Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Raconteur and Raconteur 141

Last weekend I caught up with a couple of my friends who are working on their own Raconteur quilts and both had brought along their latest collections. It was interesting to see the difference between the finished size of the collections and so I included it here as I thought others might like to see the difference also.
We were all surprised at how much larger the 141 size was when the collection was completed because there really didn't appear to be much difference between the individual blocks.
Rhonda Lehwess made the 141 collection, while Margaret McCaughey made the original size collection. I will upload some photos next week of the individual blocks as you can better see the blocks but right now it is late and I am going to hit the sack.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Layouts- How Many Blocks? Post 2

What is a layout? 

Ok firstly a quick summary here is terminology that I regularly use when talking about 
Raconteur - The Storyteller's Collection (aka RSC)  This is the original quilt with 363 blocks joined together into 59 collections
block is a single miniature hexagon
collection is a set of seven miniature hexagons joined together and framed to make a larger hexagon.
A half collection is a pair of two elongated miniature hexagons joined together and then two fillers are added. This is then all framed to make a larger half hexagon that is used along the edge.
corner collection is a single elongated miniature hexagons joined together and then two fillers are added. This is then all framed to complete the corner blocks.
layout is a bed size quilt. Layouts are available for lap quilts, single, double, queen and king size quilt.
Raconteur 141 is the enlarged version of RSC. No one has yet finished this quilt so I can't honestly tell you how many blocks or collections there are in this quilt, but I will tell you what my computer tells me.

Now to the follow-up many collections do you need?

First let's revise calculations for the original Raconteur quilt. If you look here you can see my photoshop efforts to show you the wallhanging, lap quilt, single bed quilt and double bed quilt
The individual blocks have a side length of 2 1/4in, while the large collection is 7 1/8in.
By my calculations, and Photoshop/Illustrator's help the number of collections and blocks that you would need are
  • wallhanging - seven collections which is 49 blocks
  • lap quilt - 17 collections which is 99 blocks
  • single bed quilt - 27 collections equalling 157 blocks
  • double bed quilt - 33 collections which is 199 blocks
  • queen size quilt - 45 collections which is 271 blocks. There are two different layouts offered for this size
  • king size quilt - 59 collections which is 363 blocks.
    Personally I would change the king size layout and make it with 61 collections, one row longer but one row narrower. To do this you could make extra blocks of those you enjoy or simply hang around long enough for me to make a few more blocks and then I will send these out to you.
    Carol has made three of her own original blocks and I have made another collection so she is only four blocks short on the better number for king size.
By the way all of the layouts include instructions for putting your quilt together along with the quilting designs which I used on the original quilt. There are line drawings showing you different layout options and allowing you to work out your own colour layout so you don't end up with the wrong size and colour arrangement (like I did). Colouring pencils are a simple to use tool which when used with a line drawing of the layouts allows you to decide the colour frames if you intend to do a design such as say Grandmother's Flower Garden.
Once I am organised the different layout options will contain all of the options up to and including the one that you are making, so it is easy to make a smaller one :)

Next we talk specifically about the Raconteur 141 Collections.
When joined the seven collections should have a theoretical height of 20in and width of 17.5in, note these figures came out of a computer drawing and through real life sewing I have found they could be out by up to 1/2in which I figure isn't enough to worry about. For some reason, when I sew things the size is never exactly what the computer tells me it should be but it has always been such a minuscule amount I haven't worried about it.
141 Single Bed Layout

141 Double/Queen Layouts

141 King Layout - option 1

141 King Layout - option 2
I haven't actually made up these quilts and you may find that when you lay out the blocks it is better to make more blocks and go either one block wider or one block longer. Nothing beats actually looking at the blocks laid out together to decide what is the best way to go.

By my calculations, and Illustrator's help... no help available this time from Photoshop:( the number of collections and blocks that you would need are
  • wallhanging - seven collections which is 49 blocks
  • lap quilt - I couldn't get this to look right, or to something I was happy with so it will need to be a trial and experiment affair if you are making this size.
  • single bed quilt - 12 full collections and four half collections equalling 92 blocks. This gives a design area or approximately 52in x 80in and then you would need to add borders.
  • double and queen size bed quilts - 18 full collections and 4 half collections which is 134 blocks. This gives a design area or approximately 70in x 80in and then you would need to add borders.
  • king size quilt (option 1) -  although this one should be the best by calculations it doesn't 'look right' and so I worked out option 2
  • King size quilt (option 2) - 27 full collections, four half collections and two corner collections, which is 199 blocks. This gives a design area or approximately 86in x 95in and then you would need to add borders. To balance the appearance for this size an extra row had to be added longer than the bare mattress length.
Sorry about this being such a long post but there was a lot t0 say....and I like to talk.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Layouts - How Many Blocks? Post 1

As this is becoming such a long post I have decided to split it into two. This first post discusses things that need to be decided upon when making any quilt, not just Raconteur 141, or even Raconteur - the Storyteller's Collection.
C6 Crystal Dreams

