Category Archives: design

Many Peoples’ Scraps and a New Leader-Ender Project

I brought home one kit that I put together from the pieces remaining at the end of the recent Sunshine Retreat.  And I’ve been itching to see what it will produce. So I laid the pieces out and did my usual rearranging thing and ended up with this:

Omaha arrangement

These squares and rectangles came from the offerings of many Sunshine members who started cutting their scraps as soon as the block pattern was announced. While selecting, I’d decided on a floral theme. First I pulled all the BIG floral squares. There were not 24–it was near the end and the piles had been picked over many times.  So I added medium size and then small. Finally I added the monochrome green and I had my 24. After selecting the big squares, it was just a case of finding colors that would work for the other parts.

I debated between making blocks and then arranging or arranging from parts since I could. I chose the latter, the better to switch colors of the big square around without ending up with with smaller pieces where I didn’t want them.

Having decided on this arrangement, I’ve now gathered the squares by row and labeled them so that when I am ready to sew, I can just start sewing. No more planning and re-plannng. No forgetting what I had in mind should significant time pass.

On another note, Leader-Ender projects.  I’ve had only short ones lately, relatively without a project goal. Just assembling parts that await future inspiration. But Deanna of Wedding-Dress Blue has come to the rescue with Irish Stars. Maybe you’ll want to play too.

I’ll try to remember to link with other scrap projects, one (Oh Scrap!) is in the sidebar. The other, Scrap Happy deserves that you check it monthly on the 15th.

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Bias Project–Green Added

I left off here, wanting to shop for yellows and to add green.

I bought seven tints of yellow. Even if I don’t do the checkerboard on this piece, I have another yellow start that needs pieced borders. A project for the future. So I added dark green and laid the blocks out on the new fabric.

bias-plain centr

It helped that I trimmed the tails of bias. I’m not going to consider the checkerboard anymore as I am liking this. But one more try.

bias print centr

How about a cornerstone of the yellow print fabric? I think I like it.

One more thing. In the interest of variation, I’d moved the wider red from bottom to middle to top, but I don’t like it in the top position in the upper right block. Easy enough to fix; I had a piece of left over dark green, just the right size.

bias more green added

It was a tight fit, but it did two things. Even though I wanted variety, having the top of each quarter circle green adds a nice symmetry. And nods to difference by being a different shade of green. It also adds some curve where the wide red had ended up too straight.

You can barely tell that the width of the two greens is 1/8 inch different. In the future I don’t think I’ll work with such small differences.  The 1/4-inch bias is easy to sew, but I had a bit of problem pressing. One side wanted to flatten instead of fold. I noticed that there was wiggle room, the bias maker being wider than double the finished width. Luckily I’d not cut but one piece. I cut the next one 3/8 inch instead of  1/2 inch. And it worked like a charm.

Now I’ll set this project aside till I’ve prewashed the new yellow fabrics and get back to the Welcome Blanket project (the one time I am willing to call a “quilt” a “blanket”).

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Four Blocks in the Bias Project

I thought I’d be finished with the blocks at this point.

four bias 1

But now I am thinking the dark green is rather stranded. And some of the spaced between the center lines seem too wide. So maybe some dark green stripes?

i think I’ll try 1/4 inch bias. (Most in the design are 3/8; the wide strip is 3/4.) I’ll try a very small piece so that there isn’t much to rip out if it is too hard to work with.

The 3/8 surprised me by handling much easier than the 3/4-inch. I also bought a 2-inch bias maker, but don’t know what I’ll use it for. When I figure it out, I’ll be ready.

Also, I am rethinking the yellow checkerboard sashing. It sounded good in the abstract, but looking at this, I now think it would be distracting.

Has it ended up “modern” or “primitive”?

Early posts, in case you missed them, are here and here.

Tomorrow I’ll link with Move it Forward Monday (button in sidebar).

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Bias Control, a Sketch, and a Block

The second block is almost completed.

bias block 2

18 x 18

It needs one more row of green, but I still have to make the green bias.

I had planned to finish two blocks, but making the long strips of bias took longer than I expected. (Something always seems to take longer than expected.) But now it is under control.

bias made

While cutting, I thought it seemed like plenty, but I may run out of the narrow and have to cut the wider down. We’ll see. Now my excuse for working on a new project is gone–I no longer have to prevent tangles. Oh well, I’m working on it anyway.

I made a sketch for the next three blocks. The first block was made in class, detail here.

bias sketch

I wanted swirls and loops on each edge and stripes in each center corner. However, I didn’t want any exact duplication. It seemed I should sketch with the whole in mind rather than make four separate blocks and hope they looked good together.

