Category Archives: design

Scrap Attack

I’ll leave it to you to decide whether the scraps are attacking me or I am attacking them. You may have noticed the new button “I may have a scrap problem” in my sidebar. It leads to Confessions of a Fabric Addict’s  scrap posts. Here is the link to the plan behind those posts. Sometimes there are linky parties, sometimes not.

I’m not sure I’ll pull a task and follow through on it for a month as she does, but there is value in listing tasks.

  1. Assemble left over flannel into backing for baby quilts backing flannel
  2. Assemble left over batting pieces into usable sizes. (In a box like that of the flannel pieces, but not colorful enough for a photo)
  3. Sort “crumbs” by color/value crumb jar
  4. Make crumb “fabric”
  5. Make blocks from crumb fabric
  6. Make quilts from blocks in #5.
  7. Spend 15 min a day for a week cutting squares/rectangles from any drawer of scraps (I’ve tried this before as an open ended goal and didn’t stick to it; maybe limited will work better.)
  8. Press and trim bonus triangles that are stitched into HSTs bonus triangles
  9. Design a quilt with trimmed HSTs
  10. Sort strips (That tub is too far down to get a photo of it. )
  11. Make strip-quilt blocks
  12. Assemble blocks from #11 into top
  13. And I will copy Fabric Addict’s final goal: send a box of scraps to someone. (I do know a willing recipient.)

Maybe if I do even a little bit of this, I’ll have something to show on the 15th  of each month when Kate posts the Scrap Happy list.  You might enjoy looking at the progress of other Scrap Happy folks (here).

Linking up with Oh Scrap! Some people are beyond organizing and actually have projects going–go see!

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A New Year and a New Quilt

With a due date the beginning of February, I guess it is time to get beyond mental quilting. The Stretching Art theme this year is “Under Scrutiny.” (The Stretching Art challenge is to make an art quilt 18 x 36 on the assigned theme and to try some new technique. The quilts are hung in three or four Mancuso shows in the East, so I’ll probably never see them hanging.) This theme was daunting for quite a while. Last year’s, Dream Big, was much easier for me (Dreaming of Cool, Clear, Abundant Water here ).

What hindered me was that the theme, asking us to look deeply and drill down, seemed to invite representational art (even though the challenge mentioned abstract ideas) and I prefer abstract design. I didn’t get an idea till Fall came, and gorgeous leaves filled the sidewalks.

So I took a walk, camera in hand. From the photos, I selected this one and cropped and cropped and cropped. Idea one was to replicate the last one, more or less. But before I started sketching, I remembered an ancient start of a tree themed quilt. I’d made four test blocks, one for each season, and gazillions of  one-inch HSTs. The plan had been to make the first four the center of a queen sized medallion quilt, either as four blocks on point or as a square..

I got stumped on the decision of whether to keep the season represented by the center tree for that whole quarter of the quilt or to intermingle the HSTs randomly or to keep seasonal coloration by rows. I set them aside with the fabric the HSTs had been cut from while I thought on the dilemma. And you know all about “out of sight, out of mind.”

Having remembered them, I thought, Why start my scrutiny from the tree when I could start with ecosystem, forest, tree.  Finally I was ready to sketch. Although I did the outline to scale, I’d made the 6-inch tree blocks too small, but the idea seemed a good place to start..

leaf sketch

I’d gotten this far before Thanksgiving, but set it aside again for the holidays.

Today I dug the old tree blocks out from the bottom tub in a four-tub stack and began auditioning fabric.

leaf fabric audition

The leaf “veins” will be much narrower, of course.  And I’m still debating whether to vary the shades of gold in the background or use just one. I’m leaning to the one. I also have to decide whether to make the “veins” straight or slightly curvy as in the sketch. I’m leaning to straight. Curves can come in the quilting. And I’m pondering whether to make templates or do improv piecing. I’ll sleep on it.

Linking with Nina Marie’s Off the Wall Friday.

 

 

 

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Border Practice Becomes a Finished Quilt

This quilt has a long history.

It started with my picking up the light and medium green fabrics in a charity quilt starter packet at my guild in Indiana (and I left Indiana in 2011). It continued when I did my first round robin and had never done pieced borders before, so I practiced each border before making it on someone else’s quilt. This was a year or more before I left Indiana. Not big enough, it needed more borders.  That was accomplished at a quilt retreat in 2013 (here), and then it rested till now.

Border Practice finished

55 x 65

What prompted the finish is the guild’s charity project, quilts for hospice patients, this quarter.The subdued tones seemed right for that. And I had time.

