Monday, June 27, 2011

Border Blocks are done!

The border blocks for the Scrappy Double Irish Chain are made!  I only needed a small amount of the white fabric, thank goodness, because I only had a bit left!  The white that I'm using was given to me.  It has some manufacturing defects in it, but I was able to work around them.  I wasn't sure if I'd have enough or not, but figured that I could always make the quilt a bit smaller if I need to, or I'd find more or use something very close. 

I took a little break from quilting tonight and worked on something else downstairs.  I have a friend who is interested in a bracelet made out of spoon handles.  This requires cutting and bending.  Dad let me borrow his Dremmel.  That did a good job cutting off the spoon bowl, as long as I used a decent cut off wheel.  It also did a good job cleaning up the silver.  The torch and pliers were a bit trickier.  The second spoon got too hot in a spot and broke.  There are also some tool marks from the pliers from using too much force to bend the spoon.  I bought several spoons that were the same, so we have several to experiment with!

Now let's see, the quilt lay out is 11 blocks x 12 blocks.  I'll do the long sides first, so my side borders need to have 12 blocks.  I need to keep the white squares facing the quilt.  I'll start with  the border blocks that contain the white squares.  I'll sew the border squares together alternating the two types, keeping the white square facing in (right for one border, left for the other).  That will be my next step, but that step will need to wait. 

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Borders on the Scrappy Double Irish Chain

I got the Scrappy Double Irish Chain sewn together and pressed this evening.  I auditioned several different borders.  The dark blue one was just too plain.  The one with reds and purple was only okay.  I tried white and then 4-patches.  Not quite right.  Playing with the 4-patch units, we sort of filled in the outside edge while placing a white square in the center of every other block.  That did it!  Here's the quilt sewn together...

And here's a black and white rendering of how the border will look.  I need 726 more 2" squares.  Of those, 23 are white.  I have only a very small bit of white left.  I hope I have enough!

The border is actually 3 squares deep.  The block matrix looks like this:


Alternating with:


And the corners:




Twenty three of the first 2 and 2 of the second 2.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Double Irish Chain - #10

Double Irish Chain

I pieced this green Double Irish Chain quite a while ago.  It has been in the quilt top stage for a long time, waiting for me to get my long arm.  Don't worry, it had plenty of company!

Close up of the quilting.  There is quite a bit of quilting in it.  The pattern is Bayside by Lorien Quilting (Hermione Agee).  This provides nice texture and a good amount of the design shows up on the light areas.  One of the things I like about this design is that is isn't particularly feminine.  This quilt is very gender neutral.  I did have some difficulty quilting this design.  As I quilted out to the top of the arcs, the machine wanted to track straight.  I had flat tops and some arcs that looked more like squares.

Because of this difficulty, I decided to purchase new wheels.  I bought Edge Rider wheels from A Touch of Thread.  I went to the National Quilting Association's show in Columbus last week.  I was hoping to find the wheels there, but really didn't expect to.  I was a happy, but tired, quilter when I came home.  I finished quilting the quilt Saturday so the new wheels could be installed.  Sunday was Fathers' Day, so tonight was Wheel Night!

Ta Da!!!!!  New Wheels!  I think I am thrilled with them.  There is no play at all and they move very smoothly.  I bought new clamps too and installed them tonight too.  All is good except one little problem...

The new wheels don't fit on the carriage.  You can see them on the machine, but not the carriage.  The machine rolls very smoothly on the carriage.  But, the carriage is still wobbly on the long tracks.  Even still, I'm anxious to try this new set up.  I have 50% of my movement much improved!  I imagine that I'll just get a new carriage and put the fancy wheels on it.  Brad said it perfectly tonight as he was test driving the new wheels:  "This way is like a Mercedes, this way is like a Chevrolet"

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

String Pieced Sashings

Tonight, I finished the 80 string pieced sashings.  I pieced these on phonebook pages.  I like using phonebook pages for the foundations.  The lines and columns make it easy to keep the fabrics lined up and the paper tears away so easily.  I had some already pieced, but getting them to 6 1/2" long caused some problems.  Most of my strings are very narrow, so much so that cutting one in half and allowing a seam allowance didn't leave any fabric!  I was doing more ripping and strategically adding strings than I was obtaining 6 1/2" units.  So, I decided to just cut foundations at 3 1/2" x 6 1/2".  That went very well and the last 40 sashing pieces went together quickly. 

Here's a preview of what the quilt will look like when it's done.  It's designed to come out to about 63" x 76".  I will decide on borders once the quilt it together.  I'd like something that will keep it gender neutral.  And if it something that I have in my stash, all the better!

I still have the green Double Irish Chain on the long arm and I haven't finished assembling the scrappy Double Irish Chain yet.  I need to be able to lay out the quilt and then pick it up and bring it to the machine to sew the rows together uninterrupted.  I don't have a lot of sewing time on weeknights, so those bigger projects are better for weekends. 

Sunday, June 5, 2011

I think I zigged and should have zagged!

Usually, when I sew blocks together, I lay them out first, then pick up all of the blocks in rows after flipping the second row onto the first one.  I didn't do that with the Scrappy Double Irish Chain.  It is only two blocks!  I guess that would have been okay if I had gone ahead and made one stack of blocks rather that working from two.

However, I didn't.  I took me until I got to the last row to see what I had done.  I layed the quilt on the floor in the media room.  I don't know how, but Cooper heard me!  I did manage to keep him off of it!  Yep, sure enough, there was a mistake.  Lucky for me though, the entire row was off.  That's great news because that means that nothing is wrong.  The rows aren't sewn together yet.  I'll just snip the chain piecing threads and put the quilt together in two halfs, then sew the two together.

I ended up having to lay this out downstairs as it doesn't quite fit in the media room.  The quilt is 83" x 90" without borders.  I'm not sure what I'm going to do yet for borders.  Any suggestions?