Thursday, April 28, 2011

Penguin 9-Patch Chain continued...

I've been able to spend time sewing for three nights running now.

Tuesday I started constructing the chain blocks.  At the moment they remind me of bumblebees, I hoping that softens when the penguins are added.

Initially I questioned why we had to lay the two sets of corner blocks out differently, then once I sewed the first block realized that for the sake of symmetry in the corners - keeping the seam lines horizontal, this was important. On the other hand, it made joining the strips a little harder and pressing a little harder for me as it requires a little more finesse and coordination with the iron when initially setting the seams.
Wednesday I completed the blocks for the chain block and cut the solid blocks.

Then I started joining the strips for the Penguin 9 patch blocks.

Sadly, the black fabric is just about an inch too short to get 12 3.5 inch blocks from one strip - so I removed the black strip from the end piece and used the left over penguin pieces with blocks cut from a remaining half strip to piece together strips 12 & 13 for the blocks.

These will be fun blocks.  I'm not sure what I did wrong when I was working my way through the fabric needs - but clearly I screwed something up. I currently have 4 extra 1.5 inch black strips and 2 extra 3.5 inch penguin strips.  I'll use them when piecing the back, so they won't go to waste.  I also didn't cut enough 3.5 inch black strips the first time around - I think I must have put the 4 in the wrong column. Fortunately I have plenty of the black fabric on hand so I didn't have to make an emergency trip to the store to solve this problem.

Monkey helped in her usual style...

Which is an improvement from walking on the pressing board and knocking blocks off the bed when I was laying out the celestial circles quilt earlier this week. Dash is more content to sleep on my feet. If he had a tail, it would have been stepped on numerous times Wednesday night.

Gus and I are camping this weekend with the Cub Scouts, so I'm not sure I'll get the top assembled tonight as we have to pack.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Double Nine-Patch Chain - part 1

Taking advantage of being able to reach my sewing space - and also of having washed and organized three loads of fabric this weekend, I started the next project - the Double Nine-Patch Chain.

I'm reversing the color values - using black in place of tan and yellow in place of the blue to complement the penguins.  Often I find the hardest part of getting started on a new project is deciding which of the fabrics to choose.  I love all things penguin - and bought several yards at the end of bolt sale a few months ago with no particular project in mind.

I thought about using the penguins/puffins & polar bear fabric that I also have too much of, but didn't like the contrasts and having a light/pastelish border - so I'll save that one for another project.

After cutting all of the strips - and apparently a few extra black strips as I'm not sure how I miscounted, I pressed the folds out as I use the recommended method of folding twice before cutting - but this does leave three creases instead of 1.

My final task for tonight was to start sewing strips together.  The four sets of corner block strips are done - waiting to be pressed and cut. The strips for the nine patches and the centers need to be pressed and have the other side added. And the strips for the large Nine Patch blocks are pressed and ready to be cut to size - however, I first need to make sure that my YUMS are matching up so that the blocks aren't too large or too small.

As I've been working this week, I'm also working my way through the Pirates of the Caribbean in the background. I love a pirate who sashays.  The Black Pearl just returned from World's End, so I'll close now to watch a little more and hand out with the sleeping Corgis.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Back in the saddle again - Celestial Circles

This is one of my favorites so far.  The fabric speaks to me and I hope to the eventual recipient. Plus the colors are fun.  Once concern I have is that the overall color value is pretty close together. I'm hoping that the yellow is enough to pop the circles out - the purple blends a little more than I would have liked, but was definitely better than the teal I also auditioned.

Getting ready...

Because I like the pattern so much and because of the wonderful variety of suns and moons from the panel, I did enlarge the overall quilt. And clearly, I do not envision size well as it is definitely going to be a big one.  The blocks are stacked and ready to start chain piecing together.  11 rows of 9 blocks.  I'm getting better at stacking so that I don't end up having to stitch in odd orders anymore - especially important as orientation matters.  I am also quite thankful that I had a diagram as I got distracted between the stacks and the machine and had to refer back to the design to ensure that I stitched the pieces together appropriately.

One change I made in the stitching was to stitch C1/C2, then C3/C4, then C5/C6, and finally C7/C8/C9 - this made it easier for me to press the seams to the correct side - leaving me to wrestle with fewer flips of the quilt while pressing after joining the four sets together. I'm still working on the coordination.  The other thing I found that in enlarging this project is that it is longer than my ironing board is wide, so I was stacking and restacking sections as I pressed.  Happily, I only ripped out part of one seam yesterday in the process - I wasn't paying enough attention at the end and it was beyond wonky. 

Here is the back before I started joining the rows together.

And the finished product, sans borders. But we are getting closer and closer to the borders class.

There will be three borders on this - the first being the celestial teal to float the circles, the second the yellow from the rings and the third a marvelous print.  I will also piece the back from more of the collection.

I finally photographed the finished Asian Nights variation last night as well.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Friday Night Sew-In coming up

The next Friday Night Sew In will be this coming Friday, the 15th.  I am planning to play with the Celestial Dreams fabric - which is almost ready in terms of piecing the entire top. I just need to finish the last 8 9-patch squares which have been waiting for me to do so for several weeks now.

Would also help to clean a path to my sewing machine, which I may get to do tonight instead of working in the garden as thunder storms are threatening.

They have a cute new button for the FSNI!