Drowning in Fabric

Forever cleaning, organizing and creating

First 2014 finish!

I can’t believe I made it! Everything was conspiring against me, from my machine not working to my trip cutting my month short…. But I’ve always said I work best with my feet to the fire.

I was so excited to get my machine back and the first order of business was to get my mug rug swap completed.

front

front

back

back

With that pressure off, I moved onto my quilt. Imagine my disappointment when, after all the trouble and service and everything, this is what happened right away:

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Oh my goodness! Did I just waste that money? Is my machine broken?? One thing the guy told me was that this is caused by bad top thread. I was using a good brand and a new spool. I thought he was nuts, but it seemed I had ruled everything else out. I had a trip to Joann’s planned anyway and considered picking up a new spool while there, but “Visit your local quilt shop” day was Saturday and they were having a good sale. I was nervous losing even more time on getting this done, but I decided I wasn’t going to screw around – I needed to get the Aurifil.

I was so skeptical and hoped I wasn’t throwing more good money after bad, but it really did work! I spent most of Saturday quilting. Around 2am I was distressed to find I was looping again. Luckily, I caught it quickly and took it as a sign it was bedtime. After unpicking and rethreading things ran fine the rest of the time, but I honestly am at a point where I am not really trusting my machine anymore. That isn’t good for our relationship.

This is a much smaller quilt than the ones I’ve been working on. I tried to really focus on developing my control and plan. Since the blocks look like butterflies to me, I quilted flying butterflies. I found it was easier to get what I wanted pushing the quilt away from me, both because I was able to move in a more intuitive way and also I could see where I was going. I started to learn how to maneuver the quilt where I needed it by traveling instead of by physically moving and turning the quilt through the machine as I have done with the previous quilts. Even though it was smaller, I still had a hard time working in the middle of the quilt. I also am still getting some knotting or jumping when I stop. Some areas look better than others, and I did cross paths in a couple spots, but overall I am pretty happy with the quilting.

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some areas are bad

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OK. I can’t see those well enough to tell which are supposed to show the good quilting and which the bad and which are duplicates. ๐Ÿ™‚ (you can click the pictures to see closeups)

So, here it is completed:

front

front

back

back

I actually think it is upside down in the front picture. Oh well. It is about 50 x 68.ย  The back showcases my inspiration fabric, which I also used for the binding, but is not anywhere else in the quilt. I still need work on binding as well. There are several spots where I sewed through the back of the binding. I didn’t miss any spots this time though. I love it and am excited to already have a finish this year. It took 6 months to get to that point last year. ๐Ÿ™‚

Now I am trying to decide on my goal for February. I have several things to choose from.

Here is my goal post from the beginning of the month

And you can see all of my travels with this quilt from start to finish by clicking the stack the deck tag

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WIP Wednesday

I’ve been working on a couple of things. I have basted my stack the deck quilt. After the behemoth quilts I’ve just made, this one seems really tiny. Basting went very quickly. I spent hours basting my aunt’s quilt… of course, I did it crooked the first time.

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I realized I’ve never officially shown the back.

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I used my leftover blocks in the small squares and in the large rectangle is my inspiration fabric, which didn’t actually get used in the front of the quilt. I believe I will be binding with it as well.

I am hoping since basting went so quickly, it will be quick to quilt as well, but I am nervous. Remember how I had all kinds of issues with tension while quilting my aunt’s quilt? Well, they are ongoing…. I started working on my chevron top and had to pull out and redo a lot of it…

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I re-threaded everything and put in a new needle and it seems to be running well again (if noisily), but what I’ve been finding is that it runs for a while and then gets messed up again. Also, now the bobbin winder isn’t working properly either. The round part keeps throwing off the thread. I had to hold it in place while it wound. I think I need a trip to the service guy. ๐Ÿ˜ฆ But I don’t want to be without my machine! I have to finish my goal!! I may think about a nicer machine next holiday season. ๐Ÿ˜ฆ This is a pretty fancy one, but it’s a Singer.

So, here is a peek at my chevron top so far… I have many more fabrics going into it, but I’ve run out of black. I’ve been stranded for a week as my car has also been in the shop (it isn’t going to last too much longer either.) so I need to get out this weekend and go shopping so I can finish this one up. I am still not sure of the color order or anything yet. I’ll play around when I get to that part.

