Friday, December 9, 2016

Finally a Few Birds and Re-working a Quilt

Always the first ducks to come to Carolina Beach Lake are the American Coots.  There are about 15 of them now, more than last week but not as many as I have seen previous years.  Last year I was surprised by a Northern Pintail and a male Canvasback, neither of which I had seen there before.

There were several Forster's Terns sitting on the dock down at Ft. Fisher, standing next to a few Laughing Gulls.

A Royal Tern visited.

A Snowy Egret visited as well.

My husband alerted me that the Hooded Mergansers had returned to the pond behind the aquarium.  They disappeared almost immediately but there was a fair sized flock and a couple of Pied Billed Grebes.

You may remember this table runner from a class I took a couple of weeks ago.  Since I really don't use table runners and wasn't crazy about the stripes, I decided to take the additional stack and whack like shapes and make a small quilt.  I am not crazy about the block but had enough fabric to finish it off.

I took the purple off the three blocks and made an additional block here.

Almost all the blocks are done here but I am not finished arranging them.

I have sewn the first three rows together here.  There are half blocks on the top row.  I miraculously had just enough of the green to fill in the sides - literally used all but about 1/2 inch of the fabric!!  Now to decide on how to border it.  It is a little odd with those half blocks but really wanted to emphasize the graphic white strips.  I have been auditioning yellow and pink for possible border inclusion.  The quilt won't be all that big and will be great on the couch -- never have enough quilts for laying down on the sofa for a quick nap (not me but certainly husband and daughter and cats).

Saturday, December 3, 2016

Holiday Lights Quilt Progress

It's taken some time and much cutting and pinning, but the now named "Holiday Lights" quilt has come together.  Here is the very beginning.  I had a bunch of 5 inch square snowflake blocks that I had cut from a stack of 8 1/2 x 11 inc fabrics that I had dyed and then discharged using a couple of my snowflake silk screens.  It was originally an experiment to see to which colors these small pieces of fabric would discharge.  They were all colors of the rainbow and I was determined to do something with them.  The small pieces that I hadn't discharged, I cut into 1 5/8 inch squares and 2 3/4 inch squares so when sewn together, they would make 5 inch squares.  I had to go to my stash of old dyed fabrics to add some more pieces.  I originally cut equal amounts of all the squares which was a mistake!  I used far far more of the little squares.  

To begin with, I just randomly pieced the squares together, varying the colors and making some with all 16 small squares, some with 12, some 2 with 8 and some with only 4 of the little squares and 3 of the medium sized ones.  I tried to arrange them in a pleasing way on my design wall.  

More have been added.  I tried to use the colors to make different shapes, so placing an orange square next to a big orange square to take away the "squareness".  I tried to cluster some of the colors together as well.  I am still in the process at this point of making random combinations of colors and placing them where I think they will be most appropriate.  Haven't decided yet what size to make the quilt.  Have decided it will be a "profile" arrangement though and not so big that the little squares merge together and just look like dust.

Here I have decided to go with 9 blocks wide which equates to about 40 inches.  I had thought it would be 12 long but later added another row so that it was 60 inches long.  At this point, I am making the squares specifically to go in certain spots.  You can see the white whole on the right hand side.  The blocks are up on the wall now broken into four parts and lots of moving around.  Lots of going back and forth between the design wall and the sewing machine and trying to make sure I am sewing the blocks together correctly.

Ah, its all arranged and I have sewn the vertical rows together and now for the orderly sewing of all the horizontal rows.  I must say at this point that this is the first quilt in almost forever that I really still like at this stage of the process!!! I have been spending extra time trying to get it all together.  There is a LOT of pinning to make sure everything lines up correctly!

Half of the horizontal rows are sewn and bed calls so will have to finish later!!

It's done and I am very happy with it.  It is no longer the "Snowflake Quilt" but is now the "Holiday Lights" quilt.

The only decisions left are whether I should bind or face or add any kind of border -- I am thinking not to the border and that I will face rather than bind the quilt.  I will make some snowflake templates to quilt snowflakes into the blank larger blocks.  I also will get some invisible thread and will probably have to do the invisible thread quilting on something other than my Juki which seems to rebel at this type of thread.  I will use the Juki for the freehand work though.

