Experiments


I finished quilting the orange panel of the Zigzag Quilt.  I thought I was done, but then I ended up having to quilt some more.  I promised Alex spider webs, but tried getting away with just quilting lines in alternating triangles and large stippling in the other triangles.  I was at the Ta-Da moment when Alex was like, "Where's the spider webs?"



I used masking tape as a guide to quilt the straight lines on the orange zigzags.  I free-motioned a large stipple in alternating triangles.  I used a ruler to draw the straight lines of the spider web to quilt by.  I drew the web lines in between those straight lines with an air erasable purple marker.  The air erasable marker lines disappeared so fast that they barely lasted long enough for me to quilt.  I quilted the spider webs with my regular piecing foot.  My stipples actually look half way decent.  The quilting went fairly well overall and I think it's because I didn't have to maneuver a large quilt.



So goes the experiment of using the column-quilting method.  I've wanted to try quilting this way since seeing the Sewing with Nancy series, taking Ann Peterson's Craftsy class (link), and researching quilt-as-you-go methods online.  I like not having to maneuver a large quilt and not being overwhelmed by the amount space I have to quilt.  The drawback is I'm worried about the slight shrinkage I've realized in paper piecing the blocks and quilting this column.  I'm going to use Candied Fabrics' tutorials (link) from here on out.

I have to remind myself that this is a learning experience.  I'm taking notes so that I can improve my results should I ever try this again.  There is a long list of have-to-nest times and don'ts, trust me!

This quilt will have be put on hold for now, though.  I decided to take on making the T-Shirt quilt for one of the lacrosse players on Z's school's Varsity team.


Which Way Did She Go?



I've had any number of different things happen in the past couple of weeks.  I've not been quilting as a result.  I pulled out the Juki this past week so I could try some quilting on the orange panel of the ZigZag Quilt.

I'm more than halfway through Elizabeth Dackson's Start Free-Motion Quilting class at Craftsy.  The class has been very enjoyable.  Elizabeth is very easygoing.  I like the lesson style.  For instance, Elizabeth doesn't talk excessively at the beginning of each lesson.  She quilts, takes breaks to chat, and then quilts some more.  The only thing I hope for is that I get so see her quilt on a top instead of just practice sandwiches.  Check it out!  (link)

I'm meeting with a mom tomorrow to discuss the T-Shirt quilt she wants me to make for her son.  We know them from the Varsity lacrosse team.  I'm nervous....excited.

I'll Go My Way, You Go Yours

I decided at the last minute to go sew at Wooden Spools yesterday for their monthly Sunday sew-in.  There were more attendees than the last time I was there in January.  I don't like it when there are that many people people because the room gets loud and there's less room to move around.  I accomplished just enough and I was out of the house which was the important thing.

Of debate at these get togethers is any number of quilting methods being put to use.  A couple of us were paper piecing so the discussion made it's way to us.  I'm frankly tired of the debate.  There were those that couldn't contain themselves in expressing their distaste for paper piecing, of course.  The discussion evolved into one about the preferred foundation.  I always print on copy paper, but one person insisted that the freezer paper method was best....and wouldn't let it go.  I'm of the opinion that one should quilt using the methods that work for them.  I'm happy to share my reasoning and my methods, but I don't need anyone to try to tell me I'm doing it wrong or that I should change my ways because their way is so much easier.

I finished piecing all the orange blocks for the zigazag quilt.  I stared on the four Block A's in purple.  I pieced the orange blocks into their column after dinner.


I hate it when my seams don't nest, but there wasn't really any way around that with these blocks.  I tried pressing the grey triangle to orange strings open, but that didn't help.  I resorted to using a dab of glue stick to hold some areas in place in order to get the points to form properly.  A dab of glue works so much better than pinning.

I have decided to quilt in sections for sure.  I can't wait to start.  I'm trying to decide on a pattern.  I figure I can do some quilt-in-the-ditch first.

A Nice Start - Zigzag Quilt

 
on paper - 6"x12"
 
 
 
 
I pulled some fabric from my stash.  I don't have a lot of fabric pieces a yard or more so my options were limited.  I'm trying to make this a stash quilt.
 


His sister will never want to borrow this quilt.  She has terrible arachnophobia.  I like the grey!

I've not been able to sew much.  Z had four lacrosse games this week to start the season.  He was the starting JV goalie.  He broke his dominant hand's thumb today in warm-up, played the whole game not knowing it for sure, and received the diagnosis after the loss.  He'll be out at least 3 weeks.  Worst case, he'll be out the rest of the season.  He's disappointed to say the least.  He'll know for sure after he sees an orthopedic doctor next week.

 


Alex's Zigzag Quilt

My next quilt will be Alex's String Zigzag Quilt.  The good news is that I won't be working under a deadline.  I actually started it months ago, but abandoned it because I didn't like the results I was getting.  Alex saw the quilt in one of my magazines and asked me to make it.  (I can't remember or find the magazine at the moment.)  I found a picture online (link).  When I started making it the first time, I was making paper pieced String HSTs, but I feel the need to simplify the blocks this time around.  Instead of pieceing two HST's and sewing them together, I drafted two blocks in EQ that are 6"x12".  The string lines for each block are off-set so I won't have to worry about seam line issues.

Alex picked the color scheme.  It's kind of odd in my mind, but who am I to really judge.  I'm going to give him what he wants.  We haven't decided on a background fabric other than it will probably be black, but he's picked the orange fabrics from my stash for now.

The blocks:

 
 

6"x12" blocks
 

I'm only going to use the two blocks.  Alex doesn't care and it will simplify the piecing.  I'll use more than two fabrics for zigzag row, though.  The blocks will be paper pieced.  I'll print the patterns from EQ on legal-size paper.

