Monday, February 29, 2016

gypsy wife section two, introduction

hello, gypsy wife friends and on-lookers; who's ready for a new section and a bit more challenge this month?! i've seen several eager beavers who couldn't hold themselves back after the fun of section one and dove right in to section two. any of you who are joining the party late, or who haven't completed section one yet, should find this encouraging because it goes to show it won't be so hard to "catch up" with the group. (if you're worried about that. which you shouldn't be.) so let's take a quick look at what goes into this section.

section two components

all measurements are cut/unfinished, not finished


9.5” Pershing, pg 6
7.5” courthouse steps, pg 20
6.5” sq in sq (4.5”), bordered, pg 22/23
2 – 3.5” sq in sq, pg 22
8.5” old maid puzzle, pg 17


H – 8.5”
I – 8.5”
47 – 8.5”
53 – 7.5”
54 – 7.5”

55 – 19.5” (optional 7.5” if you are piecing this strip to avoid partial seams)

before we get into the blocks, i'm going to reiterate some things i have found helpful as i have worked on more of the larger blocks for this section:

  1. gypsy wife is a great exercise in accuracy. that's how i approach this quilt when i sit down to make it. i don't hold myself to perfection standards, but i do take my time with each block as a mini project, allowing myself to go slow and focus on improving my accuracy.
  2. trim as you go. i figure out what each component size should be, overcut my pieces a bit, then trim after sewing and pressing.
  3. carefully press each component of the block as you make it, not all at the end. carefully press - i'm amazed how quickly i can get distortion in blocks with so many parts and pieces.
  4. work on your scant 1/4" seam. it will really help the blocks come out the right size. even 1/4" feet are not always accurate, so check the accuracy of your foot and figure out where your scant 1/4" seam is, as well. it seems fussy, but it's helpful.
  5. again, give yourself time and space to work on each piece individually, if you can. i find it so much more enjoyable when i focus on all the mini projects included in this quilt. it's not unusual for me to spend an entire sewing session/evening on one large block. as i like to say, "little quilting chores make for big quilting finishes." this is a quilt of lots and lots of parts. one step at a time, one block at a time, we will get a gypsy wife quilt made!

so, about this month's section two - it's not a big section, but there is plenty of challenge contained in these few blocks, particularly in the pershing block, which some regard as the most difficult or time-consuming in the quilt. don't let that scare you away! just set aside an evening or chunk of time when you can focus on slowly working your way through this block with accuracy. megan has made a detailed tutorial of her process with this block on her blog, jaffa quilts. she has also included a link to a paper piecing pattern for pershing, if you would rather go that route.

 i made my pershing block over a year ago, and did not take notes. so i'm unfortunately no help to you on this one. i've toyed with the idea of of making a second block so i can work it all out, but i'm not committing to it just yet. go visit megan's tutorial and you should be fine.

i do need to add a funny note here. for the longest time, my brain was filling in a missing letter in this block's name and i was calling it "perishing." i thought it was so named because you'd want to "perish" after completing it! but, actually, it was named after the block-designer's husband, "pershing." what an unusual first name! i discovered my mistake a few months ago when i read a small essay on the history of this block in a book or magazine. the block was designed for a newspaper contest, and when the maker was pressed for a name, she chose her husband's. i wish i had the details, but i've looked and looked through my considerable library and been unable to find the original information. you'll just have to take my word for it.

megan quite likes my name and finds it appropriate. she also likes how i've renamed "puss in the corner" to "kitty in the corner." does that make me a true quilter, my renaming and modifying traditional blocks?

