“Do the Math” – Facets QAL is done!

I finished it!  YAY!

As I talked about in this post, I joined Christa Watson’s Facets QAL earlier this year.  By doing this project, I was interested in learning/improving 2 things:  learning improv piecing and improving my machine quilting.  I accomplished these things, along with others!

Here it is!

finished 2

And I love it!

Here are some more shots:

finished quilt

more detail:

detail 1

detail front

and from the back:

full back

back detail

and the patch I added to the back:


I’m calling it ‘Do the Math’ because of the math/equation fabric that makes up the cream diamonds.

As I said, I did learn improv piecing and well as improve my machine quilting.  I’ve been machine quilting for a long time, but what I see people doing now with machine quilting really raised the bar.  Christa is so good at it, and inspirational, so doing this quilt helped me practice and up my game.  It is quilted much more densely than anything I’ve done before, and it is bigger than anything I’ve done in some time.  The quilting probably took me ~12-15 hours to do, which about killed my patience!  I had to just settle back, relax, focus on what I was doing, and remember I that didn’t have a deadline.  I also got to catch up on previous seasons of the Walking Dead!

Switchbacks were new to me, and when I do them again, I will do them closer together.  I have done a ton of spirals before, but never as dense and close together as these are.

Along with my stated learning objectives, I learned many other things:

  • 1. I have always used muslin on the backs of my quilts, and I’ve always used a bobbin thread color that matches the muslin.  I was able to get the tension on my quilting in pretty good shape, but I did have some problems with the cream thread pulling through to the front, particularly in the black areas.  Next time, if using a muslin backing, I’ll match the thread front and back.  This is kind of funny – I never thought I could do this and have the colored thread on the back!
  • 2. I used a Supreme Slider and Little Bobbin Magic Genies for the first time, and I liked both of these tools quite a bit.
  • 3. I have also always used one type of thread and was happy with it, but did this whole quilt using Aurifil thread for the first time.  I really, really liked it.  It was very smooth and very low in lint.  I think I will continue using more Aurifil.
  • 4. Binding this was interesting, trying to keep the points of the diamonds on the edges of the quilt.  I probably cut the batting down too much so it is too thin in some places, but the points look good.

I’m taking all of these as things to learn from and improve, and NOT being negative about my quilt, because I love it!

Some outtakes:

Auditioning threads for the green/blue facet area.  I thought I wanted the one second from the right, but I wound up with the one furthest on the right.  Good thing I auditioned them.  I like the one I wound up with much better.

choosing thread

Scrunching the big thing under my domestic machine…a good workout for arms and shoudlers!


And here is Maggie the Corgi photobombing the photo shoot!  She was looking for shade.

finished with Maggie

I really enjoyed this QAL and love my quilt. Thanks again to Christa for hosting it.

Finishing this quilt was one of my Q2 FAL goals (link to original Q2 FAL goal list), and I will be linking up there once the end of Q2 link opens.

Facets QAL, part 1

I don’t exactly remember how I first discovered Christa Watson’s blog, but I have been a subscriber for a few years.  I have really enjoyed following her journey as she built her quilting business, and have learned a great deal from her along the way.

In September, 2015 she published her first book, Machine Quilting with Style:  From Walking-foot Wonders to Free-motion Favorites, and it is a good one.  One of my goals is to improve my machine quilting, so between my Christa fan-girl status and my quilting goal this book was a must have!

At the beginning of 2016 Christa kicked off a quilt-a-long for one of the quilts in the book, called Facets.  I have never done a quilt along, never done improv piecing, and liked the quilt, so it seemed like a good project.  I really don’t take quilt classes, and tend to look at things to decide what I like and create my own quilts from those ideas rather than following patterns, but I was really pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed the process.  I learned a lot from Christa and from the others in the group.  So much inspiration!

I had a piece of Sweetwater Elementary Fabric with all these equations and math on it that I loved, but just couldn’t find the right use for.  After seeing Kristy Daum’s version during Christa’s blog hop, I knew I’d found a home for my fabric.  With that, I went off and bought a jellyroll of the Julie of Jaybird Quilts palette of Kona solids to use for the improv triangles.  I love blues and greens, and this palette is just awesome.

Facets fabrics

Step one was to do the improv piecing for the triangles.  I found this process daunting.  In retrospect, I cut the jellyroll strips at too much of an angle, which made putting the strips together a bit more difficult than it needed to be.  I do really like how the improv triangles came out, but I would do it differently the next time and I was glad I only had to do enough for one strip!









The next step was to cut the triangles from the Elementary fabric and to cut out the black triangles.  In her book Christa recommended two triangle rulers to create these pieces, and I’m so glad I bought them.  Previously, I only had straight rulers and didn’t see the point of specialty rulers, but these were really nice and really helpful.  Good adds to my toolbox!

cutting black trianges

After that, it was lots of block assembly!  My chicken pin cushion was very helpful with this step.


I made good progress, but soon ran out of the Elementary fabric.  I thought about making a smaller quilt, but decided if I could find more fabric I’d make the full quilt.

This photo is the partial top before I got enough fabric to finish the whole thing.  It shows a good close-up of the facets blocks.


This is the finished quilt top – taken between gusts on a very windy New Mexico spring day!

facets wall

And now to quilt it.  It is big!  I haven’t quilted anything this large in a long time.  It will take me some time, but I think it will be cool when it is done.  More coming later as I get it done!

Quilting facets

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