Whew – I Made It!

I finished Drunkard’s Path #5 last night. I got the facing/hidden binding hand stitched down, the label added. It just needs a sleeve for hanging which I will do sometime today.

Quilt Top

Because the quilt was so wide (60″ x 71″) I had to add a wide insert into the backing fabric. I used corners I cut from the borders when assembling the front, adding in two of the leftover drunkard’s path blocks along with large cuts of scraps in the colour family I used for the top. I finished the quilt with a facing/hidden binding. It was a close thing – I had to fudge the fabric for the top binding with another scrap that kind of blended with the fabric there, and managed to salvage just enough from one of the side cut-offs to finish the top facing.

Quilt Back

I didn’t have enough backing fabric left over to make a label! I had to scrounge through my box of grey scraps to find something in the same colour tone to use. So, unfortunately, the label stands out, rather than seem part of the backing.

I just have a couple of small preparations to finish up (labels to print, dowels to cut to size for hanging, packing everything up for travelling) and I’ll be set for Friday morning’s departure to Parrsboro.

Quilt Top

Panel With Borders Added

I’m working away on this quilt. The top is now complete. I had to buy a 1/2m of fabric for the dark narrow inner border – there was nothing bright enough or strong enough in my stash to complement the panel. A quick trip yesterday afternoon to my local fabric shop and I was able to set up and attach the borders.

I cut all three border strips at one time, sewed them together, then added them to the panel, finally mitring the corners – much easier than trying to mitre each border strip individually and then struggling to get the mitres to align. Took less time, as well.

I’ve pulled out fabrics for the backing – I’m going to do a wide strip (24″) using large blocks of fabrics comparable to the scraps I used for the blocks. I have a couple of nice soft grey prints that will blend with the bright colours to finish the backing.

Quilt Panel

Finished Quilt Panel

Interesting and several surprises. The overall “redness” of the panel is coming through – I intended that. I wasn’t anticipating the diagonal lines – the top left/bottom right “rope” like lines popped out when I laid out the blocks – I could have eliminated them by rotating the position of the blocks in columns 2 and 4 to replicate the orientation in columns 1, 3, 5 but that layout was uninteresting ( didn’t take a photo). I knew I was going to use sashing to join the columns – I thought it might interrupt the diagonals – it hasn’t.

The colour distribution is pretty good – no block jumps out saying “I shouldn’t be here!”. However, I laid the panel on the floor, took a photo, and the placement of four small drunkard’s path blocks smacks me in the face – you’ll have to look hard to find them all in the same column adjacent one another! Didn’t see it before sewing the panel together. I was focused on the large pie pieces, not paying attention to the small ones. Not taking the panel apart. I bet if I say nothing, nobody will notice.

Now the borders. This quilt is growing larger by the minute – with the planned borders added the top will finish at 62 1/2″ x 73″ – close to a double bed size! I will have to carry through, though, because were I to simply add an outer border using the sashing fabric, the panel will be diminished. I have to end with a lighter fabric on the outside, with a coloured element between.

I’m feeling the pressure to get this quilt done before the end of May – I want to include it in the Parrsboro show – so my goal is to finish the top today, construct the backing on Saturday, set up the quilt sandwich Sunday, then spend next week quilting. I lose Wednesday – I’m doing a workshop on making a Fidget Quilt – but maybe by a week Sunday I will have the quilting done – that leaves me a day or two to bind it.

BTW, I just googled “Drunkard’s Path images” and could find no picture of a quilt top that uses this array for the block. I guess it’s an original improvisation!

50 Blocks

50 Blocks Assembled

I’ve just finished sewing and trimming the last of the small blocks, attaching them to the larger blocks, trimming the resulting blocks and auditioning them on the floor. (I don’t have a flannel hanging wall in my apartment – there isn’t a spare wall to set one – so I use the floor space beside my cutting table for laying out quilt blocks. Good thing I can still get down on my knees and back up again!)

Before I laid out the last column, I removed the palest yellow blocks – they stood out as weak. I had enough large blocks assembled that I could draw in stronger ones. Having arranged all fifty, I began moving them around. I’m trying to avoid duplication in both columns and rows.

here are two diagonals happening here – completely unanticipated when I started out. There are the “top left – bottom right” diagonals – I’m also trying to avoid duplication along those rows. The large pie shapes on the “top right-bottom left” diagonals also stand out – not as obviously as the other diagonals but they’re visible, so I have to take time tomorrow to examine the array closely for duplication and colour flow.

I’d say, I’m about on schedule for this quilt. Once I’m happy with the layout, assembling the top won’t take long – sew the columns, add sashing between the columns – 3-4 hours.

