Quilt Con is Nearly Over

Quilt Con will be over in a few hours. I wanted very much to go, but it just wasn’t possible this year. I’m a bit jealous of those who were able to attend, and hope some year to be among their number.

Last week I made 20 burgundy flowers for my Batik Flower Garden Quilt. This week I made another 20 burgundy flowers which will give me 40 burgundy flowers to create one more round of flowers on the two sides as well as the bottom of the quilt.

 

Lori Loves the Batik Flower Garden Quilt

Lori has recently discovered that she likes to hang out in the laundry basket that I use to transport my quilting supplies from one location to another.

What she really likes, however, is to plant herself down on my work in progress, especially if I leave it on her chair, which I sometimes do without thinking about it.

Lori is mostly white, so this is the result of her napping on my Batik Flower Garden Quilt for a couple of days. I took a lint brush to the quilt top and stored it out of the way where she can’t sleep on it anymore.

Here is my progress for the week. I assembled twenty more burgundy flowers like these:

 

Time to Recycle

Since I started working with hexagons I have been saving my used paper pieces in plastic containers. I now have about ten gallons of one inch hexagon papers, and I think it is time to memorialize them with an aesthetically pleasing photo shoot, and then quietly let them go. It is time to recycling them.

 

I started saving these pieces because I thought I might use them more than once. I actually did use some of them more than once, but not too many of them. I used to pierce my papers when I basted my hexagons, but no more. In spite of the fact that I believe that piercing the papers is the best way for beginners to learn to paper piece, I am no longer a beginner. If I were not a blogger I would probably continue to pierce my pieces as I baste because it is easier, and I would probably reuse my papers at least once. However, I have come to enjoy the way my progress photos look with no basting stitches to mar their appearance. For that effect I need nice new flat papers each time. I cut them myself too rather than wasting money on them.

After I gave up the idea of reusing my papers I continued to save them for awhile because it gave me a feeling of satisfaction to see them piling up, but at this point I don’t need that kind of feedback anymore. I know how hard I am working and what kind of progress I am making, and my used paper pieces are just taking up space. So away they go…

Now for my progress this week on my English Paper Piecing…

I decided to take a break from the Batik Flower Garden Quilt because I am nearly out of the burgundy thread I am using to piece my flowers. I’ll be going to the Pennington Quilt Works this coming Tuesday for a guild meeting, so I decided to wait until then to replenish my supply of burgundy thread.

Last week The Missouri Star Quilt Company had a deal on Windham Fabrics Ivory Basics Jelly rolls. I decided to buy one, and it has already arrived. These fabrics are a collection of low volume prints.

They ran the same special last summer. You can only buy one of the special at the reduced price. I bought a roll at that time too, and cut the entire roll into 2.5″ squares to be made into one inch hexagons. I’d seen so much about “low volume” work that I wanted to make some low volume hexagons even though I wasn’t sure how i was going to use them.

Here is the photo of my first jelly roll cut into squares. I had posted it at the time of the U.S. Go Congress:

I spent the majority of my week basting these squares into hexagons. I have basted about a third of the first jelly roll. By the time I get done with the second jelly roll I will have quite a collection of low volume hexagons. Then I’ll think about what to do with them.

I basted 116 low volume hexagons this week.

I’m a big fan of basting hexagons with no particular purpose in mind. I sometimes stitch together units with no particular purpose in mind. I just have faith that the ideas will come.

The patterns in this collection are often subtle. The photos below show the back and front of one of the fabrics.

In addition to my low volume hexagon basting, I also based burgundy and crimson hexagons for the Batik Flower Garden Quilt. I could do that without the burgundy thread on hand.

This End Up

Previously I had mentioned that I had not yet decided which direction to face the central medallion on the Batik Flower Garden Quilt.

This is no small matter because the interaction of the batik flowers and the solid flowers create a secondary design in the form of a flower with a hunter green center.

Below we see the batik flower and the solid flower which make up the body of the central medallion. Both of these flowers are oriented in the same direction as far as the brown vs. caramel content of the flower is concerned. In hindsight I might done better to invert the solid flowers, which would have given an entirely different, perhaps more satisfactory, result. However, now I must continue on the path I have chosen.

Below you can see the secondary design created when these two flower types are placed in alternating rows.

These newly created flowers are composed of arcs of caramel and brown fabric. They are clearly divided in half by way of their color, and it matters which direction these arcs will face. I have to ask myself if it is more pleasing to have the caramel on top, or the brown on top. It is this question that I have been pondering for a number of weeks now.

I believe that I have come to a decision.

That decision was reached through a perceived emotional impact of the caramel arcs. When they take an upward direction the design feels more optimistic as if the caramel arcs represent a rising sun over a landscape. It is as simple as that.

This week I attached two rows of burgundy flowers to the bottom of the quilt, making the caramel arcs face irreversibly up.

