Friday, August 18, 2017

Moons and Stars

What a week! After making 25 stars, I felt this wasn't enough, so I started making nine-patches. Then I decided that connecting them with little triangles would bow-tie everything together. But my thread cutter kept jamming up on my sewing machine, and the thread repeatedly came out of the needle every other seam so I got out my back-up machine and kept at it. But the loudness of the second machine was annoying awful. Both machines went into the repair shop and a couple of days later I NOW have two great working machines. But my car won't start! Arrgghh. I won't even mention the news of the week which accompanies my sewing. Double Arrgghh!

 The blocks are 8" finished, resulting in a top that is only 53"ish. Not big enough for my self-imposed rule of making tops at least 60" on a side. something will be added to increase the finished dimensions.
I am loving the scrappy look which is faked by cutting three inches off half yards and fat quarters which recently joined my stash. Lots of leftovers on my worktable. 

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Teaching Myself Stuff

 I've been busy trying out blocks that I always wanted to make. Wonky stars are one such block. Great idea to use up scraps, and since I rarely use white, I had plenty to cut up into 3" squares. You may not guess that I love 30's style quilts, ever since I was a guest at a house that had a bunch and the guest room where I stayed was decorated in that theme. So girly! 
Ditsy prints have suddenly appeared in my stash, but so far I haven't cut into them. Today may be the day!

And I saw this double Dresden and just had to try it out. This sample has some minor issues (low contrast for one) and I am considering making one in the 30's fabrics next...or soon...someday.

 While cleaning up my studio I decided to remove some fabrics (to the hall closet) that I never use and make room for a more organized color themed selection. And whaddya know, there is room for MORE, heehee.
But in the meantime, I am using up my scraps, since everything I make gives me more.

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Cherry Pie

Cherry Pie, machine pieced top, 50x68". I'm really surprising myself with these new tops, trying out shapes that always scared me in the past. It is exhilarating to make them work! 
For this piece I got to use my collected cherry prints all in one design. And my black and white paw print fabrics too, with all the dotty prints that I love.

  There was a bit of a struggle to make things line up, since there was only serendipity instead of planning involved, but that was the thrill, when I trimmed and squished things to line up. At last I am over the panic of 'will it work'?

 I got to use my wedge ruler for Dresden plate designs and it made those neat curves and then used in opposing directions it made neat tumbler shapes. I was happy to include some pinwheels and flying geese too. 
My husband asked me what got me so energized to create this current work. Hmmm, I guess it has something to do with conquering old fears of not being as good as the 'perfect piecers' I have witnessed over the years. There are tons of imperfections in this top, but imho the impact of the design distracts from those peccadilloes.

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Dots and Crosses

Yvonne Porcella: Polka Dot Fantasy, 70x70" 1982 
This is Polka Dot Fantasy by Yvonne Porcella, a quilt from 1982 that I have always loved and wished to emulate. It's a simple layout, which is key, and of course over the years I have saved lots of dots and stripes and always have plenty of red, yellow and blue fabrics. This week I was determined to make my version.

I began by  attaching my fabrics on the design wall, in hopes of inspiration, and waited and fretted and came up with nothing. So the next day I decided to just start making parts. Flying geese, four patches, HSTs, cross blocks and strip pieced stripes. Took a nap and decided to just start by making a large log cabin medallion and seeing how I could incorporate as many of the fabrics and small blocks to make a nice composition. I quit once it grew to 44x48". Suddenly I had a plan!

 I decided to cut the thing into four sections and add a panel down the center and matching 'arms' horizontally. So first I pieced the long center strip, 63" in length. Now I was really excited, because this looked completely different than my initial simple and elegant inspiration. Then went on to make the side strips, about 24" x 14" and sewed the sides together first and then the center panel. 

 Dots and Crosses, machine pieced, unquilted, and 63" square-ish.
I have never made anything like this in all my years of quilting and I am over the moon. Busy busy? You betcha, but still readable. Some of the fabrics are as old as my quilting career, and others are recent purchases. Some cottons were garment leftovers.
Now here's the thing...I have finished teaching my weekly class and so this is not made for that purpose.
I have decided that it is just time for me to make quilts for no specific reason, other than to entertain and challenge myself. I don't have to be innovative, or make an exhibition work, or a quilt for sale, or commissioned piece, or anything. This is such a different mindset and at last I can just relax and enjoy the process, stress free. Hurray!
 Never made those cross blocks before, but they were easy peezy and the blue and yellow ones are just HSTs with strips inserted. 

And the blue/red dots border with flying geese is so new to me, and I will definitely use that motif again. Woowoo!

