Posts Tagged ‘Grand Illusion’

Grand Illusion behind the scenes: Creating a big block back

February 7, 2015
Grand Illusion top.

Grand Illusion top.

Now that I’ve finished the top, I need a back. For the back of Easy Street, the 2012 mystery, I used one of the blocks from the front but blew it up to make a one block back. I liked that and did it again for Grand Illusion.

The first thing I do is determine the grid for the block and draw it on graph paper. This block uses a 6 by 6 grid.

wpid-20150126_115616.jpgThe second step is to determine what size the block needs to be. It can’t be the same size as the front of the quilt because the back needs to be bigger. I also have to take into account that my quilter needs extra fabric on the back for mounting onto the long-arm frame. I need to make the back block smaller than the quilt top because the quilter can’t exactly match them up and I don’t want pieces of the block cut off to make it not square. So, I make the block smaller and add a border. My quilter will do her best to center the top on the back but the borders won’t be exactly the same size when the quilt is finished.

How did I decide how big to make the block? The top was approximately 88″ square. 88″ divided by 6 (the number of sections in the block grid) is 14 and change. Making each section of the block 14″ would yield an 84″ block. That leaves only 2″ of border on each side when it is finished which is cutting it too close for my comfort. Making each section 13″ makes a 78″ block which is much more comfortable.

Uh oh, I just realized I forgot to divide the 10″ difference by 2 when making my borders. I should have made my borders about 10″ wide to provide the additional width the long-arm quilter needs. I was thinking each border would be 10″ plus the extra so I made them about 16″ wide. Oh, well, better too big than too small. If I’d done the math properly I’d have made the grid segments 12″ instead of 13″. That would have made the borders 8″ instead of 5″ which would look better.

To make the sections of the block, I used the leftovers from the front. But, most of the fabrics weren’t big enough to cut full pieces from. What’s a quilter to do? Sew the pieces together until the fabric is big enough. I think Bonnie would approve.

A brown square pieced from leftovers.

A brown square pieced from leftovers.

I only had enough yellow from the front to make one square. I found 3 fabrics with yellow backgrounds and prints in pink, turquoise and green for the remaining yellow squares. How perfect is that?

In the interest of best usage of fabric, I made the chevrons with half-square triangles instead of a single background piece like the front blocks. I didn’t want to have a bunch of large triangle scrap pieces left over.

I decided to do green borders instead of the checkerboard. After I pieced 2 slabs I ran out of green leftovers that I was willing to sacrifice for the back. The rest of my greens from the front were big enough to put back into stash. Because they’re the only fabrics I have of that color of green, that’s what I did.

I found another pile of brown scraps so made a square for one corner. Pink scraps went into another corner and the last 2 corners got neutral scraps. For the other 2 borders I used large pieces of turquoise from the front leftovers. Those 2 fabrics were bought on spec as borders for a different project but were rejected. I didn’t mind using them here since there was still quite a bit left.

Grand Illusion back.

Grand Illusion back.

See others’ progress on Grand Illusion at Quiltville.

Grand Illusion: Playing catch-up

February 7, 2015

Clue 4 is where I get behind because I leave home to spend the holidays with my elderly parents (87 and 91) and brother. After staying with my parents for several days, I went to Chicago to spend a couple of days with my brother.

One of my brother's Christmas trees.

One of my brother’s Christmas trees.

He has three mini Schnauzers.

Missy, AKA the small evil one, after her bath.

Missy, AKA the small evil one, after her bath.

Gibson, the sneaky one. Hard to get a decent picture of this one.

Gibson, the sneaky one. Hard to get a decent picture of this one.

Nobody sneaks up with Smokey on the job.

Nobody sneaks up with Smokey on the job.

Some of the neutrals in Grand Illusion.

Some of the neutrals in Grand Illusion. Quiet but with nice textures.

I cut lots of half-square triangles with my Accuquilt Go! cutter. Lots of pink triangles, lots of turquoise triangles, lots of neutral triangles and yellow and brown squares.

Clue 4 ready to sew.

Clue 4 ready to sew.

After cutting all these, I tidied up before leaving for the holidays. I found the baggie with the pink and turquoise half-square triangle squares set aside from a previous clue. Oops. I should read the instructions instead of just looking at the pictures. I didn’t need the pink triangles at all.

But, when I got to assembling the border pieces, I had half as many units as I needed. Apparently, I got the number 40 stuck in my head and made 20 pairs instead of 40 pairs of blocks. Back to the sewing machine.

Grand Illusion block.

Grand Illusion block.

I sewed and sewed and sewed. Every time I finished a step, there was something else to do. Eventually it was a completed top!

