Sew Into Solids Progress

I tend to do this in giant gulps, followed by absolute starvation. Quilting, that is. Tiny things cause me to set it aside for weeks, then I pick it up and sew for six hours straight, two days in a row.

Ironwork* basting

The Ironwork* solid quilt top is finished, and I’m nearly done with the pieced back (I had to use up the scraps).

Ironwork* back - still quilting

I don’t usually pin my quilts because they usually go on the frame. I’m straight line quilting this one on my DSM, so pin I did. This Kwik Klip tool makes closing (and opening) the pins SO much easier.

Kwik Klip basting pin tool

Remember back in February when I mentioned the Sew Into Solids Quilt Along by Jane at Sew Create It and Katherine at Sew Me Something Good?

Sew into Solids

Although I haven’t been very good at progress photos, others have been. Check out the lovely projects in the Sew Into Solids Flickr pool. If you’re making an Ironwork* quilt out of solids, why don’t you drop your photos in there, too!

Meanwhile, I’ll keep quilting…

Ironwork* - still quilting


Ironwork* Quilt Along: Part 4

So it’s been a month since I started writing this post. But we’re almost finished! Unfortunately, my pictures for the top assembly have disappeared, so we’re trying this with text only. I’m so sorry!

It’s time to put your pieces together to form the quilt top. There are five different components in this quilt:

  • large blocks
  • large plain squares
  • small blocks
  • small plain squares
  • plain rectangles

The large blocks and large plain squares are complete as they are, but the small blocks, small plain squares, and plain rectangles need to be combined with sashing to create units that are the same size as the large blocks. You can easily chain piece these units onto the sashing, just as you did during block construction.

Sashing is cut the same width as the strips you used to construct your LARGER block. If you are making the small quilt, that means you cut the sashing strips at 1″. If you are making the large quilt, you cut the sashing strips at 1 1/2″. Normally when I piece a block, I join the pieces to form rows, then join the rows to form blocks. Because some of these units contain vertical rectangles, we’ll do the opposite – join the blocks with sashing to form columns, then join the columns to form blocks.

This is your quilt. Feel free to switch units around in a different layout if you like. If you are following the exact layout, refer to your coloring sheet for specific placement.

Go through the coloring sheet and chain piece the top piece in a small block or square vertical pair onto the sashing. Press to the sashing as you did with the blocks, then trim the sashing to the exact measurements of the blocks/squares.

Match each of those blocks with its partner, sew and press to the sashing.

In the next step it’s important that the sashing go on the correct side of these units. It is easier to sew the plain sashing strips with the seam allowances of the blocks on top and the strip on the bottom, to help you keep the seam allowances from folding over. Go through your coloring sheet again and chain piece the left half of the units you just created onto sashing strips. Leave just a little bit of space between the units, and don’t forget to check that you have enough room on the strip to get the entire unit on it!

Press to the sashing then trim the sashing to the size of the unit. Finally, sew the other half to the strips.

If you’re making the larger quilt, this is a bit easier because the strips are wide enough not to interfere with the foot. Place the first unit in each pair with the sashing at the right, then place the second unit in that pair to the right of the sashing. Turn the right unit over onto the sashing, line up the center cross strips, if there are two, pinning as necessary, and sew.

If you’re making the small quilt, there’s a little bit of a flip and twist in this last step. Place the first unit in each pair with the sashing at the right, then place the second unit in that pair to the right of the sashing. Turn the right unit over onto the sashing, then flip it over so you can put it through your machine with the sashing on the bottom.  This is important because the narrow sashing strips cause the seam allowance to run very close to the presser foot, and may be pushed out of alignment if you don’t lift it away as you did during block assembly.

Once your blocks are all sewn together and the sashing is trimmed, lay them out on your design wall, floor, bed, etc. Check your placement against your coloring sheet. You’re almost finished! All that’s left is joining the blocks together with sashing strips.

Chain piece the blocks onto the sashing strips, leaving a small space between them as always. I sewed the sashing strips to the right side of the first three blocks in each row, but that meant flipping the blocks upside down to make sure the placement was correct. It may be easier for you to sew sashing strips to the LEFT side of the LAST three blocks of each row so you don’t have to turn them upside down. Trim the sashing so it’s even with the edge of the blocks.

Join the blocks together to form rows. If you’re making the larger version, you can put the sashing on the bottom so you can see the seam intersections as you sew over them. If you’re making the smaller version, put it through your machine with the sashing on the bottom so you can lift the seam allowance away as you did during block assembly (see photo above).

