Wednesday, August 28, 2019

Whorl--Eighth Finish 3rd Quarter FAL 2019

Close up of fabrics and free motion quilting/appliqué
Inspiration for this quilt came from a book! In 2016, our Thread Tales book club read, "The Sister Brothers" by Patrick Dewitt. There was a passage in the book where the brothers are using a product to collect gold from the river at night. The author left me with the impression that I could see the gold particles collecting against a dark background. Later in the story, one of the brothers offered a flower to a woman that he wanted to have a relationship. What I enjoyed about the book was that the story began and ended in Oregon City which is not far from where I live.

I had taken a class in 2015 from Larkin VanHorn where she taught a fusible applique technique. I loved her approach to using anything and everything in her work! For the class, I purchased a piece of a glittery knit formal wear fabric which I backed with a fusible interfacing. I had been in a long creative slump and thought perhaps using the color yellow would brighten my prospects. I pulled yellow batik fabrics from my stash to take to class. I created a background with some leftover wonky log cabin blocks I had made for another project. The log cabin blocks used brown, green, grey and black fabrics. I went to class ready to create.
Close up view of beads in the "gold" lines

Larkin's approach was to add a two sided fusible stabilizer to the fabrics. She would cut various shapes/chunks of these fabrics and adhere each to the batting. She was disappointed that I wasn't trying her background method when she saw my "prepared" background. I do try to follow the teacher's instructions. To that end, I made a second project in her class using her background method which you can read about here. Larkin also free hand cuts shapes to fuse to the background and she embellishes her work with beading. I would have loved to have taken a class from her on beading techniques!

Beaded lines
I cut a bunch of "petalish" shapes and started arranging them on the background. I tried to create a drift of color. . .like a sunrise or a sunset on water. What was interesting was that the shape evolved into a flower. I decided it was serendipity and continued to build on that shape. I have to admit, fusing the shapes was FUN! I loved the effect the formal knit fabric added to the project. Remember that I had used a fusible interfacing on that formal knit fabric? Well, it was fusible on only one side so it wasn't fused to the background. I was unsure how I would attach those fabrics to the background. Larkin often used tulle on top of her work to corral the bits. She would quilt on top of the bits and embellish with beads. The piece did seem to want tulle.

View of finished back
At the end of the class, although I liked my flower, I didn't know where it would go. I hung it up--along with the batting and backing that I had prepared in the closet. . .where it hung for more than four years! In July, I pulled it out of the closet and using silk thread, I stitched in the ditch in the log cabin background. I carefully stitched on every petal of the flower. As I stitched, I thought about embellishing the piece with beads. I had purchased a few types of beads for the class and I had a few beads from my husband's grandmother and my grandmother.

I thought about a segment on the TV show, Gold Rush, where the cleaning of the mats are shown. The gold bits end up in a sort of line and show so well against the green background.  I beaded that line using the tip of a petal as a point where the small stuff ends and the bigger chunks collect. I used some beads, a few bugle beads and a variety of seed beads to achieve the texture in those lines.

Close-up view of the label
After I had beaded about half of the gold lines, I took a walk. When I returned, I "saw" that the lines gave the piece a sense of  energy and movement. If I beaded all the way around the flower, I would lose that sense so I stopped!

At that moment, I started thinking that perhaps, I needed to add borders to the outer edge of the piece because maybe the design was too large for the background. I put the project on the design wall and stared at it for a day. The more I looked at it, the more I liked it as it was.

In the beginning, I planned to add a facing as the finish. Then I had a thought about a binding embellished with "dust" and perhaps some larger chunks falling off the edge of the piece. After seeing the spinning effect, I decided a plain black "traditional" binding would compliment the design the best.

When I pulled my black scraps to cut the binding, I found a brown/black print with gold lines. I decided the plain black binding would be too flat and when hung in a show, the piece would be lost against the dark drapes most shows use. I went with the printed binding.