7.5" courthouse steps block, left, being substituted with a 7.5" bordered sq-in-sq block, right

here is another modification i've made in this section of the quilt, a literal block modification. to balance out color and fussy cut animal placement in my quilt, i'm swapping a same-sized block for the 7.5" courthouse steps block. i'm using a 7.5" bordered sq-in-sq block from section 10 instead. (you might recall i originally started this quilt on the work-through-the-book schedule, not knowing where the blocks were going to end up or next to what.) this is one of the adjustments i decided to make when i switched assembly methods from working-through-the-book to section-by-section. you can see that the yellow-bordered block uses the same yellow solid i had in my pershing block, and therefore needed to go somewhere else.

also, the block itself is slightly modified because i had to make adjustments when my fabric fell short. those red corners aren't part of the pattern. but that's the lovely thing about this pattern - there is lots of room for modifying within the original frame work. in fact, i'll soon be posting about working with blocks that are the wrong size.

sq-in-sq blocks for section two

there are three sq-in-sq blocks in this section: 2 - 3.5" blocks and 1 - 6.5" bordered. again, my block is going to look slightly different from yours here because i used a 3.5" sq-in-sq block in the center of my 6.5" bordered block, rather than the 4.5" sq-in-sq called for. this had to do with laziness on my part of wanting to use a block i had already made rather than making another at the time. however, i think it would have looked better had i used a larger block in the center. but it's done and staying as is. (if you missed my tutorials for an alternate construction method for the sq-in-sq blocks, find the 3.5" here and the 4.5" here.)

old maid's puzzle
the final block for section two is "old maid's puzzle." this is another interesting and enigmatic name for a block, and i wish i knew it's history. there are two of these blocks in this quilt, the other falling in section eight, later on. many versions of this block go completely scrappy on the triangles. i meant to do that this time around after i was uniform in the fabric selection for my last version of the block, but i forgot. and so here is my second matchy-matchy block. i'll be sharing a detailed tutorial of the process for this block later this week.

section two falls directly below/south of section one in the quilt, so you will be using some of the same strips from last month again. if you opted to piece strip 55 instead of use a partial seam (which megan showed us are actually not scary at all), then please make note of the adjusted optional length for that strip in section two.

work ahead options

if you just can't stop with the blocks, the next two sections are mighty small - so small we've lumped them together for april's schedule. so you can either go for section three or four, or get a jump start on the largest section, section six (june) by making some of the sq-in-sq blocks or other basic blocks for that section. since they fall below sections one and two, you will know what strips they will be set in, which will help with color choices.

section three – april

5.5” sq in sq (3.5”), bordered, pg 22/pg 23
4.5 sq in sq, pg 22
10.5” sq in sq w/ courthouse steps, pg 23-24
9.5” Colour wheel, pg 5

28 – 9.5”, 8.5”
29-33 – 3.5”
34-37 – 3.5”, 1.5”

section four – april
8.5” courthouse steps, pg 20
8.5” hst block, pg 16


a lot, i would say most, of the activity for our quilt along is happening over on instagram. here are some of the hashtags you can search to follow along:

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

gypsy wife section one link party

the month is almost out and i have seen plenty of completed section one's on instagram (#GypsyWifeQuiltSection1), not to mention section two's completed by the speedy and addicted. we'll be having a blog link party about a week before the end of each month where bloggy friends can link their completed sections. don't worry if you haven't finished just yet - the link party will stay open a few weeks.

if you are doing a post about your section one, please tell us what you thought! what went well, what didn't, any tips you have to share. i know i'm super excited to see my collection of amassed blocks become an actual piece of a quilt. i like doing the quilt so much better this way!

i think the hardest part for me was keeping my strips straight. even though i had them laid out on my design wall in order, i had to keep a photo on my phone nearby to refer to so i didn't flip any bits around. but i did that anyway. i got that short little panel of strips under the kitty in the corner (aka puss in corner) block flipped the first go round. but it's all sorted out now.

i tackled the partial seams, thanks to megan's encouragement and found out that, wow, they really aren't that difficult! don't sweat the small stuff. i'd actually done partial seams before on other projects when i needed to fix a few things, and didn't even know that's what they were. so lesson learned from section one - partial seams are a-ok.

also, i got the maths figured out for my preferred method of square-in-a-square block assembly. there are plenty more sq-in-sq blocks coming up, so if you missed those posts, see them here and here.

