Friday, February 23, 2018

It's Time To Snuggle With The Squiggle Quilt

Just when I thought I wasn't going to have anything to post about this week since it seems I was having a hard time getting started working on any of my many projects waiting for me in the studio, I have a finally finished with my Squiggle Quilt.  It seems that my Bee Sisters and the others who joined Christa Watson's QAL were finishing theirs and I've only had the top made and the backing sewn.  I was away babysitting my granddaughter last week, which I like to mention my hubby and I make a great diaper changing team and I can still hold my breath for a very long time. Once I returned home this past Monday, I just didn't have the energy to climb down the stairs until Wednesday and once down there I went into quilt action and decided that I needed to finish one QAL and Squiggle it was.  Of course, like the many other times I have a quilt that is finally finished, the weather decided to be cold and gloomy.
I didn't have a hard time deciding on the quilting, after all a Squiggle quilt should be quilted with squiggly lines.  I only have a few quilting techniques in my repertoire and wavy, curvy lines is one of them--it's just a nice, relaxing way to quilt.  Also, as mentioned in a previous post, some of my triangle points do not line up since I unfortunately did not measure the charm packs before I started sewing and it turned out they were almost 5-1/4" and I also mixed it with 5" squares I cut from the yardage.  Even though I trimmed all the squares to 5", I knew some of my points were going to be off and some wavy quilting will be needed to make it less noticeable.  I followed Christa's technique of starting the quilting on the right side and I finished it on the left side which I have to say all four edges of my quilt were pretty straight.  Once you see my Squiggle quilt, you really can't see where the points don't line up, and if you can, you're standing too close to it.
With all of the colors in this quilt, I chose to "gray" everything else like the connecting corners, backing and the binding which I have to say is pretty perfect since I wanted to use a dark gray to accentuate the colors and I happened to have such a print and enough of it in the Blueberry Park stash. The only thing that I don't like about the Blueberry Park fabrics is the texture which has the feel of screen painting and makes the fabric, to me, feel stiff.  I used a Microtex Sharp needle for quilting and decided to machine quilt the binding since I thought it may be hard to hand sew.  I was looking forward to sewing the binding while watching Olympics but guess I could use the time to work on another project that awaits me.  Just last week, I thought I was ahead of the Postcards from Sweden QAL and now I am seeing from other posts I follow, some of the participants are already sewing their HSTs. Hopefully, I'll be sewing them this weekend. BTW, I have to mention that Hubby installed daylights in my studio which is in the basement and it has been a real game changer--photos taken in the studio never looked this bright and I can't believe I've been sewing in the dark for the past five years.
I wasn't expecting to love this quilt as much as I do now. There are so many different colors in the Blueberry Park fabric line and I used everyone of them except for the black and navy prints in this quilt.  The colors just reminds me of something from my childhood, I keep thinking of wrapped hard candy like Charms or maybe Jolly Ranchers.  The colors are just that yummy and am happy with the way my quilt turned out which is why I calling it Squiggle Delight.  I was thinking that I was going to gift this quilt but having second thoughts now, I'm needing to snuggle this quilt and hoping life will get brighter soon.

February has gone by way too fast and I have to confess that I have not even started on this month's UFO or Scrap projects.  I'm hoping to get my sew-jo back on soon.  I need lots of sunshine and less snow now.

Linking up with:  My Quilt Infatuation, Needle and Thread ThursdayCrazy Mom Quilts, Finish It Up FridayConfessions of a Fabric Addict, Can I Get a Whoop Whoop FridayBusy Hands Quilts, Finish or Not Friday

