Commentary about works in progress, design & creativity
Use this tag for posts that covers a variety of types of projects in one post such as the 26 Projects posts. If the post is about a bag, use Project-Bag. If the post is about a quilt, use Project-Quilt
I think I need to make a shrine to my favorite quiltmakers. Judy Martin is one of them.
She, periodically, posts a Quilt of the Moment (QOM) and the one she has now is gorgeous. You must go there right NOW and download the pattern, then come right back! Once the pattern is gone, it is gone forever; she doesn’t repost them or archive them or anything, so time is of the essence. It reminds me of my Spiky Stars quilt (must do something about that crappy picture!). It has that whole ‘the center is not the center’ thing going, which I really like.
I will post a picture here for anyone who makes a quilt from this pattern. Judy is also giving a prize to people who make a quilt with this pattern. Check out her site for specific details.
The dishes and laundry are waiting and I am having another Manderly kind of day. Not as bad as the other day, but still kind of unfocused. The tab with my blog has been staring at me all morning making me think, as I have been plowing through some work, that I should write something. This was actually a good thing, because it spurred me on to go upstairs, turn on the sewing machine and sew. After sewing some hexagons, I took the Cheerful Baskets off the design wall so I could put the hexagons up. The photo on the left is my production today, though I did start sewing some of the triangles on earlier in the week. The big piece that I showed previously is also in there. I was really amazed at how fast these little hexagons turn into a hexagon with two triangles. Very satisfying. I always liked the Grandmother’s Flower Garden with diamonds in between and it just occurred to me that this is what I am making now in just a slightly different scale.
I don’t work with conversationals very often and now I know why. It is almost as though my eyes have a hard time focusing on so much visual stimulation in one piece of fabric. I don’t think that is what is happening, but that is what it feels like. The pieces that attract me the most are the ones that have a fairly clear and consistent background (one color). I don’t think that the entire piece looks horrible or anything, but it is a different kind of project to work on.
Below and right is my total progress. I put the pieces up so I could see what I had accomplished. I just put the pieces up on the design with very little rearranging. I did take care to place the monster pieces, of which there are several, far from each other. I’ll move the other pieces around as I get to it.
My next task is to figure out the normal size of a quilt. I don’t know if I will go for a full or twin yet. Some of it depends on how many hexagons I have (I haven’t counted, but I know I have a lot). I also don’t want to make the quilt three times the shape of my design wall, which I did with Thoughts on Dots last year, because that is a weird shape.
Following that, I have to cut more triangles. I went through all those that TFQ and Julie sent to me. I did start cutting more already and I have a great deal of respect for my friends, because they are a bit of a challenge to cut.
I found that my larger rotary cutter moved smoothly next to the triangle template. However, it felt too big, so I tried the smaller rotary cutter that TFQ usually uses. It didn’t roll quite as smoothly, so I’ll have to figure something else out.
One good thing about cutting triangles is that I get to look through and select red fabrics to use. I need to find a variety so I don’t use the same combinations over and over. So far I have cut batiks without hauling any bins down. I’ll get to that next.
I am waiting to get an appointment to deliver my quilts – YES, quilts plural!!! – to my quilter. I have to call her and get a date. Last time I tried she was out of town on all the days that would have been convenient for me. I almost finished a third top last night, so I may wait to add the last two borders, and get the back done before I make the appointment.
Above is the back of the purple Bullseye. I was really pleased with how well this back went together. The whole quilt really went together well, but the back was especially easy. The fabrics I used are much lighter than the front. I wanted to use some fabrics that I owned and liked and had also been around for awhile yet hadn’t yet made it to the front of a quilt.
It is really a thrill to have three quilts (almost) ready to go to the quiltmaker. Sadly, two of them were not on my 2007 UFO list, so that list won’t be much smaller unless I get really busy.
