Tag Archives: art quilts

A Use for Yarn Scraps and a Small Quilt Finish

Yarn, like fabric, produces left overs after projects are finished. One of my friends has a great way to use them, making hats for the homeless.  The pattern makes a two layered, reversible hat. The first one is hers, then comes mine. The hat starts with a tube with closed ends.

1 stripe tube

You can see how it uses up bits of yarn.  Punch one end into the other to make a lining and fold up the brim; or change colors by punching the other end inside.

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Fun as well as warm.  Here’s mine minus the final decreases.

1 red rock tube

Mine isn’t so dramatic as my friend’s–I had quite a bit of left over red-rock yarn, but not enough for a big project. The yarn for the multi-colored stripe is really nice, so here is a close up of it–also more true to the actual colors.

1 red rock detail

I’d made a fancy shawl for my daughter of the multi-colored yarn a long time ago. It was spun from recycled silk. My hat isn’t finished because I want to buy double pointed (DP) needles to close the tube. Her instructions actually call only for 16-inch circular needles and knitting back and forth when starting stitches and ending decreases make it too small to fit the circular needles, then seaming the opening. I see no reason not to use DP needles and avoid seaming.

So this is my non-traditional entry for Scrap Happy.  Click here to get links to see what other folks are doing with scraps (probably fabric).

Meanwhile, on the quilting front. Back in spring I was participating in several of Elizabeth Barton’s classes on the Academy of Quilting. The first one was Modern Art for Quilters.  One assignment was to draw a grid. The sketch is here.

I made some value sketches too, then stitched it up in two color combinations. They were about 11 X 15 inches. At the time  was thinking ahead to the guild quilt show and the small quilt raffle. However, only one got finished in time.

1 colot study finished

Color Study #1

The delay was in deciding how to quilt it. I had always thought of the blue as background, so went with outlining blue pieces with blue thread. Then I faced it. I wish I still had the mallet I used to use when tailoring to flatten the corners and keep the top and bottom straight, but oh well . . .

Here is the  unfinished one.

1 color study 2

Color Study #2

I’m thinking about making a larger version of this second palette.

I’ll be linking with the Tuesday Colour Linky Party (link in sdebar).


Filed under knitting, photography, quilting

Grid in Two Color Combinations

Back to the grid sketched for the More-Abstract-Art-for-Quilters class (sketch here among other things).  After the line sketch, I did several value sketches and then several color sketches of the best value sketch. I decided to make a very small version of my two favorite color combinations.

So yesterday morning I pulled all the shades I had of red, blue, yellow, and green.

grid fabric pull

I had no intention of using all of them, but didn’t yet know which I’d want. Notice the top green one–at least it looks like a light yellow-green to me. When I ended up using it, it looked yellow in context.

So I started cutting from the first color sketch.

grid start with sketch

You can see already that the look of real fabric will be quite different from the look of the sketch. And as I worked with actual fabric, I made a couple adjustments to the colors on the sketch–a couple things worked in pencil but not in my selection of fabric.

Sewing took longer than I allowed for it–I’d planned to make them both yesterday. Instead I finished one and cut out the second. Usually I can chop any design into all straight seams. Not this one.  There were several partial seam construction spots. I started sewing what could be completely sewn together, then calculated the order of partial seams. By supper time I had this.

grid color

10 x 15 inches

I figured I’d better cut out the second before putting the fabric away. It was a good thing I had.  It was much easier to work on it today having it already cut.  I should do that more often. So here is version 2:

grid color maquette 2

(You can rotate it once to the right if you want to see it in the same orientation as the first one.) This one is the same size.

I will face them both and do a little stitch-in-the-ditch quilting.  I had thought I might do matchstick since the piece is so small, but I don’t think I want the haze of color that would produce. The “stripes” don’t work out evenly even if I did change thread color.

Now the question is whether I want to make either (or both) and what size. For one thing, it will have to wait till I find that bright green. I haven’t seen that color in shops for years and I have only 6 inches or so left.

I have plenty of sketches from the class to keep me busy for a while. Plus ideas from the improv class. And I am now signed up for Elizabeth Barton’s class on color.  She had one exercise in the More Abstract Art class that was so helpful, I’m hoping for more like that in the color class.

