Tuesday, March 10, 2020

Road Trip Redux, Finished Quilt

She's finished - lots of lessons learned making this one. I've shared my tips on value and things to keep in mind as you make your own Road Trip Redux.
This the smaller size, which finishes at 48 x 48.  I quilted it simply with the serpentine stitch on my Bernina. It creates a nice curvy texture with the ease of straight-line quilting.
The darker coral in the quilt doubles as the binding, which is a nice contrast with the sweetest light coral flannel backing, from Dear Stella's Shine Bright Flannel line. Flannel is just the best backing, especially for baby quilts. So soft.
I've listed the quilt in my etsy shop.

Thursday, February 13, 2020

Road Trip Redux Quilt, a Pattern Review

I first spotted the Road Trip Redux Quilt on Instagram, and I was struck by the design's potential to be manipulated by fabric placement. Each version of the quilt looks quite different. The quilt pattern is by Karen of Blooming Poppies and can be purchased through her etsy shop. (FYI, this is not a paid promotion. I bought my pattern and am offering a review so you can avoid some of the challenges, mostly of my own making, which I encountered piecing the quilt).
This clever quilt design is comprised of three simple blocks: flying geese, half square triangles, and diamond in a square. Depending on fabric placement, the possible variations of the quilt are infinite, which is the greatest strength of the design, in my opinion.  Keep in mind, you don't need to make changes. You could simply swap a new color for each one in the original, and make no further changes. But if you do decide to do more than substitute fabrics for the ones used in the pattern, which of course I did, you will need to take a few additional steps.
It may be obvious, but changing the fabric placement in the design will mean you will need to calculate your own fabric requirements and cutting instructions. To do this you will need to do some quilt math and figure out how many of each block you will need for each fabric. This is where I made my mistakes! The pattern is written in such a way that each of the three blocks is pieced in a specific way, using only squares of fabric. For example, the flying geese block is made using a single large square which will become the goose and four smaller squares which will become the outside triangles. That single center square and four outside squares will make four flying geese blocks. SO, when you calculate how many flying geese blocks you will need to cut from a certain fabric, keep in mind the square for the goose will make four blocks, not one. This will help you avoid overcutting, like I did.
The pattern also includes instructions for the diamond in a square block, as well as the half square triangle blocks. The construction of these blocks use squares differently, so pay attention, again, before calculating how many squares to cut. The half square triangle blocks are made from two squares of fabric to create  four triangles in two half square triangle blocks. The diamond in a square will use four squares to make four triangles on the outside of the block though. Just understand how each block is constructed before you do the quilt math, and you will be fine.
The pattern has several great features. It includes a blank coloring sheet of the design, so you can play around with fabric and color placement. I colored several versions before I settled on my design. This will allow you to mock up your quilt easily. The instructions also include nice illustrations for construction of the blocks, and there is little waste in the method. Another asset of the pattern is that it includes cutting dimensions to make the quilt in two sizes using the same instructions - a baby or throw size.

Check out the hashtag #roadtripreduxquilt to see various versions of the quilt for inspiration. I'm waiting for backing to arrive so I get start finishing this cute baby size quilt.

Tuesday, February 4, 2020

A Lesson in Value, Part 2

Taken together, these shots of the two versions of my Road Trip Redux blocks illustrate the importance of choosing the right value of the fabrics in a design. The first version uses two coral fabrics I already had in my stash, and the lighter coral proved to be so similar in value to the slighter darker coral, that the design was muddied. The second version is the same, except I replaced the blocks with the problematic fabric, using a lighter value coral.

The design reads much more clearly with the corrected value in the second shot. I hope the extra step of replacing the fabric will help me remember to bite the bullet and get the right fabrics in the first place when what I have stashed is questionable. Quilting takes too much time to use fabrics that aren't right for the design!

Up next: a few more rows on the design and a review of the Road Trip Redux pattern. I have some thoughts.

Wednesday, January 29, 2020

A Lesson in Value, Part 1

I learned a valuable lesson (pun intended) as I got started on a version of the Road Trip Redux Quilt (more on this pattern later). I chose to pair a handful of solids with my favorite Essex linen in black and a fun black and white polka dot print.
I wondered if the two corals were too close in value, but since they were both in my stash, I wanted to make it work. I made a test HST block and thought the difference in value would probably be alright.

However, when I put some of the blocks on the design wall, I found the difference in value was not great enough to make the design pop. The two corals are so similar, they muddy the layout somewhat - not what I had in mind.
Here is my rough color sketch to give you an idea of what I want the design to look like. I had already changde my mind about the pale yellow, opting for mustard for more of an edge.
A quick trip to my local fabric shop, and I think I have a solution. The bottom coral will replace the medium coral in the middle that I used previously. It has a noticeably lower value than the darkest coral, which I think will create the contrast the design needs. Watch this space.
No block will be wasted however, as a quirk in the pattern (okay, maybe user error - again, more on that in a subsequent post) led me to cut far more pieces than I need, so another Road Trip Redux Quilt is likely in my future, perhaps with other colors added too.

Saturday, January 4, 2020

Lines in the Sand Placemats

This set of eight placemats was meant to be a Christmas gift. I'm only a couple of weeks late, so it still counts, right?
I used Alissa Haight Carlton's Lines in the Sand pattern. You can download it for free here. They are really quick to sew up, but a hint if you'd like a fast finish - don't quilt them the way I did. Straight lines, a quarter inch apart, for the quilting took some time. Of course the benefit of dense quilting is amazing texture and a placemat with some body to it. I used grey Aurifil thread on the black Essex linen background and a light green Aurifil thread for the stripes.
I used the same linen for the binding, which was a bit thicker than I'd prefer. I do like the way it lets the stripes shine, though. A gorgeous green Carolyn Friedlander print is perfect for the backs.
After binding all eight by hand, I feel like I've bound a queen sized quilt. I haven't done the math, but the perimeters together might come close. I finally wrapped up that hand sewing late last night. Oh well, being late just means I have any early first finish of the new year!

Monday, November 11, 2019

Metro Link Quilt 2

Who braved the freezing temps and rushing wind to snap a few photos of her quilt? This girl. The phrase about suffering for the sake art came to mind.

I'm happy with the way the quilt came out, especially the choice of backing and binding. I'd been saving the Habitat print for just the right quilt, and I love it with the bright colors of the scraps on the front.  It was begging for a solid yellow binding.
In typical Kansas City fashion, yesterday was sunny and warm. Can you believe I hand stitched the binding outside on the deck, then this?
This is the Metro Link quilt, pattern by Michelle (@ilikeorangetoo on Instagram). I made another version of the quilt several years ago.

Wednesday, October 30, 2019

Metrolink Quilt Top

It's a quilt top! We're in the middle of a wet, gloomy stretch of cold weather here, so a couple of quick shots by an open door will have to do. I have to say it is so satisfying to see all those neat 90 degree corners matching, and I'm still loving the bright scraps against the black essex linen.
Now on to basting and quilting. I think I will use straight line quilting to emphasize the geometric piecing.