Monday, October 5, 2020

bear paw finish and more

 Last week I teased you with longarming and binding my bear paw quilt.  I did get the binding hand-sewn down shortly after and ran out for a photo...I think it may have been the following day, on account of rain.  I can't remember.  It's been a long week!

But for the sake of a finish, let's take a look at the whole journey of this quilt, shall we?

Way back in late May, my friend Colette and I decided we would make this quilt together.  I had seen a photo on Instagram that inspired me and chased it down to a tutorial from Missouri Star Quilt Company.  Jenny used a jelly roll.  We used scraps.

We decided to set ourselves a goal of October to finish.  We both got off to a roaring start - she got ahead of me on making quarter blocks, but I caught up when putting the quarter blocks together and we finished within a week of each other.  Last week!

It was fun to revisit my scraps, choosing smaller pieces that normally might be left behind.

I raided my stash of 2.5" squares, too.  It had been much depleted, but there were a fair number of lighter fabrics that worked nicely for the backgrounds.  And reduced that stash even further beyond my Hands2Help 900-piece monstrosity earlier in the year.

Blue proved a bit of a challenge, but I decided to do half blue and half turquoise.  I have a LOT of turquoise and not much blue, but I knew the effort to include the truer blues would give my quilt more personality.

And obviously, Photo-Bomb-Gabby helped.  Or at least that is what she wants you to believe.  Mostly she just showed up for the photos that were not of her.

Some days digging into the stash and deciding was a daunting task.  More often than not, though, it was the getting started part that was hardest.  Once I got going, it was fun!

Some colors provided more variety than others and it became obvious where my stash has some issues.  But this is a scrap quilt, so it's all okay! And it provided me an opportunity to use up some smaller pieces of fabrics I wasn't sure what to do with any more!

Finally I had all the block quarters made, but there they sat.  Laying it out was another large task, as would be getting it together.  Each quarter block becomes a whole block, which then becomes part of the quilt, but sashings...  I struggled in my head for a while before hitting on a method that seemed like it should work to lay out the quilt, then stack the blocks and sew them together upstairs.

So, to the design floor!

I labelled carefully and started sewing.

But then realized my labels were great for horizontal rows, but now it was the vertical rows that were going to be the joining seams.  

I layed them out as they became rows and carefully relabelled things and sewed them again.  As you might remember from a previous post, this was not without error, but it took even me a few seconds of looking (and knowing what I was looking for) in the finished quilt, so I am no longer worrying about it!

Eventually, all the LOOOONG seams were completed and I had a top!

At this point, I was way ahead of Colette - she had something on her design wall that was taking its time becoming one piece, but she is a speed demon when she wants to be and I knew it wouldn't be long before she caught up!

I was in love with this quilt even more than I was before I started it.

But I stalled out here.  I needed a back and went to my local quilt shop and bought some yardage from the sale room.  But it wasn't "the" fabric.

Last week, I decided I needed to just quilt it.  And happened to have a striped fabric I bought for another quilt back that was also not "it" for that quilt.  I felt it went well enough, being brighter colors, and went for it.  It was JUST big enough, which means it was meant to be, right?!

I had help loading the quilt...

...more with the back than the front, actually...

...but it had been a while since the longarm had gotten any attention, so it was a new toy again for derpy Finn.  (I love this cat to bits, but he is NOT the smartest one of the bunch!)

I struggled at this step, too, deciding HOW to quilt it.  I went through a number of options and ended up with one I liked and thought doable.  So, once the cats grew bored of my nonsense, I finished loading and started quilting.

The quilting went quickly, as I had chosen a fairly open design.  Now that the quilting is done, I'm not entirely happy with it.  I like a bit more dense quilting than this got, but there's not much to be done and the quilting, overall, is evenly dense/sparse, so it doesn't look terrible.  Just not quite "me."

On to binding!