I purposely ended the beading about half an inch from the edge of the work so that I would have a little wiggle room when I squared the piece. I also would have room to stitch the edge finish without running into the bead. I also though that I could extend the beads to the edge of the binding if I thought that would add to the interest of the piece. In the end, I liked how the "Whorl" floated.
View of finished front

When I asked Larkin if she had creative slumps and if she did, what did she do to keep making progress, she said to always play. She said to try a different technique or work in a different medium for a bit. She said to be gentle with your creative spirit and to always have fun. As I look back on the class and this finish, I realize that I have been following her sage advice!

"Stuck" times happen less often and are also don't last as long. I am having fun creating. It is such a wonderful feeling to finish another project that has been hanging in the studio. I used about a yard and a quarter for this project. I have now used 65 yards of fabric from stash this year. This was goal number eight on my 3rd quarter FAL list. It is my eighth finish for the quarter!

Sunday, August 25, 2019

Supporting the Boutique

Two collapsable shopping bags
Our Mt. Hood Quilt guild will be holding "A Symphony of Color" quilt show at the Springwater Church of the Nazarene in Gresham, Oregon September 13 and 14. I love the name of the show as quilt shows are a wonderful blend of colors, textures and patterns! If you are in the area, please come visit the show!

This is the guild's second biennial quilt show. Members are supporting a boutique. Martha and I've done our part to stitch some items to sell during the show. I stitched two shopping bags that are about 11 inches wide by 17 inches tall that can be rolled up and slipped into your purse. In this day of bring your own bag, I hope that these will sell.
Pincushions, baby slippers, fabric baskets
and cell phone bag 

I stitched a small (four inches wide by six inches tall) cell phone pocket that I decorated with couched threads. It is for the times you don't have a pocket but want to carry your cell phone with you.

Cord holder, roll up make up bag,
waste bag and thread catcher
In Martha's stash, she had made a number of pincushions using a log cabin design. She even made one with machine embroidery. . .I liked the patriotic theme! She also had a box of parts for baby slippers. I made six pairs. . .if these don't sell. . .I think a single one would make a cute pin cushion. . .Perhaps, I have pincushions on my mind!!!! I also made three small reversible fabric baskets. These could be a thread catcher or a gift basket to hold a spool of thread or candy or some other small item.
Small gift bags, luggage tags
and wine bottle gift bag

I also made a thread catcher using an embroidery hoop as a way to keep the top open for easy access. I made a roll up make up bag/pencil holder bag and some cord holders.
Chenille potholders and ruler tote

The cord holders are cool because they stay on your cord when you thread the cord through the covered rubber band. You can write you name on the inside of the holder. Now, if you leave your machine cord at a class or retreat, it can come back to you. Also, it helps remind you to pack up your cord! Next to the thread catcher is a waste/trash bag that could go in your car. Martha made this one!

Medium size patchwork handbag
I made an assortment of luggage tags which would be great to mark sewing machine cases as well as luggage. I made three small gift bags. They are cute when they are full. A ring is what makes the closure. The top of the bag when closed reminds me of a jester's hat. Martha had made a padded gift bag for a bottle of wine.

I stitched a ruler tote bag using selvages to create the outside of the bag. The pockets in this tote will easily hold a 6x24 inch ruler! From a project bag of Martha's were the makings for chenille potholders. I finished the project and added them six to the sale items.

On the guild free table was a kit to make the patchwork handbag. I boxed the corners, added pockets to the lining and added a zipper to close the top of the bag along with a decorative binding for the top edge. These fabrics were made in Japan and they feel like linen. I hope someone will buy this bag! Between Martha and me, we will be donating almost 50 items to the sale!

Wednesday, August 21, 2019

A Vest for Miss K--Seventh Finish 3rd Quarter FAL 2019

The fabric and pattern for the project
The toile print minkee fabric that was in Martha's stash was so soft and the print was so Miss K that I slipped it into my bag the last day I was in Martha's house. Also, in Martha's stash was a butterfly print polyester fabric that I picked up because Miss J likes butterflies.

