Friday, February 17, 2017

Theme and Variation

Today was spent getting ready for a class I have in about 10 days.  Cutting strips while watching tv is very relaxing and I have a bag full of beige, yellow, blue, purple and green strips for a class on hexagon log cabins which looked like just fun.  Playing with one of the mandalas folding and refolding gave me an idea of what to do with some I didn't care for as much as others.

I took this square and cut into quarters and then each section into quarters again resulting in the following:

The ones on the top row would have been vastly improved with insertions of other colors before sewing them back together but the two on the bottom row aren't bad.

I decided that these would be an excellent exercise to practice some quilting before I approached the bigger quilts.  I decided this was a good sacrifice for the cause!!  If  you  haven't figured it out, I basically had taken those sixteen squares I made cutting up the 22 inch block and matched each with the other three squares that were in the same position in the bigger block.  I then trimmed down the blocks so they were 10 x 10 inches.  I quickly backed this with batting and some random dyed fabric and played with some quilting.

I should comment here that I had decided not to try to follow the lines of the mandala for quilting but to quilt a pattern over the block.  

My first step in quilting was to do straight lines following the fold lines, so corner to corner and then bisecting each side.  At this point, I took out the  pins as it was stabilized.  I had looked at Pinterest for inspiration but did my own design.  Pinterest gave me the ideas to just ignore the lines in the mandala though.

I chose a bright blue thread and you can see it pretty much just blends in unless you look very close.  I haven't decided whether I will go with  darker or lighter thread ultimately.  I also have some nice blue/aqua variegated that I might use.

Here you can see the quilting more closely.  I think I have the right idea.  The quilting isn't going to show unless  you get close, and then it will be a surprise which is what I like in quilts -- a different look when close or far away.

There was enough batting and backing hanging on the sides, that I could do a little border.  Now to decide whether to just finish it off or combine it with other blocks.

Start to finish from cutting up the squares to having a finished quilted piece took about an hour altogether!!
Now to just get these finished tops basted and quilted!!

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Progress on the New Quilt, Some Ducks, Sun Dogs and Sunsets!

The sunset at Ft. Fisher a few days ago was about the best yet imho!  A few of us were clicking away and just oohing and aahing it was so gorgeous.  I will post just a few of the 150 photos I took over  period of about 20 minutes as it was everchanging.

There is definitely going to be a quilt from one of these or a combination of some of them.  the colors were so inspiring -- especially the dark blues and the bright oranges.

This was one of the best vertical views.  No wonder we were so excited!

For three days I have been down to Ft. Fisher trying to catch sight of the Harlequin Ducks which have been reported down there.  Nothing on the first day but several nice Black Scoters were there on day 2.

A real treat on that day was a Sun Dog appearing through the trees at almost dusk.  These are rainbow like cloud formations caused by the reflection off ice crystals.

Another  view where you can see the sun dog more clearly.

On Day 3, I finally saw a couple of the Harlequin Ducks.  I took many many pictures but the birds were so far out, I was afraid none would be good enough to post at all.  I was surprised that several were pretty good.  This is a male with his very distinctive spots.  You literally could barely tell what they were even through the telephoto lens!  A nice man was there with a spotting scope so we could see where the birds were!

This  is the juvenile Harlequin and is not so colorful.

Just realized I left this picture of the blog.  It really shows the colors of the Harlequin Duck and certainly shows the colors of the male Bufflehead as well!!\
Finished with the "moment of nature" and back to quilts.  This is the center of the new quilt using the mandalas.  I feel the need to frame all of these.

All the intermediate mandalas on point are done here and in place.

Auditioning the background colors for both the star points and the ultimate background.  I didn't have enough of the yellow, so dyed two yards with friends last week

The center of the quilt is all completed here nd just have to add the borders.  It is already 72 x 72!!  Looks like it will be a queen sized quilt..

It's now 84 x 84 and used up every scrap of the background yellow and the two greens.  I think I am done with mandalas for a bit except for just making some simple framed ones.  Now onto the machine quilting which I am feeling more confident about all the time. I did switch around the mandalas a bit so it would look more balanced to me.

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Another One Finished and Starting on Number Three

I finally finished the second quilt in this series and am relatively pleased with it.  I felt much better about it when I added the white around the outside  Doing it again I would probably add some white around the large center mandala as well.  So  onward to the next iteration

Purple, orange and green is perhaps my favorite palette and this series of blocks was an attempt to get these in one dyed piece (not easy without getting a lot of mud!!).  These blocks seemed to go together the best.  First I thought I would just do all just as squares.

This quickly morphed to doing them all on point (aat least the little ones).  I actually have been using a tablet to sketch these out (after the fact so I can do the geometric calculations).  

This resulted in deciding that I would surround the center mandala with star points.  This was just random at hand fabric just to see how this would play out.  Again I went back to my tablet for some calculations and more drawing.

The tablet exercise convinced me that I should put the center ones on point nd leave the corners squared.  So on to auditioning true star points and the framing of the mandalas.  I feel compelled to surround them as they just look more finished to me that way.

I switched the purple and the orange in the borders and this feels calmer to me.  I m going to surround each of the individual smaller blocks as well with these colors and then I am choosing (so far....)  a very pale yellow/orange for the background of the smaller blocks.  We shall see what develops!  I will be busy the next couple of days with  a Shop Hop and then a day of dyeing so it will be the weekend before more progress is made.

Saturday, February 4, 2017

Starting on Another One!!

