It’s Home! My Traveling Bee-utiful Quilt Top

23 12 2015

My quilt top for the Traveling Bee-utiful Swap made its way home a few weeks ago. It’s so large that I had to wait until I could take it to work and photograph it there, on our empty floor space. I could carpet my living room with this quilt top.

My Traveling Bee-utiful Quilt Top

I’m debating ways to quilt it, but I might make some alterations first. We’ll see.

For the moment, this top is going into my UFO pile, to await the day that I’m ready to tackle it again.

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Finished! Sewing Room Quilt Top Additions

23 12 2015

I’m late in blogging about it, but I did actually complete my addition for the last quilt top in the Traveling Bee-utiful Quilt Swap.

I had a lot of disparate parts, that I needed to make into a cohesive whole. Making them whole would have been easy – COHESIVE was another matter entirely.

Traveling Bee-utiful - November Part 1

Traveling Bee-utiful - November Part 2

I kept letting myself get psyched out by the project. Frankly, I let myself get stuck on one idea, and couldn’t get myself out of the mental rut. Somehow, I’d convinced myself that I needed to make representational blocks – images of tools, essentially.

I couldn’t find patterns that I was willing to pay for, and I definitely didn’t feel up to designing something myself. So, I got stuck. Repeatedly.

Until finally, I re-read the description for the ‘plan’ for the quilt top, and realized that I could do something else entirely. Up to, and including, splitting the disparate parts that I had into two quilt tops, so that the original quilter would be able to hang her quilts on the wall.

Traveling Bee-utiful November

Ultimately, I decided to piece the words “DREAM” and “DESIGN”, to complement the word “CREATE”, which had been pieced by a previous quilter. I then sandwiched one of the panels between the words, and left the remaining panel (featuring a really awesome seam ripper) alone, to be its own mini-quilt.

In the end, I sent it out, pretty happy with what I’d done. I’d go back and change a couple of small things now, but it’s done, and so is this swap for the year.





Finished! Rainbow Brite Additions

22 10 2015

October Addition Complete

I finally completed attaching the borders to Rainbow Brite this morning. I’d set it aside for a couple of days, frustrated.

I’d made the mistake of assuming that the quilt top would be the same length on each side, and measured down the middle for 74.5″ inches. I made my borders to fit that measurement, and when I pinned them on in preparation to sew, I discovered that one side was 1/2″ short, while the other was 3″ short.

*headdesk*

I was not prepared to take the central quilt panel apart in anyway – I’ve done that once already this swap – and I just don’t have that kind of time left in the month. I ended up replacing the sashing strips at either end of both borders, to make up the differences. Not a big deal (I guess?), but it makes me worry about the final product.

Regardless, it’s done, and I like my additions. If I had this quilt next month, I know exactly what I’d add, but this will be going to it’s last temporary home before returning to the original quilter at the end of November.





WIP Wednesday – The One in Which I Attempted to Post Earlier…

14 10 2015

It was almost 2 AM, very early on Wednesday morning, when I started this post. I’d hoped I could have it done before I had to work eleven hours. I started falling asleep before getting through the post, so now, at 10:00 PM, I’m going to finish.

I received the top-in-progress for my October contribution to the Traveling Bee-utiful Quilt Swap earlier this month.

Traveling Bee-utful - October

Unlike previous tops, this one was too big to reside on my design wall, so I didn’t get to ruminate on a design the way I usually do: in the back of my head, while I go about other projects. I like to take a look at these tops, and then go to work. I find that I solve a lot of my creative issues while I’m walking around the sales floor, figuring out solutions to other problems.

Traveling Bee-utiful OctoberNot having the top up where I could see it daily, I felt a distinct difference in how I approached this top. Usually, the design process feels very organic. This time, I had force myself to consider things in a very condensed period – I was late on sending out last month’s top, and I don’t want to repeat that this month. I had today off, so I tried to be very conscious about having a design picked out. I wanted to use my time off effectively.

As I tried to figure out design, I ran into a stumbling block right away. As is, the long sides of the quilt top measure 74.5″.

Try as I might, I found it difficult to create/design borders for that length. No numbers divide nicely into 74.5″ (or even 74″, which would be the finished size to shoot for). However, this top is already fairly busy – there’s a lot going on here!

Ultimately, I decided that less would be more, and thought multi-hued stars would be the way to go. I decided on Martha Washington Stars, because I could sew their center pinwheels using a black background print, to give them some unity. I knew I wanted to make each of them out of a different color fabric – the theme to this top is ‘Rainbow Brite’, after all. I also decided that the stars needed to float on their background, to combat how busy everything else is.

Design decided on, it was a simple matter to decide on background fabric – I have a few yards of a black mini-dot on white fabric, which will coordinate nicely with the other black on white background fabrics used in the top thus far. I also knew that I’d want to use the same fabric for the center pinwheels of the stars. Easy peasy – I have that on hand too.

From there, it was just a matter of hitting the stash for 16 different fabrics for each of the 16 stars I’ll need to make for the two borders. Yes, just two, because I don’t want this thing becoming disproportionately long.

Rainbow Brite Fabric Pull

Fabric pulled, it was a quick job of starching, pressing and cutting. That done, I was able to get all of my sub-units pieced, though not entirely trimmed:

A Good Day's Work

My plan for this evening is to get all of my sub-units trimmed. I’d like to be able to focus on chain-piecing everything on Thursday night.

Linking up with WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced.





A Little Catching Up…

4 10 2015

This week and last were both 50-hour work weeks for me. We experienced an onslaught of winter/holiday items arriving to our warehouse, and I’m one of the few individuals cross-trained both to work in the warehouse and in our retail locations. Due to this, I ended up working at the warehouse, hefting boxes. Lots of boxes.

