Friday, December 17, 2010

The piecing is finished on the new Irish Chain. Can you see how the lines run throughout? And see the idea of relationships intersecting?
It was an interesting construction process because I was trying to work ahead of myself. So I would not have as many bumps along the way -- made me realize why so many quilters like a pattern. DIRECTIONS!
I did try some new things with pressing that I hope will make quilting it easier. I pressed all the seams of the light pairs open which I hope the hopping foot will glide over and the rest to the darks. I plan to stitch in the ditch around the darks and not quilt inside them and hopefully the pressing will allow that to proceed smoothly.
Now I am thinking about the quilting. I want to quilt each colour with a repeating motif, but some areas I want to treat as one large area, those where several lights squares are adjacent. That would be in order to show off quilting. Is that the point though?
We shall see... I may put something else on the frame and let this marinate for a while.
Then again...
Oh -- if it looks like the exterior row of blocks is larger they are. I find the edges of the quilt, on the frame, to be insufficient. This is the first time I have built in extra room to make getting the top on the frame simpler. Another idea yet to prove itself worth while!

If you are interested in more information about the history of the traditional Irish Chain

Sunday, December 12, 2010

There has been progress, though yesterday I could not tell. See all the bits on the left -- that is all the stuff I sewed that I can not use. Wrong colour, wrong lay out...
The center started out simple. Everything to a certain point is symmetrical. Then it is not. I continued to construct as if it were still symmetrical. I needed mirror images and redid things to create that. That seemed like all I did yesterday.
Today has seen progress. I have only the parts on the top and bottom to put together and then rows can be assembled.

One thing new with this project are the start and stops... I used to use a scrap of fabric folded in half to sew over and the end and beginning of each seam. This is common in chain piecing and keeps everything tidy.
I recently started using small squares, placed together at the beginnings and ends. So far in the process of piecing this top I have pieced this pile! A good start to another project and with little effort!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Portions of the Irish chain are complete.

The construction seems slow.
In the past I just plowed ahead sewing two squares together then pairing those and so on. The result was seams that did not fit together -- a mess!
So this time I have attempted to be more methodical. I create one quarter, pressed in to make sense, repeat that for each quadrant, then place it on the design wall seams on top. This way I can see them for pressing the adjacent blocks.
This was all fine until last night I realized I had sewn a 12 patch backwards. The whole thing, every seam on the wrong side.
All complete and corrected. Lets try and NOT have that happen again!

Here is a backwards block and the right way up block. Love doing things over!

One thing I though was smart. The little pieces of blue painters tape are to let me easily see the yellowish green squares distinct from the green squares. They are very close in colour, intentionally. And I really want to keep each in it's own place. This was my simple solution to manage the colours at a glance.

You can see here the green square to the right of the diagonal row. Looks the same in the photo -- looks similar in person!

Sunday, December 5, 2010

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Had some bad news today -- a friends son passed away. I was thinking about the tragedy of a mother loosing her son and all the relationships in ones life that are effected. All of the sudden I saw new Irish Chain.
I stared with four colours. The cross through the middle is black. This represents the son.
Next is a red square that morphs with extensions. This is the son's wife, red for the passion of that relationship.
Then comes the blue, representing the father, and the intellectual connection I witnessed between the two. It begins as a square coming in from the edges, then I move it to surround the red and again extending to the edges.
Finally there is a dark green, a nurturing colour representing the mother. This row we only can see connecting at the bottom -- most of it is out of the picture plane where it remains unseen, because that is what Mom's do, they bear a lot where no one can see.
I am not sure how to support my friend, but I hope that spending time thinking of her in her time of grief somehow sends comforting energy her way.