Quiet Week

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Not much going on this week!  I’ve started knitting a spring cardigan sweater, and as I like to tweak sweater patterns as much as I like to tweak quilting patterns, there are quite a few stops and starts which can easily eat up a few days 🙂

I have been keeping up with the 3″ 365 Challenge blocks, so I’ve laid them out to see what I’ve accomplished.  Here they are, plus 2 more that wouldn’t fit this arrangement.

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I have been plotting and doodling and EQing  ideas for my next quilt.  I’d like to do a little quilt or two that includes maybe thread painting or machine applique.  The monstrous Easy Street quilt is still where I left it a week or two ago.

Does the thought of Spring get you thinking about new things to do with your quilting?

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Trail Mix Top, and a for keeps iron!

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Before I could decide on whether to keep the blue Oliso, or the Tfal, I decided to give a try to the Reliable Velocity 200ir. This iron turned out to be the most expensive of the lot, as Bed Bath and Beyond does not allow their coupons for this item, but I do get their great return policy.    I had already decided to spend the big bucks so I might as well try one more.

After using the Velocity for about a week, I’ve got to say it checks all the boxes for me! Because the steam is generated by a separate motor (and turned on both by a button and by your hand on the handle) it’s off when it’s off .  So dry pressing is truly dry pressing.   The two steam settings give a good amount of steam at low, and a huge amount at high – great for ironing yardage!  The iron has a good point useful for opening up seams, and very good glide (despite the fact that as I wrote earlier that I seem to like the stainless steel sole plates – this one has some kind of treatment or coating).

The Velocity is heavy – not as heavy as the Rowenta, and maybe not as heavy as the Oliso yellow TG1600. The iron is designed in a way so that the balance when using it lessens strain from the weight.  I purchased a silicone iron rest from Bed Bath and Beyond and I’m getting into the habit of setting the iron on it when I’m needing to set the iron down while fussing with a piece or for a short time in between pieces.  I think I could leave it their as long as I’d like.   I didn’t have any problem handling the iron while pressing the pieces in this little block!  The iron has an 8 minute auto shut off, which can be deactivated.

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I used my new iron to prepare the backing to pin baste a quilt called Easy Street – a quilt along pattern by Bonnie Hunter (I have no idea when I made the top!).  Here’s the quilt (86″ square) all mushed up under my Juki.

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And, I finished the Trail Mix quilt top!  So much sewing in this quilt – right now, its 72 x 90 inches and I couldn’t get it all in the picture.   I wish I had a HUGE design board so I could have put more thought into the placement of the different types of fabrics – I think somewhere I managed to get two blocks with the same fabric next to each other (how does that happen with nearly 100 fabrics?!)  The pattern calls for two borders.  I’m tempted to skip the border but I think at least one border is needed just to calm down the quilt.  Maybe  purple?

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Assembling a Quilt Top

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Finally all the Trail Mix blocks are sewn!  The blocks are 6″ set in a 12 x 15 layout.   There are five block types and when I looked at the layout plan it seemed to me that this was going to be a challenge!

I decided to use what I call the “Eleanor Burns” method.  Set out the quilt, then pick up the blocks working down the quit in a column.

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I end up with 12 stacks, each labelled with their column number and the first stack labelled with top left (this is important especially in this quilt!).

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When I start to sew, I pick up the top block from column 1, and sew to it the top block from column 2.  Then the second column 1 block to the second column 2 block, all the way down the 15 blocks.  Then, without cutting threads, start from the top where column 2’s first block is and sew on the top block from column 3 and work down.  Keep doing this, and I get a quilt top that’s all held together in place by the connecting threads.

For this quilt, because its so large and I think there’s so much room for error (wrong block or wrong placement of the block), I have broken the quilt down into 3 sections of five rows each.  Here’s the first section sewn.  I’ve kept the note in place saying top left!

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To do a good pressing on each row, I find its best for me to cut the rows apart.  I usually press then sew each row one at a time to keep everything in order.

The fabric combinations are kinda crazy on this quilt!  I can’t wait to see what the whole top looks like.  Then to choose a border that just might, maybe, tie the whole thing together.