Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Random musings, a flimsy and an Occasional Tuesday Tool Tip

When I gave Rodney his retirement quilt last month, one of my coworkers asked me how long it took me to make it. I told her that I don't typically track the amount of time I spend making quilts because that turns it into work. I have to track all my time at work and categorize it into components which gets reported up the flag pole. Tracking the time I spend on my passion seems pointless because that's time better spent quilting!

I do have a vague sense of how long I spend actually quilting the quilt, probably because it is still somewhat new to me and I'm still learning how to use my longarm. So, I started wondering how much time I really do spend quilting.

As an experiment, I thought I would track how much time I spend quilting each day in April, or until I get bored of tracking the time.

Tuesday, April 1 - 1 hour
Wednesday, April 2 - 1 hour
Thursday, April 3 - 2 hours
Friday, April 4 - 1 hour
Saturday, April 5 - 2 hours

...and that's when I bit into the Tootsie Pop. (Gosh, I miss those things. Can't eat them any more. Had one a couple of years ago and it made me sick.)

But the baby bullseye is now a flimsy! I finished it on Sunday and put it on the design wall and thought, "Oh...no...I don't think so..."
Those borders did not make me happy. But I left it on the wall and it's still there and it's growing on me. I may shave off a couple of inches from the borders. I have the backing planned but I'm waiting to piece it because we're still 3 months away from the due date. I want to applique the baby's name on the backing and minds can change at the drop of a hat.

The "baby bullseye" is really a misnomer--it's not baby in size. The blocks finish at 12", while the original pattern by Country Threads has, I think, 9" blocks. I have more background showing than on the original pattern.

I will try to come up with any way to streamline the piecing of a quilt. I love quilts with lots of pieces but I do not enjoy cutting those pieces. I have an Accuquilt Studio die cutter and it's changed the way I quilt. The dies are spendy. If I see a pattern I want to make and I don't have the right die, I won't necessarily rush right to their website and order that die--I'll wait for a sale OR I'll adapt the pattern to the dies I have.

For this bullseye quilt, I cut 20 background squares at 13-1/2". I have circle dies in 8", 6" and 4" sizes, and cut 20 circles in each of those sizes. I stitched down all the circles to the background squares:

Then I placed the blocks on top of my die that cuts four (4) 6-1/2" squares:
Ran the blocks through the cutter, shuffled the blocks and ... voila!
I know there are plenty out there that think it's a whole lot of work doing it the way I do it. The beauty of this system is that the blocks are cut exactly the right size and it's a pleasure to sew these blocks together. Because the background block was 13-1/2", the cutter has trimmed down the blocks to size. I love it.

So I hope you've had some time to quilt this past week. It's just starting to warm up a bit here. Our heater is still on but we're supposed to hit the 80s this weekend. Sounds like a great time spend more time in the Bottoms Up! Studio.

Go quilt!