Friday, January 27, 2023

Rules of Homeward Bound Month 1 on Off the Wall Friday

When I first started quilting, I thought art quilting was beyond my reach.  Through the years though I've taught myself how to make them.  Now, with the Homeward Bound Block of the Month quilt, I'm revisiting my roots.  When I decided to take on this project I gave myself some basic rules (yes, I'm a rules chick):

1.  Follow the Pattern, No Adjusting
2.  Use the techniques taught by the designer
3.  Use a new, controlled palette
4.  Finish each month on time
5.  Participate in the Quilt's Forum

So today I looked at the calendar and it has the 26th staring at me.  And yes, you guessed it, I hadn't started on this month's section.  Now I've laid the groundwork.  I read and printed the pattern.  I watched the 3 videos with the introduction and directions.  I even picked a palette.  Now all I had to do is sew!  

With this being basically a medallion quilt, this month focused on the center cabin.  The thing about the cabin is that it's little...I mean really little....4" finished little.  Which means you need to do some precise basic piecing.  Now normally with something so little, I would have drafted it out and done it using paper piecing but that would violate Rule #2.   So I first watched a Quilt Show segment with Sally Collins who shows tips on how to improve your straight-line piecing and pressing.  She suggested...

1.  Don't push your pieces through your machine, your fingers are a guide only
2.  Iron set seams, then finger press, THEN iron press
3.  Cool the seam after pressing using a weight
4.  Check every seam  for size before going on
5.  Set your stitch length to 1.5

Using these tips, miracle upon miracle, my cabin came out the right size the first time. Getting a scant quarter-inch seam has never been my strong suit. In fact, this isn't quite perfect, but as you noticed getting it perfect was NOT one of the rules of this quilt.   I'm of the mind that imperfections add a bit of character to the quilt anyways!

I did manage to stick to my original planned-out palette...

I also decided that I wasn't going to pre-plan the color layout.  I was going to use some of my art quilting rules:
1.  Make Visual decisions visually
2.  Make one design decision at a time

So that means the color placement will grow as the quilt grows and we'll all be surprised at the end!  Here are a couple of trials for the stars.



When I was first looking at this in the studio, I thought #2 for sure!  But seeing the images, the change in the value of #1 looks really good.  With a project this little, I probably will make two sets and see which one looks better done! 

With the cabin done, I've started making the bias stems for the adjacent blocks.  The quilt designer, Sarah Fielke teaches a technique of cutting her pieces 3/4" wide, scoring them with a Hera marker, then pressing them using the Hera marker to guide the fold.  (Finally a use for the Hera  Marker I bought 4 years ago.  Go Me!)  She made it look so easy.  I am here to say it's an acquired skill. I did manage to make the stems and am in the process of hand appliqueing them down.  I'm using a 100 wt grey thread which is sooo invisible to the eye and stitches up nicely.  I had forgotten how much I love to hand applique and the thread makes it that much nicer.

So since I had to stop to write this post.... this is where I am at...

I promise to finish up the little bit of it before the 31st!!

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