Wednesday, February 27, 2019

Something(s) to Show For Myself: Geese Arcs, Vintage Quilt Repair, and Clam Shells

Hello, my lovelies, and Happy Wednesday!  I've been "distracted" by work and a series of minor but mildly disabling medical maintenance over the past week or so, but I was finally able to get back to my projects a few days ago and have some progress to report.

Two Arcs Completed, Forty-Six Arcs to Go...
First and foremost, I have actually begun piecing my son Lars's Geese In Circles graduation quilt!  This needs to be completed, as in bound, labeled, and delivered to the church office, no later than May 26th.  I've paper pieced two of the flying geese arcs so far, which leaves 46 more to be pieced and then all of the cutting and curved piecing that needs to happen to the dark purple background fabric to complete the blocks.  

I Love How the Darker Colors Recede Into the Background Fabric!!
As soon as I'd finished piecing the first arc, I laid it on the background fabric to make sure the colors are working the way I want them to against the dark purple.  I was super hesitant about some of these color choices and I definitely would not have chosen such dark shades of blue and green had I not been able to preview and play with color and value ahead of time in my EQ8 design software.

72 x 96 Geese In Circles, XL Twin Graduation Quilt EQ8 Design
I ended up printing this foundation paper piecing pattern from EQ8 onto two sheets of 8 1/2" x 11" copy paper.  I carefully taped them together, aligning registration points with my light box, and then I had 48 copies printed out onto blueprint paper on the large format printer at Staples.  

Oversize Foundation Paper Patterns Printed on Blueprint Paper
Yes, one of my readers did alert me to the fact that you can buy large enough sheets of newsprint to fit this foundation pattern in one piece (thank you!).  That's why I went to Staples in the first place.  The problem is that I can't fit those huge, odd sized sheets in my printer's paper tray, and the large format printers used by the FedEx Office Store as well as Staples print onto paper that comes on giant rolls.  So even if I bought the oversize newsprint from Staples, they can't print my foundation patterns on that paper!  I chose blueprint paper because it's the lightest weight paper they had for the large format printer and it's the same stuff my pineapple log cabin foundations were printed on, so I knew it would work for what I'm trying to do.

Too bad I didn't think to number the patches on that master pattern before I had the copies made!  Ah, well...

Meet Goldilocks, my Bernina 475QE
I pieced the first arc entirely on my new "Goldilocks" Bernina 475QE travel machine, to put her through the paces, get acclimated with the new machine, and to identify what all I'd need to pack up and take with me in order to sew these blocks on-the-go.  Isn't she a cutie?!

The B 475QE, or any of the new 4 Series Berninas, are fully featured machines that could easily be the one-and-only for many quilting and sewing enthusiasts across a variety of skill levels.  She sews beautifully, purrs like a kitten, and has all of the features I've come to rely on heavily when I sew on Big 'Nina the 750QE.

In My Studio: Goldilocks B 475QE on Left, Big 'Nina B 750QE on Right
I'm including this photo of both machines in my studio to give you an idea of the relative size of these machines.  

As you can see, these large foundation paper piecing patterns can definitely be pieced in the smaller (normal sized) throat space of the 4 Series Berninas:
FPP Oversize Flying Geese Arc on my Goldilocks B 475QE
...They just fit BETTER in the oversize throat space of a 7 Series Bernina:

FPP the Same Oversize Flying Geese Arc on my Big 'Nina 750QE
So, in answer to my husband's silly questions: No, I will not be selling my 7 Series machine now that I bought the cute little Goldilocks!  I love my B 75QE and I'm totally spoiled by having all of that roominess; I just wanted something smaller that would be more portable.  The hope is that, with the big machine available in my studio for sewing in solitude and the smaller machine ready to take to a sit-and-sew or quilting bee for uninterrupted stretches of social sewing, I can be more productive and move these projects along faster.  The more quickly a project progresses, the less I grow bored with it and the sooner it's finished.  The sooner a project is finished, the sooner I can tackle the next idea that's tickling my fancy, and the faster my skills develop.  

