The Best Laid Plans

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Where to start?

I need to back up a bit to the long weekend…. I had big plans to get the machine quilting done on my Sundown quilt.  I decided to use my machine as it was and not set up my free motion quilting setup ( more on that in a minute)  my thinking that the quilt was small enough that i could manage it on the raised bed of my machine… nope!! did not work well at all, the stitches would become smaller as the quilt became hard to move.

got a few of the vertical lines done and when i did a horizontal line i would get a pucker when i got to the vertical line. I consulted Harriets book, Heirloom Machine stitching and reread the chapter on straight line/grid quilting. I reduced the  pressure on my presser foot and that helped and i also realized i need to stabilize it better by sewing a few lines evenly spaced both vertical and horizontal before really getting going on the grid quilting i am doing. Basically it is a line of stitching 1/4 ” from each seam line both vertical and horizontal.

Having sorted that out the real problem was my sewing space or lack thereof.  I have used a system of styrofoam panels cut to fit around my machine with a piece of heavy clear vinyl on top. used a little table on my left, also built up to the same height.  Worked quite well once set up , but was somewhat time consuming to setup and take down. the problem i was having was i plan to do the borders and then the quilting and i thought i would be wasting a lot of time.

so as it was still only about 8:00 am on good friday i grabbed Heirloom Machine quilting and dh and i went out for breakfast. I showed him the kind of setup i needed and we talked about how it could be done.  My thought was to move my sewing room to the current guest room, which is probably twice as big and then we could build a wall on the current room and have a guest room, but we would also have to re configure our computer room upstairs for the grandkids.

the other option was to expand the room i am currently in, it has a closet with a door at the end of the room with built in fairly deep storage shelves.  when we got home we did some measuring and if we tore down the wall of the closet we could leave the shelves up and still get about 2 1/2 to 3 feet more space. perfect!!!

so we tore down the wall that day, ripped up the old ratty indoor outdoor carpet and put in some of those foam puzzle shapes on the floor. they are really good for standing on and better for finding pins too.  We also decided to build a sewing table that would be level with the bed of my machine that would be good for piecing and quilting.

Off to Home Depot we go looking for a piece of melamine that we could cut to the size we wanted etc etc. found one, the two of us couldnt lift it LOL

and we would also need to get a special blade for the saw.  Couldn’t decide  what to do so we went for a coffee to figure it out and as we went by the paint department i said they make Melamine paint!!  so we got a piece of 3/4″ sanded plywood, some melamine paint , some brackets to hold the shelf the machine sits on.  We got them to cut it there to 4 by 5 feet. easier for two old folks to manage into the basement !

we made a template for the machine and dh did a practice cutout before tackling the cutout on the tabletop. all went well!  while he did that i sorted and organized shelves and containers and moved them to their new place. we also cleaned out some stuff, some to the dump and some to thrift stores.

I still havn’t painted the table but i have tried it out with the piece of vinyl on it and it works great!!!  we were away this past weekend so didnt’ get it finished.

my machine has an oddity on the machine bed where  the needle is, that area is slightly higher that the very front part of the machine bed. It didn’t create any issues when i tried it out but i am thinking that it might when doing free motion. I think our solution is to put the machine on a slightly thinner shelf and have a small piece of something (yet to be determined) cut to fit that small area.   I picked up a slider thing this past weekend and with that over top it should be fine.

I still have a bit of organizing to do but havnt quite decided where some things should go. so i may leave some of that till i am using the setup and see where things make the most sense.

Dont have any pics yet but will try and get some this week. then its back to quilting!!!

thanks for dropping in!

Ready to Rock and Roll…….

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This week I have been starting on the next phase which is the lesson on borders and then the quilting and binding of all the quilt tops made in the last year.  First up is Sundown (Carries Woodland Winter) I dug it out of the cedar chest monday night, pressed and starched it . checked out the chapter on borders and jumped right in! The border is supposed to finish at 5 1/2″ wide and Harriet recommends cutting your borders wider than necessary and trim and square up off of the seamline. Seemed like good advice to me so away I went.

