Monthly March Star Count

For quite awhile I have been participating in the Monday Morning Star Count link back from Jessica’s Life Under Quilts blog. Jessica has been really busy lately creating and sharing via Instagram, and she has decided to go to a new monthly link back schedule. I don’t blame her for that. While I will miss sharing on a weekly basis, I think we all benefit from consistency. If we can be consistent on a monthly basis, then that will be good. I know that during the weeks we did not link back I definitely experienced a level of disappointment in not seeing the work of others, and not having my work seen either. I also felt as if those weeks were likely to go unseen when we did finally link back again. Knowing that we will be sharing once a month instead, however, I want to optimize the exposure of my work.

When we were linking back every week I would provide what is referred to as a permalink. The problem with that approach, however, is that it makes it impossible to scroll down to see a full month of progress.

Moving forward I will simply provide the link to my blog and encourage people to continue scrolling down as long as they are viewing new material. The plus side to this is that I may post more frequently than once a week now, knowing that all posts can be seen in that once a month viewing binge. I had reduced my posts to once a week a short while ago because I didn’t want the “Star Count” crowd to miss out on anything.

I really have enjoyed linking back, and have felt as if my blog traffic has been largely dependent it. The good news is that some of my recent blog traffic is certainly not dependent upon the link back, because I already have two comments on this week’s blog post WITHOUT linking back.

I do need to find other ways to create traffic. One of them is to put links to my posts on Facebook for my friends to see.

Today I’ve added the ability to subscribe to this web site for those who don’t want to wait a full month to hear from me again. If you look at the left column near the top you will see a new widget titled “subscribe to blog via email”. I’d encourage “Star Counters” to subscribe to get notification of new posts by email. I’ll look for a way to subscribe to your blogs as well.

So… looking forward to showing up in your in box sometime soon, and having you show up in mine, but in the meantime…

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Adding Burgundy Flowers Around the Border

This week I added burgundy flowers to the left, right, and bottom edges of the quilt top.

The Batik Flower Garden Quilt has gotten so large at this point that it is necessary to keep most of the quilt in a laundry basket while I am working on it sitting on the couch. If I didn’t keep it in the basket it would drag on the floor and pick up dust and dirt.

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:

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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.