Tuesday, April 28, 2020

Choosing Backgrounds

Blessedness is what can be snatched out of the passing day, and put away to think of afterwards.
~Ellis Peters in The Leper of St. Giles

Quilting

I collaged some photos of different fabric pulls for the next step in the fan quilt.  The top shows choices for posts and possibly a secondary sashing. Bottom left is background and more sashing ideas. Although a bunch of reds and greens were pulled for the wedges, the pile mysteriously decreased over time as other projects took precedence. When the wheels restarted, there were not enough soft reds. The crab prints on the right made me laugh. They might work as wedges; they certainly won't look the same cut into small strips.

Sashing, post, and background fabric choices for the fan/wheel blocks plus detail of crab fabric
Some fabric choices
Eventually I found two two-yard pieces of quietly printed cream fabrics in my stash {bottom left photo.} One includes a girl in a hat fishing. Now is the perfect time to use it.

This is improv so you won't be surprised to find I cut the fans down quite a bit. Why? At the larger size, only three background could be cut from WOF with lots of waste. That wasn't so bad {Scraps!} but I don't have enough fabric to create all the backgrounds. Decreasing the block size let me fit four across. Problem solved.

Paper pattern laid on fan to properly trim down the block
Trimming the fans to a smaller template size

There's also a simple trick to pinning: don't pin the seam allowances. Pinning between or near them lets them move and allows the new seam to curve rather than jerk from point to point.

Pin curves of the fan blades between seam allowances to create a smooth seam line
Pin curves of the fan between seam allowances

As usual, I cut the outer background with half-inch seam allowances on the two straight sides to give me some wiggle room when squaring the block. I find it doesn't help to make every template larger, just that final outer one.

Selectively oversizing the seams of some pieces gives more room to square the block
Squaring a fan quilt block

With the fans sewn it was time to settle the sashing. Another long-held idea was to use the red-and-white stripe. With the wheels were arranged it was too much for all the sashing. So... either between the arcs or around the wheels but not both. A light grey-brown worked as the alternate sashing, contrasting with everything else but not screaming for attention. It's not the same fabric as my original background plan but it's in the same family. So my color idea wasn't completely whacky.

Testing two fabric, red stripe and tan, to determine which looks better between the fan blocks and which looks better between the wheel blocks
Sashing layout choices

Next I had to pick a post and went with the lighter red on the right. Now I can sew the quarter-circle blocks into larger wheel blocks and contemplate a posts for the stripe. {Those reds won't work.} These are not easy blocks for me nor have I seriously worked at low{er} volume before.

Testing a darker and a brighter red for posts in the Wheel quilt
Choosing between two reds for the post

Reading

The book cover features the ghostly image a St. Winifred in the foreground with Brother Cadfael under an arch behind her and a line of five monks in the background.I started rereading the Cadfael chronicles, a successful 12th century mystery series by Ellis Peters which also adapted for television. In A Morbid Taste for Bones, Shrewsbury Abbey seeks to increase their prominence by acquiring the bones of a Welsh saint. When the leader of the local community objects, he is soon found murdered and Brother Cadfael must resolve the issues. It's even better than I remembered. This time I appreciated the descriptions of and the differences between the societal structures of the two countries as well as noticing the variations of religious practices, albeit both being Catholic. Of course, I devoured the maps of the region, city and Abbey.

Monthly FUR (Fabric Use Rate)

The 26 yards of isolation gown material did not come from my stash. {I sewed it but am not counting it in my rate.} Masks total 250. This month's total took 7 more yards while the pillowcases used 7.5 yds. April = 14.5 yards. YTD = 62.5 yards.

Enjoy the day, Ann

32 comments:

  1. For at least 6 months now I have been enjoying watching quilters make some of the great vintage quilt patterns. So much so that I finally am working in my spare time hand sewing flowering snowball blocks in vintage (reproduction) fabrics. The nostalgia of your quilt is very appealing and I thank you for taking the time for this post and the great shots and tips for piecing. This design I’m going to tuck away in my memory with a tag attaches with ‘ Maybe Someday’ written on it.

    And we finally have daffodils starting to bloom!

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    1. There are many vintage patterns I still want to make and one of them is the flowering snowball. Good luck with yours.
      It's a great day when the daffodils bloom.

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  2. A more subtle red stripe would work well. (I came across one just the other day.) Thanks for sharing all your design decisions, and for the reminder about cutting the outer background piece larger. (The Modern Quilt Guild group challenge for 2021 requires curved piecing.)

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    1. This is the most subtle one I have. I'm sure I'll find more as soon as this quilt is finished. Isn't that the way it always goes?
      Your'e welcome for the tip. It's such a help and reduced my stress tremendously. Good luck with your next challenge, Nann.

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  3. I totally agree with how hard it is to choose backgrounds--or even sashings--I think this is coming together really well..I love the vintage feel of your piece...very nostalgic looking--NICE!!
    stay safe ~ ~ ~ waving in the sunshine finally;))) Julierose

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    1. But aren't we lucky to have enough room and light to lay all this stuff out. I don't know how people can do it all in their heads. They are masters for sure. Thanks for writing, Julierose. I wanted soft, nostalgic vintage.

