Finsh-A-Long–Second Quarter Report

First, on July 3rd, I’m guest hosting today over at Leanne’s, of She Can Quilt, where I have written a tutorial for making a faced binding on a quilt (used on Kaleidoscope). This tutorial is in conjunction with the end of the second quarter of the Finish-A-Long, which she is hosting this year.

FacedBindingTitle

Now that you’re back, every quarter we monitor our progress and check in with Leanne, who is hosting this year’s Finish-A-Long program.  So now it’s time for the second quarterly report of how many of our goals we finished.  For a reminder, here’s my original mosaic, showing the quilts I was thinking about finishing:

FAL Q2_2013

And now the wrap-up:

Hunter’s Star–still in the closet (not finished)

Doleket Art Quilt-front

Four-in-Art: Fire–Doloket, finished

TakeMeBacktoItaly front

Italy Quilt–Take Me Back to Italy, finished

Lollypop Class Sample I–(top is finished, but the whole project is not finished, because it’s at the shop for a sample)

Lollypop Tree Quilt–(not finished, still hanging in the closet)

Christmas Treat final

Lollypop Class Sample II–Christmas Treat, finished

Friendship Quilt, still in the closet (not finished)

Kaleidoscope Front

EPP Quilt–Kaleidoscope, finished (amazingly)

So that’s four finishes.  Not bad.  I also snuck in a few more that weren’t listed:

SpoolinAroundTop

Spooling Around

Giving Christine the quilt

A quilt for my sister Christine:  Christine’s Philadelphia
(We’re in a pastry shop)

Christine's Row Quilt labeled

One really nice thing is the way that participating in the Finish-A-Long (FAL) keeps me focused on what to do next.  So often I can be swayed by what I see on Instagram, or from blog reading, or the latest internet craze, ignoring my own goals and projects.  I still have way more ideas and fabrics and projects that I will ever finish in my lifetime, but I like participating in FAL, where I least have a fighting chance of pointing to something at the end of the quarter that I did, that I finished, and that I’m proud of.

Now I need to think of things I want to try and finish for next quarter’s FAL.  Hope you’ll join us.

FinishALong Button

WIP–Bee Blocks (post revised)

UPDATE: I’ve revised this post, because this morning I realized that TODAY is Wednesday, not yesterday (when I’d originally written it: we’re a little foggy on life over here), so today I am linking up with Lee at Freshly Pieced for WIP Wednesday.

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I joined a new bee (newby! newby!). I am honored to be included in the Always Bee Learning bee, and the first block’s fabrics have arrived to be sewn (they have different rules than the Mid-Century Modern bee).  But Linda’s blocks for the MCM bee still hadn’t been made, and I like to honor my deadlines.

sewing situation

So I gimped down to the sewing room, pulled out a drawer and put a pillow on it for the left foot, got out my portable iron and pad and put it on the table on the right.  I figured it was good to be sewing as long as I wasn’t putting any weight on the foot, right?  (I’m really hoping that MY idea of “partial weight-bearing” agrees with the doctor’s).

Linda block 2

But had to stand for a few minutes on my right leg while I cut the strips, then I sat and sewed.  And twisted to iron, but finished up one block before dinner.

Lindas block signature

After dinner I finished the other one (normally we only do one, but everyone else was doing two and I didn’t want to be a slacker);  I packaged it to mail tomorrow, hopefully making it to Florida by July 1st.  That small block in the front?  We do signature blocks with our Mid-Century Modern (MCM) bee.

LindaQuilt

This is what Linda is doing with them: using them to border another set of blocks from another bee.  She says she’s stuck about what to do in the corner–maybe a rounded version of the stack?–so if you have any ideas, head over to her blog and leave her a comment. It’s always interesting to see our bee blocks being used.  Another quilter in this bee finished up her quilt (scroll down to the Mid-Century Modern quilt in neutral fabrics); I hope when it’s my turn I can be as successful.

As I lay in bed yesterday, I did make a button for that new bee:

AlwaysBeeLearningbutton

At least I can be somewhat productive when I lay around here.

Village Faire pinned

What else am I working on?  Well, another July 1st deadline is for this month’s Schnibbles quilt.  My husband brought up a camp chair (small chair we use when we go camping) and I could slide it in the cubby hole of my sewing desk, and yes, I did get some of that top quilted last night.  While I can only quilt for a short while, it feels good to be productive and to see a quilt take shape.

hanging Kaleidoscope Quilt

Thanks, all, for your nice comments about Kaleidoscope (in previous post).  My husband hung it up in the hallway this morning.  It brings a smile to my face as I slowly make my way up the stairs.  Here it is again:

Kaleidoscope Front

Final thought: Happy Birthday, Rhonda!  You are an inspiration, always.

Kaleidoscope

Kaleidoscope Top unquilted

At long last,  I have finished Kaleidoscope.

Kaleidoscope Front

Here she is on the fence, all quilted and bound and ready to be hung up in our home.  The first picture was merely the top, unquilted, but I like that image quite fine (it’s my home screen pix on my phone).

