Tuesday, May 10, 2022

Progress On the Retro '80s Building Blocks Quilt is Happening! Nanu Nanu!

Hello and Happy Tuesday!  It's been awhile since I've set any goals for my personal sewing projects, but I'm right on schedule with quilting commitments for clients and I'm SO close with my Retro '80s Building Blocks sampler...  See, I managed to assemble the "A" section of the quilt top last week, the part that I've outlined with a red rectangle: 

First Section Assembled, No Casualties Suffered By My Points

Woo hoo!  And then I assembled section "B" this morning.  This one was a lot faster since it was only three big blocks and no fiddling around with the little ones, but still very satisfying to have another chunk of the quilt top put together:

Second Section Assembled, Still No Catastrophes

This is slow going because I'm working out which way to press the seam allowances between the blocks as I go along and, total honesty -- I was procrastinating putting the blocks together once I'd finished them in case there was going to be a lot of seam ripping and swearing involved like there was when I was joining all the blocks together for my Sermon Scribbles quilt awhile ago.  I am a Side Presser and not an Open Seam presser.  When my seams are pressed in opposite directions and they nest and lock together at the seam intersections, that's when it's the easiest to get those seams to line up perfectly.  But without sashing between blocks and with so many different block styles in the quilt -- and without any pattern instructions telling me which way to press the seams to match up like that -- sometimes it works out and it's easy, and other times I have to match two seams that are pressed in the same direction and use that little hump-jumping tool to keep my presser foot level as it passes over the giant mountain of seam allowances!

So, instead of setting a Measurable Results goal for this week (like "two more sections assembled"), I'm going to set a Measurable Effort goal of working on this project for one hour every day.  How much progress will I have made by next Tuesday if I can do that?  

I was feeling so pumped about my progress as I was writing this that I just got up from the computer, went back to the sewing machine, and sewed the "C" section of my quilt top together. Now I feel silly for procrastinating, since it's going together so easily!

Third Section Assembled!

Two factors behind my renewed motivation to complete this quilt top, and neither one of them has anything to do with a finished quilt!  First, my guild is finally, FINALLY going to be meeting in person on June 1st for the very first time since before the Plague.  Wouldn't it be nice to have this quilt top done so I could bring it for Show & Tell?  And second, I want my design wall back so I can start another project!  It will either be the Deco quilt that I bought and prewashed fabrics for back in October of last year, or else one of the three Sarah Fielke BOM projects I signed up for this year.  This Building Blocks sampler has been on the design wall for so long that it feels like it's a permanent fixture of my studio.  Time for a change!

How I Pin So I Can Use My Seam Guide

By the way, I put my pins in "backwards" like that so I can use the seam guide that screws down into the bed of my sewing machine, and I use these extra-fine Clover Patchwork pins (this post contains affiliate links) because thicker pins bend and distort the fabric that I'm trying to match so precisely.

So my goal for this week is to fit in at least an hour a day to work on this oh-so-close-to-finished quilt top everyday and see where that gets me.  After all of the blocks are sewn together, I still have my Mork & Mindy rainbow suspender borders and corner blocks that need to be cut out, pieced, and added to the quilt top.  Wish me luck!  

Lucia's "Fun In the Sun" Quilt

Meanwhile, thank goodness my wonderful quilting clients keep bringing me such a wide variety of beautiful projects to quilt for them!  One of the surprise benefits of quilting professionally has been discovering how much my clients' projects inspire and motivate me to keep plugging away at my own projects.  After working on a completely different quilt for a few days for a client, when I come back to my own project I'm not sick of it anymore!  

Such Pretty Colors Brightening Up My Studio!

This 50" x 60" quilt was pieced by my client Lucia.  I'm not sure of the pattern name or the fabric collection she used, but it's a wonderful way to show off a pretty assortment of coordinating prints, don't you think?  I used Quilters Dream Cotton batting and Glide 40 weight thread in color Mint Julep in the needle, paired with So Fine 50 weight thread in color Grotto in my bobbin.  I sized the Vermillion E2E quilting design a little larger than I might on another quilt, to keep it in proportion to the large scale of Lucia's piecing.  I like how the quilted vines seem to grow up and around the blocks, softening the straight lines of the patchwork while complementing the floral prints in this modern mix of fabrics.