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  4. Oooo we watched all the cadfael shows on bbc. I LOVE the red and white stripe with these and wouldn't have thought of it. I like bold pattern and in the studio by myself, and so close to the design wall I sometimes make things too quiet. Anyway, I'd invest in yardage of that stripe for me so I'd use it often! The pinning idea is so smart, as is leaving a bit extra space for squaring up.

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    1. How am I not surprised you watched the shows, LeeAnna? :-)You are my best reference for good shows so I feel even better knowing this has your approval. That red and white stripe idea came from Audrey. It is funny how much these fabrics change with distance.

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  5. Pin curves between seam allowances! That's a great idea, jerking from point to point a thing of the past. Your choices and plans look great and your current mystery sounds like a good one.
    Thanks for sharing tips.

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    1. And guess how I discovered this, Janie? Thanks for writing. It's fun to lay everything out and compare and think.

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  6. I like your choice of alternate sashing and I love the effect of the whole. Kudos to you for making progress (and thanks for sharing your process notes).

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    1. Thanks, Julie. I'm pleased with it, too. The stripe is exciting but it was too much to use everywhere. Don't we love to hear what quilters are thinking and why!

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  7. I read the Cadfael mysteries over 20 years ago and enjoyed every one of them. It would be fun to read them again. The fans look great with that light outer background, so many interesting fabrics. The two different sashing strips add so much interest.

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    1. Me, too! This is the perfect time to re-read many of my old favorites. I'm enjoying figuring this quilt out and it seems to be going well from week to week.

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  8. Smiles and peaceful greetings, Ann, and thank you for the reminder of the Cadfael series, written under the pseudonym Ellis Peters, by a rather amazing woman, Edith Pargeter. The store of her historical knowledge is phenomenal, and I so appreciate the lack of "described" violence in her novels, even tho they take place in a period of British history governed by violence. While there are deaths and murder mysteries to be solved, there is no attempt by the author to saturate the pages with adrenaline, rather, she appeals to our intellects to allow our inner visions to be filled with life as it was lived then while we, along with a kind, thoughful, clever former man of the world now aging, herbalist monk with a taste for his own wines works out the who dunnits ...

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    1. Well, this is the review I wish I'd written. I especially enjoyed her intimate knowledge of the geography and social structure. And books are almost always better than movies IMO. Thanks for writing, Sharon.

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  9. Loving your fans. I'm guessing, as the fans have a softer look, it's hard not to overpower them by the red&white sashing? Going for the two different sashings really works!

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    1. Thanks, Linda. Unlike you, I haven't played with such a soft quilt is years. It's been interesting to find what works best. Alternating the sashing is one of those decisions.

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  10. Great idea alternating the sashing colors. I do like the red and white stripe, but a little goes a long ways!

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    1. Hi, Patty. We are on the same page here. ;-)

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  11. Your fans are coming along beautifully. I also like the sashing you've chosen. Too much is too much, but the gray-brown does its job of quietening things down. Thank you for the detailed notes. I learned a couple of tricks, but just as importantly, I know why some things don't work. Great post!

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    1. Thanks, Mary. I love the stripe but the grey-brown nicely quiet and does a wonderful job toning the other down. We both enjoy reading posts where quilters explain what they chose and why. So much more fun than just the finished quilt.

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  12. Great progress and like others I have enjoyed following your decision-making. This block calls for so many tiny design decisions; I hadn't realised this when I looked at versions of it before.

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    1. I haven't worked with such soft colors is years. It's been fun figuring each step out. I'm still curious why the closeups have so much color and how it bleeds out so quickly. Hopefully it won't look all grey on a bed. But I'm enjoying the process of these soft colors and curved piecing.

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  13. So interesting to walk through this with you. I am really admiring these blocks. The red/white stripe addition just hits all the high notes for me.:)

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    1. Thank you, Audrey. I completely lifted the stripe from one of your quilts. So, so lovely that I had to try it, too. ;-)

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  14. Thank you for sharing your thoughts and process of elimination for this project. It is a real help to the rest of us out here struggling with many of the same issues. Have a beautiful weekend!

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    1. Thanks. I'm glad you find these posts helpful. I most enjoy reading about other quilters decision-making. To read why and how is more interesting than beauty shots at the end.

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  15. Thank for the tip on pinning these curves Ann. The red and white stripe is such a good choice, I love how this is looking as you take us through the process and waiting now to see your next step!

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    1. Thanks for writing, Maureen. The idea for the stripe was lifted from one of Audrey's quilts. The stripe just made the quilt. I always enjoy reading people's progress so I'm glad you do, too.

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  16. great fabric choices. Love the snowball border... wouldnt have thought of that but LOVE it and the stripe, the circles... all of it.

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    1. Thanks, LeeAnna. I'm liking this border so much and the stripe. It's coming together. Thanks for writing.

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