The last update I gave you on the Bullseyes was on September 8 and I was slowly working through the trimming and sewing the patches together to make blocks. I went through this process kind of slowly because I was enjoying the fiddliness and taking my time. Above shows the quilt top as it was sometime in the last week or so. You can see that patches are sewn together to make blocks and some blocks are sewn together to make. During the past week I have been sewing chunks together and this morning I had only seven seams left. I finished this morning after wrestling with those last seams.
Finished top!! Hooray.
I hope to be able to finish the back today as well. I already made one piece of it with some leftover quarter circle/triangle patches.
One of the things I tried on this quilt was sewing the seams open. I saw in the Kerr/Ringle color book that they press the seams, on all of their quilts, open. I thought this would be a good project to try it. I was pleased with how easy it was to deal with several seams meeting at one central point. Because of the layers of applique’, it was a little tricky to get all the little bits to lay flat. I also found it easier to press from the back when pressing the seams open. My points matched up pretty well (at least no worse than normal). I did use pins to help that process. All in all, I liked pressing the seams open. I’ll have to read a little more of what Kerr/Ringle say about their reasons and report back.
Switchplates were the March 2008 theme for my Out of the Box creativity challenge. I took some in progress photos but not a full-blown tutorial. I even forgot to take a stylized photo of the one I traded that night, very unlike me! Fortunately making these are extremely addictive so I had plenty more for that purpose. Guess which is Leil’s and which is Caitlin’s?
I have been trying all week to get a few free moments to show you some pictures. I am off on a trip tomorrow and don’t know if I will get to posting until the first weekend in March, which is why I want to post! These are the retail therapy fabrics that I bought. I have already washed and ironed them do I could use them in the 2008 Fabric of the Year quilt (see below). I was pretty disappointed in the quality of the fabric in the whole top row except for the multicolored dots on the light background (right). The green and yellow fabric with the white dots are really, really thin. You can see through them and I am sure the seams will show through if I press towards.
I found the other two by searching for violet on the site that shall remain nameless. It turns out that the fabrics are very, very dark. Not violet at all. At least not my definition of violet. [I could go into a whole dissertation on taxonomies here, but I’ll spare you. I’d like to keep a few readers.] That wasn’t the main problem with these fabrics. When I tried to press them from the front, the iron kept getting caught on the fabric. I don’t know if ‘caught’ is the right term, but I couldn’t smoothly move the iron over the front of the fabric. I had to turn the fabric over to press it.
The color is printed on the front and something about the ink makes it not smooth. I love shopping online, because I don’t have to leave my house, but this is a good example of one of the pitfalls: I can’t feel and look at the fabric before I buy it. I could return the fabric, but I have already washed and cut into it. When it is cut into smaller pieces, I am sure it will be no problem.
Here are the two newest members of the Pineapple family. They are both a perfect… 14″. Sigh. They are supposed to be 12.5″. I made these so carefully, I don’t think it is possible to have been anymore precise. I measured each strip to ensure it was 1.75″. I also made sure the blocks were square as I sewed each row on.
I am bringing all the blocks with me this weekend and will work on them when I have time. I also spoke with TFQ about them and some possibilities are:
the new iron
the service on my sewing machine last fall.
I decided that I would finish this quilt even if it meant making all the blocks over. Blocks never go to waste, so I could make a lot of pillows! Here are the new fabrics that I cut for this week.
I spent almost all week engaged in quilt related activities. First, I picked up my Nosegay from the quilter. She did a fantastic job. Photos to follow as it is such a monster I have to move furniture to get any kind of photo.
I also picked up some quilts from the photographer so I can update Artquiltmaker.com. The quilts are older, but it turned out that I didn’t have good photos of these quilts.
I also spent a few days this week at PIQF with the JCN, The Fabric Queen (a new moniker for an existing Artquiltmaker character by request). I took a lot of pictures, which I will share in another post. I didn’t take as many as I would have liked as I was having camera difficulties. We went down early and went to the preview on Wednesday night. The quilts were available for viewing and the vendors were open for business.
