Sunday, October 30, 2016

Freedom in the creative process

One of the challenges I have struggled with in quilting is trusting myself to choose fabric that works together.  I suspect, given the number of blogs, videos, and classes, that many others struggle with it too.  

As a result, I have chosen colors and fabric lines pretty much as directed by the pattern designer.

And that's okay.

But this time I can't.  This block of the month quilt was created back in 2012, and whatever fabric line was sold with it at the time is no longer available.  So I began exploring my stash possibilities.  Not being happy with that, I purchased a set of Rowan from the Kaffe Fassett Collective.  It opened up many possibilities for me but I still wanted to use other colors and designs I already had.

The first thing I did was consider already-completed blocks.

Then I started choosing colors and patterns I liked that I thought might play together well.  I really wanted to use the abstract fabric at the bottom of each stack and the blue/green that is showing up in two out of the three already-completed blocks.  I took pictures of each and converted the photos to black and white to see what kind of contrast they created.  That knocked out some combinations.

I liked this one but kept searching:

Black and white coloring made the pink and blue/green look exactly the same so this next one got knocked out.

Finally it came down to the next two.  The red print was the only one that changed.

Ultimately I decided that I didn't like the abstract peach/reddish on the bottom of the stack with the bolder geometric.  I also didn't like how the two greens fought each other.  Fighting kids aren't allowed on the playground, and I don't want them in the same block (although I think I'll use that geometric piece in another block in this quilt.)  

So let's see how it comes together.  I laid out the half-square triangles and full square pieces.

Then I began sewing the pieces together:

The completed block:

Finally, how do the four blocks look all together?

I think the overall effect is to cool down the really hot colors in blocks 2 (#) and 3 (Balkan puzzle). This picture helped me see that I need to make another block with that orange print playing in the background or the wonky pound sign block will look out of place.  

Individual liberty in technique

We're in the thick of a very scary political season, and I am realizing more and more how much I value individual liberties and how concerned I am that we are giving them away.  It should come as no surprise then that one of the things I love about quilting is how much freedom the individual quilter has in creating his or her own work, even in something as basic as half-square triangles.  I know of 3 ways to make them although I have only used 2 of them.  (I haven't yet cut a triangle and sewn it to another one.)  This particular block uses 2 ways.  I also love how Amy Gibson allowed a little extra so I could cut it down for an exact measurement--forgiveness is wonderful!

I also love how I can combine any fabrics I choose.  You may not like the selections I chose, and that's okay.  They felt good to me.  You can choose entirely different fabrics.  Or a different kind of quilt pattern or none at all.

I chose to press the seams open.  I initially learned to press seams to the dark side, but I began to run into problems doing it that way because sometimes I'd have 4 layers of fabrics to press and sew through.  Those problems got worse when I began doing my own quilting.  So I pressed all the seams open on this block. 

I love the creative process!  You have so much freedom in it.

Saturday, October 29, 2016

Back to the future!

Have I ever mentioned that I love Amy Gibson from Stitchery, Dickery, Dock?  She is so encouraging!  She's doing a Sugar Block of the Month this year, but I picked up Crafty's 2012 BOM by Amy to do earlier this year.  Can I just tell you how much fun it is?  I'm really excited because she leads the viewer through all kinds of blocks, including a few I've not had the courage to try on my own.

Amy has also published a book, The Quilt Block Cookbook, that I'd love to have! Go to her site and follow her Quilt Block Cookbook Blog Hop to see why.

That was a long preamble to say that I've finally made the third block in the Craftsy 2012 BOM.  I've been concerned because my first block was made from cool colors and my second from warm (hot) colors.  My third block, the Balkan Puzzle block, married both color schemes together.

The first one, the Asterisk block, is in cool tones; the second, the Wonky Pound Sign, is rather hot; and the bottom one is the Balkan Puzzle.  I'm very happy with it!  The bright orange is a print although that doesn't show up as well.

Monday, October 24, 2016

Lots happening here!

So much has happened in the last month!  How about a quick update?

Starting with non-quilting activities:

I spent four days prepping our house in Missouri for more open houses.  In the process, I found a boxful of pencils to bring home for my husband.  There's probably a quilt in this somewhere!

We took our visiting German student Laura to the Newport Aquarium the first day after she arrived.

My daughter hosted her annual Young Women's Halloween party.  This is after the party with her and our German student.  Next year she's thinking she'll probably invite her whole early morning Bible-study class since it will be her last year home.

On to the quilting-related activities although not actually quilting, I finally splurged for a sewing machine case.  I have a Janome Skyline S5 so it isn't a small (or light) machine, and I almost damaged it on a trip outside the house.  I finally found a Tutto case on for the best price that was just big enough.  In fact, I have to slide it in from the side of the case because I didn't measure the widest point on the machine's base (it's 11", not 9" like I had thought.)  I may have cried when it turned out to be too big but tears turned into a happy smile when I found I could slip it in the other way!  

Walmart shipped it to my house for free.  It has so many pockets in it that I temporarily lost a pattern book I just purchased!  The wheels turn on a dime, and it's easy to maneuver.  Love it!  Some of their cases are big enough to go as an airplane carry on, but not this one.  It's huge because my machine is that big.

Now to recent quilting.  I've talked about some of these already so I'll just add pictures.

A quilt that resulted from a class I taught to the young women at church for a young boy who had brain surgery.  Successfully both for the boy and the girls.  It's a little bigger than the typical comfort quilt, but we gave it to him personally.

I also quilted a top that someone else pieced:

I think it's very attractive!  I backed it with white flannel.

I finally pulled out the quilt blocks from a Quilt of the Month in 2009 at Merrily We Quilt Along and put them on the design wall.  This is going to be pretty and I already have the sashing and backing fabrics!  That makes it free since I bought it way back then, right?

I'm also trying to figure out how to quilt another WIP.  No pictures yet.  Lastly, my Christmas quilt is at my long-arm quilter's house waiting its turn to be quilted.  Oh, and I bought a plush blanket at Family Dollar that I'm going to use to back my last WIP.  It's cheaper than buying Minky fabric!