Some things that effect the number of blocks can be
  1. colour arrangement - my original Raconteur quilt should have had one extra row but because of how the frame colours were laid out it meant I had to change too many of those for the colour pattern to lie as I wished. I had had enough of the quilt and so I left it. I could have planned the colour arrangement well before the five year about leaving things for the last minute. Planning could have been done with just pen and paper.
  2. the amount of overhang you like - mattress heights vary not only in different countries but also throughout one country. Now in Australia there are three different mattress heights. I have one quilt which now fits perfectly on our bed since our new mattress has a greater height than the previous one. Previously the quilt touched the floor. There are also available different height castors to raise or lower a bed height.
  3. still to do with the amount of overhand is whether you want some of your design to go over the sides or if you only want it on the top of the bed. I like my design to go over the sides so I don't have to spend forever getting the quilt to lie just right so that the design is centred.
  4. the number of blocks you want to make - there are seven blocks in each collection and sometimes you just reach  the limit of how many blocks you want to make. I had about thirty blocks leftover when I called it a day on my layout so I only needed to make another 12 blocks and I could have had the row I needed...such is life
  5. the size of the borders -  I don't have a preference for border size. My method is to finish the quilt and then try different size borders until I find what suits the quilt. This does have a major downside in that some of my quilts turn out decidedly bigger than I originally wanted but such is life at least it looks balanced, in my opinion that is.
I will write up the next post later today if I get the chance, or else tomorrow and then post it with the calculations etc.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Carol Le Maitre with Collection 28

C28 Follow The Leader
Carol has been very busy lately with her husband having to go to hospital and this meant a six week stay as the hospital was too far for her to visit otherwise. One of the downsides of living in the country is the lack of higher end medical services.
Carol prepared some hand sewing for her six week 'vacation' and here we see some of her blocks.
As always a wonderful array of colours and prints. 
Don't you love the paw prints in Run Spot Run?
C28 Run Spot Run

C28 The Lotus

C28 First Bouquet

C28 Trifids

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Collection 4 - Where Did That Name Come From?

The title Your Decision comes from the fact that the curve in this block is a basic one from mathematics. It is known as either a sine cure or a cosine curve, the only difference between the two is where they start.
While making the block I couldn't decide which fabric would be the feature and which the background. The decision decides the border fabric - your decision.

C4 Green With Envy
Green With Envy is a simple block made when I was practicing making very small strips and then trying a bargello idea. The name came purely from the fabrics which were two beautiful Japanese florals - bet you wouldn't have guessed that. 

C4 Your Decision
The fine strips in Rainbow Semaphore suggested the flags waving about when people used flags on a pole for semaphore... or what I think they looked like.
C4 Rainbow Semaphore
Do you remember the lovely floral frocks you wore as a child on a Summer's Day.. well if you were born in the 50s or early 60s that is..before the advent of stretch wear.

C4 Summer's Day
New Beginnings was made as a reminder to the start of a new life for my sister and her son when they moved into their own place.

C4 Birds at the Window
I was visiting my brother-in-law one day and as we sat having coffee and cake, non-fattening almost, there were a couple of Birds protesting at the Window. My BIL feeds many of the birds in the area and they felt it was time for their snack too.
           C4 New Beginnings
Oh the freedom when you ventured out to the paddocks with just your bucket, wearing shorts and T-shirts to pick the sweet blackberries.... such fun.. and even though you returned home scratched all over from the thorns, did you remember to dress more appropriately next time? Not me... Blackberry Freedom

      C4 Blackberry Freedom
Which is your favourite block?

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Collection 6 - Where did that name come from?

 This collection contains one of my favourite blocks Crystal Dreams, the fabrics do nothing to showcase the design but I still love it.

Short Changed was one of the first blocks that were based on a smaller grid with an extra border. The original aim was to leave space for highlighting quilting, but my skills were too poor, atrocious is a more apt description for my machine quilting. Anyway due to my level of quilting skills I  ended up leaving the area still plain.. Would like to see someone do something with their skills.
C6 Short Changed
Crystal Dreams was designed to show some flowers in a crystal vase. The diamond cut that is common on many of the crystal vases inspired the design.
Isn't it surprising that two fabrics that looked good together in strips don't come up so well when sewn...and then top it off with my being too lazy to resew the block...viola!
C6 Disappearing Hope

Disappearing Hope was made at a time when things were going pretty badly within my family after an argument with my father. Many things weren't too good at that time, but the block still looks good.
C6 Crystal Dreams
Fake Hands was made around the same time as Disappearing Hope. People pretend to care but spite and jealousy cause a lot of harm..and then they walk away, leaving much damage.
C6 Fake hands
Enter With Care - my eldest son worked for a while at Lucas Heights nuclear reactor and he would joke about consequences of a nuclear mishap. Youth knows no fear.
C6 With Care

The title With Care came from the fact that care needed to be taken when fussy cutting this block.
C6 Enter With Care
Strung Out was made about the same time as Disappearing Hope and Fake Hands. Gorgeous blocks for not such a nice time:)
C6 Strung Out

Links to blocks by Carol -
So where are your photos?

Friday, August 2, 2013

Snippets from Delma

C2 I Love Lucy

 Earlier this year I had the opportunity to teach at the South Coast Quilters Retreat, which is held biannually at Cobargo.

Delma was one of the ladies in my class and a short while ago she brought the blocks which she had finished to our sewing day at Nowra Quilters. Don't you just love her fabrics?
C3 Burning Bright

Delma usually prefers applique or machine piecing but decided to try the miniature Raconteur blocks. She has now finished the five hand pieced blocks and only has left the two foundation pieced blocks.

In the class we did a collection that I call Snippets as it is a taste of the different techniques and structures that are used throughout Raconteur. The seven blocks are taken from different collections and slowly build from easy to rather difficult. Unfortunately after having made so many of the blocks my idea of simple/easy and a beginner's idea of this are vastly different. It was one of the women at this retreat who first prompted me to enlarge the blocks and showed me what a difference this small change can make to not only the final number of blocks that someone needs for a quilt, but also to the success that different people can achieve.
Teaching is a great opportunity for people to learn from others, not just for the students but also the teacher.

C6 Crystal Dreams

C4 BlackBerry Freedom
C6 Enter With Care