Saturday, March 17, 2018

Pineapple Log Cabin Block 35 of 42: This Is What Six Hours In the Studio Looks Like

NO, I did not meet the weekly goals that I posted about last time.  NO, I have not loaded Tabby Mountain onto my quilting frame yet, let alone started quilting it.  However, I did manage to complete one more 17 3/4" paper pieced pineapple log cabin block for the California King sized bed quilt that I've been working on "off and on" over the past few years.  This one makes 35 blocks completed out of the 42 blocks I need for my quilt.  And, because I used a timer to carve out one-hour increments of sewing time from my crazy busy schedule this week, I can tell you that piecing this ONE block took me a whopping SIX HOURS.  That's just piecing time, since I've already cut all the strips for this quilt.  


Pineapple Log Cabin Block 35 of 42
So, at six hours per block, that means I already have 210 hours into this quilt, in addition to the hours I spent cutting up approximately a bazillion 1 1/2" strips of assorted blue, green, and neutral fabrics before I started piecing.  


It Feels SO GOOD to Sew On the Final Corner Triangles!
And, with seven blocks remaining to be pieced, that means I'm still about 42 hours away from having my blocks finished and ready to be sewn into a quilt top.  And there are 97 pieces in every block, so there will be a total of 4,074 pieces in this quilt once it's finally finished.  Uff da!


Finished Block On Wall, Beside Neglected Tabby Mountain Quilt Top
One thing I am enjoying about these pineapple blocks is how different they look up close versus viewed from a distance.  As I'm selecting fabrics for each block, I worry that it's getting too busy and I don't have enough value contrast for that secondary design to show up.  Then I pin the finished block to the design wall, step back, and it's amazing how that cool windmill with blue and green blade pops out at me!  Love it!

So, it's not like Tabby Mountain has been totally abandoned.  I designed a quilt label in my Bernina v8 Designer Plus digitizing software and stitched it out on leftover solid magenta fabric.  


Machine Embroidered Quilt Label, Ready to Go

Cute, right?  I love how my little paw prints turned out!  I've preturned the top and right edges of my label because I'm going to applique those to the back of my quilt once it's quilted and trimmed, and then the bottom and left edges will be sewn into the quilt binding.  I included care instructions because I'm going to be using a wool batting that requires a cold wash temperature.

The run stitch fonts I used for this label are built into the digitizing software.  With my software, I was able to lay out and preview all the lettering, and I digitized my kitty paw prints from scratch in about 30 seconds -- just imported the black and white clip art and clicked one button, then positioned them around the lettering the way that I wanted them.  And then I printed out an actual-size template of the label design so I could preview how it would look on my quilt.  This is why, for me personally, the Bernina 750QEE or 770QEE coupled with Bernina Designer Plus digitizing software is a much better way to go for embroidery than buying the 780E, 790E, or even the 790E Plus.  If you paid MSRP for the machine and the software, the current 770QEE machine + Bernina Designer Plus software together costs $1,500 less than the 790 Plus machine.  Although it's true that you can tweak embroidery designs at the machine with the 790 more than you can with the 770, what you can do as far as editing designs right at the machine is and will always be extremely limited compared to what you can do at your computer with digitizing software.  And, with complete control to edit, combine, and even create embroidery designs completely from scratch at your computer, your embroidery design is already exactly the way you want it when you transfer it to the sewing machine -- no further editing required.


Stitching Out My Label On My Bernina 750 QEE Sewing Machine
What's more, technology is constantly changing, at a much faster rate than the mechanics of our sewing and embroidery machines.  Once I've created the quilt label or any other machine embroidery design in my software, it will stitch out exactly the same on a Bernina 700, 750, 770, 780, 790, or even an 880 machine, since they all use exactly the same embroidery module.  When a new and improved sewing machine model is introduced, it typically costs thousands to upgrade machines -- but historically it has only been $500 to upgrade the Bernina embroidery software to the newest version, and you can even skip and upgrade from every other version.  For instance, I went from my version 4 Designer Plus software to version 6 for $500 several years back, and I just recently upgraded from version 6 to the current version 8 for $500 rather than having to repurchase the full $2,500 software package each time.  And of course, upgrading your software is completely optional to get the new features.  There's absolutely no reason why you can't keep using whatever version of the software you are comfortable with regardless of new updates that are available.

