Wednesday, 29 January 2014

Work in Progress: Bluenose II Pixel Quilt - Part 1

I finally got all of my fabric for the Bluenose II quilt. Or at least I thought I did. There were a several colours that I only needed a bit of, and so I bought a Kona dark spectrum charm pack for some of these colours. Unfortunately, with all of the comparing, matching, organizing, and coordinating of colours, I mistakenly thought one of the colours that I needed was in this charm pack. And it wasn't. So I was without that particular colour. However, I chose a colour that was in the charm pack that was closest to the colour I needed and used that. I only needed two squares of that colour anyway.
I'm also short on backing fabric. Through the evolution of this quilt plan, the size of the quilt has grown and I'm going to need more backing fabric than I originally estimated. 
Backing fabric
However, I have found some on eBay that I think matches. I will have to explore further and determine if I can get a sufficient quantity or I may have to pursue another option. 
For those of you who haven't been following my blog, I'll start at the beginning of this quilt's story. My youngest sister, Cindy, will be turning 50 in March of this year. She had been hinting that she would like a quilt and so I determined to make one for her 50th birthday. I pondered over what quilt I would make for her. 
Around this time I enrolled in Craftsy's free Pictures to Pixel Quilts Class. I was not impressed with the idea of making a quilt of the course instructor's eye (which is what the sample quilt is), so I was working on a pixelated hydrangea. It was pretty tedious and I lost my enthusiasm. 
One day as I was sitting eating lunch, I was reading an article in the latest copy of Canada's History magazine about the Bluenose II and sudden inspiration struck. I would make my sister a pixel quilt of the Bluenose II. It seemed to me like the perfect idea! Cindy lives in Nova Scotia, the home of the Bluenose II. She loves Canadian history and the Bluenose II is a part of our history. Cindy also loves the ocean, and the Bluenose II is a ship (it's the schooner featured on our dime). 
Here's an actual picture of the Bluenose II:
She's a beauty, isn't she? 
I uploaded this picture to Pic 2 Pat, a website that turns pictures into cross stitch patterns, which can then be used for pixel quilts. Here's the pixelated version of the picture:
I'm not actually certain if this is the final version of the picture that I'm using. It's been through so many evolutions and design decisions. I finally settled on making the actual pixel part of the quilt large enough to cover the bedtop (actually it's going to be a little larger) with a border of two different fabrics: one of tropical fish and the other of seashells on the sand.

I will pick colours out of these two fabrics to make the four corner blocks, which will all be ocean-related. 
Back to the pixel part of the quilt, I bought a DMC floss card and a Kona colour card to compare colours and choose fabrics. One of the things I decided to do to make this process easier was take my Kona card to Michael's and compare it to actual floss. My buddy Phil was with me. He's a sign painter and used to matching colours, so was a great help. I ended up with 67 different colours for the pixel part of the quilt. That's a whopping amount of different fabrics.  It's important to keep very good track of which fabric is which (especially since they're mostly different shades of blue), so I labelled each piece with the DMC floss number from the pattern.
This is just a small amount of the total fabric. 
As I was working on the first blocks, I realized that it would be more efficient if I could keep track of the fabrics that I'm using for the current blocks more efficiently. I resorted to a bin system:
Each bin is labelled with the DMC colour number and the symbol used on the actual pattern. Many of the blocks have only a few colours, so this system works well for them. Here are the first two blocks in the top row:
Here's block number 7 (far right) in the top row:
That one was probably the simplest block in the quilt. Here's the beginning of the centre top block:
As you can see, some of them can be quite complex, and piecing them is a job best done when I'm alert. It would be too easy to mix up the colours. And with 67 different colours, there are lots to mix up. Those two dark squares are the ones I had to use a substitute fabric for.
They don't look like much yet. It remains to be seen how well things shape up as the quilt progresses.
The pattern is divided up into 10x10 squares, so that is how I am doing the blocks. However, as the pixel section is 63x72, the top and right hand rows will be slightly larger.
I started out pressing the seams to one side, but with as many seams as there are in these blocks, I switched and started pressing them open instead. 
Yes, I am "cheating" and cutting larger pieces of fabric where there are larger sections of one colour. I am not doing it all in individual 1" squares. Even so, it's a tedious job and I don't know if I'll be able to finish it on time for my sister's birthday. But I will do my best. 
Tonight I took a break from quilting to make a bib. I hate plastic bibs. What good are they? Everything just rolls right off them and lands in my grandson's lap. And I like a longer bib with sleeves that does a better job of protecting his clothing when he's feeding himself. When Sophia was little, I made her several longer bibs with sleeves out of terrycloth. But guess what? I couldn't find any terrycloth at Fabricland to buy. All they had was white stretch terry velour. Not what I want for a bib. So today I went in WalMart and bought some cheap towels. I've finished one bib. It was a really quick job because I wanted at least one bib to start with. Now that I've done one, I have a better idea of what I need to change for the second time around. Unfortunately, my sewing room is not completely set up in the basement and some of my supplies are still in my grandson's room. And he's sleeping. So I didn't do as good a job with this bib as I could have. But it'll work. And it's just a bib. It's not a fashion statement. And it should help prevent the mountains of laundry to be done.