Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Rainbow Scrap Challenge

Oh yeah, I finished another batch of Dakota Farmer blocks for the Rainbow Scrap Challenge. At least there was no color for December; but still, at this rate, it'll take me next year too to get this little quilt done.

Piecing With Poppers

We're having a wintry mix of weather this week. I'm fine with the snow, but I hate ice and cold rain, which is probably mostly what we're getting this week.

Last summer at MaineQuilts, the state quilt show, I won this pack of five fabrics as a class door prize. Not my choice of fabrics, but I thought that at least they went together nicely. Coincidentally I wandered into a vendor's booth that same day called Piecing With Poppers. Poppers are narrow strips used to accent the fabrics and blocks in a quilt. The vendor displayed some representative quilts, kits, patterns, and of course, the Poppers. I bought a package of bright orange Poppers, thinking that I could combine them with the door prize fabrics to make a small quilt to donate. Plus I was interested to see what the technique was all about.

I made some rail fence blocks with the fabrics and arranged them randomly on the design wall. The Poppers were then sewn between the blocks and between the rows. Initially, I was having difficulty aligning the vertical Poppers, so my pal Barbara suggested offsetting alternate rows. Not only did that alleviate the alignment issue, but I thought the quilt was so much more interesting to look at. So this is the arrangement I'm going with, and I like it!

The Poppers are cut 3/4" wide, and the pattern suggests a different way to sew them together. Because the strips finish to 1/4", one side of the presser foot sort of wants to skew all over the place after you've sewn the first side of the strip. For the second side I tried it my own way first, the usual way we all sew, but I had to admit that the Popper way gave me a much better result. When sewing the second side of the Popper strip, the trick is to use the first seam as your reference guide instead of the right edge of the fabric. I had to move my needle position in order to accomplish that. Buy a pattern and give it a try, no affiliation.

The Poppers are available in various yardages. 3 yards of Poppers is 90 cents, I think. I bought a package of 45 yards for $13.50 because I had no idea what I actually needed; and I'll probably use about two thirds of the package for my quilt, which will measure something like 44" x 56". I wanted to know what kind of value that was, so I figured out that if I cut the Poppers myself, I'd get 48 strips from one yard of fabric at $10 or $11 a yard, which would be 53 yards of Popper strips. For me, I'd rather pay the extra for the convenience of not having to cut all those little strips.

I think this is an interesting technique, sort of reminds me of some stained glass applications I've seen in the past. I'm already lining up another project that I saw in their booth. It's black and white subway tiles with bright yellow Poppers, but any bright color goes with black and white. Maybe I'll put different colors of Popper strips in it.

I worked on pillowcases for Christmas this past week, made 5 sets plus one single. Some are for gifts, some for donation. This set with the snowmen is for me!
I also finished the second Curvy quilt, renamed Curvaceous because I like that word, from my workshop last year. I got it quilted and machine stitched the binding on last month. Should have had it finished last month too but just didn't get to it. Design by Mark Lipinski.

I am definitely in the mood to work off some UFOs, and I finished this top last month and got it loaded on the frame Saturday afternoon for quilting. This quilt was an exercise in learning how to make bunches of triangles using several different methods. It was a Quilt University class from 10 years ago taught by Myra Giesbrecht, but I don't know if they still teach it. After Carol Miller passed away, QU was taken over by Ruth Blanchet who renamed it Quilt Academy. You can find it if you google it. Anyway, in the quilt there are plain half square triangle units, quarter square triangles, striped half square triangles, three quarter half square triangles, and half square rectangles. I subsequently wrote a post about one of the methods to make half square triangle units, and I continue to get more comments on that post than anything else on my blog. Hope to get this quilted and bound before the end of the month.