Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Triangulating

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While I am on my sewing hiatus, I've been planning and scheming all the projects I'd like to do this year. I think this year is going to be the Year of the Triangle for me. Hundreds of HSTs figure prominently in a lot the projects. Thankfully, I have my trusty Big Shot and several different HST dies. I think that in the past, the idea if piecing a bunch of HSTs and having to trim them down and clip all the dog ears kind of turned me off. But since I have efficiently trimmed my 680 HSTs from the last post, I am rarin' to go!

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For this WIP, I cut 170 isosceles triangles using the Wonder Triangles Quilt Sense ruler about a year ago. The ruler also comes with a half triangle ruler to make the triangle into a square block. I used it to cut the ends of the rows. I wanted to make the quilt 13 full triangles across and 14 full triangles down, so I needed to cut a few more. Most of the prints are florals from the Heirloom line by Joel Dewberry, but I added in some text and geometrical prints. These are the fabrics I pulled (the text print at the bottom right was part of the original group of triangles) for the additional triangles:

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I initially bought the orange and aqua print in the bottom row to add. But once I saw it with the rest of the set, it didn't quite seem to go. The aquas weren't the right shade, either, so I ended up going with these two from Lucy's Crab Shack:

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So, here's an example of the mix - before and after:

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I was a little worried that the new triangles wouldn't work with the original mix, but I like them. There is a lot of variation in the oranges, so the new prints fit right in. The Whimsy text print doesn't totally go, but I didn't cut too many and I think it will help keep the eye moving in the sea of aqua, orange, and yellow. I love how it's coming together and I can't wait to do a little bit of piecing on it!

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I'm linking up to Lee's WIP Wednesday over at Freshly Pieced for the first time! Mostly, I'm a lurker and have just read about other people's WIP but now I'm joining in!

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Drought and Creative Reawakening?

3" HSTs

I have been having a complete sewing/creative drought. (Those HSTs up there are from... maybe 5 years ago!) I have not sewn a single stitch since... I can hardly remember when. I think I had to rip and re-sew a seam on one of my Boppy covers after my daughter was born late February of last year. Then, I was busy doing baby stuff, and then we moved. So, even though my daughter is old enough that I might be able to sew a little bit, we no longer have the room for sewing.

Sizzix Big Shot

I gifted myself a Sizzix Big Shot for Christmas and I have been playing with it a little bit (I believe Sizzix is marketing a new one that is called the Fabi Personal Fabric Cutter, but I believe it is the same thing as the Big Shot). So, if memory serves (and usually it doesn't), my good intentions for all those HSTs above were to fashion them into a quilt a la Katy's Fat Geese quilt. But you know what they say about good intentions...

Here's where things went wrong. Firstly, I used a method for cutting HSTs from the Quilt in a Jiffy tutorial from Moda Bake Shop. Back in the day, I whipped up a couple of quilts using this pattern. I figured - why not do it with 5" charm squares? So, I had three (maybe four?) sets of charm squares with a variety of white/off-white/beige tones and I paired them with what I think are some Annette Tatum fat quarters that I cut into charm squares. Little did I know that "low volume" quilts would be having their moment in the sun when I finally got back around to to these guys!

So, the MBS tutorial basically has you put two squares, right-sides together. You sew around the four sides and then cut the square diagonally through the center twice (take a look at the tutorial, it will make more sense). Then you press your HSTs open and go on your merry way. So part of the problem is me - my roving 1/4" seam, my impulse to cut more layers than I ought to in one go, and another part is that you are now dealing with a lot of bias edges and despite the fact that charm squares are industrially die-cut, there are still some wonky ones in each bunch. All those things together conspired to create a boatload of inconsistent HSTs. And I had hundreds of them. And they all needed to be dog-eared (which I did at some point, but I think I blocked it out because I cannot remember doing it, for the life of me!). And I pressed the seams to the printed fabric side.

Fat Geese quilt HSTs

I did try to put a few pairs together, to create the fat geese but I found out pretty quickly that all of the afore-mentioned problems meant that the quilt was going to be a hot mess. (Having pressed the seams to the side, my machine had a little trouble going over the bulk of fabric that met at the point of each goose...) So, I abandoned them.

Several years ago, I got them out again and decided I would give them a little starch and press the seams open. Oh, it was so many seams... In the end, I still had the problem of the inconsistent 1/4" and away they went again.

Enter the Big Shot. My initial thought was that I would use the dies to cut my scraps into useable bits. So, to that end, I got a 3" square, a 4.5" tumbler, and a 4.5" HST die. I also decided to get the 2.5"strip die (there are two strips on the die). I know, I know what you're thinking - "you can't cut squares or strips?! Should you be quilting?!' But, let's not judge. I had my reasons. Anyway, in one of Katy's recent posts, she mentioned that she uses her Sizzix to square up her HSTs. Lightbulb! The Big Shot can handle up to 8 layers of fabric at once (I may have inadvertently pushed that "limit" a couple of times).
HST in desperate need of squaring
Desperate need for squaring up
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Perfectly square!
So, even though I can't sew right now, I've been cranking out perfectly squared-up HSTs and it suddenly seems that this perpetual UFO, is now a WIP once again! Not sure when I'll get to sewing. But it feels good to be working with fabric again. I've been having dreams about quilting and I've been looking over patterns and getting ideas on Flickr. I did try to participate in the Monthly Fabric Swap Group in November. But alas, no word from my partner. However, I must note that Leona runs a great swap and she even volunteered to step in for my AWOL partner. But, I still hopeful. Am I delusional? Maybe. I went back and looked at some of the blocks in the bees that I've been in and realized that I'd made some blunders on a couple. We all make mistakes.

Wow, so I had a lot to say - I have blogging diarrhea (bloggarrhea?) Does this mean more blogging? Not dure. (I also write a weekly one for the out-of-town grandparents and even that is hard to keep up!) But I wanted to say that I'm still here, dreaming of quilts, trying to stay creative, always inspired and enjoying other people's creations!