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Wash, Rinse, and Repeat

by Steve Tippets on 05/11/18

I'm afraid this week I don't have much to share by way of new material. There are so many blocks that need to be made for this red and black quilt that I'm just focusing on getting them all done. 

However, I did start on the second set of blocks that are very similar to the ones I did last week, they just have a black corner square rather than a red corner square. When I'm all done with both sets of blocks I'll ave 51 total. Holy cow. 

I will say that my Ideal Seam Guide has been the key to the success I'm having with these blocks. These blocks are full of lines that need to run parallel to each other and it would be so obvious if they were crooked or wavy. 

These new blocks aren't completely finished yet. At this point they measure 9"x 9". They are missing the last inch that I still need to cut and add on. I'm waiting until they're all finished to figure out if I have enough of the grey ombre fabric or if I need to do the additional inch in black instead. 

I think they'll look good either way. 

So far I'm finding the repititious blocks relaxing. I like knowing what I'm doing and being able to just go through the motions. I tend to like repetition though. How do you feel about making repetitive blocks? Do you find it monotonous or do you find it relaxing? 

I Hit A Snag

by Steve Tippets on 05/04/18

This week I started putting together the first set of blocks for my red and black quilt. I was so excited to finally start on this project. I've been looking forward to it for months. So imagine my disappointment when I realized that I had a major problem. 

I pre-washed all of the fabrics for this quilt because it uses red material and I didn't want it to bleed. I'm glad I did it. I would have felt horrible if the red had bled onto the rest of the quilt. However, I wasn't counting on the amount of shrinkage that happened.

The black ombre fabric was supposed to be between 42" and 44" wide. This would allow for each 2 1/2" strip that I cut to be that long. Unfortunately, it shrunk down to just over 41". I was hoping it wouldn't be an issue, but I was wrong.

Each strip is sewn to an edge of the red square. You then cut off the excess and sew it on to the other side and repeat. When I got to the last side I didn't have enough material by about an inch. Ugh. 

I was devastated. 

As far as I could tell I only had two options. The first was to cut out additional 10" strips from the leftover material and use those. It wouldn't be a perfect continuation of the fade, but it would work. 

The second option was to just cut out enough material for the section missing and sew it on as a sort of patch. It wouldn't look as nice, but it would allow the quilt to be finished.

I wanted to go with the first option, but unfortunately I didn't have enough material left. I had no choice but to go with the second option.

It's not perfect and I'm sure it will bother me, but it was my only option. Some of the blocks have lighter patches at the bottom and so they are definitely more noticeable, but I'm hoping that once it's all put together and quilted you won't notice it. Thankfully the pattern of this quilt is a little forgiving. This solution definitely wouldn't work with every pattern out there. 

Which leads me to my next question. What do you do if you end up short on the length of material you need? Do you avoid pre-washing so this type of thing won't happen or do you pre-wash exclusively so that if you have shrinkage you can deal with it now instead of with a warped finished product? Moving forward I'm not sure how to proceed with future projects. 

Hopefully I'll figure it out before the next project, but for now I'm focusing on this one. I have completed 15 of the 25 necessary blocks.

Other than the snag with the length, I am loving how these blocks are turning out. 

Once I finish the final 10 of this style I will start on the next set of 25 which are similar but instead of a red block it will be a black block that is an inch smaller. I'm grateful I won't have to deal with the shortage issue with those blocks.

This week I also received my first quilting magazine! I've waited a few months for this to arrive and I'm so excited it's finally here.

It is a bi-monthly magazine and I just missed the cut off for the February edition so I've had to wait for the April one to be released. 

I've already spent a bunch of time looking through it and getting excited about the potential projects ahead. 

A Very Productive Week

by Steve Tippets on 04/27/18

What a great week, at least as far as sewing is concerned. 

I've been dealing with a lot of anxiety these last couple of weeks. I've always struggled with it, but up until the beginning of April I've managed to keep it under control. I'm not really sure what set me off, but the anxiety I feel has grown exponentially. Which stinks.

On the bright side, one of the things I've discovered that helps me cope with these feelings is sewing! 

When I'm working on a something I get pulled into the project and I momentarily forget everything that has me stressed and worried.

This week I was able to tune out life and get a lot done.

I was able to start and complete the Ohio Star block for the March BOM. It's my favorite Ohio Star block yet. 

I was able to finish up the applique stitching on my Shadow Blossom block. I decided to just hand stitch it after failing again to machine sew it. I'm really happy with how the stitches look. Or how they don't look actually since the thread is clear.

Lastly, I was able to cut all of the material for my black and red quilt that I purchased at the quilt show last month. 

I've never worked with so many yards of fabric before. You can't tell at this angle, but that is a stack of 51 strips. I was nervous to tackle so much material but it wasn't as bad as I thought it would be. 

I decided the best method was to press part of the material, cut what I pressed, and then press some more. It was slow going, but it worked pretty well. 

I'm so excited to finally start sewing these all together. I'm a little confused by the directions, but once I figure out exactly what I'm supposed to do I'll get to work.

Does anyone else out there use sewing as a coping mechanism?