A Finished Project and Lessons Learned

As part of the “process pledge,” I have been sharing pictures along the way on my IG account, @facetfully. To complete the pledge, I am blogging today about the steps taken and the lessons learned in completing this table runner.

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As noted in an earlier post, I took a class at the Quilters Affair in Sisters, Oregon with Natalie Barnes, Beyond the Reef Patterns. We had to do some prep work before the class, so I had already chosen this layout for the background for the handwork we would do.

Well, to make a long story short, DH (dear hubby) really liked the background, but he was not so impressed with the pot of flowers that were appliqued onto it when I returned home. Even though I can’t quite figure out what he does like, I was pretty sure he would not like the applique! He just isn’t a “folksy” kind of guy! Here is what would have been appliqued on the runner…

20180715_084213-11595952722737691344.jpg   So, as you can see from the first photo above, I removed the applique and left it as a simple runner. (Keeping all the pieces for a future project!!!)

I decided, as I have many times in this journey, to use this piece to learn/practice some things that I want to get better at doing.

  1. I wanted to use some of the Essex linen I have had in my stash for some time now. I felt unsure how to combine it with different quilting cottons, so I jumped in here. The large pieces of solid fabric are linen, along with the light blue stripes. I am very happy with how it turned out and I am ready to do more with linen!
  2. For the quilting, I decided to use straight-line quilting, both parallel and radiating lines, from Jacquei Gering’s book, WalkI had used my walking foot quite a bit for quilting, but learned about changing the presser foot pressure and that made a big difference. Jacquie was a dream to help me along the way, by commenting on IG. I didn’t expect that at all, but tagged her and her book so others could know what I was doing and have a refernce point for her work. It was quite a pleasant surprise to have her help from afar. I had met her before and loved her right away…no wonder I am so excited to be going to her workshop in Kansas City this fall!Here are a few progress shots…you can see where it got better as I went along and learned more!

  3. When it came time to bind I decided to try fully machine binding it. I do enjoy hand sewing the binding on my quilts and I feel it adds a level of love to them. However, several people I follow use the machine and love it. It seemed like a table runner would be a good place to really focus in on this and try it (I had done some before because of time factors). I tried the method of sewing the binding on the back side and then turning to the front. I felt that, by using this method, I could do a better job of neat top-stitching on the front. 20180720_1210153807751392315505458.jpg                                    This is an example of the NOT-SO-GOOD top-stitching! This did get pulled out and redone, for sure.                                                                                                                            There were some places that looked pretty darn good to me though…

    And if you follow the “3-foot rule,” it looks great!                                                                  So, you ask, what did the back look like after top-stitching?

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    The good…
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                                         The not-so-good                                                                                                                          

    Overall, I came away from this project knowing that it is important to take my time, use good fabrics and habits, press…press…press, mark…mark…mark (yes, that chalk all came out!), and focus!

    Will I continue to machine bind? Not on very special projects, for sure…but maybe for small or high-use items.

I feel my skills are improving, I am learning what I like and don’t like, and that I still have a long way to go! I love this journey!

What is your process for binding? How do you feel about hand-sewing that binding on?

Thanks for reading and Happy Quilting!

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April Goals

It is now April 3, so I’d best get a post about my goals up if I am going to keep the goal of posting goals! How is that for a sentence about goals? I do find that it helps me stay better on track, just knowing that all my thousands of readers are waiting to see if I made it! Just kidding, of course, about the thousands of readers!

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Down and dirty today…must stay FOCUSED, as I mentioned on my March goal sheet. And I did! I have already blogged about the Sienna Burst QAL…kind of a fail, in my mind. But I did feel it was acceptable to check off everything on my March list. And, I did work daily on that Secret Project too!

So, for April, I continue to keep it a bit small, but have added a Wonky Stars Block Swap. I just love them, so I couldn’t pass them up. I also have a “semi-secret” project on the list that I hope to start and nearly finish along with that secret one! Call me a glutton for punishment! That said, I guess I will go have some lunch and then get back to my progress!