The first thing i did was make sure that the  sides and top and bottem are the same length.  I was lucky on this one, beginners Luck perhaps?

they were all about a 16th of an inch or closer so i didn’t need to do anything,except trim and square the corners and edges.

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Measuring the width of the quilt , which was basically 33 1/2 inches square.  I had determined i wanted to cut my borders 7 inches wide, a bit of overkill maybe but oh well!

Naturally i had to have a directional print for my border……. which meant cutting across the fabric for the top and bottem, and lengthwise for the sides. and I liked the look of the sides added first and then the top and bottem.

 First mistake, not thinking things through all the way through… because i had to add about 14″ to the width of the top and bottem I had to piece them. If i had added them first , I could have done it from the 42″ wide fabric no problems and just cut the side pieces 14 inches longer . They were cut on the lengthwise grain and i had lots of fabric.  But I pieced them and they turned out okay.

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Sewing on the first border, Yaaaay!!! seemed to take forever to get here LOL  and with both sides sewn on.

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Here is a black and white shot of the quilt top with the borders on!

I think there is a good mix of lights , meds and dark values in these fabrics.

Another thing i discovered was the very last bit on borders in the book talked about squaring and trimming borders to the size they need to be, including seam allowances etc.  I think that might have been if you were adding another border ?? not sure but of course the final squaring and trimming is done after it is quilted.  So my border may end up being a smidge smaller than it was intended but i don’ t think that will matter a great deal.

That is where i finished up Tuesday evening, tonight i got to work sandwiching.

First i pressed and starched my background fabric, which is a fabric i used in the railfence blocks.

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Then I got it all laid out nice and taut.

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layered my quilt batting on the top and smoothed it out nice and flat.

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Next was the quilt top, smoothed out and clipped to the edge to hold it and pins and kwik klip ready to go!!

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And pinned, the blocks are 3″  so it seemed that one pin per block was a good ratio to use.

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Then I wound 3 bobbins with the thread i chose , Aurofil 50/2 cotten. in a pale blue , it works well for the backing fabric and most of the  top. I hope that is enough bobbins and i won’t have to wind anymore 🙂

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Then i did a test with the fabrics and batting ,  the horizontal line through the horse is with my stitch length set at 3.5 which is what i will use. The blue doesn’t even look too bad on the orangey/yellow fabric. I think i will use an orange or brown thread on top  and the blue in the bobbin when I do the border.  I do have to check the tension again as the top tension has been set fairly loose for the thread i have been piecing with. but the quick look i had everything looked fine, but i will take another look in the morning when I am not so tired 🙂

The last thing i did was to roll up the quilt ready to start…. I just really wanted to try out the nice red clip things i got…..

very disappointing  LOL

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I think they will work fine for a larger quilt but not this one.  I may just lay a towel or something on the quilt before rolling it up!! so it will stay in the clips!

so thats where i am at the moment.

Wednesday morning when i opened by livingroom curtain, this is what i saw….. yeah that pile of brown stuff is moose poop!! about 12 feet from the front of my house, the driveway is to the right as you look at the picture and the pile of snow is where we through it when shoveling over the winter.

I could see tracks all around in the snow when i went to work.  and just ahead of where the present is in this pic there was a spot where it was brownish and there was hair in it. so i think Mr. Moose took a nap in my front yard.

