Wednesday, January 11, 2023

It's been a GREAT day!!

The design wall is empty today!!  My version of Katja Marek's Homage to Grandmother's Flower Garden is completed -- well, the top is finished!!  
I've spent part of everyday since New Year's Day assembling the subsections into bigger sections until there were two diagonal halves.  All that was left to stitch were dozens of 3/4" seams -- stitch one, stitch a "sew-off", stitch another, and so on.

My goal was to finish the piecing by the time I leave for a retreat in a week where I started this project last winter.  Managing my neck arthritis is challenging.  It dictates how long I can sit at my sewing  machine, so I'm trying to develop a new habit of stopping before my neck starts to hurt.
The "set-in piecing simplified" technique I use to machine piece hexagons needs a "sew-off" at the end of every seam, so I've been going through dozens of them this week.  

On New Year's Eve day (itchy to start a new project), I sorted through my 2 1/2" strip stash and cut everything for a scrappy strip quilt that has been on my "want to piece" list for a while.  It is a take-off of a jelly roll quilt -- Sakura Sun (by Linda Fitch for RJR Fabrics).  Stitching the pieces into the bands was my first set of sew-offs.
Bonus -- getting up and down to press the bands as they were finished is a good mini-break from the machine and my neck appreciated that!!
165 sew-offs later and the bands were ready to put on the design wall -- well, that's exciting!!  
I spent an hour moving the bands around a bit to control some "hot-spots" --
like this hot pink/orange/red piece on the left that was screaming at me from the other side of the room.
Quick tip here -- I switched it with another more subtle "warm color" piece and settled it up against another red/orange piece to calm it down.
Much better!!
Of course, once the layout felt right I had to sew the bands together and finish the top immediately!?!
I added three more bands than the pattern specified to achieve a "tall" laprobe size. 
Time to hunt for some more sew-offs and get back to work on Homage!

It has been my habit for over a decade to use UFO's that have stalled out at the piecing stage as "sew-offs" -- two birds, one stone.  This piece surfaced sometime in November while I was hunting for something else so I laid out what was pieced on the floor and have been stepping over it for two months.  
No cutting needed as I had done that whenever I started it.
And more set-in piecing -- so I was on a roll!
I see-sawed back and forth between the two projects 
adding the honeycombs to the layout.  I cut a few more of the hexa-poly shapes to finish the outer edges and . . . . . 
. . . . . then there it was, the very last 3/4" seam of Homage!!
And here it is in all it's glory!
All the fabric is from my stash.
Rotary cut with the little hexagon in Marti Michell's template Set N.
It is completely machine pieced using the "set-in piecing simplified" technique that I taught.
The top is about 64" wide by 60" long and I won't add a border.
The backing is ready and I'll take it to the retreat next week to layer it (and show off)!
I even have ideas in mind for how I'll quilt it by machine!?!
My wheels will spin for a day or two now while I refocus and pick up the next project.
That's where all my lists come in handy -- minimizes the wheel spinning!

Keep stitching out there!!


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