Friday, September 30, 2022

September Cornucopia

 The month of September has come to a close, and here's a cornucopia post filled with links to the things I read or watched or listened to. Hopefully we all got to splash around in some nice cool water at some point to celebrate the end of a very hot summer.


I'm really looking forward to the MQG Sessions happening in a couple weeks. I think you can still sign up if you're a MQG member.


A very helpful, how to do a French Knot video.


I saw that SAQA is having an exhibit entitled StitchPunk, and the definitions of work requested aren't necessarily of what I expected, but I'm intrigued.


Order your own sew-in personalized woven labels from Wunderlabel. You can choose from so many colors and fonts, and symbols. Spoiler, I chose to put an eye on mine. More on this next month when they arrive. David Owen Hastings suggested this idea, to stitch in a label in your quilt binding.


Stitch Meditation a creative mindful practice developed by Liz Kettle looks very interesting. She has a short video explaining her method.


The Quilt Alliance held a great online event Quilters Take A Moment (instead of the in-person Quilters Take Manhattan event)'. There were several terrific lectures, including one from Tula Pink. Also a fund raiser for Quilt Alliance.


You can still sign up for and receive the pattern for a really pretty quilt-a-long with Christina Cameli,  Harmony & Light.  It includes video lessons as well which is a nice touch. Two of the BAM members were working on this at the Super Sew Day and I thought that it was really pretty pattern.


Lizzo playing James Madison's crystal flute in the Library of Congress, not to be missed just for the joy of it all, did you even know that we had a Flute Vault?? So very cool. I swear I would watch an entire show of Lizzo going around the world playing historic instruments.

Onto some politics stuff:

A great excerpt from Sarah Kendzior’s new book, “They Knew”


A wonderfully clear lecture by constitutional scholar Norm Ornstein. Really worth the tie to listen to it or watch.


And the AMACAD (American Academy of Arts & Sciences) report that Norm Ornstein references, Our Common Purpose - Reinventing American Democracy for the 21st Century. I haven't read through all of it, but so far what I've read is quite good.


Thursday, September 29, 2022

Crowded Wall

 As you can see, I'm really running out of room on ye olde Design Wall. I got in the mode of randomly piecing, so now I have eight (front and back) pillow pieces. Today I'll be quilting the seven that aren't pre-quilted, then hopefully sewing them together with zippers on one edge. I'm going to try out this method for the zippers, fingers crossed it works. 

Really really looking forward to eliminating one big blue plastic box from underneath my sewing table. It's currently holding the four pillow blanks. They really take up a lot of room.

Tuesday, September 27, 2022

Green In Here

My son commented that "it's getting green in here" today, and he's right. I've gotten two more pillow sides  done and they now need to be quilted. The bottom one in this group picture has been pre-quilted. I still haven't decided if I want to do one side non-pieced, or piece both sides. So I either have one more to make, or five. There's plenty of green materials in the designated Fabmo box to use up.
This one is really lovely to pet. There's two different cotton velvets, several silk satins and one cotton embroidered silk.

This one got a little crazy pieced looking, on the angle and on the bias, so it will be interesting to quilt. There's a silk velvet burnout, a textured cotton woven, a poly-rayon,  embroidered and printed silk, printed woven cotton, and a bit of the neoprene/mesh. Another wild mixture of textures. and fabric weights.
This is the one that has been backed with batting and fairly loosely quilted.


Sunday, September 25, 2022

Just Ducky

I was lucky enough to have another fine Saturday spent with Melissa de Leon Mason, this time in a class she taught for BAM on "Designing Your Own FPP." Which is Foundation Paper Piecing or just Paper Piecing. Which I don't do much of, or like all that much, but I am always intrigued by the innovative pictorial pieces people come up with these days. It seemed like a good thing to learn, and maybe if I was paper piecing my own design I'd like the process a bit more. 