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and i noticed this when i was out there……. yeah thats more poop and thats my basement window, which is right under my living room .  One slip and i have a moose hoof through the window LOL

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I took these when i got home from work wed evening. I guess it was also a couple of houses down the street eating leftover apples off of their tree as well.   I live in a residential area of a city with a population of about 75 to 80,000 people not a rural area. we do have quite a lot of greenbelt area around here though and they connect up to the forested area that is near the Fraser river. this is the third time i have seen a moose in the neighborhood and last fall we watched a really big black bear eating a bag of our garbage on our neighbors front lawn at 1 in the morning!

anyways stay tuned for more quilting, hopefully not more moose…. although i would love to get a pic of him resting in our yard!

cheers

The Journey

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I started my journey in really learning to quilt just over a year ago, probably late january when i first heard about and purchased Vol 1 of the Quilters Academy series by Harriet and Carrie Hargrave.  I read, read, and reread everything , made some purchases of gadgets and rulers i needed. got some fabric for the sampler that we learn some of the new techniques on.  I spent some time sewing strips of fabric together to figure out my perfect spot to put my marker to get my seam allowance right so that my units would finish to the proper size…. wasn’t that a journey 😀

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I chose  pinks for my sampler. the first thing we learned was sewing strips together accurately, cut them into segments sew together, press properly and then admire! I finished this in March sometime last year, didn’t mark down the exact date though. I also read,and looked at the pictures, instructions and everything in the book again!!  and maybe even once more LOL  also started to think about fabric for the first few projects as well.

Finished April 7th 2012

Carries Woodland Winter I call mine Sundown . First Finish April 7th 2012

I had decided i wanted to do something with horses, and then of course trying to find something that would fit the small  3″ squares was almost impossible, I think it might be better to go in with a nothing particular in mind and then all sorts of options jump out at you, something i didnt really learn till …… Hmmm maybe havn’t got  that one down yet ! It was very exciting to finally get going on the actual quilts, you could chose to do this one or cowboy corral or both which is the way i chose to go.  I enjoyed learning to chain piece the squares into rows and then sew the rows together and presto a quilt top.  I really like this one, probably because its my first , and i really like horses!

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Cowboy Corral finished April 21st, I call mine ??? havn’t really come up with a name for this one!

It is basically constructed the same as the first one,  a bit different layout and the blocks were fussy cut.  I had wanted to do a musical one and again had some issues finding the fabric to fit the vision in my head.  I sewed the very bottem row on upside down by mistake and didn’t notice till after i had taken pictures….. so out came the seam ripper and back to the machine I went!

Triple Rail Fence quilt top finished! and more!

Triple rail fence finished April 29th.  no name either!

I made my first mock up of this design, which is basically 3 strips of fabric cut into blocks, but i think there are 5 different fabrics and 2 different strip sets. and a somewhat more complicated layout.   Somewhere between the mock up and the sewing i got 2 fabrics switched up. the small black & white print should have been one of the rails , but the white,black and red beside it got in there instead.  and the third rail was  a bit of a failure as the fabric didn’t work well for it. But i still enjoyed making it and like the end result, its just more like a double rail fence.

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Log Cabin finished May 19th 2012

I loved making this one! I really like log cabins and had a great time picking the greens to go with one another. the dark blue center fabric was chosen first because of the green bits in it and the light fabric actually has a blue paisley design on it.  when i get it quilted i will show some closeups of the fabrics.

Then we moved onto learning to cut, sew , press  4 patch blocks  and FAN the Seams!  that was probably one of the coolest things i have learned so far LOL

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These are my first 4 patch blocks! Finished on June 17th 2012

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Carries Country Lanes table runner, finished Aug 17th 2012

Made a mock up of this one, using bits of actual fabric cut to a 1/4 scale, kinda like cutting and pasting back in elementary school LOL

I made this one shorter, as i am not overly fond of the ginormously long table runners , but i used the extra 4 blue/white 4 patches to make a square ….. ummmm thing! like a small table mat or something.  the pointy ends are trimmed off so that the edges are smooth and come to a point at each end.

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Harriets Town Square done in Sunflowers finished Sept 30th 2012

I LOVE sunflowers and this is one of my favorites ( I don’t have an overall Fave, they are like my kids , I can’t pick one over the other)

I had some issues with my cutting and I think pressing mostly on this one, wonky edges on the small 4 patches so there was some ripping out and resewing on this one, but in the end I like it.  I got most of the fabric on a trip to edmonton in April, of course i dragged my copy of QA with me so if saw a fabric i liked for one of the projects i would know how much to get.