I found a couple of fabrics that I can use. The three batiks were just there and gorgeous, but the skeletons are for the Flowering Snowballs quilt (I seem to be getting a sense of humor with the background for this quilt), then, of course, there are dots for the Pineapple.
Additional new fabrics.
We went to Eddie’s Quilting Bee after leaving the show. They moved about three weeks ago and it was right on our way, so we stopped. It is a nice, large, open and light filled shop (even in the pouring rain), but they didn’t seem to have a lot of fabric, probably because most of the fabric was at the quilt show. I found a couple more dots that I can use in the Pineapple. 😉
This is one of the quilts in the show. There were a number of great basket quilts, but one block inspired us to get sewing.
It is pretty much a normal Flower Basket block, but the little Bow Tie in the middle gave it a little extra zing.
Since my design wall is covered with Pineapple blocks, I used The Fabric Queen’s bed as a design wall. The green flannel wasn’t as sticky as I like and the green, though warm, was not that attractive for a background.
Not sure what to use for the background, so I was trying a bit of a print. Not so good, IMO.
I took the Pineapples down (don’t have a cow, they are going back up tomorrow!) in order to put the baskets up. They look much better on white.
Some details of the blocks.
This is how I piece when it is too late at night.
We decided that we would work on this quilt together, so I will take the blocks next time I go up to visit or the Fabric Queen comes here. TFQ is going to work on some alternate blocks in a chain to see if they work. I know I hadn’t planned to start a new project, but it was good to get some baskets out of my system and I am sure I will be refreshed for the Pineapples, which I am reinvigorated to work on.
Apologies for the large photos. I wanted to get something out to you sooner rather than later. More soon.
Making strange mixed media works all weekend didn’t feel comfortable to me, so I sewed on Pineapples while the paint and various layers dried. I completed three more side border blocks. I wanted to make three more on Monday, and think I could have done it, but I had to work on the house a bit, so I did that: 2 days fun-work; 1 day: work-work. More new fabrics. The two on the top left are replacements, but the others are new. Enjoy.
These are the two blocks that I started and finished last weekend. I am still kind of wondering about the larger background prints. Are they still background-y enough or do they blend in with the colors too much? Still considering.
Wayne Thiebaud said in a City Arts and Lectures * show, and I am totally paraphrasing, that he did his work and he would let history judge whether he was an artist or not. I have decided to take that tact as it makes me uncomfortable to say that I am an artist. As a librarian I know I am creating a library with library services. With quiltmaking, I can’t say if I am creating art. It is one of the types of work I do and one which I enjoy. That is it. If it is art, great. If not, that is ok, too.
To that end, as I mentioned in a previous post, I haven’t done much work lately, but I keep reading and trying to put a few stitches into various projects. Craft Night will be here tomorrow, so I will have a bit of time to make a few more stitches.
Here is my latest Cross Block (Flowering Snowball). I was pleased to receive a request from CamillaKnits for the templates. She has become enamoured with the pattern, which is great. I love these old blocks that are not quick pieced blocks and am glad I am spreading the joy. If you don’t have a copy of Barbara Brackman’s Encyclopedia of Pieced Quilt Patterns, go buy one as soon as you stop reading this post. It is great for inspiration (tiling your bathroom?) even if you do not love piecing or blocks.
I also realized that I had not taken a photo of the entire Pineapple recently, if ever. Well, here it is in all of its glory PRE-border. Yes, I have decided to make that maniacal pieced border using the self-bordering technique. I am already lamenting my carefree-ness and all of that lost free time (HA! As if I ever had any). I am gearing up for the long piecing road ahead and the glory of it being finished.
Here, in the annotated picture, you can see blocks blocks 18 and 19, which still have three rows to go. I thought I would put them up there so they would feel like part of the crowd. Block 20 is in the machine and had a stand-in. See that Cross block? The poor block behind the sewing machine doesn’t get to shine at all. I’ll have to haul it out and take a photo of it.