I ended up quilting in a meander except for the circle in the center. That I just outlined.

border practice center

In addition to practicing borders, I had been practicing inserting circles–yes, we were doing that then. This quilt is not a typical medallion quilt, since the center isn’t really a medallion, a special block. The 9-patch seemed the fastest way to get a center the size of the round robin piece awaiting my border.

In some ways the large squares (6 1/2 inches) are too large for the rest of the piecing. Seeking balance, I made the final border the same width. Luckily there was enough of the medium green print to make four cornerstones. I think the “imbalance” ends up working because the light green borders in a gestalt view read as one wide light border. (Perhaps I delude myself that it works–feel free to say so.)

Something else different from my usual is the color of the binding. Usually I bind darker than the final border. In fact I went to the store with “the right” brown or dark green in mind, though I was also considering pink.  No pinks were dusty enough. Moving on to the brown section, I paused at the gold. Actually in the store it looked closer to the peach of the raspberry and peach narrow borders, and it seemed good to repeat that peach. And gold appeared in three prints.

border practice corner

Actually that was just an excuse to show that mitered corner. While I don’t love the gold binding next to the medium green, I do like it next to the dark green and in the overall look at the whole quilt. I think the striped print with its green in between two light pink stripes set up to have dark with light on each side. So I think the lighter binding works here, though it may not work everywhere.

One more UFO loosed on the world.

Linking with TGIFF and Finished or Not.

And Finish it up Friday (when link available)

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Fall Retreat

Another fall retreat has come and gone; I’ve been well fed, had lots of good laughs, and also managed to sew on several projects.

I liked this view of sewing machines four deep.

NW sewing machines

My first project was the one I’d laid out last week (here). I finished the top all but the border by Friday lunch (while stitching 2 1/2-inch squares as leaders and enders for the larger Irish Star (tutorial and quilt along here).

NW Rail Fence

Although it had been raining, there was a brief moment when I could get an outside shot. I thought I had a perfect border fabric, but upon seeing them together, I am no longer sure.

NW Rail Fence Border Audition

It feels like it draws too much attention to itself and overshadows the body of the quilt. And that is not what a border is supposed to do.  I’ll keep looking at it and thinking about it while also stash diving a bit deeper for alternative possibilities. Your thoughts?

Next I moved to the smaller Irish Star quilt made with bigger squares. That top took the rest of Friday and a good part of Saturday to finish.  (Meanwhile continuing on the 2 1/2-inch leaders and enders.)

NW Irish Star 1

45 x 45

This one is also made from the left overs from Urban Chickens--and there are still MORE.  Having those 3 1/2-inch strips/squares was enough to motivate me to do the math to use them. (The tutorial is for 1 1/2-, 2- and 2 1/2-inch squares.) Probably no math teacher would recognize my method of modifying the size. There is probably an easy formula, if only I knew it. But I ended up with 15-inch blocks (finished).

I’d started out thinking to reverse print and solid, thus making stars of prints. But as I looked at the solids in the chain, I decided all solids would look better. It will become a lap quilt for guild giving to nursing homes.

Other small finishes were two doll quilts–Fire Fighters’ Toy and Joy is coming up.

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The mini charm packs came from swag at a previous retreat and had been leaders and enders then; they were waiting for borders to make them about 20 x 20. The brown stripe was in the free box; the blue came from a shopping expedition some fellow retreaters made.

I got a start on the Omaha kit I”d made up at the end of the Sunshine retreat in Omaha. (Sneak preview of the look here). The rows are made and half of them attached. More on that one later.

It’s been a while since I’ve linked to Oh Scrap! This post seems scrappy enough. 🙂

 

 

 

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Mostly Traditional

At guild a long time ago, I picked up a kit to make a twin sized charity quilt. The Rail Fence pattern needs one dark, one medium and one light. The kit had two darks and a light. So it sat a while.

I had a lot of left overs from the Urban Chickens quilt–strips conveniently 3 1/2 inches wide.  Lots of medium, but not a single color. I decided to sew and figure out an arrangement later.  I finished the sewing of the blocks at last year’s fall retreat. I delayed a long while because I don’t particularly like trimming blocks and these needed it.

Today I am getting ready for this year’s fall retreat, so finally trimmed. Next comes the fun part, arranging the colors. I started out alternating horizontal rows. I dismantled that before I thought of photos, but trust me, it didn’t look good.