Then there was the long quiet time where i did some other quilting for christmas etc.

Then back to work

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Larger version of Town Square (Asian Nights), I called mine

Shades of Grey, finished Jan 15th 13

This was another project where you could do one or the other or both. so in view of the issues i had with the first one i thought some practice was a good idea.  Still some little issues with the small 4 patches but not as bad as the first one, tried to take it slowly and remember this was not a race!  I hung a sheet on the wall for a design wall, and it helped a lot in the placement o f the blocks for this one.

Then we learned 9 patches

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Carries Interlacing Circles finished Jan 31/13

This one combined our new nine patch making skills with rail fence blocks and plain blocks . having the design wall REALLY helped me get this one laid out properly because it would have been pretty easy to mess it up!  I realized at this point i still needed to slow down and enjoy the process, take extra care to cut accurately and to be more gentle while pressing.

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Harriets Double nine-patch chain, finished Feb 11/13

I got the fabric for this on a trip through Kamloops in early July when we went to visit my MIL.I originally got an orange for the small 9 patch blocks but it didn’t look that great, wasn’t dark enough. so i just went and got some dark purple instead and am really happy with how this one turned out.  I love the green for the background instead of white or ivory.  I only had problems with the small nine patches, do you see a recurring theme with where i have issues?  yes , so do i!

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Carries Inlaid Tile table runner , finished Feb 22/13

I got these fabrics last  fall and made the bonehead move of forgetting a print fabric for the border. TIP: pick a print first and pull the colours out of it instead of the way i did it. I found some but its not 100% perfect but will do, unless i find some before i need to sew the borders on this.  This was our first venture into learning about combined grids and how to measure the first units before cutting the fabric for the second units.  I chose a 4 by 9 block layout for the 36 blocks,  6 by 6 was another option as well. a good way to make this our veryown.

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Carries Double Irish Chain Baby Quilt, finished March 5th 2013

Well just whe you think you know what you are doing… you don’t I had a major goof on this one when i sewed all the block A’s wrong entailing the purchase of more fabric to remake 17 of the 18, cause i did one right!!  but in the end i love this little baby quilt.

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and last but not least  Harriets Irish Chain variation, finished yesterday march 24th 2013.

Our first scrappy type quilt, and really the first one where most of it wasn’t made from width of the fabric strips.  but i enjoyed the new process and glad i went with green for the chain fabric instead of red!

Well there are actually 12 quilts, I was just going by the cover ,which says 11 projects, I think Town Square/Asian Nights are counted as 1.

so yeah 12 quilt tops and the sampler, which is finished in Volume 2.

I can’t even begin to tell you how much i have learned over the last year and all the dumb mistakes i have made LOL

But i have enjoyed it immensely and am excited to move onto the borders and quilting of all these tops.

I plan to do them in order so will start with Sundown, I have border, backing and batting and a quilting plan in place already for this one.

I have been putting pics of each quilt on my computer as the background on my monitor, and when i am doing something i can gaze at each one and plan what might work for a quilting plan for each one. I currently have plans in place for the first 4 and have the Country Lanes runner on my screen now while i try to get inspired about what to put on it! Having trouble figuring out what i want to do on this one, I probably need to sit down with some machine quilting designs in front of the computer and try to figure it out!

well thats my journey so far I am heading to the sewing room right now to get sundown ready to put the borders on!

cheers

I’m done, I’m Done, I’m Done!!!

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Did I mention i was done, piecing all eleven quilts in Quilters Academy Vol 1. Freshman Year.  I finished off the Block b’s in the Irish Chain Variation quilt top earlier today, didn’t even take the time to run up and get my camera 🙂  I didn’t have any real problems with the block B’s….. DSC_0096

This is the only picture i took, saturday afternoon when the strip segments for the nine patch blocks in the center of block b were all ready to sew together.

