March Bee Blocks

This month’s charity bee blocks for the Believe Circle of do.{Good Stitches}:

March Blocks for Believe Circle

 

The pattern is available from Fresh Lemons Quilts – a site I’ve loved for quite a while now.  If you’d like to see the blocks made by other members of the Believe Circle you take a peek here.

I can’t wait to see this finished quilt!  I think it’s definitely going to brighten a foster child’s day!

Finished!

Wahooo!  I finished another quilt this week.  That’s TWO this month, although I started them a looong time before that!

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This is my Scrappy Trip Around the World quilt – a great way to use up scraps.  (It was also a great excuse to buy more blue and green fabrics, but the least said about that the better!)  I was having a dilemma about what to do for the back, but my friend Missie came up with a great idea and the perfect solid from her stash:

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I love the way the teal seems to harmonize with all of the shades of blue and green in this quilt.  Of course, I didn’t manage to get the backing on quite straight, but c’est la vie.  If I wanted perfection I could buy a quilt with perfect lines and immaculate – but soulless – stitching, right? Let me tell you, this baby’s got soul!  🙂

Speaking of stitching, I’d originally thought I’d quilt it with wavy lines all going in just one direction, but I tried about a line and a half before I decided that I didn’t like the look.  Better to rip out one or two lines of stitching than live with a bad choice.  Instead I quilted on either side of all of the seam lines in both directions for a grid pattern:

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I used Aurifil Creme de Menthe thread, which is one of their variegated  colorways.  I have been wanting to try variegated thread for a while and this seemed like a good time.  Honestly, I don’t think it really shows up on this quilt on either side, so there wasn’t much point, but the price was the same and the finished stitching looks fine, so no harm done.

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My favorite goofy little part is that little smidge of Navy camouflage on the back.  Most of that square ended up being trimmed off with the excess backing after quilting, but that teeny bit remains.  It’s like a little personalization, since we’re a Navy family.  I’m actually thinking of adding a little scrap to all of my quilts as a signature. What do you think?

Paper Piecing Progress? Perhaps.

With the end of the Olympics my TV viewing has tapered off, and so, I have to admit, has my pace on my EPP project.  I did get quite a bit done in those couple of weeks, though…

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I am still working on it in the evenings sometimes, just not at the same pace.  I decided that while I love the Sprockets quilt layout from A Few Scraps, I didn’t want quite so much negative space in my project.  I’m kinda crazy about that rainbow of Kaffe Fassett fabrics and wanted them to have the most visual impact, so I’ve gone with a simpler layout.

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There is something very satisfying in hand sewing all of these little diamonds.  Sometimes it’s nice to sit in a comfy chair instead of at the machine and these really do go quickly.  Because I started off making so many of the colored pieces, I have a lot of catching up to do to make enough of the black diamonds!  That’s a little more boring and black fabric is so much harder on the eyes.  I feel like an old granny squinting at my stitches even while using two lamps!

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I’m still not sure how big this will get.  I’m thinking I’ll just keep adding on until it looks like I’m going to run out of fabrics (or patience) and then see where I am.  I’m just enjoying the process on this one, not worrying about the product.

I did find a fabric yesterday that I think might be a nice backing, but I could only get 2 yards so it will have to be combined with something else:

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Wouldn’t this have made an awesome backing for this quilt?  If only I had found it sooner!

Linking up this piecey goodness to the In Hand link party at Splish, Splash Stash.

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And it only took me TWO years!

I finally finished my 2012 Craftsy Block of the Month Quilt!  Yep…that’s Twenty Twelve.  I know, I know, it’s Twenty Fourteen, but let’s not dwell on that, okay?

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Bink’s birthday was this week and she really wanted me to finish this as part of her gift, so it was great motivation.  That’s my 5’11” son dragging it on the ground and holding up part of it with his head, so obviously this quilt came out pretty big (about 78 x 64 before washing).  He was the tallest available assistant, but he clearly doesn’t get the importance of good quilt photography!  It doesn’t help that even natural light is dismal with all the yellow dust here in Seoul this week.

As I mentioned here, this quilt was a learning process for me.  I started it when I knew absolutely nothing about quilting and, since the last block was just finished this week along with the assembly, it represents everything I have (or haven’t) learned about quilting so far.

It’s certainly far from perfect, but I’m kind of proud of the journey it represents.  When looking at it on the quilting wall a few weeks ago I secretly thought it was a bit of an eyesore.  All those disparate blocks, even with a shared narrow color palette, weren’t working for me. I had originally been planning on adding white sashing, but I realized that that wouldn’t improve things much.  Since the background of each square is white, white sashing was only going to make the shapes in each block float, it wouldn’t make the quilt feel more modern, less granny-crafty.  I am so glad I switched the sashing to silver gray:

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Now, the gray seems to frame each square as the separate little artwork it should be:

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After solving that dilemma, I was starting to like this quilt more.  But the next hurdle was waiting – ugh – quilting.  I wasn’t looking forward to dragging this big thing through my machine, but I wanted this to be all my own, so no longarmer.  I have no free motion quilting skills, so I knew I needed to do this whole thing with the walking foot and (relatively) straight lines.  After quilting along the sashing (need to learn to go SLOWER so it won’t ripple so much), I framed just inside the outer edge of each block by stitching in the ditch.  Then it was time to get creative.  I thought about quilting each block the same way, but then decided to just let each block talk to me.  One by one, without planning ahead, I looked at the block, decided what lines to emphasize or how to fill up the negative space, and somewhere along the way, this actually became FUN!  I surprised myself with the different ways I could make each block stand out, and since Bink didn’t want this super densely quilted (so it would be soft and drapey), it went pretty quickly.  It’s hardly impressive to an experienced quilter,  I know, but for me this was a step forward.  The worst part was all the fluff from the cotton batting combined with yellow dust  – I sneezed my way through this one!

IMG_1481After this, I’m even looking forward to quilting the 3-4 finished tops that I have waiting for me.  I have only had my bigger machine for a few months and it made a big difference with quilt wrestling.  I also tried Aurifil thread for the first time on this quilt after reading all the hoopla about it on other blogs.  I hate to say it, since it is so expensive, but I think the hoopla is true.  I had such an easier time with it – less/no breakage, less lint, and no jamming.  It’s also so fine that you can pack a ton of it on the bobbin, which was nice.  I guess I’ll have to start saving my pennies to buy more.

I kind of want to go stare at this one for a while before it disappears onto a loft bed in a messy teenager’s room.  Who knows when I’ll see it again after that happens!

Note: Finished size after washing and machine drying on low = 74 x 60