More Urban Chickens

After making only 11 blocks at one quilt retreat, I gave up on a finish at the second. However, I must have improved my assembly procedure as I rolled them out faster this weekend. Most fun was playing with arrangements.

Urban Chickens --early arrangement

Anything with color progression (no photos saved) was turning into rainbow more than I wanted, so we tried an irregular grouping. At this point I still needed 7 blocks.

Trying quarter log cabin arrangementAfter making two more blocks, we experimented with value gradations instead of color gradations in a  quarter Log Cabin arrangement. I had to fudge because of the rectangle shape of the whole, so still on the light-dark-light approach, I wanted a quarter to start upper left and another in the lower right, with  one overlapping the other.  To make that work I’d have had to set aside some blocks and make more than five more. Not in the plans. So the light-dark-light approach was abandoned as I made more dark and medium. Here are all the blocks in their final order:

Final arrangementI went for an “almost quarter Log Cabin,” meaning to have two rows of dark then medium and then the mixed that were left in the last two rows. I didn’t have enough darks to do exactly that, but decided this was good enough.

The top might have been finished if I hadn’t sewn two rows in the wrong order and had to rip or if I hadn’t sewn a row and a half with an empty bobbin.

Instead of finishing it when I got home, I had to shift to preparing Cracked Ice for Good Knight Quilts to work her magic. Now that it is in her hands, I can return to the chickens.

Oh, BTW, one retreat tradition is “awards.”  I got the “Portland Put a Bird on it” award of Portlandia fame.

Linking with Lee at WIP Wednesday.




Filed under design, quilting

Back to Those Scraps from the Kaleidoscope Quilt

I feel like I am alternating projects. The Retreat project and the Home project. I finally made a queen sized arrangement for the 54 blocks  that I ended up with (didn’t use five of them).

The Quilt Top

The head of the bed is to the right. There was only one place where I could set the step stool in this small apartment. I’ll work on getting a better photo after it is quilted. No way I could quilt this size! I have some ideas, though, and I’ll listen to my quilter’s advice.

I spent more time thinking than sewing.  I had graphed the setting while at the guild retreat last weekend, but when I laid it out on the sofa bed, there were too many blocks. I counted and recounted, checked and double checked. It finally dawned on me to measure the sofa bed. Not quite a perfect model. It is 72 inches long instead of 80. From floor to top is 18 instead of 25. Next time I use it for a model, I’ll be prepared.

Once I had the size figured out, I had to plan the order of assembly so I wouldn’t have any Y seams. I kept missing one and having to re-calculate. I guess extra time thinking is the price for choosing not to use a pattern.

I even have some ideas for a title: The Blue Hole and Cracked Ice, so far. Accepting suggestions!

There is a lot of white in it. If I were decorating, I’d make a blue dust ruffle (though any color in thw quilt would work) and several throw pillows for the upper right white corner. I’d make the pillows plain colors instead of patchwork, but use colors from the quilt.

Linking up with Needle and Thread Thursday.




Filed under design, quilting

Action on Urban Chickens Quilt

At last one of the guild retreats that I’ve been saving the squares for Urban Chickens to work on.

Urban Chickens progress

Please forgive the flowered bed spread under the blocks and imagine it away. This is a tentative layout so I can see what colored blocks are needed. I’ll have as many blue and purple blocks as I can: they have been the hardest colors to get good variety of this year.

If you are interested in making theUrban Chicken block, here is a tutorial by the designer, Michelle Friedman. I made them the 3 1/2 inch squares way instead of her tube way. Both work.

I took the 11 blocks that I received as Queen Bee almost a year ago. I’d cut squares over a month ago. May be the earliest I’ve ever prepared my projects for a retreat! I made 11 more blocks at the retreat, and I have another retreat where I’ll be working on them next weekend. I need 40; if those don’t cover the mattress, I’ll need 48. Usually I enlarge by adding borders, but I like this design better without borders.

I plan arranging them light to dark and back to light as much as possible.  I started the project wanting each block to be four different values.  As I worked, I realized I liked four near values better. But there will be a place for the mixed-value blocks between the  light and dark sections.

I want to group the blocks by color, but not quite rainbow, though there are rainbow colors there. I’ll not use rainbow order. And no rainbow has brown and gray that I know of.

I’ll be linking with Design Wall Monday (even though this project is larger than my design wall, so is on the “design bed” and Anything Goes Monday. And since I don’t have anything newer to share, also linking with WIP Wednesday.


Filed under quilting

Forty-one Blocks in Search of a Setting

Ten have become 41 (with enough scraps for 3 or 4 more).
41 improv blocksWednesday I said I needed 63-80 for the queen size I had in mind.  Forty-one doesn’t quite get me there. I’m not sure if I can get queen size out of these. Maybe if I creatively use negative space. Or think of something to add that fits in.

At least now that I see what I have, I can arrange and rearrange and plan concretely.

Stay tuned.

