Pantone Challenge 2017 – Something Greenery for St. Patrick’s Day?

Remember that fashion for lime-green a while back? That stuff was EVERYwhere! Now that trends have moved on, it’s pretty common to find unloved lime-green apparel on the racks of many a charity shop round about. Some of it is really nice quality linen, and I have been diligently collecting such items whenever I have encountered them for… hmm, several years now!

Some of my pre-loved pieces are more lime-green than others! (Terrible photography notwithstanding – stupid rainy Welsh weather, spoiling the light…)

Charity shops are great places to “mine” for interesting specialty or luxury fabrics if you don’t mind doing a bit of rummaging and can adopt a “work with what you can find” attitude to the process. Originally I started collecting old ties and other 100% silk items from charity shops and have amassed quite a collection of gorgeously coloured and patterned silks that I would have struggled to assemble from “regular” fabric shops. Some of my silk ties were recently showcased in a EPP hexagons project with a bit of a difference.

Something else you may find in charity shops is hand-embroidered linens, and here began my linen-hunting journey. During a routine tie-hunting mission in the Tenovus shop in Haverfordwest several years ago, the lady behind the counter drew my attention to a set of circular table mats in several different sizes – six small, six middling and one large, just right for a very decorous tea party – with an attractive pink-and-purple pansy-ish design.

“They’re clearly machine-done,” she sniffed, “but you could take the lot for £10.”

I looked a lil closer.  They were not machine-embroidered.  The back of machine embroidery doesn’t look like that!  Not to mention, the Mystery Embroiderer who made these mats has missed little areas – the curve of a pansy petal left not quite finished, the curious absence of clusters of French knots.

Did she miss these bits by accident?  Run out of floss or time?  Get bored and just want finished?  We’ll likely never know!

Given the cracking deal I was getting on all the ties I’d found in the shop, I figured that a tenner for the mats wasn’t bad going and so they came home with me. I’m not a huge collector of embroidered pieces but these were rather appealing. But what to do with them? The obvious idea, given my growing interest in patchwork and quilting, was to use them as appliqued elements in a quilt, but the linen ground fabric looked “wrong” on the quilting-weight cottons I sat them on and the local fabric shop’s linen offerings weren’t much better, being quite a coarser weave and in not terribly attractive colours. Back to the charity shops, then! The linen used in clothes is usually a fairly fine, nice quality and I decided it would be quite fitting to applique my charity-shop embroidered mats to charity-shop linen patchwork.

One smaller mat lived permanently folded up in my handbag so that I could pull it out and “sit” it on any potential candidates and gradually my collection of green linen grew. I did once try buying a couple of things from Ebay, but the colour matching was horrible and something advertised as 100% linen proved to be a linen/viscose mix – not what I wanted at all!

To date, this has been a real back-burner project, rumbling on gradually as I’ve slowly collected resources for it. The clothes have been washed as I collected them (some of them more than once after an Unfortunate Coffee Incident…), but not taken apart because I was afraid of it all shredding before I could do anything sensible with it – piecing the body of the top is definitely an “in one fell swoop” task, I feel.

It’s being poked forward into the light now thanks to the 2017 Pantone Color of the Year Challenge, run by Sarah of No Hats In The House and Rebecca of Bryan House Quilts. What could be more suitable for Greenery than a quilt made of recycled green linen? At the very least, it’s made me dig out the supplies and examine them and I believe I have enough to make a nice throw quilt at the least. No guarantees on whether it’s likely to get finished by the Challenge deadline – I’m definitely no Cindy Needham or Kelly Cline! But it’s a really good excuse to make a start on this project at long last. 🙂

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!

2015 Pantone Quilt Challenge: Top-Only Entry

2015 Pantone Quilt Challenge: Marsala

Life happened and I didn’t get to quilt my Marsala top(s) yet.  Heck, I only just managed to get some last much-needed fabric for the back yesterday.  But that’s ok, I’m really happy with my top and would not have wanted to mess up the quilting by rushing and trying to get it done by today.  So here it is, Marsala Spice is my official entry for the 2015 Pantone Quilt Challenge!

spice_1804_4

spice_1804_2 spice_1804_8 spice_1804_3

Tah-dah!  :p

Quilt stats

  • Size: 72″ x 72″
  • Material:  Assorted 100% cotton fabrics, including an over-dyed solid
  • Pattern:  Own design (watch this space for a tutorial…)

A reminder of my original design:

Marsala_01

More info on the Pantone Challenge can be found at On The Windy Side and play crafts.  Thanks guys, it has been awesome fun working with a colour that I would probably never have tried otherwise.  😀  No, honestly, I’m serious!  😉

2015 Pantone Quilt Challenge: Top(s) Finished!

2015 Pantone Quilt Challenge: Marsala

Marsala Spice Topspice_1804_2

Yay!  It’s not completely as I envisaged it, but it’s ok.  No idea whether I’m going to get it quilted in time, but if I don’t I’ll just enter it as a top only.  If nothing else, I really like how the block came out in  large quantities (and large sizes).