Batik Flower Garden Quilt Reaching Down the Sides of the Mattress

As predicted last week I managed to finish adding the fourth row of burgundy flowers to each side of the Batik Flower Garden Quilt. So it was back to the mattress Store for a good look at how the top is fitting the mattress.

 

 

I managed to baste 144 burgundy hexagons which is enough to put together 24 burgundy flowers for the bottom edge of the quilt.

By this time next week I hope to have a decision about which end will be facing up. I also plan to have all 24 burgundy flowers completed.

 

Virtual Sewcial

Here is my basket all packed and ready to go.

I was all psyched for the Central Jersey Modern Quilt Guild Sewcial at the Hopewell Train Station today. Unfortunately, the event was first postponed by two hours because of bad weather, and then cancelled for the day because the weather continued to be terrible with salting of roads and major sheets of ice causing dangerous traffic conditions.

That won’t stop us from having a virtual sewcial though.

All day today the Central Jersey Modern Quilt Guild members will stitch their little hearts out and post to instagram with the hashtag #cjmqg. You can follow along on Instagram to enjoy the fun.

Here are my contributions to the day’s discussion:

copy

Our real life Sewcial will be scheduled for another day soon. I am anxious for it to take place because I am interested in asking people how they like their machines since I am thinking of buying a new one. I’m currently using the machine I learned to sew with in the 1960s.

My English Paper Piecing progress for this week was the construction of 24 burgundy flowers. That is just enough to add another border to both sides of the Batik Flower Garden Quilt. It also means I can postpone the decision for another week about which end of this quilt will face up.

Update: It is Tuesday. It’s time for me to link up to Jessica’s Monday Morning Star Count.

By now I have finished adding twelve flowers to one side of the quilt top. I’ve also added the green hexagons along that edge. I am working on the second side with eight flowers added. With only four more flowers to go, plus the addition of green hexagons, I could conceivably finish the second side today.

More Thoughts on the Corners

Before I move on to the topic at hand for this week’s post I want to report on my progress on the latest Batik Flower Garden Quilt burgundy border. I have finished the third round on the left side and the right side. This involved adding 22 burgundy flowers, three of which were already in place last week.

I still have to decide what direction to face the central medallion before I decide which edge is going to be the top and which edge is going to be the bottom. It is actually an important decision because of the way the batik flowers and solid flowers interact. Given how many burgundy flowers I must make to flesh out the borders on this quilt, that decision can wait for a few more weeks. I’ll just build up a big pile of burgundy flowers in the mean time.

Now on to the corners…

I’ve been giving more thought to how I am going to approach the two corners on the bottom of the quilt. Last week I was considering using the flowers pictured below for the corners.

I am now thinking that I will save those flowers for something else, perhaps adding them to my collection of random scrappy flowers.

Instead of using the hybrid solid/batik flowers for the corners, I am planning on using the few totally batik flowers that I have left. I think it is important to pull those batik fabrics back into the quilt design near the edge.

I have a total of 14 of these flowers. That would give me seven for each corner.

When I first started combining flowers for the body of this quilt I had a bit of a false start when I put together three of these batik flowers with some green hexagons. It became clear to me that this was not going to yield the results I wanted, so I put this false beginning aside, and chose another path.

I always thought that I might later rescue these three flowers, but a look at the photo below shows that in my haste I removed papers from the hexagons along the middle making it very difficult to recover these three flowers later. Oh, and say “Hello” to an untrimmed batik hexie on the left side. How did I miss him?

Ripping out those seams would mean sewing a number of seams without reinforcement from paper pieces. That means I will be saving this piece and building something around it, perhaps with the hybrid flowers. I definitely won’t be recovering these three batik flowers. It would just involve too much work. It also means I am stuck with just seven batik flowers per corner to finish off my quilt.

Using the 14 flowers available to me gives me the following layout for my corners, which I think will work rather well.

You’ll undoubtedly notice the snow in the above photograph, and in the one below.

I was having a bit of fun with my staging area when I took these photos.

It had snowed the night before. This caused me to think about coming up with an alternative staging area for work in process. I already have the solution, but that’s another post.

Photo Shoot at the Mattress Store

Last week I completed a border of burgundy flowers and took photos on my front porch photo staging area. I decided that it was time to show how the batik flower garden quilt is fitting on the surface of a queen sized bed. I took a few photos on my bed in my cramped bedroom and realized that I not only didn’t have enough light to take good photos there, I also didn’t have enough room to take the pictures. It’s a really small room. The bed dominates it.

So I took my quilt top to the local mattress store, which happens to be a Sleepys where my husband and I have done business in recent years. I bought my queen sized mattress there, and the two twin sized mattresses that reside in what we still call Lucky’s room. Lucky is the dear cat we lost last week.

