maandag 28 maart 2016

The Splendid Sampler™ 13 - Scrappy Star

This one was a challenge: lots of tiny pieces and lots of points to match. I'm very proud of the center of my pinwheel, it came out just perfect (on my second try). I did fiddle a bit with one of the star points, which gives a bit wonkiness, but I can live with that. And I love the colors, which is a bit of bet, because you're just cutting pieces and hoping the end result will look all right.

First try at the pinwheel center, points not quite right.
I made the half-square-triangles for the pinwheel using 2" squares, marking the diagonal and sewing a seam 1/4" on either side of that, so I had two HSTs of each color. So when the first pinwheel came out a bit wonky, rather than unpicking everything I had a second go with the other four HSTs.

Good points!

The back looks good, too, all seam allowances pressed away from the white fabric.

By making my squares 2" instead of the prescribed 1 7/8 " I left some room for trimming, which is perfectly possible on a pinwheel block.

Trimmed to 2 and 1/2".
 I struggled with accuracy all through this block.

Bottom matches perfectly, on top the middle section is too narrow.

So I redid this seam ...

... it looked like a good match ...
... and it turned out I'd made the pink with white polka dots too big, creating the wonkiness on the left... arghh!
Still, I'm quite pleased with the end result!
I'm very glad this wasn't the first block in the Splendid Sampler, or I might have given up straight away, but I do love the look of it. Wouldn't a medallion quilt with this design look lovely?

I saved the corners again.

Like so.

Leaving me with four silly bonus bits (they're too tiny to call them blocks).

zaterdag 26 maart 2016

The Splendid Sampler™ 12 - Checkerboard

My latest Splendid Sampler™ block. This one almost sewed itself, compared to some of the other blocks. I decided to combine two busy prints, to break the checkerboard a bit. I think it looks nice.

Checkerboard, in Birds and Berries, a Moda fabric by Lauren and Jessi Jung.

The first ten blocks, plus one bonus.

I like sorting my fabrics by color every now and then. I added some more Moda fabric: Flora by Lauren and Jessi Jung, in aqua (top of the pile).

The Splendid Sampler™ 11 - Crocheted Thoughts

Another Splendid Sampler™ Block.

I might add the crochet hook later, or not...
I decided my doily should be white, as almost all lace and doilies are white, that's just how it's meant to be. So I used the solid pink in my palette as background. I like the scrappy look of this block.

maandag 21 maart 2016

The Splendid Sampler™ 10 - Iowa

Another Splendid Sampler™ block finished.
Minimal trimming was necessary, but I did unpick one seam 3 times, because the point didn't come out right!

Iowa, finished. (it should be upside down, but I'm too busy lazy to turn the picture around.)

I made some tiny HST with the off-cuts, and immediately joined them into tiny two inch pinwheels! I'll think of something to do with them.
I had a very busy work week last week, and a sick child in the weekend, but I still managed to finish this block. I think that is what I like about this whole project: it comes in bite size portions. I would never buy a pattern for a 100 block sampler. It would just be an insurmountable task to finish something like that. But the fact that I get just two blocks a week makes it doable. And the fact that it is just one block makes it easier to start sewing. It kind of takes the pressure off. It would be very hard to commit to making a quilt that I know would take me hundreds of hours to finish in one go, but doing it like this is fun!

donderdag 17 maart 2016

The Splendid Sampler™ 9 - Quilt Shop

This is the latest Splendid Sampler™ block that I finished. It wasn't easy to pick the fabrics, there are so many different fabrics in one block, I was afriad of it becoming a jumble. So I went for yellows for one wall and greens for the other, and I think it looks good!

All done!

Cotton Patch quilt shop.
 I do have to say that I'm a bit jealous of all the participants of the Splendid Sampler who have a real quilt shop. I shouldn't complain, because I have some nice shops for fabric and notions, but when I see those amazing, huge shops dedicated just to quilting, I wish I could go there now and then. Maybe, if I ever visit the US, I'll see some real quilt shops. For now I'll have a block in my sampler dedicated to the memory of one, Cotton Patch, which used to be in Leuven when I was a student and 1. not really into quilting like now, and 2. to poor to do anything but drool over the *gorgeous* Amish quilt they had hanging behind the counter (in saturated shades of aubergine, moss and mustard, it was quilt heaven!).

zaterdag 12 maart 2016

The Splendid Sampler™ 8 - Friends Around the Square

Today I finished two blocks of The Splendid Sampler™ : the eighth block, Friends Around the Square, and the Bonus Block. They both sewed up very smoothly, I'm getting the hang of starching, pressing and trimming every step of the way, and it's doing wonders for my accuracy.

Two blocks finished!

I've become good friends with my rotary cutter, ruler and cutting mat.

Beautiful trimmings.