One thing I like about Latifah’s bias quilts is that she didn’t fill every swirl. I think my first instinct would have been to fill them all.  I tried to get that effect by having lines intersect, but also wanted some loops that are empty. They will appear in blocks 3 and 4.

ETA: Ironically, Latifah’s gallery that I linked shows quilts where all loops are filled; however, in class she showed several that were not. Maybe someday they will get to her gallery.

Here are blocks 1 and 2 almost in position.

bias 2 blocks

They will have 3-6 inches between them in the finish. I couldn’t step back any farther to get them both in the photo so moved them closer just for the shot.

Maybe the blocks will be finished by the end of the week. I’ll need to dig in my stash and probably shop (oh darn!) for some yellows for the sashing.

Linking with Moving it Forward Monday.

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40 X 40 Welcome Blanket Project

The people who brought us the Pussyhat Project have now brought us the Welcome Blanket Project. They ask, What if we welcome instead of exclude? What if instead of a concrete wall 2000 miles long we offer a yarn line 2000 miles long, a line of welcome blankets?

Blankets can be knitted, crocheted, woven or–drum roll–quilted.

I decided to get out my F2F (FootSquare Freestyle) blocks since 9 of the 12 1/2-inch blocks with a small border would make the required 40 x 40 size. This being the first quilt I’ll have made from the total (well, minus one really as I have one of my own 3 yet to make) I have a full range to choose from.

Arranging sampler blocks, various patterned blocks, requires a balancing act. Will I balance blocks by color? by saturation? by shapes? by value?

I started out with my eye on color. I create balance mostly diagonally in a square construction, but I pay some attention to horizontal and vertical.

40-1

Although it doesn’t show in the photo, the middle-column blocks each have green in them, the brights make a cross, and the browns finish the corners.

Not quite working. The upper right is too light. So I started to work with value, keeping the color arrangement.

40-2

Better. Now one diagonal is brown and the other brown with a touch of bright. Nice. But the white background of the lower-right block draws attention as out of place. And the upper right square piece didn’t complement the lower left checkerboard. So I switched the top and bottom of the right column.

40-3

Somewhat improved, but there was still that white background problem, now in the upper right.

And then it dawns on me. The color arrangement isn’t cut in stone. It too is a variable. And there are lots of star blocks.

40-4

This time, paying more attention to shape created the final arrangement. I’ll sew the top tomorrow, then quilt it as soon as I can.

The final due date for quilted/knitted/crocheted/woven blankets is September 5, 2017.  However, the Installation at the Smart Museum of Art of the University of Chicago will open in July with an empty room and change as they receive blankets. So the sooner the better.  When the Installation closes, the quilts will be distributed to various refugee resettlement groups.

Are you interested in making one?

Essential information (more detail on the Welcome Blanket website)

The blanket itself: 40 inches by 40 inches. (If they find more sizes can be used, this will be updated on the FAQ on the website.) Preferably washable fibers

Include a note of welcome and introduction. There are suggestions on the FAQ. Without the suggestions, I’d not have thought of including my own immigration background.

Mail them to Smart Museum of Art, WELCOME BLANKET, 5550 S Greenwood Ave., Chicago, Ill. 60637, USA

 

 

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The Threads of Resistance Piece Finished and Entered

I finished this one first –you know the old ploy, do an easy finish first to get your energy going.  And small meant it would finish quickly. It took a while to get a photograph, and in the process I learned how to change the number of pixels. I also learned I could find the number of pixels via iPhoto, and when I did, I barely had enough. So no change was necessary.

Threads-whole-2

21 x 22

You might notice a change from the previous “finished” top. It measured less than the required minimum of 20 inches in each direction. So the partial border on the right side. In some ways it completes the look, so it is an error that helped the design.  Perhaps it also helps the theme by stopping the flight of the last piece of the prohibition sign.

After reading Elizabeth Barton’s post about artist statements, I ponder how much I should say about what I was trying: in her thinking, if it has to be said, I didn’t accomplish it. I’m not sure how I feel about this.  As a viewer, I know I’ve had my interest in a piece expanded by an artist’s statement (both in quilt art and paint art). Maybe that just means I am an unsophisticated viewer.

Caution aside. The Threads of Resistance call was for pieces expressing anger at an action of #45 or sadness about a loss caused by his actions. I chose to express anger at deregulation and all the harm it would do to the environment. (I’m curious–to what extent do you see anger or not?) In addition, when looking at it, I kept seeing hints of the traditional block, Moon over the Mountain. And I thought that too fits if you think of the loss caused by mountain top removal for cheaper, easier mining of coal–a precursor to today’s more intense deregulation. All we have left of some of those mountains is a trace, if that. I did not put the idea there; I saw it there.