The quilt:


56"x62"
 
 
I'm seriously considering using Nancy Zieman's Column Quilts method or the similar Ann Peterson method from her Craftsy class.  This quilt would be appropriate to try the method and might help with my free-motion quilting woes.  If I do, I will probably add another black strip of sashing fabric in between each "column".

Quilt Until You Wilt

Edited 3/15/14

I finished the Heritage H.S. Lacrosse Silent Auction Quilt.  The picture below is the last one I took.  I didn't take a picture of the finished quilt.

 

I was up until 1:00 am every night last week in order to finish the quilt.  Poor planning on my part coupled with my inability to give in and simplify are to blame .  I was pulling the quilt out of the dryer minutes before we had to leave Friday night.

I could have taken a picture at the auction, but I don't want too many reminders because the quilt finished with some issues and I'm really fixated on them right now.  I'm also embarrassed and annoyed by the auction result.  That isn't to say that I won't learn from my experiences for the future, but I'm still feeling rather raw.  In the interest of being as positive as I have vowed to be, I do have some good things to talk about first.

The pieced quilt back.

1) The signatures on Kona that I printed using my ink jet printer held up in the wash in cold water.  I didn't use any soap in the wash and so I don't know how they will fair if washed in a machine.  (I test washed some squares with hand soap and they held up so I'm optimistic.

2) I didn't have time to hand sew my binding so I machine sewed it with very nice results.  I would use this method again with one slight change.  I always use 2" (unfinished) binding, but the tutorial I reference used 2.50" (unfinished) binding and I was too afraid not to use the same this first time.  I didn't care for the wider finished binding.  (I used this tutorial:  Cluck Cluck Sew)

3) The quilting I did was very simple.  I stitched-in-the-ditch and did some straight line quilting.  I tried some free motion, but I wasn't getting good results so I stopped trying.  I wanted to quilt some stars, but I simply ran out of time.  The quilting, even so simply, looked nice.

4) I used another blogger's labeling method for the first time.  She pieces them as part to the back.  I fully admit to labeling being one of my least favorite things to do, especially by the traditional method of sewing them ON the quilt back.  (link - Quilt Swissy)



So, now the uglies:

1) I never pre-wash my fabric and it bit me in the ass this time.  I knew I was taking a huge risk, especially with the batiks, but I was too arrogant.  I was the most worried about the red, but it was the navy blue batik that got me.  I used three Shout Color Catcher sheets, but they weren't enough.  The blue fabric ran into only one of the other fabrics for some reason--the cream colored star batik that I used for the alternate or non-signature squares.  (I guess I should have listened to hubster and used the Kona.)  It also ran into the one square I printed on Electric Quilt Fabric Sheets because the player signed his name in blue and red and I couldn't get the ink to set on the Kona like the other signatures.

*I learned my lesson and will always pre-wash batiks!

2) My washing machine acted up and didn't spin out.  I had to wait until hubster came home....at 5:15 to fix the darn thing so I could finish washing the quilt.  The quilt was still slightly damp in the center when I took it to the auction.  We quickly lint-rollered the heck out of it before rushing out the door.

I'm sad to say that the quilt brought in a pittance.

$70.00

I was hoping the bids would surpass $100.00, especially since the auction was set-up so that all money paid for any item went directly against the winning bidder's player account for their $700.00 plus club dues and/or the $750.00 spring trip to California.  The other auction items, silent and live, brought in good money.

I don't think it was because of any of the issues I mentioned.  Even though the blue ran into some of the cream squares it wasn't that noticeable.  It just looked like the fabric was mottled.

I think it would have been better if the quilt was placed with the other silent auction items.  They tried to live auction it with a starting bid of $50.00.  The quilt was auctioned last after two condo stays went for $1000.00 plus.  No one was paying attention because they were trying to get their final bids in for silent auction and the event had turned chaotic.  I was told by one of the moms that they wanted to bid $100.00 outright, but no one heard them and they didn't push too hard to get anyone's attention.  I wished I'd had a "ringer" in the crowd to help drive up the price --where the heck was the hubster or my son?!

The person that won it really wanted it.  She was the one who suggested I make it to begin with.

I guess I'm embarrassed.  I admit to being pissed, too.  I put a lot of time and effort into the quilt and $70.00 is like a slap in the face.




Out of the Box

I purchased a Juki TL-2000 Qi over a year ago.  The only time I've used it was to make sure that it worked when I received it.  The Reader's Digest-version is that I couldn't get up the enthusiasm needed to overcome my fear of free-motion quilting even with a new machine.  I'd had too many failures in the past.  I blamed myself instead of the limitations imposed in using a standard domestic machine set-up in a less than ideal workspace.



Necessity being the motivation I needed to muster up the  required enthusiasm, the silent auction quilt had to get quilted, the Juki is out of the box again.  It's a wonderful machine!  After only a few hours of quilting, I'm in love.  I must say that my workspace set-up makes a huge difference, too.  The machine sets in a Sew Steady table with the custom plexiglass insert.  I've positioned a table behind the machine and one to the left for the quilt to rest on, also.




Hubs helped me spray baste the top yesterday.  I did some Stitch-in-the-Ditch quilting with monofilament thread and basted the edges last night.  I've got a lot of quilting to do still and I'm in the freak-out stage at this point.

 
 
My one sadness is that I'm not going to be able to spend more time quilting more intricate designs due to the fact that I have to have this quilt done by 2/28 which actually makes it late, but in time for the actual auction.