Pools of Color

Yarnstorm has a gorgeous quilt on her blog, which renews my belief in simplicity and that I did the right thing with Thoughts on Dots. Her post talks about her pool quilt. Stop reading now! Right click (so you don’t leave my blog completely, thanks) and go read the post on her new quilt top.

Now that you are back and ooohing and aahing, I hope you enjoyed the quilt. First of all, the photograph that she has shared with us is wonderful. It has made me realize that, perhaps, you would be happy with ripples of color instead of the whole quilt perfectly centered with no extraneous info peeking in? Also, the way she talks about the colors and the quilt is like a poem. It reminds me of some writer who I have read recently, or whom I have read in the past and made an impression on me.

The quilt looks like it is made from all of those tightly, yet very soft cottons. I know that is not 100% the case as I have some of the fabrics. I don’t think any of them are loosely woven, though.

I also like the way she has used large scale prints. It seems like some of the flowers are fussy cut (notice the centers?).

I have been thinking about another quilt of squares only and I am inspired once again. We’ll see how it progresses.

I am out of town again. Back soon with photos.

One Last Pass at Binding Thoughts on Dots

After reading comments from Sherri and Laume last night, I decided that I needed to do my due diligence and try out green and purple/violet as bindings as well.

So I got up and applied some green to part of the quilt. The green is really good; I like it a lot. It works really well with the blues, pinks and the darker blue. This wasn’t the corner that I used for the other samples, so I removed the green and put it on the corner I was using for the sample.

I put the green on the ‘common’ corner and I think it looks just as good on this corner.

As a nod to Deirdre, I found a violet with some wavy stripes (with dots inside the stripes). I like the violet a lot, but I think the green is better. What do you think?

As an aside, in looking through my purple bins, I found that there were not really very many good violets in my bin. I don’t know if that is a product of my buying habits or the availability of violet. I’ll have to see as I see what fabric is available.

More Choices for Binding

So, I am at home instead of at the guild meeting, because I woke up with the beginnings of a cold. I have to be well. I have a lot of work and family obligations this week. Being in bed or coughing my lungs out are not on the agenda.

The bad side is that I don’t get to go and take friend, Julie‘s, class. She is teaching Freeform Fabric Collage. I am sure she will post photos on her blog, which I can’t wait to see.

The other bad thing is that going south was, probably, my only chance to see the sun today. While the rest of the universe are seeing over 100 degrees, we are fogged in. It is grey. I don’t know if it is cold, since I haven’t been outside yet, but I am sure it is not hot. However, it is not drippy like it was last night nor is the fog pea soup thick.

The other bad thing is that I don’t get to see my quiltmaking friends or all of their great works. Again, I’ll look forward to seeing them on the site. I even had something to show this time! Bleah.

The good thing, aside from trying to ward off the cold, is that I get to stay home. I have to admit that I have not had enough time to commune with my house lately. I will work on the Pineapples and the binding for Thoughts on Dots. Perhaps I will go with the husband to see a movie, especially since the child is gone.

I did finish another Flowering Snowball block (Cross Block) this week at Craft Night.
I like that I am making more an effort to make the background fabrics all different. I think it makes the blocks more interesting. I am really pleased to say that I have gotten a lot of compliments on this pattern. I am pleased that people have noticed and pleased that people are interested in blocks that have nothing to do with ‘quick piecing.’

In my last post (much too long ago!), I talked about possibilities for binding Thoughts on Dots. I also asked for feedback. Deirdre, Sherry, Sage and Cami all commented. Sherry and Sage thought a bright red or yellow, so I tried those. The red is really good.

Deirdre suggested a black/white stripe or a zigzag pattern. The above is what I pulled out first and it frames the piece nicely, but kind of ruins the whole cheerful energy that I have been working on. In all fairness, Deirdre did suggest a stripe or a zigzag pattern. The above is not a stripe or a zigzag.

So I hauled out a stripe. I couldn’t find a black and white zigzag, even though I think I have one. Even with the addition of the white, I don’t like the black. Sorry Deirdre!

Sherry suggested a solid red or a solid yellow. I really like the red (see above), but I also like the yellow. Neither the red or the yellow are solid, but they are tone-on-tones and are close to solids. I think the yellow is a top contender.
As I was pawing through fabrics, I also came up with this blue swirl, which I couldn’t not pull it out. I like it, but I think the yellow or the red is better. What do you think?

Make Visual Decisions Visually: Thoughts on Dots

My main goal this evening was to find the right binding for Thoughts on Dots. I have entered it into the county fair, which means I have to do the finishing work (binding and sleeve) fairly sharpish – 21 days from today is the last day to hand in the exhibits.