I’m already thinking about the back panel. The temptation would be to add a bordered strip of Drunkard’s Path blocks (which I did in the previous quilt), but I want to come up with something different, yet complementary. I’ll sleep on that. It shouldn’t take more than a day or two to get the backing done.

I expect quilting the quilt sandwich (once it’s set up) should take about a week. I have 2 weeks before the Parrsboro exhibit. I’ll be cutting it fine, but I should be able to finish this quilt so I can include it in the collection.

Getting Somewhere

Auditioning 4 Rows and Sashing/Binding Fabric

At the moment I have four rows of 9 blocks (I’ll probably make it 10; that was what I planned initially). I’ve finished 40 of 60 half-blocks. Now that I have evolved a technique for sewing the small Drunkard’s Path blocks I’m going more quickly.

The array is, at the moment, an audition. I won’t do much moving around until I finish the remaining 24 semi-blocks. Then I will be able to decide what to put where.

With this much laid out, I started thinking about sashing and borders. These three fabrics were in my “backing” collection. I tried several grey printed fabrics for the sashing/inner border but the dense black dots on white will be neutral, yet strong enough, to make the colours stand out. I have a hunch the white with fewer dots might be best as my wide outer border.

Just thinkin’ about it all as a rest from sewing those small blocks!

The New Quilt

How The Finished Block Will Look

I have all 60 large blocks sewn together. I’ve begun working on the small quarter size ones. So far I have stitched thirty – leaving me ninety small blocks to go.

The 6 1/2″ Drunkard’s Path block is relatively easy to sew – with the “L” piece on top, three pins, one on each end, one in the middle, the fabric spreads itself out so the opposing curved edges more or less align themselves. Sewing slowly, I get a nice 1/4″ seam on the curve.

The 3 1/2″ block is DIFFICULT! Because it’s small it’s hard to put in three pins to hold the centre and the ends. I think I’ve figured out how to sew them more efficiently. Again, with the “L” piece on top, I just use two pins, one on each end, then sewing slowly, using my fine point tweezers, (with lots of stopping to realign the opposing curved edges), I adjust top and bottom as I go. I’ve just finished a dozen this way – it took me about 12 minutes to sew the batch.

The 3 1/2″ Blocks

Each large block is sewn to two small ones to set up a half-block element. Two half-block elements go together to make a block. I intend to assemble 5 blocks into a strip. The strip width will finish at 9″. For the moment, I think I want five strips (5 x 9″ = 45″), with 1″ sashing I’ll end up with 49″ width; add 2 1/2″ border I finish at 55″. Finished length I will worry about once I have the strips sewn.

Movin’ along here.

More Escher Quilt Information

Mar 29 2023:

There continues to be interest in how I constructed the Escher Quilt. Specifically, Ina Veurink wanted more information about the size of the trapezoid elements. I just assembled one from scraps so I could answer her question. 

I cut 2″ fabric strips to start, from the fabrics I was going to use for the trapezoids. So each trapezoid starts out 2″ tall. Next I trimmed the angles on each side using an equilateral triangle acrylic template which I’d marked with green tape at the 5 1/4″ line:

Acrylic Equilateral Triangle Template – Marked at 5 1/4″

I laid out the 4 pieces: a 2″ triangle (in the quilt all the triangles are cut from the same dark fabric), 3 trapezoids (each 2″ tall, 5 1/4″ on the long, bottom side). I partially sewed the triangle to one end of one trapezoid 

(NOTE: half the finished triangle blocks begin with the small triangle on the right, half on the left – I talked about that somewhere in the posts as I went along). It’s a partial seam because to fit the final trapezoid in, you have to be able to lift that first side of the small triangle to sew that seam. Next I attached a second trapezoid, then I fit in the third trapezoid, last I finished by completing the partial seam. Pressed and trimmed.

Finished triangle size: each side should end up at 6 3/8″ (although if your sewing was more accurate than mine on this test triangle you might actually end up closer to 6 1/2″). Whatever your final triangle size, all the triangles should finish the same size.

“ILoveQuiltingForever.com” created a tutorial for the quilt from my 8 blog entries: https://ilovequiltingforever.com/free-quilt-tutorial-escher-quilt/#comment-3584. Click on each link in her tutorial in order and you should be able to figure out how to assemble the quilt rows yourself.

I ended the “Escher” series with a final comment: https://jmncreativeendeavours.ca/2022/10/20/the-escher-quilt-revisited/

This is an advanced intermediate quilt (definitely not for a beginner, even with instructions). 