I’ll try to remember to link up with the Clever Chameleon on Tuesday. (Link in sidebar)


Filed under Fiber Art, quilting

An Improv Start and More Sketches

An online class sure keeps me busy, but busy in a fun way. (Meanwhile I have 8 days for the Paint Brush Studio project. Plenty of time–a day to make the back, two to quilt, and another to bind.)

Lesson 2 of Mod Meet Improv involved improv stitching instead of sketching. So I did.

L2 design 2

Elizabeth gave some very general instructions which could produce quite a variety of quilts. Mine is sewn in strips, but I’m still adjusting exactly where I’ll be sewing them together. First I move one to the left, then another to the right. Etc. I’m waiting for Elizabeth’s comments before stitching any more. Once I decide where each strip goes and attach them, I’ll add unbleached muslin for enough border to get to 36-inch square. (Those slightly curved seams really shrink the final measurement.)

Then I combined homework for the quilt-design group meeting tomorrow with a project for Lesson 3. Last month we talked about Jacob Lawrence’s work. (I had associated the Harlem Renaissance with literature–was intrigued to learn it extended to art also.) One month the group talks about an artist and the next month sketches a design or makes a quilt related to that artist’s works. I’d been most fascinated by one piece in his series, The Great Migration: Panel 18, “The Migration Gained in Momentum” (here scroll down to get to it) . What intrigued me most was the composition showing the goal off canvas and the motion toward it.  Since I don’t do people, I wasn’t sure how to proceed.

The current lesson involved varying a traditional block.  So I started sketching possibilities using that idea. First I tried Ohio Star.

L3 Riff sketch 1

This sketch didn’t fill the bill. I felt like I should show the traditional block before I pulled out a part to vary. With the star in the upper corner, the goal was no longer off “canvas.” And the variations on the QSTs (Quarter Square Triangles) were too stable. (It reminds me of Christmas cards that say, Wise Men Still Follow the Star–without the “following”motion. Or chess pieces.)

So I shifted to Flying Geese.

L3 Riff sketch 2

A little bit better: Motion and off the “canvas.” But leading the eye off the quilt isn’t a good thing, and that is what this one does. Also the blocks are moving to the side not up.

Well, as you might imagine, there is no way to tip a Flying Goose block to the right and have it point up and right. At some point you have to let go of the inspiration and deal with the new design. I think this is that point. So here is the third try.

L3 riff sketch 3

I rather like this one. I think I avoided leading the eye off the design. We’ll see. It hasn’t had time to get comments yet. I suppose if I were to make it, I’d call it “Flying Geese Migrate.” One trouble with liking to work abstractly is that it is difficult to keep social meaning in the piece.


Filed under quilting

“Torii” Sketches

You’ve been dying to see what I’ve done for Elizabeth Barton’s class with last post’s photo, right? (Quite likely not, but I’m going to tell you anyway.) First I cropped the photo.

b torii corner

Then I sketched the major lines including some of the wires and poles in the background because I thought the latter added interest.

L3 lines

I put “torii” in quotes in the title because I was pretty loose with the lines, and only one of the sketches has anything resembling a torii look. And that maybe only if you already know about the photos. (I also wonder to what extent the three appear to have come from the same source.)

In the first sketch I kept some of the hanging tags. And added an extension to the left.

L3sketch 1

This one needs the most work:rotating, eliminating, etc.

The next was my favorite

L3 sketch2 adjusted 2

It needed the fewest changes, and they have been done. Mostly filling the upper left triangle with extensions of the lines below it. Since it was my favorite and needed less work, I’m thinking my judgment might be improving.

The third one has some resemblance to a torii.

L3sketch 3

But when  rotate it 90 degrees left, as suggested, the toriiness will be gone. No matter. I have more ideas from this photo, which I suppose makes it a potential series. But I don’t think I can call it my torii series since the torii keeps disappearing. I’ll come up with a name. Or maybe one of you will.

