Diamond Quilt Progress Post Thirteen

The Diamond Quilt has become too large to carry around with me. Therefore, everything has to be done at home now. After completing my binding torture experiment I decided to to add one last row of hunter green hexagons along the edge of the quilt top. All along the way during the construction of this quilt top I have kept track of my time. Sometimes I estimated my time by seeing how long a specific section would take, and then I simply completed the other corresponding sections at my leisure, and did the math to come up with a total for the time spent. All that remains now is the last border of hexagons on the quilt top. I’ve decided to time that step with the stop watch.  I’ll do the same for the basting, quilting, and binding. When it is all said and done I will be interested to calculate the number of hours spent per square foot of finished product.

I’ve worked nearly seven hours so far on the last row of hexagons. I’ve added 66 hexagons so far, and I’m not even halfway done. My time spent comes to a little over six minutes per hexagon for three seams. That feels slow, but I don’t like to rush.

Following are photographs of the last row of hexagons being added. The first two photographs show the quilt top from the front and the back with the paper pieces still in place.

The next two photographs show the quilt top from the front and the back after the paper pieces have been removed.

You may notice that the last row of hexagons was basted so that the basting stitches do not show at all from the front. These basting stitches do not need to be removed. The row just before the last is basted so the stitches show from the front, and those stitches must be removed. The “invisible” basting method takes more time, but I decided to use it for the final row because it would stabilize the seams when I removed the papers. I also thought that this method of basting would add to my stitching pleasure as I completed the final row of hexagons. I was right. I am really enjoying adding the final row of hexagons. It is such a peaceful activity.

I’m listening to an audio book as I add this final row of hexagons. The book will probably be finished before I compete the final row of hexagons. Interestingly enough, the book is titled “The Seamstress”. It is a fictional account of a Hungarian Jew who lived through the Holocaust.

A look at the back of the quilt top shows that I used the method of basting that requires removal of basting threads for the majority of the quilt top. The trimmed seams devoid of basting stitches have a certain simplistic beauty to them. When I showed my paper piecing work at an artist’s meet up group a few months ago the attendees focused on the beauty of the back of the work as well as the beauty of the front. I hadn’t thought about it until they drew my attention to how beautiful the back was. I then started to appreciate the beauty of what would eventually be hidden from view.

While that method of basting has it’s aesthetic merits, it also presents the need to trim basting stitches that don’t quite work their way free, but do manage to get pulled to the back side when the paper pieces are removed.

I think there are definite advantages to both methods of basting. That might be a good subject for a future blog post.

What method do you use to baste your hexagons? Why do you use it? Have you tried both methods?

Binding Torture Experiment Concludes

It is September already, so my two month binding torture experiment has come to an end. I kept my ugly little binding sample on the dryer along with a tally sheet. I threw the sample in with every wash and dry for two months. My husband also washes clothes occasionally, and he chose not to take part in the data collection, so there are fewer washes and dries than there would have been if I did all the wash myself. This binding was sent through 22 regular wash and dry cycles. It was also sent through 19 gentle wash and dry cycles for a total of 41 cycles. This is much more wear and tear than any binding could expect to experience in the lifetime of a quilt since I would never send a quilt through even one regular cycle, much less 22 of them. The idea was to torture the piece, however, and torture it I did.

The piece is extra crinkly, but the binding has held up well. There is one place along one of the corners of the binding that has frayed a bit. I’m not concerned with that, however, because that could have happened with any binding.

I was only interested in seeing if any of the tiny seams near the edge came undone because of the excessive washing.  None of the seams have come lose, so I feel confident in using this binding method on my diamond heirloom quilt.

I will begin adding the final row of hunter green hexagons around the diamond quilt this week.

I’ve made progress on the batik flower garden quilt, but I will save that report for a future week. As I move forward working on more than one project at a time I will probably report on one or another of those projects each week, but not all of them. I will sum up the activity that has taken place since that project was last featured. I think that will be more interesting than reporting bits and pieces of progress on multiple projects each week.

Now that this binding method has proven to be viable, I am considering writing a pdf tutorial for it and making it available.

 

My One Year of Blogging Anniversary Passes with Lack of Fanfare

Whoops.

I didn’t even notice that it had been a year.