I decided to use some of it as lining for this project. There was about 3/4 of a yard of the minkee. Although it was 58 inches wide, there wasn't enough fabric to cut out the sleeves for a jacket so I cut out a vest for Miss K instead!
Pieces cut and ready to stitch

I did need to draw a larger size pattern so that took a little time. I added a little to the length of the sleeves, front and back pieces. Who knows, I might make a jacket another time so making the sleeve pattern would save me time in the future!

Cutting out the lining was a challenge as that fabric was so slippery! When I finished cutting out the pieces, I had so few remaining scraps. The scraps that ran crosswise will be used to finish the armhole. The other small chunks might be used for a baby quilt back. We will see!

I had several white separating zippers on hand. Unfortunately, I didn't have the size that I needed on hand. So I stitched all the parts to the project that I could and the next time I was headed to town, I picked up the correct length zipper.
View of finished front

I started stitching the hood. Between the slippery lining and the non stretchiness of the minkee, getting the casing stitched was a challenge; but, I did it! I inserted the zipper, added the pockets, stitched the shoulder and neck seams. I made the lining and then sewed the lining to the vest. I cut a couple pieces of binding out of the minkee to finish the edge of the armhole. I was going for the puffy look on the vest; but in retrospect, I could have made the binding a bit longer so it would have been flat.

View of finished back
The inner edge of the lining which was next to the zipper, I stitched by hand. I also stitched the binding by hand. In Martha's stash there were three "Made with love by Grandma" labels. I inserted one into the back of the lining. I top stitched around the zipper and around the bottom of the vest. Finally, I inserted some cording into the hood. To ensure that the cording didn't pull through, I stitched through the layers at the top
center of the hood. I had a finished project!

It is luxuriously soft. It will be a challenge to not give this vest away to Miss K until next Christmas! I used one and half yards of fabric for this project. I have now stitched  63 and 3/4 yards of fabric from my stash. I'm wondering if I could stitch 100 yards of fabric from my stash. . .hm m m m. . . .I don't know. I probably could if I worked on some larger projects. I'll ponder that possibility!

This was goal number 16 on my 3rd Quarter FAL list. It is my seventh finish for the quarter.

Sunday, August 18, 2019

Miss K's Mermaid Post 3

Mermaid with border
We had a sleepover so that Miss K could make progress on her quilt project. She cut one more yellow flower for her mermaid. It was the perfect pick for the remaining space!

Next she stitched the border to her piece. This fabric was in Martha's scrap bag. We chatted about how to join the border to allow the pattern to continue. She decided she wanted the green on the outer edge. I liked her choice.

At the condo where we stayed in Maui, Hawaii, we saw orchids flowering in trees and in border plantings. We also were given flower leis when we went to a luau so I understood why using that border fabric was so important to her!

There wasn't enough of the fabric for the entire border. I showed her how to piece the upper right corner so that there was enough for the sides. We had a discussion about options for the bottom border. She decided that she wanted a cream colored patch so she had space to write her piece's name which is "Mermaid Vacation." I thought that was great problem solving!
Writing the first draft of her story

For the backing, in my stash was a triangle from a fat quarter that featured ice cream cones on a pink background. She wanted to use that fabric because we had a shave ice one day on our vacation. She was disappointed that there wasn't enough fabric for the entire back.

I encouraged her to write a short story about her vacation on a separate piece of fabric that we would add to the ice cream cone fabric. I showed her some pieced backs of my projects. She liked that idea and she wrote a draft of her story.

The pieced back with story
Next, she ironed a piece of freezer paper to a chunk of muslin from Martha's stash. Miss K wasn't sure about "paper" being part of her project. She thought that it was cool the shiny side of the freezer paper stuck to her fabric!