Thursday, February 15, 2018

And the QAL-ing Keeps Sewing Along

I'm still catching up with my QALs and have a finally finish: Micah's Come Calling Quilt/Playmat which I had planned to make in January for my January Scrap Attack and or Scrumptious Scraps QAL project which Sarah of Confessions of a Fabric Addict is hosting for 2018.  I thought I should start and finish this quilt considering that it's February now and I will be seeing Micah this weekend for some grandmother babysitting duties while her parents get some serious download time.
At the beginning of the year, I was going to participate in the Scrap Attack which is more for organizing and precutting your scraps.  Last week, Sarah posted about the Scrumptious Scraps QAL (you can read about it here) and decided that this one was more to my liking since my project list for Scrap Attack involved using up certain scraps each month. I rather let sleeping scraps lie until I need them for a scrap project. The scraps I chose to work with in January were from several Basic Grey's collections which included leftovers from the signature wedding quilt I made for Micah's parents over four years ago.  Doesn't every baby need a calling quilt when they go visiting?  At least that's what I thought when I came up with another reason for making Micah another quilt. I think this is #9.
Here's a photo of the wedding quilt with the  gorgeous Basic Grey floral print from the PBJ collection.  I used whatever remnant I had along with the leftover strips used in the sashing.  I thought I share my signature block in this post since it still makes me laugh and it's the one I always use for other signature blocks.
The green and white gingham used for the sashing and the backing fabric which is from the last century were the only fabrics not part of the Basic Grey scraps.  I also wanted to use a plain fabric for the backing since Micah's mom tends to display the backs and not the front of the quilts and maybe because the backs are just that pretty.  This quilt measures 42" x 60" and hopefully this time I can snuggle with Micah and the quilt this time.
But then again, we may need to spend some time re-reading this book which I received from friends when Micah was born. I can't believe she's going to be one-year old next month and this time she might be reading the book to me.
Also finished this week, last Tuesday night to be more exact, were Blocks #3 (Nested Churn Dash) and #4 (Greek Cross) from the Classic Meet Modern QAL hosted by Kelly of My Quilt Infatuation.
This QAL started in January and each month, two blocks (maybe more if they're small) are made, which is a nice pace I can keep up with.  You can read more about the Classic Meet Modern QAL (here).  So far, two of the blocks are 24", one is 12" and two are 6".  I am finding out, no size is an easy size, my focus is just the same, and am finding that my seam ripper works well on all sizes. By the way, in case you're wondering, doesn't the blocks look wonderful against the white brick?  I just discovered photo backdrops and finally purchased one.  When I first received it, it looks like a velour blanket and the printing was pretty faint so I had my doubts but I'm very happy with the way the photos turned out. Now, I just have to make sure I put this away since I have a certain son who might think this is a blanket; it really does feel nice.
My top for the Squiggle QAL (you can read about it here) is finished and this week is the start of basting and quilting which is not going to happen until next week.  I'm really looking forward to doing some quilting with nice wavy lines to hide some of the over and under hangs of the triangle points.  This is what happens when you do not realize that the charm packs of Blueberry Park were not exactly 5" and were mixed in with the 5" squares I cut myself. Such a rookie mistake, I keep telling myself.
Today is the start of the Postcards from Sweden which Sandra from mmm!Quilts is hosting.  (You can read about the Postcards from Sweden QAL here).  For some reason, which doesn't happen very often, I am ahead of this QAL; I've already chosen my fabrics and cut all of my HSTs.  With some QALS, I find myself either ahead, on schedule or behind but in the end, but what really matters to me is that I finish.  Timelines are only a suggestion and sometimes I have a need to either start or finish another project off the grid which is what I'm feeling I want to do next week.  But then again I may just need some rest recovering from my very first babysitting gig in so many years.
I hope everyone is having a happy week and feeling some warmth, especially from the weather.  It's been way too cold in my neck of the woods.

