Current Quilt

I took the blocks, rotated each in turn clockwise (both vertically and horizontally) to move the contrast strip around. I then sashed the blocks in each horizontal row, assembled the rows, and sashed between the rows using pieces of the lighter fabrics (a mixture of batik and printed grey fabrics) to lighten the overall appearance of the quilt top.

Blocks Assembled

My size, at this point, is 50″ x 64″ – probably large enough for a good sized throw/lap quilt without borders. And looking at the photo, I think I’m going to do a hidden binding so those contrast elements at the edge stay at the edge.

Now to think about the reverse side. Back to my stash to see what I have in the way of largish pieces of grey fabric I can put together with 3 (possibly 4) of the extra blocks I have left over. I know there isn’t a single large piece that I can split and insert a strip to make a backing wide enough. I’m sure I will have to do more piecing than that….

I don’t have a name for this quilt – nothing pops to mind

20 Blocks – Now What?

I’ve just finished 20 blocks (actually I have 23 and could probably eke out a 24th – to use on the quilt back). The question is now what?

20 Blocks

I could just stitch the blocks together (after I’ve looked at the placement for a while and moved some around); or, do I want to add pieced sashing between the blocks to extend both length and width a bit? I do intend adding an outer border – probably pieced using both light and dark fabrics.

I guess the next step is to go through the fabrics in my stash to see what I have that might work for sashing – I don’t need all the sashing to be the same fabric, in fact, it might be interesting to mix and match fabrics – the challenge with that is to be accurate enough that I actually align the seam matches with seams in the existing blocks…

Better go look.

At Last – A Quilt On The Go

Since I finished Black Rock Beach (a week ago) I’ve been struggling to get a quilt going. I’d hauled out groupings of fabric several weeks ago for some ideas I wanted to try but in each case I was missing either contrast or background fabrics to make the idea work. I ordered some possible pieces online but I’ve had to wait for them to arrive – two have but I’m still waiting for two more to show up before I can start on either of those possible projects.

I’d also thought about working on a diamond/triangle lap/throw quilt based on ideas in Jan Krentz’s book “Quick Diamond Quilts And Beyond“. I pulled out some scraps, cut some triangles and diamonds and tried assembling them – my accuracy was nowhere close. Part of my problem was actually cutting – I used a template for the triangles, cutting from a strip the height of the triangle but as careful as I tried to be when stitching I could not manage to combine four triangles into a larger triangle with the edges matching! I need more practice – with cutting, stitching, and pressing. I will get back to that idea but not at the moment!

I moved on to something else. I’d picked out a scrap bag of grey batik fabrics (twelve 9″ cuts) and then some much brighter batiks to use as contrast.

The idea is to sew four grey 2 1/2” strips together, cut into blocks, split the block off-centre, insert a contrast strip, then add two more rows to one side to square off the block.

5 Completed Blocks

I’ve completed five blocks so far. The first block was an experiment to figure out how to construct the insert collection. Also, because my grey fabrics are 9″ WOF cuts I can’t get 2 1/2″ strips from them – just 2 1/4″ – so all my other measurements had to be calculated to accommodate that difference.

What I’m seeing now, is a 4 block by 5 block quilt, with some additional complementary piecing at the top and bottom to extend the length of the quilt relative to the width. I plan on adding an outer border, as well, to make the lap quilt/throw just a bit larger overall.

I pieced all the insert strips today. I’ve cut enough 2 1/4″ grey strips for 22 blocks, as well as pieces for the two longer outer strips. I’m ready to go with chain piecing the blocks tomorrow.

Life now feels more normal with a quilt on the go!

Sunflower Table Runner – Finished

Finished quilting and binding the table runner last evening. Hand stitched the binding on the back (definitely not my most favourite thing to do!).

I’m happy with how the dark narrow binding pulls attention away from the outer border which doesn’t completely match up. I just didn’t have enough sunflower fabric (with its very large flowers) to find precise repeats for the border strips. I realize nobody but me will even notice. I was making this table runner as an example for a class I was planning on offering – not going to happen in the near future so I’ve hung it in the closet with the rest of my finished projects until such time as I might need it.

Sunflower Kaleidoscope – Top

I dug through my stash to find something for the back – found a 9″ golden/orange WOF piece which worked as a starting point, added a scrap of the sunflower fabric and a piece from the previous runner at the ends (the two ends are intentionally different – it wasn’t a mistake!). I had enough of the orange dotted fabric for narrow inner borders and then hunted until I found the dark outer border fabric given me by a friend.

