Wednesday, July 16, 2014

WIP: Boats, Bitties, and Blue Waves

In my July 9, 2014 WIP post I had just begun the fabric selection for my Nautical Baby Quilt. I'd picked out all fabric except the fabric for the waves, deferring that selection until I had some boats assembled. I cut out the pieces for the boats and background and tried out a new assembly system using Alphabitties I'd bought at the Fat Quarter Shop. Here are all my boat and background fabrics cut into pieces, dutifully labeled and stacked in my project case. I find scrapbooking cases work great for projects in progress. At first I was a tiny bit befuddled by multiple letters for the same fabric. In constructing the quilt top, though, it worked great with the Sew Emma pattern.

The letter represents not just the fabric, but the size of the piece as well, so, once you've cut it and labeled it, there is less opportunity for mixing up similar sized pieces of the same fabric. Instead of phrases like "use your 3x3 inch square of fabric A", the instruction would guide you through making T/D, R/D, and P/D units. At first skeptical about the Alphabitties – after all I can make my own letters out of scraps of paper – I found these sturdy reusable plastic tabs had a nice feel to them and they were enjoyable to work with. Their color stands out well against both light and dark fabrics. This is not a sales pitch folks, just my opinion. I own no stock in Alphabitties.

I made the hulls of the boats first using the squares on the corner and flip technique. I lined them up on my cutting board and cut off all those corners in one fell swoop. 

Never quite able to bring myself to throw out fabrics, I chain-pieced the triangles I cut off into HSTs. I left them connected to each other so as not to confuse them with my other pattern pieces for the quilt top. I will open them up, press, and store them for future projects. I'll leave the trimming until I know what size I'd want,

Next I made up all the HSTs for the sails. Again I sliced them all at once since that bias seam allowance is not critical once they are stitched. Then I trimmed each with my precision trimmer to square them up and remove the dog ears.

The Precision Trimmer 6™ is another great tool I'd recommend, by the way. (Not so much, though, the Precision Trimmer 3. It does not have as many markings and is not as versatile.)

I planned which mast colors went with each hull and sail combination for the nine boats. I laid them out and snapped a cell phone picture to remember. Those masts are 1" x1.5" bits of fabric. Because of examples like this my husband knows never to empty the trash in my sewing room. Unless it is sitting outside my door he leaves every itty-bitty, teeny-weeny scrap of fabric right where it is! He is a very knowledgable quilting husband, from quilt-show-purchased treasures to sewing-room-generated trash. He even recognizes when quilts are set on-point!

The boats did work up rather quickly. I needed to be careful though since some faced right and some faced left. I actually think I spent more time agonizing over my choice of wave fabrics than assembling those boats. But this week I reached the point of having to commit to wave fabric and so picked these two mini-chevron prints. They are subtle and not very graphic so they will not distract from the boats. And they were the correct blue, finally! I did have to do a bit of head scratching, though, since the prints were directional even though they read as a solid. I wanted to be sure the ripples remained horizontal. The waves had a right and left handedness to them as well, so that complicated things a bit too. I made myself some mockups out of paper to be sure I had it right before I sewed the fabric.

I finished two rows of waves. I have one more row of waves to complete. Somehow making fourteen HSTs at a time is a bit less daunting than trimming forty-two HSTs! Add the two wave rows to the nine boats and three suns I have already finished, and this quilt is well under way. Next task up will be assembling the rows and adding the borders.

In terms of my weekly statistics, I have not completed any projects this week but at least I have not started any new ones either. I am cruising along full speed ahead on this nautical quilt and it has my full attention for the moment. Now I will link up to this week's Freshly Pieced Works in Progress Wednesday.

No comments:

Post a Comment