that wraps it up for section one! nine more to go.
it's not too late to jump in and join us, if you'd like. and don't feel pressured to work any faster than you can. if your section one is still under construction, you are welcome to link up what you have.

look for the introductory post to section two next week on the first.

gypsy wife section one link party

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

nice and flat - a pressing tip

 i picked up this flat block tip from  alison harrison at cluck cluck sew a while back and it has been working like a charm. so i thought i'd share. alison uses some inexpensive "floppy" books she picked up at a garage sale. i use some old phone books i had lurking in a back cupboard. anything that's floppy with some heft to it, that you don't mind getting warped, will work just fine. because of the heat involved, it's likely over time the book cover will show wear so don't use anything you care to keep tidy.

the technique is really simple: when you've pressed your block, set your floppy book down on top of it and leave while your block cools, 30 - 60 seconds. usually, i lay out the blocks or pieces i'm pressing in a row across my pressing board, and move from one end to another, covering up the pressed blocks as i go. i have a couple of phone books on hand, which makes doing batches easier. usually by the time i've gotten to the end of the row, the first blocks are cool. i can move them out of the way and do another batch, rotating out blocks down the row.

letting the blocks cool completely (or nearly completely) before you move them is key to getting the fabric to retain the shape you want. while hot, the fibers will continue to change shape when moved, so let them alone until they cool.

sometimes, when i have an extra stubborn block with lots of seams, i'll even leave it sitting under the book overnight after i'm done sewing for the day.

also, i prefer to do this before i trim my blocks. i find they hold the final shape much better if i've let them get properly flattened out first.

 these pinwheel blocks for my valentine's quilt have several seams meeting in the middle, which is a lot of bulk. i have yet to master the nesting seams technique, but the floppy book system is working really well to get them nice and flat anyway.

lecien sugar flower collection circa 2010
nice and crisp!

i had a stack i'd used the books on and a pile that hadn't been flattened. the book pile was definitely flatter across the board. once i saw the difference, i went right ahead and flattened all the blocks before thinking to take a photo to share. but trust me, it helps a lot.

happy pressing!

Sunday, February 21, 2016

4.5" square-in-a-square block, deconstructed

following the (eventual) success of finding the measurements for an exact cut method for the 3.5" square-in-a-square block, i've worked out the measurements for the 4.5" block. at first i was a bit perplexed how to do this since the first time around, i simply measured a completed block made with the flip-and-stitch method to discover the completed measurements. but i didn't have a completed 4.5" block to measure. i was going to make one with the other method first, but then i thought i could just draw one and take measurements. and it totally worked! (and despite the wonky, distorted look of the above photo, this block is spot on.)

here are the measurements:

center square - 3 3/8", diagonal orientation
2 corner squares - 3" each, cut in half on the diagonal

below follows a quick demo of cutting for this block.

 i wanted to fussy cut my center square. to make this as easy as possible, i used my 3.5" square ruler, which is 1/8" over size. first, i aligned the square where i wanted to cut, around a cluster of mushrooms and flowers.

 just a slice on each side and i have a square out.

 then i used the ruler to measure off that extra 1/8" on two sides so my square would measure 3 3/8" rather than 3 1/2" i first cut. the green border on the top two sides of the diamond are 1/8", making this easy.

 on a larger ruler, the 3 3/8"measurement looks like the above photo. if you look at the far right side, you can see the little, shorter dash marks on the grid lines that are the 1/8" measurements. it's easiest to see just to the right of the circle with 45 in it (which is marking the angled lines passing thru, not the across measurements).

 next, cut two 3" squares and bisect them on the diagonal to make four triangles for the corners.

attach as with the 3.5" block.

there will be a tiny bit left over to trim off each side. use the 4.5" ruler, or a larger one, to square off the block. again, to get the best points, make sure each of your points is lined up 1/4" away from the edge of the block. if you look closely, you can see my points are all 1/4" away from the  ruler's edge. this means i got the measurements for the center square right. i was pretty happy to see this the first time around! it's so nice when math works out.

