Category Archives: design

And “Solidarity” Is Finished

A little more than the original three-day estimate, to be sure. But with each closing, more time became available, and with it expansion of work to fill available time. I did end up quilting closer than originally planned; it was good to have the option.

I quilted everything except the sky then stopped. The original plan was problematic.

2 solidarity before sky

I’d planned straight lines with a scalloped bump for a cloud. First I stalled on where to put the bump. Then on how close to make the echo lines. Then on what to do with the little narrow spaces. If I hadn’t had three days to just look at it and think, I’d have quilted a big mistake. Finally I remembered advice from a quilting class: if you want something to recede, quilt it closely. I realized that all my previous ideas kept the sky at the same level as the buildings. So my old standby, meander. Or maybe it is stippling when smaller.

2 soliarity sky quilted

But I didn’t want to let the cloud idea go, so I did a wee bit of padded quilting. I’d meant to do two, but there wasn’t enough space on the left to get the padding stitched in and cut around.

Then I tried a new way of facing that I’d learned in Elizabeth Barton’s Mod Meets Improv class on the Academy of Quilting. (I was reminded of a tailoring class I’d taken years ago where at every class the instructor said of some technique, “If you don’t learn anything else, this technique is worth the class fee.” I feel that way about this facing; however, there was much else worth while too.) And the quilt is finished.

2 solidarity finished

And I can still go to the post office and get it in the mail. Time will tell if the three shows Stretching Art and Tradition is scheduled for will take place. Meanwhile I have enough books, fabric, and yarn to keep me occupied and enough food to eat for a week or so. I hope the rest of you are coping with this coronavirus thing.

ETA: As I expected, the first show has been postponed till June. I’d have had till May to complete it.  Glad it is completed.

History of this quilt

Stretching Art theme for 2020 and sketch

Embroidery and beginning improv

Improv finished

Template section finished

I will be linking with Needle and Thread Thursday , the Clever Chameleon, and various Friday linky parties. (Buttons in sidebar)

Linking with Free Motion Mavericks too. But, full disclosure.  The bottom half quilting was done with a walking foot. FMQ from the “river” on up.

Also linking with So Scrappy.  and Oh Scrap! The bottom section is made from true scraps; the upper from pre-emptive scraps–IE, cut from fabric purchased for another project.

 

 

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Urban Chickens #2, Design Decisions

It turns out that I’d not have had enough fabric for the 3 1/2-inch square version I mentioned before (here) either. It was a math error from the beginning of planning. I would have enough with the new solids and using the backing fabric for the front. But I’d lose the blended look that I’d had in mind originally. Not the end of the world, but . . .

I also liked Louise’s suggestion to make bird blocks different from the pattern rather than making all squares larger. However, the repeat was too close for 6 1.2-inch squares. Ah, but 5 1/2 worked fine. And 10-inch finished blocks would also work well. And I could get 42 3-inch squares from each fat quarter instead of 30 1 1/2-inch squares. And that made a big difference.

The big ah-ha came when I realized I could make all the “chickens” the same color instead of following the pattern’s color plan. (Michele Freedman’s instructions are here, in case making the block interests you.)

So I made 3 x 4 piece blocks and a bunch of “chickens” to test layouts.

1 plan A

Plan A

I didn’t make the total number, just enough to test, so use your imagination to fill in the upper left. I was a little afraid that Plan A would be too dark, so also tried another layout.

1 Plan B

Plan B

It didn’t take me long to decide I liked Plan A; Plan B was just too pink.

So I made 20 more teal “chickens” and started assembling.

1 urban chix 2 top

41 x 41

It amazes me how regular the triangle blocks tended to be even though I  was going for “wonky.”  I had to consciously think “left,” “right,” “skinny,” “tall,” “squat,” as I made the blocks. I found it easier to cut white rectangles instead of working from a strip as in the directions. Some were 2 inches wide, some 3. Some 4 inches long, some 4 1/2, some 5, the latter for the sharply angled “chickens.” (I will get quite a few 1 1/2-inch squares from the trimmings.)