I drew some lines on the freezer paper and held the fabric to the light. Miss K saw how she was going to be able to write her story! When I laid the fabric on the table, Miss K immediately asked how could she see the lines. I introduced her to the light box. She thought the light box was an amazing tool.

She finished writing her story to the fabric and she wanted to know how the writing would stay. She asks the BEST questions! I asked her to remove the freezer paper. She wanted to know how and I said to pull it carefully from the back of the fabric. The look on her face was priceless. She expected a residue to be left and she expected the paper to tear! She decided freezer paper was a cool product to use for quilting!

Regarding her question, I told her that we would heat set the words with the iron which would make the ink permanent. . .as long as it wasn't washed a bunch of times. To which she replied it shouldn't need washing if it hung on a wall!

Her written story was: "We went on a snorkeling vacation in Hawaii. I had a mission to find a mermaid. We had breakfast on the ship and mango juice drink. Our family got in our snorkeling suits. We went in. I did not find a mermaid. My sister found a turtle and won a prize. My tummy hurt. I threw up. I had a hot dog for lunch on the ship. I had fun. The End."

I thought that she might want to play and take a break; but, she was ready for the next step. So I showed her some of my projects with different types of batting. She chose a wool batting because she wanted "fluffy!" We layered the back, the batting and the top. We pin basted the layers together. She didn't have much success with putting in the pins; but, she sure nailed how to close them with the quick clip tool!
Close up of tail quilting

We pulled different threads and looked at each spooled across the fabric. We talked about how some threads were shiny and some were thin. We looked at how those threads looked in a finished project. I sure thought Miss K would use different colors and weights of threads for added texture. She decided to use a monofilament thread so we wouldn't need to spend time rethreading the machine!

We free motion quilted around a flower in her mermaid's tail. Miss K looked to see if we were on the right track. She liked what she saw so we continued. In a few places, we have some long stitches and we have some places where we missed the edge of the fabric. I was okay with leaving it as she is learning.  She free motioned quilted all of the appliqué to the background on her piece. Miss K has no idea that some quilters find free motion quilting difficult! She wrote the name of her quilt and signed her work in that triangle square on the front.

Miss K spent about eight hours over two days moving her project from the designing stage to the quilting stage. She loves stitching.  She is thinking about how she wants to quilt the border and background. I look forward to our next session and watching this project develop!

Wednesday, August 14, 2019

Bag--Sixth Finish 3rd Quarter FAL

Fabrics and pattern for the project
Almost all of the fabric for this bag came from the guild free table more than a year ago. The price on the package with the five inch squares was $24.  The price on the 1/2 yard of fabric that I used for the lining was $7. All the fabrics were linen Japanese fabrics which were perfect choices for the bag.

Lining with pockets
The reverse of the card contained the directions for making the bag. The size of the card was three inches by five inches; so the directions were brief! The square package contained a another paper which listed what was needed to complete the kit. The items were:  a half yard of fabric for the lining and thread. The half yard of interfacing was optional. I wanted to use interfacing because when there is piecing in a bag, I think the bag wears better if it is interfaced.

I laid out the five inch squares in a pleasing three squares wide by six squares long pattern. I paid attention at the half way point to place the blocks upside down so they would appear right side up in the bag. Following the directions, I stitched the sides of the outer bag together.
Lining, outer bag, handle, zipper tab top constructed

This was incorrect. I should have added the interfacing; but, nowhere in the directions was interfacing mentioned! Later, I looked online to see if there was a correction to the pattern; but, there wasn't. I ripped what I had stitched and added the interfacing. I did quilt the interfacing to the outer bag. I used a sew in interfacing so stitching it was a good way to ensure the stabilizer stayed where it was intended! Then I restitched the sides of the piecework.

I moved on to constructing the lining. The directions were to stitch the lining as I did the outer bag. I thought the bag would be more useable if there were
pockets so I added some that were segmented to one side of the lining. I did bind the edge of the pocket in a contrasting fabric so it was easy to distinguish the pocket. The middle segment was large enough for my cell phone.