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

3.5" square-in-a-square block, reinvented

you know that saying, "why reinvent the wheel?," meaning, why redo what's already been done rather than use the resources already available? well, sometimes, you just have to because none of the wheels fit right.

all this is to say, i wasn't happy with the method for creating square-in-a-square blocks (sq-in-sq) that the gypsy wife quilt pattern book utilizes. the stitch-and-flip method of adding small corners onto a larger block made for a lot of waste, to my way of thinking. now, i do like scraps, but it was even more about getting my fussy cut center square right.

look at that bordered sq-in-sq on the right in the photo above. originally, i had a lovely square which contained a recognizable piece of the eiffel tower and a flower. the piece of the tower you can still see used to extend as far as the corners now do. but once i added the corners on and cut the excess off, it basically disappeared. for one, i forgot that the center square would end up "on point." so my tower was leaning. and second, adding the corners on, stitching and flipping to cut, took off nearly half my visible block rather than the standard 1/4" seam allowance on each side. with these little 3.5" blocks, that's a lot of visible fabric disappearing.

the pattern calls for you to cut a 3.5" square to begin with. once you add those corners, that center square shrinks not to 3", but to 2.125". that's pretty significant.

frustrated with my results, i decided to look for another method. the first thing i did was google "economy block tutorial" because economy block is the modern/common name for this block. or so i thought. in reality, though it is the base for the economy block, all the economy block tutorials i found had three layers of squares, not two, as this pattern calls for. it's a very small difference, but it meant none of the formulas or measurements out there (that i found) were helpful in getting the block i needed. hence, in my mind, "sq-in-sq" refers to a two layer block of simply one square in one square (needed here) and "economy block" refers to a third layer being added. there are some fantastic tutorials and formulas for getting any size economy block you want. if you're interested, try rita's at red pepper quilts for 5.5" econ blocks,  catbird quilts' tutorial with formulas and cheat sheet for various sizes, or sewing lab's beautifully illustrated tutorial for a couple of methods, including paper piecing.

all of these were great tutorials, but did not help me a lick to get the block i needed!

so i just did it myself.

 i started by measuring the finished center square to see how big it needed to be. it measures 2 1/8" . it needs a seam allowance, so add 1/2", which is a 1/4" for each side (which i did not do the first time, so my block was too small!). this gives you a measurement of 2 5/8". it's important that the center square be exact, because it has to end up with a 1/4" space between the points and the edge. otherwise, you'll either loose your points or have too much unwanted space.

so, simply put:
cut one center square at 2 5/8"

and remember, this square will end up on point in the final block, so if you are fussy cutting, make sure you view it as a diamond sitting on it's points, rather than as a square sitting on one side.

5/8" looks like this on your ruler:

the 1/8" marks are the shorter marks on the grid lines. if you look at the numbers in the yellow cirlces, the 1/8" marks run on either side of the numbers.

now for the corners.

in the pattern stitch-and-flip method, 4 - 2" squares are called for. again, half of each of those squares will be cut off as scraps. much better to make two larger squares that are cut on the diagonal into four triangles.

this is where some people might prefer the other, more scrap-producing, method. if you make triangles, you are going to be working with a bias edge for a few moments. i was once really scared of those stretchy bias edges. but not any more. really, they aren't so bad - i promise! like everyone says, just use a light touch and avoid stretching them. you'll be fine.

now back to the corners.

mine measured around 2" (what the pattern called for). but you have to take into account that you're going to be cutting them in half and each half will need some wiggle room. i didn't take this into account the first (or second) time i attempted the block. but the third time around i got it right. really, i should have visualized that the seam allowance extended out 1/4" past where that corner currently ended. then i would have known i needed to add another 1/4" to that. (2 1/4" + 1/4" = 2 1/2")

for corners, cut two 1/2" squares
then cut both on the diagonal to produce 4 triangles

with everything cut, you are ready to assemble.

 gently fold the triangle in half, lining up your corners and the bottom edge. then finger press to make a crease. fold your square in half and crease, likewise.

