Since I am new to the quilting process I am easily impressed with all the possibilities of making something stunning. I have been collecting fabric, rulers, books, and etc. for years and finally am committed to actually doing something with all this stuff.
Last month when Claudia showed us how to make the New York Beauty block I immediately fell in love with it. Little did I know that it dates back to the 1800’s. I have only done paper piecing once before but this also rang the bells in my creative belfry. I suspect that much of the precision work I have admired over the years just might be paper pieced – not that one can’t do fine work otherwise. Once I started playing with the blocks I realized I have seen them in some spectacular art quilts. Now I will be looking for them everywhere.
Whenever I learn something new I make it a policy to follow the instructions exactly the first time around in order to be clear on what I am doing. Once I gain confidence in the process and proceed to work my mind automatically starts thinking of ways to improve on the process. I decided to make 20 Beauties from assorted fabrics and play with the arrangement as I go along. This is giving me lots of opportunities to explore color and value. More importantly my mind started drifting to easier piecing strategies. At first I abandoned the individual rectangles and started using strips of fabric that I cut just before pressing each piece. I discovered that my add a quarter ruler didn’t really need the extra cardboard attached. It hugged the fold line just as it is. Next I played around with the quarter circle and outside trim and made new templates from oak tag. By gluing two sheets of oak tag together with rubber cement I found I could make a nice template. Because I am making 20 blocks my mind had lots of time to work on improving the process. As I worked along I started thinking that I was throwing away a lot of fabric. Then it dawned on me that if I cut the striped a bit wider I could trim them and have enough to make another section just by flipping the cut piece. After all, the pieces are triangles not rectangles. My scraps were now an acceptable size to throw away.
I still have a ways to go before all the blocks are finished but my design board is a delight to see as I add new blocks. And yes, I have ripped a few out. But it wasn’t as bad as I thought.
I like the way color flows in a bargello quilt pattern and wanted to design something that was a less traditional bargello pattern. I liked the idea of a spiral. One didn't seem sufficient so I reversed a second spiral and off-set it on the ground fabric. I chose a grey scale for the spirals and a muted orange with soft grey for the background. Once I had the line of the spiral established it was easy to place the strips. The line was first drawn on graph paper. Then quarter inch squares of paper strips were pinned to a piece of foam core to determine if it would translate into a true spiral.
I used a 12 step value scale and made the initial strips one inch wide. These were then sewn together and cut into half inch, one inch and two inch strips to sew together for the spirals. These are the finished sizes not cut sizes. About half of the fabric needed to be used on the reverse side in order to get all of the values.
This exercise involved making a small view finder by cutting a rectangle from a piece of paper and moving it over a larger design to find a pleasing section to enlarge. I was not inspired by any of my selections and have decided that I do not like to work with fused fabric. Rather than agonize over it I just picked a random design. I did a value run of a nice turquoise and thickened it with sodium alginate. Then soaked a small piece of fabric in soda ash before painting the design in the manner directed. I then did a variety of stitch patterns to finish it off.
Back side is a bubble wrap screen print scrap of muslin.
These are a set of eight quilt blocks, circa 1850, that I inherited. The red is turkey red and the yellow is known as cheddar. The green is achieved by over dyeing blue with yellow. You can see a bit of blue showing on the green leave. The pattern is princess feathers with star. Each block is hand cut and hand appliqued. No two are alike. I framed each block and gave to children and sister so all could enjoy a bit of family history.
Trevor and Garrett came to visit. We took a road trip to Truth or Consequences, White Sands, and Las Cruces. The boys did a tube float down the Rio Grande, went to the hot springs and several museums. Trevor discovered Flo Art at Studio D in T or C. He bought the kit and I figured out the formula. The paint seems to be water based gloss house paint, diluted with water and some detergent added to allow it to migrate and flow across a black painted piece of masonite. The effect is rather cool.
The fabric for this jacket has been in my stash forever and a trip was the inspiration to finally making it up. I had a larger piece of the rust and a smaller piece of the blue. The design was modified from a pattern from Green Pepper. A wedge was cut to insert at the side seam with the straight of grain sewn to the back and the bias side sewn to the front. The back insert piece is about 3 inches longer than the back for interest. The trim was cut on the bias and stitched with one seam. When washed it will fray and have some texture. Buttons were made from polymer clay as there were no buttons to be found in my remote area.
This a very up scale "hoodie" made from scraps I bought from Carter Smith several years ago. I will be taking a workshop with him so felt I needed to do something with the scraps. Scraps were fused onto a very light weight fusible knit and then stitched at about one inch intervals to further secure. Fabric was then sewn as usual.
Chapter 1 - Color and Composition for the Creative Quilter
Judith and I agreed to do all three exercises the first week and we succeeded. My drawings were not as good as I had hoped for, but then I hate to draw even though I know I am capable of drawing. I used larger paper than specified and my drawings were smaller than I expected. Will try to draw each day. On Sunday I drew Kneeling Nun – a good exercise. Also will look into a drawing class at Western. Nothing this summer but maybe in the fall.
Judith and I went to a quilt show in TRC. Just as we entered the Black Range we were stopped by a pile of boulders on the highway. Judith took photos and I was inspired to make a couple of quilt samplers of the event. The samplers are made from silk from a vintage kimono lining and stitched with cotton thread. Both front and back are silk and the batting is cotton.
A friend gave me dozens of crocheted doilies made by her mother. Not sure what I will do with all of them but as a thank you I dyed some of them and applied them with a raw edge applique flower to a denim shirt for her. The applique will need to be washed several times to rough up the edges for the right effect.
The fiber guild I belong to is doing a Textile Project. This is a prototype of one of the samples I will contribute. The design was taken from a stained glass pattern book. The sample is made from silk organza and satin stitched with rayon embroidery thread.
My formula for living is quite simple. I get up in the morning. And I go to bed at night. In between I occupy myself as best I can.
How beautiful it is to do nothing, and then rest afterwards. __Spanish proverb