On August 23rd the one year anniversary of my first blog post passed without notice on my part. I kind of knew it was coming up, but I didn’t think about it much, and it passed unnoticed even by me.

So, what’s happened in the last year?

Since August of last year I’ve started to blog once a week consistently, largely due to my participation in the link back to the Monday Morning Star Count over at Life Under Quilts.

I’ve gone from being a WordPress.com site to self hosting with Blue Host.

I’ve joined the Modern Quilt Guild.

For months I blogged in a vacuum with no comments on my site, but that changed once I started linking back, and now I usually get at least one comment a week.

I’ve completed quite a few projects for such a short period of time given the fact that the only machine work in any of them is the occasional application of binding via machine to the front of the piece. In addition to my interest in quilting I have also renewed my interest in blogging with WordPress, and also with Blogger. My once active blog Enriching My Love of the Game may soon see some activity. This will give me an opportunity to compare the two blogging platforms.

It’s been a good year.

Batik Flower Garden Quilt Progress

I have added 23 more flowers to this quilt since I reported on my progress last week. At that point there were 17 flowers in the quilt and now there are 40. My work this week consisted of assembling pre constructed flowers along with the hunter green hexagons that hold the work together.

At this point it is necessary for me to make more solid flowers in order to continue. I ordered crimson, butterscotch, and mocha Kona solids, and they have arrived. I still have 22 batik flowers assembled to add to the quilt. However, no more batik flowers can be made because the brown batik fabric has been exhausted, although some of the yellow batik remains. I have not yet decided how big this quilt will get. I am currently leaning towards making a twin size quilt by fleshing out the edges with a border of crimson followed by an outer border of solid flowers. An alternative would be to make it into a baby quilt, although it does not have the feel of a baby quilt in terms of color and contrast.

My construction method has changed as I have progressed on the quilt. At first I was piecing rows and joining them.

I decided to try adding one flower at a time to the edge of the quilt and to wait to add the hunter green hexagons until all the flowers for the row had been added. That method proved to be less cumbersome than manipulating an entire row at once.

You can see that the insertion of the hunter green hexagons requires stitching on five sides of the hexagon. That didn’t prove to be inconvenient. In fact, it made it easier to be able to use my green thread to do the job without having to start and stop repeatedly as I had to do when adding the hunter green hexagons to a row.

Here the green hexagons have been successfully added to the row. The following two photos show the addition of a row of batik flowers.

-2

Lori the cat felt the need to help.

Caught Stitching at the Go Congress

Chris Garlock/American Go E-Journal
Photo Credit

It was early in round 1 of the US Open that I noticed Chris Garlock take an interest in what I was doing on my opponents’s clock. I was stitching together hexagons. Why not? I fiddled around a little, perhaps threading a needle. Chris waited patiently until I was actively stitching again, and took his shot. Thanks for sharing it with me.

Those interested in seeing how much work I accomplished at the congress can see day by day photographs here.

Assembly of Batik Flower Garden Quilt Begins

I know I’m not the first person to add their feet to a quilting blog post, but I just couldn’t resist.

The pieces started going together yesterday, and a great deal of work has been accomplished already. This took me much longer than it should have for the following reason. I accidentally added a row of flowers like the one below in the wrong direction.

Ripping out the stitching and restitching would have taken enough time to be annoying. To make matters worse, I did not find my mistake until I had taken out all of the paper pieces but the ones on the outer most border of the work. My sense of order required me to rip out the stitching with no paper pieces in place for stabilization, and to reattach the row in the proper direction.  I wasn’t even sure it could be done, but I challenge you to notice a difference in the quality of the stitching in the area in which it occurred. What gives away the location of this seam is the basting stitches on hexagons that were at one time on the outer border, but have since found their way closer to the center.

After removing the row of flowers and reattaching it, I was left with portions lacking stabilization as I attached the next row of solid flowers.  A lot of tedious and unnecessary work resulted from my lack of attention to the fact that I wanted the brown batik to be uppermost in position in each row of batik flowers. I’ll be much more careful moving forward.

I have not counted how many batik flowers I have left, so I don’t know how large I am going to be able to make this piece. I do regret that it appears as if I left behind the following two pieces in New York City when I was at the Go Congress. I could not find them in my suitcase, and I am fairly certain that I took them along with me.

