Posts Tagged ‘quilting life’

Road Trip Quilt

August 21, 2019

I finished another abandoned quilt top. I remember collecting the Route 66 fabric, getting to the ombre border, and losing focus. The fabrics are fun, but not exactly what I need hanging on my wall.

Since the repeats on the fabrics vary, my units are not a standard size. I enjoyed playing with sashing options, but realized after the fact the quilt center would need acres of borders to be a useful bed quilt. The good news is I’m far enough away from acquiring the fabrics that I’m happy to let it go. With a green flange and one final asymmetrical border, the top fits the size requirement set by the guild’s donation quilt committee for a child’s quilt. With any luck, I’ll get to the quilting part in the next month.

Another plus – I’m using this dinosaur skeleton fabric for the backing. I bought it for a gift quilt, but the intended recipient is way past dinosaurs. Time to let another child enjoy it.

Luck and wisdom!

Overcoming Avoidance – Part Two, Quilting

August 14, 2019

My Progressive Project this time was to choose a Row by Row pattern from a large collection. In the interests of training myself to overcome avoidance, I chose the pattern I liked the least. It involved sewing triangles on the bias. I have a hard enough time with strips cut on the straight of grain, so I generally run screaming into the night when bias triangles are requested. However, there were cute fish to applique over wonky centers, so I gave it a go. I didn’t have spray starch, but I did have sizing. I spritzed the squares before I cut them, and handled the fabric as little as possible. The quilting goddesses were with me, because the centers are good enough for the fish to swim naturally, rather than lined up lip to tail. They still cover most of that seam intersection, but I know it wasn’t a necessity to place them there!

Luck and wisdom!

Painting on Silk – An Experiment

August 7, 2019

Betty Busby teaches how to paint on silk with any kind of acrylic paint. As long as it is liquidy enough, the results are fabulous. The experiments I’ve made with scarf-weight silks have all been great fun. Here is one I did recently. The blue and pinky-purple paints were very watery; the green paint was thick, almost straight from the bottle.

This week I experimented with raw silk. I like the heft, and the effect I get with applique or embroidery. Here is the first piece, my own study in (nearly) scarlet.

My last experiment was both painted and dyed. I spotted the silk with yellow dye first, then scrunched it and poured on the remaining red paint. When that was nearly dry, I add some spots of pink. As with the green in the first piece, I added very little water to the pink paint.

I think all of these experiments will eventually end up as a base for embroidery, probably landscapes. If you have a few squares of silk and some leftover acrylic paint, make your own experiments. Be sure to send pictures – I would love to see the results!

Luck and wisdom!

Thread Speculation

July 31, 2019

I’ve always admitted that I buy fabric on speculation – not a set amount for a specific project, but as much as seems reasonable because I like it. Turns out I’ve bought thread on the same principle.

Oh, yes, some of my collection is  the last bit of projects past. Some thread I inherited. But all those red and green threads? Yeah, chances are I thought they were pretty and would use them someday. Well, someday is now.

I’ve decided on three strategies to use my thread collection:

  1. When machine-quilting scrap quilts, I will change my top thread to match large sections of colors. I did this with a modified log cabin that had big strips of various blues. Rather than buying one color that sorta-kinda-maybe went with all the fabrics, I changed the thread for swaths of dark, medium, and light blues. It didn’t take much time, especially since I was doing random squiggles and only had to pick up where one thread left off. I know quilters have been doing this for years, but I guess I’m a slow learner.
  2. I will fill bobbins with half- to three-quarter-full spools of thread. The quilt police will never know that my dark patches are sewn with navy blue and forest green (and a bunch of other colors) rather than charcoal or black. Most of my fabrics run to mediums anyway, so a white or ecru thread has more of a chance of showing through than a rose pink.
  3. I will start bringing threads I know I will never use to various quilt meetings and offering them to any taker. Who knows, there might be a quilter out there who only needs a tiny bit of the exact thread I’m trying to unload.

Luck and wisdom!

A Mixed Bag Week

July 17, 2019

In the beginning, there were two bags of animal fabrics. So far those two bags have produced six tops. Okay, so I found three unfinished tops in one bag, but still. I started on yet another top and just couldn’t force myself to finish it.

I have lattice and a border for this quilt, and started cutting 4 1/2” and 2 1/2” squares from the scraps. When I just couldn’t stand looking at one more piece from the collection, I put everything in another bag. It is smaller than either of the two bags that I started with, so I’m counting this as a victory. In the meantime, that bag is going in a corner.

Two of the animal tops have been quilted, and I’m planning to get the other four at least layered and basted. If I am very lucky, I will get them all quilted before I become well and truly tired of the fabrics (again).

