Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Never Say Never

'Mrs. Bannister's Stars'
Block from Jen Kingwell's  Quilt Lovely

Some time ago I heard from other quilters that any piecing involving Y-seams was not worth doing. End of story. They had tried everything, and there wasn't one technique that made it easy enough to be successful. I believed them, and from then on knew well enough to avoid patterns with troublesome Y-seams

Then I met an experienced quilter who said Y-seams weren't that hard, and you can also chain piece them to make lots of blocks quickly. (What?!) She had my full attention. Meet Mary Huey from the blog, Quilting through Rose-colored Trifocals, and she's made a dvd called Set-in Piecing Simplified available from her blog. I had the chance to see it a few weeks ago. Immediately, I thought of all the projects in Quilt Lovely I had crossed off my To-Do List because of those Y-seams-I-was-Never-doing. I was excited, and ready to give her techniques a try. 

Adding Complexity to the Y-seam Project

Last week I had a stash trade with a friend, and got these amazing fabrics I'd been hunting. All the fabrics either looked vintage or really were. My own stash was organized into modern and current prints, and then older 80's fabrics with a few vintage pieces. Two bins. Either this or that. I never would have thought to use them both in the same project before, but something about the Kingwell patterns hit me as a perfect design for intentionally mixing vintage with modern.

*Note: Jen Kingwell doesn't specifically promote using vintage and modern together in her book, but does use a wide variety of what she likes. She promotes using a huge number of different prints, colors, textures, and styles. Most definitely a reason I'm attracted to her quilts. Most prints in the book tend toward the vintage or reproduction side, which I didn't own. I have a tendency to imagine how every project I come across would look with bright, modern fabrics, but am also highly attracted to the vintage, and especially 1930's prints. I wondered why I was limiting my choices, and how I could tweak her look to make my own.

Could I blend true vintage fabrics with modern prints, 
and make it work successfully?

I would make this goal part of my Y-seam project. I immediately evaluated which project to start out of Quilt Lovely, and fell in love with Mrs. Bannister's Stars. 

Mrs. Bannister's Stars was my pick, but little did I realize the process of making my own templates, etc. at the start. I did a small pile of pieces at night in front of the t.v. before I realized I had cut mirror images when my fabrics weren't all the same side up. Then I used the wrong fabric with the wrong template. Frustrated and tired, I went to bed. I was learning.

The next day I started fresh. I hauled my mess back to the studio where I could stand up to cut things out, and had better focus with no t.v. Afraid I might not be able to do this block, I only cut out the center pieces. Using Mary Huey's technique, I sewed the center together. 

I felt like a Rock 'Star'! 

I will give away no secrets, but only 2 of my seams were
a little off, and I knew right away how to correct them from what I learned on the dvd. It was that good!

Can you pick out the Riley Blakes, DS Collection, and Kate Spain fabrics? Can you tell the vintage here is all real vintage? 

I used a more current, traditonal print for the outer part of the block. There's plenty of mixing in the fabric styles, and I'm all about this project now! 

A Hairy Tangent

When our older kids were very little, I brought home a pony named Buck for them. My husband questioned why I would seriously buy a pony named Buck. Two horses and another pony later, allergies and asthma, I vowed no more horses. Never again.

Meet Hot Tamale, a.k.a. Marco. He's a 5 year old Welsh pony, and the newest barn mate. He stands just 12.1 or around 125 cm.

Love his socks and stripey hooves!
The Llama boys and Evie are just the 
tiniest bit curious.

They track his every move. Introductions are going well, but there is a lot of drama between a fiesty gelding and curious llamas.

I'll keep you up to date on his progress. I, uh, we, hesitated strongly with this pony, and it took some bravery on my part to know my teenager was going to be putting herself at risk with another animal. Fear is a big deterent whether it's a pony or Y-seams, but it can stop us from growing and having the most wonderful of life's experiences. Once again, I remind you of this:

Push yourself to do something today you didn't think you could do. Remind yourself that most mistakes can be corrected, and allow yourself the chance to grow.

Come on, Doxie girls.
Let's go sew some Y-seams.