I placed my quilt top on a couple of queen sized mattresses and went to town doing a photo shoot, and here are the results:

Aside from my photo shoot I managed to accomplish some stitching this week, although not nearly as much as last week.

I basted up 53 hexagons for my scrap hexagon collection. Every now and then I will stitch up another flower from that collection. One of these days I will be putting together a scrappy utility quilt from those flowers.

I also put together some flowers that I hope to use along the foot of the Batik Flower Garden Quilt design. These flowers are a combination of solid and batik. I ran out of the brown batik, so I had to substitute the solid brown.

I also put together three burgundy flowers and added them to one of the sides of the quilt. I am anticipating continuing that border along both sides and the bottom.

The salesman at the Sleepys store was very polite and invited me back to take photos any time I wanted. So I will probably return after completing this next round of burgundy flowers.

Those of you coming to this post from the Monday Morning Star Count link back, please take a look at my progress post from last week.

Forty Burgundy Flowers

Last week I displayed a photo showing a pile of twenty burgundy flowers. My goal for this week was to add twenty more flowers to that pile. I reached that goal and above is my pile of forty burgundy flowers.

In addition to creating those forty burgundy flowers I managed to sew then into place around the edge of my quilt top along with the corresponding green hexagons used to join them. This was an amazing feat as it required an incredible amount of stitching. Below are some photographs that show off the new border, some of which show pieces of thread and other junk clinging to the quilt top, so please disregard those flaws in the photographs.

Hair, thread, and dirt is especially noticeable in the photo above. Sorry.

Accomplishing so much is good news, but there is some very bad news that I am saddened to report this week.

The fact that I was able to accomplish so much work in one week would ordinarily be great cause for celebration. Unfortunately, the reason I was able to complete so much work in one week is that I was suffering a level of grief so debilitating that the only way to deal with it was to stitch, and stitch, and stitch some more.

On Tuesday my husband, Ted, and I had to say goodbye our best buddy in the world, our dear boy cat named Lucky. We had the privilege of having Lucky in our lives for the past five years. He came to us at the age of 14 years because he needed a new home. We were asked to take him, and we knew going into it that we were going to have limited time with him, but we welcomed him into our home to give him the best golden years we could. We had no idea how much we were going to love Lucky, but it soon became obvious that we were the lucky ones, not he. Never was there a more loving animal than Lucky, and he won both of our hearts in short order.

About a year ago Lucky was diagnosed with hyperthyroidism and was put on twice daily medication that took his weight up from a dangerously low eight pounds to a healthy twelve pounds. He was doing quite well recently, and we thought we had more quality time left with him, maybe as much as a year or more. Lucky was getting up and walking around. Lucky loved to spend time with us in his room downstairs which was outfitted with wooden steps that Ted had constructed to allow Lucky to get up and down from the bed which had been taken off its frame so it would be lower to the ground for him. He would come out to visit with me when I was stitching on the conch and beg to be picked up so he could sit next to me on the couch. He just liked to be with people whenever possible, so we spent our nights with Lucky in his room stretched out on his king sized bed with our iPads petting our dearest friend. I won’t go into details about Lucky’s last day except to say that the end was unexpected. After a visit to the vet we were informed that there was nothing to do to make things better for Lucky. I was with him to the very end.

Ted and I been very sad since saying goodbye to Lucky on December the 23rd, and we will continue to be very sad for quite awhile. It’s been a very sad Christmas. This won’t be an easy healing process, so I guess I’ll be doing a lot of stitching moving forward. We’ve still got our girl cat Lori, but she’s very independent and hasn’t stepped up to offer much comfort. But we love her just the same. Below is a picture of Lucky and Lori. Lucky is on the left and Lori is on the right.

Actually, Lori is starting to step up to the plate a bit. She is spending a little more time with us than usual. Maybe she misses Lucky as much as we do.

Twenty Burgundy Flowers

That looks like a lot of burgundy flowers. However, it is half of the flowers I need to create the next round of flowers on my burgundy border.

No one but someone who has actually attempted English Paper Piecing has any idea of how much work is represented by this pile. There is a great deal of basting and stitching here. I have reached a point in the creation of this quilt where it feels as if it will take forever to complete. The good feelings from reporting progress take longer to achieve because going around the edge takes more and more time. Thank goodness I enjoy the process.

However, at this point the work becomes boring and repetitive. The process seems slow even while putting in a number of hours in a day. It is times like these that I wonder what I will write about in my blog while I finish this quilt. I guess that means it is probably a good time to be working on something else while I do the grunt work on the final borders of this quilt top. At least I can think about what I would like to do for future projects and put some ideas out there.

My immediate goal is to add another twenty flowers to my pile for next week. I want to post a nice tall pile of forty flowers for next week. My goal for the following week is to attempt to attach all forty flowers as well as the connecting single hunter green hexagons that go between them.