Grellow

One of my favorite color combinations is gray and yellow. My new kitchen floor and backsplash are examples of that, although with the yellow turned way down.  Add in a warm brown, and it really helps with the rather washed out falls and winters around here.

So when we got our new living room couch a while ago, I inevitably chose a rather gray toned brown fabric, to go with the accent walls my sister painted yellow for me.

But a new couch demands a new quilt, right?

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I actually made the top last winter, and pinned the quilt sandwich in my school library the day I had to stay late for evening graduation back in June.

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But then my beloved Juki had to go into the shop to repair a broken part, and ended up having to be mailed back to the factory when the injury proved serious.  It was gone all summer, and my Brother machine, while excellent in its way, doesn’t have the harp space or the heavy duty power to quilt easily.  So the WIP waited until summer ended and the Juki finally returned.

By this point, I really needed it to get done, if only to reclaim the pins.  I have enough projects sandwiched and ready for quilting that I was running out of the curved safety pins.  Only a small pile remained.

I auditioned a few thread colors: gray, variegated, a dark brown.  I liked the dull gold of a 50 wt. Aurifil best for tying all the fabric colors together.   I chose a fairly simple quilting, just double echoes of all the seams, so it went fast.  As you can see in the photos, the quilt is made up of 10” squares, half square triangles, and four patches of 5” squares.  Not at all fancy, but bright and rich colors that I love together.

Add a binding made of the remnants of the backing fabric after trimming and it is exactly what I wanted for keeping warm on the couch.

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Redecorating

Some back story:

We moved into this house in July. It was built in the 1970s, so it was a little tired. We knew we were going to have to do some updating.  One of the least pleasant parts was the carpet – an already stained off white that my sons fairly quickly turned rather gray.  It had to go, especially in the living and family rooms.

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Six months later, all new windows, gas fireplace inserts, solatubes, new bamboo flooring, and a whole lot of new living room furniture, and we finally have a useable, attractive front room.

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All this furniture was new, stored in the garage until the new flooring came.  We unpacked and assembled and set it in place 5 minutes after the workers left.  We’d waited months and couldn’t wait a minute more.

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But no new room can be complete without a quilt! (Pictures, paint, and a rug would also help.)

After an unplanned shopping spree at the fabric store, I combined a lot of warm and cool toned grays and browns, added in golds, and mixed half square triangles, four-patches, and solid squares.

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I got a lot of use out of my triangle square up ruler.  My half square triangles are never perfectly sewn, so I cut the squares at 10” to get a slightly bigger than desired square and then trimmed the slight extra edges to 9 1/2” after the blocks were pressed open.

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The finished quilt top is 7 x 9 blocks, 63” x 81”.  The colors will really pull the room together once it is quilted.  Perfect for naps on the new couch.

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Oops

I swear, I only went to the fabric store for a quick look, because the 40% off fabric sale was too good to skip completely.  I was just going to get a yard or two of some low volume fabric to add to the stash.

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Oops.

All but two of those are new additions.  It is going to be a new quilt for the newly renovated and furnished living room.

And despite how many quilts I have partially finished, I started in on this one right away.

It is going to be a combination of 9” half square triangle blocks and 4-patch blocks.  Grays, browns, and creams with golds to add some brightness.  Finally sewing again!

Red and white: little triangles

Block 16 for the red and white quilt is the most ambitious: a multitude of little half square triangles, each finishing at 1 and a bit inches in a block called Birds in the Air.

I modified the block to enhance the X shape.  The original block:

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I used the 4-at-a-time HST sewing method, sewing the four sides of the squares before cutting them into quarters.  Many, many dog ears to trim!

And here is my finished block, all 64 HSTs of it:

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This is a 10 1/2″ block.  I can’t imagine making it with the measurements the book gives for the 5 1/4″ or 7″ versions!

You can see the previous blocks in these posts.

An actual finished quilt!

i haven’t accomplished a lot this week, but I did buckle down a bit yesterday (or rather put down the ebooks and took up the fabric) and finish up a quilt.

HST  pin basting

It is the pin basting that prevents me from getting more tops past the top stage to the quilting stage. Crawling around on the basement floor is hard on the knees.  But when I’m actually doing it, I always wonder why I put it off.  It isn’t as much of a chore as I build it up to be.

I wanted polka dots for the back to contrast with all the angles and straight lines on the front, but I didn’t find what I wanted in the colors I was looking for.  But I like the teal circles on white that I did find almost as much as my original vision.

HST quilt pin basted

I quilted it quickly and simply once the pinning was done, with parallel lines echoing the path of the arrows.  Light gray thread on the front and white in the bobbin.  There is a small amount of wobble in my straight lines – I’m never going to be the world’s most accurate sewer – but I like the emphasis it gives the angles.

A little squareing and trimming:

HST QUILT TRIMMED

and the spiffy wonder clips to help with the hand stitching of the deep red binding:

HST quilt binding

And now it just needs its first wash to add the crinkles and I can list it in the store!

HST quilt finished

A little progress

HST blocks

I would really like to get my design wall back, but I just haven’t been inspired to keep sewing these half square triangle blocks together.  They’ve been hanging out on the wall for quite some time.  But today I did get them all sewn into foursomes, and then some of those sewn together as well.  One good push would finish off the top, but I’m wandering off again instead.

Half square triangles quilt in progress (for now)

HST trimming

I’d rather neglected this quilt as shinier objects caught my eye, and I would really like to get the design wall back, so I spent some time squaring up HST blocks to 5 1/2″ today.

About 20 to go and then I can get it all sewn together in the arrow pattern I finally settled on.

Lots of little trimmings piling up.

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Adjusting the color wheel

I’ve gotten enough of the HS triangles done to start putting them up on the wall to decide the arrangement, and it quickly became clear that I didn’t love the overall color scheme. While it is hard to say that there really WAS a color scheme as the plan was just “throw in all the colors,” it was off nonetheless.

Pulling out all the oranges and orange reds made it much more appealing.

But now I have to decide if I’m going to shrink the overall size or cut more squares from my rapidly disappearing fat quarters. I suspect more cutting will happen in the end.

And some seam ripping to recover the other colors that were sewn to oranges. Luckily I decided this before they were all sewn and cut.

But maybe the dark yellow should go too?

Triangles as far as the eye can see

Something about these tiny slivers of fabric is very satisfying. A pile of inaccuracy, trimmed away. Wish I could do that with other aspects of my life!

The leavings are pretty as well. Someday I’m going to save them all and display them in a jar on a window sill.

I spent some time this morning turning more squares into half square triangles. I experimented with an idea gleaned from a Pinterest photo that led to this blog post From The Studio Blog. It would work better with smaller squares, as mine block me from seeing the tape in the first inch or two, but I’ve figured out where to start and the lines work for guiding the second half of the line. It speeds up the chaining not to have to draw the lines first.

This is not what I should be doing. I should be shopping for Thanksgiving, which is at my house and which I have only a bag of sweet potatoes for. Unless I want to mold them into different shapes, more will need to be purchased. But I’m sewing and trimming instead and perfectly happy about it.

Thanksgiving isn’t stressful to me anyway. By now, the menu is so established, and my family gathering small and non-critical. My cousin’s family can’t be here as usual this year, but we’ve added my sister who will come up from the basement, and Mom just called from the Phoenix airport to say she is heading into the air on time, so it will be a good Thanksgiving.