We have been having very un-winter like weather this year but yesterday was rainy and overcast  I liked the look of the basin down at Ft. Fisher though.  I am sure there are lots of birds hiding in those reeds.  

I finally saw my first Horned Grebe but he was escaping fast when he saw my car.  I think the  increased traffic down there is keeping my usual birds to a minimum.

Well the real purpose of this blog is to share the progress on this new quilt which I decided to do on point.  I really liked this series of blue/green fabrics that I did and there were several nice pieces.  However, I decided not to use this format as it just looked too busy to me even though it was fine for the last quilt.  My quilts don't let me have much say in how they want to end up -- they chatter at me until I get it right.

So I went with  only four blocks in the corners.  I surrounded each of these small blocks with a thin strip of the dark green.

I changed out one of the blocks then decided to set all the small blocks in white so here the inside of the quilt is finished and measures about 45 inches square.

Auditioning the outside fabrics and wanted to repeat the colors from the inside but decided that it was too much turquoise.

Decided that I was going to go with the side look which excludes the turquoise.  There is a 1 1/2 inch green, 1/4 inch yellow green and then a 4 1/2 inch strip of other dyed fabric.  I am a little uncertain about not repeating the turquoise but am hoping there is enough in the blocks. I will heavily quilt the white area.  It will be about 63 x 63 when done.  There was a lot of square of the hypotenuse calculations for this one.

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Finally Finished the Mandala Quilt (Minus the Quilting...)

After much fiddling, I decided on these blocks to fill the corners.  Trying to find a block that didn't stick out too much and which incorporated most of the colors wasn't all that easy.  Some had too few pieces and some too many.  I had cut up most of the background brown so really had to scrimp to get four blocks out of it as I wanted it as the background for them.  I had plenty of the other colors.

I finally finished all four of those corner blocks and decided I wanted it longer than wider and would use a darker brown that I had as a border.  This was the first pass.

So I cut the fabrics and tested. The verdict from both me and my daughter was the same problem as before -- too much brown!!  And not enough value difference.

Here I tried all the different fabric I was considering around the quilt.  Hmmmm....

I finally decided on a smallish bit of the dark brown (and it actually looks darker with using just a small amount), then another strip of that gray and then whatever was left of the pretty purple that was in the center of the pieced blocks.  After all the trials and tribulations of this very challenging quilt, I am quite pleased with the results and look forward to some quilting.  I know I am going to do feathers in the wide brown and probably something simple in the purple  I will use the blocks themselves to dictate the quilting there.  I will use dark brown thread for most although toying with using a contrasting thread in the brown only.  It will be called the "Day of Forgotten Dyes" as the blocks were all made on a day I forgot most of my dyes and therefore just angrily threw things together with the few colors I had!  I was not careful at all where I applied the dyes!

Friday, January 27, 2017

Beginnings of a New Quilt -- How to Use Some of the Mandalas I Have Been Making and QBTS Show and Tell

Well, first I will show some of the quilts from Show and Tell in our Monday meeting.  As usual, people didn't hold them up long enough in many cases to get a picture.  This was Miranda's

This was some of the others.  Really liked the colors in this one and the two block pattern.

 Liked the fish!

Great scrap quilt begun in one of our classes. 
Placemats from a dresden plate pattern.
A Double Wedding Ring done by Anne  She showed a bunch of pieces she had finished that night.  I have found you only do one double wedding ring!!

Another class project from  class taught by our own Michelle.

Another from Anne.

This was done by Michelle and is part of a two continent challenge.

I was bound and determined to start doing something with the huge number of dyed mandalas I have made the past couple of years.  I decided to start with my least favorites -- the ones I did the day that I forgot most of my dyes and had to make due with what I had.  This was the large center panel (about 21 x 21).

So I first decided that the outside blocks would be on point and there would be 12 of them.  Triangles the same color as the middle would be added between the side blocks.

Then I decided to surround each of the side blocks with a rose color as I didn't want them to blend into the background.  Note, I had finally chosen a blue/gray to surround the center block after trying out the black which was too dark.

I didn't have enough of the brown for the corners so decided to try the rose color.  No, no, no....

Then I found some brown that ws just a shade lighter for the corners and went to bed not caring for all that brown which I new I would have to fill with some pretty impressive quilting!!  Also a couple of the blocks just didn't fit from a color standpoint.  I was getting pretty discouraged even though these were not my favorites of the blocks I have done -- in fact the quilt will be called "The Day I Forgot Most of My Dyes and Had to Make Do".

Sleeping on it helped a lot!!  The idea to not have the blocks on point came to me in the middle of the night.  This got rid of the "too much brown" problem and I like it finally.  The smaller blocks fit exactly on the sides of the big block -- trust me there were a lot of "square of the hypotenuse" calculations going on for this quilt.  I also found a couple of larger blocks that were from a different bunch that I cut down and got rid of the "blocks that don't seem to fit" problem.  I put the ones with the more orange centers in the middle of each row.  Now to figure out what to do with the corners -- I am thinking pieced blocks with browns, touch of orange and grey and maybe a smidge more of the rose.  It now sits at 50 x 50.  I am thinking I will add solid strips on the top and bottom of a dark brown to make it 50 x 70.  It will be good for sleeping on the sofa and browns fit the color scheme of the living room.  So back to Electric Quilt do decide on an appropriate block.  I cut up an awful lot of fabric making setting triangles for the other layout that I discarded.