Sunday, January 31, 2016

Catching Up!!!

These past couple of weeks have been very busy so it will take a bit to catch up on my blogs for sure!!  I had to put this picture up of a gorgeous sunset first even though it was not taken where the rest of the pictures were!  It is a sunset last Monday at Ft. Fisher and I was hurrying off to a quilt meeting but sensed it would be a beautiful sunset from what I could see.  The sun had actually gone down probably 20 minutes before I took this picture.

I spent the previous five days in Florida at my sister Gail's house.  She invited me down early so I could share some of my learning with her weekly quilting group,  My sister definitely overachieves in this department as each week she develops a pattern and then teaches these ladies how to make whatever project she is doing -- probably why she doesn't blog much anymore!!  So as two of the ladies are really beginners, I chose a "disappearing nine-patch" as that is an easy block that makes for a nice presentation.  We decided that we would do three blocks for a table runner.

This was my demonstration piece.  The nine-patch consisted of the purple marbled blocks in the corners, the yellow on the inside and the blue in the middle of the column and row.  My instructions were to three different values (my first mistake).  I chose a light value for the center, medium values for the middle sides and dark for the corners but you could do any combination.  However, all the ladies (including my sister) brought charm packs with 5 inch squares which was the right size and saved the cutting step.  Unfortunately, it was a bit difficult to sort out the light, medium and dark values.  I learned I shouldn't say values as that was not a term all the ladies were familiar with.  

We got our nine patches sewn but three of the ladies hadn't done chain piecing before and my sister was resisting....Being the older sister, I INSISTED she do it my way this once!!  So they learned chain piecing, nesting (seams turned opposite ways at intersections) and ironing.  It didn't take long for them to get their blocks finished.  Then we measured the center block (knowing that beginners don't always do a scant 1/4 inch seam) and took that measurement, divided in half and cut the blocks.  This all went relatively smoothly.

This was my sister's almost finished table runner.  She did well with her lights and darks and mediums and put them together in a nice scrappy composition.  It is hard to successfully pull off scrappy with only three  blocks.

This was March's and worked out really well I thought.  With these scrappy ones, we didn't sew the now four-patches together until we set them on the design wall to get good placement.

March overachieved and did four blocks and this was an alternate arrangement and an idea. of what it would look like as a scrap quilt.  If you put these  blocks on point and use a strong color for the center blocks, you get a really interesting arrangement (just turn your head sideways!!!).

These were Arliss's blocks and have yet to be arranged.  She chose some nice bright colors.

Donna's charm pack was the most difficult to arrange but she did very pleasing blocks with good contrast!

In the meantime and during times I wasn't looking out the window taking pictures of birds, I managed to complete the green quilt minus one block!!  Right now it measures 77 x 77 but I will add some borders to make it probably about 90 x 90 so it can fit on a king-sized bed.  I gave the book away as I never am going to make another of these!!  I will be quilting it in three parts so won't add the borders on until I am finished the quilting and have sewn it together -- much easier on the shoulders and arms.  

My sister has an awesome studio with lots of space, all windows facing out onto fields and woods with bird feeders in the backyard -- a lanai which she has pretty much taken over!!  It was a great space for teaching a small group.  It would give my friend Marcia's beautiful studio a run for its money (Gail doesn't have the storage though that Marcia has though!!).  Gail was giving me grief about how much fabric I had versus what she had. I pointed out that she has only been quilting for about four years and I have for 40 years -- she didn't much to say to that (she has collected quite a bit in four years!!)  She has a free pattern on the Hoffman website (Skyline Circle Quilt).  Her quilt was displayed at Market last fall and she received a nice collection of beautiful Hoffman fabrics for her efforts!!  

Saturday, January 16, 2016

Some More Quilting in the Cooler Weather!

 I should have titled this blog -- Not too Great an Idea....  I had envisioned using purple and orange "flavored" blocks in the center of this quilt.  As you can see, it didn't work AT ALL so it joined the pile of blocks that won't   be used.  The ones in this iteration that have the  bright orange in them also hit the reject pile.  As I am making 196 of these blocks, hard to give up on any as they are not as easy as they might seem at first glance.

So the purple block got eliminated.  I still haven't arranged the rest.  the blocks with the pale oranges will remain the center blocks.

The center blocks are sewn together.  I took great liberties with the pattern instructions and got even more liberal with the directions as I got further into the quilt.  I understand why I put it down those years ago!!  It is boring but at least mine is well into wonkiness which is my preferred way.  I used a ruler thinking it was a 6 inch square and it was a 6 1/2 square which I didn't catch onto until I had cut well over a 100 blocks.  To get them to be square and even, I placed the ruler however I could so as to not cut off too much.  I also made both left and right handed block which if you look closely, you can see above.  Some was accidental and then some was on purpose!  I am going to make it in three sections so it will be easier to quilt.  It will be for a king sized bed in a room that is painted a pale green.

The directions call for combining units that were cut from 3 inch rectangles and 3 1/2 inch rectangles with two of each in each block.  By the end I made sure that I had uneven amounts of the four sided shapes with at least of the ones cut from the 3 1/2 inch rectangles so that I didn't have to struggle so much to get a 6 1/2 block.  You have to square up each block, a task I never like.

I will be surrounding those orange centered blocks with brighter green centered blocks and then the final row on the outside will be blocks that are darker in value.  I haven't decided yet whether I will separate the center blocks with a bit of sashing which will make the quilt a little wider.  Will have to see.

I have seen very few Buffleheads this year, maybe because it has been warmer than usual.

The Hooded Mergansers have disappeared from the aquarium pond but have been replaced by a good sized flock of Gadwalls which are a very elegant duck in my humble opinion.  Lots of males and females and some nice weather for viewing!

Thursday, January 7, 2016

Weather is Colder so Finally Quilting Some!

I still try to get out to see my birds each day but they have taken to the water as the water temp was actually 30 degrees warmer than the air the other day!!!

This is the Oystercatcher which remains one of my favorite birds down here and can be found almost every day at low tide.

Each year I bring down some unfinished projects and this year was a bag full of half finished scrappy blocks in greens.  I had the centers for many started and a big bag of finishing strips and this was the first two blocks.  All green is just too too boring even though I have lots of values and variation of hue so purple and orange will be added to it with the intention of creating a flower garden.  I love those three secondary colors together.  I want a king sized quilt so it will require about 225 blocks.  I have about 90 done now.  They are kind of a pain to do but I am a compulsive finisher soo...  I also have been cutting out rhomboid shapes for another quilt that I will be making from some of the leftover hand dyes.

These are not in any way arranged yet but I have been making a lot of progress with the colder weather. I have finished up the half finished blocks and now am forging forth with creating new blocks.  When I get enough done to start placing the way I want, I will create blocks that will fit my vision.     This is the way I always approach scrap quilts.  At first, it is totally random but becomes planned as I start placing blocks in a pleasing (to me) manner.

When I was created my master dyer's book, I played around with several combinations of primaries.  Because of the sheer volume of fabrics that are needed to do this, I worked with 1/16 yards.  This doesn't give you a lot of fabric.  Later, I was playing with thickened Thiourea Dioxide and some snowflake silk screens I had created with my Thermofax and screened snowflakes on a lot of the small pieces of fabric.  So I have now cut them into 5 inch squares and will add some other stuff and get a quilt out of this finally as well.  Only time will tell what it will be!!  You can tell what dyes were used by what color they discharged to.  One of my posts documents what the different pure dyes discharge to. (I know poor English but...)  I wish I had been a little more consistent with where I placed the snowflakes on the fabric as some were awfully close to the edge!