Kaleidoscope first block cut

Krista got me started on this process and the above is a photo of my first block, blogged about *here* so I don’t need to redo the gory details (just do a search for “EPP” in my search box, if you do want the whole story).

Kaleidoscope first block begin

I liked how I could sew bitsy pieces together into a new design and they could become something else.

Kaleidoscope more1

I finished my first block in February 2012, wrote about it *here,* using the completion as a sort of a milestone capping off a cancer experience.  While I do like the quick quilts that sew up in a month, or whizzing through a bee block, there’s something gratifying about a longer quiltmaking experience, as it serves as a thread through many experiences and days and months and weaves in and out of other quilts.

Kaleidoscope block 3

I liked how every block was a puzzle, a mystery, waiting to be figured out, laying out the pieces to see what it should become and how to sew it together. I liked that it was portable, going to many doctor’s offices, on a road trip, and certainly while making my way through three seasons of watching Downton Abbey.

Kaleidoscope on computer lid

One center laid out on a computer laptop one night.

Kaleidoscope on a trip

Photographed on a hotel chair, pieced while on a road trip to San Francisco.

Kaleidoscope block another

The way I cut and laid out the pieces was like a twist of the wrist on a childhood kaleidoscope viewing toy, the glass pieces tumbling into another design, another shape.  So I started to think of the blocks as visions through a kaleidoscope.  I didn’t know how many of these blocks to make–it was one of those things I just kept working on and I figured I would know when I was done.

Kaleidoscope three blocks

There were three.

kaleidoscope six

Then there were six.

Kaleidoscope trying out background

And then seven, and I was trying to figure out what to do.  I ordered more fabric (bless the manufacturers who don’t yank their lines so quickly!).  The small bits in the lefthand lower corner didn’t work.  So I went with bigger triangles, trying to let the seven kaleidoscope shapes rise to the top.

Kaleidoscope background ready to sew

I labeled and sewed those together by hand as well.  Then onto the existing top.

kaleidoscope feb 2013

It sat on my pin wall and I just didn’t know what to do–wasn’t really sold on it.  Then I thought about the border, chose the bright lime, auditioned it for placement: large medallions going down the middle of the border, or small ones?  Again, trying to make the quilt center the star, I went with the latter.

Kaleidoscope borders on

Sewing the top to the borders–the only time I used machine piecing on this quilt top. I decided to leave in the papers until it was all sewn, so they could stabilize the edges.  One thing about the edges in this quilt–none were placed with regard to straight of grain, so the top was very flexible, and needed careful handling.

Kaleidoscope Top unquilted

Once those borders were sewn on, the whole top began to sing together again.  And now the next puzzle–how to quilt it?  I let it sit some more, until I worked up the courage to move forward.

kaleidoscope backing

Cut and sewed together more of that second batch of fabric, trying to match medallion to medallion.  It worked well enough.

kaleidoscope pinned

I stretched out the back on my living floor, taped it down, then the batting, then the quilt and pinned it all together.   Still didn’t know how to quilt this thing, so it sat for another spell.  Finally, I realized it was never going to get done if I didn’t get going on it, and I had three days free–all in a row–so found the perfect thread in my bag from the last run to Superior Threads and got going.

Kaleidoscope quilting1

I like to sew on my dining room table.  I put down a placemat for my sewing machine and notions, and let the quilt slip-slide all over as I work.

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To grip the quilt because I’m not a fan of quilting gloves, I use that stuff you can buy at an office supply store on my fingers (one brand is SortQuik–don’t know what mine is).

Kaleidoscope evaluate quilting

After two and half days and sixteen bobbins of thread, I wanted to be done.  Really, I did, but the border was a little ripply, so it needed some more.  Final tally?  Seventeen bobbins of thread.  The quilt is 53″ wide by 54 1/2″ long, so that’s fairly dense quilting.  I used a polyester thread with little bit of sheen for the top, as well as Masterpiece, a cotton thread.  I used Bottom Line for the bobbins–it holds more; I did loosen the top tension to get the stitch balance correct.

Kaleidoscope detail 2

Kaleidoscope detail 1

Kaleidoscope Back

The back of the quilt, with the two colorways of the medallions.  I came to really love this fabric: Michael Miller’s Gypsy Bandanna.

Kaleidoscope quilt label

I had decided I didn’t want a narrow border to show on the top, so went with a faced binding.  This label was the last thing to be sewn on, last night as I lay in my bed with my foot propped up on two pillows, recuperating from another surgery (this one not life-threatening, a planned event).  But still, for those of us who like to keep busy, like to be doing, this forced idleness is really hard to deal with.  I plan to try to figure out how to do some quilting this afternoon, my good foot on the sewing machine pedal and my gimpy foot propped up on a pillow on a drawer.  I figure I can get 30 minutes in before I say “uncle,” and head back to bed.

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This is the 116th quilt I’ve made in my life, and the quilt is also part of the Finish-A-Long, quarter two.