The solid fabrics can be replaced, but the batik fabrics can not, so I am down five batik flowers that can never be recreated. I don’t mind the work, but I do mind losing the fabric.

Stitching at the 2014 Go Congress

From Saturday, August 9th through Sunday August 17th I was in attendance at the annual U.S. Go Congress.  This year it was held in New York City at the Hotel Pennsylvania.  I had plenty of opportunity to stitch while I was enjoying the activities of the congress.

For those who do not know, go is an Asian board game that originated in China about 4,000 years ago. It is the oldest board game still played in its original form. Most years I get together with about 500 like minded individuals to play tournament games, attend lectures, and socialize.

I decided to document my stitching by photographing my progress each day on a go board. Here is what I put together during the week.

Saturday:

Sunday:

Monday:

Tuesday:

Wednesday:

Thursday:

Friday:

Saturday:

The photograph above represents the basting of 110 hexagons in one day. Each pile contains ten hexagons.

The hexagons for the batik flowers were basted in advance, but I had to baste all of the hexagons for the solid flowers. I have no idea how many hours are represented here. But I definitely had an opportunity to participate fully in the activities at the congress.

I am pleased to report that I had my best congress ever in terms of playing results. I managed to take 2nd place in the 9 kyu playing band. I had taken 3rd place three times already, but never 2nd place before.

Ivory Basics for Low Volume Work

I ordered a jelly roll of Ivory Basics from the Missouri Star Quilt Company. It was their special of the day one day, and I thought that it would be a nice way to start making low volume hexagons without having to buy a great number of different fabrics as yardage. This week I cut the strips into squares and am taking some of them to the U.S. Go Congress this coming week along with basted hexagons for my flower garden quilt.

 

Weekly Progress: Flower Garden Quilt

Last week I blogged about beginning a new flower garden quilt and settling on a specific design for a flower.  I completed 21 flowers last week. This week I completed 13 more flowers for a total of 34 of these flower units.

In addition to the completed flowers, I have sixteen more units basted, paired up, and ready to assemble.

This will make a total of 50 flower units.  No matter how you look at it, 50 units is not enough for a quilt.  So I had to start thinking of how I was going to supplement those units to flesh out the design.

My first impulse was to reproduce the color and value of the unit, but in solids.  So I ordered some additional Kona solids.  I knew that I would need more of my maroon. However, I bought that maroon fabric from the Pennington Quilt Works, and I have no idea who made it.  It’s definitely not a Kona solid.  I looked at my Kona sample card and found the closest thing I could find, which was Kona Crimson.  Given that this new fabric will form the center of solid flowers, it won’t ever be right next to the maroon that is forming the center of the patterned flowers. There was no other color that even came close to the Crimson, so I ordered it with confidence.  I ordered a brown fabric, Kona Mocha to fill in for the brown batik. Since I already had a bit of it on hand from a previous project I was able to see that it would work well.

I learned from my recent experience in ordering Kona solids that it is hard to judge how a color is going to work from the small sample on the card. Filling in for the yellow-orange batik was not going to be so simple. There were a number of colors that might have worked, and I wanted the best one, so I ordered a range of four colors directly next to each other on the color chart. From left to right they are Ochre, Butterscotch, Yarrow, and Caramel.

The Fat Quarter Color chips for these colors are shown below.

Fat Quarter Color Chips copy

When I got these fabrics in my hands I was able to quickly see that Caramel was the clear winner. If I had allowed myself to only order one fabric I would have probably gone with butterscotch based on what I saw on the color chart. What I liked about the Caramel fabric though, is that it gave a better sense of the overall feeling of value and color of the batik fabric that it was meant to replace.  It even matched the intensity, which I hadn’t realized was going to be important, but it turned out that it was very important to match the intensity. The caramel color was darned near perfect in every way.

I proceeded to piece together a flower using the solids of my choice, and I was happy with it. (Ignore the fabric to which the flower is attached. When I took my photos for this post I didn’t have an isolated solid flower to photograph.)

Of course, the fact that I really liked the solid flower I had just made didn’t prevent me from trying out some other options.

I auditioned these flowers up against my patterned flowers, but there was no contest. The first solid flower was the clear winner as I suspected it would be even before making the other two flowers.