Vermillion E2E Stitched In Glide Thread, Color Mint Julep

Such a pretty quilt -- it makes me think of summer picnics!  Thank you for choosing me to quilt this for you, Lucia!

And now it's time for me to stop blogging so I can get my next client's quilt loaded on my frame.  I like to load quilts the night before so I can start in with quilting first thing in the morning.  I'm linking today's post up with To-Do On Tuesday as well as my other linky party faves, listed on the left sidebar of my blog.  Happy stitching, everyone!


Sandy said...

Wow! You're really making great progress on your quilt -- I can't wait to see the finished product! Your client quilt is lovely, too -- both the happy fabrics and the quilting you chose to use on it.

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

happy to hear of progress on the retro quilt it has been a long time in the making. I hope you will pleased with it in the end. Can't wait to see the finish

Brenda @ Songbird Designs said...

You are doing great on your retro quilt! I, too, love those extra fine pins. I mostly use the fine silk pins, but I have those Clover pins also. Your client's quilt is so very colorful and cheerful, just an all around happy quilt IMO! Looking forward to see how much you get done on your retro quilt this week!

TerryKnott.blogspot.com said...

Isn't it exciting when you "get" to piece chunks together and then piece those chunks into even larger bits? It always takes longer than one would imagine! I'm wishing you well as you work through this part of your journey! The texture on your client's quilt is absolutely lovely!

LIttle Penguin Quilts said...

Your Retro 80s quilt is looking so great, Rebecca! I've never made an all solids quilt, but seeing yours, it really appeals to me. Thanks for the idea to put pins in backwards so you can use your seam guide. I have a tendency to leave the seam guide off if I need to pin, but "duh!" 😊 Enjoy your sewing time this week!

CarolE said...

Kudos to you on your progress with this quilt! You also inspire all of us to get our quilts done too!

Ramona said...

The colors in your blocks are so vivid... I have to remind myself that these are the actual blocks and not your mock-ups. You are so close to being finished with the body of this fun quilt and it's looking great. I ordered some of the pins you suggested. Mine are getting dull and are frustrating to use. Thanks!

Linda said...

Wonderful progress on your retro blocks quilt. Love the fabrics Lucia used! It's amazing how complex a simple pattern can look with the right fabrics. And of course your quilting is just exquisite. It was interesting reading about your seam pressing direction. I prefer side seams, but if the pattern author hasn't given me instructions, I reluctantly press it open because I don't want to take the time to figure it out - lol!
Thank you for sharing with To Do Tuesday!

Jennifer Fulton Inquiring Quilter said...

I have every confidence you will get your Retro 80s quilt done soon! Look how fast it's going together. Thanks for sharing it and your customer quilt on Wednesday Wait Loss.

Linda @ kokaquilts said...

Lots of great progress on your retro 80s quilt! I made this one years ago too, I started out as solids only, but did end up adding in a few Anna Maria fabrics, but I was never very happy with the result. Custom quilting on it actually 'saved' it, taking it all to another level!

Vivian said...

Still a thrill every time you do another bit to that MODA sampler. Also thrilled for you that sewing together the sections has been all swooning and no swearing, Lol! slow and steady will win the race. Lorna's quilt was so happy, loving the colors and prints, so fun!

Frédérique - Quilting Patchwork Appliqué said...

Working on the project for one hour every day sounds like a great goal! I love how accurately your blocks are joined, and the sewn sections are beautiful!
Le quilt de la cliente est très beau aussi !
Thank you so much for sharing, and linking up ;)

Danielle said...

It's amazing how complex a simple pattern can look with the right fabrics.

Sandra Walker said...

I did a block of the month for the guild I used to belong to way back when I first started quilting when we lived in Alberta with multiple sizes of blocks that all fit together with three different ways of fitting them together at the end. It was a free one on the Internet and was a lot of fun and a quilt I still really treasure. I’m totally with you on pressing seams to the side. (Hello SITD not in the ‘gap’ between open seams) I also learned to “pin backwards“ because of buying Nova Montgomery’s seam guide for my featherweight machines.

Nancy @ Grace and Peace Quilting said...

How's your sampler coming along? Wow, on the colors and fun quilting of Lucia's quilt!!!