Saturday, March 04, 2017

Solstice Nine

  The ninth weekly Solstice block was a really big one, 32" square. It was a whole lot of HST's (Half Square Triangles) but at least they weren't teeny tiny for one of those 6.5" blocks for the City Sampler.

Here's how all the squares looked when I cut them out. I had to count the darks, mediums and lights several times to make sure I'd cut out enough.

Once all the piecing was done, choosing how to lay out the block was the fun part. I tried several arrangements out, and tiled them together. This gives a good idea of how this one block could make a pretty great quilt top all on its own.

I sewed it together in sections, taking the layout in chunks from the design wall over to the sewing machine to keep the pattern straight.

Eventually it all went together very well. I'm pleased with how the whole thing looks when all the blocks are together.

Friday, March 03, 2017

Twenty-Ninth Study Square

 The twenty-ninth Weekly Study Square Quiltlet was made during one of the darkest, rainiest weeks I've ever experienced here in the mountains. The colors chosen reflect that I guess, mud mud mud everywhere.
 A stitched grid contains the scraps.
I like the way the batiks and the hand-dyes play with each other. In this close-up you can really see how different the surfaces of the two types of fabric reflect the light.

Thursday, March 02, 2017

Thread Storage

 Threads have been on my mind lately. Maybe it's because of the new Aurifil I've been collecting thanks to the Cotton Club's monthly collection. I think I might have enough now, far short of the 236 colors available, but wow is this ever nice thread! At first I figured it was all hype, but nope, this is the good stuff. But I had to think about how to store it, so I could see all the colors. I'm using a flat box that I think is intended for scrapbooking, but it fits perfectly. Now that it's all full I guess I have to call it quits on buying more. (or get another one of these boxes)
 So I started thinking about how I store all of my thread, there's several methods that I use. I mostly divide them up by type of thread material. I store the bigger thread cones on this wooden wall rack. I love how this looks and it is very handy, but the cones do get dusty on the top and I do worry about the light fading them since a lot of them are rayon. I guess I could fashion some sort of clear dust cover that might help and attach it at the top.
Here's one of the two jumbled-up plastic drawers of thread, this one holds all the cotton or polyester thread spools. It never behaves no matter how many times I sort it. So many different shapes and sizes of spools, impossible to organize. And probably too many in here too.
 The Sulky box of rayons is getting less crowded as I use up all the little spools. I haven't bought new Sulky in quite a while now, not sure why? Out of fashion or maybe I've just been in using-up mode. The lid on this plastic box is discoloring with age now, but the threads still seem okay. Although those metallics are still so finicky to stitch with. This is a bad use of this box though because the Sulky spools don't fit standing up on the pegs, they're a smidge too tall. But I really do like seeing the colors of the threads, when I look in the box, it's easier to find the one I want to use.
Here's the same type of box with larger spools, they're mostly upright on the pegs like they're supposed to be, but it's not showing the colors off for me on most of the spools.

Obviously, I have plenty, probably too much thread already, it's the plague of too-much, first-world problems, right?  When I look at it like this all in one place, I find that there's a historical, almost journal-ish quality to many of the threads in my collection, they mark different stages I've gone through in my quilting journey. So many techniques tried out, learned, dabbled with, discarded, a few mastered, and a lot of them have required very specific threads. Thus the variety. Spice of life even when it comes to threads apparently.

  • What is the solution for thread storage? 
  • Is there one when there's so much variance in sizes and shapes of spools?
  • I want to have light/dust protection and still be able to see the colors when I'm in thread-selection mode, maybe I have to invent something for myself? 
  • What system of thread storage have you found works best for you?

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Solstice Eight

 Here's the eighth block for the Solstice Quilt. It's a big one compared to the others, so it was fun to choose fabrics tat work well on a larger scale. I like how the layered hearts look in the reds and greens that I chose. I noticed that the contrast of those complementary colors works differently in these more muddled batiks, it's a much softer look that still has a lot of contrast.
I'm starting to like how the blocks all look together, some of them being high-contrast is okay as long as there is more than one.