Thursday, February 8, 2018

Fassett February

This is my first February post and there's no better way to start off the month with a Finally Finish--my Kaffe Fassett Zig Zag Patchwork Throw.  This was a top I finished last year after taking his workshop last October and was on my 2018 Quilty Confessions- UFO Addition list to finish.  
I love the colors and fabrics in this quilt, they look velvety, don't they? I have a confession--this was not what I had envisioned; out of the twenty fabrics I brought to the workshop, I only ended up using eight of them and had to purchase the black and purple print from the vendor mall and my friend Carol, who brought her entire Kaffe stash in her suitcase with wheels, let me have one of her red stripe prints since she wasn't going to use it.  On a side note, I almost suffered whiplash at the beginning of the workshop because Kaffe mentioned that the Zig Zag pattern would look good in black and white fabrics, which I am pretty sure no one brought any, including Carol and myself, and he would be happy to help students choose black and white fabrics which could be purchased from the vendor mall. Carol decided she would like to do that and I turned my head in a snap at her and said "What!". Boy, what some people would do to get a little extra Kaffe time.  If I wasn't set on using the fabric I brought, I may have been tempted but then again no because I already have too much black and white fabric in my stash.
I'm pretty sure I was the only student whose color palette was inspired by the Grand Canyon so I bought fabrics with golds, browns, light grays and whites in addition to the eight I ended up using. When I showed this photo to Kaffe and Brandon Mabrey along with the fabrics, I don't know how they got me to change my mind or see things their way.  I did come away knowing the difference between low contrast where the fabrics accent each other quietly but nicely versus high contrast which would be a white fabric against dark fabric and according to Kaffe looks like a plastic shopping bag stuck on my quilt.  As you can see, my quilt is definitely low contrast.
It wasn't easy, but I managed to come up with a quilt top with just using ten fabrics compared to some of the other students who bought their entire stash to class and used the same  Kaffe color palette of blues, greens, reds, etc. in his books.  I'm pretty sure I was the only one who used my color palette of purple, gray, black and orange and if there was another one I would have been over at her table rummaging through her stash.  BTW, that's Carol's quilt on the left with the fabrics selected by Kaffe.  I don't do too well in workshops, I get too distracted by what others are doing and I sure was overstimulated seeing all those wonderful Kaffe fabrics on the other students' tables and worse of all, I had to rotary cut the diamonds myself.  I really would have liked to have used my die-cutter but the instructions were no pre-cutting before class.
And yes, I finally got a photo of Kaffe and me which for me is a pretty good momento along with the quilt.  I think we might have the same haircut.
And getting back to the quilt, I decided once the top was finished, it seemed that it should be a throw so I backed it with this wonderful rich purple Minky with zig zags.  There's no batting and only light quilting which is perfect for a throw.   Funny during the critique of my top in the workshop, Brandon said that I should back my quilt top with mink and good friend Carol said Minky and that's what I did; it really is perfect for this quilt.  While finishing this throw, I kept humming Lara's theme from Dr. Zhivago since I thought this would be perfect for a sleigh ride with a white horse pulling it but knowing me with the impending winter advisory with lots of snow we're having on Friday, I'll settle for snuggling with it in the warmth of my living room sipping some hot cocoa.
While I was on vacation, I decided to take my Kaffe appliqué project which has been fermenting for well over five years and I just kept putting this project off. I'm so glad that I brought it because it turned out that the resort where we were staying at had no Wi-Fi for the entire week.  It finally came back on the night before we were scheduled to leave so these blocks kept me occupied.  If I were fifty years younger, I would have been lost without Wi-Fi, but in truth, it's nice to have but really not needed as long as there's free Wi-Fi elsewhere.
And last but not least, I will be joining Sandra of mmm! Quilts who will be hosting the Postcards from Sweden QAL which will be starting next week.  It should be no surprise that I've picked out my fabrics which are Kaffe Fassett Shot Cottons with a few Peppered Cottons added.  I also will be happily die-cutting my 4-1/2" HST.

Sandra, with all of the other Linky parties she is hosting, pattern designing and an Island Batik Ambassador, is also one of the Co-hosts for the 2018 New Quilt Bloggers Blog Hop which is near and dear to my heart.  I participated in it last year and it was an invaluable learning experience as well as being fun and definitely a "must do" if you are a new quilt blogger as I was.  This is a great way to meet new and experienced bloggers, introduce yourself to Blogland and many new friendships will be formed.  Registration started on February 1st and you can read about the 2018 New Quilt Bloggers Blog Hop here:

Now that I'm getting back into my quilting groove, I have some catching up to do with the other QAL's (Classic Meets Modern, Squiggy, and Scrap Attack) I started before I left on vacation which means I have to stay focus for a little while.  It should be no surprise that I bought some fabric while on vacation and really would like to make something with it now.  Stay warm and if you're going to be experiencing snow like I am, i'ts going to be good sewing weather.

Thursday, January 18, 2018

Sharing and Merrily QAL-ing This Week

It's been a busy and productive week for me which should be expected when you promise to write a tutorial and also are participating in three QALs.
Last week, I posted my Hinto Minto Baby Quilt (you can read about it here) and mentioned that the next time I made this pattern I would write a tutorial.  I thought the better of myself so I did a sort of tutorial now than later while the pattern was still fresh in my mind and I had some leftover fabrics to recreate part of the tutorial.  I wanted to share this pattern so you can see how easy and fun it was to make this quilt. (you can see it here, The Staggered Strips & Squares Sort Of Tutorial)

And here are some updates for my QAL-ings:
My Whitewater River Rafting Quilt, a.k.a. the Regatta Quilt Along, (you can read about it here), top is finished and I hope to quilt it next month.  It was nice to make this quilt with Amy Ellis' Modern Neutral fabrics leftover from another quilt and with Marcus Bros Aged Muslin in denim blue.
The Classic Meets Modern QAL hosted by My Quilt Infatuation, (you can read about it here) started this week and I completed the first two blocks, the 24" Bethlehem Star and the 12" Antique Tile using Zen Chic's Figures fabric. Knowing that I'm a strips and squares kind of quilter, I bet you can guess which one of these two blocks was my favorite to make and took less than an hour while the other one took me over three hours and gave me the angle-challenged quilter an exercise on staying focus.  I only had to use the seam ripper three times.  I'm looking forward to making the other blocks and it's going to be an interesting quilt.
The Squiggles QAL hosted by Christa Watson also started this week, (you can read about it here)  and fabric choosing and preparation was the goal. I've chosen to use my stash of Blueberry Park fabrics and you can see I already started making some of the blocks.

So far in January, I'm doing well on my project list but not for long since I'll be traveling starting next week, hopefully to a warm spot.  I'm going to try to tackle one more project on my list and then  decide on a hand project for the road before we leave.  I don't know why I always wait until the last moment to decide this when this trip has been planned for awhile.  I should have put it on my project list.

I hope you're having a great January and are staying warm.  I will say this cold weather we're experiencing in the Midwest is great for staying home to sew.

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Staggered Strips and Squares Quilt, A Sort-of Tutorial

Last week I posted my Hinto Minto baby quilt made for parents-to-be who wanted a gray and white quilt with a hint of mint (you can read about it here).  This quilt was so fun and easy to make that I mentioned in this post that I planned to made another version of this quilt in black and white Cotton + Steel fabrics and when I do, I would write a tutorial.  Since this may not be for awhile, I decided with the fabric leftover from the Hinto Minto Quilt, I would do a sort-of tutorial meaning that it's not a step by step tutorial with photos of how to make this quilt but more of how I came up with this pattern and how easy it would be to make it your own.
The concept for making a modern baby quilt was to use various shades of gray and low volume lights from my stash and to showcase a large type print by Art Gallery's Pastel Thrift Shop accented with Cotton + Steel Basic mint print.  
The inspiration for the Staggered Strips and Squares pattern is a variation of a jelly roll quilt which I did with my Hometown Girl Jelly Roll Charm Chase Quilt (left) and my Blue Ernie Dash Quilt (right) and you can see that I really like making quilts with 2-1/2" strips.  What's nice about this pattern  is that you can cut 2-1/2" strips and squares from your stash.
Before I started making the Hinto Minto quilt, I first planned it out by drafting it first on graph paper  (each square represents 2") so I could determine the number of rectangles, squares and strip set blocks I would need.  For the Staggered Strips and Squares Quilt tutorial, the pattern is for a 40" square. (As a side note, I know the pattern name doesn't include rectangles but I only used rectangles for this quilt because I wanted to showcase the gray type print and if you don't want to use rectangles they can be replaced with squares or strip set blocks.)  Here is a suggested layout/pattern and I apologize for not being computer savvy to generate a separate document but I really like doodling on graph paper.  As you can see, each row consists of four blocks with dimensions adding up to 40" finished.  
Here are the fabric requirements and cutting details for making this top:
  • Five 4-1/2" x 12-1/2" Rectangles  (Focus Print)
  • Nine 4-1/2" Squares (Accent Color)
  • Thirty-five to forty strips (20"+, does not need to be exact, cut either strips from WOF or WOFQ) to make the following strip set blocks (instructions to follow)
    • Ten 4-1/2" x 8-1/2" Strip Set Blocks
    • Eight 4-1/2" x 12-1/2" Strip Set Blocks
    • Eight 4-1/2" x 16-1/2" Strip Set Blocks
Note:  you can cut more than the necessary Strip Set Blocks to allow for wiggle room if you have leftover after cutting.  
I love the look of staggered strips and my favorite way to achieve this improv look is by doing the first two laps of a jelly roll race quilt which is first sewing the strips together to make one super long strip and then finding the two ends and then sewing two strips together.  If you're unfamiliar with this technique, you can check out one of the many Jelly Roll Race Quilt videos on YouTube.  Before starting to sew the strips together, first:
  • remove all selvedges and straighten the strips, if necessary
  • for half of the 20"+ strips, cut them in half to 10" -11"
Once you are ready to sew the strips together, start with either a short or long strip and to ensure the staggered-ness, the last strip sewn should be either a short or long strip, whatever you didn't start with--be sure you don't use the same size strips for the beginning and the end. Also, I sewed the strips together with a shorter stitch length.
Once this very long strip  was sewn, I took it to my ironing board and pressed each seam open.  This is a cumbersome and a little time consuming step but I find it makes the sewing and cutting the strip sets easier.
After you finished ironing and taken a much needed break, find the beginning and the end and line it up for sewing.  I have to mention that this is my favorite part of the jelly roll race quilt, this stretch of mindless sewing. There will be times when seams actually match up between the two rows and that's okay. When you are near the end of sewing the strips together, around 8" to 10", check to see if the ends are twisted, and if they are, then cut at the fold, straighten the strips and resume sewing to the end.  I find that after sewing several race quilts that this sometimes happens.
Again, you will take this lovely pile to the ironing board to press the seam either up or down, your preference, because you want to cut your strip sets when the strips laying nice and flat and so you can see the seam lines when you are cutting the strip set blocks.
When cutting your strip sets blocks to the desired width, be sure you are at least 1" away from a vertical seam line; if you are too close, then adjust by either making a smaller or larger strip set block or move the ruler over enough to be away from the seam line and then cut the desired width.  
Once you have cut the required number and sizes of the strip set blocks you are ready to layout the quilt with the squares and rectangles using the pattern/layout provided above.  Note:  this photo is not the first Hinto Minto Quilt layout but is the layout of the second quilt.  When laying out your blocks, and two strip set blocks are next to each other, be sure the horizontal seams are opposite to each other so they will nest once they are sewn together; i.e., if one block's seam is up, then the block next to it should have the seam going down. (If you don't like the way it looks, then re-press the seam.) Once each row of blocks are sewn together, they should measure 40-1/2" wide. After each row of blocks are sewn, the seams of the blocks should be pressed in alternative directions so seams from the next row of blocks will nest, which we already do when making other quilts, right?

What I like about the Staggered Strips and Squares pattern is that unlike a jelly roll race quilt, where you don't know what the quilt is going to look like until the end,  you can control the look or random-ness by placing the blocks where you want them.  You can place the strip set blocks with other ones with the same fabrics to create what I call "globs" or you can make sure the same fabrics or colors are distributed evenly throughout the quilt. And it's so much easier to sew a quilt row by row rather than having to cut thirty-two rows apart and making the sides even when you do a jelly roll race quilt--for those of us who have made one, you know what I mean.

As mentioned before, the pattern/layout provided was to show how this quilt was made.  You can easily make the quilt larger by adding more squares and strip set blocks.  I highly recommend that you draw your quilt out on graph paper like I did after you determine first what size you want your quilt to be. After that, draw in the squares and strip set blocks to give you an idea of what is needed.  To calculate how many strips you need to sew to make the strip set blocks, this is how I came up with my number for the Hinto Minto:
  • separate the strip set blocks by size and count each size separately
  • # of blocks x the width x two
  • add these figures together and then divide by 20
Example: for this 40" square quilt, the calculations were as follows:
  • 10 strips 8.5" wide = 85" x 2 (because there are two strips) = 170"
  • 8 strips 12.5" wide = 100" x 2 = 200"
  • 8 strips 16.5" wide = 132" x 2 = 264"
  • Add these three totals together = 634" divided by 20" strips = 32.  I sewed 35 strips to allow for fudge room or miscuts. And truth be told, when I made the Hinto Minto Quilt, I used 50 strips and the leftovers are being used for the second quilt.

The flexibility of this pattern is you can change your mind as the blocks are laid out --what you drew is not what you have to do.  You can always make adjustments which is why I always cut more squares and sew more strips sets than needed.
I hope you find this "sort-of" tutorial helpful to see how easily this quilt can be made.  When I made the Hinto Minto quilt, I didn't have the foresight to envision this could be a tutorial until after it was done.  I wanted to share the fun, the easiness and the possibilities of this pattern.  Sometimes it's really hard for me to explain something easy. I would be happy to answer any questions you may have but if you're totally confused, which I hope you're not, then maybe I can explain it better if I use graph paper.

Enjoy and I would like to see photos of the quilts you may make.

Thursday, January 11, 2018

First Finally Finished for 2018--The Hinto Minto Baby Quilt

Less than ten days into the new year and I have my first quilt finally finished for 2018 and what made it so easy to accomplish was that it was a baby quilt and a pattern that I just love.  As the way the quilt weather works, just when I 'm ready to take photos of this quilt, the sun goes away and foggy weather comes to visit, which means the photos had to be taken indoor.  It makes an otherwise happy quilt look rather gloomy.

This quilt was made for soon-to-be parents, the father being a son of someone I knew since fifth grade and my first memory of her was that she, being somewhat intimidating since she was way taller than me, jumped out of her seat to block me from going to the cloakroom and asked me where did I think I was going.  If I had the power to look into my quilt future I could have told her right then that she might want to rethink her actions because I would be making a baby quilt for her granddaughter in 50+ years.  Instead, as I would relay the story to her sons, I ran back screaming to my desk. Flash forward to almost 50 years later, I met up with my intimidator who was working at the quilt shop I happened to be visiting from out-of-town and as the story goes, she wouldn't leave me alone, kept asking me all of these questions and I was trying to shop. I gave her short and curt answers until I realized she and I went to the same high school and graduated the same year and when she told me her then name, it was reunion time.  It's sort of ironic she was preventing me from shopping, isn't it, but it was a good thing this time.  That was the start of our "being nice" friendship and even though she lives six hours away, we have included each other in our family celebrations over the past years.  I would like to mention that I am at least four inches taller than her now.
Enough of the background story which I had to share and now to this quilt which the parents-to-be requested a gray and white quilt with a hint of mint, thus the name Hinto Minto Quilt which I'm pretty sure it's going to be renamed. As mentioned previously, I just love this quilt and it came together so nicely since I had all of the fabric in my stash.  I wanted to showcase the gray large letter by Art Gallery and the mint green Cotton + Steel fabrics so I came up with a pattern inspired by two other quilts I've made:  Jelly Roll Charm Chase (you can see it here) and the Blue Ernie Stash Dash Quilt (you can see it here).  I love the look of staggered strips and my favorite way to achieve this look is doing the first two laps of a Jelly Roll Race Quilt.  I sewed approximately fifty 20" long strips, which is way more than enough,  in various lengths and once they were all sewn together, I then sew it together like you would for a jelly roll race quilt.  This where the similarities end because I then cut the strip set in various widths and when sewn with the squares and rectangles, it made a forty-inch wide row.  (I'm going to be making another quilt like this with black and white Cotton+Steel fabrics and will make sure I write a Staggered Squares and Strips tutorial so I can share this easy pattern).   A fun touch to this quilt is the father-to-be is an IT executive and I was glad to include a rectangle that had the word "user" while I think some of the other fabrics might appeal to the mother-to-be who works in the Arts.  As you can see by the photos above, there were some spots where the seams or the same fabrics just happened to meet like a jelly roll race.  Also, you will see that I quilted with soft wavy lines along the seams of the rows which added to the easiness of making this quilt.
I backed the quilt with a medium dark gray dot fabric and the binding is a light gray gingham check, all from my stash.  The Hinto Minto Quilt will soon be leaving for California and just in time for the February delivery.  I'll have to check with the Grandmother as to how it should be sent.

I must have been a really nice girl back in my school days seeing that I never received a baby quilt made by someone in the past when I became a Grandmother last year but then again I did win quite a few free quilt patterns and four fabric giveaways in 2017.  Just purely coincidental, I say.  I think there are those of us who wear their halos well.

Hope you're having a great week too and also since it's been snow long, you're enjoying some warm weather.