A winter scene from Tina Curran’s workshop

At least I will have something of a non-animal nature on my design board to distract me. I took a workshop from Tina Curran called Whimsical Garden. The instructions called for yellow and blue strips for the background (for sunshine and sky), but I unearthed a great collection of icy purple, blue, and gray fabrics, and thought I would make a winter garden instead. For some unknown reason I made two sizes of strips in the workshop, and didn’t have the right fabrics to bridge the gap. I began a small quilt from the short set and will work on making a larger quilt from the long set. Sadly, I have no idea what I will do with either quilt, so both of the tops will go into the unfinished pile. Once again, two steps forward and one step back. Ah, well.

The long set from Tina Curran’s workshop

Luck and wisdom!

Requiem for a Plan

July 10, 2019

So, I had this idea of what I wanted to do with my kangaroo block. Go ahead and laugh, the universe certainly did. I thought I would surround the block with strips, then a checkerboard, then a single outer border. This is what happened.

The good news is I like the result. I am also looking forward to donating it to a shelter for someone else’s child to enjoy. And, I’m more convinced than ever that patterns were made for people who do not think like me – or at least, who have fabric that tells them other things than my fabric tells me.

Luck and wisdom!

The Story of the Kangaroo

July 3, 2019

I am unearthing the projects I couldn’t figure out how to finish or how to let go. Not all of them are obviously special, except to me. Here is an example.

The reasons I made this kangaroo block are lost in the mists of time. I recall that I drew the pattern myself, and that I hand embroidered the blanket stitch around the edge. Beyond that, I’ve got nothing. Even so, as I took this block out of the bag, part of me wanted to keep it.

“Self,” I said, “don’t even think about saving this block. Yes, it’s cute. Yes, you spent a lot of time on it. However, you don’t have a purpose for it, and someone else could enjoy it.”

I pulled some blues from my scrap pile and am in the middle of auditioning them for a log cabin-ish border around the kangaroo. I’ll probably surround that with a checkerboard. If I’m lucky, I’ll have enough of something within easy reach that is appropriate for a final border. It will be a quilt for a small child, so I won’t need much. The backing will be more of the fabric I used as a background for the kangaroo block. Once I put on that final border, I’ll have talked myself into happily letting it go for a charity quilt. After all, by then it will be one more project off the piles!

Luck and wisdom!

Incremental Progress Is Better Than Nothing

June 26, 2019

I’m in the middle of projects just now. It’s great that I’m still working on the PIPs (Projects In Piles), but it doesn’t lead to stunning photographs. Still, I am making incremental progress and can prove it.

This is the first time in ages that I’ve done machine quilting without worrying that I’ll knock a thousand piles from the table to the floor. Now there are only a few hundred piles on the table. This is progress.

I no longer have to do the Sewing Room Shuffle to get from the door to the sewing machine. There is a clear path for my feet, despite the fact that I brought in a large plastic zippered bag of fabric that I had been storing in the garage for a lo-o-o-ng time (on floor, far left, top photo).

Best of all, I have maintained a clear space around the outlet. It’s not a lot of progress, but it’s better than nothing.

Luck and wisdom!

Practice Good Critique Technique

June 17, 2019

In the last week I’ve been on the giving and receiving end of mistakes, which means I was asking and being asked for forgiveness simultaneously, which got me thinking about good critique technique. First, don’t make excuses. When hearing that your piece didn’t work for your critique partners, listen first, then ask questions. What you intended the reader (or viewer, if you are critiquing art quilts) to perceive doesn’t matter nearly as much as understanding why someone else didn’t see what you thought was already there.

When telling a writer that the piece didn’t work for you, accept that the story may never be the one you want your critique partner to write. State how you expected the characters to behave – which gives the writer valuable information – rather than give orders for how they should be rewritten.

Finally, always remember to be kind. Well-considered words spoken with a friendly tone will encourage your critique partners to keep trying. And isn’t that what you want from them?

Luck and wisdom!

Scrap Happy(ish)

June 12, 2019

Perhaps because we’ve had three days in a row of triple digit heat, I feel like having a moan. When I heard my friend Jeanne Brophy needed some random 2 1/2” squares, I gladly volunteered to cut some from my overflowing scrap bin.

Save the gasps and tsk-tsking, this is what is left of the pile. Here is what I removed.

And this is the pile of cut squares:

On the one hand, I’m delighted that I could help a friend and get rid of some scraps. On the other hand, I’m dismayed at the amount of scraps that remain. On yet another hand (or perhaps a foot), I’m dumbfounded at the tiny pile of cut squares in relation to the size of the pile of scraps! And yes, I do understand this is the fate of all quilters. Here ends the moan for the day.

Luck and wisdom!