More practice – piecing like there’s no tomorrow

So if there really is no tomorrow, I better use up all this fabric today, right?

I am determined to unlock all the secrets of the triangles. They stretch and bend and act all weird when they are cut at different sizes. I tried a couple of things that I’m certain are quite basic to experienced quilters, but if you are on the “teaching an old dog new tricks” side of things like I am, you understand having to learn the thing for yourself.

This Carpenter’s Square pattern from Jenny at Missouri Star Quilt Co. has been on my list since before I committed to learn this. I think this may be the quilt that pushed me into the whole process! Having a carpenter hubby I have been fairly motivated to make this star as the first star pattern that I needed to master. First one I thought I’d just use some random grey fabrics. Not a great choice, but after getting them all cut out and it all being practice anyway, I just pushed on. It’s not terrible, but it’s not great either. If I do greys again, I will do solids for the star shape and then a very pale grey for the background. I am finding that I really prefer the lighter backgrounds right now, but that can change! I just know that I’m not planning on any brown quilts at all.

The MSQC pattern calls for 10″ blocks, but I was certain that I could use what I have and make 8 inch blocks with my Accuquilt 8 and 1/2″ square dies and half-square triangle dies. And figuring that if I was right, I could use the smaller dies in my collection to adjust downward as well. (spoiler alert – it worked!)

Cutting and piecing the top was surprisingly fast. In my head, a quilt takes years to make, but I think that’s just the fear of the thing. I was always astonished with how many quilts my grandmother made, but I just assumed that was all she did. Looking back, she had a full-time job, so it must have been that she just sewed as time allowed, so my perspective was just uninformed. I wish she was still around so I could ask her all the questions now. She did make gorgeous applique block quilts with really detailed hand applique. Her sewing machine was a simple Singer from 1945 that was a wedding present. Sometime after she died that machine mysteriously disappeared from their house. Such a loss. It sewed so many beautiful things. The last time I got to use it was when we stayed with my grandfather for my other grandmother’s funeral (the grandmother on the other side of the family). I had an unexpected hem for one of the kids that needed to be done so I tried to summon up all the memory I had of how to use her machine. It had NO bells and whistles, but it was a beautiful machine with the most excellent straight stitch.

After the cutting and piecing, I wanted to see the whole thing. Before the final press I clamped it to the shelving in my sewing room.

Oh look, cords everywhere.

Then I remembered that the photography background that I have rarely used might work for a photo, so I set that up on the porch and gave it another go after I pressed the quilt well. Really, I’m happier about this serendipitous “quilt photo stand” than I am about this particular quilt top! But I see many more opportunities now that I know this is not a terribly long process!

Pieced top, photo backdrop frame, porch happiness !

Here’s the second one done this morning with 4 inch dies from the 8 inch Accuquilt Qube. It seems so tiny at 32 inches x 32 inches right now, but I’ll add 4 inch borders, too, so I can practice some in that area. But I’m MUCH happier with these colors, and will continue to choose these bright, soft colors until I figure out exactly what I am trying to do here.

Soft cool pastels -and only one « significant « signature block

The quilting bit is already forming in my head. The reason I am compelled to get these out is because I REALLY want to play in the negative space. The negative space is just the thing that is pulling me farther and farther in. It’s the part that really has excited me about the whole quilting process, and it really didn’t hit me until recently that it was the magic of the negative that was where I was headed. Having a plan is half the battle!

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