Sew long sashing strips to the top side of each row, plus the bottom side of the last row. For the larger quilt you will have to join sashing strips to make them long enough.

Trim the sashing, then join the rows. Same as before, with the smaller quilt you need to put the sashing on the top when you join the rows and lift the seam allowance out of the way.

Finally, sew a long sashing strip on the left and right sides of the top, forming a narrow border.

That’s it! Your top is finished! 


(And now that song is going to be a total earworm today…)

I’ve dropped out of this blog for a couple of weeks, and for that I apologize. I hope later this weekend to get back on track and finish up the Ironwork* Quilt Along. The instructions are written for the last bit, but I don’t have photos and it’s so much better with photos. Unfortunately, when I sat down to sew it (two weeks ago!) my machine was being difficult and wouldn’t form a stitch. I fought with it for nearly an hour, cleaning, oiling, turning this and shining a light there, picking lint and looking for thread bits. I re-threaded it a couple of times, but nothing I did worked. So I said a few naughty words and walked away. The next morning my mom tried it and it worked perfectly, but by then I was in a snit and I wasn’t in the mood to sew. I hate when that happens!

The biggest reason I haven’t posted – or sewn – anything lately is – drumroll – I have a new job! It was finalized two weeks ago and I’ve spent the past two weeks getting everything in order, writing instructions for many of the things I do at the old job (you probably can tell I’m the instruction queen and they are very long, involved, detailed instructions!), and teaching others how to do things they’re taking over from me. I’m not leaving this job entirely. I’ll be employed at the new job, but they have a relationship with the old job, so they’ll be renting me to the old job for about 14 hours a week. Fortunately the two places are just a few blocks apart, but it’s going to be interesting, to say the least. I’m really excited about this new job – the people are great, the job is right up my alley, and the benefits are wonderful (and very, very welcome).

Unfortunately, this craziness at work has led to a complete lack of sewing at home. I’ve actually had more time at night to sew, but I’ve been so in my head that I just didn’t want to sit down and do it. No inspiration. In the past two weeks, I’ve done just two quilting-related things: sort fabric and make thread mosaics.

The fabric sorting is for tomorrow’s Quilting Day. Several of us went through our fabric stashes and culled fabrics that we no longer care for. We’re setting up a self contained “rummage sale” with all of the fabrics and after lunch tomorrow everyone can go through and swap or buy from each other. This is not a small amount of fabric. I have two heaping laundry baskets full, plus a third, smaller basket. My mom has four large boxes. My uncle brought some of my aunt’s fabrics over – the equivalent of five large boxes. We’ve set a standard price of $4/yard for quilt shop fabrics and $2/yard for chain store fabrics. Anything that’s left goes in a fabric sale next Saturday, and a full rummage sale the following Saturday.

As for the thread mosaics, do you follow Lily’s Quilts? She’s organized a giveaway of Aurifil threads (which are fantastic – if you haven’t tried them yet, you should!). Entries are in the form of a mosaic containing 12 Aurifil threads. There are three winners – two for the thread collections themselves, and one for the best, most inspiring image. There are some really creative images as well as beautiful thread combinations. Winners will receive a suitcase of the twelve threads they chose in whichever weight they prefer. It’s open until April 18, so if you’re interested, do it now! This contest is Flickr based, and Lynne provided a tutorial here for how to create a mosaic if you’re not familiar with the process. Here are my entries so far – click on the photo to see it larger in Flickr:

Early Spring in Wisconsin

Early Spring in Wisconsin

Pinned It

Pinned It

Tranquility Bay

Tranquility Bay

So 30 Seconds Ago

So 30 Seconds Ago

Aurifil - Girly Girl

Girly Girl

Aurifil - Metrosexual


Aurifil - Hexagony


And my favorite colors:

There's Got to Be a Little Rain Sometime

There's Got to Be a Little Rain Sometime

While you’re over at Lily’s Quilts, check out the fabulous posts on another project she organized for Siblings Together. Here’s the starter post, but it’s grown well beyond that. This is a UK based organization that works with children separated from their siblings in foster care. Lynne and a vast group of quilters are creating beautiful quilts for the kids in the program, as a kind of tangible reminder of their sibling for when they are apart. A big ol’ fabric hug, if you will. People from all over are getting involved, from donating fabric and UFOs to donating their time, quilting, and completed quilts.