Bonus Block.
Friends Around the Square.

I made the two block with a white background. I've decided that I will try to make half the blocks with a solid color, and the other half with a white background. I will then sash the white ones in color, and the colored ones in white, with a finished sashing of 1 and 1/2 inches wide. That will make the sashed blocks 9 inches squared (6 + 1,5 + 1,5 = 9), or 9 and 1/2 inches including seam allowance. So my finished quilt will be 90 inches squared (10 by 10 blocks) or 1,28 meters, which is the perfect size for our bed!

Friends Around the Square, using Birds and Berries and Chantilly fabric, by Lauren and Jessi Jung.

Bonus Block, with Birds and Berries in plum, and a Kaffe Fassett print in pink.

I'm thinking of hand-quilting, because my machine quilting skills are virtually non-existent, and having it done professionally will easily cost 500 euros. The idea of quilting the whole thing by hand is a bit daunting, so I thought of doing a quilt as you go method. I did some research into that and I don't like the pieced back that gives, so I came up with another plan. I will get the backing fabric and batting and baste that. I will then mark where the finished rows of blocks need to go with a basting thread. When I've joined the first twenty blocks into the first two rows, I will baste the top row into place, and can start quilting on those first ten blocks. Then, when the next 10 blocks have been joined into the third row, I sew that to the second row. This will be the hard part, because I'll have the bulk of the batting plus backing to deal with. I might even have to ask my husband to help maneuver the big mass of quilt while I do this. I can then baste and quilt the second row, and so on and so forth. The downside is I won't be able to square the quilt top, but if I'm perfectly honest, I've never done that anyway. I just slap the sandwich together and don't give too much about a quilt edges that's a bit wobbly and crooked. It's something I admire in other peoples work, but I haven't gotten round to acquiring the skill myself. Anyway, I'm thinking that if I mark out the position of the rows beforehand, that the end result shouldn't be too crooked. I'll post pictures of the process as it unfolds.

woensdag 9 maart 2016

The Splendid Sampler™ 7 - Snug as a Bug

I had so much fun making this Splendid Sampler™ block, and I adore the end result. I don't do embroidery often, so I'm quite pleased with the technical execution as well: it's not bad, even though I say so myself! Even thought the original plan was to keep it simple (just a line drawing and one bit of applique, for the blanket), I ended up filling in the faces and doing quite bit of embellishing, Barri Sue Gaudet style. Years ago I made a little 'welcome home' pillow from a book of hers, which had the same flowers in the corners. I love how simple, yet elegant this little decorative details are.

Not so good picture, I should take another by daylight!
And here's a roundup of the first 7 blocks, and my color palette, for the first Splendid Sampler™ challenge.

Only 93 block to go!
A better picture!

vrijdag 4 maart 2016

The Splendid Sampler™ 6 - Focal Point

Phew, this was not an easy block, but I made it! I took my time, cutting all the pieces in one session, then sewing in a further two sessions. This kind of blocks take a lot of concentration, and I've found that if I keep working "to get it done", I just end up with a wonky block and a lot of frustration! With this block I still had to grab my seam ripper quite a few times, and the end result is still a bit wonky, although I'm hoping it's nothing that the sashing won't fix.

Finished size is correct, yay!

My lovely block as it will appear in the final quilt!
I also managed to get scorch marks on some of the white fabric. I used starch to stiffen the fabric for the first time. I guess that means that I should turn the heat down a little, because scorching happens easier with starch? I hope it will come out in the wash, and even if it doesn't I'm not too bothered. This quilt is not intended as a show piece but as an everyday use quilt in a house with four young kids, so it will get a lot of wear and tear (and stains!) very quickly. This scorch mark can be like the first dent in a new car: you cringe a bit when it happens, but then you're just glad it was you who put it there, so you don't have to be mad at another person when he makes another one the next day :-)!

A bit of wonkiness and some scorch marks: ouch!

The color palette starting to appear, now that I have more blocks. As you can see, I have solid color blocks, and blocks with a white background. I will continue trying to make about half of each, so I can set them alternately, like in this picture.

Different Photoshop effect... I took the pictures in bad artificial light, so it's hard to get an accurate rendition of the actual colors on my screen. It should be somewhere in between the previous picture (too harsh and bright) and this one (too dusty).
And to be honest, at this stage, the finished quilt is not really an issue yet. I'm just really enjoying the process, and the learning experience. I'm very grateful The Splendid Sampler™ came along at the right time (I had just decided to clean out my fabric cupboard and finally make a quilt for my bed with these fabrics, which had been lying around for more than 2 years) and I'm having a lot of fun with it. I like the way that there is whole community sewing along, sharing their successes and oopsies. I'm already looking forward to the next block and day dreaming about sashing and quilting... .