Of course I neglected to plan ahead and have a printed out picture of my own to work from for the class. So on the bathroom break, I took this photo of a small rubber duck that lives in my bathroom. 

Thankfully, since I was taking the class at home, I could easily just print my picture out. For whatever reason it went edge to edge on the copy paper. Funny how different it looks in black and white.
I cropped it down manually with a ruler and scissors. Wow, so old-school of me, right?
Then I traced out the main elements that I wanted to capture in my FPP design. Good old tracing paper, still coming in handy after all this time. This simplified abstraction from the photographic image will hopefully make this FPP-able. 

I scribbled in the colors with colored pencils just for my reference. Then I decided on the segments that I'd have to break the whole up into to more easily accomplish FPP''ing the image, marking off the segment lines with red pencil.

 Then it was time to cut the tracing up on those red lines and glue each piece down separately to add 1/4" seam allowances to each segment. The hard part, and what the class really covered in-depth with lots of great and clearly explained examples, was how to go about figuring out the lines that you actually end up doing the sewing on. 
More on this later as I try to actually make this thing in actual fabric...

Saturday, September 24, 2022

One More Farewell


One last trip to Modern Handmade was made to use up the last of the gift card balance. They were definitely getting pretty slim on fabric choices earlier in the week so I didn't want to put it off until there wasn't much left to choose from. The word of their impending closure (and the big sale) has definitely gotten around. 

Not pictured (and still in my car) seven yards of 60" wide Soft and Stable, two for me and five for friend Jaye. She uses a lot of this stuff in a lot of the wonderful bags she loves to make. This was quite the production to cut the two pieces, I helped out a bit. We rolled them up on a spare cardboard roll they had in the store.

Three colors of the Tula Pink hexes, more of the green on green I was using in the Put A Ring On It quilt I started, and one more green on green print just because.

I'm really going to miss having this LQS so near to me.

Friday, September 23, 2022

Green Texture

I realized I hadn't checked in on my illustrated to-do list for the month in a while and that prompted me to pull out the long-planned project of making four new couch pillows. The project box contains zippers, thread and loads of Fabmo finds in various shades of green and allll sorts of fabrics. The assortment is rather wild. There's pre-quilted linen, heavily embroidered line, ultra suede, silk, wool, poly+blends, all various weights and all random sizes. Every time I went and worked at one of the Fabmo events I would pick through and find all the coolest/weirdest greens.

I just grabbed some and sewed them together pretty randomly. Then I pieced together some batting scraps and quilted it. I liked the look of the pre-quilted surface of the Jawbreaker and Lucky Charm pillows I made two years ago. My idea for using all these various fabrics is to achieve a real smorgasbord/grab-bag/melange´sort of look. They're all variously stretchy in different ways so it was a bit tough to keep it all exactly lined up, but I got close enough for my purposes.

The pillow blanks are 16" square, so I'm shooting for 17" square to give me zipper and seam allowance. I have to note that it felt kind of funny cutting this stuff with my rotary cutter. I had to press a bit harder, but it got through it okay. I wonder if the challenging materials will affect the wear of this rotary blade? Note: the circle you see in the right hand side is the lighting fixture that's above my worktable. I had to turn out the light to take the picture.

I used my enormous Creative Grids non-slip 20.5" square ruler for this task. I'm really glad that I impulse bought that on Massdrop (R.I.P. 😢😢) back in the day.
I used the hourglass print to guide a lot of the quilting lines. Printed linen/flax, embroidered linen/silk, an intensely bright orange neoprene overlaid with green mesh meet up and mingle. Imagine this as a really eclectic cocktail party guest list. These are going to be truly texture-riffic pillows! All the better for me to sit and pet while I watch tv. 

