Category Archives: Uncategorized

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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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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Stretching Art and Tradition

Back in January I finished Dreaming of Cool, Clear, Abundant Water and got it mailed off. Today all the Stretching Art and Tradition quilts are online here and next year’s challenge is here.

Enjoy viewing and consider playing.

Meanwhile, I’ve prewashed my Riley Blake challenge fabric, and I’m plodding away at my Threads of Resistance piece. Templates made, pieces cut, and a few stitched.  But it isn’t photogenic yet. Soon.

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This Year’s Everybody Reads Book

Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American CityEvicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City by Matthew Desmond

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This was a timely “Everybody Reads” book because of the housing crisis in Portland, OR (some rents increased as much as 100%, gentrification, lack of affordable housing).

Ethnography tends to produce readable books, and this one is no exception. The book is about 90% narrative, stories of people in Milwaukee who experience not one, but serial evictions. Interspersed among the stories are comments about statistics and trends. And the final two chapters discuss causes and possible solutions to the housing crisis and methods. One fault was pointed out in a panel discussion that the author didn’t situate himself as white, male, a reflective move usually associated with ethnography. Strengths were that he triangulated sources so that his lived experiences among the evicted were corroborated by statistics and surveys.

The panel discussing the book included a sociologist, an urban planner,who specializes in intersections of race and gender, and a community psychologist. The book’s finding that evictions cause poverty instead of vice versa was presented as new information to sociology, though not to urban planning.

The stories are vivid, the experiences depressing. It is well written, but still hard reading. Some evictions were for trivial issues. Not all were for non-payment of rent. Property managers would sometimes work with those behind in rent, other times not. It seemed arbitrary. Court expenses were added on, so that the person whose rent was 3/4 or more of their monthly check had more to pay than just back rent to clear their records. In addition, it was hard to get another place to rent with a recent eviction on their record, starting a downward spiral. Every eviction disrupted not only the family, but also the neighborhood network. And then there were the school changes for the children. Another finding of the book was that the more children one had, the more likely they family to be evicted.

In the solution section, Desmond observes, if housing is a basic right, we have to rethink “the right to make as much money as possible by providing families with housing–and especially to profit excessively from the less fortunate” (305). Where previously we have made choices favoring profit, we need to reconsider those choices and values. Without that change, he asks us how we would respond to a situation where we could make a lot of money. Thus even while faulting the system, he is sympathetic to the landlords and property managers.

It is definitely a book worth reading and pondering. Then working to make changes needed to alleviate the problem of housing insecurity.

View all my reviews

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Not the Weather Quilt but Weather

Portland, OR, isn’t used to snow, so this is noteworthy. Usually snow comes to the higher elevations and the lower get rain.

snow-patio-med

I suppose it is part of Portland’s weirdness that we have five “quadrants”: the usual NE, NW, SE, SW and North, where I live. According to the paper, North got the most snow at 12 inches last night. A few more views–in three directions:

Now back to my weather quilt and other projects in waiting.

ETA: Weather broadcast said that we had not gotten this much snow in one 24 hour period since 1980.

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Gingerbread

Time for my annual jaunt downtown to see the gingerbread creation at the Benson Hotel.

boldt-castle

I forgot to take one photo with people in it for relative perspective. This year’s creation replicated the Boldt Castle in New York. Made with 100 lbs gingerbread, 50 lbs icing, and 20 lbs of marzipan, it took 300 hours.

boldt-candelabra

I was especially intrigued with the tiny candelabra. Behind it an equally tiny “painting”-about 1 1/2 inch by 2.

Some more details:

If you ever visit Portland during December, remember to check this out.

ETA: When I was a child my family took many road trips, one was to New York State. I am sure we saw Boldt Castle because I remember the detail that it was built on Heart Island and stopped when the wife for whom it was being built died. It would have been in the 50s, before it was bought by the state and fixed up, so I am not sure how much of it we saw or even if we could go inside.

 

 

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