The assignment included grabbing colors from the photo, but the photo had so few that I took a photo of a nearby bush. And saturated it in iPhoto.

berry color_2 saturated

I also have a color assignment for Lesson 2 which has been fun to work on.  I did it armchair method, computer open and showing the art source, and a swatch book in hand.  I had planned to set it aside and move on to Lesson 4, but I was in the mood to think color. I can move on while waiting for fabric to arrive.

And I signed up for Elizabeth’s next class, Mod Meets Improv. I am especially interested in her version of improv since she emphasizes sketching so much in the art quilt classes.

Chances are I’ll not have any more progress to post before Friday so this will be my post to link to Nina Marie’s Off the Wall Friday (button in sidebar).




Filed under quilting

More Thinking than Sewing (and Vanport Mosaic)

I recently signed up for Elizabeth Barton’s “More Abstract Art for Quilters” through the Academy of Quilting, and it has been fascinating. It moves quickly, so I am gathering potential projects.

Most likely I will not make all of them.


I like this one but I don’t see myself making all those circles out of fabric. Maybe someday if I run out of other ideas I could do it as fused applique or reverse applique. Time will tell. That was the first week.

The second week involved making grids.

grid many lines 1 and 2

This project at least has straight seams. The top grid was deemed stronger; the bottom one had the major flaw of being split in half horizontally. Multiple assignments followed.  Do several value studies for the top one; crop the bottom one into something useful and do value studies. But before I got to that, Lesson 3 came along. So this one moved into the potential folder.

Of course there have also been comments about and links to observe well known abstract artists–totally fascinating. The third lesson involved watching Mondrian’s path to increasing abstraction and the assignment to follow similar steps from a photo we had taken. So far I have only the photos to ponder.

b torii whole car

The car wasn’t there when I composed the shot, LOL.  And I will just ignore it as I work with this photo –if it is the photo I choose to work with.

I lean to working with this one.

b torii corner_2 cropped

That ends thoughts on art quilts for today; continue reading if you are interested in the photos of torii. I was attending a Vanport Mosaic event, and they are located at the site as well as integral to the weekend.
It is Vanport Mosaic weekend, a time of memory activism.  The story of Vanport is not well known, and the Mosaic project’s purpose is to unearth and perpetuate minority stories that have been silenced. The Vanport story is a story of race relations, some successes and some failures. The town of Vanport was constructed by Henry Kaiser because he needed housing for workers he had attracted from all over the US for his shipyards during World War II, and Portland was dragging its feet because many of the people coming in were African American or poor. The housing was segregated, but schools, work, and entertainment were integrated. Since families worked shifts, there was 24/7 daycare provided.
After the war, there was less need for workers.  White workers moved into Portland, an option not available to black workers.  Others moved into the vacated homes, they included veterans, Native Americans, and Japanese, who were returning from the concentration camps where they had been sent during the war. The torii are a memorial to the Japanese experience, an experience that is another major feature of the weekend.
Memorial Day, 1948, Vanport was flooded.  Residents had about an hour to evacuate with what they could carry. The town was totally destroyed. (For those interested in more, here is a link to the online Oregon Encyclopedia entries on Vanport, and here for the Japanese incarceration.)
The Mosaic project includes gathering stories from folks who lived there and filming them. The day, an annual event, includes showing the films, other exhibits related to the town, the flood, and the imprisonment. Often classroom projects are shown. This year one was from a human geography course with proposals for a more visible memorial than what exists.

Unless I get a lot accomplished on this week’s assignment and post again, I’ll link this post to Nina-Marie’s Off the Wall Friday (button in sidebar).

6/1/2019–ETA: Today was a play, Gambette, about the Japanese experience.  Here, from an exhibit in the lobby,  is a photo of an enlarged tag like those required to be on each person and item of property.

CC tag

These are memorialized in the rows of metal tags on the torii sculptures.




Filed under Portland OR, quilting, social issues

Stretching Art Project (70273) Finished

And here it is.

70273 finished

(It is more rectangular than the photo looks.) I am mostly satisfied with the result. I wish only that I’d calculated the trim line a bit better when outlining the space around the numbers. I liked it better when there were two or so rows of quilting all around it instead of the cut off on the bottom. I also forgot to calculate the loss of measurement when turning under a facing instead of adding a binding. Maybe I’ll remember next time. Once I finished the wishbone quilting in the back leg of the Xs I was sure I also liked the ruching. I’d been undecided till then on whether or not it had been a good idea. And the varied widths of the echoing turned out to be a good decision, I think. A little variety within the similarity and a ripple effect like a stone in a pond.