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Lovely year of finishes January goal

I learned of LYOF late into the year last year. This year they are doing it again, and I am going to jump on board, since I generally list my goals monthly anyway. I’ve spent several days going back and forth on what I should select for my January goal, since I have several projects I am anxious to jump into.

My quilting table is still extended, and even though I am kind of quilted-out, I think it may be nice to get another finish out of the way early in the year. So I have settled on finishing up my stack the deck quilt. Currently top and back are both completed, so I need to baste, quilt and bind it.

I was going to take better pictures, but it has been raining. I am going to post the pictures I have and maybe update them when I get a chance. Even though the back is not complete in this picture, it is actually completed now.

Stack the deck front

Stack the deck front

Stack the deck back (is complete - finished photo to come)

Stack the deck back (is complete – finished photo to come)

Better pictures:

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Stack the deck, class 2

I had my final class for Stack the Deck this weekend. I had worked primarily on completing my blocks since the last class. The teacher had suggested 30-36 blocks and I did 42. The number of blocks was determined by the number of fabrics I used. I also hoped to use the “extra” blocks to make a bigger quilt.

I had a plan for how I wanted my quilt to turn out. One of the ways to set the blocks makes like a zig zag pattern. I liked that look and expected to copy it. I laid my blocks out, and either because of the different colors or values or prints, you just couldn’t see it. I think you need a stronger contrast and less stuff going on.

Class example of zig zag placement

Class example of zig zag placement

So I started playing around. We found I got the most successful design with the star placement. Against my instructor’s advice, I tried placing the same fabrics at the center of the quadrants. I found I really liked the look, and it gave my quilt some focus. I have a thing for bugs, and felt they looked like different butterflies in flight (once you see it, you can’t unsee it!). My instructor came back around and decided she really liked what I was doing. We played around with value placement and “wing” shapes for a while and I got to work putting it together.

My completed top

My completed top

I also like the fractured shapes made by the randomly placed background. As far as the class was concerned, I am “done”. However, I think I am going to make a few more blocks and add another two rows. I used 12 fabrics, so I should be able to have 12 individual butterflies, and that will extend it to a better size for me. I am glad I had the extra blocks. It allowed me to pick and choose and have enough “center” fabrics to complete this much. I also have several I can use for the last two rows, and some extras to add in the back.

I had thought this might be a donation quilt for my son’s school, but now I don’t think so. Between the colors and the pattern, it is just so me. Most tops I start because I love them and love the fabrics and can’t imagine parting with them, and by the end I hate them, or at least am indifferent. This one went the complete opposite way. I had no connection to the technique, pattern or top and I really like it now.

Here is some of my classmates’ work, and you can see how different they all turn out –

The only one that managed to pull off the zigzag/lightning bolt

The only one that managed to pull off the zigzag/lightning bolt

More randomly placed

More randomly placed

I loved her colors.

Working on the star shape

Working on the star shape

She was planning to sash.

 

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Stack the Deck

I am taking a Stack the Deck class at my LQS right now. It looked like an interesting system, and I had a discount, so I thought it would be fun. I am glad I chose to take the class, because I didn’t find the instructions in the book very easy to understand as far as the shuffling (which actually isn’t that complicated). On the other hand, I don’t know that I would ever have heard of it if it weren’t for the class, so there you go.ย  I am the only one in the class not working with batiks, which I find so interesting. I suppose the pattern does lend itself more to working with color more than prints/ solids. It will be neat to see how they all turn out and differ. We are working with the block shown on the cover, however, depending on how you lay out your blocks, you can make many different patterns.

stack and whack

stack and whack

You start with many square sets of contrasting fabric. They recommend light/dark; I am using two colors. You cut them in a stack, shuffle the stack so that you have all different fabrics in each block, then sew them back together in the reverse order than you cut them. That is the shorthand description. ๐Ÿ™‚ Then depending on how you position your blocks, you can make many different designs.

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I have no idea how to lay these out.

For homework, I am finishing 42 blocks. The instructor wanted us to do 30-36, but because of the number of fabrics I am using I will have 42. That way, I can possibly make a bigger top and/or pick and choose blocks and have extra for the back. I have 20 done now, and the above shows my first ten. Next class, we learn our layout options and start sewing the top together.

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