After ensuring that Goldilocks can handle my geese arcs just fine, I switched back to my Big 'Nina so that I could make a direct comparison between the two machines.  The vintage Craig's list desk where I've got Goldilocks set up in my studio works fine for my sergers and vintage Singer Featherweight machines, but it's not ideal for a modern Bernina because the kneehole of the desk is too narrow to accommodate the FHS Free Hands System presser foot lifter (a feature I can't live without!) unless I shift the machine to the left significantly and am no longer sitting with my body centered on the machine needle.  Using the B 475QE machine at this particular desk workstation requires uncomfortable ergonomic compromises!    I am also accustomed to always sewing with my machine recessed into a cabinet, which gives me an enormous work surface compared to the slide on accessory tray.  So it felt good to sit down at my plus-size Bernina again!  

I'm going to bring Goldilocks to my bee on Monday afternoon, where I assume I'll be setting up at a kitchen table or something like that instead of at a desk with a kneehole opening.  I don't anticipate any issues using the FHS in that scenario.  However, I am toying with the idea of ordering just ordered one of those SewEzi portable sewing machine tables for my Goldilocks machine.  Even if I can't manage to cram the folded-up table into my little convertible coupe, I will still be able to use it with my Goldilocks machine when I want to do some piecing downstairs in the living room.  I have a fantastic studio, but when my husband is home I like to hang out with him in the evening instead of hiding away upstairs, you know?

Let's see; what else do I have to share with you today?  Between piecing the first and second geese arcs (and shopping for a portable sewing table), I took a few moments to piece some irregularly shaped  fabrics together for that vintage quilt repair:
Vintage Quilt Top Undergoing Surgery.  
In the photo above, this formerly yarn-tied 1970s era quilt has been removed from its original backing and batting and is on my design wall awaiting repair.  See those two large holes near the center of the quilt?  Since the damage spans multiple patches in the original quilt, I'm piecing several fabrics together from which I will cut out patches in hopes that the repairs will be less obvious that way.

Like the Fabric Mix, Not Sure if the Perpendicular Piecing Lines Are Too Straight
I am trying to stick with the original quilter's color palette, spirit and print selections as much as possible, and I think the mix of fabrics that I pieced together in the photo above does a good job of blending into the way the original quilter mixed disparate fabric prints and colors in this quilt.  However, I might have made my piecing lines too straight and perpendicular to blend in with the original quilter's freeform piecing style.  I deliberately cut and pieced random angles for the next patch, and here I could not resist incorporating a couple of fabrics that reflect the current owner of this quilt (who is the quilter's granddaughter).  The music notes are because she's a phenomenal vocalist, and the Tula Pink Disco Kitties fabric (deliberately bleached to blend with the older fabrics) is because she was unjustly deprived of a kitten recently under dubious circumstances.

Tula Pink Disco Kitties Scrap With Musical Notation Fabric
The Kaffe Fassett prints in both photos were also bleached, by the way.  His prints have the right style for this era, but the colors were just way too bright to blend with the faded original fabrics.

New Patches Overlaid on Large Holes on the Design Wall (not sewn)
There are lots of smaller damage spots that will need to be repaired on this quilt as well, and I'm planning to repeat some of these same fabrics for smaller patches in those areas.  The original quilter used several patches of almost every fabric, so mixing my new fabrics across the face of the quilt will help them to blend in.  That strip of solid lilac fabric will blend better once there are a few other patches of lilac fabric in other places!  I had considered fusing some kind of lightweight stabilizer to the entire quilt top, but now I'm leaning towards stabilizing weak areas on an as-needed basis, both to minimize time involved and to preserve the softness of the original quilt.

I'm looking forward to loading this vintage top up on my longarm machine and turning it into a quilt again!  I've decided to do either a freehand meander or a very basic, loopy edge-to-edge pantograph in an off-white thread.  I don't want the quilting itself to be what jumps out at you in the finished quilt; its job is to securely attach the fragile quilt top fabrics to the batting and backing for strength and stability.

My 40 x 40 Modern Baby Clam Shell Quilt is Now Officially a WIP!
One more thing to show you before I go: I've started cutting out clam shells for the Modern Baby Clam Shell quilt that I designed a few months ago!  This baby was born in mid-December, and I'd like to get the quilt to her sometime BEFORE she starts kindergarten...  It's not my top priority with Lars's graduation quilt deadline looming over my head, but it's definitely on my radar, so to speak.