 these crease marks will help you line up the square and triangles. (and my center square is different here because i photographed my first mis-measured attempt at the block. even though it came out the wrong size, the method is the same. no need to rephotograph.)

now place the triangle, right sides together, on top of the square with the creases lined up. (i put pins in the crease and at the edge of the triangle so you can see them better in the photo, but i don't find pinning necessary.) the tip of the triangle will line up with the crease, too.

 lay another triangle on the opposite side of the square, once again matching creases. you can kind of see how the triangle creases are in line here, too.

 sew one side on with a 1/4" seam allowance.

 flip and sew the other seam at 1/4" also. really, a scant seam is best.

press those two corners open. these are small pieces and can be easily distorted, so handle with a bit of care. don't be afraid, just handle gently.

now you can crease the square in the middle the opposite direction and add the last two corners in the same manner you did the first two.

 it's time to trim your pretty little sq-in-sq block to it's 3.5" unfinished size.

this is where i don't mind a little bit of trimming. the 2.5" squares we used for the corners provide just a tiny bit of wiggle room to give us more accuracy with trimming.

when you trim, line up the points of the center square with 1/4" marks of the ruler (see how there is a black dot at each of my corners?) and trim your square 1/4" away from those points. this will give you pretty, precise points on your block when you add it to the other quilt components surrounding it.

there you have a neat little 3.5" finished (3" finished/sewn in) sq-in-sq block.

it only took me 3 attempts and two bungled math problems to get it right. that's not too bad. i find when i make mistakes, it cements further in my mind the correct method and i'm much more likely to remember correctly the next time around because i don't want to repeat that again!

the pattern also calls for some 3" and 4.5" unfinished sq-in-sq blocks. i'll share the math for those once i've figured them out!

Friday, February 12, 2016

gypsy wife quilt - block chart

i have no new blocks to share just yet, so i am sharing a copy of megan's beautiful work as she assembles section 1 of the gypsy wife quilt. by the way, she has written a brilliant tutorial on assembling the block sections with partial seams. it's got me thinking they aren't so bad after all!

now, just because i finished it and also because there are busy friends out there who are working ahead of the quilt along schedule, i'm sharing the spreadsheet i made for the blocks, broken down by section and month of the quilt along. there is no pressure to work ahead! everyone should feel like they can work at their own pace, whatever that is.

click images to enlarge

again, why do they come out different sizes?!

you can download a pdf copy of the block chart here.

or, if you are viewing it on your cell phone, you can click on the chart to enlarge the image, and then take a screen shot, which you can then zoom in on. it might be handier for some people to have a copy on their phone.

if you are confused about the "block id" column, that was for personal use. when i was working my way thru the book the first time around, i found it helpful to give each block an id tag, which i marked in the instructions and in the assembly charts for cross-referencing purposes. you can just ignore it.

i've seen several section 1's already assembled on instagram at the hashtag #GypsyWifeQuiltSection1 (and even some section 2's!) it's pretty exciting to see so many of them coming together. now that my sewing room renovations are complete, as of yesterday, i can assembly my own section 1 this weekend. we can do this, friends!

as always, you can follow along with everyone over on instagram at #GypsyWifeQuiltAlong2016.

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

gypsy wife strips

 the strips of the gypsy wife quilt form a major portion of its distinctive character. on the back of the pattern, the requirements list calls for "60 assorted fabric strips cut across the width of fabric, 10 x 10cm (4"), 50 x 5cm (2")."

this is slightly misleading. the actual strips needed can be conveniently cut from these measurements if you happen to have those on hand, but it is NOT what you need to cut to assemble the quilt. the pattern uses several 1.5"wide and 1" wide strips, rather than 2" and 4" strips.

there are 55 - 1.5"wide strips of lengths varying from 12" to 65.5". nine of these strips measure over 42" long, which is the standard wof  length you can get from quilting fabric. thus, for those 9 strips, you will need to make more than one cut.

there are also 9 - 1"wide strips, which add some play and variety to the quilt structure. one of these strips is actually also 1.5" wide in portions of its length (strip 8/D).