Monday, February 27, 2017

Twenty-Eighth Study Square

 This twenty-eighth Weekly Study Square Quiltlet is one of those that I wish was a wall-size quilt. I really like the materials and design of this one. But the scale of the various fabrics wouldn't work as well on a larger scale piece. The fringe-y edges and yellow polka-dots would be so much smaller in comparison to the whole.
 That's one of the challenges in translating from these small study sizes (8.5" square) to something say 36" square. I would have to use some type of thick yarn to achieve the same impact of the fringe edges on a 36" square sized wall quilt. Good to remember that.
The edges trimmed off when squaring up quilts are one of my favorite kinds of scraps to use. That and dyed selvedges. Both showing up here in this close up.

Words of the week:
  • breakfast

  • staff

  • sticky tape

  • hygiene

  • India

  • leisure

  • courier

  • plastic bag

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Solstice Seven

Here's the seventh block for the Solstice Quilt. I'm not sure about my fabric choices here, brown is always always a challenge for me. Pretty sure there wasn't enough contrast between the two brown fabrics.
I do like how the blocks are looking against my orange wall. The black/off-white block is looking less off to me now that there a few more with off-white in them.

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Twenty-Seventh Study Square

I've been continuing to work on my weekly study square quiltlets between rainstorms and power outages and road closures, but I got off-track sharing them here. Time to catch up with the twenty-seventh in the series!
As you can see, a lot of embroidery stitches were used on this one, including some text. Never Ever Ever

Words for the week are:

  • bullfight

  • cow

  • vitamins

  • hair

  • memory

  • printer

  • store

Tuesday, February 07, 2017

Sixth Solstice

Here's the sixth block in Pat Sloan's quilt-a-long Solstice Quilt. I like the imbalance of the rectangles in this block.

All six together are not looking too cohesive, but I'm going to see how the rest turn out. I like each block separately but not all together. The setting options Pat is giving us might help with this issue.

Monday, February 06, 2017

Twenty-Sixth Study Square

The twenty-sixth Weekly Study Square Quiltlet is made from the scraps left from my efforts at the CQFA retreat the previous weekend. As part of unpacking from that trip, I was going to mix these scraps in with the rest of my scrap basket but I decided to limit myself this week and just work with this smaller subset. I like the results.
 All the fuzzy raw edges get to stand out on this one.
 The texture of the wool and a detail of the stitching.

The words for the week are:
  • eyebrow

  • faith

  • paranoia

  • taxi

  • prison

  • pimple

  • carousel

  • smile

Friday, February 03, 2017

Starting With a Title

Last week I made a small quilt (18x36") for a show that had a loose theme of Vision.  Here's where I started out.
Well, no I actually started out with a title: Dream Vision and a sketch:

I free-motion quilted several sections.
And zig-zagged the edges of the "hills" along with some quilting in various colors.

And then I pinned the rest down securely, packed it all in my car and drove up Highway 1 to the CQFA retreat in Half Moon Bay, taking pictures as I drove (I know, I know) and what do I see when I look at them when I arrive (and am no longer driving)??
Look familiar?
The color and shapes of the coast side hills and vegetable crops right up to the edge of the sea.
I had no idea, truly.

Closeup of vegetation edges and quilting.

Wednesday, February 01, 2017

Wandering Wednesday - Hong Kong

As seen in the Hong Kong Airport last week, an enormous floral display. All photo credit to my husband, Marc who knows how much I love orchids.
All because of the New Year, Happy Year of the Rooster!
 Unclear what the central decoration is there, but it is flanked by two trees decorated with red envelopes, traditional New Year's good luck gifts.
I finally spotted a rooster, in the midst of all the day lilies.

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Twenty-Fifth Study Square

 The twenty-fifth Weekly Study Square, is all about comparing grey and not-quite-grey, vs. yellow and not-quite-yellow.
 I used some of the selvedge edge words.
For some reason I decided to quilt this in metallic thread, which involved a special needle and sewing very slowly (Sulky metallic is rather fussy in my opinion) but I like how it  turned out.

This week's words are:
  • pyramid

  • rumour

  • headache

  • tattoo

  • minute

  • anchor

  • recipe

  • salmon

Monday, January 30, 2017

Fifth Solstice

The fifth block for the Solstice Quilt-a-long was a combination of piecing and appliqué. I liked how this one turned out and am happy with the placement of the batik pattern on the basket.

I used Soft Fuse (as recommended by friend Jaye) for the first time for the fusing step of the basket. It has a very nice hand and was undetectable as I zig-zagged the edges.