Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Wandering Wednesday - Mount Shasta

 This time last week I was looking at this view. Mount Shasta. We went on a last-minute, last-of-summer trip with my sister-in-law and her family up to Oregon and back.
My nieces had fun walking through the meadow on a short hike while we sorted out an exploding radiator problem, car trouble on vacation is such a pain. It all turned out okay except we didn't get to hike as much as we were planning to.
 This was the view from the beginning of the short hike to Panther Meadows. And luckily for us, no panthers were sighted thankfully!
 The view back towards the valley below. The haze made the different mountains look like ocean waves to me.
 The color of the rock was so stark and beautiful against this blazing blue sky. I'd never been there when it was so clear. Mount Shasta is known for creating it's own weather and usually has a ring of cloud cover around the top.
 So many late-summer wildflowers in the meadow.

 There were people in the meadow sketching, meditating and enjoying the perfect day.
 Wild onions in bloom.
 The curves of the dead branches made me think of a quilting pattern, this is my reminder to myself to sketch it out.
 I could have stayed there all day in the shade enjoying the quiet.
 Is this postcard worthy or what?
I had a good time with my nieces imagining what messages the beetles are leaving us as they eat their way through the tree bark.  This would also make an interesting quilt pattern, hmmm.

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

14/100 Blocks

Here are the next seven blocks in the project of making and posting one block per day from the Tula Pink's City Sampler: 100 Modern Quilt Blocks.  My plan is to make these 6.5" (6" finished size)  with Tula Pink fabrics and my hand-dyes. 
The first eight up on the design wall. I think I'll be using one of the settings with borders that is highlighted in the book to set each one off by itself.
I got to practice some fussy cutting.
I fussy-cut this print because I wanted to highlight this bat that is kind of lost in the overall print.

Here was the first mis-sewn version! Whoops. 
And after a little un-sewing here's the correctly sewn version.

The last made-ahead block. I had to pre-sew all these as I was away on vacation in Oregon. I did manage to post each day over on Instagram. Now back to sewing along daily.

Monday, August 29, 2016

Fabric Surprise

I received a mysterious package from Michael Miller Fabrics recently. No paper with information inside the package, just two pieces of fabric tied up in a bow. I was completely mystified until I went to post about it on Instagram and saw something about the Michael Miller Challenge for the Modern Quilt Guild. I'd signed up for it and completely forgotten!

So now I have this really nice fabric, (seriously the hand of it is lovely) to design a quilt around. It has to all be made with Michael Miller fabrics, even the back and binding, so I'll probably have to find some more to make a big enough quilt. I really do like the colors that I was gifted with, so that's a good starting point. The print is a very nice and I can already imagine a lot of possibilities to utilize the lines and shading in the design.

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Design Exercises

At the last CQFA meeting, one of our members, Amy Witherow led us through several exercises from  Katie Pasquini Masopust's book "Inspirations for Design." She set up a white-on-white still life with all sorts of interesting objects, vases, shells, silk flowers, packaging, a gravy boat. The idea of using all white objects was to take color out of it for us so we could concentrate on the lines and shapes of the objects we were observing and drawing.

I hadn't done a blind contour drawing in a very very long time. Blind contour means No peeking (the hardest), pen stays on the paper (also very hard), eyes trace the edges of the objects and your hand translates that into a line on the page.
We had various amounts of time to do each one. I found that a quicker time was better for me, getting unhooked from criticizing my work before I was even done with it was a good thing.
I think this last one was the best at showing what I was actually seeing.
Next was the hardest of all, not blind contour but we had to pick one shape, for the two things on the left I chose a rectangle and then using *only* that shape draw the still life. The upper left was a rectangular take on just the gravy boat, the lower left was the entire still life represented in rectangles. I find this one the most pleasing to the eye. The upper right was the entire still life done in an elongated oval.
I think this was the most challenging exercise for me, which means I should probably attempt it again several times until I get the hang of it.
Lastly, Amy handed us each a piece of nice thick black paper and we free-hand cut out shapes from the still life and then glue-sticked them down to a piece of white paper, arranging them however we wanted.
Amy shared her sketchbook and process drawings of one of her teapot quilts which was really interesting. I loved seeing how she used this process of abstraction and translating into a great quilt. I'm so glad she presented these exercises to our group, I think we all learned quite a bit.

Saturday, August 27, 2016

Useful Tools

 There a few tools that are helping me a whole lot as I sew at least one block a day for #100Days100Blocks so I thought I'd write about them. First is this neon thing with the nice wood handle, it's a Quilter's Slidelock. This is the first project I've used it on, and it is helping me cut nice and straight every single time. Which is great, because I don't want to wast any of this luscious Tula Pink fabric, right? I'll do a post about it later and show you how it works.
 The official 1/4" foot that came with my Janome machine. I started off with my "Little Foot" but the first two blocks were super inaccurate and it was very annoying. I think it might actually be worn out as I've had it for a very long time and it's only made out of plastic. Friend Jaye's recent issue with her worn-out foot gave me the idea to just try the other one to see if it made a difference. It was like magic, everything went together on the next block with no problem.
I bought the 100 Modern Quilt Blocks book at the Nook store, so I'm using my iPad to have the full-color illustrations. The black and white ones on my Nook just don't do it for me!
This is the first time that I've bought a digital copy of a quilt book and I quite like how it looks on the screen. Plus it lays nice and flat or I can prop it up like this.

Showing up underneath the block is the journal I'm keeping as I go through this project with fabric swatches and notes. The journal is a grey paged Strathmore and I love working on the nice soft gray colored pages. It's very different than the normal white background to draw and write on, easier on the eye maybe?

Friday, August 26, 2016

Just Because Flowers

 Those "Just Because" flowers from my dear husband always smell so much sweeter.

This heart-shaped rock in Felton that we drive by has always had some sort of heart-related graffiti painted on it. This is the first time I remember it being entirely painted though.
It says: "You Are Loved" and on one of the rocks next to it there is written in pink:
"Prove It"
 Getting me beautiful flowers when there isn't an occasion is one of the ways my DH does that and I'm really grateful that he does!

Thursday, August 25, 2016

7 Out of 100

 I've started participating in a new daily block project #100Days100Blocks hosted by Gnome Angel. A huge group of online quilters are making all 100 of the blocks in
I'm using the Tula Pink fabrics that I have along with my hand-dyes. So far it's working out pretty well.
Each day we post our picture of the block of the day and then you get to scroll through #100Days100 Blocks on Instagram looking at all the huge variety in how the block looks in all the different fabrics everyone uses. It's very very cool.
Sometimes I'm taking the time to fussy cut images I want to highlight, especially where the block has a nice big space available.
I'm really enjoying seeing how well the fabrics I've dyed work with this very modern quilt fabric.
I'm keeping a journal with fabric swatches and notes on the block construction.
We're working through the book in order, so we're starting off with the Cross Blocks first.
All of these are 6" finished blocks.  This one I screwed up the checkerboard and had to un-sew, but it was worth it.