Well, I've got a dress rehearsal today at 2:30 and a VOX concert tonight at 7:30 PM.  It's the Verdi Four Sacred Pieces and Poulenc's Stabat Mater -- gorgeous music that was awful to learn, but a joy to sing now that we've got it down.  I can't wait!

Today I'm linking up with:

16 comments:

Karen - Quilts...etc. said...

I can see your green and blue blades in the Pineapple quilt really easy - they really stand out to me and can't wait to see it completed one day - a lot of work for sure. Have fun at your concert

LA Paylor said...

Stop it! Now I need to do a really big log cabin block!!! Looks great!

colleen said...

Yippee you have made my St Patrick's day extra special. I did know that these pineapple blocks were time consuming with the number of pieces ironing and trimming but truly had no clue each one took that long. Makes one wonder if you'll get the proper amount of "sleeping" time under it when all is said and done.
I live in California my husband says he is king of his castle we are old and sleep a great deal so your california king quilt could get properly slept under here, just something to think about as you put in those last hours and hours in on "our" quilt blocks

SJSM said...

Your work is always so precise. You may feel you aren’t moving fast enough on your projects but you are moving as fast as your schedule allows. Enjoy this crazy, busy time. When you become an empty nester you will wonder where did all that time go and look fondly on the crazy times and memories. You are doing a great job keeping all going.

Jenny K. Lyon said...

That pineapple quilt is just so awesome! Oh my, what a slacker you are and you're only 240 hr in!

Lynette said...

Wow!!! Your pineapple block is GORGEOUS!! That's going to be a beautiful quilt, and hey - you're on the downhill side of it now. "Just" the seven left to go. Yes, the kitty prints turned out adorable on the Tabby Mountain label. I always wish I had an embroidery machine to do this with!

Jill said...

When it is all said and done, the pineapple quilt will be worth all the long extra hours. The blocks are awesome. I’ve used timers before and it is a good way to get things done in bits of time instead of wandering around trying to figure out what to do next.

Kate said...

That pineapple block is pretty incredible, that's a lot of pieces for just one block! Tabby Mountain is so bright and fun, so is the label.

Deb from Frugal Little Bungalow said...

nice to see yet another gorgeous pineapple block / it will be a masterpiece when finished :)

Jayne said...

Oh my gosh! That Pineapple block is amazing! The time it takes to make each one is well worth it and when it's finished...holy cow!!! It's going to be amazing! Your label is really cool too!

Mama Spark said...

i LOVE that pineapple block! How big is that quilt going to be?? That block looks HUGE! I love the kitties too.

Donna said...

Love your Pineapple block. I don't think I've seen a block that large before -- how are you constructing it? I usually paper piece mine but that has limited the size block ...

Rebecca Grace said...

Thanks, Donna! Yes, I’m paper piecing on giant foundations that I printed up on the large format printer at FedEx. There’s more about that in this post: https://cheekycognoscenti.blogspot.com/2014/06/in-pursuit-of-paper-pieced-pineapple.html?m=1

Rebecca Grace said...

Thanks! It should end up approximately 106.5” x 124.25” before quilting. It’s meant for my California King bed and I want to be sure it completely covers the mattress on all sides even after it has been quilted and washed. Although, since I’ve put SO MANY HOURS into it, I’m starting to wonder whether I’ll be able to bear actually USING the finished quilt for bedding!!

Susan said...

Oh my - six hours per block! But it sure is pretty!

Val's Quilting Studio said...

I agree it's amazing...your patience is too!

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