to add to the fun, these strips start and stop multiple times as they are interrupted by the quilt's blocks. all of this is a whole lot to wrap your head around and looks rather complicated when you try to figure out the pattern diagrams. but it really isn't that bad.

section 10, lower left corner - click to enlarge

i have simplified the whole identification process by numbering the strips on the pattern, and by figuring out their entire needed lengths. i didn't want to use a fabric for a strip in section one only to find out i didn't have enough of it left to complete the strip in lower sections when it picked up again.

section 6, lower middle portion - click to enlarge

you can likewise mark your pattern. just start with section 10, in the lefthand corner, and mark all the white strips by number, starting with 1, moving left to right. please note: strip #32 is missing in the original pattern! i've sketched mine in place, and you should, too.

the grey strips are the 1" wide strips, and these i've identified by letter rather than number. you can mark the strips in all the sections by following them up, or wait until the month comes up when i will show the marked diagram for the section we're making.

section 6, lower right corner - click to enlarge
for each strip, above it's id number, i noted the length of each segment and the total length overall. i also marked each strip segment in all the sections with its id number. don't worry, you won't have to try to read my doodles. i've transcribed my information into a spreadsheet, and i will include the strip measurements for the section we are working on each month.

click to enlarge

i don't know why the two pages came out different sizes. but i've invested all the time i'm going to in getting this made and up here. if you'd like a copy of the chart as a pdf file, click here.

 in the past, some people approached the quilt by making all the blocks and then cutting the strips for final assembly. that seems like a whole lot of tedious cutting at once. so when i started my blocks with the last quilt along, i hit on the idea of cutting strips as i went. whenever i pressed a fabric and cut pieces for a block, i'd simply cut a 1.5" wof length to set aside for when the strips would be needed. i've been gathering them on a platter that sits in my sewing room.

i'm still using this method, only now that i'm working by section and assembling them as i go, it's a tiny bit more complicated. since i don't want the same fabrics in the blocks and strips for the section, i'm still cutting strips from my block fabrics as we work on the first sections, but those are set aside for other portions of the quilt. i'm having to cut fabrics that i haven't used yet for strips in the first sections. not that big of a deal. it just doesn't feel quite as efficient.

 i'm trying to include a variety of intensely colored strips along with more subtle low-volume fabrics as well. i'm not going for an every-other-one stripe look, but i do want variety.

i've tidied up my tray a little and organized the strips by width and length, and loosely sorted them by color and volume. the strips i cut extra lengths of, for those over 42" long, i put in one pile, too. this is just to ease selection when it comes to assembling the sections.

 the end of the platter also contains a variety of small pieces leftover from my block making. these pieces can be used in future blocks as they are already cut to sizes standard for the pattern requirements. i may or may not use them, but i like having them all in the same place.

some of them are the triangles cut from sq in sq blocks, or are short strips leftover.

for more information on the gypsy wife quilt along 2016, see the homepage here on my blog, tab at the top of the page.

#GypsyWifeQuiltAlong2016 on instagram

linking up with lee's wip wednesday at freshly pieced.

Monday, February 1, 2016

gypsy wife quilt - nicole calver's handquilted AMH version

i've got one more gypsy wife veteran who's sharing her completed quilt and thoughts with us today. Two things stand out to me about nicole calver's version of the gypsy wife: her brilliant use of all AMH (anna maria horner) fabrics, and her intricate handquilting. nicole's version is so brilliantly executed, it won her a spot in the sewvivor 2014 competition, season 3; which she just happened to win! amidst the crazy of sick kids, meg birthday party prep, and winter storms, nicole managed to take some new snowy photos of her quilt to share with us, and spent some time giving us some thoughtful answers to my questions about her gypsy experience.

what attracted you to the gypsy wife quilt or why did you make one?

The chaos. I love that it has a feeling of chaos, but an organized chaos if that makes sense!
I've never been a fan of samplers, but the combination of the repeating filler blocks and the stripes to tie everything together really made me rethink sampler quilts :)

how long did it take you to complete?