Then we had to cut strips of background fabric 5 ”  wide and subcut into 2 ”  pieces and sew down the sides of each nine patch block, I did cut mine a smidge more than 5 ” maybe 5 1/8 ”  I decided i would rather trim it to fit rather than have it end up a bit short. That strategy worked just great for me.  and then checked the width of the 9 patch blocks by measuring on the back from edge to edge to get  my unique measurement for cutting the strip sets for the top and bottem rows.  My measurement was within a few threads of 5″  on any that weren’t exactly 5″ so i was good to go!

Strip s cut and sewn together , pressed and ready to subcut when i realized 42″ of fabric would not yield 34   2″ segments? Not sure if that was an error in the book or just Harriets way of making sure we are paying attention.  So i had to cut some more strips to make enough segments for the top and bottem.  I did press the first strip set all wrong, pressed them to the chain fabric instead of the background, so had to repress after they had been cut into 2″ segments.  Not a big deal, just a little time consuming!

Here is a closeup of one of the block B’s (it is in the finished quilt top though) they turned out fine and i love the green!

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Then I got all the blocks sewn into rows and pressed ready to be sewn together…..

and here is the finished quilt top! with some closeups below!!!

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I’m so excited to get all eleven quilt tops pieced before the one year anniversary of when i started came up on the 7th of April. I know i won’t get them finished, finished by then but one part of the journey is done!

and we are going away the 5th of April for a quick trip to see my oldest granddaughters (she is 6) dance recital!  so i will have the long weekend here at home to get a start on some borders and quilting.

I am going to do a quick recap post in the next day or two so stay tuned if you would like to check out the tops i have been learning to piece over the last year!

Irish Chain Variation- update!

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Over the last few days i managed to get the last 8 of   the Block A’s finished for this quilt top!  Yayyyy!

Here they all are, just pinned on the wall in my sewing room!

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I finally got a rhythm going on these as they weren’t the usual long strip sets that we have been used of making so far.

but i was able to make short strips sets and chain piece two blocks at a time (just to keep it manageable and not repeat colours)

Each fabric is used twice 9 colours for the outer part of the blocks and 9 for the lighter contrast .

here are the last 8 blocks closeup

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so that part is done now on to the irish chain part of it, and i realize i still havn’t taken a picture of the design, will do that tonight, Promise!

I had hoped to head about an hours south last weekend to get some of the solid fabric in this line for the chain fabric but the roads were very bad, lots of snow and ice and just wasn’t a good option. so I got some at my local Fabricland that i thought would work.

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It looks good color wise in the picture but it is actually a bit too orangey up next to the red in the fabrics i have. and even though it has a pattern in it the fabric is a bit too solid compared again to the other fabric.

so i ran into the local quilt shop on my lunch today, luckily its only a few blocks from where i work.  so i picked up a bit of this green which has kind of a mottled appearance, which is what I was looking for. very similar to the plain fabric that was in the bundle of fat quarters i used for this.

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The green actually looks like it is from the same line of fabric and it shows fairly dark value against most of the colours in the blocks so i think its the one i am going to go with!

so off to the sewing room i go!

Weekend Wrap up

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AKA 10 done 8 to go on the Block A’s of the Irish Chain Variation!

Did not do much sewing at all really this weekend , made one block

saturday ,  today  i managed to churn out 7 Block’s .

As I mentioned in an earlier post i am using each dark and light fat quarter fabric twice, mixing and matching so no two blocks are exactly the same.

I find making two at a time with the same darker fabric and two different light fabric works well , I can chain piece some of the short strips together, press and trim at the same time as well. working really well for me.

the seams on the blocks are nesting really well when sewing them together which makes me happy and i am sewing the 2 center seams open as they do not need to next with anything when i sew them together with the B blocks.

the left pic is all the background fabric cut into the 2 x 8 1/2 ” strips for rows 2 and 4 and also the 3 1/2 x 4 1/2″ strips for rows 1 and 5.

to make my 2 blocks i would then cut the darker background strips for each block and then one colour light strips for one block and another light fabric  for the other one.