This means that I’m behind on my (admittedly mental) schedule to get my retail location together for winter/holiday displays, but that’s actually a good thing. There remains a slew of open orders due to arrive at the warehouse. I’d rather not set up displays, only to have to reset them again, and again.

That also meant that I fell behind on getting my September commitment for the Traveling Bee-utiful Swap done. Not by much – just a couple of days, but I hate falling behind on deadlines. It makes me grumpy.

This is the top, as I received it, in early September:

Traveling Bee-utiful - September

I knew one thing, as I got this top-in-progress on my wall – I wanted to lighten it up, by adding a border that was comprised heavily of low volume fabrics. I felt like the top needed a ‘breather’ but this point. I turned to EQ7, as I usually do, and modified an existing border treatment in the EQ7 block library. I started with this:

Base Border BlockIt was pretty boring to me, so I decided to alter it. After reading the original quilter’s journal entry regarding the start of her quilt, I knew that I needed to make sure to use scraps. It wasn’t a hard choice. I have plenty of scraps.

It didn’t take long for me to come up with this:

September Border

Plenty scrappy, and I knew I had plenty of low volume fabrics to get me through border. I did, however ultimately decide to stick to just two low volume prints. I didn’t have enough scrappy low volume, and wanted to minimize my time in cutting.

I modified the design to come up with a corner block, so that the design would ‘turn the corners’ of the border:

September Border - Corner Block

That made me happy with the final design:

September Border - Whole

From there, it was just a matter of paper-piecing. This should have been fast, and easy. Problem was, I completely forgot about chain-piecing for some reason. *sighs*

If I’d remembered, I might have been able to get this out on time…

As it was, I remembered halfway through, and managed to make the last two nights of piecing go much more quickly. For all of my non-low volume fabrics needs, I went through my stash of starched and pre-cut scraps. I love using my scraps – it’s like a fabric acquisition memory lane.

So, after being silly, working too much, and making this project take too long, I finally attached the border to the last side on Thursday night.

Traveling Bee-utiful Swap - September AdditionI’m very happy with how this one turned out, and am excited to start October’s contribution. I’ve already received it, though I haven’t opened the package yet.





Traveling Bee-utiful – August

4 09 2015

For the month of August, a top-in-progress that I’d already worked on cycled back to me. When I last saw it, this is what I had, a collection of individual blocks:

Traveling Bee-utiful - February Round

This time, there were more individual blocks:

Traveling Bee-utiful - August

My challenge this month was to start pulling a modern sampler together out of the individual blocks.

I stared at the blocks for a while, feeling like there was something missing. I referred back to the inspiration quilt, which is the Moda Building Blocks Sampler. I realized that what I felt that another, large-ish block needed to be in the quilt top.

So, I made an 18″ Windmill block:

August - Windmill

I went with this block because I felt it was visually distinct from the several variations of star blocks already present in the blocks. In the end, this was my only new addition.

I then began putzing around with the blocks, looking to start forming the actual top, to get the blocks into a sampler. I ended up with three distinct sections, as pictured below, along with a handful of additional blocks.

Something Like Progress

I left the top-in-progress as it was, and sent it to the next person to work on it. I figure this way, there’s some structure, but there’s also room to add more.

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Traveling Bee-utiful Additions for April

9 05 2015

I ended up getting two tops-in-progress for the month of April. Not a big deal – I was up to the challenge! Or so I thought…

The first top-in-progress was not a challenge. The original quilter requested a single, sashed block from each of us, with our signature on it. I picked a block I really like from one of my reference books and modulated my usual really strong color choices a bit, to better blend with the previous blocks. I think my color choices were still really strong in comparison, but maybe it’ll blend better as we progress through the year.

Traveling Bee-utiful April for SunseakObviously, acid green had to make an appearance, and I was enamored of the tiling-like print, so they went together. I happened to have that emerald green solid from a clearance purchase, and I thought it made a lovely median between the acid green and cerulean.

It was when I got to the second top in progress that I faltered. The theme for this one was ‘Well Traveled’. I instantly wanted to map out my travels in fabric, but that proved harder than anticipated. To give you an idea… I was born in the Philippines, and, as a military brat, spent time in Italy, Florida, Colorado, Texas, and Oklahoma. As an adult, I moved to Illinois, and have traveled to Indiana, and then returned to Wisconsin.

I went through idea after idea, discarding most of them. Mainly because I didn’t want to piece a bunch of buildings, because previous additions to the quilt were all animal related. Also, because they were very complicated, and I wasn’t in the mood for complicated.

Despite saying that, I decided that I had to pay homage to the Philippines, for sure. I ended up drafting a sun block, taking the sun motif from the Philippine flag. The sun symbolizes unity, freedom, people’s democracy and sovereignty. The eight rays of the sun represent the eight provinces that began the 1896 revolution against Spain.

I also decided to pay homage to Texas, and purchased an armadillo pattern on Craftsy. I enlarged it quite a bit, to match the finished size of my sun (14″ square).

For everything, I raided my slim stash of batik fabrics. I’ve never been able to bring myself to get rid of them, and I’m so glad I didn’t now, despite not finding them appealing anymore.

Traveling Bee-utiful April for ForestbucketsI’m still tempted to see if I can iron out ideas for the other places I’ve lived, but we’ll see if my creativity is up to the challenge. Drafting one block was all right. I’m not sure that I’m up to drafting several more.

Anyway, both of these are now in their May homes, and I’m without a swap project for this month. I am, however, already looking toward June…