Tuesday, February 15


Can I say that I have a really good excuse for not blogging much lately? I’ve actually been stitching. A lot. With a lot to show for it.

First, -- drum roll, please! – I finished the last of 274 black/white/red fan blocks needed for my niece’s quilt. Of course that meant that I had to be ready with new foundation squares to start appliquéing and accumulating more fan blocks for the second one.

After trimming and stitching the edges, I separated the white blocks from the black ones. And because I began with 6” squares, I was able to create consistently sized blocks—so important to piecing together.

Then I set up my felt easel. This is a device I created and am rather chuffed about. It’s just two really large pieces of cardboard rescued from the street after a treadmill was unpacked in my neighborhood (I’d been on the lookout for some big clean cardboard after I got the idea) and taped together. There’s a bit of sway to it and I wish it had less give, but it will do. I set it up across a chair (or I stand it up for a vertical look) and cover it with white felt. That gives me a wonderful surface on which to lay out quilt blocks. If they don’t stay up on their own, pins!

On paper I laid out the four sections of quilt to be assembled, giving me a road map. This quilt requires close attention to detail if you are as anal about it as I am. First, to have the blocks alternate black and white. And second, to be sewn in the proper order to create the desired pattern. To save time and ripping and resewing, my least favorite activities, I relied on the road map.

I also choose one special block to seed in each section. There are four special blocks: one with dog prints, one with polka dots, one with heart prints and the first one I made which has only four fan pieces and they don’t alternate. My plan is to tell my niece of their existence and hope she has fun finding them.

Assembling the second section was easier because I organized the blocks better. This time I sorted them by the red pieces and piled them up according to the number of times each print was used. They ranged from singletons to some used as many as seven times. The joy of randomness! But what I most wanted to avoid was to be left with a second half of blocks with too many duplicates. This organizational step made choosing much smoother.

I also made use of very clever plastic squares that can be marked and pinned to fabric to keep it all straight—up, down, left, right, trying to keep from sewing the wrong ones together. These are tremendously helpful and prevented mistakes.

Now that I have two sections stitched together, my next step is to sandwich layers of backing, white flannel and the top sections & machine quilt them before I then sew them together. My niece’s quilt is close to the half way mark and I can’t wait to see it done and gifted!

Meanwhile I’ve also been working on two other quilts that will be gifts. The green and tan boxing clever quilt will also be done in four sections and given to the daughter of my other sister. This one is 15 x 16 blocks, 240 total. Her taste is muted and more traditional, so I think she will like this quilt.

The third quilt in the works is for a dear friend who loves blue and white. I started collecting blue and white fabrics last spring with some fabrics purchased at the quilt show in Somers, NY.

All the other fabrics added to these quilts I am proud to say I bought on clearance. I really love these prints and I am sure that I will enjoy making more quilts from them--- I have plenty of fabric!

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