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.

Still Thinkin’ About Drunkard’s Path

I haven’t given up on Drunkard’s Path yet. Instead of the dull colours I started with, I’ve pulled 44 bright fabrics from my stash, mostly batik (and in the in end I may use only batik – I have lots more fat quarters to choose from), as well as a pile of blacks/whites/greys.

The idea this time – I intend cutting the quarter circle elements from the bright colours using the blacks/whites/greys as background. This idea comes from a quilt I came across on Pinterest

Here’s my plan – a 7 x 9 quilt – using 6″ blocks that gives me 42″ x 54″ which I can extend with borders to a largish throw.

My next step is to cut sixty-three quarter circle elements from the bright fabrics (there will be duplicates), and 63 squares from the blacks/whites/greys (selecting more from the lighter end of that collection), then sew them together.

I won’t know what this is going to look like until I get the pieces cut and laid out on the floor and then play around with layout. The quilt above uses the blocks in a straight layout – I may break that up somewhat to create a layered effect with some circles on top of others as I did with the Skyline Quilt #3.

Here goes….

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.

Border Done

Just finished the borders (with mitred corners) and I’m happy with the colour flow they provide. The hexagons bring out the hexagon blocks / the dropping dots showcase the dots within the panel – and the many fabric joins don’t show and when the borders are quilted they won’t catch the eye.

Next step: edge stitch the appliqué – I’m going to use a pale grey Invisifil thread which should disappear into the fabric. I wish I had a golden shade but I don’t and it doesn’t make sense to order one online (even on Amazon.ca the cost is prohibitive!). So, the pale grey it is with a 60 universal needle – very fine (which I have in my needle collection).

I’ll start working on that tomorrow.

Night Sky

Night Sky – Quilt Top

Here is the completed Night Sky quilt. I finished quilting it yesterday – it wasn’t a simple job because I’d decided to quilt on the diagonal within the flow of the strips which meant I had to keep pinning fabric strips to the edges so I could hoop the pinned layers.

Quilting Detail

I set up a swirl embroidery in two columns, used a variegated thread which blended with the various colours of the strips. I started at the strip end, changing to navy thread when I reached the dark fabric (often in the middle of a quilting run). A fiddly job, to say the least. However, I didn’t want the light thread to interfere with the speckled effect of the navy background. In some sections I had no choice but to carry the light thread into the navy but I hauled out my handy permanent navy marker and darkened the stitching. That worked well.

This was an edge-to-edge design which actually matched up very nicely – I could successfully place the next design and have it line up with the ends of the previous one. The joins are barely noticeable – I can pick out a few but most are perfect alignments.

Night Sky – Quilt Back

I widened the backing by creating a panel from scraps leftover from the Poppy Field quilt inserting a long batik strip of a rather wild palm leaf batik. In the photo it looks black but it’s much more colourful than that with purples, pale greens, pinks which blend with the other small batik samples.

My goal with this quilt was to showcase the beautiful fabrics in the curated set from the jellyroll. In the end I did have to add a few other strips on order to have enough to make the quilt long enough. Finished size: 47″ x 60″ – a good lap size; great for a wall hanging on a large wall!

Re-Vision

Reworked Quilt Top

I was suddenly awake at 7:00 this morning (I normally wake at 8:00). Got out of bed and went to work (before going to the pool at 8:45 as always on a Friday morning).

First, I removed the narrow pumpkin sashing from the two “straight” sides. Then I carefully unstitched the three navy bits in the bottom right corner and replaced each with fabric that blended with the main strip in each location. Now there is no jarring bits of navy in that corner.

So, from “Poppy Field 2”, I can name this piece “Night Sky” which brings out the golden speckle in the navy fabric and implies a city scape below.

I think I’m happier with that. Next on to coming up with an idea for piecing the back.

Poppy Field 2 – An Idea

This afternoon I went through my fabric stash looking for 1/2 metre cuts which I could use for narrow sashing. I came up with five possibilities. I gathered up the panel and the fabric pieces and marched down to Deb to ask for her 2¢.

We started with the panel on her dining room table – after auditioning the five fabrics at the edge of the panel against the remaining Ruby Star Society navy Speckled we settled on a light beige Stonehenge with soft blue in it.

We moved the panel to the floor to better judge the fabrics – that’s when I had the idea to offset the panel and instead of sashing and a border, to “sash” with large triangles on the outside.

To visualize the rotated panel better, we taped the new outer dimensions with masking tape. The mitres are less jarring at this angle – now I needed to do something with the straight sides. I thought about opening seams and inserting several more navy Speckled elements at the straight edge – that would break up the flow of the piece, however.

The idea I think I’ve settled on is to sash the two straight edges using the pumpkin Grunge – that will create a finished look on those two sides; then join the filling triangles directly onto the other two sides. Rotating the panel 10°/15° changes the impact of the “ragged” edge of the strips – those joins become much less jarring; their 45° angles fight less with the new outer edge of the panel. I have just enough fabric to make this happen if I cut my triangles from the length-of-fabric!

I still plan on quilting on the diagonal – 3-4 strips at a time. I now need to spend some time thinking about what kind of embroidery/quilting will give me the continuing flow from the colour into the navy I’m seeing in my head!

I don’t know what to do with the quilt back yet – I will incorporate whatever navy Speckled remnants I have but there won’t be much. And I don’t have many scraps remaining from the jelly roll strips I started with. It’s too soon to worry about it – the “problem” will percolate and something will pop into my head when need an idea.

Poppy Field 2

Piecing of the Strips Finished

The strip piecing is finally finished. I have called the quilt “Poppy Field 2” because that was the name on the batch of strips. I will have to come up with another name for this effort.

Looking at the image, seeing the top on the floor, I can see immediately what I have to attempt next – a similar piecing but with the strips coming from a single point in one corner. That will involve grading each and every strip in order to generate the quarter circle full of radiating strips! I have more jelly roll collections in my stash so I could certainly use one to try out the idea.

Back to this quilt top. The current size is 47″ x 60″. I think I want to add a narrow 1/2″ sashing in some contrasting colour then complete the top with a 3″-3 1/2″ border which will make the quilt top something like 53/54″ wide and 66/67″ long. Colour and fabric for the sashing is a decision for another day when I get back to this. For now, I have to say I’m reasonably happy with how the piecing has turned out.

One aspect of the piecing I’m not completely happy with is the mitred joins – when you see the quilt from the corner the angles are interesting:

straight on I think the mitred joins are awkward. My intention is to quilt along the strips (on the diagonal) 4 rows at a time using variegated thread and bringing the design and colour across the dark blue background. If I come up with a suitable design those mitres will be overstitched and I may be able to create the illusion of a starburst.

Now to start exploring designs to use for quilting the project.

Fish

Fish 4 & 3 – Finished

For now I have the finished “Fish” pieces 4 & 3 hanging on the closet door. That’s it, I don’t plan on doing any more of these. They’ll go in the closet along with the other “skinny quilts” – I may take them to Parrsboro for the summer exhibit there, we’ll see when I start pulling work from the closet closer to the end of July.

One friend commented she’d put small bubbles coming to the surface – I did think about that for a moment as I was finishing the stitching on Fish 4 – but in the end I left the fish swimming peacefully among the seaweed.

Now back to the partially assembled quilt top. Really!

Corner Filled In