Top of bag
For the other side of the lining, I constructed a large zipper pocket. I used a dress zipper that was designed to be set into a side seam. The zipper came from my grandmother's stash. The price on the package was fifty cents!  There wasn't enough fabric for this pocket so I chose a neutral fabric from my stash. There were no directions for making these pockets; I drew on my experience from making some organizers earlier this year.

The pattern didn't call for boxing the corners; but, I did it because it is easier to find items in the bag
when there are square corners. The bag stands up better too. I liked the fabric that was in the kit for the handle. I pinned the layers together, added the handle and the zipper top. The zipper top wasn't part of the pattern either; but, I like to be able to close the top of my bag.
Finished bag

I added a tab to one end of the zipper and a different style of pull to the top of the zipper. Then I basted those sections together. I machine stitched the binding and finished it with hand stitching.

I liked the end result. I hope someone will purchase it at the boutique and raise a little money for the guild during the quilt show in September. This was goal number 17 on my 3rd Quarter FAL list.  This project represents about a yard and a quarter of fabric that is no longer in my stash! I have now used 62 and one quarter yards of fabric from my stash this year. This was my sixth finish for the third quarter.

Sunday, August 11, 2019

Spinning Blocks Good Fortune Mystery-post 3

The parts for the spinning blocks
I did well keeping up with the clues as Bonnie Hunter released them last fall/winter. When she posted the reveal, I stopped stitching on the project. I suppose the secret was out and the project lost a little of its allure. I had some other projects that I needed to finish. When I was making my goals for the quarter last month, I decided that I wanted to finish this project before the next mystery started next Fall.

In June, I reacquainted myself with the project and had stitched on it a couple of times. I decided one way to make progress each month was to make this project the sit and sew project that I took to my quilt get togethers each month. For the month of July, I decided my goal would be to make the 25 spinning blocks.
Finger pressed block
One spinning block complete

It is good to have a project that is repetitive piecing so one can visit without stitching the wrong parts together! When people saw what I was working on, the comments were that it was a lot of pieces. I didn't think it was so many pieces; but, then I counted. Twenty-eight pieces per block. Yes, they were right. There are a lot of pieces to this block!

I spent three days or about 12 hours piecing these blocks. Because I had used a variety of green scraps for the pinwheel blades, I spent some time creating "kits" to achieve a better mix of the fabrics.

The blue fabrics are also varied. Because they were closer in value, I decided not to be concerned about the placement of the various blues. It wasn't easy matching all those points. In some blocks, I was more successful than I was in others. I decided close enough was good enough!! I finger pressed as I went. I saved pressing until I had finished the blocks.

Stack of completed 25 spinning blocks
I think the finger pressing technique was helpful because there was less opportunity for me to stretch the blocks during the pressing process. I also was impressed that the blocks are within a hair of 12 1/2 inches square!

Now I have a stack of 25 spinning blocks. This month my goal is to finish the secondary block that features the four patches and orange strings that were clue numbers one and four respectively. In clue seven, we stitched some four patches together which will be part of the secondary block.

Tomorrow, I'll start stitching the secondary block!

Wednesday, August 7, 2019

Potholders--Fifth Finish 3rd Quarter FAL

#10.  Potholder project
Another finish. . .wahoo!!! I thought that I would get these chenille potholders finished last quarter; but, I didn't get to the project. I finished the first five last March and posted about it here. To finish these five, I had to hand stitch the binding. Over a number of evenings, I stitched them. Then, I washed and dried them so that they would be "fluffy."

Of the total ten potholders that I completed, four of them will go to people who either knew Martha or who are the type of givers that she was. The other six will be going to the Mt. Hood Quilt guild's boutique sale which will be held during the quilt show at the end of September. She would be tickled that I finished these and that the sale of the potholders would be raising money for the guild.

