2012 Year in Review

2012 mosaic
1. FinalWhole, 2. FQ-Close, 3. Front_garden, 4. Full_front, 5. BlueBlack-staggered, 6. Henrietta1, 7. Notebooks, 8. Sarah’s potholders (front), 9. Black bag 1

In 2012 I started quilting seriously, started blogging, met a whole bunch of really lovely people and learned tons from advice and tutorials and quilt-alongs, and finished a lot of small projects and several quilts, including one that isn’t featured in this mosaic.

In 2013, I’ll be joining the Inspire circle of do. Good Stitches (which I’m really looking forward to) and trying my best to keep up with the Pile O’Fabric Skill Builder Block of the Month in hopes of learning how to sew curves at the very least. And ideally, I’ll be a little bit better at keeping up with this blog during the spring semester than I was this fall.

EZ Dresden Challenge

Wow, has the beginning of the semester swamped me. Now that I have a full load of coursework in addition to my MA thesis (and a part-time assistantship), well, I have a little less time for quilting. Knitting socks is going well, though even that has slowed down: I need to read on the subway, instead of knitting.

That said, there are a few things I want to point out, because the Salt Lake Modern Quilt Guild’s EZ Dresden Challenge has ended, and they’ve got link-ups of a huge variety of excellent projects.

Mini-quilts are here.

Innovative quilts are here.

Traditional quilts are here.

Go check them out — you’ll be astonished at the variety of quilts people constructed using the very same ruler.

EZ-Dresden Mini Quilt

This quilt is my entry in the EZ Dresden Challenge:

I considered trying to do a queen-sized traditional Dresden quilt and then decided that, really, I’d like to come out of August with my sanity intact. So I took the little mini-Dresden medallion I’d made up for practice, added a larger one and some fans, and ended up with this:
FinalWhole2

I’m pleased that this fabric set worked so nicely together: it was a lot of fun to play with it, and I was really pleased when I could cut out a little teacup and have it be just the right size for the center of the medallion.

I’m proud of the way some of the spokes line up:
FinalBladesMatchy

Though there are spots where they don’t line up quite as well as I might have hoped:
FinalBladesNotMatchy

The fans in the corners aren’t perfect, but I think they came out pretty well:
FinalFanDetail

I’m proud of the way the quilting looks on the back of it, though I’m sorry I didn’t go get more fabric: the seam is more distracting than I expected:
FinalBackStitching

Still, it’s going to hang on a wall (see the little corners?) so I suppose the back won’t get all that much attention:
FinalBackPocket

And one more shot of the whole thing:
FinalWhole

Now I have a question for all of you who have made Dresden quilts before: do you find rounded or pointed spokes easier to make? I found the pointed ones much easier than the fans, and I’m wondering if there’s a way to round the edges that I didn’t think of.

Mini-Dresden progress

Well, I have to admit to not following my own to-do list when it comes to this one. I decided that I wanted to machine-quilt on the Dresden medallions, and that tumblers on the back would detract from the effect of the quilting. So instead I pieced together two pieces of dark brown, to provide a little bit of contrast from the more chocolatey brown of the front, and machine-appliqued the two medallions on.

Here’s what the front looked like just after that step:
MedallionsAlone

Here’s what the back looked like:
BackQuilting

Isn’t the concentric pattern pretty?

Then I finished piecing and ironing the fans for the corners, and attached them, again by machine applique. I’m definitely doing all pointed medallions for my larger quilt, because folding the edges under by 1/4″ on the fans was a huge pain.

MedallionsFans

Now I need to decide what to do for the center of the circle and the centers of the fans. I may fussy-cut a teacup print for the center of the main circle, and then use quarter-circles of pale blue or dark brown for the corners. I think probably brown: I don’t want something as eye-catching as the blue for the corners, because it would draw attention outwards, when I want all attention on the medallions!

I think that since this is a mini-quilt, probably destined to live on someone’s wall (I’m planning on putting in little hanging-friendly corners when I bind it), that appliqueing the medallions and their centers down should be enough quilting to make it sturdy enough: I can’t think of any way to quilt the border areas without detracting from the clean lines it has right now. I’m tempted to try to quilt a zig-zag line that mirrors the Dresden’s spokes, but I don’t think I could pull it off successfully.

Then I just have to make my mind up about binding!

Blocks of the Month, halfway done.

Hooray for holiday long-weekends: I was able to catch up on the Half-Square Triangle Block of the Month Quilt Along last week. I finished second blocks for January through May and made one block each for June and July — then I ran out of squares of white fabric and had to stop. Poor packing — next time I’ll know better.

These are my January blocks:
January2

These are the February blocks:
February2

These are the March blocks:
March2

These are the April blocks:
April2

This is my second May block: (the first one is still not fixed)
May

This is my first June block:
June

This is my first July block:
July

A number of the points on the blocks aren’t matched as precisely as they might be — it’s visible in the June block, for example. It’s true of a number of the second blocks, which has a lot to do with having sewn them on the Singer 66, with a little less attention to spare for making sure everything lines up, since I’m concentrating on treadling, too.

I’m not a hundred percent happy with the make-up/final appearance of all of the blocks, but I’ve been regarding this quilt-along as a learning process in selecting fabrics. There are some blocks I’m particularly happy with: the all-solid January block and the July block are favorites of mine right now. I’ll have to see how it all comes out in the end. :)

It seems appropriate to link up to WIP Wednesday today, given that this project is almost exactly halfway done: I’ve got twelve of my final twenty-four HST blocks.

WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

Other works-in-progress that I’m working on (or planning, but haven’t cut just yet) are a knitting bag for a friend, using the Perk Me Up fat quarter bundle, which just about yelled her name at me when I saw it. I’ll be using this pattern, with the modification of adding both an inner, zipped divider pocket as in the orange example in the linked post, and a set of flat pockets for knitting needles and other tools, along one of the inner walls of the bag.

I made two Dresden wheels of the coffee fabric — at first I thought I’d applique one onto the bag, but that idea died a swift death. Now I’m thinking about putting together a mini quilt for the EZ Dresden Challenge, with three wheels on the front, one larger and two smaller. I would have pictures, but it was dark by the time I finished the second one on Tuesday evening.

I was going to try to make a large (queen sized) Dresden quilt for the EZ Dresden Challenge, but I decided that trying to make, quilt, bind and finish a queen-sized Dresden quilt by August 31st when I have class, volunteer work, a MA thesis to finish, and plans to go to Europe for eleven days in August (though it’s not set in stone — I don’t have tickets yet…) — well, I figured trying to shove in a complicated queen-sized quilt on top of that was a little bit crazytown.

Still, these are 16 of the 20 colors I’ll use, when I do start that quilt, which I will in September:
Blue Brown Dresden trial wheel

In the meantime, last night I cut up some red Cosmo Cricket Circa 1934 and some off-white Kona cotton to put together a Film Strip / Little Plates quilt — inspired by Books Bound’s recent baby quilt, which is based on Crazymomquilts’s Film Strip quilt. I also looked a little bit at the pattern in Elizabeth Hartman’s Practical Guide to Patchwork, which pairs prints with prints in some blocks. I’ve been looking for a pattern that has comparatively large pieces of fabric, to show off the typewriter keys and the larger numbers of the Circa 1934 prints, and this looks like it’ll be fun. It also looks like it’ll be a fast project, which is something I’m really looking for — for some reason I’ve been itching for a finish for the last few days.