Grand Illusion top.

Grand Illusion top.

Grand Illusion: part 1 done, part 2 on hiatus

December 8, 2014

When last we spoke, I was cutting clue 1. By Tuesday afternoon last week, I was almost finished cutting the 180 pairs of half-square triangles for clue 1. I started reading some of the link-ups and noticed that they all talked about 280 pairs of triangles. What? 280? I went back to check the instructions and sure enough, I was going to be 100 pairs short. More cutting. Sigh. I finished cutting the triangles with the Go! value die about 5:45 pm on Wed. At 7:15 pm, the triangle die I ordered arrived. The delivery wasn’t without drama. I went to get the package off the porch. It was a small box which didn’t seem right. I opened it – wasn’t the die. Finally thought to check the label – the package was for someone down the street. Went there and swapped the packages. Came home with my die and wrote a note about why their package was opened and went back down to their house to put the note in the box. If we have more triangles to cut in future clues, I’m all set now with the correct die.

Ready to sew clue 1.

Ready to sew clue 1.

They are laid out like that so I could get the maximum scrappiness with the triangles. I’m weird that way.

wpid-20141208_140831.jpg

Clue 1 units finished.

Clue 1 half-square triangles set aside.

Clue 1 half-square triangles set aside.

My quilt guild had the holiday luncheons this week. I won a door prize which contained a package of Thermal Thimbles. I love these. I’d been thinking I needed something like this and now I have them.

Thermal Thimbles in action.

Thermal Thimbles in action.

For clue 2, I decided to use the 3rd option – rectangles and squares with bonus half-square triangles. I cut and marked the squares. The clue is on hiatus until the rectangle die arrives.

Clue 2 squares, marked and ready to sew.

Clue 2 squares, marked and ready to sew.

While I’m waiting on that I’m picking up where I left off a year ago on Celtic Solstice.

A mess of Celtic Solstice.

A mess of Celtic Solstice.

I ordered the triangle in a square die for the clue 1 pieces that haven’t been cut yet. In the meantime I can sort out which fabrics have been cut and which need to be cut and get things more organized. If I can get everything cut for Celtic Solstice, I can work on it when I’m away for the holiday.

When I was in Houston this summer, my cousin gave me a bulb from an amaryllis plant that was given to our great-grandmother, Rachel Arbaugh Bennett, as a wedding gift in 1889. My cousin inherited our great-granmother’s plant from our grandmother. I was afraid the bulb wouldn’t grow after spending a couple of months in a plastic bag before being replanted. But, it is thriving.

It not only grew, it is in bloom.

It not only grew, it is in bloom.

Take a look at other’s progress on the Grand Illusion Mystery.

And they’re off!

November 27, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving!

For the last several years, I’ve spent Thanksgiving day at the Laurel Park Racetrack with my friends, Caren and Paul.We get a great buffet and a day of horse racing. I forgot to take pictures.

In past years, the admission fee of $2 or $3 got us free coffee or apple cider and a donut and a free pumpkin or apple pie. Last year they changed bakers and the pies weren’t very good. This year – no pie. The Jockey Club said it had gotten too expensive. Oh, well, I shouldn’t be eating pie anyway.

Monday it was 74 degrees and yesterday it snowed. That’s life in Maryland. The snow made the racetrack muddy today which made handicapping more problematic. But, the horses in the races on Thanksgiving aren’t very good anyway so handicapping is usually a crapshoot. A lot of the races are maiden races which means the horses have never won a race. I learned today that one of my quilt guild members is one of the track vets.

I had a great day as far as betting went. I won my bets in the first race and the last race and some in-between. It’s always more fun when I win. I think this might be the best I’ve done on Thanksgiving.

We’re now in Bonnie Hunter season. The first mystery of hers I did was 2012 (Easy Street). I followed her colors very closely so my quilt looks like thousands of others. Last year I intended to use different colors until she revealed hers. She picked the colors I have the most of in my stash so I had to go ahead and use them.  But, I got behind with the first clue and didn’t progress very far. I hope to work on it at the same time as this year’s mystery.

I’m mostly using her colors again this year because I couldn’t think of substitutes for that many colors.

Grand Illusion fabrics.

Grand Illusion fabrics.

I’m using brown instead of black and off-white for the neutrals to keep sufficient contrast with the colors. I have a very large stash so everything came from there except the 2 yellow fabrics. I didn’t have a single piece large enough because I mostly buy half-yards and fat quarters. I found the yellow with pink, blue and green stripey bits on it at a local shop. It should be perfect for the binding.

First clue will be released tomorrow morning.