Friday, December 31, 2010

I Haven't Forgotten

Well, I'm not sure if anyone is checking in on my, but I just want you all to know that I haven't given up.

I do have lots of plans for 2011, but a big part of them include Quilter's Academy.

I don't know if I can finish Volume 1 and 2 before Volume 3 comes out, but I am at least going to finish Volume 1 before the April release date.

I see that everyone else that I'm keeping tabs on is still working.  Looking good, ladies!

Hope everyone has a great day!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Class 130

There are two different quilts in Class 130...actually, they aren't really different, but the way that you do them is different.

In the first one, Harriet's Woodland Winter Quilt, you cut the squares to match the Rail Fence blocks. In the second one, Carrie's Cowboy Corral Quilt, you cut the squares and then figure out how big you need to make the Rail Fence blocks.

I don't have a lot of focus fabric that I can fussy cut, so I'm vacillating on whether to actually do the quilt.

I did find some fabric that I could use, but I only have a fat quarter with nine useable fussy cut squares.

I figured that I would have to cut my strips 1 7/8" to make a Rail Fence block to fit around this block, but with only nine of them, I can't make a section of the quilt.  I could only use five of them.

That would make a really small quilt, but I think that would be okay with me.  I don't really need to do the same quilt again.  I think the point of the exercise is to figure out how to size the Rail Fence blocks.

I could make it into a small table topper.

I think that's what I'll do.

Happy Thanksgiving

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Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Doin' Quilts the Hargrave Way

I'm working on the first clue of Bonnie Hunter's new mystery quilt.

It's actually designed to be cut from scraps, but I'm cutting it from fat quarters, so I am tearing the edge of each fat quarter and cutting 2" strips from them, measuring them when the first two strips are sewn together and then correcting what needs to be corrected and adding the third strip.

It's slow going, BUT, I know that when I go to put these little units into the quilt, they will fit perfectly and that makes it all worth while.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Some Random Thoughts

First of all, I found another fellow Hargraver.

Secondly, I used up my first (of many) cans of Faultless starch.

Hope you all have a quilty day!

Lesson Seven: Harriet's Woodland Winter Quilt

I finished the middle of Harriet's Woodland Winter Quilt yesterday.

It took me most of the day.

I kept thinking along the way that had I been doing it "my" way, I would have finished in about half the time.

It made me think about The Process Pledge which is a movement that strives to encourage others to blog about the process of quilting instead of just about the finished quilt.
The goal of the process pledge is to create a new sensibility in quilting blogs where we don’t just show finishes or occasionally confess about our moments of indecision, but chat openly and often about our works in progress, our inspirations, and our moments of decision. (Rossie, May 14, 2010)
I really like the idea, and I think that I have been naturally blogging a lot about the process, but maybe I don't as much as I think I do. Yesterday, working on this quilt reminded me about the process of quilting.

Because Harriet and Carrie focus so much on the process of quilting...on breaking down each little part and making certain that each step serves its purpose of making the quilt more accurate...this project of blogging about my journey through Quilter's Academy lends itself to blogging about the process of quilting.

So, I decided to share some thoughts that I had yesterday while I was making Harriet's Woodland Winter Quilt.

Of course, I made it from my own fabric...

...because in addition to the fact that I want to finish Quilter's Academy, I also want to do as many of the quilts from my stash as possible.

I straightened all the fabric and cut it.  Of course, I had different colors of fabric from Harriet.

While sewing the strips, I noticed that the yellow fabric was thicker than the other fabrics, so it was tricky to put it in the strip set and have the sets come out exactly 3½", but I worked at it.

Here's my test strip...

And here are the sections that I had to cut out because my seams weren't straight and they were too small.

So, I ended up having to cut six strip sets instead of just five...note to self...cut out at least one more strip set than you think you'll need.

Then, once my strip sets were done and cut and I cut my squares, I decided to put the quilt together, but I realized that I had put the strip sets together wrong.



I looked at the quilt and I looked at my strip sets....

and I figured out a little different arrangement....

and I ended up with this.

I tried Harriet and Carrie's method for chain piecing.

I have to admit, I didn't use it in Lesson Six when it was introduced.

It was awkward at first...laying out the entire quilt, gathering up the blocks and stacking them into rows.

Because I don't have a big space to the side of my machine, I put the stacks on a small rotary cutting board and put them a little behind my machine.

I followed the instructions exactly as given and lo and worked really slick!

Here's a photo of most of the quilt top finished with the last few rows attached.

There are times when it's hard to manage the quilt with it all attached together like that.  I can imagine with a huge quilt that it would be really unmanageable.


that's why we're started out on small quilts...

...and I think I read somewhere that you can do a large quilt in quarter sections and then sew the sections together which makes sense.

Anyway...I finished it.  It was awkward in a lot of ways, but I know that as I use these methods, they'll become so much a part of how I quilt that it won't take extra time...and it's so much more accurate!

Friday, November 19, 2010

Doin' Harriet Methods With Other Blocks

Well, I have quite a few projects that I need to be working on, but my Quilter's Academy Adventure still continues.

I decided to use Harriet's methods to do the blocks.

I wanted to do some Block Lotto blocks, and this month is Quilter's Choice.  Our blocks are to be 12" finished with a center block of purple and white that is 8" finished.

First of all, I drafted my own patterns for the blocks.  This is something that Harriet teaches in Quilter's Academy but I already knew how to do it.  Here are some sketchy drafted blocks.  They're really simple.

From there, I established the straight grain of my fabric.  The purple was mostly fat quarters, so I tore one end and pressed as suggested.

I cut my strips and triangles and sewed it all up.

The first block that I made with HST (half square triangles) I cut the squares 5" and then cut them in half, but for the second block I made, I took a leap of faith and cut the square 4 7/8" like you're supposed to.

The first two blocks came out perfectly, but the third one, I forgot to trim one of the 4-Patch units and that skewed things a little, so it didn't come out perfectly.  You probably cannot appreciate it, but it was just a few threads off.

"Why do you care about a few threads?" you might ask.

Well, a few threads in each block add up to quite a bit in a huge quilt...especially the smaller the pieces in your blocks.

So, with the middles finished, all I need to do is to add some strips to the edges of the blocks, cut them to 12" finished and then I'm done with Block Lotto for this month.

I have the fabric picked out the the next project in QA1 (Quilter's Academy Volume 1), so I will be working on that sometime this coming week, I hope.

I have several projects that have a timeline, so as important as I hold this project, I need to fit it into my quilting time.

I have found that I'm getting quicker and quicker, which I thought would be impossible when I first started.

I still can't imagine doing this for a whole quilt, though.  I just think that it would take SO much more time.

One conclusion I came to was this...

Harriet suggested that when you do strip piecing, you should trim back the strips before you cut them into sub-units.  I think that would be faster than what I'm doing, which is trimming the subunits right before I sew them into the four-patch units (or whatever).

Of course this only works if you have perfectly cut, perfectly pieced, perfectly pressed strip sets.

Ahhhhhh, becoming a Master Quilter is not for the faint of heart, lol.