Hahaha! Complete!! I'm still not finished!
Instagram says that I started about 105 weeks ago and finished almost 8 weeks later so almost two months from start to finished quilt top.

The decision to hand quilt the whole thing has added quite a bit more time onto my finish date ;)

how did you go about making fabric selections?

Since this was going to be a quilt for me to keep, of course I went with Anna Maria Horner for the bulk of my fabrics. 

Mostly Field Study and Dowry, with a bit of Hand Drawn Garden mixed in as well. I also went with Carolyn Friedlander for most of the low vol prints.
I would start by choosing one key piece of fabric for the block I was working on and let the colours in that piece decide what other fabrics were going to make the cut. Pulling fabrics for a project has always been my favourite part of the process, so being able to make mini stacks for each individual block was so much fun for me! 

what was your favorite block to make or favorite part of the project?

I don't think I could ever pick just one favourite block, but Crazy Anne is high on the list! I love that block! 
As for my favourite part of the project, definitely choosing the fabrics for each block! Though I didn't think I would enjoy the hand quilting as much as I have!

please explain your quilting choices:

Before my Gypsy Wife I had never hand quilted before but had always wanted to. So with this quilt staying with me I thought it was the perfect chance for me to try my hand at it and not need to worry about how badly it turned out! And much to my surprise I wasn't nearly as bad at it as I thought Ii was going to be, haha! 

My stitches aren't remotely even and I still have a lot to learn, but I think all the mistakes and oddities are what helps add to the charm of a handmade item. (or at least that's what I'm telling myself!)

I love the look of chunkier thread and big stitches but also wanted to use my signature Brass Aurifil so I went with a 12wt and I've loved quilting with it! 

I'd say I'm about 65 -75% finished the hand quilting and hope to be done before this time next year, but I make no promises! And in my defense, I'm not so much hand quilting as I am embroidering. Some of those AMH prints were just begging for a fancier stitch ;)

what would you change or do differently if you could?

I don't think there's anything I would change. While making it I questioned some of my blocks and ended up remaking two of them, but overall, now that they're all together, they work. And the little things that bothered me with the blocks alone are no longer visible to me.
As for doing things differently, now that I have EQ7 there's a few blocks that I think I would have rather paper pieced, haha!

what advice or tips would you offer for others making this quilt?

Spend the time now, before starting, to make notes in your pattern book. Number your strips, It will help so much later! Use the resources that others have made available for this pattern. My copy came with quite a few mistakes so I made sure to correct those all before starting. 

When I started my Gypsy someone out there had a spreadsheet for all the blocks that I found super helpful. (clumsy kristel at the blog, work-in-progress girl.) I can't think of who it was but the printout was basically a list of all the blocks, where they end up in the quilt, sizes, etc... It was nice to be able to refer back to it when I needed as well as being a checklist of sorts for the blocks I had finished and still needed to finish. 

Most of all, don't stress over it. Seriously. 
There's so much going on in this quilt that no one will notice those two points that didn't line up, or the two fabrics that ended up side by side (i'm guilty of this and when I first realized that the two prints were going to be beside each other I wanted to remake one of the blocks. I didn't, and now I don't even remember where the two of them are!) Just have fun!
:) Nicole

wow, nicole! i am still so impressed with this version of the gyspy wife quilt. it's just simply beautiful. a few other ladies out there have also been working on AMH gypsies. the two ladies just seem to go together. still, there's enough AMH fabric out there to choose from, so yours need not look like another's. (see ashley's at wasn't quilt in a day.)

and i'm so blown away by nicole's handquilting/embroidery. if i remember correctly, she first did some stitch-in-the-ditch to keep everything basted in place, which has allowed her to take her time with the handquilting and still use the quilt. i like that idea very much. in fact, that's my plan for my own quilt.

you can check out nicole's numerous tutorials and published projects on her blog, snip's snippets, on instagram @snippets101, and even on the cover and inside of several issues of love patchwork and quilting magazine.