiet here in Cambridge.  Honestly, it doesn’t get much better than this.  🙂

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Analysis paralysis

Circle of rainbow raspberry kiss blocks

With nearly enough blocks to start assembling my quilt top, analysis paralysis has set in.  I have a rainbow of colors, but should they be arranged in rainbow order or not?

The random order is a little less obvious than a classic rainbow, but do the colors get jumbled with such a variety?

Raspberry kiss - 81 blocks in random order

Then again, although rainbow order is super cliche, do the colors look more harmonious in a more organized layout?

Raspberry kiss - 81 blocks in rainbow order

Or should I do something else entirely?  Perhaps a hybrid of the two?

The quilt is currently 81 blocks strong (9 x 9), and I think I’m going to make 18 more, for a total of 99 (9 x 11).  So, I have some wiggle room to adjust the color scheme a bit, perhaps making more of one color than another.

I think I know what I want to do, and it involves a bit more rearranging.  What do you think?  Honest opinions welcome!

Amidst chaos, there is sewing

Raspberry kiss - green blocks during assembly

Amidst the chaos that seems to define the most recent events in world news, American politics, and my day-to-day life, there has been sewing.  Calming, peaceful, and focused sewing.  Do you sew to drown out the chaos?  I know I do.  It works pretty well, at least temporarily.  🙂

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A quilting diversion

Raspberry kiss blocks in progress

I spent nearly 8 hours on Saturday cutting out fabric for my floral Robson… and I’m still not finished!  That’s on top of all the cutting I did the previous weekend.  I’m starting to think that I may have overdone it will all the layers on this coat.  So far I’ve finished cutting all the flannel interlining and the main fabric, in addition to most of the lining pieces.  I still have to finish the lining, cut out all the interfacing, and cut the hair canvas that I got for the front facings/lapels.  Will I ever be ready to start actually sewing this beast???

No pictures of the coat this week.  Just imagine a heap of cut fabric.  A large heap.

Because I needed a break after all that cutting, I whipped up a few quilt blocks.  I’m using this free raspberry kiss pattern and the leftover scraps from my Aqueduct Quilt.  These were so quick and fun compared to the hell of coat fabric cutting.  Wait, did I say HELL?  Isn’t sewing supposed to be FUN??  Let’s just say that cutting is not my favorite part of the sewing process!

Anyway… back to this little quilting diversion.

Raspberry kiss blocks - early block

I think my blocks are getting better as I go along.  The block above was one of my first, and you can see some puckering along the interior seams.  Later, the blocks seemed to lie much flatter, as you can see below.  Progress!

Raspberry kiss blocks - late block

I have a bunch more blocks cut out and ready to sew, mostly blues and pinks to add to the mix.

Fabric cut for more raspberry kiss blocks

For now though, my main focus is still on the Robson.  I’m really looking forward to starting the sewing process, assuming I ever make it thorough the abyss of cutting.  Oh cutting, why do you torment me so??

Hope you’re all having a good week!