The WIP Whip-Round

Better a little late than never, today I corralled all my quilty WIPs, took new mug-shots of them all and am sharing them here in a “name and shame” list.  🙂  They range from “partly quilted” to “bunch o’ blocks”.  The Great Hexagon Project is not included since that’s my “slow stitching” thing that I know is going to be a little-and-often job and when it’s done, it’s done (or I use up the hexies in other projects).

Turns out I have 11 official WIPs.  Each one is listed in the Rogue’s Gallery below with a brief description, last sighting, photo(s) of the current state, what needs to be done next to move it along, and a project prognosis.

1. Oh, Christmas Tree

WIP_2101_18

What Is It?  An advent wall-hanging.

Last Sighting:  Quilting the Christmas Tree, back in February 2016.

What’s The Hold-Up?  I really, REALLY hate quilting this thing with the wadding I used.  It’s ghastly fluffy polyester rubbish that I bought way back when I didn’t know what “proper” wadding ought to look like.  Oh, and I am using metallic thread on it because I am some sort of crazed masochist.

WIP_2101_19

However, I haven’t tried quilting on it since I poked the wibbly needle-holder on my Pfaff.  The pockets are ready to attach once the quilt is finished, so I think it’s time to see if I can’t cut this tree down to size at last.

Dead or Alive?  This one’s still got life in it!  I really want to see it finished.

2. Frostbyte

WIP_2101_20

What is it?  A wall-hanging assembled from a procedurally generated pattern.

Last Sighting:  Frogging in the Frost(Byte), almost exactly a year ago.

What’s The Hold-Up?  Un-doing is never as much fun as doing.  Especially when it involves trying to extract layers of not-very-good and not-very-visible machine quilting.  Looking at it today, I realised that I’d covered a lot more area than I remembered.  That makes it worse.

Dead or Alive?  I really don’t want this project to be dead, I think it still has potential buried in there if I can make myself spend some evenings attacking it more with the seam ripper.

3. The Wedding Quilt

WIP_2101_1

What is it?  The “wedding” quilt that I promised to give my sister and her husband when they got married almost six years ago.

WIP_2101_3

Last Sighting:  A Billion WIPs, back in January 2015!  Eeep!

What’s The Hold-Up?  I finally managed to baste it, with fancy bamboo wadding and all, but I am unduly nervous about tackling the quilting on this, especially as I’d like to do some (or all!) of it as FMQ.  Right now I’m unsure how to start or what I want to do on it, and indecision is a total progress killer.

WIP_2101_2

Dead or Alive?  Definitely still alive.  My aim is to get this one done in the first half of this year, so it can be their anniversary gift.

4. Damask Suns

WIP_2101_15

What is it?  A throw-sized quilt that I started as part of a group project at Quilt Club.

Last Sighting:  Something Old, Something New, August 2015

What’s The Hold-Up?  I can’t decide if I want it to be bigger or not.  Also, I wish I’d used the blue batiks for the negative space around the stars to make them more star-like.  There’s no way I’m going to try and retro-fit that, but I am considering using left-over strips to make more suns in my retroactively preferred blue/yellow combo so that it can 1) be more like I should have made it in the first place and 2) be a more sensible size.  But it’s rather at the back of the queue in terms of sewing priority.

Dead or Alive?  There’s a pulse.  Just.

5. Black&White D9P/Batik Lonestar

WIP_2101_10

What is it?  A double-sided Disappearing Nine-Patch/Lonestar bed quilt.

WIP_2101_8

Last Sighting:  A Billion WIPs, again.

What’s The Hold-Up?  The Lonestar back (or will it become the front?  Ooooo, suspense!) needs to be finished.  IIRC, it needs to be squared up a bit better and brought up to size.  I’m also struggling with the fact that, at this point, this may just not be me any more.  It looks like the last dregs of my teenage taste escaping.  Hmmm.

WIP_2101_9

Dead or Alive?  It’s touch and go with this one.  There’s bits I really like, mostly to do with the Lonestar.  But there’s much of it that just isn’t speaking to me these days.