Sunflower Kaleidoscope – Back

This project is now done. Today, it’s back to face masks. I have to think about how to streamline the process so I can turn them out in batches quickly. It’s gotta be like the zippered bags at Christmas – a production line.

Kaleidoscope #3

Just finished assembling the sunflower kaleidoscope table runner top.

Kaleidoscope #3

This time I managed to get sets of eight triangles for the octagons so the full kaleidoscope effect is present. Because of how the repeats in the fabric were set up I was able to get away with less fabric but that also meant I had fewer stacks to choose from. The variation turned out reasonably well and I was able to get some colour flow with the octagons.

I had to buy another 1/3 metre of fabric for the outer border but because the flowers are very large it wasn’t possible to match up the border pieces. I think a dark, narrow binding in some shade of brown should tie the piece together. Now I just have to find something in my stash that will work – not a lot of brown fabric there; it’s not a colour I’ve used much.

It’s noon. Time to get out into the sunshine even though it’s a cold day – temperature -4°.

Bargello Table Runner #2

I’ve been working on a second bargello table runner for a class I held last week (we’re supposed to meet again in a week and a half – not sure if the gals will come or not – not sure if the shop will even be open!) The government directives to “stay at home” may prevail and even this small group may not take place. If that should happen I may try a Google “Hang-Out” with the gals – (that’s if I can get it to work and write them some instructions for connecting) so we might talk about assembling their table runners. [PS: Everything has closed down here in NS – shop closed; classes cancelled… (Mar 19 2020)]

My fabric for this runner came from a 5″ wide 20 strip jelly roll with a lovely range of contrasting colours. I selected 10, deciding to use the bronze as the contrast fabric and situated it between two of the black/bronze strips. 5″ allowed me to cut 2 x 2 1/2″ set – precisely what I needed for 4 bargello blocks.

Bargello Table Runner II – Under Construction

Notice I said 2 1/2″ strips. The previous bargello table runner used 2″ strips. Using 2 1/2″ strips makes each block quite a bit taller – so much so that placed together end to end (as above) my table runner would turn out to be somewhere around 75″ long; too long for my table; too long to hang on my front door.

So, I’ve decided to join the blocks on the sides using a 1 1/2″ strip which allows me to generate a flowing wave pattern. The other thing I did was to use several narrower strips at the centre of the block which produced a more bargello-like curve to the layout (more obvious in the top image).

Three blocks laid out as a “wave”

I haven’t sewn all three blocks together yet – I want to be able to show the gals different ways of thinking about layout. So tomorrow I’ll assemble the 4th block (which is cut and laid out) and ready to go.

I should end by saying to anyone reading this “Stay safe.” Stay well!” I am staying at home for the most part – I went to pick up a prescription this afternoon. I tried to see my dentist (I just lost a small filling while eating lunch) but the office is only taking emergencies. My small filling doesn’t count – so heaven knows when I might be able to get it repaired. Months maybe?

I’m so grateful to have the sewing and knitting to keep my mind and hands busy. I’ve a lot of projects, including a spring jacket, I want to work on during the next while.

Kaleidoscope Table Runner II

After finishing the first kaleidoscope table runner I went shopping for fabric to try a second to learn more about what makes a good print design for constructing the octagons.

The pattern repeat in the butterfly fabric I bought was ~ 23in in length and although I bought 1.4m I decided to use just half of the fabric for the kaleidoscope since I didn’t want to end up with many more triangles than the 40 (5 x 8) I needed.

I was hampered by the fact that the printing of the fabric wasn’t precise and even though I aligned the 5.5″ fabric strips precisely, I wasn’t able to get 8 exact repeats of from any spot – just sets of 4. So I built my octagons from two sets of 4. That still gave me the kaleidoscope effect I was after.

Kaleidoscope Table Runner II

I cornered and bordered the octagons with a dark blue print and then used strips of the butterfly fabric for the outer border. The back used the leftover from both border fabrics as a simple bordered panel.

Again, I quilted the octagon blocks in the hoop, and stitched the borders in the ditch to stabilize the runner.

This piece might just be hung on my front door!

Bargello Table Runner IV

I finally finished the 57″ x 16″ Bargello table runner last evening. It took me several hours over two days to stitch the whole thing in the ditch – that was because I was changing thread colour and having to stitch on the zig-zag.

