Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Bridal Sampler, Blocks 1 & 2

I've collected so many bits and pieces of fabric that I thought it would be fun to use them in a sampler quilt. I first started a "Dear Jane" quilt, but it turned out to be too challenging for my present skill set. I will post the 9 blocks (out of 250+) I was able to complete. If you google "Dear Jane," you'll find a lot of information out there, but basically it is a reproduction quilt using different 4.5-inch blocks and bordered by triangle blocks. The entire collection of blocks is compiled in a book by Brenda Manges Papadakis. While the book contains a full-size diagram of each block, there are no instructions on how to put the blocks together, which again, was too advanced for me. I still hope to try again someday.

Undaunted, however, I picked up two other books, "The Farmer's Wife Sampler Quilt," by Laurie Aaron Hird, and "Sylvia's Bridal Sampler from Elm Creek Quilts," by Jennifer Chiaverini. The first is composed of 111 6-inch blocks, and the second is a collection of 140 6-inch blocks.
I chose to try the Bridal Sampler first, primarily because the book contained detailed instructions on putting the blocks together. Plus, depending on the block, you can try your hand out both piecing, foundation paper piecing, and applique-ing (my least favorite). The Farmer's Wife is straight piecing and contains a CD with templates to print out on paper.

So, here is my attempt at the first two blocks from the Bridal Sampler. Of course, I have to make it a little more complicated. I figured if I made each block individually, it wouldn't take me too much more time to make two of each, thereby ending up with two sampler quilts. Further, one I am making out of fabrics from my scrap basket, but again I figured that if I was going to spend so much time (in the aggregate) on a project, I wanted one that used coordinating fabrics. So despite myself, I picked up a FQ pack (Breakfast at Tiffany's by Fig Tree for Moda) from Fabric Depot. The top picture is a scrap blocks, and the following is my Fig Tree block:

Catching up

Wow, the summer passed by so quickly--but, now it's time to play some catch-up. I was somewhat productive but was never able to find the time to photograph and upload any pictures or update this blog. I finished the zig-zag baby quilt, as well as two twin sized quilt tops (including the pinwheels for No. 2). I also started a star quilt as well as a sampler quilt.
I'll slowly try to get the updates on all the above soon, but for now, here is the finished zig-zag baby quilt. It's actually a bit bigger than a baby quilt, but still too small to be considered lap-sized.

Quilting it turned out to be much more challenging than I thought. I decided to follow the zigzag pattern with a double row of stitching. First, my machine is just too small to do any substantially sized quilts that you have to roll up and create bulk. Second, stitching in the ditch with a walking foot attachment is actually much more difficult than I thought it would be. Third, my machine had some problems with keeping an even tension on the bottom bobbin and would sometimes tangle the back thread.

All in all, I still love this quilt, the design and color, but the quilting part is still a steep learning curve for me. This is what I meant when I said stitching in the ditch was difficult, just couldn't stay in the lines:

Corner detail: