Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Taking My Chances

Yesterday I started doing Amanda Jean's latest quiltalong. In honor of her birthday, she is doing 36-patch blocks, and in honor of her I am doing 36 blocks. "Value" is the key when choosing the fabrics for this quilt.

We're at Lakeview Cottages this week, managing the twelve rental cabins (and this week we have 14 kids!). I knew I would have time to sew and had chosen my projects, including the 36-patches. But didn't have time to go through my stash.

Then I remembered a pattern and stack of fabrics I had purchased several years ago.
This pattern is also most successful when you pay attention to value. I never made the pattern with the stack of fabrics I purchased. But when friends got married, I did make them a quilt from this pattern, choosing fabrics in the colors they wanted.
I still had the stack of lights and the stack of darks purchased with the pattern. Do you have any fabrics that you still sorta like, aren't quite ready to pass them on to someone else but don't have a clue what to do with them yourself? Yeah, that was this stack. I can't tell you how many times I have gone through and wondered, "Hmmm, should I donate this to our church quilting group, have a giveaway? Oh, well, I'll think about it later..."

Well, I grabbed those fabrics and brought them up here. And then I made some rules for myself. I put the stack of lights and the stack of darks side by side.
*No rearranging them.
*No checking for color coordination.
*No checking for scale.
It is what it is. Whatever is on the top of the dark stack and the top of the light stack, well, those two fabrics are going into the next 36-patch block.

And guess what? I have made six blocks so far and I REALLY like them!! This is my first one.
I took the picture out by our boat dock and then realized that the colors were kind of similar to all the kayaks and canoes that were on the beach.
I'm kind of in a rhythm now of making the blocks and I haven't been disappointed with a single combination of light/darks.

But I did run into this problem two times yesterday. Oops.
I followed Amanda Jean's advice to sew with a small stitch length. I have my Featherweight up here and it's harder to gauge the number of stitches per inch than on my Elna. So I counted. Holy moly! Twenty stitches/inch is no fun to un-sew!

Just last week I ordered this, thinking that if you MUST un-sew, you might as well do it with some class, and you can't get much classier than orange. Unfortunately it didn't make it to my house in time, so I'm using a boring generic-looking seam ripper. And in case you were wondering, Amy's husband made a few of these super cool seam rippers and they sold like hotcakes!
So the name of this new quilt is Taking My Chances. It's working out pretty well for me so far and I'm pretty sure Amanda Jean would approve of the chances I'm taking. I'll post the rest of my progress tomorrow.


05 08
Amy Friend said... #

Oh, Mark will be so excited to see his seam rippers on someone else's blog :) I can't believe you joined another quilt along. You are a crazy woman! At least this one should move pretty quickly and it looks like you are off to a good start!

randi--i have to say said... #

i love that block! so many tiny squares. wow!

Mrs Flying Blind... said... #

I love the matching blocks and boats, genius!

Needled Mom said... #

I love your block AND your rules!!!! Such freedom for those of us who struggle with that!

That seam ripper is gorgeous.

Millie said... #

Love your block, I have to make a scrappy quilt like this too. Just came from Crazy Mom's quilt along.

Lisa said... #

You're very creative. The tiny square blocks look very good.

Lisa from Learn Bass Guitar Online

The Luedtke Family said... #

It's amazing what can be created with what is lurking on hand. More thought, wonder, concern, planning, and delight all wrapped up into using what is available!!!

I love the seam ripper, perfect color for you!

Have fun in the mountains!

Terriaw said... #

Love your new blocks for Amanda's quilt-along! Great colors and contrasts. I do have stacks of fabric like that. A couple years later, I will find just the right project for them, and then I'm so glad I didn't get rid of them. Classy seam ripper you got there! Hope you don't have to use it too much.

Enjoy your week at the cabins! Hope the weather is nice for you.

Anonymous said... #

I'm doing these blocks, too! Why would I rather work on these than the Farmer's Wife blocks? Haha! Miss Luella

felicity said... #

The blocks are looking great - I heartily endorse your fabric-choosing strategy. That part ALWAYS trips me up because I overthink.

I am beginning to think that I need to quit work - too many wonderful quilt alongs to do!

Unknown said... #

I've been thinking of joining in on this, too! I have a wole stack of fun, bright batiks that i know aren't "cool" in the modern quilting world but i love too much to get rid of. I think is would be fun to make from those. (and ideas like this make me wish I hadn't purged so much of my fabric stash a few years back, bc this is a great way to use up yardage of "not so pretties". ;) )

I also love the idea of grabbing a light and a dark and going with it. I do something similar when i am making a scrappy patchwork-I toss all of my pieces in a bag and just start pulling. No looking back. ;)

Grandma G said... #

So are you subtly telling us Amanda Jean's age? ;) Nice that it's a square number.

Carla said... #

I love what you are doing and I am sure that i would love WHERE you are doing it!!

Poppyprint said... #

that is going to be an awesome quilt!! LOVE the seam ripper you scored. I treated myself to one, too!

Tara said... #

They're lovely! I look forward to seeing more of them.

Mama Pea said... #

Cindy, that is fannnnntastic! I love your rules and the name for your quilt. I totally have stacks of fabric like that! I wanted to do this quilt along, but I just can NOT start another project right now. I really enjoy reading your posts. Your prose is so enjoyable to me.

Love that seam ripper. How do I get one?

I shorten my stitch length when I paper piece and have to rip some of those out sometimes. No fun 'tall.

CitricSugar said... #

I am completely jealous of that seam ripper. :-)


JHNickodemus said... #

Hey I really like those! Im excited to see you "no choosing" blocks. I always start that way....I dont always end up that way...