*I adore City Arts and Lectures, but they claim not to record their lectures and you can’t get a copy, much less a transcript to save your life. I even know one of the directors who I begged to ask for a copy of the Wayne Thiebaud lecture. They wouldn’t even give him one. I know they are lying, because I have heard rebroadcasts of previous lectures. Ergh!
The fabric from Quilt Expressions. St.JCN and I split an order and these are my pieces. They were fabrics which we saw in other colorways at the shops in Denver. We decided to fill out our collections with different colorways. I found some different whites as well.
Fabrics from Quilting Adventures. The three along the bottom right and the one right above the three (with the squares) look like Christmas fabrics to me in person, so I think I will make some gift bags out of them.
Two new Cross Blocks (Flowering Snowball). I finished one and started another in Denver and, then, finished it last night.
Now I have a total of 5 Cross Blocks (Flowering Snowball). I like the way the circle appears when you put the blocks together. I don’t know if I want these particular blocks together, but I am tempted to sew them together in sets of four as I make them. We’ll see after I make a few more.
Finally, these are the last two Pineapple scrap babies. I don’t have anymore scraps and I am almost all done with the blocks I need for a quilt. These are also blocks #18 & 19. Numbers 17 and 20 are in process as well. I feel sad that I am almost finished with the blocks. I am tempted to do a Pineapple border as well. Wasn’t I waxing nostalgic about getting these blocks done and moving on to something else recently? We’ll see.
Finally, I feel some relief. I have finished the top and back to Sharon’s quilt and it is ready to go to the quilter. As I mentioned, I didn’t feel a sense of euphoria or relief after finishing the Nosegay, but I do feel some of that relief now.
Top: with the border on, it is a little too big for my design wall (what else is new with my work these days?)
Detail of front: this is the label. There was one last pink bordered square that I needed to make the piece complete, so I turned it into a label/wish for happiness for the happy couple.
Detail of back. The pink is a map of Paris and the white and black border has French words on it.
Blurry detail of a batik fabric that I used for the border, then decided I really liked. If you have any, I want more. 😉
I looked at my UFO list and it looks like most of the large outstanding projects are out of the way, except the Spiderweb, which is probably next on the list. There are a number of smaller projects, which are more arty that I will have to get back to eventually.
At the moment, the design wall is blessedly empty. Now I feel like I have some brain space and can work on something I don’t feel is hanging over my head. I guess I need to try to finish projects before they get so old that they start shouting at me. I will put the pineapple blocks and the Cross Blocks back up and see what happens with a new project.
Finally, the indecision is over and I will be taking the quilts, Feelin’ Blue, Too and The Eye of God to be quilted tomorrow.
I need to figure out how to quilt them as well. I have some ideas, which I have not drawn out, but should. I also can’t decide whether or not to have them heavily quilted. They are the squarest quilts I’ve made, but are still a bit off. Having them heavily quilted will make them hang better. Still, I am not sure the design requires it.
I was promised that they would be back by August 15th. Assuming that date, I looked at the calendar and that gives me two full weeks to get them bound and sleeved. Though enough time, I will be a lot better off if I get the sleeves and binding ready in advance. I’ll find out the timing for sure tomorrow. And for better or for worse, that is the plan.
I took the measurements today and found the last bits of purple fabric for The Eye of God, so, theoretically, I should have no problem making the sleeves and the binding before the quilts come back. I MUST work on this project every night so I am not ripping my hair out at the last second. I probably will be, though, as I always do. I swear not to, but it never works and it is something I need to work on. I have lots of other issues to work through, however, but I’ll put this one on my list.
I was reading in Robbi Joy’s new book, Free Expression: the art and confessions of a contemporary quilter (BTW, the website is a little unwieldy, but you can find the book on page 5 of the book area), and she has a different technique for creating sleeves. She makes the sleeve doubled and then does some kind of folding trick which prevents the hanging rod from bulging out. I do that, too, but not in such a sophisticated manner. I like the idea of making a doublesided sleeve. Even if I can’t figure out her technique, I can use the doublesided sleeve regardless.
I will have to review before I try it. IF I try it. We will see.