Thursday, September 22, 2022

Payphone Percolator

I spent some time yesterday playing around with the fun photo editing app, Percolator. I found this awesome payphone picture in a Cory Doctorow thread on Twitter, where people from around the world were posting interesting pictures of the remaining payphones. I just thought the composition and colors were really perfect. It is a current photo from Filandia, Quindio, Colombia. 
I like that the advertisement is rendered just into colors, the words just become circles.
The border of the lower rectangle of the phone is so interesting here.
This one is quite a bit darker, taking away the sun drenched colors of the original photo.

This one is also dark, but the colors come through.

Wednesday, September 21, 2022

A Fond Farewell

 I made my almost last trip to a favorite LQS (Local Quilt Store) yesterday, Modern Handmade in Scotts Valley is going out of business soon. I had a gift certificate to use up, so I made the attempt. They are giving a very generous 30% off everything. There was still a whole lot of fabric on the shelves, but the cardboard empty bolts were piling up. They told me their recycling bin was 100% full of them. I snagged the one remaining Quilter's Select ruler (Ooh now I have 3) and a big spool of Aurifil thread in a nice neutral gray.

All the half yards of brown in the front are either Painters Palette or Kona, You can really see the difference between these two types of fabric, It really highlights that the griege goods are quite a bit different to start with because you can't have a sheen on a finished fabric if you don't start with a tighter weave and specially treated thread. I have plans for using these in some of the Pantone Project and in a design I'm working on using browns instead of grays in a modern solids quilt.

Bigger pieces of fabric in the back are the yellow/grey to use in my yellow/grey quilt, a really nice grey with dashes, more of the silver splotchy grey I used in the Safe at Home quilt,  A great orange print to use for binding my Orange Bullseye, and a very very bright red. I'm interested to see if this retains its color when I was it!

I'm going to miss this store and I'm sad they're going away. 

Monday, September 19, 2022

Four Together

All four big blocks of the Ruby+Bee challenge are all joined together and here's how it looks without the borders. I'm pretty pleased with the accuracy, most of the points matched up. 

I did a B/W check and I'm pleased with the distribution of darks, lights and mediums.
The borders are cut, but so far they are just pinned up to make sure it looks right.

Sunday, September 18, 2022

That Old Chestnut


What inspires you? That was one of the many questions that Melissa de Leon Mason asked in her interesting "Quilt Your Story, Finding Inspiration in Your Culture" lecture to BAM yesterday. 

Well, how about this? A chestnut in all its green-spiked glory. This was found on the ground during a recent walk along one of the flatter streets in Boulder Creek. I'd forgotten that the Methodist church has an enormous chestnut tree and the fruits were all over the street. The shadows and color and structure and shape are all very inspiring to me. I could see basing a series of quilts exploring just those things.

But then I started thinking about chestnut trees, and how they're such a big thing in the European countries that my ancestors come from, and how they used to be a much bigger thing here in the US before an awful blight killed billions (yes with a b) of them. I started researching and found that the biggest and possibly oldest (4,000 years!) chestnut tree is in Sicily, the famous hundred horse tree. These are beautiful trees, tall, spreading, enormous and productive if grown in the right conditions. Turns our that there are people in my little mountain town that grow them, and sell the fruits in the natural foods grocery store every year.

I have family memories of chestnut recipes from both sides of my family, Sicilian and the more mixed-pan-European. There was some pistachio/chestnut dip thing we used to have that was definitely Sicilian, and then there were the cookies my great-grandma made with chestnut flour. We used to eat roasted chestnuts at both sets of my grandparent's houses on Christmas. We ourselves famously tried to roast some chestnuts one fateful December, but unfortunately didn't realize they needed to be scored open a bit. What an explosive and exciting mess that was, it makes for a good story though.

All this is to say, that Ms. de Leon Mason's lecture has definitely provoked some thoughts...

p.s. it's raining steadily, and it smells so glorious right now, very happy-making

Saturday, September 17, 2022

Come On Closer


The big blocks are all done, yippee! But not sewn together yet, and there's an exterior border of the dark blue left to add, but then this top will be done. Because I want to finish this in time to enter the Ruby+Bee challenge, I think I will forgo spending a lot of time piecing a back for it and just use one of the wide backing fabrics I have instead. 

