Thursday, May 29, 2008

Am I Nuts?

This is how I spent 2 hours during this beautiful (but a bit chilly) spring morning. The block is "G-6 Papa's Star". Definitely not a beginner's block. In real life, the dark fabric is more orange, not red as the photo seems to show.
Don't ask me how the piece in the middle of the small star turned out to be a rectangle instead of a square, but heck, it works for me. Also, my little star pieces are a bit wonky, but I have to remind myself that finished is better than perfect. It is only one of the 169 4 1/2-inch blocks surrounded by 52 triangles and 4 corner kites. As far as I know, there are no DJ quilt police following me around waiting to issue a citation.

Advice on how to make it easier -- make the center part of the block using fabric with stars already printed on it and fussy cut the pentagon-shaped piece instead of piecing the teeny tiny star points. Even easier... applique a plain large star on a piece of background and leave it at that.

What I've learned from making this block --

1 -- I am in definite need of some serious psychiatric help;
2 -- It was very smart of me to use batiks for this quilt because I don't have to worry about the right and wrong side of the fabric;
3 -- When paper piecing, remember the mirror image effect -- thankfully I remembered BEFORE it was too late;
4 -- If you are paper piecing, be mindful of the fact that this method does waste fabric;
5 -- Although the short stitch length works great for the paper piecing, it's not much fun when it comes to un-sewing;
6 -- Do this when it's dreary outside -- don't waste gorgeous weather;
7 -- Last, but not least...Jane Stickle must have been an awesome woman to know.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Here Comes a Tough One

This is what I plan to work on may be a while... The small photo is the original DJ block with a small pieced star in the center. Remember, the block is only 4 1/2 inches finished!

Two More Easy Ones Done

It was tough to stay indoors with the beautiful weather we had this past weekend, but I managed to take some time to finish two more blocks using the paper-piecing method. The first photo is "D-6 Challenge" and the second is "H-13 Farm Fields". Very quick and easy.

Now it's time to do a couple of more challenging blocks. If I do all the easy ones first, I think I'll get too discouraged later on, so I need to do a tough one once in a while. Probably more than once in a while since there are a lot of challenging (at least for me) blocks in this quilt.

Progress report -- 4 blocks finished, 3 ready for appliqueing once I get the silk thread that I ordered

Saturday, May 24, 2008

50 by 50!

Since this is such a large project, I needed to set myself a goal in order to get things moving. I've decided that my goal is "50 by 50" which means that I want to finish 50 blocks by my 50th birthday. That might be a bit ambitious (just over 5 months to go), but hopefully this way I'll make sure to keep on going with the project. After I make the 50, I suppose I could relax and then set a goal of "60 by 60", but at that rate I'll be long gone before the quilt is done.

Since I starting thinking about making the quilt, I have changed my mind at least a dozen times about the fabric/color choices. At first I was just going to stick to relatively solid batiks, but since I have so many other batik scraps in my stash, I scrapped that decision (pardon the pun).
Today's block is "D-13 Field of Dreams". Very easy to paper piece. The fabrics are mostly yellow and gold, but show up as orange in this picture.

I've also included a photo of the notebook I've set up to stay organized. We'll see how long that lasts...

One Down...Too Many To Go

The top photo is the "Trip Around the World" plan for my quilt. I've started the center block, but need to buy some silk thread to applique the rest of it. I'll post a photo when it's finished. Hopefully that will be during the first sewing meeting of my guild's Dear Jane group on June 2nd.

In the meantime I had to finish at least one block before the meeting, so I decided to abandon my plan to start in the center and work my way out. From now on I will probably make them in random order. The first easy one I chose is "A-6 Uncle Homer". I printed out the paper piecing pattern from the CD and used the color chart above to decide on the fabrics. The other photo above is the result -- the pink looks a bit washed out I'm afraid.

Maybe I'll make more this weekend...

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Light bulb moment

A trip to Needles Quilt Shop in Wellsboro last week provided me with the first batch of fabrics. My plan is to use batiks, lights and darks, in a rainbow design, starting with the center block, Indianapolis, in red. The block has curved seams so I can't paper-piece it -- it has to be appliqued. I don't really like doing applique and do it rarely, but it has to be done.

Our guild hosted Patricia Knoechel, Eleanor Burns' sister, on Monday night during which she demonstrated several of Eleanor's favorite sewing methods. I had a light bulb moment that evening -- I can use the interfacing-applique technique. Here is what I've done so far. I pieced the circle with the center strips and then sewed it onto fusible interfacing. The other 4 pieces will be appliqued using the freezer-paper method.

First post, hopefully the first of many

Welcome to the first post of my Dear Jane Journey and other quilting adventures. Once in a while I expect I'll have a non-quilt-related post as well.

My local quilt guild, the Mountain Laurel Quilt Guild in Tioga County, Pennsylvania, recently formed a sub-group of members interested in making Dear Jane quilts, or should I say, Baby Jane quilts. I bought the software several months ago and now am inspired by the group to finally get started. We've had our first organizational meeting and now it's time to start sewing.

So far the most difficult part for me has been the selection of fabrics/color scheme. Those who know me insist that I have to make it in batiks. I've joked and said that perhaps I'll fool them all and make the quilt in civil war colors (not my style at all), but that will never happen. This quilt is going to take me a long time to make and if I want to be successful, I need to make it in colors and fabrics that I love.

I'm starting with the center block (Indianapolis) and hope to make my way out from there.