6. Marsala Spice

WIP_2101_14

What is it?  A bed quilt I designed as part of the Pantone COTY challenge in 2015.

Last Sighting:  2015 Pantone Quilt Challenge: Top-Only Entry

WIP_2101_13

What’s The Hold-Up?  It needs basting.  I have an idea for lining up the front and the back (or trying to!) and then doing some quite elaborate FMQ designs in the tile blocks.  I have actually bought some special soluble threads to help me achieve this, I just haven’t taken the plunge with it yet.  I also kinda wish that I hadn’t used that leafy print on the front, so that’s a bit off-putting, but I shouldn’t use that as an excuse to not finish it.

Dead or Alive?  This one’s definitely still kicking!  Despite my slight misgivings about how the final flimsy finished (morals of the story – always calculate your yardage before you go to the fabric shop and always listen to your own instincts when it comes to your own design), I like it a lot and I think it’ll be a really good canvas for some FMQ practice.

7. Irish Charm

WIP_2101_16

What is it?  Scrappy Irish Chain throw/bed quilt.

Last Sighting:  Irish Charm, September 2015

What’s The Hold-Up?  Not really sure, other than my butterfly brain!  It needs borders adding (I have the fabric for that) and it’ll be backed with a sheet I salvaged from the great Airing Cupboard Clear-Out.  It’s also a project that I am actively looking forward to quilting, since I have quite a clear idea of what I want to do.

WIP_2101_17

Dead or Alive?  Very much alive.  I have quite a lot of affection for this one, cutting all those squares helped me through a stressful period and I love the shabby chic, country-cottage vibe it has.

8. Crying Over Spilled Tea

WIP_2101_7

What is it?  It was a test piece for me to practice the D9P block (clearly necessary, as the oops in the middle demonstrates).

Last Sighting:  Lost to the mists of time….

What’s The Hold-Up?  Lots of things, really.  The colour?  The fact that I stupidly trimmed the starting squares to 4-3/4″, thereby making cutting up the nine-patch blocks (or trimming more charm squares to make it larger) just that bit more annoying?  The size?

Dead or Alive?  Ehhhhh.  The next-of-kin and executors are hovering vulture-like over this one.  While there are things I could do to it, I’m really not sure whether the end product will be worth my time, which already has many claims on it.  It’s not even the kind of project that I’d donate to Project Linus – unless I wanted to give some poor kid a complex!  It might see new life as a test-ground for FMQ patterns.  Maybe.  And then possibly be relegated to the dog’s bed.

9. Paper Cranes

WIP_2101_5

What is it?  Blocks from a craft swap I participated in over on Craftster last year, based on my own design.

Last Sighting:  Craft Swaps, August 2016

What’s The Hold-Up?  I need to make more blocks to make the layout I’d like.  The templates are printed, but I haven’t seized an opportunity to crack on with them as of yet.  Alas!

WIP_2101_6

Dead or Alive?  Kicking and screaming!  This is a project I feel very positively about, plus it has other peoples’ efforts in it, which adds an extra dimension of expectation.  This will be a QAYG project, to cut it down to manageable size and provide some relief among all the BIG projects I seem to have!  Those three cranes at the top are an oops – one of my partners made them too small initially (probably thanks to US/UK printer differences), but she very sweetly did three more full-size ones as replacements, so the first three will go on the back – they’re too cute to not use.

10. Disappearing Hourglass

WIP_2101_11

What is it?  Blocks I made by following a tutorial by the Missouri Star Quilt Company on Youtube.

Last Sighting:  Apparently never?

WIP_2101_12

What’s The Hold-Up?  I made all these blocks with layer cakes of Moda’s Cold Spell and Snow, then decided that I wanted it to be a bigger quilt (just what is it with me and big quilts?!), so I halted progress on putting the blocks together until I got more Cold Spell (check!  Bagged the last layer cake in the shop, in fact).  New blocks will use both the stronger blues, as here, and the lighter all-cream prints, to mix things up a bit.  I also found a Moda layer cake of blue/cream flannels, which are going to be perfect as the backing.  Most of the delay on this one is down to my low distraction threshold and the comparatively low priority of this project currently.

