Scrappy Trip Around The World, take three

Some of you may remember that I made a Scrappy Trip Around the World quilt a few years ago as a wedding present for friends, and another one for a friend’s baby.

The larger quilt was queen size: here it’s being held up by my father (6’4″) who is standing on a chair:N&AHuge

The smaller quilt was for a baby:
20130731-194654.jpg

Both were made using the Quiltville Scrappy Trip pattern.

I initially thought about doing a pieced back for the large quilt, and I’ve had blocks 12.5″x12.5″ cut for ages with no purpose.  Instead I decided to use them for a new, small, scrappy trip around the world quilt.

The newest quilt will be a lap quilt, in differently-formatted blocks: they’re blocks of 4 instead of blocks of six. The colors are a departure for me, and I’m not sure I’m going to want to keep it in the end, but it’s been really soothing to get back to my machine for a quilting project again.

ST3ST2ST1

 

A little bit louder?

I’ve really been enjoying the Scrappy Trip-Along quilt, especially seeing all the other pictures in the flickr group — it’s great to see the different color and fabric choices!

I’ve been planning on making my quilt 8×8, to be a (really large) queen size with plenty of drape, with a narrow solid border around the edges, and a plain binding. But I laid out the blocks I have right now, all 48 of them, and now I’m on the fence. I think 8×8 might be too large!

 

I’m considering three things and I would love opinions: please weigh in!
— 6×8 with a 6″ border = roughly 81″ x 104″ Concern: I worry that 81″ x 104″ is lopsided.
— 8×8 and a 4″ border = a neat 100″ x 100″ Concern: I worry that this is too big!
— 7×7 with a 6″ border = 92″ x 92″ Concern: I have an irrational dislike of odd numbers.

 

I laid the blocks I already have finished and trimmed out on my kitchen floor (after moving the kitchen table out of the way). This is what I had to do to get a picture of the whole thing:
me-ladder-cropped

That’s an 8 foot ladder. But from the top of it, I got this picture:
6x8-before1

And after moving some squares around a little bit, I got this one:
6x8-after1

I tested the layout in black and white, and I think it’s almost right:
6x8-after bw

This quilt is going to be a gift, and I want it to be something the recipients can really use, not something that’s just not quite right. So I have to make up my mind: 6×8? 7×7? Or 8×8? Let me know what you think — please!

I have the fabric all cut for the other blocks, so the time or work involved in making the next blocks is absolutely not a concern: I want this to be as good a gift as it can be, not something I think about later and wonder “what if?”

Scrappy Trip-Along (WiP Wednesday)

I’ve got a half-dozen works in progress, but only one of them has been getting very much attention recently.

I’ve been making pretty steady progress on my Scrappy Trip-Along quilt, though I fully expect things to slow down for me now that classes are back in session, and my assistantship starts up again. Thankfully, the scrappy trip quilt is very stop-and-start friendly, and each block doesn’t take too long to go together.

So far I have fifteen blocks, and it’s almost big enough that I’ll have to lay it out somewhere else soon.

Scrappy Trip 15 blocks

I made ten blocks straight off, start to finish, and then I made 20 6-strip tubes, which I’m still working my way though. Once I have all twenty sewn up, I’ll pull out iron and make all their seams lie flat — right now they’re still pretty puffy.

I’ve decided to square my blocks up to 12″x12″ — I had hoped not to have to, but there were enough places where the seam allowance would have been really narrow that I didn’t want to risk leaving the blocks untrimmed. They look much neater, now, and I can live with the blocks being not-quite-perfectly-square on the sides of each block.

If you like this pattern, check out the various projects posted in the scrappy trip-along flickr pool!

Scrappy Trip-Along

ScrappyTable

I have enough projects half-done that I really ought not take on another one. But we all know how that works, right? The Scrappy Trip Around the World quilt has been flying around, and I’m afraid I caught the bug big-time.

If you don’t know what I’m talking about, check out photographs on the flickr group, or the tag “scrappytripalong” on Instagram. (In fact, even if you do know what it is, go check out those photos, because, WOW, are there some great blocks and quilts going together! I love how very different this quilt ends up from different people’s stashes.)