And the back.

1 urban chix 2 back

I’d asked for only a yard of backing fabric because I  wanted to use as much of the left over fabric as possible in piecing the back. And I did well. This is all that was left of the Marble Tan “Picnic” prints.

1 left overs

I used 5 fat quarters of the prints, 1 3/4 yards of white, and about 1/3 yard each of Paintbrush Solids teal and verbena. I will use an additional half-yard of either of the solids for binding.

On to pin basting and quilting. (One way to keep tops out of the to-bee-quilted black hole is to have a deadline. )

Linking with Let’s Make Baby Quilts.

 

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Water is Life:A Tribute to the Standing Rock Water Protectors

Back in February I rushed to finish the top (post here), then set it aside because there was no rush.  Now rush is approaching as the show set up is May 10.  And it is finished.

Still showing quilts on my sofa until I find a willing quilt holder. Wondered if pillows under the quilt would improve the photo.

Life-whole-bumpy

Don’t think it did.  Back to the old way.

Life-whole-finished

ETA link to the flat view hanging at the show. 5/22/18. And while I’m at it, I’ll link to Clever Chameleon’s Tuesday Colour Linky Party.

For the “sky” I was debating whether to do elongated meander as I ended up doing or some windy, cloudy swirls. I chose the meander because I didn’t want to detract from the bubbles.  I’m not sure it was the best decision. It does look a little better now that the quilt is bound, though.

The other decision was whether to quilt concentric circles as if the letters were not there. I had wanted the letters to be obscure, something to be found on closer inspection. I decided they were hard enough to see, so I quilted around them. The problem with a design detail for closer inspection is that there has to be something to invite that inspection. I’m not sure this quilt has that. I’ll try to watch viewers a bit, if I can be subtle.

Here are some views of the quilting.

Life quilting left bottom

I used “pebbles” to make “bubbles.”  I used concentric circles in the big circle; I’d usually do concentric circles with the walking foot, but the position was such that turning would have been too much wrestling, so I tried free motion.  Maybe I need to learn ruler work. Wonder if there is a ruler foot that fits my Featherweight? (Don’t worry, I won’t mention flaws to people viewing, but my blog is for the good, the bad and the ugly and reflections thereon.) The circles also look smoother from a distance and a washing will do more smoothing yet.

Life quiting right bottom

I think the letters are clear, but not too clear.  And the quilted words:Life-quilting close up

While realism wasn’t part of the plan, I though a nod to perspective was in order, so I used  the differing sizes of the phrase to suggest distance. Maybe it does, maybe it doesn’t.

I’ll like to Connie’s Freemotion by the River and to the Friday finish linkies if I remember (buttons in sidebar).

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Finished and Named: Loop d’ Loop

This quilt from Latifah Saafir’s workshop is the second of three for the upcoming guild show. The quilting continued well; the binding took longer than planned.  I was halfway around the quilt on the first seam when I realized I was sewing binding to the front instead of the back. I pondered ripping it out, but decided that would take as long as hand sewing the second seam.  I’ve made that mistake before, but I usually catch it a couple inches in.

I haven’t sewn the hanging sleeve yet because I’ve not decided which side is top.

At first I thought this way

Loop 1

I thought I wanted those bendy long “stems” on the bottom, reaching up like real plants do..

But now I’m leaning to this one.

Loop 2

It seems more stable and the long stem swoops move the eye around more than the other way. But just for the sake of completeness, here are views 3 and 4.

 

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Or maybe it doesn’t matter at all. After the guild quilt show it will become a lap quilt for someone in a nursing home.

The other design decision was color of binding.  I’d considered green as well as yellow.  Yellow won because some of the loops are so close to the edge that the green crowded them.  The quilt’s history starts here ( reverse order) where other design decisions were discussed.

It’s not Friday but “Finished or Not Friday” is still open, so I’ll link. (Button in sidebar for your convenience. Go look.)

On to quilt number 3. A little over a week is plenty of time.

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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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“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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