Bargello Table Runner – Finished

I thought about quilting the piece in the hoop for quite a while – doing an edge-to-edge style of design along the length – but I decided it would detract from the bargello detail. In this case, I also stitched through the backing, which meant I needed to add a binding. I chose a 1/4″ binding on the front but 3/4″ hand stitched down on the back.

The original Bargello piece is also finished – it’s the inverse of the longer table runner with a dark, rather than the light, centre.

Bargello Table Runner I

I’m teaching a class in two weeks on how to improvise a Bargello block and how to think about layout for a table or bed runner, a cushion, a wall hanging, or a quilt. The point will be to understand how the quilting version is derived from wool on canvas work and uses the same math principles.

For the class, I will need to set up another Bargello piece so I can demonstrate forming the tube stitched from 10 strips, cutting, and laying out the Bargello array. Better think about that in the next day or two.

Here are instructions for this table runner –  Download the PDF

Kaleidoscope Table Runner – Finished

Finished the table runner last evening – hand stitching the binding to the back.  I don’t enjoy hand sewing but in this case I used a 1/4″ binding on the top with a 3/4″ binding on the back and the only way to attach it was to hand sew it in place since I didn’t want a line of machine stitching through the border on the front.

Completed Runner – Top

I constructed the back from leftovers – I hadn’t bought very much of either the grey for the sashing or the grey version of the printed fabric. Not much in the way of scraps left, I can tell you.

Completed Runner – Back

This idea would also make a decent bed runner probably with seven octagons to make it long enough so it drapes over the sides. Might even want to add another narrow light inner border as well. My runner is just a bit narrower than the width of my queen bed. I have no intention of using either is as a bed or a table runner; quite likely it’ll end up as a wall hanging and included in one of the showings I’m scheduled for this summer.

BTW:

 “A bed runner is a small, long piece of decorated cloth used to enhance the appearance of an otherwise plain bed. While some prefer the look solely for aesthetic reasons and would choose it even if it were more expensive than traditional decorative bedding, the primary reason to use one in the hospitality industry is to reduce costs while keeping the room attractive.

Kaleidoscope Table Runner

I’ve been looking for projects to try out that I can share with some of the other sewing gals. I’ve almost completed the Bargello Table Runner – it’ll get done over the weekend. The other day I came across another idea: a Kaleidoscope/Stack ‘n Whack octagon block for a quilt or table runner described on the Jordan Fabrics You Tube Channel. I decided to try it out.

Yesterday I picked up some large print fabric to see what’s involved. The tricky part of the whole project isn’t the piecing – it’s the cutting. I hadn’t bought enough fabric to end up with eight identical triangles (except in two cases) so I had to make do with 4 and 4 somewhat complementary triangles for three of the octagons; but it’s the construction of the block I was interested in trying out.

I laid out my dark fabric, found the pattern repeat, cut what I had into two repeats (I bought .7m – I should have bought 1.4m to get the eight repeats for cutting the triangles but with a bit of improvising I ended up with 4 layers instead of 8 which yielded enough triangles for the project), halved the width-of-fabric, then carefully aligned the printed pattern through the four layers as was demonstrated in Video #1 below.

Kaleidoscope Table Runner

Once I had my layers of fabric carefully aligned, I cut out 5.5″ strips, then cut out 45° angled triangles – in the blocks with the peach elements I had two sets of four triangles to sew together, in the predominantly dark blocks I was able to get eight matching triangles.

Next I stitched the octagons together. Today I added the corner triangles (cut from 3.75″ squares) and the sashing and added both to each of my five octagons. Finally, I added a 2.5″ outer border of a lighter grey version of the original fabric from which I cut the triangles.

All in all the project went together relatively easily – once I’d figured out the necessary size for the corner triangles! That took a bit of experimenting.

I’ve also figured out how I will piece the backing so I don’t have to buy any more fabric for this project. I’ll get that done tomorrow, then I’ll set up the quilt sandwich and get the table runner assembled.

It’s definitely do-able as a class project – I completed the runner in less than 6 hours.

I didn’t stop to take photos as I went along. The whole process is explained very clearly in the videos below. So if you’re interested in making a table or bed runner, or a full quilt using this kaleidoscope block watch Donna Jordan from Jordan Fabrics in Oregon as she explains the process.

The biggest hitch in the whole project is actually finding a suitable fabric for constructing the stack ‘n whack blocks – you really need a large print fabric with an open design and quite a bit of colour variation. I would say what I chose in the end wasn’t a colour combination I would normally choose but the selection was very limited at my local shop. I will look at a couple of other shops nearby to see what else I might find.

So here are the videos: