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.
Here's the update on what is up on my design wall.
Still playing around with and rearranging the triangles on the Calendar Quilt. To the right is the 2016 calendar towel that will be going on the back of the quilt. Along with the yellow notes on ideas and plans and instructions for said Calendar Quilt.
Up in the right hand corner are the four blocks I've made so far from the Solstice Quilt.
That's all that fits up there on the design wall(and in my top-of-mind brain) for now.
Slow, I'm just plain slow at hand stitching anything. And not on purpose, not for any cool intentional Slow Stitch reasons, it's just not a skill of mine. Not one I've ever really worked on improving. I wish I found it to be reliably meditative or relaxing, but it's usually just frustrating. Of course that's likely related to not having the skill completely mastered. I do have some actual right-hand control/stamina issues due to the double surgeries to repair pinky finger tendons and arthritis in both knuckles of my forefinger. It's not that handwork really hurts, I just can't do much stitching with good control for very long at a time. Now that I think about it more, I'm probably nearing the stage of "use it or lose it", so I'm going to choose "use it"!
I was just working on this quilt on Friday when I took this close-up. This is a quilt that I last talked about on here back in 2009. But I started it in a CQFA Laura Wasilowski class in 2007. All of the hand-dyed Perle Cotton thread is from her, some bought at the Houston IQF show.
And looking at it close up, as much as I love the look of it, I'm not thrilled with the bits of batting coming through some of the thread holes. sigh. More texture right?
I'm within sight of the finish line on the hand-stitching required for this little quilt though, only a very small amount of surface still needs stitching. Maybe I need to just keep this project out and work on it, instead of packing it away in my creative to-go bag. It has lived there all these years with my sketchbook, pencils, and portable watercolors which have definitely gotten used much more often. This project has traveled with me to all sorts of places over the years, and rarely ever gotten worked on. I guess when I'm out on a trip somewhere I'd rather pay attention to that. And while at home I've never really liked hand sewing stuff while watching tv, because I tend to watch tv that needs one's eyeballs not just one's ears.
But now that I'm listening to podcasts while I sew...there's a unconsidered possibility. I have a few episodes left of Ars Paradoxica to catch up on, maybe I can finally get this thing done.
I'm up to four blocks done on the Solstice Quilt. Here's how they all look together. I'm using batiks that I already have in my stash. In looking at the blocks grouped together, I may just re-do the churn dash block, the black and almost-white one as it really stands out from the other three.
And wow, I just noticed that the colors on the new block (lower left-hand corner) is really off in this picture. It's not nearly that yellow.
In making the new block (Pat Sloan calls it Cobble Stones) I chose between two fabrics for the "light" one, I went with the one on the right-hand side.
I really liked this block, and there's an additional challenge to make a whole quilt top to use up scraps and I might just do that for a Leaders/Enders project.
The 2016 Calendar Quilt is coming along, I am still in the process of cutting new pieces out and have been playing with arranging them. I've been noticing that some of these fabrics Do Not play well with others or are very fussy, even hard to blend in with the rest. Specifically the Sashing fabrics which are such a big scale print and pretty much have the ultimate contrast possible (black/white, red/cream). The first picture shows how it looks with those super-contrasty fabrics scattered around.
And here's how it looks before I added them in (along with a whole lot of other different fabrics). Comparing the two pictures I find I overall do like the look of the super-contrasty Sashing triangles. But, having them scattered around I find they really stop the eye, so maybe I'll use them as an intentional design feature. (A feature not a bug!) Or maybe I'll only use a few of them just in the corners, or even to make a star appear. Lots of possibilities and nothing is sewn together yet.
The "Big Muddy" is finally back again, it's been a while since the drought has been going on for years. That's what we've always called the river near where we live in Boulder Creek during big rainstorms. The river's real name is the San Lorenzo river. It eventually flows all the way down to meet the Pacific in Santa Cruz.
There's usually a nice wide beach there at the bottom of these stairs. During the summer this is a good place for wading and to watch the ducks. The river is wide and slow here at this bend, but not when we get so much rain all at once. This was taken on a day where we'd gotten about 5"of rain overnight.
During big storms we always have to go for a walk on the bridge to check out how high the river level has gotten up to (our version of disaster-mongering.) Usually you'd see concrete flood gate barriers where that line in the river is. But when the river rises they pretty much disappear. Years ago, before all the trouble with salmon die-off they used to block the river here during summer time to make a nice swimming hole for everyone to enjoy.
After the storms, the morning was misty and beautiful. Unfortunately that didn't hold for long, we had several more storms come through over the next few days. My unofficial rain totals for the week was around 15"!
The Quilty Resolution Challenge for this year is all about Balance in our quilting/sewing. The one that I made was: To pay attention to keeping the starting of new and finishing of old quilt projects so that overall my quilting time feels more balanced. I decided to quantify for myself why I was feeling so out of balance lately as far as my quilting/sewing has been going now that I've gotten going again. Quantifying of course means...making some lists! So last year, I finished these quilt/sewing projects:
Weekly Study Square - well maybe this shouldn't really be on these lists, or it could be on it weekly I suppose. So that's 20 on the projects begun side and 20 on the projects completed side, so pointless to put on here. So I'm actually balanced! Honestly, that surprises me quite a bit. I think the surprise comes from having a pre-existing way-too-long list of quilt/sewing projects. I think I'm up to 78 now. It's almost too much to keep track of, much less store in my workroom. But in the end, no one but me knows or cares about the length of that list, what's on it, how long it's been on there. So far this year I've completed 0 quilts and have begun 2 quilts (Solstice and Calendar) so I'm already out of balance after a week and a half into the year... Thanks, Sandy, for getting me to think about balance for the coming year.
My first new project of the year is all about last year. I'm calling it Calendar Quilt 2016, it's inspired by the calendar towels that I made for holiday gifts.
And also by friend Jaye's series of Fabric of the Year quilts. She usually chooses a shape and cuts one from every piece of fabric she buys during a year.
So those are my starting points or inspirations, the idea of a calendar and the fabric that came into my studio during that year represented on the calendar.
Taking off from there, I accumulated fabric last year, and didn't sort it into the rest of my stash. It's all in one (or more honestly, two, ahem) boxes. So, I'm taking a cut of each piece and running it through the Sizzix to cut some triangles to piece some blocks.
I'm cutting the larger piece into two that will fit on the triangle die, flipping one of them over. So I get two isosceles triangles, two right-hand and two left-hand triangles.
Here's the waste left over though :( That's a lot to me, definitely some bits that are worth using.
Some of the excess pieces are ending up in my scrap basket.
I am keeping these big chunks out of the scrap basket though. I think I'll piece them together for some sort of a border for this quilt.
And the other triangular waste piece is run back through to get another set of the small triangles.
After cutting a few fabrics and having a stack of triangle pieces to play with, I started trying out different designs.
Kind of tempting, but I'm not sure I'm up for doing this kind of piecing for a whole quilt.
This seems like the kind of pointless piecing that doesn't show up or have an impact that I'm not into putting that much energy into. Plus piecing the two small triangles messes up the patterns of the prints too much for me.
I really like the look of this one, so this is the one I'm going with. It highlights the prints really well and will be easy enough to make a whole quilt out of. And since I was trying to get the look of a calendar square, but not just have squares this will work best.
As I cut more fabric, the whole look of it changes. It's going to be a fun project, stay tuned for more updates.
This was the extent of the holiday gifts I managed to make this year. Calendar towels from prints chosen off of Spoonflower, printed out on toweling. It's a nice, sturdy toweling fabric and they are pretty easy to hem up.
Unfortunately at least one of the calendars was inaccurately printed (30 days in February was the giveaway!) which my giftee noticed and pointed out. Very embarrassing, but hey it's still a cute towel, and the gift-giving thought hopefully still counts.
The squid one was for me, because why not make a gift for yourself (a fairly new holiday motto.)
Some really fun and interesting stuff from Makelight Courses, a report based on my last years' worth of images I posted on Instagram. Pretty colorful stuff, especially thanks to the #100Days100Blocks project.
The first picture is the whole year in color, I kind of want to make this into a quilt! If only I was up to the curved piecing that would be involved.
My nine most popular instagram posts:
The month by month palettes are interesting, there's always some green, except for February...
It might be fun to do some monthly blocks based on the color palettes. And then that would result in a quilt that would represent the colors of the year. Hmmm, I'll have to think about that one.