It was my plan to finish piecing the patterned flowers and to make a large number of the solid flowers before starting to piece any units together.  The temptation to assemble, however, proved to be too great to resist. I started by joining four patterned flowers together with one solid flower using hunter green to hold it all together.

Then I tried joining four solid flowers with one patterned flower, once again with hunter green. I want the hunter green and maroon hexagons to predictably march across the finished quilt.

The idea I had in mind was that I might end up treating these constructions as large units that would be joined in some way. The photograph below shows the spacing that the units would take. You can probably see where two additional hunter green hexagons would go, and where another flower would fall into place.

I tried my hand at creating flowers that might work to tie the design together.

It may not be obvious, but the flower above has alternating petals of Butterscotch and Yarrow with a Caramel center.  Mmmmm… Sounds like candy.

Above we have alternating petals of Ochre and Butterscotch with a Crimson center.

And last, we have a yellow-orange batik center with Crimson petals.

My gut feeling at this time, after having done all that work, is that I will probably line up the units to create rows of patterned and solid flowers.

The beauty of working with hexagons, however, is that I can put off that decision until later. Any time spent auditioning flowers is time well spent because I can throw the rejects into a bowl and transform them into an interesting scrappy quilt at some point in the future.

I’ll be spending my time this week basting solid hexagons for assembly. I’m planning a trip soon and want to have plenty to occupy my hands on the train, in the hotel lobby, and sitting through presentations.

I am linking back to Life Under Quilts as usual. If you visit over there you will see what Jessica has worked on this week, and you can also click the links at the bottom to see the work of the others who link back.

Kona Solids Arrive and New Flower Garden Quilt Begun

The Kona solids I ordered last week for a project in the design stage have arrived.  Here they are:

I thought i had ordered half a yard of each of these, but I apparently ordered a yard and a half of the fabric to the far right.  I’m kind of glad that I made the mistake because I really like it.

From left to right these fabrics (with their code numbers) are: Charcoal 1071, Medium Grey 1223, Ash 1007, Oyster 1268, Mustard 1240, Straw 186, Moss 1238,and Sweet Pea 201.

It’s hard to judge how these colors will look as yardage just looking at the Kona sample cards.  You more or less just have to order them knowing that you will eventually use them even if they aren’t quite right for the project you are working on at the moment. The medium gray, for instance, turned out to have quite a blue cast to it, and the charcoal is probably too dark to be used in the project I am planning.  I’ll find something to do with it though.

I went to the trouble of taking photographs of my patterned fabrics on top of each of the solids, but I will only show the Sweet Pea here:

The sad truth is that this photograph simply does not do justice to the extent to which the Sweet Pea fabric harmonizes with these three prints, especially the scallop fabric on the left.

Soon I will cut a couple strips of each of these fabrics and baste up some hexagons and start pushing them around to see what I can come up with.  I’ve reserved strips of the scallop fabric to feature prominently on the back of the piece.  The Sweet Pea fabric will be included on the back as well.

Now on to the new flower garden quilt…

Earlier this week I blogged about some flower units I created on a car ride to and from a visit with my mother. Even though I have been working with hexagons for awhile I have never made any flowers. The details of my thought processes as I created those units can be found here. At the end of that blog post I started to think about how I might utilize this fabric, which I had previously proclaimed to be ugly.

What a victory it would be to design a quilt around a fabric which I found to be challenging. I decided to pair it with another batik and create a flower with a maroon center.

I’ve made 21 of them already, all of them completed this week.

I’ve cut what I have remaining of the yardage for the two batik fabrics to see how far it will stretch.  The limiting factor is the brown batik because I have less of it than the other batik.  I’ve got enough to make thirty more flowers.  I’ll get them finished before I give any more thought to how this piece is going to go together. I will say that I am leaning heavily toward using hunter green in the combination, but that should come as no surprise.

I am linking back to Life Under Quilts as usual. If you visit over there you will see what Jessica has worked on this week, and you can also click the links at the bottom to see the work of the others who link back. Those of you who have come here through the Monday Morning Star Count linkup might enjoy these other post I put up since last week:

$4.00 a Yard Fabric Sale Seduced Me into a Big Purchase

and incase you didn’t follow the link earlier in the post, you might also like:

Started Some Flower Garden Units