Will be starting another quilt son and wondered what this would look like on the diagonal.  It's okay but looks too busy this way to me for some reason.

As I was cleaning up (I always do this when the top is completed), I happened upon my very large box of molas and appliques from the Kuna Indians in Panama that I have purchased over the years from my friend Priscilla.  I think the next iteration will include some black as well and will have several of these blocks in it!!

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Black Bear Visit to Mattamuskeet and Pocosin Lakes in North Carolina

This was the star of the trip -- a very pudgie Black Bear who took his time lumbering across the field and into the Pocosin.  There is a very large population of Black Bears in this part of Eastern North Carolina -- Pocosin and Mattamuskeet Wildlife Refuges.  The farmers are allowed to farm this state land if they leave half the corn crop behind which feeds these bears.  We saw 20 altogether the day we went.  It was a gorgeous couple of days and it was great to be outside even if we had to get up at 4:30 to make sure we were there at dawn which is when you get to see the bears.

The next three pictures were ones my daughter took of a mama bear and the two cubs who were play fighting.  Towards mating season, she will push the cubs away and they have to find their own territory as the adult males will kill them if they are near mom.

Although tough to see in detail, there are five Bald Eagles in this tree - two adults on the left and three juveniles on the right.  Again, the Eagle was the hawk that we saw the most frequently up here.  Northern Harriers were second.

An Eastern Phoebe.

A Palm Warbler.

A lot of Black Ducks.

There are actually three Snipes hidden in the rushes. Can't believe one of our group spotted
these off in the distance!  

We didn't see anywhere near as much variety in the ducks as we have in the past.  There were Gadwalls and some Northern Pintails but the lighting was impossible to take pictures.  An Eagle had scared off many of the ducks just as we got there and the Tundra Swans were really really far out also.  There were a few Snow Geese but not the 1000s that are sometimes there -- maybe later.  It has been a very very mild fall which I think accounts for the sparcity.  I haven't even seen American Coots down at Carolina Beach Lake and they are always there by now.  There were quite a few at Mattamuskeet so maybe later!

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

QBTS Class with Barbara Cline and November Meeting

Fasten your seat belt as this is the longest blog post I have ever done and it is mostly pictures of quilts -- many done by our teacher for the day Barbara Cline, a tiny dynamo of a woman who must quilt 24 hours a day when not writing her next book!!  Her website is Delightful Piecing which you can just click on.  The pictures in her book and here do not do justice to the visual impact of these quilts.  She uses Electric Quilt to do much of her designing and some of these quilts, although looking complex, weren't as complicated as they seemed when she explained how she did it!!

 These next three pictures are the table runners that we finished in class.  This is Dianne's.

This one is mine and uses "stack and whack" blocks.  I think I am going to remove the two ends and make a quilt as I have quite a few additional blocks.  I will vary the white around the edges though.  (I may even take the individual stars apart from each other and vary the position of these white surrounded stars.)
And this is Betty's!

This and the next are a couple more of the unfinished blocks.

This and the following quilts were all done by Barbara Cline.  This was her first foray into new design and is based on equilateral triangles.

This and the following were based on the traditional Lone Star pattern.  She certainly did some unique things with this!!


This next group was versions of the stars that we did in class.  When she broke them down, they didn't seem as complicated.

I can't remember the name of this last one but it isn't in any of her books and is a Virginia block (she is from the Shenandoah Valley and her family were the founders of Patchwork Plus although they no longer own it).

The rest of these quilts were part of Show and Tell.  This is Dianne's Christmas wreath.

 This is Bobbi's scrap quilt which I loved!!

These next three were just some of the neonatal quilts turned in.

The rest are more from Show and Tell.

I think this was a neonatal quilt as well.

This was a great example of recycling old ties.  I have boxes of silk ties at home that I bought when they were a quarter at the thrift stores -- no more!!

The accompanying pillow.

This was my quilt which is now finished (although it wasn't in this picture as I hadn't sewn down the binding yet).  It is called Ode to Albers as it shows the effect hopefully of colors on each other and how one color can look different depending upon its neighbors.  Albers was an artist who did a lot of research on this.