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“Leaving” Is Finished

I just finished the last stitch, and I do mean last–attaching the label.

Stretching Art 19 finished

I have some quilting photos from before the facing was attached.

 

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And the whole

a stretching art quited

Once again I had to depart from nature. Plan A had been to follow the side veins. But designwise, it seemed better to alternate directions.

Ironically, of the two due in mid February, this finished one is the one with the date extension, and the one that is still only a sketch had its date shifted to Feb. 6.  At least it is only the top that is due, and I think I can get that accomplished.

Now to get it ready to mail.

Quilt history

Begun

Designed

Top FinishedThis is the post where I talk about design decisions, for those who are interested.

Sometimes quilt history is shorter than others, and of less duration.Deadlines can do that.  Stretching Art information here with photos from last year.

Linking with Connie’s Freemotion by the River.

I’ll be linking with the TGIFF and Nina Marie’s Off the Wall (button in sidebar).

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“Stretching Art”* Top Finished

Once I stopped dithering, sewing went relatively quickly, so now the top is finished.

a stretching art 19 top

Because I have several small projects ahead, I’ve set up my portable (52 x 52) design wall. I’d thought I’d be using it for this project too, but since I was following a paper diagram, I had to lay the pieces flat until now when they are attached. You may notice a couple small changes from the preferred arrangement of a couple days ago.

I got several design suggestions, but only one before I’d done a fair amount of sewing.  Kate suggested the bottom left “vein” that had been in the first rejected layout. It took me a while to remember why I had dropped it. At the time I was thinking of the way the veins really angled in the photo of the leaf. But when abstracting from reality, such things as realistic angles don’t matter. and I agreed with Kate that the design needed it.

In case you are wondering, No, the angle variations are not a mistake. I wanted the traditional blocks to be at a traditional on-point angle, and the leaf “veins” to have no right angles and not to parallel the blocks, more like the casual placement of modern improv, and the two “grids” to be in tension. I don’t think this tension between the two is what MQG means by their category “Modern Traditional,” but I might submit it to QuiltCon next year anyway.

I am still not sure if the design has a focus.  My eye tends to fall at the spot where the two veins almost meet above the autumn tree block. Not sure if that qualifies it as a focus.

Now to plan quilting–I have two tentative ideas. Tune in again next [whenever].

*For those interested in details of the Stretching Art Challenge, here is the link.

Meanwhile, while piecing the top I finished off 11 more sets of 5 squares for the Irish Star quilt, the relaxed schedule QAL, relaxed because many of us are making the chain blocks as leaders and enders. (Link here if you are interested in the tutorial.)

Irish Star progress

Whereas most people are making blocks as they go, I am making columns.Why do something easy if you can make it more difficult? Before I realized that each star’s background involved 4 of the chain blocks as well as the star block itself, I’d decided I wanted to use left over background fabric and not have the backgrounds match. I won’t have enough variety to make each of 17 unique, but there will be variety.  That means I have to know where the stars are going to be placed before knowing where to put the background square in each of the four surrounding sets of 25 patch blocks. (If this doesn’t make sense, go look at the tutorial.) I need 68 pairs of 2 1/2-inch squares, so it will take a quilt or two before I have them ready.  I also need to cut more pieces for around a dozen star blocks. To do that, I need to do some scrap control, i.e. cut more 2 1/2-inch squares. My color selection is getting very limited as well as there not being 136 usable squares.

I plan to link with Moving it Forward Monday (ETA link here) and Oh Scrap! (link in the sidebar.

 

 

 

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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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Second Welcome “Blanket” and Last Omaha Top

At long last the second welcome “blanket” is finished. It was so easy to keep putting it off while I did other things, and then the due date appeared. I’ll get it in just under the wire.

pink welcome blanket finished

42 x 42

I wrapped the back to the front for binding–since it was a pieced back, there are the pink interruptions in the cranberry print binding. Not as great an effect as a wholly pieced binding, but it will do.

I quilted it with an all-over floral pattern. I’ve used it before, but then it slipped out of favor. A recent blog posting by Angela Walters reminded me of it again, and it seemed just right for all that pink. And it is just as easy as  a simple meander.

pink quilting detail

Here is a link to the Welcome Blanket blog–you can browse it and see the exhibit to date. They had received 1500 at the Oct 9 post. Maybe there will be an update soon. The blog mentions mass deep freeze.  An earlier email described the museum process: 72 hours freeze, 24 hours thaw, another 72 hours freeze. Just so no moths, etc. are entered along with the blankets.

Quilt history: top here, (You can see its destination changed.) back here, BOM project here.

The other finish is the top I had started at the retreat.

Omaha big flower

40 x 60

This top is made from the kit I assembled from the parts that people had sent it. Most of us took some extra parts home from what were left at the end of the retreat. I had fun picking up all the big flower pieces, then when they ran out, medium and smaller flowers. I made the rectangle pieces from neutral fabrics that had been donated. We assembled 170 tops while at the retreat, but others have been making tops since as well, so the total is higher now.

This one will go on the pile of quilts that need backs.  A step between top finished and quilting. That plus cutting the batting are the hold ups for me, but eventually they get finished.

Linking with Free Motion By the River and if I remember, with the Friday finishes (buttons in side bar). ETA 11/12/17: Also linking with Free Motion Mavericks (changes in WP keep me from showing the button anymore).

 

 

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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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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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