Saturday, September 27, 2014

Borders On and a Guild Challenge

The borders are finally on this project. It's one of the more mundane, and - to me - boring tasks and I can procrastinate with the best of them. Now it gets moved to the "to quilt" pile.

This rather unpromising drawing is the jumping off point for our guild's quilt show challenge. This is the actual paper pattern and measures approximately 19" x 16". There are twelve of these patterns in the series and three series were made. This is the tip of a tree branch which extends across eleven other patterns, each one a bit different as you follow the branch back to the tree trunk. Each pattern has a different season and time of day. This one is Winter Night. Other than the finished size, which must meet the dimensions of the pattern, and the tree branch, which must also match the pattern, how the time of day and season are depicted is the choice of the individual challenge participant. 

You can depict a scene looking straight out at the horizon, up into the sky, or down at the ground. Anything can be placed in the background - landscape, sky, buildings, etc., or on the branch. I have figured out what I am going to do, so the hardest part (ha! famous last words?) is done. All that's left is the execution. The completed piece has to be a finished quilt, i.e., three layers quilted and bound. The deadline is January.

The background pieces I put together and posted here, went into the reject pile. What I envisioned as looking like African landscape turned out to be entirely too somber and muddy. The fabrics for the elephant either clashed terribly with the the background or dissolved into it. It was a disaster. Plan #2 is to use interesting subtle tan and beige prints. I used this to good effect several years ago in this quilt.

The background pieces look gray in this photo, but there are actually warm beige in color. The change in background pieces helped a lot, but there is going to be much trial and error cutting the pieces for the elephant body. I was pretty dejected a couple of days ago, but feel like tackling it again soon.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Blue Bird of Happiness

September's hexie block, a blue bird, is finished although not appliqued onto a background just yet. On my way to my LQS for that and fabric for a new project.

Shopping completed! This doesn't look like much at the moment, but it is the background for an African elephant, soon to appear. The fabric in the lower left side is a piece of authentic African batik salvaged from clothing. The friend who gave it to me spent two years in Accra, Ghana in the early 1990s. She had several outfits made for herself while there. Not having a use for them when she was back home, she gifted them to me. I have been parsing them out over the ensuing years and they have appeared in various projects. This particular project will be a gift for her first grandchild. I promised a baby quilt, but this will be a wallhanging, so I guess I am still on the hook for a baby quilt.

Friday, September 19, 2014

Hexie BOM Progress

I haven't posted in a while as I didn't have anything interesting to show. I am working on the September block of the Hexie BOM project but thought it would be interesting to see the eight that have been completed so far. The September block will probably be finished this evening as there is another two hour episode of Ken Burns' "The Roosevelts" on PBS. Prime hexie time!

Monday, September 8, 2014

Cell Phone Bike Bag

I attended a family reunion this weekend and re-connected with about three dozen first cousins from my mother's side of the family. It was quite the crowd with my mother being the oldest of the four remaining siblings in her family. Three of her brothers also survive out of eight children. One of my cousins died tragically 20 years ago from a malignant brain tumor when his four children were quite small. His wife has saved pieces of his clothing all these many years in the hopes of finding someone to make small quilted pieces for each of his children.

When she heard I was a quilter, she asked if I knew anyone who could take on this project. She has called here and there and has been searching for several years, to no avail. She even took a quilting class at Jo-Ann's but quickly realized such a project was over her head. Of course, having known Bob, her husband, how could I do otherwise but to offer my services? We will get together soon to work on getting this project started.She described very small projects - almost just a table topper size. I will aim a bit higher and try to get lap sized quilts made for her. It will all depend on how much fabric is in the clothing she has saved.

Next up, my sister has gotten into bicycling rather energetically in her "old" age. She is looking great and has really built up her stamina to the 30+ mile range! She has an app for her phone, "Map My Ride", which keeps all kinds of statistics for her as she rides, plus it has GPS capabilities. She has been putting it in her pack on the back of her bike, but can't always hear it. So, I am making her a cell phone holder to go on the handlebars. Here it is.

I used a fun orange and turquoise plaid for the inside.

The black straps on the sides are Velcro to wrap around the center bar. The black ribbons at the top are to anchor it further and are meant to be tied onto the handlebar. I hope it works out for her.

Otherwise, I have been working on hand work at night and plugging away at the Judy Niemeyer paper piecing blocks for the "Stepping Stones" quilt. Here are the latest two, completed this evening during QuiltCam with Bonnie Hunter. The count is now up to about 20, with 36 needed to complete the quilt.

These are the "K" blocks and have the dark sashing strips sewn to one side. Yes, these blocks are angled a little, per the pattern. Grunge is the more or less solid fabric in both blocks and the prints are straight out of my stash. As you can see, I ascribe to Bonnie's philosophy that anything goes. A green 30s print in one and a gold metallic modern print in the other.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Busy But No Final Products Yet

I have been working on several things as once - no surprise there. I made these three string pieced blocks last night as samples for a QOV project that our guild is doing. The hope is that it will spur guild members to make these simple blocks in between or along with their other projects and donate them each month at meetings. When it's time to construct our quilts, those who wish may make use of the blocks for the QOV they are making. Sometimes people just need a "visual."

This is my August hexie blog that is featured at The Hexie Blog. As you can see, I had to truncate my sunflower by omitting the six outermost hexies in order for the flower to fit onto the background fabric. It looks from the photo as though there is plenty of room, but I haven't cut the background down to 15.5" yet. If I do that, then the edges of the flower will be at or on the seam line. Others making this project have had the same problem. Not quite sure what the issue is, but I like mine better anyway. Seems more sunflower-like.

Lastly, here is the first strip from a new hand applique project I started from "Savor Each Stitch" by Carolyn Friedlander. There are several projects in the book that are appealing to me, not the least because, although they are "modern", many are hand appliqued. So, the best of two worlds as far as I am concerned. The circles are freehand cut and needle turn appliqued. She says in the book that the variations thus produced add to the charm. Maybe it's just me, but I think that I will try using a template for the next strip. The first two circles on the left were cut without templates as suggested in the book. The others were cut using a large spool as a template and I simply drew around the spool on the fabric, rough cut with scissors, and needle turned them onto the strip. The "variations" don't look all that charming to me, especially once the circles were more or less uniform in size and shape. Then the "variations" really stand out. Plus they aren't really straight down the middle of the strip either. Live and learn. Pressing on....

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Getting Help with the Scraps

This is my very discriminating helper, Charley. He is a very affectionate feline and loves to roll around in the scraps. I had dumped out a bag of strips, scraps, and crumbs on to the floor as I dug around for small bits for a new applique project. My daughter's dog went home today after 9 days of dog sitting. I think Charley is just so happy to see the back end of that canine for awhile that he was rolling in ecstasy in the fabric scraps. Our other feline, Mickey, aka "Mr. Excitement" (due to his predilection for bringing live prey into the house), made friends with Striker. I wouldn't exactly call it a love affair, but they got along. Charley not so much.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Circle Lattice

I finished the hand applique on this piece. It is "Circle Lattice" from Carolyn Friedlander's book, "Savor Each Stitch." Next step is to get more of the blue Shirting Stripe fabric by Kaffe Fassett for borders. Then quilting.