Obligatory close-ups/gate picture:

spice_1804_8

I’ve started putting a back together for it, using some spare blocks and the un-dyed fabric I bought:

spice_1804_1The centre is together now and I’ve started adding the necessary borders, only to discover that I fluffed my calculations a bit and I’m short on two sides.  Argh.  🙁  Back to the fabric shop on Monday, I guess!

A Marsala Side-Project

While I was making the Marsala Spice blocks I ended up with a pile of HST units needing a home, so I pieced them randomly together:

spice_1804_9

Then, because I wanted to test out a possible idea for another quilt, I stacked pairs of blocks together and cut them up again, then skiffled the bits about to make two new “fractured” blocks:

spice_1804_10

They trimmed up nicely to 5″ square and made 12 new blocks in total, to make this:

spice_1804_13

It’s an interesting effect, though quite difficult with HSTs of this size and density; the reverse is a nightmare of seam bulk.

Eeeek...
Eeeek…

I was thinking of turning it into a cushion or maybe adding the blocks to the back of the main quilt, but those seams would make it rather less than comfortable.  It’ll probably be a wall hanging, assuming I don’t break ALL the needles trying to quilt it.  :s

More info on the Pantone Challenge can be found at On The Windy Side and play crafts.

Also linking up with Can I Get A Whoop Whoop!TGIFF at Quilting in Amsterdam and Oh Scrap! 🙂

2015 Pantone Quilt Challenge: Hmmm. Possibly Meh.

2015 Pantone Quilt Challenge: Marsala

On Friday I blasted through a bunch more Marsala Spice blocks and then finished the last few off this evening, so that I now have three complete blocks for each variant – over-dyed solid, print and un-dyed solid (oh, yeah, I went and bought a lot more of the Marsala solid I started with).  And….

….I dunno.  I skiffled some of the blocks around on Stef’s floor on Friday, rather unconvinced by the combination.  She suggested running the print blocks as a diagonal across the quilt, with the solids arranged around it, but when I tried it with all the blocks on my own floor, the result was a bit underwhelming.  So much so that I didn’t bother to photograph it.  I didn’t HATE it, but I certainly didn’t love it, either.  In desperation, I summoned Mum for a second opinion (once I’d finished clarifying that I liked the colours and I liked the pattern, I just didn’t like how I’d ended up interpreting them).  Mum suggested distributing the print blocks about more evenly, and in doing so I ended up with them arranged in an X across the quilt.  This looks…. better?spice_3103_2

Maybe.  After considering it some more (and mysteriously referring to the two gold/brown fabrics as “green”), Mum noted that the un-dyed solid just doesn’t look as good against the other fabrics as the over-dyed fabric does.  I do see what she means (strange comments about fabric colour notwithstanding).  And the mixture of the two solids looks a bit weird.  I think I’m going to have to cut down the variety to just the over-dyed and print blocks, which I should be able to do with some careful cutting.  The “spare” un-dyed blocks can go on the back.

Interested in the possibility of potential patterns formed by arranging the print blocks in different ways, I shuffled some more and came up with this:spice_3103_1Yeah, the different-coloured solids still look weird.  I must do something about those.  And I MUST-MUST-MUST do my quilt maths BEFORE I buy my fabrics next time!  >_<  It’s quite possible that I’m going to end up with a layout like this:Marsala_01gPerhaps not fabulously exciting/original/modern/whatever all the cool kids like, but it would work…

More info on the Pantone Challenge can be found at On The Windy Side and play crafts.

Also linking up with WIP Wednesday over at Freshly Pieced and Let’s Bee Social at Sew Fresh Quilts.  🙂

2015 Pantone Quilt Challenge: Actual Blocks!

2015 Pantone Quilt Challenge: Marsala

At last, I’ve made a proper start on my Marsala Spice quilt!
spice_2103_2Here are some assembled blocks!  I’m thrilled by the colours so far.  As a reminder, here’s the palette I picked from Pantone’s website:pantone_marsala

Not a bad match, eh?  🙂  So there’s good progress, but I have a problem.  Part of the problem is that I’m short of my over-dyed Marsala colour so I can’t make the big 72″ x 72″ quilt I’d had in mind with it.  And I really like that quite strong, graphic look of the basic blocks, so in many ways I don’t want to detract from it by adding complications.  I still have another “marsala” fabric that may yet get added into the mix, but it is patterned and looks quite different to my solid Marsala and I’m having trouble picturing how it’s all going to work together.Marsala Spice fabrics

When I get a chance I’m probably going to churn out some more blocks using the leafy fabric, probably in both large and small versions, and then skiffle everything about until I get something I like.  Spare blocks will probably end up on the back.

More info on the Pantone Challenge can be found at On The Windy Side and play crafts.

