Friday, February 14, 2020

Working Quietly

 Greetings from the snow globe that is currently Northeast Ohio!
We haven't had much snow this winter (embarrassing when one lives in the "snow belt of Ohio",
but yesterday we were delighted with a few inches of soft wet snow that clung to everything. No matter where I went or who I talked with yesterday, everyone was exclaiming about how lovely our world looked frosted from top to bottom!

As for me, I've been quietly absorbed in several projects -- not much finished, but progress just the same.  Those little 8-pointed stars I share in my last post have evolved into this bright cheery child's quilt!
I know strong colors aren't the current baby decor fashion but I hope this quilt will be a cheerful blessing to a new baby and their family someday soon.

One of the little laments that often is evoked by my scrappy use of fabric is "I don't understand how you do that" meaning how I can set two pieces of fabric side-by-side that don't match, that don't look pretty together, that in fact may look harsh together.  So today, I thought I'd share my simple piecing strategy with you.

In my last post, I shared my scrappy pull from the yellow stash.  In the end I cut squares from nine prints.  
There are only four of the cute farm print (the last precious bits of it).  The other prints were selected because the shade of yellow blended with the farm print's yellow or they had a bit of red in the print or they just looked "right", i.e. the daisies!
Here they are sorted and stacked on my sewing table ready for piecing!
I started with the farm print and stitched it with four different yellows.
Then I worked down through each stack, one at a time - pairing each square with a square from every one of the other stacks until all the stacks were used up. 
No judgement made about matching or pretty or anything - just pick two up and sew together!
I didn't press the pairs at this point.
The next step is to sew the pairs together into groups of four squares -- only rule is not to repeat any print in each group of four! 
Still not pressing!
As I clipped the bands of four apart (chain piecing, of course), I laid each one open on the sewing table.  That way, as I joined the groups of four into groups of eight squares I could make sure two squares of the same print weren't too close to each other. 
Then groups of eight together and now I press the seams of the entire band in one direction.
As always, I'm anxious to see how it looks so up on the design wall they go.
I didn't do any math before cutting the squares so needed to cut more as the plan evolved.
Here's a trick I use when my math is a bit sloppy or non-existent!
I use a rectangle for the ends of the bands! 
Once the bands are stitched onto the quilt top, I can trim the ends and they "fit" perfectly.  
Honestly, no one has ever chided me for those corners not being perfect squares.
And I likely wouldn't care if they did because I have a finished quilt top!!
Do they??? 
I have shared this auditioning tip to eliminate frustration many times during my teaching career but it is always worth repeating.  
Stop auditioning one fabric at a time!
Lay up all the options you are considering at the same time.
Leave the room, go do something else for a few minutes and when you come back, pay attention to your first reactions when you look at the design wall.
Usually, my intuition tells me immediately what doesn't work and I can remove those.
Depending on how many options you have found in your stash, this process may have to be repeated until by process of elimination you arrive at the "best option available". 
"Best" and "available" are important words because they help me use up what I already own and they have helped me "stumble" onto new ideas and expand my flexibility.
In other words, it's a strategy that contributes greatly to my productivity because I don't have to stop and wait until I find the "perfect" fabric!!
Once I elongated the top with more bands of yellow squares and red sashing, I was ready to finish it up with cheery red print borders.
It ended up at 40" by 51".
One more UFO successfully managed!!
I'm hoping to be able to share photos next week of my huge English paper piecing Dodecagon quilt.  I'm currently working on it for a bit every day assembling the five large sections and it's so gorgeous.  My other project this week is the quilting of this twin size Sandstone quilt top (one of my patterns on Etsy) for one of my charity quilt group's projects.   It's slow going because of the size but a few lines every day will get me there by the end of February!
Now I'm off to spend the afternoon with this crew so their Dad and Mom can have a little Valentine's break!  Aren't they getting big?!?  And they are starting to move around!!
Oh boy!!

Have a pleasant weekend!

By the way, that quilt is not as crooked as it looks -- apparently, I don't hold my camera very level or straight or something?!? 
Promise, I'm working on that!


  1. Interesting. I sort of do the same, but I don't sew them together. I lay them down and check them out as I do so. That rectangle in the corner is so needed. Turned out great! Thanks for sharing the process.

  2. thanks for a look into your scrappy mind, but those babies are amazing

  3. Hi,
    I'm jumping over from Oh, Scraps! What an awesome idea for putting a quilt together. Thanks for sharing. Have a great day!