Another Quilt Done

It has been awhile since my last post.  I did not get a finished photo of either of the first 2 quilts of this year.  All I have are pictures of the completed tops and backs:


They came out really nice and I am pleased with both quilts.  I focused on workmanship doing these 2, really trying to do as good a job as I can.  I learned that I absolutely need to starch the backing to make the Snail’s Trail block easier to do.  I didn’t for the one on the left and it was much more difficult to do.  Both recipients are happy to have them and I really enjoyed making them.  I was working under a deadline and that was a real challenge, but I finished with 2 days to spare.

The deadline was because I went to Canada for 5 weeks to stay with a man I met online.  “Diary of a Daoist Hermit” is his blog which prompted me to email him and initiate a conversation.  He answered that letter and we developed a correspondence, which led to the idea of meeting each other.

So we arranged that I should come up to meet him in January.  He lives in Guelph, Ontario which I discovered gets about as cold as Saint Louis, but has none of the relieving spikes of warm days.  It got close to freezing as the high a total of 5 times my whole trip!  Brrr, I am glad I made him a quilt (the one on the right).

I took some knitting to do, but lost it on the journey there.  While there, I started another pair of slippers but am so lazy I am not ever 1 quarter through!  I didn’t buy enough wool either, so I am stuck frogging I think, and doing something else with the wool.  I have 3 skeins of the same weight, but different colors.  Hmmm, I wonder if I could do a tumbling blocks kinda thing in knit.  Meh, there isn’t enough for that really.  Hmmm, I wonder how big a scarf one skein would make.

I intend this year to be organized and therefore be able to be more crafty.  I didn’t have time to fully clean up after the insane quilting I did, which was those 2 quilts at the same time, with the same deadline, and I kind of unpacked on top of the mess.  I am going to try to do weekly studio updates as a record of where my craft time is going.  I really hope to make this year a productive one.

Happy Crafting!

In Progress…

It has been a while since I just wrote something unplanned for this blog.  Actually, both my blogs seem to be perpetually on the farthest back burner.  Even writing weekly is too much for me, but I want to do more than once per month.  Sigh.  I am happy to not stress over it and let whatever blog posts that do happen, happen.

Over the summer, I was too busy socializing to have spent much time crafting.  I did knit a few dishcloths.  But I was too busy to take the time to take pictures and write about it.  Part of it is that I don’t see the value of writing all the details of what I am doing unless I can see some benefit to you, the reader.  Mostly, it is time.  It is time consuming to write a decent tutorial.  I love the process of doing that, but it does eat time.  So does photography.  As I am a novice with the camera, I am probably going about things inefficiently, too.

Speaking of inefficiency, my latest quilting experiment’s basting was the most tedious of processes.  I ended up basting 2 quilts a total of 5 times.  How did this happen?  Well, as the experiment involves 2 quilts made at the same time, things get complicated.  Quilt number 1 is a giant double nine-patch on the front, with a giant snail’s trail for the back.

This one was basted 3 times.  The first time was my usual method.  When I was all finished, I noticed the back was wrinkly – too wrinkly to be able to leave it.  Argh.  I fixed the issue by starting in the center and slowly working outward, removing a section of pins and smoothing out the wrinkles and repinning on the backside.  Then, when I had completely gotten all the pins on the back, I did the same thing to get the pins on the front of the quilt, since I intend to quilt from  the double nine patch side.  But I am thinking I really want to rebast it again to get the pins back on the back to quilt from that side.  The person who is getting the quilt reacted so favorably to the back that I think it would be best to make it the front.

Which I did for the second quilt.  Originally, I intended this be the front side of the quilt.  I am very pleased with how it came together and like it mucho.  I decided to do another giant snail’s trail for this backside.  It came out so well, I decided I had to quilt it from this side. I learned a lot from doing the first one and applied it to this one, but even so, there are plenty of errors.

The most important thing I learned is that it is absolutely critical to heavily starch the fabric for a giant snail’s trail.  I didn’t do that on the first and I am sure that is why it wrinkled so badly.  On the second, I starched both fabrics with undiluted Sta-Flo and had zero wrinkling issues, plus, it was a ton easier to work the fabric during the sewing process.

I also learned the limits of what I can cut size wise.  I can cut up to a 28 inch square with my 15 inch square ruler.  Larger than that would be a pain to cut.  On the first quilt, I got to that point and discovered I did not have enough of the white fabric to cut the next size square anyway, and just finished it to size with the dark paisley.  On the second quilt, which I think looks much better, I was still 28 inches shy of what I wanted as the finished size, so I sewed strips on, continuing the illusion of a spiral.

I really like the way this came out and am seriously debating making this the standard backside of my quilts.  I am going to do this as the backside at least once more, posting my notes from that, with pictures of some of the pitfalls.

Of course, this brings up the quilting part of finishing these quilts.  I think I am going to try all white on the double nine patch on both the front and back.  I am curious to see how keeping to the traditional white thread will look on all of it.  For the second quilt I am thinking I will use white on the white part of the spiral and a brown on the dark spiral.  I am trying to decide if I want to use those colors for the other side or use a blue and green.  I do have a pretty blue green, so I may try to work that in for the patchwork side.  I am going to stick with a plain simple meander for both because i think that will make both sides look good at once.

Doing 2 quilts at once has taken all my crafting time since I started them in the beginning of November.  I am aiming to get them done by the end of December, but they are not even quilted yet and here it is the middle of the month.  I am also trying to knit my roommate a hat and this has been very slow going.  I am just not watching enough tv to get any appreciable knitting done.

I hope all of you are having a good winter so far.  Keep on crafting!

Another 9 Patch

I have recently made a top and back for a quilt I am giving to a friend moving to Chicago.  The top is a  double 9 patch and the back is a giant Snail’s Trail.

I paid special attention to my workmanship in making this quilt.  I tried to get the corners to really line up, using pins when necessary.  The back became a real challenge to put together as soon as i reached a size larger than my rulers cut easily.  It got to be darn difficult squaring up after every round.  But it is done and I think it looks very nice and will be a good quilt for my friend.