Not quite an art quilt, but I think some modern quilts are close enough cousins to link with Nina Marie’s Off the Wall Friday.


Filed under quilting

Not Just Any Scraps

I have some cut-aways that I have been saving.

kaleidoscope scraps

The left overs

They come from a kaleidoscope quilt that I made after a Ricky Tims workshop, somewhere around 2006. My local quilt guild had a show honoring our tenth year, so the quilt had to be somehow related to “ten.” Hence the title. And there really were ten different blue fabrics.


Ten Blues

For his method, one cuts and sews sets of strips, makes a pattern, then cuts wedges from the strips. If I make another one, I’ll not make all the strips the same width so I can reduce left overs.

This time I thought “someday” I would figure out something to do with all of them. I stitched the mirror image pieces together, then I stashed them in a baggie and they waited their turn.

Various ideas “out there” began to dance around in my head and change partners. I pressed the left overs and started to cut and sew. I had hoped to simply cut 6 1/2 by 6 1/2 squares for the most part and assemble just a few. I will be assembling most. Bonnie Hunter calls them “crumbs.”; Victoria Findlay Wolfe calls them “made fabric” and others talk of “improv fabric.” All seems the same to me. From these scraps, I will be making between 63 and 80 squares, setting them irregularly in white. The exact setting will be determined after I see them all. Ten are finished and many more are in progress. Arranging them will be fun.

Beginning squares

It turns out that I don’t want all the mirror image pieces attached, so I am spending a little quality time with my seam ripper. Tune in again next week for progress.

I’ll be linking with Val’s Tuesday Archives since this week’s theme is hand quilting and Ten blues is hand quilted, WIP Wednesday and Needle and Thread Thursday. (If you read before I get the current active links, there are buttons in the sidebar.)


Filed under quilting

A Local Quilt Show

The town my daughter lives near, Viroqua, WI, invited members of the community to submit quilts, so she submitted two I made and one of my baby quilts.
vintage baby quiltThe show was interested in old as well as new. My baby quilt is pink embroidery on white and is almost an antique. I think the figures are nursery rhymes–it has been a long time since I’ve looked at it.

The larger quilt (queen full; king coverlet) is from a Block of the Month (BOM) sampler I started with a local store in 2006 or 2007 and finished around 2010 after I had done a round robin and learned to make pieced borders.

Sampler quilt

I am following Moira’s lead (The Quilted Snail): “multi-fabric” quilt seems a better category than “scrap quilt” for when one buys a variety of reds, of greens, of golds for a quilt, thus reserving “scrap” for quilts made of left overs.

Space was such that it had to be folded in quarters. I have a full photo on FlickR; I’ll try again to insert. (Yay, I figured it out!)

chikkendale sampler finished al last--border
You have seen Logan’s baby quilt before, but here it is again.

Toddler and his quilt

Wasn’t it nice that it was at his level? We’ll let him touch his quilt.

Baby--showing face-- and quilt

And one more shot showing face. He almost looks guilty.


Filed under quilting

Climate Changed: Overview in Graphic Format

Climate Changed: A Personal Journey through the ScienceClimate Changed: A Personal Journey through the Science by Philippe Squarzoni
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I refuse to call the genre “graphic novel” because most of the graphic books I read are nonfiction.

It was the title, the past tense, of the book that drew my attention to it in the display. I checked it out, and only then saw that it was in graphic format. So I read it asking what the graphic structure provided that wouldn’t have been there otherwise. Early on I noted a lot of talking-head frames. My first reaction was negative, but then I noticed that the faces were distinguishable. In fact there is a listing of sources by face as well as name and credential at the end of the book. Saves a lot of he said, she said and allows for an improved flow of information.

It also allows for some dramatic juxtapositions. In the biofuels section, a frame with a person filling a car, the hose comes from a malnourished woman and child instead of a pump. After a discussion of living on the amount of carbon that the earth can sustain per person and comparing it to poverty, the frame shows a homeless man against a wall with a Nike advertisement and the words, “Just do it.” When he talks about climate-change deniers, one frame’s illustration is of an old advertisement: The cigarette most doctors choose. And yes, a few frames later, it turns out that the scientists for each issue were the same.

The book is a survey of the science, the philosophy, and the politics of the climate issue, told as “a personal journey.” What does that decision gain? It keeps the science, etc, from existing as theory only. It invokes personal reaction. It admits ambiguity and conflict as one observes contradictions and limits.

Squarzoni covers natural and human made climate change and illustrates with graphs–graphs that are more integrated in the graphic format than they would be in text with inserted figures. He describes and critiques solutions, showing both their potential and limitations.He addresses personal and structural issues. Climate has already changed, he concludes; we cannot stop it, but can still mitigate its effects if we start soon enough. A paradigm shift is needed from individualism to the common good (of people and the environment). He is not overly optimistic, but neither is he entirely pessimistic.

There are several points where Squarzoni ponders how to begin, then later how to end. Each time the meaning is a bit different.

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Filed under books, environment