Sunday, May 07, 2017

A tool for MQ designing

I'm ready to start machine quilting my blue/purple/turquoise kaleidoscope, partially finished.  Long sweepy watery lines seemed to be called for, as it is supposed to appear ocean-y, or underwater fronds, not easy on a DSM due to limited hand space.  I needed to practice ... something ... so I bought a 12 inch piece of plexiglass, covered the edges with masking tape, indicated which side was "UP" on the tape, and put the detailing quarter inch tape on the back as quidelines, whethee they were used or not.  Then I placed the plexiglass over the quilt block, and used a dry erase pen to play with designs, and came up with below.  The masking tape on the edges keeps the plexiglass from scratching the quilt, and also serves as a STOP if I get wild with the dry-erase pen! 

My tape does not exactly match up with the wedges but since I usually MQ free-form designs, it's working for me.  My note says "Draw this Side".   
I MQ one block at a time - have not figured a way to continue the design to the next block without breaking thread.  My thread is variegated blues - kinda goes with the many fabrics in the kaleidoscopes.  It's a start!

Friday, April 21, 2017

Quilt Show Preps

Next weekend is the wonderful Chadron Festival of Quilts.  These two quilts have not been shown at that show, but have both been on my blog previously.  Today I am filling out paperwork, measuring, etc., and giving them a good airing. 

This "rebuilt" scrappy log cabin is one of my favorites.  I have instructions on my blog, and have made at least 6 so far.  The standard, traditional border was finished and on the quilt but was toooo ordinary.  I laid it out, measured the angle of the tilted blocks and WHACKED OFF the border, using the same angle, then exchanged sides of each of the 4 pieces and sewed them back on, all tilted.  I LOVE it --  that is after my heart started beating again.  Machine quilting is done in a variety of methods, which we are finding very popular these days, although I made this in 2012.  I call it "Step Lively". 
This is another Pineapple, made with 2 different blocks, made in 2016, called "Pineapple Parade".  I really loved making it, and it's similar to one of mine in a different coloration.  This design was inspired from a DVD lesson, by Gyleen Fitzgerald, purchased from Annies Craft Catalog.  

 

Again, I MQ'ed in a variety of designs, for the simple reason is that I have to keep practicing ALL the ones I've learned.
 Dig that neat backing!

Monday, April 17, 2017

Kaleidoscopes - watch those values!

Above - Some of these blocks are not playing well.  And corners are not on the block making the circles harder to see. 

Below is a lovely block with no corners, but made with dark and medium values. It's a perfectly lovely block but does not work with what I want.  I've made about 75 in the dark/medium values, but I've also made about 75 in the medium to dark and light.  Uh oh, which way shall I go? 
OK, now I'm cooking!  I'm planning for a quilt 11 x 13.  Adding the light corners makes a huge improvement as well as pulling out some that don't work.  Obviously I need to make lots more.  I have made so many of the  "wrong" blocks, I will try for another quilt and use the darker values.  I wanted those circles to be obvious!  I have 49 here - more out of the photo, some on my sewing machine, some on my cutting table - almost enough.   I used an unbleached muslin on the dark corners and a buttery yellow on the light corners.
The blocks are easy to make and finger pressing sped up the process, but getting the blocks, then rows together with those tricky angles, requires careful pin basting. Each block was pressed clockwise, with centers neatly "spun" but sewing blocks to rows, and then sewing rows together requires pressing seams open. 

Sunday, April 09, 2017

Kaleidoscopes, and Vintage Quilt Tops.

These are two vintage quilts given to me.  I foolishly thought I'd get them both hand quilted but ... a friend, who is wonderful at finding vintage quilts and getting them quilted, agreed to take this one above, and get it DONE.  Both are combos of hand and machine sewing.  One down, one to go.
Blue Kaleidoscope - the circles do not appear as clearly as I had hoped.  There will be yet another  6 in. border on each side.  Since I am quilting this on a DSM I decided to reduce some of the overall bulk and will quilt the last borders separately, and add them later, ala quilt-as-you-go.

Below - Apparently I'm on a Kaleidoscope kick so started another .  This design/pattern is so easy - no pins, I can make about 12-15 at one sitting.  I did ALL finger pressing except for the final press, which saves enormous time, and is perfectly effective.  All seams go clockwise, and the center is "spun" nicely.  I need about 220, 6 inch blocks  for queen size.  No color chosen for the corners of the blocks yet, and for now, I am just laying them on the floor - no arrangement of colors yet.  You can clearly see the circles will be more visible.  Fabrics on corners will be lights.   Most of my colors are kinda drab, soft, my plan.   No brights in this one, and no border planned at this point.  All fabrics are from stash.
BTW, if you have never learned the lesson, be sure to ALWAYS use the same ruler per project.  8-(   I started the project with a well-used, reliable 45 degree Marilyn Doheney ruler, then changed to a ruler meant for another type of 45 degree project - didn't double check, and sadly had to trim down the newly made 15 blocks made on the second ruler.   

Friday, March 10, 2017

Dogteeth Border

I LOVE making borders - even if the border overwhelms the center, I LIKE when viewers look at the border and make comments, "Look what she did!" - whether it be positive or negative, that's the reaction I'm hoping for.  My quilty friend's husband has frequently commented on my borders, so now, I have to carry on!  Here's my plan for recent Kaleidoscope Quilt (laying on beigey carpeting).

These dogteeth are not as difficult as I had imagined, but require accuracy with cutting and sewing - there is little room for easing.  Another border option was a quarter square,  but I chose dogteeth, ---  even that name, "dogteeth", adds to the fun, and repeats the shape in the kaleidoscope blocks!

 

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Kaleidoscope, 3 rows, and 22 inches of snow!


The optical illusion of circles begins to appear when corners are added.  I am short on both the medium blue and the pale turquoise blue fabrics for corners, so used both.  They are both a bit darker than the pale lavendar in the light corners.   I have three rows done with blocks sewn together, but not yet rows.  It's beginning to look like I had envisioned!  I complicated things with the many colors, and each wedge was 4 colors.  I believe it would be MUCH easier if each wedge was just LIGHT or just DARK.  (Another project...).  The blocks finish as about 11 inches, and all are surprisingly accurate.  8-)))

This last week we had 3 heavy snowfalls within "Quid", 22 inches is the "official".  It looks like ice cream cake!  In my entire life, living south of Chicago, then Tennessee, then Iowa, then Nebraska, I have never experienced this amount of snow!  Thank goodness it was not cold.  8-))  It's almost  higher than my neighbor's fence, and definitely higher than my snowshovel!  Some areas had to be redone 3 times due to blizzardy conditions.  The basement stayed dark, due to windows being buried!  Thank you Sean, for your kindness with your snowblower!