I thought I would use this Jane Sassaman fabric, but when I put it on the quilt (albeit messily here),I found that it isnt’ the right fabric. I like the stripes, but the colors aren’t right. GREAT! (<- note sarcasm) What a pain! Now what? I have blue on the mind, so my next choice after pawing through a boatload of fabric is a dot. I applied this fabric much more neatly, so I hope it doesn’t give it an unfair advantage. I think it is better, though. If I use this, I will not have much left, which makes me sad, because it is a really good dot fabric. Perhaps fuschia or red? Opinions are welcome.

Here is another bad picture of Thoughts on Dots quilted and trimmed. I am totally in love with this quilt. While it was gone, I forgot how much I like it.
Detail photo of the quilting. It is an allover pattern that reminds me of clouds. I think the quilting looks cheerful and doesn’t take away from the fabric placement.

Pineapple blocks 18 and 19 completed. You can see some of the new Kaffe Fassett dots in the corners.

Pineapple block #20 is on the top. Still not complete, but getting there.

The bottom two blocks are the first border blocks. They are 2 of the 4 corner blocks. I realized, in making these, that I have to use bold fabric for the lines of color since the ratio of color to white is so low. In person, they look quite cheerful.

Something Just Wasn’t Right

I know I said that I finished the back of Thoughts on Dots last weekend (weekend before???), but something kept bothering the back of my mind. I keept looking at the back and finally decided that the beige pieces on the inside needed to be on the outside, so I would not have to cut through the piecing that I did on the label when I trimmed the quilt after quilting.

Initially I thought I would unpick the beige piece next to the label (above) and sew it on the outside, but St. JCN suggested that I just cut it and then sew it back on as it would take less time. She, of course, was correct. It was easier, but I had to fill in the edge of one side as it was uneven. That took a bit of time, but eventually I got it done. After a brief worry about the back being way too big for the top and which meant facing cutting the piecing after quilting anyway, I finished the back both IRL and in my mind. This means that that mentally I can move on to the back for the Nosegay.

Bottom right (but photo is oriented sideways)

Bottom left (but, again, photo is oriented sideways)

Top left

Top right

The quilt is too big for the room, so I couldn’t lay the whole thing out, but, hopefully, you get the idea.

Nearly Done! HOORAY!!!!

In between many other tasks related to house, children and work, I am thrilled to say that I have finished the back of Thoughts on Dots. I really buckled down and took every spare moment to work on it. HOORAY!!!!!!

The back is even larger than the top, which made it harder to photograph, but here is an image anyway.

The squares are the reject dot squares which I did not use in the top. The lavendar and beige square in your upper right hand corner is the label. I decided to use the beige for three reasons:
1) I did not want to piece together 100 FQs of dots;
2) I had large-ish pieces of beige (bought them at a time when I thought I might use them as backgrounds); and
3) I decided I did not want to take away from the front. I wanted it to be clear that the front was the main showcase.

I did piece the back, because I have a enough fabric to do so and because I wanted it to be unique. I do see the attraction of buying 107″ wide fabric and just sewing one seam to make the back, however.

Above is a detail of the top of the back.

Above are a couple of details of the other side of the top including the label. Take the term “detail” with a grain of salt!

I made the label by creating a Word document and then print the ‘document’ on fabric.

Above shows the only problem. I think that I may have to take off the beige piece on which I have drawn a line, because it is too wide. I think it would work better if I put it on the outside. That way, I can trim the back after it gets quilted. I don’t want to hack of part of the block that has the label in it or any of the squares. I know it is just the back, but I still want it to look good. I don’t remember right at the moment whether I pieced that beige as all one piece or if I will have to unsew multiple pieces.

And finally, below, here is a better (not great, but better) image of Thoughts on Dots:
Part of the day’s chores involved moving furniture form one room to another. While my workroom does not look fantastic and I lost some shelf space, I do have floor space, once again. YAY! I was able spread the quilt top out on the floor. It nearly fits. Unfortunately, I didn’t actually fit in the room so the image is still a bit wonky. Hopefully, however, faithful readers, you get a beter idea of how cheerful it is.

Piece O’Cake Amish-Inspired Quilts

I often look through the Piece O’Cake books at stores, sigh and don’t buy them. I love Love LOVE the photos, the authors’ designs and the layout of the books. I would love it if they just wrote a book with photos of all of their quilts in it. I don’t like the patterns. I don’t need or want to make the exact quilts that they have made. My dear friend, JulieZS, author of High Fiber Content, gave me Piece O’Cake’s book Amish-Inspired Quilts: Tradition with a Piece O’Cake Twist.

Every now and then, lately, I have had a few minutes to sit and read, so I have started to read it. Normally I don’t do this with quilt books. I look at the pictures and that’s it, under the assumption that all the text is basic and repeats from other books. Thus, I was pleasantly surprised when I started to read Amish-Inspired Quilts. First off, I liked the way Becky talked about her sons in the dedication, but mostly I liked the way they talked about using using solid fabrics.