Linking up with~
Freshly Pieced
Sew Fresh Quilts
Quilt Story
Late Night Quilter
Freemotion by the River
Show and Tell Tuesday
Blossom Heart Quilts
Lily's Quilts


Mary Huey said...

Thanks for giving the technique a try, Julie -- I love the block and they will just get easier to piece with each one you make!! Looking forward to seeing lots more y-seam piecing in your work!!

Skootchover said...

I love the quote you added. So true. That block is amazing! I can't wait to see a whole quilt of them. Hope the pony settles in well.

Pedal Sew Lightly said...

Great post. That pillow is so gorgeous that I may need to face my Y-seam fear and watch that video. I seem to keep coming across your site lately and now I see you are part of the New Quilt Bloggers group. Me too! This might sound crazy, but I'm a huge fan of concrete and I'd love to see more photos of that tilt-up slab barn you seem to have. I'll be creeping on your old posts for photos. Loved the part about that beautiful new pony joining your family. Your menagerie gives me yet another reason to creep. Thanks!

Debra said...

Thanks for a really good post! Love your fabric choices..and that you took a chance on something you were unfamiliar with! .. both the Y-seam and the pony. He's a beauty!!!!
BTW - love the photo of your coffee table. Your little doxie seems to be say "Look at the mess you made.. AGAIN! "

natderueil said...

Great block ! Mary's DVD is great ! And Y seams blocks too !

Angie in SoCal said...

LOL - I was reading the first part of your post and thought I need to tell her about Mary's great DVD. I, too, felt the y-seams were out of my comfort zone. I first learned the technique in a Sharon Craig and Harriet Hargreave book, but a picture is worth a thousand words, so I bought the video and I don't fear them any more. Lovely pillow and handsome horse. Thanks for sharing!

Julie said...

The block is fun, but you have to be 'with it'. I'm not sure I could hang in long enough for an entire quilt.

Marco is doing well, and has met the whole herd. The current horse on in the barn will not let him near her llamas, which is hysterical since llamas are herd protectors.


Julie said...

Yes, Mary's DVD is wonderful! I learned so many little tricks, and not fearing Y-seams has opened up many blocks I would have shied away from.

Julie said...

I love when people share with me little tricks and tips. I may not always need it at the moment, but am surprised when I seem to pull it out of my back pocket. Like everything we learn, we add it to our knowledge base, and we grow in expertise in that area. It pays to study--even quilting!

Thank you!

Barb Neiwert said...

Ah, what a great cheerleader you are! I've had no intention of ever making Y Seams, and now, especially with that quote, I'm thinking that maybe I can do it! Have you ever considered selling real estate in the Sahara Desert?

Barb Neiwert said...

Oops - I meant to tell you how well I like your block - very pretty. And your new horse is awesome, too.

Crafty Ashley B said...

Awesome block! Such a pretty pony!
*Found via 2015 New Quilt Bloggers Hop*

Sandra Walker said...

Wiping of eyes here. Love this post Julie. Such great reminders, I love that quote, love the unity here, and love the animal pics!! If only they could talk...na they don't need to; it's obvious what they saying to themselves! Um, I cannot tell the difference between the Riley Blakes etc and the vintage, except for the gingham and the gold background fabric. This is one of the things Weeks Ringle does in her Stash Rx, mix different styles! You are good, girl!

DianeLoves2Quilt said...

Thanks for the pep talk about trying something new. Challenging yourself really is rewarding. I pushed myself to paper piece and appliqué again recently, my weak suites, and I am glad I did. Your Y-seams are great and I admire your fearlessness in your fabric combinations. Don't ya love it when unlikely pairings work? (Not just fabric, but ponies and llamas too...) A new surprise is just around the corner.

Anita said...

A great looking block!

Beth @ Cooking Up Quilts said...

I'm in the "never gonna do Y-seams" camp. I've made one block and while it turned out okay I can't imagine doing an entire quilt of them. Good for you for conquering this technique, the block looks great!

the zen quilter said...

I really enjoyed reading your blog, and I am going to get that CD too! I don't usually make blocks much but this one I'm marking so I can make it sometime - that's how much I like it! Thanks for sharing. I'm impressed with your clean barn, too!