The idea for this pattern is basically to use up scraps — you cut strips 2 1/2″ x 16″ and put them together more or less at random. The pattern is really quite ingenious. I’ve really only just finished cutting, so I’ve only made a couple of strip sets so far: I’m going to do at least ten, and then pull out the iron and cut them into proper strips and make up squares.
Two-blocks

Compared to a lot of people out there, I haven’t been quilting for all that long. And I tend to cut fabric as carefully (obsessively?) as I can, so I went through all my scraps pretty fast and didn’t have enough strips cut for the size quilt I wanted.

So I went through my “mistake” fabrics — you know the ones, the fabrics that looked great on the shelf or in the picture online, that showed up and made you wonder what you were thinking. Then I went through my fat quarter box and pulled a ton of Jo-Ann fat quarters that I bought on sale a few years ago, to so “something” with. And then, with absolutely perfect timing, two scrap packs I bought before I was even thinking about this quilt arrived in the mail, so I cut those all up and added them to the count!

In the end, I cut kind of a lot of fabric.
ScrappyTable

Why so many? I could tell you that it’s because Brenda, of Pink Castle Fabrics did the math to tell how many strips to cut for various sizes of quilts, and you need 336 strips for a queen-sized quilt. I could tell you that! I’m certainly planning on a queen-sized quilt.

But, um. I kind of just got caught up in the joy of hacking up scraps. I also tossed in every once in a while something that I really do like, so that I’ll be able to look at the quilt and find squares that I love hiding in all the scrappiness.

Now, this quilt thrives on randomness, and I’m really bad at random. So I cheated. I divided up my fabrics into color groups.
Strip-Piles
In case you’re wondering, I cut 74 Pink/Red/Orange, 74 Yellow/Green, 75 Blue/Purple, 38 Dark Browns, 40 Blacks, 71 Light Neutrals, and 20 OMGWTF ALL THE COLORS strips.

With this pre-color-selected setup, it’s really easy: all I have to do is make sure that each block contains one black or brown, and something from each other pile. Or two from one pile, if I’m feeling in a blue and purple mood. It makes putting together the blocks really easy for me, which it would not be at all if I had to pull from a giant pile on the floor.

I’m trying one new thing for this project: I’m using leaders and enders. I’ve got more than enough 2 1/2″ squares, between my own scraps and some mini-charm-packs I picked up from FatQuarterShop.

I’m using a shortcut for those, too: I’ve divided them into “light” and “dark” and made three piles of each. When I need to pick up another two squares, I match up whatever’s on top of those piles with whatever else is on top and looks best. So far, I’m getting quite a few of them, and it’s really satisfying. Not to mention, not having to hold down the thread ends every time I start a new strip? SO NICE.

LeaderEnderPiles

I’ve still got a few Christmas presents that haven’t made it up here yet, and a finished quilt to show off on Friday, if I can get decent pictures between now and then.

Quilted coasters

Following this tutorial, by Jeni of In Color Order, I spent a little while last week putting together and quilting four little coasters.

It was a great chance to try out free-motion quilting for the first time. Most of what I learned was: I need way more practice at this. So there may be more coasters and so on in my immediate future, since they seem to make a nice tiny little playground for trying my hand at free-motion quilting.

Henrietta Turtle

No in-process photographs for this one, I’m afraid: I was so caught up in making it that the camera didn’t make its way out at all.

This is the Henrietta Turtle by Heather Bailey, made from scraps from the Mixtape quilt I posted about on Wednesday.

The little boy I’m making the mixtape quilt for fell in love with the stuffed turtle at the City Quilter, so when I stopped back in to get fabric for backing, I picked up the pattern.

This was a delight: the instructions were clear and easy to follow. And that’s saying something, because this is the first time I’ve sewn curves since my grandmother taught me how when I was a kid.

I only changed one thing: instead of french knot eyes, which I know will end up unraveling, I simply drew on the eyes with a permanent marker. Not nearly so nice, but much less destroyable.

Better photograph of the Scrap Attack quilt

I finally pressed it, (not that you can entirely tell: the light green fabric is a little cranky) and it’s all ready to quilt and bind. Then, of course, I have to decide who to give it to. It’ll probably sit on a shelf for a little while until a baby or a birthday comes along.

(More information about the fabric and so on is here.)