Then there are ideas I neither put there nor saw there. As one comment on the finished top suggested: it actually shows freedom. In that case the mood would not be anger but exuberance. (Once again, what feeling does it make you feel, if any?) And I am reminded of grad school discussions of Paradise Lost: Is Satan the hero regardless of Milton’s intent?

And there is the problem of titles. In an abstract piece, do I want to direct/limit  interpretations by the suggestiveness of my titles?  As a viewer, I resent titles like “Untitled” or “Red dots on green squares.” Yet doesn’t anything more specific start to direct the viewer to see in a certain way (or to realize what is missing if the artist failed)? Is an appropriate title “Deregulation” or “In the Eye of the Beholder” or “Red on Blue”? to what extent is a title a limitation? An expansion?

These are not rhetorical questions: I invite discussion.
The quilting:

threads-detail-2

This detail photo captures most of the quilting variation: micro stippling in the inner circle reminiscent of the old atomic bomb shelter symbol’s triangles, miniature prohibition signs tossed around, and then more generic wavy lines and straight lines.  The mottled aqua, not shown here, is quilted with a moderate sized meander.

I recently read that there were 500 entries, and they don’t yet know how many their venues can hold since the list of venues is not complete. So my chances of getting into the show are barely better than to get a quilt into QuiltCon. But as the director of Quilt National said, “Every quilt in the show was entered.”

I’ve seen one other quilt entered, my friend Mary’s at Zippy Quilts. Do have a look at her quite different approach to the theme. I am hoping for a photo gallery on the Artists’ Circle’s Threads of Resistance blog.

I plan to link with Nina Marie’s Off the Wall Friday (button in sidebar).

Quilt History

“Finished” top

Preliminary sketches made

The call for entries (now concluded)

5/14/17 ETA link to see all the entries

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City Squares Finished

A guild quilt show coming up does help UFOs become finished pieces! This one has been in ‘to be quilted’ limbo for quite a while. One reason was that I couldn’t decide how to quilt it. Usually I have a focus to emphasize or some lines that get me started, but there was nothing like that on this one. As the deadline drew near I went with my default, meandering.

I did consider an angled meander instead of curves. I always ponder whether to echo or contrast. I thought curves contrasting to the straight lines of the piecing and print would work. And it is the easier of the two, for me. Sorry, no quilt holder available; maybe a better photo at the show.

City Squares finished

~50 x 70

I haven’t actually measured the finished piece yet; 50 X 70 is the target size.

This quilt was also inspired by Sherri Lynn Wood’s Improv Handbook for Modern quilters; it is Score #1, Floating Squares. Sherri makes two suggestions for edges: cut them straight (as I did for Mint Swirl in the previous post) and follow the curves that form naturally. I tried the latter on this quilt. To deal with the curves I made bias binding. It worked pretty well.  I had most problem with the down curves.

city squares--unsmooth curve binding

This is the worst curve, and I’m hoping it doesn’t show much after being washed. Possibly a single layer binding would have helped (I always make double layer). But  a gentler curve would have helped more. Next time I won’t be so stingy about losing fabric as I create the edge.  I did feel that I had to do the binding the traditional way, machine stitching on to the front and hand sewing the back. I’d not factored that into my time allowance, so cancelled another outing in order to work on it.

The finished quilt doesn’t look much like the picture in my head.  I knew this when I had it laid out and was assembling it, but didn’t know what to do about it. It came to me while quilting. The background needed to have been closer to the background color of the print fabric; then the line between the print and the piecing wouldn’t have been so sharp and the two would have blended better. Also instead of the three areas of color I had planned with most of the red in the middle, maybe I should have used pieces to actually extend the partial city groupings in the print wherever they occurred. The quilt is okay this way, just not the look  I had aimed for.

So my three pieces for the show are finished, but I still have hanging sleeves and labels to go.  I’ll have no trouble meeting a new challenge. Annie’s Ruby Slipperz has a challenge to sew 30 minutes every day, 6 out of 7 for the month of May. (It is early May, you can join in. Information here and here.) At the end she will do a drawing from those comments on the appropriate posts of hers–once a week, I think. Commenting is more important than actually sewing every day for the drawing. This challenge might keep me sewing after these three are labeled and delivered.  Often after a push to deadlines, I take a break. This time I’ll try not to.

ETA photo of the quilt hanging (to improve upon the sofa shot above)

NW2 city squares hanging

Quilt history in reverse order:

Finished top (way back in July)

Assembling the top

Early assembly and arranging and rearranging

Starting the arrangement

An abandoned plan

Skyline, the quilt that made the scraps

I still have a long, narrow piece of the Utopia fabric. And a couple ideas.

 

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