I photographed all ten potholders. Notice, I neglected to cut one front of a potholder. I was curious to see how leaving it uncut looked as well as how it felt. Cutting is the way to go; but, I wouldn't have know if I hadn't experimented!
Newly finished five in foreground 

This was goal number 10 on my 3rd Quarter FAL list. It is my fifth finish for the quarter. I used 2 1/2 yards of fabric.  I have now used 61 yards of fabric for projects from the stash this year.

My next project will be to stitch a small bag. I've started quilting "New Beginnings".  I started creating a border for "Trio of Sisters." I was stuck with what to use as a backing for "New Beginnings," a machine applique project. I needed some space to play with possibilities for a border for "Trio of Sisters." When I'm stuck, I'll put out a smaller project to stitch. It has been great to have such variety in my to do box this quarter!

Sunday, August 4, 2019

End of July ReCap

Often, I have months where I barely make progress on one project. I have months with no finishes. In July, however, I made a lot of progress. Of the ten monthly goals that I listed for myself, I finished all of them! Shocking. . .totally. . . SHOCKING!!!!  (Also a first for me!) I even finished a project that wasn't on my monthly list; but on my quarterly list!
Drawing thumbprint sketches

When I made my quarterly goal Finish A Long (FAL) list at the beginning of the month, I took a serious look at my projects. Some quarters, I had few finishes. Generally, I rolled the projects I hadn't finished to the following quarter while adding more projects. Many projects would be on the list for years! I decided I needed to either work on those "marinating" projects or move them out of my space.

With 20 projects on the list for this quarter, I also decided I needed to increase my efforts to finish more items. I set a goal for myself to finish four projects this month. I met that goal! I finished a hat, a purse, a bread bag and a skirt. As a result, my gift box is filling. Projects that were gathering dust are now items ready for use. Finished is great!
Minkee--one of Martha's fabrics that I used

I do believe that some projects teach you the lesson you needed before they are finished. I also believe that once I'm at that point, that project gets to leave the studio! It is freeing to create space in this manner! Honestly, most of the time, I do finish my projects. Regarding creating space in the studio, I used three pieces of fabric that I picked up from Martha's supplies that last time I was at her house. (One is the backing fabric for my "New Beginnings" quilt. The other two fabrics are part of a vest that I'm making for my oldest granddaughter.) The beginning of July marked a year since her death.

My goal is to use something of hers each month in a project. Because she was such a "giver," I will gift the majority of these projects. She would be tickled to see her fabrics in finished projects! At the end of the month, JoJo contributed some flannels and some cottons to help me make progress with some of Martha's flannel parts.

On the drawing front, I watched a couple minute video about shading an apple with color pencils. I've  played with the technique throughout the month. If you google "Draw Tip Tuesday," you will find other great videos. Most are under 15 minutes. I've enjoyed watching them and I'm amazed at how doable the techniques are!
Apple drawing exercise

I used different brands of color pencils and even different papers. It was interesting to see how different papers and shadow placement affect the look of the finished apple. The exercise was fun. When I shared my drawings with the oldest granddaughter, she said my apple drawings looked real! She also said good job! In my bullet journal, I drew thumb nail sketches of people. I wanted to practice drawing faces. I tried to reflect people of different ages. The youngest granddaughter asked me to draw a zombie girl and a zombie boy. . .I gave it a try!

I taught level one swimming lessons to six kids ranging in age from 4-7. On the first and last day of class the parents view the lesson. This time, all the kids had some kind of first on the last day. For one participant, it was jumping unaided into the water, for another, it was treading water for a few seconds. Their excitement and smile when they accomplished a "first" was so much fun to celebrate!

At the end of the month, I subbed for an instructor for the last week of swim lessons for school aged kids. It was fun to work with the "older" crowd for a change! I even had the opportunity to work with a group of participants that knew the basic strokes so we refined their skills. I haven't taught lessons to "swimmers" in over a decade. Again, there were some "firsts" on the last day. I'll remember the mom taking a video of her son's turn and watching her face when he put his face in the water and moved a couple body lengths on his own. I don't know whose face had the bigger smile! I hope they will enjoy rewatching that video in the weeks to come. I also hope that they continue with the lessons! That week, I taught lessons to 25 participants.

