Tuesday, February 4, 2020

Moving on to the Square Deal

"Your future depends on many things but mostly on you."
~Frank Tyger

The Square Deal is finally moving ahead again. My machine is threaded and raring to go. This one might be finished in a week or two. I divided the quilt into three sections: the center Square Deal blocks, the white sashing and inner border, and the outer lattice border. Each will have different quilting.

Curving free motion petals on the red triangles alternate with parallel lines on the triangles of blue strips
Free motion quilting in progress on The Square Deal

Angela Walters' recent FMQ Challenge inspired the quilting design here. It's looking better as more blocks are finished. Isn't that frequently the case? A little bit looks terrible but adding more hides flaws or at least blends them. Those straight lines are only straight-ish and their spacing was eyeballed but mostly they show as a unit that contrasts well with the curves in the red HSTs.

The first row of the design took a day with sketching, planning how to move across the blocks, and practice drawing to build some muscle memory. The next day I finished that quarter of the center but all four sections were completed by my fourth day of quilting. No, I don't quilt all day... at least I didn't this time. It was good to see my speed pick up as the quilting design became ingrained.

The border was next up because it's a larger area than the sashing and seemed trickier to fill. Better to choose this quilting before finding a filler for the sashing, which could easily have many simple designs. Part of my difficulty is that, unlike the center blocks, the lattice is free-hand cut.

As you can see in the photo below, the Xs don't line up. It looks lovely but finding a design became harder. Here are some sketches:

Quilting ideas sketched on plastic overlay include petals, spirals, and stitch in the ditch
Border quilting ideas
I definitely want the quilting to move from block to block so I don't have to bury a lot of threads. Learned my lesson on those baby quilts. ;-) The continuous curves on the left mimic those in the center. Hey, good repeat. But... they will never line up well from one to the next because each lattice is unique. The spiral looks more like an Eye of God and doesn't seem to go with anything. However, the feathers on the side look interesting.

And here's what I finally went with:

Half feathers, stitch in the ditch, and squared echoes combine to quilt the borders
Final border quilting idea
I almost didn't use this Greek key because its sides are straight and the lattice isn't but finally decided the contrast of straight and curves works, it repeats the straight lines in the center, and I can't think of anything else.

The quilting hardly shows on the front. It's much more visible on the back.

A collage of two photos showing machine quilting in progress on The Square Deal
Quilting the lattice border

I'm just starting the first side of the border. Slow going because someone chose to quilt backwards. Instead of pushing the quilt away from me as I move from block to block, I'm pulling it towards me. When I get to the corner, I'll see if I can change directions. Too soon old and too late smart.

Reading

The plan last year was to read the books already on my shelf or dispose of them and the project started strong until it was sidetracked by many new and interesting tomes. Isn't that always the case? So much to read and not enough time.

However, several Charlotte MacLeod mystery series from the 1970s and 80s have been calling to be re-read. {Do they count if I've already read them once? I say, yes.} Charlotte writes with a breadth of knowledge about art, architecture, history, etc. {basically culture} in an equally broad vocabulary. There are words I rarely see, used with pleasure and playfulness rather than affectation. This writing style is not as common today {even though there are loads of cozy mysteries} and find I've missed it. She incorporates patter dialog - quick, fast-paced, funny exchanges that remind me of Gilbert and Sullivan.

Hardback and paperback books on a shelf
The Sarah Kelling mysteries of Charlotte MacLeod

She had four series: Sarah Kelling {a young widow on Beacon Hill who meets an art investigator}, Peter Shandy {a New England professor of agriculture}, Madoc Rhys {a RCMP detective}, and the Grub-and-Stakers {a Canadian garden club.} Currently I'm finishing the Kelling series pictured above. The secondary characters are idiosyncratic and the situations are zany. These old friends delight my cold winter days and nights.

Enjoy the day, Ann

26 comments:

  1. I had to go back to April 2019 to see this top since I forgot what it looked like. I love that border and it is going to look wonderful with the quilting you have decided to stitch. I know you will feel good getting this one done.

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    1. Sorry about that. I added a link to the April post now. If I'd waited any longer to restart this I would have forgotten what it looks like, too. Funny how those lattice blocks I made and never used work so well here. I'm going to start adding more details like these to future quilts. Who's in a rush? Well, I frequently am with baby quilts but still.
      It will be wonderful to finish this while the weather is still cold and we can snuggle under it.

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    2. Oh I reread my comment and it sounds like I was complaining. I didn't mind scrolling back and finding where you had posted the quilt top. It was fun to see the amount of work you have gotten done especially revisiting all those lone star baby quilts!

