Friday, October 19, 2012

Piecing with a gang!!

Fall is busy -- hooray!!  Classes to teach, lectures to share, marketing to be done . . . . but it interferes with my piecing big time!  So I was delighted to be able to escape for a couple days last weekend by going on a sewing retreat with friends from my quilt guild. 

We filled the lovely conference room at The Inn at Amish Door in Wilmot, Ohio with all our stuff and went to work.  I took 7 projects in various stages of undoneness.  I confess that I'm puzzled by gals who "start" a project to work on at a retreat like this because I'm never at a loss for a project.  Someday before the end of the year, I'll count how many are going on in my studio -- I'll feel overwhelmed but you'll feel better about your own list of "in progress".

I started out with binding a beautiful Baltimore Album sampler that my mother made.  She appliqued the blocks back in the 90's and set it together after she retired.  During the past two years, she appliqued the border and this summer it went to our machine quilter.  Since it's a very white quilt, I needed to do the trimming and binding outside of my house full of black, hairy animals!  The hand stitching has yet to be done and the plan is to do that in the coming week.   And there goes another 5/8 yard of the stash!!

Then I tackled a pile of "friendship" blocks that have been laying around the shelves for mmmmmmm 5 years?  Not really sure.  Since I'm going to quilt this piece in sections, it didn't take long to get the two halves together.  Now I just need to make the time to layer it and start the quilting.   I was also able to set aside about 8 yards of fabric from the stash for the borders and backing!!  I'm getting closer.
Kaleidoscope to be quilted in sections

But it's going to have to wait on the beautiful Kaleidoscope top that I'm doing the same way.  Two quarter sections are finished and on Sunday morning at the retreat, I made the backings and layered the third and fourth sections.  I've had great success getting large quilts finished since I read Marti Michell's book, Machine Quilting in Sections!!  I won't ever do another large quilt any other way.  I want this to be a soft, drapable quilt, so the quilting is not real dense.  Believe it or not, I can do one of these sections in 2 hours -- that makes it very doable and it doesn't strain my old neck and shoulders!  All the fabric I'm using for this project has already by added to my tally but at some point one does need to completely finish a project and I'd love to have this quilt ready for my bed by mid-December!

The fourth project I worked on has had me stopped for several years.  It's a BOM I purchased as kits from Jean Wells' shop in Sisters, Oregon in the late 90's.  And it slowed me down this weekend -- it took most of Saturday to piece twenty 3" blocks for cornerstones (thanks goodness I had cut them at some previous time) and 31 sashing units.  All the sections are finally ready to set together but remind me never to do another checkboard sashing -- talk about time consuming!!  And then, at 9ish Saturday evening, I realized I had run out of fabric for the sashing -- one strip short!!!  It's a good thing I have lots of practice with that issue.  Fortunately, I found just enough of a compatible color in the leftovers from other parts of the quilt and scattered it throughout the sashing units to fill in the gaps.  And I think those little rust squares will add something to the quilt!

What about the other 3 projects -- well, they are back on the shelves and will have to wait just a little longer.  They were the smallest of the 7 and actually as I'm writing this, I'm thinking I might just cancel one of them -- haven't cut any fabric so it would be easy to put back into the stash!?!  Sometimes, a gal just has to get real with herself!!

I'm closing in on 165 yards for the year -- 73 days and 47 yards to go!!  That's only 5/8 of a yard a day -- I can do that!!