Congrats to everyone who completed their goals for the month of March! Until the next post…

Happy Quilting!

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Process Pledge…Sienna Burst QAL

Hi Friends! Well, it is the last day of March and I fear it has not been the best month for my goal sheet. Actually, I have made much progress on some not-to-be-mentioned projects and I have done the things on my list, BUT I am falling off the Sienna Burst QAL wagon.

  

If you follow me on IG, you know that I super-enlarged the block and planned to make four giant blocks for the top. I also had DH (dear hubby) pick the fabrics. It just isn’t my favorite. Here is the flimsy, hanging on the railing, as it will be (at DH’s suggestion), whenever it does get finished.

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It will be bigger, of course, when completed, but it will be just this one big burst, I think.

These kinds of things do happen…I suspect often…and we don’t always report on what feels unsuccessful. However, that is part of the Process Pledge, so here you see it!  I do really like the pattern and will likely go back and try again…with MY fabric choices. It is part of the discovery process and I could also use some lessons on enlarging patterns. It is not as simple as make each piece bigger!

At any rate, I remain very busy and happily working on projects daily. I will try to come up with a report on all that for my April goals report.

Keep on keeping on and enjoy the process!

Happy Quilting!

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Experience IS a good teacher!

“Practice makes perfect” is a pretty common concept…and it is true. That said, I am thinking about what we learn from experience. Experience IS  a good teacher! Since this blog is focused on quilting, I want to talk about some of my experience over the 3 years, or so, that I have been at this craft. More specifically, I want to talk about prepping your fabric….

I hope some experienced quilters will join in on this topic with comments about what they do. Sharing can only help each other, and especially help those starting out. That is, unless they tend to be like me and have to learn for themselves! It is not my most proud revelation, but true. Today’s topic is an example.

I am following along with Meghan and the Sienna Burst QAL. “This week is all about getting ourselves set up for success to start tackling the blocks. Starch, iron, cut; mix and match fabrics and learn all about HRT.” What I want to drill down on even more in this post is about the STARCH.

Side note: I previously posted on “Quilter’s Moonshine”. Meghan offers up her own version, that I have heard works very well too! You need starch…lots of it!!!!

Preparation…Meghan says to Starch, Iron, Cut. I decided I was going to do every step this time, as directed. In my EXPERIENCE, I have seen how fabric can shrink up when being pressed with either water or starch. You might think this only happens with lower-end fabrics. I hope the pictures I am including below will help you see that it happens…and not only with cheaper fabrics!

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This is my first piece of fabric. It is Kona cotton, an acceptable quilting fabric from Robert Kaufman. You will note that I have folded it flat and removed the selvedge. (Another post for selvedges, one day…I love them!) On the cutting mat, you can see where the edges fall. Right side at the 1″ mark, left side at 22″.

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Zoomed in a little to show the 22″ marking. The other side is at the 1″ marking.

Now I will press with starch. (Yes, the following pictures are the same fabric…just different lighting.)

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Now I have pressed one time with starch. Do you notice those bumps? Those are created from the fabric shrinking in some places and not others. Probably not enough saturation with the starch!

Second…and third…pressing with starch has been done…

20180316_1124561699311820.jpg Now that looks good! 

I attempted to get videos of the process…

You can see the bumps almost disappear when the starch is sprayed on them! This process took THREE times starching and pressing. Prepping about 1.25 yards of fabric used about 12 ounces of starch. Yep! that is why “Frugal Frieda” here likes the homemade version!

Now, I hope the pictures below will tell you, in plain sight, why this preparation is important! Remember above, the fabric was laid out on the mat starting at the 1″ mark and it measured to the 22″ mark. The following pictures are after the starching process.

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We have lost 1/2″ in width.
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Notice the difference in the bottom that WAS straight.
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Notice the variation in width and length across the piece of fabric that WAS straight before starching and pressing.
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These are the trimmings left after cutting the fabric to be straight, squared up, and ready to cut.