Dead or Alive?  Alive, just dormant.

11. Monster

WIP_2101_21

What is it?  A thing that should not be, horror personified in fabric form.

Last Sighting:  …In Which I Create a Monster

What’s The Hold-Up?  It’s hideous, I hate it I hate it I hate it.

Dead or Alive?  Due for a lethal encounter with the seam ripper.  RIP!  😉

So there you have it.  I’ll be honest, I was actually expecting the list to be much longer, but perhaps 11 projects is plenty when 7 of them are throw-sized or larger!  Clearly some are much more likely to see completion this year than others, but most of them still have a spark of life that makes me want to see them done and dusted.  I really want to be crossing at least some of these off by the end of 2017!

Frogging in the Frost(Byte)

frost_0303_2

So…. yeah.  I’ve had this kicking around for a while now and I found I kept making excuses not to do anything with it.  Slowly I’ve come to the realisation that this is because I really, really don’t like the way the quilting has gone on it, and there isn’t a lot I can do to salvage it because it’s slap bang in the middle of the quilt.  Eugh.  To quote pretty much every grumpy toddler I’ve ever met, I DON’T LIKE IT!

frost_1

Once I realised this was the problem though, it allowed me to admit the possibility of changing it.  If I really don’t like it that much and it’s stopping me from making any progress, maybe I should remove it and start again?  To this end, the other evening I grabbed my seam-ripper and started my frogging: “Rip-it!  Rip-it!”  I’ve only managed to unpick a small corner so far (I blame my horribly erratic FMQ stitch lengths and the hard-to-see thread) but I already feel like this is the right thing to do.  To be clear, I’m just getting rid of my terrible fail-feathers (fail-thers?) and the pebbling and the scratchy zig-zagging, but I’ll leave the general structure of big wonky hexagons – they help hold the layers together and I can work with them.

frost_4

And do I have something else planned instead?  Yes, kind of.  For months this project has been folded up and abandoned in various places in my craft room and those gorgeous fish on the backing fabric have been beckoning to me, making me feel bad for neglecting them.  I can ignore them no longer, so the new plan is to start by quilting from the back around some of those wonderful fishies, and then decide what else (if anything) to do next.

Cute koi!

A change of quilting thread is also likely because I’ve discovered blues I like better than my original choice.  Or maybe I’ll use metallics, since I’m a glutton for punishment like that.  In any case, there is a Plan, but first I have to get rid of all the crap I put on there before I knew what I wanted.  Ho hum.  All mistakes in life should be this easy to fix!

Play Craft’s Equal – Top finished! Quilting?

frost_0303_1YESSSSSSSS!  All those triangles, all together!  So pleased with this one!  😀  For reference, here’s the original image I’ve been working on, created from Equal by Play Crafts (and thank you to Lori for pointing out that it was AWOL!):FrostByte

In a spirit of doing ALL the experiments, I have bought some 100% wool wadding for this (I have not tried wool yet) and I ordered some Aurifil thread for the quilting (I have not tried Aurifil, either).  And I couldn’t resist picking up some super-cute koi fish fabric for the back.  They manage to combine all the colours in the fabrics of the top, and I like the idea that, if I go with my all-over frosty feathers quilting idea, they’ll look (hopefully!) like they’re swimming below a skim of ice.  (I doubt I’m going to be that lucky, but I’m nothing if not ambitious!)Cute koi!

It will most likely be a wall hanging, or some other purpose that doesn’t demand a lot of washing and wear; the wool wadding seems to be a bit picky about cleaning methods and I’m not convinced all that glitter on the fabrics won’t all come off in the first wash.  Certainly there seems to be quite a bit on my ironing board!  Plus it’s kind of a funny size (~30 x 34″) to do anything with, especially as I have no intention of adding borders.