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    3. I didn't think you were complaining. It's tough to scroll through old posts although this one wasn't too far back. Sometimes they are a couple of years ago. I'm glad you enjoyed the lone stars in your travels. ;-)

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  2. oooooh, this is going to be lovely! Those Square Deal blocks are beautiful - I seldom use solids but I'm thinking that might have to change. Looking forward to seeing it quilted.

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    1. Thanks, Marie. The Square Deal blocks turned out well I think because of the variety of red solids.Mixing solids and prints works so well I'm planning to try that combination again.

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  3. I like your final decision on that free-formed border part--it looks great--nice work!
    I love mysteries and had read some Charlotte Macleod in my library stalking days...I must re-read her...thanks for the reviews...hugs, Julierose;))) (a lifelong reader)

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    1. Thanks, Julierose. I think I originally found Charlotte on the New Books shelf at the library. Her settings and detail really sparked my enthusiasm for all her series. Such fun. Enjoy them again if you can find them.

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  4. Ah, Charlotte MacLeod! Of her series I like those with Peter and Helen Shandy the best. Every time we see elaborate Christmas light displays my husband and I both say, "The Crescent in Rest Ye Merry!" She eventually settled in Durham, Maine, next to where we lived (Auburn).I first met her in person back in 1988. We were on the same flight from Portland, ME, to the ALA conference in New Orleans. I recognized her and immediately said, "You're Charlotte MacLeod!" Her publisher had arranged for a ride from MSY (New Orleans) to downtown and she graciously let me ride with her. A couple of years later when she had another new book she invited me to tea. I'd bought the book to give to a friend/former colleague and Charlotte personalized it.

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    1. I was sure you'd read her, Nann, but didn't realize you'd met her and been to her house. Lucky you. Re-reading Rest Ye Merry! around Christmas I though that's where the writers got the idea of the Kranks. Perhaps not but it was the first time I'd read of celebratory excess leading to sabotage. I liked the Kelling series best in my salad days but now I find the Shandys even better. It's a treat to read them successively and there aren't many series I can say that about.

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    1. Thanks, LeeAnna. Always good to get more book ideas from people we know.

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  6. I love the quilting on the HST. It adds so much. Glad you could find a pattern for the border that you are happy with. (Oops, I ended my sentence with a preposition - ha!) It all looks hard to me so it is very impressive.

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    1. Thanks, Robin. I'm very grateful Angela's videos came along just now and that I had time to practice with the baby quilts first. She advises breaking the area into smaller sections and it makes a huge difference. Much easier to manage.

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  7. Thanks for the author tip--I've have to try her out. I thought the name sounded familiar and it turns out I have an anthology of her short stories on my bookshelf, bought at a library sale many moons ago and never read. That should be a good place to start!

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    1. I've never read her anthologies or short stories. Enjoy!

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  8. FMQ and I live on different planets. Enjoy your time with her and give her my best :-) I am sure you will do swimmingly well.

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  9. I find it interesting to see the different quilting options you consider. There's quite a skill to matching the shapes in the quilt with a second complementary set of designs, isn't there? I always like to see feathers.

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    1. There are days I prefer and all-over quilting and to heck with the block designs but then I get tired of that and decide to see what matches with what. Feathers are always beautiful IMO. I love seeing them and once I figured out where they fit I had to add them.

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  10. I do like the design you've chosen for the border Ann. The Eye of God design looked good but I can see that it wouldn't have worked as well as the one you're quilting. What colour thread are you using?

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    1. I used blue on the lighter backgrounds and on the back, red on the darker backgrounds and center of the quilt. The sashing is white so I'll use white there.

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  11. I don't do free motion work at all, but yours is very enjoyable. I especially like how you customize some quilts. Makes it very personal.

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    1. Well, I don't hand quilt although I always admire yours with the perle cotton and think that might be easier than other kinds. I go back and forth on customizing the sections and just quilting an all-over design.

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  12. Love your quilting! There have been a few quilts on which I quilted only free-motion feathers. That's the fastest quilting and the closest I've come to all-over design. It's even faster than stippling and certainly more fun. You might give it a go when you are considering an all-over design.
    Thanks for the book reviews. Are these all of the Charlotte McLeod books? There are more than I remember.

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    1. You must be good to quilt FMQ feathers all over. The ones I’ve done are certainly more fun than stippling.
      And yes, Charlotte wrote several series of books as well as some stand alone.

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