In the right picture you can see them set our ready for sewing , You can see row 1 and 5 for each block sewn and laid out.  above you can see one block has a very light fabric and the other has a orangey colour as the second colour.

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Here are the two blocks done.

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Here are two more sets of two all finished.

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And two more all done!

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And this is all of them pinned to the wall in my sewing room

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When i did the first block of this design i didn’t think i would enjoy doing them very much, and it seemed to take a long time to sew it together.

But figuring out a way to chain piece speeds it up a bit and also just doing them over and over you get somewhat quicker.

Before i came up stairs i cut all the coloured strips for the remaining blocks to length and they are all ready to go. I didn’t do that earlier because i found myself getting confused about which colors i was using with each other LOL

so no cutting tomorrow night after work, supper etc. maybe i can get 4 or 5 done and then we will see.

we are going out for a dinner with friends on Tuesday  after work and not sure how late we will be out.  so maybe no sewing 😦  but Wednesday I don’t have my regular meeting just coffee with a friend and should be able to hit the sewing room afterwards.

I would like to get this done asap as this coming weekend will probably have a funeral to go to and that will not leave me in any shape to wield sharp instruments and sew straight lines and the next weekend will probably be going to my sons ( about a 6 hour drive) for my oldest granddaughters dance recitial, she is 6 year’s old and is doing tap and ballet and its a hoot to go and watch all the kids her age and especially the younger ones who are so darn cute, waving to their parents etc!

so i would like to have this one all pieced before i go away.

oh and Dawn i did not unpick and re sew the pieces of fabric on the first 2 blocks that had the pattern going the opposite direction, It took me a minute or 2 to find them today, so i decided they were not that noticeable after all 🙂

I did press the two center seams open though!

 So far so good on this one! The last piecing lesson in Quilters Academy volume one!!

thanks for stopping by!

2 blocks down 16 to go!! :)

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After pressing all the rest of the FQ’s i am using in this project as well as the background fabric, I managed to get the first 2 blocks done.

and i forgot to take a picture of the pattern in the book  again, oops!

It is called Harriets Irish Chain variation!

I have cut the darker and lighter fabrics for the blocks into strips and will subcut them to the length i need as i make each block. Also did the same with  the background fabric.

It is an interesting, different and somewhat nerve wracking not to be sewing strip sets, well long ones that is!  But i decided i am liking it after getting the first 2 of the 18 A blocks done.

The quilt has a 1 1/2″ finished grid so the fabric is cut 2 ” wide and then subcut to  whatever size needed depending on the row .

Without further yakking here is the first one i finished tonight.

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there is a smidge of uneveness between the 1st and 2nd row on the right,  I think i am going to cut the strips of background just a teeny bit wider, just to the other side of the line on the ruler. I would rather have a bit to trim than have these little indents!

And here is the second block!

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and here they are together! don’t they make a nice pair!

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Hmmmm, did you notice that the right hand square on the middle row of each block is oriented (fabric design) opposite of all the others?

thats probably because  you add that one little 2″ square on at the end of the row.

i might have to fix that….

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I am really pleased with the squareness and correct size of each internal square on these blocks, they turned out perfect ( well almost) LOL  and all the seams nested together very nicely!

so stay tuned, I probably won’t get any sewing done tomorrow night as i have a meeting. but thursday evening i hope to get maybe 3 or 4 done!

I havn’ t really given much thought to giving myself a goal of when to finish , maybe after getting this one finished and thinking about it a bit I can give myself a goal to get the borders, quilting and binding done!

I was going to quilt the first one in the book exactly a s Carrie had done hers, but I saw a quilt today on pinterest that i really like how it was quilted, basically  all done with the walking foot but very effective! Getting very excited to start that part of the journey!

cheers and thanks for dropping by!