So why is this important? What EXPERIENCE has proven to me is that if this process is not done first, your blocks will likely be really out of shape and proportion when you starch and press them AFTER you have made them! This results in seams and blocks that don’t match up and much frustration. Also, if your fabric is preshrunk and crisp before you sew, you will have a much better chance at perfect points!

If you want to learn by doing, go for it! That will work too, but once you have progressed to the point of buying quality fabrics, working more challenging patterns, and expecting a well-finished piece, you will understand..JUST DO IT! Prep your fabics!

From one who learned by doing, had some good outcomes, and some very frustrating finishes!

Happy Quilting!

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Basic Blocks Often Mess With My Mind!

Ok! I am just going to admit it! Some of the most basic things about quilting really mess with my mind!

This image might just give you an idea why…

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This was an attempt at an improv log cabin square…and I call it a fail! My strips are not in order for that log look and more! To me, it looks more like a messed up courthouse steps block.

So, today I am moved to work with that old, familiar, very basic log cabin square. I am doing it for the sake of:

1) practice in improv (Can I really just grab a strip and sew it in place without thinking about it?) and

2) understanding this basic square so I can learn to make it modern.

I am using the pattern from Suzy Quilts. I am using solids to keep it even more simple…I think. This pattern creates nice even strip sizes, but something bugs me about the center.

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I think I don’t like the two same-size squares next to each other.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Then I found another tutorial from Marzi on her blog, Made by Marzipan. I like that this one has a different way to add the second piece in the center, but I can’t figure out the math to do it with 2.5″ strips, which I have a lot of! However, this block has a look that is not as uniform. Maybe that is why I like it? Off I went to cut some 3.5″ strips from scraps! Drat…I have cut the 3.5″ strips and guess what? They really turn out to be 2″ strips for most of the pattern! This is where that old addage, “measure twice, cut once,” comes into play only a bit different, “read twice, cut once.” Or better yet…”read and think about what you are doing!” I hate to rush and making mistakes is a sign of just that! Oh well, more for the scrap bins! Here is the block I made…

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I am wondering if the log cabin block is just not for me! However, I do like the bright colors in the first set of blocks. And (for the most part) I did grab and go! I also figured out that the 2″ strip width in the directions from Marzi should work with any width. I’ll have to give that a try. And maybe I will try the wonky look…that for another blog!

What do you think of the log cabin block pattern? Do you have a favorite way to produce this block? Do you have tips and tricks you can share?

This is part of my commitment to the process pledge! It IS all a process…good, bad, or ugly!

Happy Quilting!

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Process Pledge – not my idea, but a great idea!

The Process Pledge came to my attention today via Debbie’s blog, A Quilter’s Table. It really spoke to me because this blog is about my quilting journey, so what could be better than to promise to post about the process?…just what I imagined! As far as I can tell, the idea is from Rossie, at Rossie Crafts. It goes back to 2010 and comments are closed on that post, but I hope it is okay to keep it going here! (I asked her and she said YES!)

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Here’s the process pledge. Take it, shake it, make it yours.

I, Valorie – @facetfully, pledge to talk more about my processes, even when I can’t quite put them in the in words or be sure I’m being totally clear.   I’m going to put my thinking and my gut feelings out there.
The pledge, above, is copied from Rossie’s blog post, so, if you use it, please give her credit!!!!

It is important to keep it real. We all have days when we feel uninspired, when our plans don’t come together like we imagined, and when we just want to throw something in the trash. Maybe our points don’t match, our seam ripper is getting too much use, or our fabric bleeds…who knows what it might be. Hopefully, these days are greatly outnumbered by happily creative days when we want to post about successes, finishes, and all the good stuff too!

As I recently posted, the quilting community, via blogs, Instagram, and more, keep me exceedingly charged up to do and learn more. Let’s keep sharing…all the bits of the process!

Happy Quilting!

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