Half the Battle is Deciding

This top has been finished for quite a while. Once set aside, it seems a project gets further and further out of mind.

Loop 'd Loop top

It is the project from Latifah Saffir’s workshop, Designing with Bias, that I attended last summer.  (Previous posts here, here, here, and here.)

When I would get it out, I’d ponder quilting and then put it away again.  Gradually I got the ideas for the wishbone on the sashing and the various motifs between the strips of bias. But what to do with the loop section remained elusive.  The shapes of the background did not invite various motifs as did the strips.  And besides it seemed that variety might distract from the loops themselves.

I considered echoing, but that too seemed daunting and not necessarily effective. Of course once I got the winning idea, I wondered why it had taken so long. It seemed so obvious. And doable.

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At first I balked at crossing all those bias lines, then realized I could do the tight-stitch knotting up to the bias, advance past the bias, then make a couple more tight stitches to anchor the thread and continue the lines, trimming later. Two blocks finished, two to go.

Linking with Connie’s Free Motion by the River. Click and see what others have been doing.

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Nursery Rhyme Challenge

Every year at quilt show time, my local quilt guild has a clever challenge.  I remember two from the past: One was to draw a number, then to pull a magazine and the number is the page in the magazine. Could use words or colors or concepts for a theme.  Another was to draw a building block and include the letter and the item pictured on the block and to use the bit of red shiny fabric that was given with the instructions.  Both sounded like fun, but I was so busy getting my main quilt entries finished that I didn’t get to them.

This year I not only had an idea but also had time.  This year Melanie had printed out over a hundred Mother Goose Rhymes (She came to guild in a Mother Goose costume with a goose puppet to introduce the challenge.) I drew Old King Cole. My thoughts moved from “He called for his pipe . . .” to “This is not a pipe.”

King Cole Meets Magritte

King Cole Meets Magritte,  24 x 24

The quilt block in the background is one of 6-8 named “King’s Crown” in Barbara Brackman’s Encyclopedia of Pieced Quilt Blocks, the easiest one. The brown and black applique are made with felt (felt made from recycled plastic) and machine stitched to the quilt after the background was quilted. The words are hand embroidered with perl cotton. Instead of binding the quilt, I finished it envelope style.

My “artist’s” statement: Old King Cole replaced the crown on his head with his “Kng’s Crown” quilt block in his pocket (much lighter and easier to go incognito).  At the art museum he headed for the paintings where he gazed at Magritte’s work and pondered reality.

I was glad to learn that I didn’t have to keep it secret; I have barely managed to resist posting teasers.

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1970s: A Trip Down Memory Lane

I guess the “memory lane” applies only to some of us; all readers aren’t 40+ years old. LOL

Barbara Brackman has suggested using quilt contests as a way to get a snap shot of what was popular at the time of the event. Definitely worth a look on the 40th anniversary of a Good Housekeeping contest won by Ginny Beyer.

http://barbarabrackman.blogspot.com/2018/03/forty-years-ago-this-month.html

I am intrigued by Brackman’s conclusion: noting the dominance of white background and solid fabrics, she asks whether tastes cycle around.  I am sure they do. And yet, no one would confuse these quilts with modern quilts.

Click and enjoy

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Border Solution

I left off on this top after being disappointed that my choice for a border did not work.

NW Rail Fence Border Audition

Plan A had been to make the border from stash.  However, nothing that I already owned really worked. I finally gave in and went shopping (oh darn!). And I am happy with my choice.

Rail Fence with border

64 X 80 inches

Guild has been in need of twin sized quilts the last couple of months, so it was time to get this one on its way.  Someone else will be quilting/knotting and binding it, so I’ll not see the finish nor be able to show it here.

To visitors from Scrap Happy:  This is at least partly a scrap quilt. The middle color is from my scraps and the kit was made up from guild members’ left overs. Other readers might like to view Scrap Happy to see what folks are doing with all scraps.

Quilt history

Blocks made at 2016 Fall Retreat (no photo)

Blocks trimmed and arranged in preparation for 2017 retreat

Blocks assembled at 2017 retreat and border audition

And during the quilting silence, I’ve been knitting squares for blankets for orphans.

blocks

A friend of mine had volunteered more than he could get finished, and I had time, so  helped a bit. It would certainly be fun to be on the receiving end and be arranging squares from 400+ selection! The square was a perfect size for using up bits of left over yarn that had been seeking a project. You can see I have a few ends to weave in. Every craft has its dull moments.

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Protest Quilts at QuiltCon

Longtime readers know of my interest in art as protest; to others, it is new information.

