Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Sawtooth and Variable Stars: Day 3 of Charity Quilts

1980's-1990's Fabrics

I was blessed with a sister-in-law who gifted me her stash when she decided she was no longer interested in quilting. That was over a year ago, maybe longer, and it's been hard making a dent in the tubs. The fabric is still in beautiful condition, but a little harder to use because it looks dated. I've been looking for ways to use it so the overall quilt doesn't look like it's from the 80's.

16 Patch Sawtooth Stars with 4 Patch Variable Stars

EQ7 is a delight when I'm playing with something fairly simple like this. I like being able to tell right off if it feels balanced, needs a border or two, or if there's something I'm missing. I took my idea for today's quilt to the studio, and set to work early.

I had another strip to add to finish up yesterday's quilt top, did a quick clean up, and broke out a different palette. The sawtooth stars with 16 patch centers were fairly quick to construct before noon. These are 24", and I have to say I like working with big blocks.

After lunch, it slowed to a snail's pace. There were only 12 of these variable stars, and I used my Creative Grids Flying Geese Ruler to do the star points. So, 48 flying geese. It dragged on as my fabric dove down the hole of my feed plate again and again. I changed my needle, I starched the fabric, I used chain piecing, etc., etc. Older fabric is most definitely thinner than what we use today, and harder to sew.

Finally I was done, and able to start piecing everything together. That's when it became apparent that I had misread my ruler. I calculated for an unfinished unit instead of finished, and all my geese were 1/2" too big. Really! I walked away.

A cup of coffee and a reboot, I was fresh. I could modify the whole plan at that point and scrap the smaller stars, but I was starting to get into the fabric. I sucked it up, and recut the centers and corner patches. I had just exactly enough of one fabric left.

Although the picture is cluttered, I think it makes a difference when you see your progress from across the room. The variable stars block is going to be several inches larger than the 16 patch (the one below it is sewn together) so I'll have to trim the latter ones out. I had planned for sashing and borders so it should be easy to work in. The size difference may be just the thing to give it a more modern look perhaps. That will be tomorrow's problem.

Mystery Quilt Blues

Bonnie Hunter released the last installment of En Provence, her latest mystery quilt, on January 1st. I had gotten a week behind on my blocks, and I am so glad I did. My color choices wouldn't have supported the design as well as I had hoped, and it's time to rethink the last 2 colors. 

I played with it for a while this afternoon, but came to no hard and fast decisions. It can hang out on the design wall a few days, and something will spring to mind. It always does.

I know several of you have been doing the same quilt, and I'm looking forward to seeing how yours turned out. The beauty of working in components like this is they can always be turned into another design if this one isn't what you thought it should be. 

I'll see you tomorrow. I'm absolutely whipped from sewing, and may join the Doxies for a long snooze.

Come on, Doxie girls.
Move over.


Angie in SoCal said...

Is there a straight stitch needle plate for your machine. I had that problem until I bought one and that frustration was gone! I combine old fabrics with newer by sorting by color - then the old blend in. Your stars quilt is going to be lovely.

Julie said...

Angie, I am assuming that's what I'm using because there is a separate plate for FMQ, etc. I will look at the size of the hole in the plate later this morning, though. Perhaps there is another I could get to make this all easier. I have stacks and stacks of this fabric to plow through. It would be worth the investment.

Kathy said...

Rather than trim anything and re-sew, plan on framing the smaller blocks with either background fabric or a contrasting frame to make the blocks the same size. Filling the whole thing in with lots of background fabric, low contrast will also help to modernize the older fabric. I'm probably not mentioning anything you don't already know!

Julie said...

When you are in the middle of a problem, you don't always think straight. May I say that framing the large stars out in background fabric never once occurred to me! K.I.S.S., right? You're my herione today! Thank you, thank you, Kathy!

Kate @ Smiles From Kate said...

Sounds like you have hit the ground running this year. Baby came with two stitch plates one of which was a straight stitch one, I don't know why I didn't invest in one years ago, it is an absolute delight, no more corners sucked in and I'm sure my stitches are better.

Alycia~Quiltygirl said...

Mmmmm Mmm I love those EnProvence colors so far!!!

Kate said...

I like the colors you've got up on the design wall for En Provence. Looking forward to seeing what your final color combination turns out to be. I love EQ for playing with designs and figuring out what works and what doesn't before I start making blocks. Congrats on figuring out how to manage the early cutting errors.