2015 Pantone Quilt Challenge: Dyeing To Meet Marsala

2015 Pantone Quilt Challenge: Marsala

I wasn’t happy with how burgundy my Marsala fabric appeared in some lights, so I decided to hit it with some dye.

spice_1803_6After some deliberation, I picked Dylon’s dark brown.  I only wanted to shift the shade of the fabric a few clicks towards brown, so I only used one sachet despite having slightly more than 250g of fabric to dye.spice_1803_4This plastic bucket was the perfect size to hold both fabric and dye and kept me from making an epic mess of the kitchen sink!  In fact, the only thing I managed to unintentionally dye was myself:

spice_1803_2When dyeing, it’s important to establish beforehand that your gloves don’t leak!spice_1803_5The packet of dye suggested a total immersion time of an hour, but I decided to remove my fabric after only half an hour because I didn’t want it to be too brown.  Then I rinsed it out really well and threw it in the washing machine with a couple of colour catchers (which came out very brown!).

I’m really quite pleased with the final colour; it seems more red-brown now rather than burgundy.spice_1803_1I was disappointed that I didn’t get a textured look at all, but I’m not sure this dye works like that and I did stir the fabric in it pretty well.  Anyway, I like this colour and I’m looking forward to seeing it in my blocks.  With luck, I should get a chance to get started with cutting and piecing this weekend.  After some back-of-envelope calculations, I’ve realised I don’t have enough of this fabric to be able to make the size of quilt I want with the large (24″) blocks, but I should be able to do something good with the small (12″) blocks, or maybe even a combination of the two.  That’ll teach me to buy fabric first and do the maths later!  (But probably not.)

2015 Pantone Quilt Challenge: Marsala

It was only relatively recently that I heard about Pantone’s Colour of the Year thingie, when I saw a blog post with a quilt made in 2014’s colour, Radiant Orchid.  Intrigued by the idea of a challenge to make a quilt in a colour I might not usually choose, I decided to keep an eye out for this year’s colour, which turned out to be….
2015 Pantone Quilt Challenge: Marsala

Marsala.  Hmmm.  Pantone says:

A naturally robust and earthy wine red, Marsala enriches our minds, bodies and souls.

Ummm, I’m not sure I’d go that far, but ok.

From what I’ve seen, Marsala has not met with overwhelming joy and excitement (there’s at least one blog post floating around with some hilarious alternative names for it).  To encourage enthusiasm for this year’s colour, On The Windy Side and play crafts are jointly running the 2015 Pantone Quilt Challenge, and I decided I couldn’t resist starting another project!  In fairness, the colour is growing on me, assisted by the fact that Pantone has helpfully provided several palettes based around Marsala here.

The name Marsala makes me think of marsala tea and rich aromatic spices, so I found myself drawn to palette 2:pantone_marsala

I love the warm spicy look of these colours with the bright coral to liven everything up.  As far as a quilt design goes, I was attracted to the idea of the mysterious East, Islamic motifs and exotic souks (because I am endlessly fascinated by Islamic tile designs).  By chance, I happened to spot a tile design in a magazine that would, I thought, be perfect for this challenge – interesting enough without being horrendous to piece.  Grabbing some graph paper and MS Paint, I doodled about to see if it was something I could successfully translate into my chosen colour scheme and into fabric.Marsala_01

This is an initial mock-up of my design in Paint, and I like it a lot.  Yay!  Although I showed it to mum and she said, “Oooo, that’s nice!  Does it have to be those colours?”  After I explained about the Pantone thing, she commented that Marsala looks like the colour a person with cyanosis goes, so I guess this quilt won’t be for her, then!  After fiddling about considerably with my graph paper, I’ve come up with three possible versions of the basic block for this design, which I need to mock up before I start cutting up fabric in earnest (not least because one version is HUGE and I need to be quite sure I want the scale that large before I start).

My next task was to buy the fabric, since I have none of those colours in my stash (certainly not in any significant quantity).  Luckily(!) we’d planned a Quilt Club outing on Thursday to the local fabric shop, where I was overjoyed to discover that 1) I was *not* the only person to have heard of the Pantone Colour of the Year thing and 2) there was a good selection of all the colours I was looking for, including several candidates for Marsala itself.  Phew!  These are the fabrics I settled on finally (the two golden colours got chosen almost instantly, as did the coral, the marsala shades took a little longer):Marsala Spice fabrics

There was also a bit of a challenge in explaining exactly what I had in mind to everyone else, given that I’d run out of the door that morning without bothering to pick up any of my sketches of the design.  Handwaving apparently did a very poor job of explaining what I wanted to do and I ended up scrawling a rough outline on a paper napkin, which wasn’t much better!  And there was also a problem with the fact that, since I still haven’t trialled my block sizes or done any manner of yardage calculation or considered how big to make the quilt, I haven’t really got a clue how much fabric I needed.  (Sometimes I plan EVERYthing meticulously, other times I screw my eyes shut and run screaming head-first into an idea; guess which this is?)  As a result, I’ve probably overbought at least some of them, but I can always find something to do with extra fabric!  After all, it’ll need backing, possibly a border too.

If anyone is interested, I also tried the tile design in different suggested Pantone palettes.  Some work better than others; my favourite is still the first one I tried!

It’s really interesting to see how the same design changes depending on colour choice and placement.

My plan for now is to run up small and large test blocks to get a feel for the construction and how I like the scale (I have a feeling I’ll prefer the larger version, but you never know), then figure out how big a quilt I want/can make with what I’ve bought.  Watch this space for more Marsala Spice!  😀