I didn’t make it to Modern Quilt Guild’s QuiltCon this year, nor did I enter any quilts.  I didn’t have any ready that were appropriate to even try. I do have ideas for next year though.

Meanwhile, I really enjoyed this Hyperallergic Article about the quilts with protest statements. ( I don’t know if the article includes photos of all the protest quilts or just a sample. Those who went to the show could comment if there are others that you noticed there.) You will find plenty of photos at the above link to make up for my not having one in this post. I’m wondering how coming upon a protest quilt among others would impact a viewer in contrast to seeing them all together. (If you were there, please comment.)

Click and enjoy. And talk about those that speak to/for you.

I was especially struck by two: “Black, Brown, and White in Orange” is a striking comment about our prison industrial complex.  And the contrast between “Protect and Serve” and the choke hold is stunning.

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“Water Is Life” top finished

Whew! I got the top finished in time to enter it. It retains some of the ideas in the sketch (here) Given the shortened time frame, I needed to simplify some more, so the “foam” went. I made a mistake,so the deep purple went (I was sad to lose it). And the “foreground greenery” went because no fabric that I had looked right. I didn’t overlap any of the circles because I wimped out.

Water is Life top

You may remember I wanted to draw some attention to the letter bubbles, but not too much.  I thought a little light and shadow might do it. I had already made the circle templates and didn’t want to make a new set (not the best of criteria for design decisions). I thought of free handing some curve to the colors to be added, but wimped out.  I decided a straight line wouldn’t hurt.  But it kinda made the circles look like eyeballs or space ships. And without the “foam” they don’t seem to be splashes from the waterfall, as originally intended. Oh well, maybe they are something else relevant. I do like the aqua against the lavender that I’d not have had if I’d gone with the foam.

This is the first time I’ve inserted circles onto a whole (almost finished) top instead of into blocks. Others have done it, so I knew it was a possibility.  I won’t rush to do it again (until the next design that requires it). Managing the bulk of the top while sewing the circle is so much more awkward than handling a block (in addition to the stress factor of cutting holes in the almost finished top).

I will admit to holding my breath each time I got to the end of the circle seam. The first four fit perfectly. And of course the stress level rises with each finished one–can’t ruin it now please, as I sew the next one. The fifth wanted to make a tuck at the end. I checked and saw that my seam had dipped in on the circle piece about 1/16-1/8 inch for about 6 inches.  I ripped that and tried again. When the two seam lines met exactly, the circle fit the hole. Breathing a sigh of relief there, I was!

The finished product isn’t due till May 31.  I think I’ll continue on with making the back and quilting it so I don’t have any more last minute panic.

Linking with Nina Marie’s Off the Wall Friday and Finished or Not Friday (Links in sidebar).

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Simplifying an Idea

Moving on to my next project with a due date.  This one is for the guild’s area at the Sisters Outdoor Quilt Show in July, but a photo of the top is due in a week. The guild’s theme is that we use letters.  Early on I had decided I wanted my letters to be subtle, not the first thing viewers notice. To accomplish that I’d have two fabrics either very close in color or the same color with a print on one, something like that.

I started sketching soon after the theme was announced. The first ideas were quite wordy. And maybe preachy.

l sketch 1

The layers would be black for coal, brown for oil, another brown for gas, a couple greens, blue for the water (the cursive writing would be quilted in), then a couple purples, maybe yellow, then blue for sky. I’d considered quilting “solar” in the sun if I included it and the icon for wind–puffy faced cloud blowing in the sky. It needed work, so I sketched again.

l sketch 2

This one eliminated some layers but kept the other ideas.  It also looked like something I’d been seeing a lot of. So I let it sit a while. Meanwhile, I went visiting fabric stores while in Lincoln and Omaha, NE.  And I found these.

l fabric

They seemed the exact sort of similarity with subtle difference that I’d been looking for, only I’d planned to quilt the words on the water. Time for a new sketch.

l sketch 3

A waterfall with one word in its “foam.” And I drafted the letters.

And there it sat while I did other things. Today I started auditioning fabrics and making the letters.

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It didn’t take long to yank the bright red-violet out.  But I remain quite undecided about the stone/greenery for the foreground. I like the lighter blue for the sky but it will be tricky to get enough from the fabric I have.  Since I don’t have to have that decision made in order to make the letters, I’ll sleep on it.

And here are the letters.

l letters

I need to trim the letters into circles. There will be some overlapping. I will proceed without an exact idea, and lay out the fabric and cut on the spot.

Linking with Needle and Thread Thursday, button in the sidebar.

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