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.

Movin’ On – Next Quilt

Drunkard’s Path Blocks for New Quilt – Large & Small

It’s taken two days to get the cutting done. I decided I to use scraps which meant scouring through my many boxes of small fabric pieces. I decided to stick with “red” as my colour focus for the large blocks (using up the grey 6 1/2″ strips, leftover from my previous quilt, for the backgrounds). I have enough quarter circles and backgrounds for 60 blocks – the quilt I’m imagining will use 50 – the extras will let me to make choices when I lay things out.

Actually, I began yesterday collecting and cutting smaller scraps for the small 3 1/2″ blocks – using up a bunch of 5″ charm pieces I had from a couple of collections. I find 5″ squares are not all that useful. I have incorporated them in a couple of quilts but I prefer cutting what I need from larger fabric pieces; I’m trying to clear out the 5″ squares I have left in my stash – getting close. I ended up with a wide variety of colours both for the quarter circles and the backgrounds (the two piles at the top right in the photo) – I have enough for 120 blocks, plus 24 more light backgrounds (in case I need them to balance out lights and darks when I start sewing blocks).

My plan is to begin with the large blocks which I find easier to sew. I should get those done in a few days. Lord knows how long it will take to assemble the 120 small blocks.

This quilt is an improvisation – I will randomly select a quarter circle and pair it with a grey background – I will do that for all of the pieces and hope the result will be interesting! When I constructed the strip for the back of my last quilt that’s what I did and the effect was more than pleasing. I’m aiming to make five strips which I will join using sashing of some sort or other – that decision I will make when I get there. Right now, my focus is on the blocks – both large and small. I’m expecting the blending of lights and darks (both with the large blocks and the small ones) will create an interesting colour flow!

Back of Planets And Moons

Just need to get started – not today, though. It’s time to stop for lunch and then get out to enjoy the lovely warmish sunny day!

Second Fidget Quilt

Second Fidget Quilt

It took a couple of hours yesterday to set up the 12 blocks. This morning I laid them out on a piece of batting, added some stiff interfacing and stitched down the grosgrain ribbon to cover the joins (I didn’t sew the blocks together because I wanted the finished project to be larger rather than smaller – I gained 1 1/2″ on the width and 1″ on height by doing that).

Next, I embroidered my signature on the backing:

Back of Fidget Quilt

After embroidering a signature, I aligned the backing on the other layers, sewed the binding to the back of the project, folded it over the front and decorative stitched it in place.

I discovered when I was finished, that I’d put the backing on upside down! My signature is at the top left on the back of the quilt., instead of bottom right which I’d intended. Wouldn’t have happened had I done what I always do and hand stitched a label in place. Oh well. Lesson learned. Check backing twice before adding the binding (just hope I remember to do that checking!).

This time I focused more on texture with some velvet (which came from some pillow covers I made for my sister 25 years ago). I added a small circle of ripstop which has a crinkle sound when you scrunch it, but stitched flat it just feels “shiny” and makes little noise. I included a square of PUL fabric – that makes a sound when you rub your fingers over it.

I added a velcro fastening; a snap which is tight at the moment, and various beads and loops which move on ribbon or elastic. There is a small zippered pocket (which has a hidden object attached on the inside). The zipper with three pulls has no opening.

I made this second quilt as a prototype. I took the original quilt into my local sewing shop on Friday afternoon and the gals thought it would make a great class. Tomorrow this quilt will go to the shop to be displayed. All I have to do is prepare a description of the project and send that along with photos so the class can be advertised.

Now I need to do some actual experimenting with ideas for some 6×6 pieces. I also want to create a quilt based on the motif of the back of the last Drunkard’s Path quilt – Planets With Moons – a combination of large and small drunkard’s path blocks. I think 5 columns separated by a bit of sashing would be interesting.

Back of Planets And Moons

I’ll start on one of those projects tomorrow.

Drunkard’s Path – An Actual Start

An Initial Layout

I cut these quarter circles Sunday. Today I cut the grey/white “L” shaped pieces (as well as clearing up piles of fabrics sitting on surfaces around my sewing room).

I decided to group the quarter circles more or less by colour into sets of 4 then lay them out on the floor. Not half bad. by staggering the rows I get 7 blocks across each row leaving the half circles on opposite sides on alternate rows which sort of hides them. To make this work as a full array I need 10 rows which gives me full circles at the top and bottom edges. In all, I end up using 70 quarter circles which means I will have to cut a bunch more for the back when I’ve finished the top.

Next I have to try laying out the background pieces.

Possible Bottom Row

Except for the bottom left corner (which is too brown in tone) the other background elements look like they might go together. Now I need to pick up these pieces, and complete adding background to the other circles.

Here’s where I wish I had a large design wall! I don’t have a big flannel sheet hanging in my apartment because I don’t have wall space for one. I have to resort to the floor in my studio. I’m OK getting down but getting back up is not as easy as it used to be. So I won’t be able to do a full layout at one time. I’m going to have to work row by row, picking up the pieces as I go along piling them carefully so I can sew each drunkard’s path block. When I have them done, I’ll play with layout again.

Background Added (Tentatively)

Now I need to spend time looking at the array to make sure I’ve distributed the background reasonably well.

Drunkard’s Path – Getting Started

I had two piles of fabric on my cutting table – a stack of bright ones, a pile of light greys/off whites/darker greys. I’ve walked around them for nearly a week. I started cutting today.

I cut quarter circles from seventy-eight different bright fabrics (many from scraps large enough for the quarter circle, as well as fat quarters and other fabrics I had on hand; I cut 6 1/2″ strips from the background greys, then eighty 6 1/2″ squares from the strips. It took me nearly five hours to get that much done. My next move will be cutting the background “L” pieces from the squares so I can construct the blocks (that’s going to give me eighty smaller grey quarter circles as “waste” that I have to use for something!).

Last week I’d cut a couple of 6″ test background blocks – too small. Sewn to the bright quarter circle element my background would have phased out to nearly nothing at the sides. Fortunately I’d only cut four 6″ squares so I didn’t lose a lot of fabric. But that mismatch stopped me going any further for the better part of a week!

Test Layout of Four Drunkard’s Path Squares – Not Sewn

Today, I cut four background squares into “L’s” to see whether 6 1/2″ would work. I laid them out with quarter circle elements. I think this will be fine.

Once I have all the elements cut out, I’ll start laying them on the floor to see what kind of colour flow I get – BEFORE I even start assembling the blocks.

I’m planning on a 7 x 9 block quilt – my finished blocks will be 6″ – that will give me a top panel that’s 42″ x 63″. I’ll add borders to that to make the quilt a bit larger. No idea yet what I’ll use, that will depend on how the colour flow of the top shapes up.