Another note you wouldn’t pick up if you didn’t read through the comments is this one:

Just keep in mind you need 25 fabrics – one solid for the “background” triangles and any borders you plan on adding; 24 patterned fabrics – 8 light, 8 medium, 8 dark (https://jmncreativeendeavours.ca/2021/05/08/the-escher-quilt-2/)…. You’ll likely do a lot of auditioning to build a collection of 24 fabrics. As for the background, I suggest a navy (which is what I used given the colour blend of my fabrics) but black is certainly a good option (that was the background colour in the original photo I saw). All the best with this quilt. One other thought, because trying to pull together a collection of 24 fabrics can be daunting you might consider a kit that has selected fabrics for you (these quilt kits are reasonably priced: https://www.quilt-agious.com/shop/Kits/p/Escher—Batik-x46838321.htm).

Convergence 4 – Completed

I finally finished the quilt yesterday. It’s taken days to decide what to do within the narrow turquoise border. It was just a tad too wide to leave unquilted but too narrow to mirror the quilt block embroidery. I finally set up a half block I thought would work and got it done. Adding the hidden binding took little time (including the mitred corners). I hand stitched it down last night.

With the two previous Convergence quilts in my collection I will have three possible quilts to show together next summer. I may not use all of them, that depends on what I manage to create between now and then.

I’m happy with the appliqué work – the edge stitching is barely noticeable, you have to look very closely to see it. I like how it extends the bright colours to the the bottom right of the quilt without hitting you in the face, leaving the upper right corner the unadorned turquoise.

Appliqué Detail

I’m also pleased that my extending the square into a rectangle worked. I might play with that again sometime.

Now onto a bunch of unfinished projects sitting in my studio needing attention. First the fleece pants for my friend Joan; next the Kantha jacket remodelling for my friend Marlene, third the stack of six unfinished zippered bags from nearly a year ago – I did two last week, I’ll finish the rest up in a few days. There’s an Heirloom sewing workshop on my calendar but I don’t think enough people have signed up for that – I still want to use the panel I made a month or so ago to complete a nightgown, so that’s also on my ToDo list.

When those projects are completed I want to move on to some new wall art – I’ve just lined up a second summer showing – this one in Truro – I’ll need six or so pieces to display. They won’t be hung, they have to be attached to something firm in order to “stand” on a wide shelf – either some foamcore board or thin plywood. I have no idea how I’ll do that yet, but I’ll figure something out.

Lots to get done. Better get moving.

The Back – Shaping Up

The Back – Shaping Up

I’ve been pondering the quilt back for many days – I have the four long strips assembled from the 2 1/2″ batik pieces which I’d originally intended using on the front and I wanted to incorporate them in some way on the back. I picked up what could have been some batik backing fabric at Atlantic Fabrics on Friday – there wasn’t quite enough of it for a single length but I thought it brought out the colours in the small strips so I bought what was there. I also picked up this blue batik on Sunday at Heidi Wulffrat’s shop in Mahone Bay – just enough for a single strip. However this quilt (because it’s a square) needs ~60″ in width – close to 20″ needed to augment this strip I’ve assembled so far.

I’ve attached one of the long strips to the right side, the second is sitting on the floor beside it. I’m going to intersperse something between those two long strips and I intend using a third but I also want to integrate the fabric I bought on Friday which also needs to be broken up in some way.

I’ll just keep working at this. I’m thinking about this – if I get it more or less pieced in an interesting way – as possibly the front of the quilt! I have to see how it all turns out.

I also don’t have a name for this quilt, either! Maybe something will come to me when I get it completed.

Delft #2 – Finished

Finished this quilt last evening.

Delft #2 – Quilt Top
Delft #2 – Quilt Back

The photos don’t do it justice – the colours are more vibrant, the relationships among the elements on the quilt top are much clearer.

I finished with a hidden binding – I didn’t think the quilt front wanted another edge element. Besides, I didn’t have ay more “petunia” fabric and used the darker blue stonehenge to finish the edge on the back.

The quilting turned out well. I chose to quilt the blocks excluding the sashing – in part because I’d have been left with an unattached row of sashing either at the top or the bottom. It was simpler to just quilt the blocks themselves. I stitched-in-the-ditch along all sashing edges, then quilted the outer border with a modification of the block design to fit the border width.

That’s it for quilts at the moment. I’m now picking up the Kantha bedspread and making another jacket – this time, the back without any flare. I need buttons – will go looking for some this afternoon.

BTW I have written instructions for making this Lap/Throw quilt top: https://jmn111.files.wordpress.com/2022/07/delft-2.pdf