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! 


Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Kaleidoscope Beginnings, and New Kitchen Floor

I have always loved the Kaleidoscope design, especially the optical illusions that appear when corners are added.  Some friends were at the quilt shop when I  bought fabric to blend with what I had, and they were teasing me, wanting to know if I would have it done by next week.  Well, this is a week later, and this is what I have.  While the blocks look complex, they really are not.   I'm aiming for 35 blocks, 5 x 7.   Kaleidoscopes need an uneven number of blocks for best optical illusion.  These strips are cut 2 inches and blocks are unfinished at about 11.5 inches.  Note, the corners are not added yet - they will likely be a pastel blue, turquoise, lavendar.   

Note in the below photo, the pale block in lower left does NOT work.  For me, the best blocks have the darkest and lightest in the same block.  I used a 45 degree ruler.  If I made it again, I'd reduce the size of block because when cutting the wedges I only could get 14 from each strata.  It would be more efficient to get 16, and not have so many leftovers.  Since I am using bits of many colors, I'm only getting 3 -5 of each color combination, even though they all are "blendy".  I'm aiming for balance. 

Most of the fabric is what I already have, so there is a wide variety in my pallette.  So far, so good!

New subject: - kitchen floor

My kitchen is small - that's OK, there are just the two of us.  What a production, but I'm including the subject so I don't forget what a great improvement this made.  The worst part was thinking about how awful the sides of the stove would be where things dribble down between the stove and cabinets.  Of course, I wanted to clean before the floor guys came, but what a job us two oldsters had pulling it out over a variety of boards, different levels, carpeting (!!!) - dust, debris, greasy "stuff", Cheerios and pieces of mail WERE terrible.  Thankfully, no bugs, or dead mice!  LOL.   We've been here 20 years - it was apparent that job had not been tackled by previous owners either.  Both the stove and the refrigerator without it's door had to be moved out of the kitchen.  The floor under the stove and the frigerator are now new and smooth, allowing appliances to be moved for cleaning.   8-)  (This job, when over, gave me a boost of energy, attitude, etc., I believe this led to my ability to sew for hours on the Kaleidoscope project. )

Thursday, February 02, 2017

"I Spy" quilt, and Oveload of On-Line Classes

(Sideways) .. Current project, an I Spy Quilt.  There is one duplicate that I added.   I didn't care for a few of them (waaaay toooo commercial) and subbed my own.  Half are sorta lights, half sorta darks so I bordered darks in a white polka dot, and lights in grass green.  The layout was still kinda frenetic, until I noticed I could make diagonal "lines" in "sorta" darks and lights.  By the time I got them together, it became less wild.  I had that stripe border, hoping it might calm it all down and  surprisingly ... it did.

Here is the backing.  Not exactly soft and calm, is it?  8-))

Below is another Spider Web type quilt.   I've wanted to improve my repertoire of machine quilting ideas, so I signed up for an on-line Craftsy class by Christine Camelli.  I liked her style, and had never done the on-line thing and was very pleased with the entire procedure.  As soon as I clicked on the class, it was available, any time, they say "forever".  The class was well organized, easy to navigate.  Of course, then I was inundated by ads from Craftsy, and the BOGO for MORE MQ'ing classes was awfully tempting, so .... yes, I clicked on that option!  So, now I had machine quilting ideas from Ms. Camelli, and added MQ from Angela Walter class, and another MQ by Lori Kennedy, each different in their own way.  Wow, what fun! ... so in my MQ'ing frenzy, I used numerous motifs in this one Spiderweb quilt.  While the MQ is NOT cohesive, it IS helpful to review what works and what doesn't - like a sampler.  I was trying to learn to blend a variety of designs, flowing, curvaceous as the motifs changed.  Some was successful, others not so much, but I LIKE the end product. 

 I was thinking about scale, blending them, curves vs. straight lines, with a few "showstoppers" in the corners.  The webs are quilted all the same, but backgrounds are varied.

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

What is that?

This is "Little Bit" - a garden gnome, who, under all that snow, carries a lantern that lights the deck.  I was awake at 3:00 am,  pooh-poohing the weather people because there was barely a dusting of snow on the trees, but a few hours later, --  oh my !!!  10-12 inches.    We will be staying home and indoors today. 

A BIG "thank you" to neighbors, especially Sean, for his serious snowblowing.     

Monday, January 02, 2017

The LAST of Farm Girl Vintage Blocks, and my Favorites!

I made the L A S T block, and here are some of my favorites!  I didn't want to make them - too tedious and cutesy, so saved them for last.   I am not a "cutsie" kind of gal, but I must admit ...



These are all 6 inch finished blocks.   Remember, there are also the same instructions for 12 in. blocks, plus additional suggestions and instructions for numerous other beautiful and cheerful projects.   Now, on to the sashing, then the 112 flying geese border. 
So ... if I chose just one block and made 12 of the same block  and made them in 12 in. size, they would go much faster..... mmmm