Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Done and Done!!

I have TWO new finished quilts!

You may remember this strippy string top that I made earlier in the year:

It is back from my long-arm quilter...

And ready to snuggle under...

With a good book. :- )

I've been calling it Reading Material but it may come to be known as The Library Quilt! It's roughly 52" x 74."

The other finish is my black and white Crowns quilt. I quilted this one myself, at home.

Below you can see the colorful binding and a bit of the back. I couldn't get a good image of the quilting stitches though.

They aren't anything special; I just straight line quilted in diagonal rows such that the black crown shapes are almost completely outlined. This is a square quilt, about 58" in both directions.

I'm looking forward to putting these quilts through the washer and dryer to fluff them up a bit. It will be a treat to wrap up in each of these briefly when they come out of the dryer!

And now that these are done, what will be next?

Thursday, August 23, 2012

2013 Sketchbook Project

Quilter's Attention Deficit Disorder has struck again. This time in the form of the Sketchbook Project for 2013. I received the email that the organizers were ready to send out the books for next year's project, and what must I do but respond almost immediately. In spite of my complete failure last year to create a sketchbook much less send one in. In my defense, I think I got spooked by the lined pages in the book I chose last year. When I placed my order I had lots of ideas but they seemed to evaporate once I had the book in my hot little hands.

This year the organizers have given prospective participants the option not to declare a category for their sketchbook when they sign up. They've always said the categories were more a suggestion or jumping off point than something to be strictly adhered to. They were meant as inspiration, not directive. I admit to being intimidated by the category labels in the past. When I ordered my sketchbook this year I went for "Undecided." Perhaps it will fit into a category when it is finished.

I also made the decision not to try to fill my sketchbook with line drawings or other forms of paper art. I am a fiber artist and I want my sketches to demonstrate that. I'm also trying very hard to keep in mind the origins of the sketchbook - or what I believe them to be at any rate. With the advent and popularity of art journaling I think the concept of a sketchbook has become obscured. It is my belief that a sketchbook was meant to capture and work out ideas, not be a formal presentation of polished art work. To that end I'm trying to keep my fabric sketches experimental and loose. This first one is simply rectangles of scraps stitched to the page. I like the juxtaposition of pattern lines in the two prints.

The next one is a bit of piecing I did years ago. I was playing with triangles cut from that same wavy stripe. It didn't turn into anything at the time but it is a perfect example of experimental piecing!

I still have that wavy stripe in my stash so I decided to work in a series, at least for a little while. ;- )

This one started with another tiny triangle, this time of the Hellbucket print. I just happened to find another print, in which I was able to isolate the word 'not.' I decided to introduce a bit of color this time around too.

Yesterday I created this page:

Once again I started with scraps of the Hellbucket print. Then I just worked out of my scrap basket to create my "house on a hill." I want desperately to embellish this with beads but there are restrictions for the Sketchbook Project. You may notice that this hasn't been stitched to the page yet. I'm going to wait a bit to decide whether I want to include it in the book or not. And by waiting I'm giving my subconscious a chance to figure out how to embellish the composition with decorative or free motion stitching on my sewing machine instead of beads!

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Baskets of Color

I'm still playing with my batik prints. Thought I'd try a ten inch pieced Basket or Cake Stand block:

I love the movement of the yellow through the pink and orange of the basket above. But there's nothing wrong with the pink below either!

Thought I'd try for a lighter background next:

Cutting patches for these blocks resulted in duplicates so I made another block...

I find these blocks just breathtaking, if I do say so myself! I'm also continuing to make six inch blocks for my personal Parts Department out of the leftover bits of batiks.

I want to make some flying geese units too, but I'd like to keep the backgrounds at least the same value if not the same color/print. Haven't yet figured out what that will be. I was thinking I would try out a medallion set with these blocks. That could change of course. The best thing about quilt making is all the choices or possibilities it offers. :- )

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Variations on a Theme

I haven't touched the Crowns quilt since my last post. It's still pinned and waiting to be quilted. Fortunately quilts are patient things. ;- )

I don't quite have the crown blocks out of my system though. I'd pulled out my batiks to make a fourth 12" liberated star...

And that's when I decided to try out the batiks in the crown pattern. Here's a block with the half-square triangles sewn up but the block unassembled:

I had one batch of blocks sewn up and then ran into some toxins at the food co-op. After that I had some trouble getting the blocks laid out just right. This variation is the same as the top half of a basket block:

This puts me in mind of one I think is called Tea Leaf:

If the top corner were a whole square instead of a half-square triangle the one below could be Bear's Paw or Duck Foot.

My head was spinning with possibilities. Well, and poisons. In the end I had to lay down and sleep it off. I've made a bunch more blocks since then; I'll show 'em to you next time!

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Sometimes I Surprise Myself!

I almost can't believe how much I got done yesterday! The rows of Crown blocks sat for a couple of days but I finally sewed them together the day before yesterday.

Then came the debate over whether to put a narrow border around the top or not. I was planning a black binding, but was afraid it might crowd the blocks. I thought maybe one of the white prints all the way around would give the eye a place to rest between the blocks and the binding. The more I thought about it though, the less I liked the idea. Writing about the pros and cons of the choices before me led me to the decision to consider something different for the binding. Bingo!

This was one of three multicolor stripes I pulled from my stash. I liked it the best, and things just flowed from there.

I was so excited however, that I didn't think about the effect of using a diagonal seam to join the strips together.

I'm hoping that since my bindings end up so narrow that it won't be terribly noticeable in the final quilt. Or I may go to the trouble of cutting these joins out and replacing them with straight seams. It wouldn't be hard, or all that wasteful, but it would be time consuming. We'll just have to see how I feel when I get to that point.

Having the binding made propelled me to make a back. My first thought was to carry on with the black and white theme or use up some yardage of a black with white print that didn't get used on the front of the quilt. But then I remembered a couple of flannel pieces in my stash, pieces that I would have a hard time parting with...

They gave me the length I needed but I had to add something to the sides to get the width. Turns out this was a perfect opportunity to use that big Garden Divas print I'd been cherishing. :- )

Not only did I get the back and the binding made yesterday, I was also able to get the layers pin basted on the kitchen floor!

I even have a plan for the quilting, and the machine is all set up, ready to go. This is nothing short of remarkable!