Do I Understand Orange?

When I was in elementary school, my favorite color was orange. That changed, especially during the harvest gold-avocado green-pumpkin orange color scheme years. However – at least with quilting fabrics – orange is creeping back into my life. I’m not sure I understand orange, because I am still using it with caution. I doubt that I will ever be so exuberant with orange as to carry an orange plastic purse (as I did when I was ten), but just this week I found myself working on two predominantly orange quilts. Who knows, I may even revisit the gold-green-orange scheme.

Luck and wisdom!

I Can’t Count

There are times when I struggle with basic arithmetic. It gets worse with planned quilting projects, especially large ones. Usually I estimate that I need four yards of fabric and I really need five. This is the first time that I have overestimated how much teal fabric (pictured above) I needed. Since it is for my daughter’s quilt, I’m quite delighted to have a little more room for error. It’s also a fabric that I really like, so that’s a bonus.

Being less capable at addition than I would like is one of the reasons I prefer to work on small art quilts. It’s also why my contributions to the guild’s charity quilts are usually of the scrap variety. I console myself that my difficulty estimating the yardage I might need is a huge boon to my local quilt shop. We want to keep these places in business, after all. Still, I’m celebrating the win of buying more than I needed rather than scrambling to find the same dye lot of this fabric.

Luck and wisdom!

When Tools Turn Homicidal

So, my tools turned against me this week. It’s a sad state of affairs when the very things you treasure become homicidal. My cutter is my constant companion, and this is how it treated me. If I were willing to accept that any of this was my fault I would probably admit that I was distracted when I went in to the studio, and that it wasn’t a day to be handling anything more lethal than a wet noodle. But I’m not. I will forgive my tools as soon as the wound is healed enough to start cutting fabric again. In the meantime, I’m going to do some major league blaming.

Luck and wisdom!

The Return of Frogs

I made frog quilts for quite some time. Don’t ask me why. There always seemed to be another cute frog fabric at the shop. Then the manufacturers went on to another motif and I thought my frog days were over. Hah. Along comes Karen Brow-Meier of Java House Quilts and her adorable frog pattern. I took the workshop through Amador Valley Quilters simply to learn Karen’s technique for angled lines without paper piecing. Turns out those frogs are so cute that I made two blocks, and found the perfect buttons for eyes just sitting at the top of my embellishment collection (well, one of the collections). Then I found some fabric that would go nicely with the blocks. I may just need to revisit the frog quilt series.

May the 4th be with you!

Happy, Happy

My two art quilt groups are working on themes that I can address with one project, and I got to use fabric I bought just because it was pretty. If I didn’t have to go in for my annual check-up and blood tests I would celebrate with the most decadent ice cream cake available. The top pictured above began with the orange ombre and starburst print. I stacked two rectangles, cut a gentle curve, swapped out one piece and sewed. I repeated the process so the resulting rectangles had two gentle curves. Then I added two dark brown rectangles and cut gentle curves, resulting in four rectangles. I expected to add borders, but when I put the pale green sashing between the blocks the piece suggested I stop sewing. I may let it have its way. If it’s happy, I’m happy.

Luck and wisdom!

My Plans

Once again I made plans; once again the universe laughed. This time my plan was to take advantage of caring for my husband after his shoulder surgery to get my sewing machine serviced and clear out some of the piles. I packed the machine off to the shop (you can see the empty well where it usually lives in the photo above) and covered the sewing table with stacks to sort. That’s when things went awry.

I’m not sure if the universe is rewarding me or just keeping me on my toes. Some of the changes to my planned schedule are welcome. My husband is recovering faster than I expected. This is very good news, as there is a reason I never considered a career in health care. Then Dublin Sewing Center called in less than a week to say my machine was ready – yay! They always give themselves some wiggle room on their estimates, but still I expected to be without my machine for many days. During the height of the first lockdown a simple service meant a three-week turnaround. Still, the picture below will illustrate why I’m not sure if the universe is giving me a break or a lesson.

I have many, many, many piles in my sewing room. Sorting through everything would take months, but I was certain I could get through the top layer in a week. That’s why I spread the easiest to reach piles on every flat surface in the sewing room. Now my sewing machine is back and I can’t set it up until I decide what to do with these fabrics.

Of course, there is nothing like a deadline to motivate me, and my deadline is getting the machine out of the living room as quickly as possible. Yesterday would have been good. If push comes to shove, I’ll put some of the fabric collections back in the general stash drawers, because I can already tell that I don’t have the same artistic sensibilities as I did when I thought those fabrics actually looked good together.

Perhaps the universe is gently laughing at me, perhaps it is rewarding me after all. Once I get back to sewing, does it really matter?

Luck and wisdom!

Nature And Color Mixing

Although the plants may shiver in fear when I approach, they are reminding me of my old color theory lessons. Today, I am reminded that green is indeed a neutral. To be honest, any color can be a neutral if it is greyed enough, but that’s a topic for another blog. Green, however, is special. Think of all the plants you have in your garden, all the different colors of flowers, stems, and trunks. They’re all sitting on top of the various greens of leaves and grasses. When was the last time you examined the different greens? The greens above are on the cool side. The succulent below almost registers as a yellow with tints of green. Although there are no flowers in the photos, I can envision slashes of pinks, or oranges and reds, or purples and blues. I use the word “slashes” deliberately – using green as a background doesn’t demand that I make a landscape quilt. I made a dozen green backgrounds for applique and/or beading and not a single one is designed to be a landscape quilt. So, the next time you are thinking about doing something a little different, consider using green as your neutral. You might be surprised at how much you like the results.

Luck and wisdom!

A Brief Pause

My quilting time will be constrained for the next few weeks. The good news is that my projects will be waiting for me in the same condition as when I left them. This is why I love quilting. I took up the art at a time when I had maybe fifteen minutes a day to myself. I couldn’t write in fifteen minute increments. Paint and light change if you leave the work. Don’t even get me started on trying to crochet when at the best of times I have issues with counting. Quilting is stable and patient. The fabric will be delighted to see me when my husband’s shoulder is healed.

Luck and wisdom!

The Value of Personal Real Estate – Quilting

The pile of scraps on the low shelf underneath my design wall interfered with my work once too often last week. I took an entire afternoon to sort and stow those scraps. Most of them fit in the bins I had labeled and waiting. I also took the opportunity to sort through a growing pile of scraps on the floor in front of the shelf which prevented me from reaching those bins, which was why the scrap pile on the shelf had grown so large. Now I have a clear view of my work-in-progress, a clear view of my scrap bins, and a clear path to the sewing table. It won’t last, but at least I have a picture.

Luck and wisdom!

The Promise of Progress

I am at that point in my projects when all I have to show is the promise of progress. Nothing is finished enough to get more than a hint of how it will turn out. Like the buds in my tulip bed, there is more work to do before the show can begin. With a bit of effort, and a bit of luck, perhaps my projects will all be wonderful, like the flowers on the other side of the yard. I hope your projects will also fulfill the promise of their progress.

Luck and wisdom!