Tuesday, March 12, 2013

border challenge - flying geese

Part 1 of my Border Challenge is complete! Flying geese all around...

Each one finishes at 1 7/8" x 3 3/4". There are 52 flying geese making up this first border, and the overall size of my quilt is now 29" square. I had to shave just about 1/4" total off of the center to make the geese fit correctly, but otherwise I think I lucked out in getting them to fit.

To give the borders the look of flying beyond the center corners, I first sewed the bottom border beginning at the bottom left corner and ending about half-way across the block - a partial seam. Then I could sew the left border completely from top to bottom. Continuing clockwise around the center block, I sewed the top then the right borders completely, finishing with the rest of the bottom border seam. Just a couple of extra steps that really change the look!

I used the fast flying geese method that makes four identical geese units from just 5 cut squares with no waste. You can view a great tutorial here that shows two methods - making one block at a time and the one I used to make four blocks. This tutorial also gives you the formulas for cutting your fabrics based on the finished block size you need.

The brown fabric used to make the geese is Kaffe Fasset shot cotton in Terra Cotta, and the colorful bits are some of the same fabrics I used in the tree with additional Amy Butler, Kaffe, AMH, and Michael Miller fabrics tossed in for variety.

Our next class meets March 20, which means that I have my homework done early, which almost never, ever happens! As the months roll by and the quilt top gets larger and larger, I suspect I'll need every bit of the 30 days between classes to finish my assignment. I'm excited to see what the next challenge brings!

Thursday, March 7, 2013

new challenge

Lorrie and I have taken on a new project. It's called the Border Challenge class at Acorn Quilts in Rockford, IL. The class meets once each month, and our homework before the first class even began was to find or create a block, medallion, or centerpiece that we'd like to use for the center of our quilt. This is what I created...

The pattern is from the book Material Obsession Two, and the quilt this block is from is called "The Seasons" by Sarah Fielke. It measures approximately 21" square. To make my spring tree "leaves" I pieced strip sets from Anna Maria Horner, Kaffe, and Amy Butler prints, and then used the EZ Dresden ruler to cut the wedges. So it's basically a half-dresden plate with smooth edges instead of the usual points. I turned under all the edges and appliqued it to my background - Oval Elements in Mist by Art Gallery fabrics and Tents in Green by Brandon Mably.

The trunk and branches (Spots in Brown by Kaffe) were also hand-appliqued, but I used the freezer paper method and starch to turn under the edges rather than needle turning it - that would have taken forever! It still took a fair amount of time (all those curves!), but I wanted a smooth edge (rather than raw) so it was definitely worth the extra time and effort.

We received our first border assignment late in February at the first class. Each month's challenge is to add a border to your medallion using the "rules" for that month - an assigned color and design element. But not even the instructor knows what those two rules will be until the class is underway, so it's also a kind of mystery class. An envelope was drawn by one of the participants which stated that our color rule would be determined by a blind drawing from a basket of crayons. Lucky Lorrie was chosen to draw and we got... brown. Sepia to be exact. You can use as much or as little of the color as you wish, and since I already had some of that color in my center, I decided to use A LOT of it...

If you guessed that the design element rule was flying geese, you'd be correct! The rule sheet stated that another participant should choose a number in some weird range like 23-167, which in turn indicated the page number from a book of quilt blocks. And on that page was flying geese. Not my favorite block because of all the trimming involved, but I'm pretty excited about how my first border is turning out! More photos of that next time...

I'm not adding this to my UFO list, because I'm actually working on it. Soooo, it's a WIP. Which is a completely different list, don'tcha know ;)


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