Friday, July 28, 2017

Patchwork and Quilting

This week I quilted this quilt made by a customer from the quilt shop. I haven't done that since my earliest days as a hand quilter, back in 1981. She made a beautiful top and said she 'didn't want to ruin it'. I was happy to help.

color blocks 1 by nancy crow - Google Search
And then I started a last top for my class, which was based on the layout of this early work by Nancy Crow, Color Blocks 1 . I have always loved this quilt and just recently looked at it again and saw that even tho it looks complicated, it is really only made from easy blocks, the four patch and nine patch. I CAN DO THAT! This is really a design in which the fabric does all the work.

 Here's my almost completed version. It still needs some borders, but it's close enough to finished for class today...

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Scrappy Guilt Trip Four Patch Top

 Scrappy Guilt Trip, 59x72", machine pieced top. A few weeks ago I got obsessed (guilt!) with using up my scraps and made a gazillion four patch blocks, in a willy-nilly fashion. 
I paid dearly for the thoughtless anti-design sewing. None of my ideas seemed to work to make these blocks into a quilt. Then today it hit me. I put all my four patches on the wall and saw that they could go together like this and in a few hours my design came to life. Hurray! What a relief!
 My long held background fabric is my design made by Springs Industries from my Hollyhocks II quilt. I have yardage in both navy and black and have never used it until now. 

The original quilt was quilted in my hand dyed pearl cotton #12 thread, which was copied and made into this fabric.

Friday, July 21, 2017

Sweet Baby Top

Sweet Baby unquilted top, 46x49", machine pieced. I have a sweet tooth for bright pastels and so my scrap collection features lots of those colors, and I grouped many of them into this piece and just love it! Too bad I don't have any babies in my realm to make this specifically for.

 Lots of half square triangles were joined to make diamonds, flying geese and pinwheels. What a versatile little patch.

 Some of my scrap triangles were a little wonky and so their points have disappeared when they were sewn together. Maybe the baby won't mind, hee hee.

Monday, July 17, 2017

Scrappy Nines

 In my quest to use all my scraps, these nine patch blocks helped decrease the mountain of 2.5" strips in my stash. I began sewing them together, willy nilly,  without a  plan or careful choosing and before long I had a bunch ready to make into a quilt. But they weren't nicely light and dark, and wouldn't fall into clear patterns. So there they sat. Finally I made the decision to use them as 'background' blocks against these red snowballs. 

The red fabrics are also getting used up, and three different ones were sewn into this top. Next time I do a ninepatch, I will plan my colors first. Dave likes this one and wants it for his bed. It's small (50x60") for a bed quilt, so I may have to add some to make it grow.

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Pinwheel Geese Medallion

 Pinwheel Geese Medallion, top, 54" square, and possibly will grow, depending on finding the right fabrics. Machine pieced.
Medallion quilts are so easy and enjoyable to construct because you begin in the middle and grow it outward. First I made the flying geese blocks and carefully sewed them together, joining solid red along the sides. Then I used up the last of my red/orange dots for the outer triangles. A matching orange border followed and then...what?

 Since my geese were pinks and aquas I pulled out my lightest Kaffe fabrics in those colors, plus reds and darks, to use if I could figure out how. I never did. However I did use some hand dyed solids for the four patch bits.

 I love how nice the four patch gradate colors. Solids against the busy patterns is just a must. The main floral strips are just the width of fabric cut to match the finished four patch widths, 4 1/2". I had just enough, and no more! Since I am doing teaching demos at my sister's store, I want to keep reinforcing that even a simple two block quilt like this can be interesting and an easy way to get the most out of your precious fabrics.
 Update: I decided to enlarge the Scrappy Medallion with one more round of pink. It makes the center off center a bit but I don't mind it. If I do start to mind, I can always add another round of dark blue. We'll see.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Scrappy Medallion

This quilt, Garden Medallion had been on my Pinterest board for ages. I love the huge log cabin made with Kaffe Fassett fabrics and always hoped one day to make my own. Yesterday I did!
The idea to extend the length of the wide strips with patchwork was perfect for my scrapwork collection. I had flying geese, four patches, nine patches, and HSTs ready to use. I have been hoarding KF fabrics for a while and recently felt I needed to add a few more, eek! and start using them up. Some of these are new. 
Here's a hint. At Craftsy one can order kits of KF fabric and get lots of variety at a lower price. I did that with this kit.

Scrappy Medallion, 55" square, machine pieced top.

 I had to decide what to use as my center and chose a Bear's Paw block made from my charm squares and a Waverly dot. Then the fun began, choosing the lights and darks to build the Log Cabin.

 Here are some of my pieced scrap blocks. Their size determined the width of the strip I cut.

The whole thing just came together in no time, and I think I may have to do another with a different setting. I am having a blast!

Monday, July 10, 2017

Scrapwork Top Finish

 The top is completed, and now measures 53x64" with the additions of three borders. Using the flying geese in my blocks box, added length to the skimpy amount of aqua stripe.

 This was such a satisfying project, using up almost a whole box of strips. I will now be more conscious of where leftovers get stored. Somehow I have a lot of dark prints and solids and never imagine or think 'dark'. Perhaps my subconscious will work on that for the future.