Cutting 9.5 Inch Clam Shells from Layer Cake Precuts
Y'all, tracing around templates and cutting pieces out Old School style with a scissors takes SO LONG!!!!  It took me the entire episode of Bachelor Home Town Visits and I still have several more print clam shells to cut out as well as ALL of the turquoise Grunge textured solid fabric remaining to be cut out.  This would be so much faster if I'd purchased the regular size Accuquilt GO! die cutter that fits their giant clam shell die rather than the GO! Baby cutter...  But I'm not buying a new die cutter just for this baby quilt, so I'll continue with my tracing, scissoring, and grumbling for the time being.

Cutting Progress for my Clam Shell Quilt
Such a happy mix of prints for a baby quilt, don't you think?  Cutting these shapes out of 10" layer cake precuts is yielding a pile of quarter circle scraps that have interesting possibilities as well.  Perhaps a Mill Wheel baby quilt is in my future?

Okay, my "quick catchup" post rambled on forever as usual, and now I need to get ready to take my son for a haircut, drop him off at his evening activities, meet a friend for dinner, and go to choir rehearsal.  

My To-Do list for this week includes:

  • Piecing more flying geese arcs
  • Getting the borders on my pineapple log cabin quilt so I can store it out of my way until I'm ready to quilt it (most likely AFTER my Paducah longarm quilting workshops with Beth Calle and Judi Madsen, and AFTER I finish quilting the vintage quilt repair job, the baby clam shell quilt, and Lars's graduation quilt)

I'll be linking up with:
Colour and Inspiration Tuesday at
·       To-Do Tuesday at Stitch ALL the Things:
·      Midweek Makers at
·      WOW WIP on Wednesday at
·      Needle and Thread Thursday at  


Karen - Quilts...etc. said...

you have a lot of things going on for sure! all the projects give you such a variety of things to do surely you won't get bored :) love your machines. I have both of the SewEzi tables and although I used to use both of them with the sewing room redo I don't have room for either of them, both are folded and in the closet with their bags so they are ready for me when I do want them - the smaller one I think would fit in your car easily and is light weight enough to handle - I found the larger one harder to handle and it is made more for staying in one place and not man handling into the car and back I found it quite heavy

chrisknits said...

Those arcs are going to be stunning!! And yahoo for new baby machines!!! Checking out your table purchase asap!

SJSM said...

The quilt for Lars will be stunning. I’m sure he will appreciate all the work you are putting into it. I will be a curious fly on the wall when you get to piecing the purple fabric and arcs together. Not being a quilter I’m not sure what the pieces will look like and the methodology for connecting everything together.

What a labor of love in repairing the quilt. I’m having enough trouble working my sewing into my schedule. Taxes and Sewing Guild paperwork is covering my sewing surfaces at this time. I, too, have a baby blanket to make for a baby born in December. That comes up first when I clear out the paperwork. The clamshell is a nice selection. I’d let you borrow my larger GO if we were in the same local area.

Ramona said...

I've been excited to see some of the arcs come together. That is going to be such a cool quilt! I have the SewEzi table and love it. I use it in my sewing room because my machine is too high for me when it's sitting on the desk. It's easy to transport, too. Happy Quilting!

Dione Gardner-Stephen said...

All that thought you have put into the repair is going to pay off so well. I never thought of bleaching a modern fabric to get a match. I love the movement in the arcs. And your clam shell quilt will be really sweet. Thanks for inviting the Chameleon to your corner of the internet, we certainly enjoyed the visit and will be back for more!

Elaine said...

so many lovely projects! I have a clamshell quilt on my some day list too. I love the idea of bleaching the Kaffe fabrics as I also find them too bright, how did you do that?

Vivian said...

Bravo! It looks like you've successfully resolved the puzzle of repairing the vintage quilt! Your insertions look like they will fit right in to restore this to its well-loved beauty. Regarding cutting those clamshells: I noticed you have a dressform in your studio -- if you also have a dressmakers curve ruler, you may be able to use that along with a 28mm rotary cutter to make cutting those clamshells out a little easier.

Christine Slaughter said...

So many wonderful projects! I have been looking forward to reading an update on the vintage quilt. The fabrics you chose blend in so perfectly!

The graduation quilt is fantastic. Those arcs really pop on that background fabric!