Fabric choices

After trying this pattern, I came to the conclusion that, although my light and dark fabrics worked well, my medium fabrics were less effective because the print is just too large – in some places the medium triangles look reasonably obvious, in others they’re almost impossible to distinguish from the light triangles.

frost_0303_2
Oooo look, actual colours!

I don’t mind this overly much, I suspected that it would be the case and I still like the outcome because I like these fabrics.  However, it does alter the look of the pattern a bit.  Were I to do this again, I would lean towards choosing solid or reads-as-solid fabrics over larger prints.  The use of two different prints for each shade was also a little confusing, though mostly because of the above-mentioned issue with the medium-coloured fabrics being too light in places.  That’s not something I would necessarily avoid in future, but again it changes the very graphic look of the original design.  I would also tend to avoid very directional prints, or the effort of getting everything pointed in the right direction could be maddening!

Fat quarters versus yardage?

I mostly used fat quarters for this; it did work out ok and my yardage estimates were pretty good.  However, I would say that, because of the approximation used when calculating the number of triangles in a strip (counting two half-triangles at each end of a strip as one whole triangle), there would be less wastage and yardage estimates would be more accurate if WOF yardage were used rather than fat quarters because it reduces the number of strips required (1 WOF strip = 2 FQ strips).  That means two fewer “wasted” half-triangles.  Alternatively, calculations for the number of strips needed could be approached differently to give a more accurate result.

Using up “ends” from larger triangles to cut smaller triangles also helped reduce waste and proved to be essential for cutting enough of the light-coloured triangles.  I almost ran into trouble when piecing the final strip when I realised that I was one medium-sized light triangle short and didn’t have a large enough piece of the light-coloured fabrics left to cut more.  I told myself that, if necessary, I would replace it with a medium-coloured triangle, but in the event I found that I had an extra dark triangle the right size, so I substituted that instead.  At least with a pattern like this, such antics go pretty much unnoticed!  😀  I also came up a bit short on small light and dark triangles, but had more enough scraps left to be able to cut extras with no trouble.  So I can’t count, but it all worked out ok anyway!  :p

Quilting thoughts

So, feathers?  Feathers.  Despite the fact that I have never quilted a feather in my life and I still haven’t really mastered FMQ on the Pfaff.  Yay.  This may well be time to bust out the water-erase fabric pen I bought, if only I can remember where I put it!

Quilting threads
Aurifil 50/2, YLI Soft Touch 60/2, The Bottom Line 60

My Aurifil thread arrived, along with some YLI Soft Touch and some Superior Bottom Line and a ridiculous variety of different types and sizes of needles:Machine needles for quilting

Somewhere in here there must be a combination that will work for me!  I’m pleased with the colour of Aurifil I chose – it’s called Silver and proved to be a really nice soft grey with a hint of blue, perfect for a frosty look.  If Aurifil proves to work well for me, I may pick up their thread shade card – it’s horrible playing “guess the real colour” on a computer screen.  :/  I picked grey for the other two as well so that they have the potential to blend with a decent range of colours, I hope.  The site I bought these from, New Threads, has a really useful-looking page of advice on choosing the right needle to match the task and the thread, and I shall be using the suggestions in my experiments.

Additionally, I recently discovered that The Cotton Patch run a “Make Friends With Your Pfaff” course that focuses on patchwork and quilting, and the next one is at the end of March (which unfortunately coincides neatly with when we’re likely to move house, but oh well).  It was £45 because I didn’t buy my machine from them, but I suspect it will be money well spent so I signed up for the last available place, and hopefully they can help me see where I’m going wrong with my machine and give me some tips on making the most of it.  In the meantime, I’m going to Pfaff about with a few thread/needle combos and see how I get on.  😉

Previous posts on this project can be found here:

Linking up with WIP Wednesday over at Freshly Pieced and #CreativeGoodness at QuiltShopGal!