Friday, January 3, 2020

Spirit Song Blocks Nearly Completed, Only 38 Blocks to Go

So, in the midst of my sadness over losing my dog to cancer, I have not yet loaded the Jingle quilt that I was planning to start quilting between Christmas and New Year's.  That is a challenge that requires more positive energy than I could muster right now.  Instead, I've been piecing more of those Birds In the Air blocks for my Spirit Song Dress Code quilt, which is a total tangent (squirrel) from the projects I'd intended to be working on and finishing right now, but it's cathartic.  I had intended to use these HST blocks as leaders and enders, but the bright colors and frustration-free simple construction are cheering me up.  I think to myself, "I'll just go up to the studio and sew for 15 minutes," and then two hours slips by without my noticing it.  Just what I need right now.  And so the collection of blocks on my design wall has grown to this:

Spirit Song On My Design Wall: Only Three More Rows to Go
To recap, this project is made up of traditional 4" Birds In the Air blocks and I designed the layout and scrappy color scheme in EQ8 quilt design software as an experiment.  


My objective was to design a simple quilt that could be made with my Accuquilt GO! dies, so each block is comprised of three 2" finished HSTs (Accuquilt die 55393) and one 4" finished HST (Accuquilt die 55031).  

50 x 66 Design Rendering Created in EQ8
I used the EQ8 design printout as a rough guide as I was choosing fabrics for this project, since the virtual fabrics loaded in my software are similar to but not identical to the actual, physical fabrics in my studio stash.  I ended up not using as much purple in the real quilt and my little blue triangles are true blues rather than teals as in the design rendering, but I still love how accurately the software tool helps me predict what a quilt will look like BEFORE I cut into any fabric.  EQ8 gives me super powers!

Yes, I spent some time fiddling around on the computer before I came up with this design that I liked enough to commit to making it, but I tried out lots of different color options and layouts before settling on this one.  Without the software, I would have been making the first idea that I came up with, the one that I did NOT like when I previewed the design in my software.  It takes so much time to cut, piece, and quilt a project from beginning to end.  Even without factoring in the cost of materials, the software is my most valuable quilting tool because it ensures I'll never again get 3/4 finished piecing a quilt top and realize that the color/value/scale aren't working the way I envisioned it in my mind.

Piecing WIPs on My Design Wall: Spirit Song and Beware the Ishmaelites Sampler
You can see the scale better in this photo for how much I've got done and the size of the finished quilt.  I know that the seam allowances between all of those 4" blocks are going to shrink this down dramatically.  If I feel like it's too small once the top is assembled, there are always borders, right?  The huge blocks off to the right are for an in-progress FPP (foundation paper piecing) project, my Beware of the Ishmaelites Queen sampler quilt for my younger son's bedroom.  The last quilt I made for him was for his Twin size "big boy bed" when he turned two, but now that he's 16 years old and 6' tall, he needs a bigger quilt for his BIGGER boy bed!  Hah!  I'll return to piecing that quilt after I finish the Spirit Song blocks and clear away the debris of pink/peach/coral fabrics that have taken over my cutting table.

To make the 50" x 66" throw size like my EQ8 rendering, I need two more blocks to complete those partial rows near the bottom plus three more rows of twelve blocks each, for a total of 38 more blocks.  I have already started chain piecing all of the remaining blocks so I should be able to finish them today.  Then I'll fine-tune my layout, borrowing my sons' and husband's eyeballs to help me check for balance and avoiding two patches of the same fabric placed adjacent to one another.  I don't know how I'll quilt it yet, though.  I think it would be a perfect candidate for a lovely computerized edge-to-edge design, but my longarm machine isn't computerized and it won't be computerized any time soon.  Wouldn't this one be perfect?  It's called "Dave's All That Jazz" and it's available from Urban Elementz here.

Dave's All That Jazz Digital/Paper E2E Quilting Design from Urban Elementz
Dare I attempt another paper pantograph on this one?  Dave's All That Jazz is available to order as a paper pantograph, but it's definitely not in the Beginner/Easy category.  My initial experiments with paper pantographs taught me that following the paper pattern with a laser light is not as easy as it looks!  Stay tuned...

OMG: One Monthly Goal(s)

It's a new year, and that makes it a great time to try something new with goal setting.  I'm going to set THREE goals each month, one for Piecing, one for Quilting, and one for Garment Sewing (something I'd like to do more of this year!).

  • JANUARY PIECING GOAL: Complete Spirit Song Dress Code Quilt Top
  • JANUARY QUILTING GOAL: Load Jingle BOM Christmas Quilt Top and Begin Custom Quilting
  • JANUARY GARMENT SEWING GOAL: Set up a dedicated garment sewing work station in my former guest room.  I don't have room in my quilt studio to be working on garments and long-term quilt projects simultaneously, so I'm thinking about setting up a separate cutting table, ironing board, serger and cover stitch machines in the spare bedroom along with the dress form.  That way everything is ready to go for quick mending, alterations, or whatever knit dress or top I might want to whip up...

I'm linking up today's post with:

·       Needle and Thread Thursday at My Quilt Infatuation  
·       Whoop Whoop Fridays at Confessions of a Fabric Addict
·       Beauty Pageant at From Bolt to Beauty
·       Finished Or Not Friday at Busy Hands Quilts
·       UFO Busting at Tish in Wonderland
·       One Monthly Goal at Elm Street Quilts


chrisknits said...

I am loving that top the more you make of it!! Awesome job on those colors. And I second the EQ praises! Only, I need to upgrade from Mini to 8!

Lisa J. said...

I'm sorry to hear about your dog and I understand the lack of energy. I do love your quilt top and I like the idea of the three goals, may steal it.

SJSM said...

This Spirit Song Quilt is such a happy collection of fabric. Just what you need to absorb your mind at this time. I am enjoying the progression. And what! A second sewing room? Now that is the luxury few sewists are able to pull off. Go for it and show the room off when you have it set up.

The Joyful Quilter said...

Spirit Song Dress Code? LOVE!!!

Vivian said...

My condolences on the loss of your beloved Otto! Your memories of him will keep him part of the family forever. Spirit Song is a citrus colored beaut! Very cool Jazz panto --- definitely try it on a practice piece first. Hmmm, would make a great wholecloth with a music note fabric background!

Mary Huey said...

such a cheerful quilt -- I can see why you get lost in the piecing!!

Patty said...

Thanks for linking up with Elm Street Quilts One Monthly Goal and good luck with your project.