In addition to the 31 swimmers, I trained 32 participants in Basic Life Support CPR and trained 12 Red Cross babysitters. I trained 75 people during July!

I've spent some time developing and refining my August goals so I can continue making progress!

Friday, August 2, 2019

Trio of Sisters--Constructing A Border post 3

Fused fabrics ready to be made into crazy quilt blocks
This is my third post regarding this project. It is a book club project. You can read the post I wrote about drawing the figures here. You can read the post I wrote about painting the figures here.
Slicing the squares

Originally, I had planned to machine embroider the names of the characters under each figure. I thought I would add a dark fabric to "frame" the outer edge. Then, I picked up a few pieces of velveteen and velvet off of the free table. I thought that there might be enough pieces to make a garment for a doll. Unfortunately, there wasn't.
Four blocks ready for stitching
Four stitched; Second four ready to stitch

Fortunately, the velvet pieces made me think about one of the characters in the book who loved fashion and expensive fabrics. She taught herself to sew. She embellished her garments so the garments were more "high end." I decided that making crazy blocks would be the perfect border!
First try. . . .a fail

When I went to China a number of years ago, I purchased some pieces of silk brocade. When I went to Houston a few years later, I picked up a hand dyed piece of velvet and a piece of hand dyed silk from the Frieda Anderson and Laura Wasalowski booth. I have petted them for years.

The blues were polyester pieces that came from my grandmother's stash. The pink brocade piece was a fabric that was in my great grandmother's stash that I've carried with me since high school.

Ultra suede scrap border too dark. . .a fail
I cut a six inch strip from each fabric and backed each strip with a lightweight fusible interfacing. With plenty of stretch breaks and careful pressing, it took me about five hours to prepare the fabrics! I ended up with 17 fabrics. From there, I placed four fabrics in a group. I cut a six inch square from each fabric. I stacked the fabrics and then I sliced the fabrics four times. I didn't plan the cuts; but, I did think about not having a cut less than 1/2 inch from a corner.

Orange string border too bold. . 
Purple is better; but, not it.
Next, I laid out the blocks, mixing the pieces as I went. For me, working in groups of four was best because there was less opportunity for mistakes! I constructed the blocks much like I would construct a four patch. I pressed the seams to the dark side. When I stitched the last seam, I spun the center and the block flattened nicely!

Silk inner border/darker green cotton outer border
I did use a low heat setting on the iron and I did use a press cloth.  After I finished the first four blocks, I selected four more fabrics and readied four more blocks.  I am glad that I stabilized the fabrics because some were slippery and some raveled like crazy!

Silk border added to trio
When I had sewn 32 blocks; I squared them to five inches. I auditioned some of them around my drawing. Darn, the border was too big and too busy. I tried string piecing ultra suede. That border attempt was too dark. I tried a string pieced orange border. . .too busy. I auditioned purple fabrics. While I liked the idea of a lighter fabric for the inner border, the dark purple was too dark.

I auditioned the greenish gray silk as a skinny inner border and a green cotton fabric for a larger border.  The green cotton fabric reminded me a bit of velvet. I asked myself some "What if" questions. What if I used silk as the outer border? I auditioned all the silks that I had used to stitch the first blocks. The one light floral print seemed to match the time period of the sisters. I liked what I saw so I stitched it. I had to piece one border because I didn't have enough of the silk; but, I hope the piecing isn't too obvious! I like the effect the borders gave the trio.

I've enjoyed working with a set of fabrics I have little experience stitching. Those silk blocks will end up in a future project! I plan to quilt on my New Beginnings project while I ponder how to quilt this piece and I ponder what to use for backing!