Here is a close up of the quilting.

70273 quilting detail

If I do stuffed quilting again I hope I can do a nice small stipple instead of the solid scribble that I ended up doing. And I’ve read that others use wool batting. Maybe that would have given a fuller stuffing, or maybe the wrinkles come from making large shapes instead of more delicate ones. I foresee more practicing in my future.

If you are not familiar with the 70273 project, here is information. (They reached the total of blocks February 14, 2019, but are still assembling quilts, and the education aspect remains.)

This quilt’s history


Quilting decisions

I have no other immediate deadlines. (And this quilt will get to its destination 10 days before it is due. Perhaps this is the end of my last-minute finishes.) The Stretching Art and Tradition pieces will be exhibited in Mancuso shows in Lancaster PA and somewhere in New England. I’ve lost the specific information, but will edit when I find it.)

I’ll be linking with TGIFF, Finished or Not, and Off the Wall.


Filed under quilting

Time for Stretching Art 20

This quilt has been a mental quilt since the beginning of the year when the theme was announced.  This is Stretching Art and Tradition’s 20th year, so the theme for this year’s pieces is anything to do with the number 20. (Click here for history of the art-quit show project.) One requirement is that the size must be 18 x 36 inches.

I considered several possibilities: a line of houses and an address  20 20th Street, a pair of glasses on a quilt titled ’20/20 Vision,’ and then the one I chose.

I played with the Roman numeral XX, and two Xs made me think of the 70273 project.  Either last year or the year before the project was exhibited at our quilt show, and I was interested.  In short, the number represents the number of people  killed in the Holocaust as mentally or physically unfit. The determination was made without physical examination or consultation, only a look at medical records. Three doctors examined each set, and if two marked a red X, the person was sent to the concentration camps. The goal of the project was that people make blocks, two red Xs on white, one to memorialize each person killed. The blocks would be made into quilts and exhibited (as at our guild show) to educate the public. The goal of 70273 was reached February 14, 2019; the blocks are continuing to be made into quilts. (For more information see the 70273 website, and to stay updated follow their blog, here).

I decided to make a single 18 x 36 block (of course that is not one of the required sizes.) And the top is finished.

70273 top

I had two construction concerns: keeping edges straight with the sharp angles and matching the cross-link of the X when I added the second leg. The latter was much easier than i expected, unlike other times I’ve had the same issue. But the edges!

Luckily, I had made the templates 2 inches larger than the required size. The little half-inch jog on the left didn’t worry me. Then the bottom leg got stitched upside down on its first seam.  The photo isn’t clear enough to show that each X has one leg that is ruching (I got that idea while working on the small quilt earlier.) It seemed a way to add interesting texture to an otherwise stark design. Before that I’d planned wishbone quilting on the red legs of the letters; I think one so quilted will compliment the ruching.  However, the ruching was such a pain to baste and sew that I didn’t want to rip if I didn’t have to. And I think I’ll be trimming off only1 1/2 inches, so still in the limits for the exhibit.

So far I have only one plan for the quilting, to make the numbers 70273 run diagonally from top left to bottom right in stuffed quilting. I have practiced one and am testing the marker whose lines are to disappear in a couple days.

70273 practice

I remain stumped on the next quilting steps, other than there will have to be something close to each number to help them puff up, and it has to be detailed because of the starkness of the piecing, and I don’t want quilting to detract from the two Xs.

I’ve considered sectioning it off with 1/2- to 1-inch unquilted lines with small background pattern inside the spaces made, but how to arrange the lines? Two thoughts so far: One option is 6-inch spaces echoing the lines of the two Xs. Another is rays radiating from either the numbers or the Xs. I’ll have to start quilting in a couple days, but would welcome any suggestions that get here before I start.

I’ll be linking with Needle and Thread Thursday and Off the Wall Friday–you might enjoy seeing what others link up.



Filed under quilting