I have a stash of leftover binding pieces - you know when you need juuuuust over 3 strips and have to cut a fourth, so you have 32 inches left?  Yeah.  I pieced together about 300 inches of those (needing about 280) and you can't hardly tell!  But I will keep working on that stash!

The machine-sewn side seemed to go fairly quickly this time.  Maybe because I wasn't as antsy to get to the hand-sewing and finished quilt part?  Or maybe I'm learning more patience in my "old" age?!

Then it was down to the couch for a marathon of Gilmore Girls and hand-sewing the binding to the back of the quilt.  I think I went through 4, maybe 5, episodes, and then it was done!

I can't remember if I went out that day or the next day or the day after that for a was rainy and overcast for a few days here.  But I will not complain.  We are headed headlong into fall here, and I am savoring every single warmer day, rainy or not, until the s-word appears on my ground and the furnace runs non-stop.

And there you have it!  I think it's about 72x72, but I can't remember for sure and I'm too lazy to go measure it.  Basically, it needs to be long enough for my 6-foot hubby to use comfortably and this works.

No close-ups of the quilting...sorry!  I forgot!  Some of the motifs are better executed than others.  I did not improve much as I went along, as you might expect.  I never do.  It seems about the third or fourth one is my best and every one after that is a variation of better or worse.  But I am not quilting to win awards, I am quilting to finish quilts.  If I learn a new motif or skill along the way, so be it.  And I rarely rip anything - that usually only happens when the tension goes wacky or I run out of bobbin thread and need to stop at a good point!

With this done and the other two tops from retreat in line to be quilted, I could start a new project!

I had a pile of narrow strips left from the quilt kit I purchased at the retreat in January... I decided to make something with them.  I had seen a Greek Key block recently and thought it would work. (My original plan was something like a Log Cabin, so this fits nicely!)

A test block yielded this.  But due to inefficient cutting, I didn't think I could make it any larger.  Then I looked more closely at what scraps I had.  (I also had some squarish, smallish pieces and could I piece a strip?  I could!)

A bit of piecing leftovers and careful cutting on the next set and I have two blocks!

I have 20 fabrics, so will have 10 blocks.  Which is a nice, odd (though not odd) number for a quilt.  I suppose one will get the boot and the other 9 will become a small quilt.  I have to finish cutting pieces (I started, but I worked Thursday, Saturday and Sunday, so time has been a little tight this week!), but will get to those soon enough today.  I'm excited to be using these scraps.  There will still be some left, but I'll cross that bridge when I get there.

Meanwhile, Finn has declared himself produce inspector on grocery day...

Freddie has, in the past, helped unpack groceries, but with the virus and stores refusing to use the reusable bags, Freddie has found other things to do.  Apparently he doesn't much care for the plastic bags I am being forced to use.  Finn this week, hopped himself right up onto the kitchen counter and attacked the bag of apples.  Three times.  The tomatoes and bananas were safe, but there are also a couple of limes behind him that got a bit of attention.

I have no idea what is wrong with this cat, but he is an endless source of entertainment and is a good boy.  (He is not a picky eater, he always uses the litterbox, he gets along with everyone (human or feline), and is generally the happiest cat I have ever met, so I will take the goofy along with all the other goodness and count myself endlessly lucky to be his human.)

And with that, I need to get some lunch and head to the sewing room!

Happy quilting!


A Left-Handed Quilter said...

LOVE your quilt - your new blocks - and Finn - ;))

Frog Quilter said...

What a sweet post. Such pretty bear paw blocks. Keep the cute posts coming. Love your kitties 🐱.

---"Love" said...

I love your bear paw quilt! The bright colors are beautiful together, and your quilt looks great too! ---"Love"

a good yarn said...

Wow -your quilt turned out so well! Colourful, lively and I'm sure your quilting is fine. Finn is such a cutie so happy to see him anytime. The key blocks look good and you are blasting through those scraps.

Ruth said...

The bear paw is such a gorgeous quilt! I love all the different colors mixed up. The new greek key looks interesting.