Throwback Thursday: My 21st Century Bulls-eye Quilt

Sandra of mmm! Quilts is hosting or as she is calling it "babysitting" the Throwback Thursday Linky Party which I am happy to be participating for the very first time. I've only been blogging since of October, 2016 and may have come across a few posts while scrolling through Blogland but may not have know what this linky party was all about until I read Sandra's posts (you can read about it here) and (here) and thought that this something I could do. After all, one of the reasons why I started blogging was so I could better explain some of my quilts which I couldn't do on Pinterest nor Facebook.  I've been quilting for over twenty years and some of my quilts were made with stories. The quilt I thought I share my first story on Throwback Thursday is my 21st Century Bulls-eye Quilt.
There's a number of reasons why I thought this quilt would make a good story because it was started at almost the end of the 20th Century (1999) and finished right at the almost beginning of the 21st Century (2000) and was made by three quilting friends and myself which at that time we didn't realize this was a QAL.  We were inspired by the cover quilt on the book Quilts by Aunt Amy written by Mary Etherington and Connie Tesene whom I now know personally and I've done some QALs and fabric exchanges, willing and unwilling with them.
At this time, we're talking traditional quilting being the way norm, the Bulls-Eye quilt was so "radical" (I don't think the word "modern" was used then) with the raw edge appliqué and the wonkiness (and I also think "improv" wasn't used too) of the circles, cut freehand not matching up.  I loved this quilt as soon as I saw it and appealed to me as the failed appliquér and somewhat a rebel because I didn't prewash my fabrics.  So, the four of us came up with some ground rules once we decided we wanted to make this quilt and to the best of my recollection this is what we did:
  • we had a fabric exchange party when we swapped squares of light and printed fabrics in a certain size of what we considered "ugly" fabrics which were the calicos, florals, reproductions and the "inexpensive" which also meant no new fabric was suppose to be bought; we had to use stash-- sort of ahead of our quilt time, weren't we?
  • the circles were precut and the different sizes were placed in separate bags and you had to use the one pulled and the only time you could put it back was if it was the same color as the previous circle--fun, right?
  • we agreed that the circles would be sewn with a running stitch and not a fancy stitch like a zig-zag, etc; after all speed was part of the plan
  • we exchanged quarter circle blocks within a certain time frame so the Bulls-eye blocks could be made 
I thought I add a little tidbit about what happened after we exchanged the quarter circle blocks is that the one who complained the most about making this quilt was the first one to complete her top and another one who thought she would be the second one to be done was overtaken by me who rounded the corner and beat her to the finish line.  To this day, these two are still my dearest peeps and we still get together but not very often does it involve quilting.
Here are some close-ups where you can get a better look at the wonderful wonkiness and "ugly" but interesting fabrics used in making the Bulls-eye blocks.  Part of the fun in making this quilt was that the edges of the circles would fray after washing and as you can see, I never washed it because this quilt is a permanent fixture on my quilting rack and doesn't get used.  My quilt was sent to a longarm quilter who was just starting her business and she quilted it with wonderful swirls.  She did mention that the quilting wasn't easy because the edges of the circles would flip over and she would have to pin them down.  I worked with her then at the quilt shop and she may have sent me some daggers with her eyes. I think she may have said she never wanted to quilt another Bulls-eye quilt which may have been hard for her to refuse because these quilts were getting popular to make.
My 21st Century Bulls-eye Quilt is one of the very few quilts I made that I've labeled and the reason for doing this, remember this was made during traditional quilt time and there was a lot of talk about preserving our quilt history,  I envisioned this quilt being one of few of mine which survived in the far future and possibly people wondering what was I thinking when this quilt was made.  I figured I save them some research time and also to let them know I wasn't crazy then when this quilt was made.  Sorry, I blocked out the names of the other quilters in order to protect their sanity.  Looking back now with the modern quilt techniques well into place, this quilt really doesn't need any explanation (modern versions of this quilt are being made) except maybe for the fabrics which are so yesterday, but  I might add, I still love looking at them.
Around ten years after the first Bulls-eye quilt was made, I made a second one with the leftovers from the first one and additional "ugly" fabrics accumulated since then as part of a UFO Challenge which Mary and Connie hosted in 2012 or 2013.  I might mention, making a Bulls-eye quilt is like starter dough for a friendship cake, the circles you cut just keep on going, you'll understand once you know the construction method. The second quilt, laying on the chair, is still not finished and I've been tempted to finished it with simple quilting in the ditch.  It would be too funny if I happened to find the longarm quilter who quilted the first one and jokingly ask her if she would be willing to quilt the second one for me--funny, but not nice.

The 21st Century Bulls-eye Quilt was really a lot of fun to make and it is a great way to use up the stash.  I'm thinking I could make one with "modern" fabrics against gray and low volume fabrics since I've built up quite a stash of these fabrics now.  This definitely would make a great DREAMi project.
To paraphrase a line from the 50's TV Series "Naked City", there are eight million quilt stories out there, this has been one of them.  I'll be linking up with Sandra and hopefully you will join in the Throwback Linky party with one of your stories.