I used to use a lot of solids. I liked the simplicity and the depth they created in quilts. They can be a bit harder to use if something doesn’t make them stand out. I have gotten away from using solids as I have progressed in my quiltmaking.

The authors say in the first section on color “These quilts feel bold. They often feel contemporary, which is a testament to their classic beauty. The design of the quilt itself is very important when working with solids. Solid fabric has no pattern–the visual texture is smooth. The riot of color that comes with prints, plaids, and stripes is not there. When you use only solid fabric in a quilt, each shape is clearly defined. The structure of the pattern is for all to see.”

I had a strong reaction to the above statement when I read it, because when I used solid fabrics, I was trying to take out some of the many variables of quiltmaking, so I could understand it. As my skills improved, I got away from the simplicity. Perhaps, lately, I have been trying to regain some simplicity by using simple patterns. Consider Thoughts on Dots.

From squares only, I have made it back to triangles with Serendipity Puzzle, but now I wonder if I didn’t go far enough into simplicity. Should I have tried squares and solids? We’ll see. It is never too late.

TaDa!!! Thoughts on Dots COMPLETE

Below is the last iteration of the corner I was working on. It was amazing that when I woke up and looked at it on Sunday morning I REALLY liked the piece. I was lukewarm (and somewhat worried) about it on Saturday, but kept working through it and feel like the work paid off.

I realize that the changes are subtle and those of you in blogland will have to study them to see the differences, but here IRL, there were differences that mattered.

The piece is a monster, so, without help, this is the best photo I could take. I’ll get a better one up.

Thoughts on Dots Nearly Complete

The two photos above are how I left Thoughts on Dots before Halloween and my trip to Arizona. One fabric (Top photo: 4th from the bottom and 3rd from the right) looked like a plaid and had to be removed. Fabrics that were too beige had to go as well. I did leave a couple that were beige-ish, but still very “dotty.”
The problem with the above layout is that the white background fabrics I added are too active. In this entire piece the white, IMO, is acting like a resting point for the viewer’s eyes. In this section the whites are not doing their job. I separated some of them before I took this photo, but it still wasn’t working quite right.

I think the other problem was the differences in sizes of the dots. I didn’t have them mixed up enough.

This photo is a bit wonky. I am really having some problems taking photos of this large piece, because of the construction and all the stuff being where it is not supposed to be. In any case, I think that this is nearly the end of the design phase. The piece is really coming together, which is great, because I was really unhappy with the layout when I got back to it last night.

Additional Progress on Thoughts on Dots

Here it is right before I sewed the bottom right hand side together:

Here is the bottom right hand side sewed together:

Here is the top of the left hand side (the side I have completed) with the joining rows laid out next to it:

Below are the rectangles that I cut for my aunt’s quilt:

After taking this photo, I sewed them together by putting two rectangles together relatively randomly and sewing them. I did try to put a warm color with a cool color most of the time to try and get some contrast going. I didn’t, however, put them up on the design and arrange them. I thought it would be a different kind of challenge to sew two together and then put them up on the design wall and try to arrange them. I also did this in the interests of speed. She is very ill and I want to get the quilt done.

Also, Thoughts on Dots is still hogging up the design wall space. The portable design wall we saw at PIQF is looking pretty good right now!

Good Day with Fabric

I spent the day at home doing laundry and minor household chores. Since nobody else was here (what bliss!), I was also able to get the left side, yes the ENTIRE left side!, of Thoughts on Dots finished. I am thrilled and love the way it looks thus far.

The above photo shows the bottom right corner. Trying to strike when the iron was hot (metaphorically and in reality), the design wall had not cooled before I already had moved the right hand two rows over to the left and was putting more squares up. I tried to use many of the squares I had cut previously, but had not yet made it into the quilt. Many of them, however, I had to remove in short order as the colors were too depressing for this happy, sherbety quilt.

I had dreams of actually picking out all of the colors for this section today and sewing it together. I realized that was only a pipe dream. I ended up cutting more squares, which meant pulling fabrics out of the fabric closet, always an exercise in time and patience. Though not my favorite part, it was worth it because I found some very nice dots that have not been used yet in this piece. I also really want to have the right fabrics after all the work I have done on this piece so far.

Final Layout for the Bottom of Thoughts on Dots?

As you can see, I have worked a lot on Thoughts on Dots. Mostly, as is my current mode of working, moving the fabrics around. However, this time, I also replaced a number of fabrics that weren’t working for me. This arrangement has been up on the wall for a week with none of the fabrics really bothering me. It may be the final layout.