Rail Fence

I think because the design moves diagonally that alternating diagonal rows works better. (To echo or to contrast? That is the question. Today the answer was to echo. )I’ll have to stare at it for a while and move a block or two before I pack it up.

It will need a border.  I don’t like the fabric from the kit for the border either.  I’ll go stash diving later and see what I have that works.  I guess that kit will end up making two tops.

Assembly should go fairly quickly. I have one other project kitted and another two planned. Lots of cutting in my week to get ready!

 

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Political Art, Abstract Art

Sometimes a blog post is a way to place a marker for articles I want to refer back to later. This is one of those.

People who have read this blog for a while know of my interest in abstract design. A short look back for new followers: This was my first attempt (ignoring the fact that most traditional quilts are abstract).

finished quilt

24 x 30

It started with a photograph of my street.  (Its history, reverse order, starts here.)

Then there was “Hole in the Safety Net,” which started as mere shapes and evolved into concept.

feb cla draft 2

And was helped by title to make a statement beyond what mere shapes could say. Its history is here along with a link to the finished product.

Enough background. On to the articles.

The first responds to an exhibit of abstract works of 12 black female artists and tells of their struggle to be recognized in a white male art world, a world where even black art critics considered abstract art to be white art. “Women of Color Find Their Rightful Place in the History of American Abstraction.

The second does two things. It places black artists firmly in both abstract and political (racial in this context) camps and makes a profound statement about race: “How to Embed a Shout: A New Generation of Black Artists Contends with Racism.”

And the statement: “Adrienne Edwards, curator at Performa, the Walker Art Center, and a scholar who has written a good deal about Pendleton’s work, professes: ‘Blackness is the original abstraction; people are living abstractions, meaning [they are] made up, conjured.’ Yes. I have to agree. For others, this sign of dark skin might symbolize anything and its opposite: strength, weakness, triumph, and debacle, membership or exile. The racial imaginary conditions all of us raised under its auspices to project onto black people one’s fears or desires, so that it becomes difficult to be seen as a human being rather than a space for projection. Lowery Stokes Sims, a curator and former director of the Studio Museum in Harlem, adds the historical fact: ‘If you take the track that abstraction came out of African art, then we are just claiming our birthright.’

“Blackness is the original abstraction”: think on that . . .

And yes, I remember that I promised to do the whiteness syllabus (here); it is still on the back burner where my subconscious can work on it while I finish up a few other projects.

 

 

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Thread Color on Welcome “Blanket”

Six blocks are quilted using an Angela Walters approach (so it is taking longer than an all-over design would.) I’d considered all-over paisley, then thought this was a great time to try custom quilting a slightly different design on each block.

As I usually do, I started in the center.

40 center q

Most quilting designs here are Angela Walters inspired. The center is from her first Shape by Shape book. (I don’t remember how she named the nesting squares.) Yep, I know the center isn’t square–I stitched the square then did the design.  I’d decided that the nesting square would be in each block as a unifying feature. The pear print prompted paisley after outlining them. This block was done with thread that matched the brown background.

The edge blocks are quilted with light beige thread, Aurofil 50 weight. Another of Angela’s ideas is that a single color of 50-weight thread will sink in and not show contrast much.  It speeds things up by eliminating thread changes. So I tried it.

My first thought, while quilting, was that it doesn’t hide well enough.

40 red close q

The center here begins to show how bold the thread looks up close (though in real life it is much more of a contrast). I began to think Angela had misled me, or maybe I had more contrast than she had intended. Then I saw it from a distance.

40 quilted stars

And the thread was much less visible. I think when the quilt is washed the thread will be even less visible.

For unity, I decided not to use too many different motifs. So I limited myself to spiral, pebble, and paisley at first. Those didn’t quite fit the background of the star to the right, so I did a  modified feather with pebbles at the one edge.  And I added ribbon candy to some of the wider log cabin like strips that don’t show here.

I tried to do as few stops and starts as possible so combined outlining he points with moving into the background, something I couldn’t have done had I been changing colors of thread.

Here’s a look at the two blocks with similar brown fabric.

40 two browns close q

The lighter thread does a pretty good job of disappearing.

Three blocks and binding yet to do and a welcome letter to write. Luckily the due date has been extended to November 7.

First post about this quilt with information about the Welcome Blanket project here.

You can view the project’s progress at the Twitter site and (if you live near Chicago) find days to go and knit or sew at the Smart Museum installation of welcome blankets. https://twitter.com/WelcomeBlanket

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