In The Midst Of Winter

In The Midst Of Winter is actually the title of a recent book by Isabel Allende, but it’s apropos for today – snowing quite heavily right now, has been snowing all day. Expected to turn to rain during the night – the roads tomorrow will be horrendous, I’m sure. And I just checked – I have nothing on my calendar for the day so I can stay home and work on the quilt.

“In The Midst Of Winter”

18 blocks embroidered/quilted yesterday, 25 completed this afternoon. That leaves 20 for tomorrow. Then I will need to stitch the narrow border and embroider the wide border – who knows, I might get all of that done by afternoon.

I tested a number of decorative stitches for the narrow border – I’ve decided to use # 8.4.29 on my Pfaff Creative Icon – modified to 20mm width, 55mm length – that should complement the overall embroidery design – because the narrow border is pale I think I will use a variegated light grey thread (Aurifil 4060) which won’t show much. The pink variegated thread I’m using for the quilting would stand out too obviously.

Stitch for Narrow Border

Yesterday, I dropped into one of my local sewing/quilting shops. At the counter there was a clay magnetic tool holder in the shape of a flower – I thought about buying one, but I knew I had a number of rare earth magnets on my fridge at home so I decided to see what I could create.

Wearable Magnetic Tool Holder

Wearable Magnetic Tool Holder – II

When I’m quilting I use three tools – small scissors, fine tweezers, and a self-threading needle (for burying thread ends at the start and finish of each embroidery). While I’ve always kept them close at hand on the sewing table – actually having them on my person means not having to look/feel for them at beside the machine. I’ve been wearing my improvised tool holder today while I worked – definitely useful. The holder isn’t large, but an adequate size and strong enough to hold my tweezers and small scissors. The padding allows me to store the needle while I’m working so I don’t have to hunt for it among the other stuff beside the machine!

Construction: I started by cutting out a 6″ square of fabric and batting, a circle from the lid of a plastic kitchen container. I taped one rare-earth magnet to one side of the plastic disc, then cut the fabric out in a circle (3/4″ larger than the plastic disc), stitched a running thread around the edge, pulled it taught and finished off with another smaller covering circle tacked over the back of the padded one. Then I embedded the second magnet between two pieces of clear plastic, taped it in place, cut out a circle of fabric and stitched the edge together. The second magnet is slipped under whatever I’m wearing to connect with the magnet on the larger, padded disc which gets worn on the outside.

So back to work on the quilt tomorrow.

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It’s All About Pink – IV

I haven’t worked on this quilt since Dec. 31. I’ve read 5 mystery novels, watched some interesting series on TV, added elastic to the bottom of two sweaters, continued repairing socks in the “repair socks” basket (five pairs completed, six left to do), knit a new pair of socks and close to finishing the first sock for another pair. But no sewing on this quilt.

However, yesterday, I pieced the quilt back. Today, I pinned the quilt sandwich.

It’s All About Pink – IV

Yesterday, I also set up an embroidery to fit a 150mm x 150 mm block; I still need something for the borders – I’ll probably use one of the decorative stitches for the narrow border and something related to the block design for the out border – have to do that now.

And then the quilting in the hoop will begin.

It’s All About Pink – III

Here’s the quilt top assembled:

Quilt Top With Borders

I like how the pale narrow inner border finishes off the pieced centre. I was just lucky with the outer border – not many fabrics to choose from and at first I passed over this one, but in fact the “golden” shade within this pink brings out all the tones in the top.

Next…. Now I have to piece a 14″ strip for the backing – this top has finished at 54″ wide. For the back fabric panel I need another 14″-16″ to allow enough excess width to assemble the sandwich.

It’s All About Pink – II

I’ve just finished stitching the quilt blocks together into a 7 x 9 array. There was a lot of moving blocks around as they sat on the floor trying to get the colour, shape, fabric distribution worked out. I can live with how the quilt top has turned out. Some of the blocks come from Tula Pink’s 100 Modern Quilt Blocks; most are blocks I just made up from scraps, or from blocks I found on Pinterest. The distribution of light/medium/dark fabrics works out reasonably well – I’m happy with it.

It’s All About Pink – Blocks Stitched in 7 x 9 Array

Now comes the next difficult decision – how to border this array. I’m thinking it wants a narrow light sashing (probably 1″ wide) with a wide medium outer border, but maybe I want to piece the outer border in some way. I need to do a bit of searching to see what I might come up with….

In the meantime this is kinda what I have in mind:

Auditioning border fabric

 

It’s All About Pink

Just finished the 63rd block. Laid them out – first pass – to get an idea of what the whole would look like.

63 Blocks

Not bad, there’s a LOT to look at here, although one block has to be revised – I didn’t see the swastika until I looked at this image. I’ll make a replacement. I also need to array all of the blocks on the floor and walk around them for a while to make sure I’m happy with the layout – colour, shapes all reasonably distributed.

And then the big challenge – there’s not a lot of light pink batik available here in town so once I get these blocks assembled into a 7 x 9 array, I will have to go shopping for a couple of fabrics to border, back and bind the quilt. There’s nothing in my backing stash that goes with pink.

Overall, I am please with how the impact of the layout is “pink” – that was what I was aiming for. A lot of improvising has gone into this block collection – I didn’t have measurements for most of these blocks, while I worked a bit with graph paper, most of the time I started with an element and built around it. In effect each block represents a “sample” – the sort of thing I’d do to work out the dimensions of a block before using it in a quilt. Here, the sample is my end product.

Blocks 30-43

I’m up to block 43! Just 20 to go (at least for the quilt top – I’ll probably work on more for the back – a dozen or so…)

Blocks 30-43

What’s going on here is a lot of improvisation – some “standard” blocks accompanied by a lot of using up scraps to end up with 6 1/2″ x 6 1/2″ blocks.

The challenge is having enough light pink batik – I’ve got lots of mid-range fabrics and enough dark. I’m running short of the lighter values and without the light the blocks aren’t going to work. I may have to resort to a few printed fabrics – I’ve used just two so far and am trying not to use more but I may be forced to.

The Scrap Collection

This is what my cutting table is looking like at the moment. I’ll clear it up (actually throwing out pieces that are too small or narrow to be useful) when I get back from some errands.

A Study In Pink

Last quilt finished – I need to think about the next one. I just went through my batik collections and found a scrap bag (twelve 9″ strips) with “pinks.” Next I browsed the piles of individual batik cuts and came up with many more that could work with those original twelve.

Study In Pink

I still need a few more light pink fabrics – I’ll shop for them tomorrow. I also need to see what I have in daylight to get a better idea about which fabrics blend well and which should be pulled.

What am I thinking about doing with these?

Well, there’s Tula Pink’s “City Sampler” – a quilt constructed from a collection of 100 “sampler” blocks. Here’s one from Pinterest in grey/brown tones:another in a rainbow of colour

(It’s a popular quilt — there are tons of images to be found), that suggest a way for me to think about my collection of pinks.

Tula Pink’s quilt consists of 100 different blocks – I don’t intend following her directions or making the blocks she suggests, although there are a number there that might get pieced as I go along. My plan is to start creating 6 1/2″ (maybe 7″) blocks, each unique, with the fabrics I have collected above — crosses, rectangles, half-square triangles, flying geese, log cabin, bordered squares… until I accumulate 63 blocks. That will give me a 7 x 9 array which, with borders, will give me a good lap-size quilt.

So, first a quest to find 2-4 more light pink batiks, then begin constructing blocks….

Lots to look forward to.