The binding is also going to be made out of the dark blue, so this is a reminder to me to cut that out at the same time that I cut the border pieces. 

I'm beginning to ponder on the subject of how I will quilt this. I'm thinking the big "empty" cream spaces should be treated carefully as any quilting at all will really really show up there. But other than that I am still considering my options.

Friday, September 16, 2022

Greens 583 vs. 383

The Pantone Project cards have been accumulating, and I'd been pulling fabrics to use for each one. So it was starting to stack up. That meant it was time to make some actual blocks. As an illustration of the colors we're challenging ourselves with, here are two very lovely greens. At first glance they're pretty close to the same, but when you put them next to each other...not so much. 

These 4.5" blocks and their parts are so teeny tiny compared to what I've been working on with the Ruby+Bee giant-sized 24" blocks.

But I like the look of them so much, especially with the background fabric we chose. Even though the white on white printing is so subtle that sometimes I'm reversing the pieces. Which is just a little bit aggravating.
Here's four of them all together along with the 4.5" squares of the color fabric.

Wednesday, September 14, 2022

Come On Through


I now have two and a half of the four blocks of the Ruby+Bee project pieced together. That's a rough estimate. I didn't actually "do the math." It's going together pretty easily and I'm happy with how it's looking so far. Still need a title though. Come on through title, come on through. hmmm, that might work as a title, Come On Through. 
The dark blue is quite a bit darker than the one I chose in the EQ8 , but I think it still works in the design well as a sort of within the block frame. It's also going to be an exterior border. I think the medium blue vs. the orange and russet works well together to make a sort of transparency on this block.  I was happy with how my Y-seams worked on the piecing of this one too. Lots of marking, and stitching slowly.
This whole quilt is going to be 51" square once the border is on. It's almost time to start thinking about how I'm going to quilt this.

Tuesday, September 13, 2022

Pieces On The Wall


Here's half of one block of my four giant blocks quilt design for the Ruby+Bee challenge.
Here's how the whole project looks up on the design wall. My design inspector is a little bit unsure but yet encouraging. She wants to see how it looks when it's all sewn together. I have to admit that I'm looking forward to sewing together those relatively enormous blocks.

Monday, September 12, 2022

All Cut Out Now

I've now got the Ruby+Bee project completely cut out now, and I've just begun sewing pieces together.  I haven't put the whole thing up on the design wall because of the fan situation. We've got a bunch (five) of fans going to move the air around upstairs which of course affects the stay-a-bility of the stuff up on the design wall that isn't pinned down. Maybe if it's cooler today I can turn off some of the fans for a bit and put it up to see how it all looks.

 It's not a huge amount of pieces compared to a lot of other quilts of course. That was by design intentionally of course. I didn't want something too terribly complicated to try to make as my first solids quilt. But there are several sizes of triangles., but I think I've labeled everything clearly in a way that easily maps to the EQ8 printouts. long as I've cut everything out somewhere close to accurately, in theory it'll go together smoothly.

I'm going to have to come up with a title too, but hopefully that'll come to me as I work on this quilt. Sometimes that's more of a starting point, but this quilt is coming from a different place, more of a designed, intentional space in my brain. One that isn't as connected to the title-making part of my brain.

Friday, September 09, 2022

Solids Only

A MQG fabric challenge using several of Windham's Ruby+Bee's solids looked interesting to me, so I bought the fabrics. And now I've used EQ8 to design myself a quilt to make using them. I think this is the first time I'm attempting this, so I hope the program did the calculations for all the sizes, etc. correctly.

They're pictured above, minus the print on the bottom of the stack. That dark blue is Really Really dark.

But so far, I hadn't yet gotten up the gumption to start cutting into the fabric yet. It's on this month's list, so here goes.

I've finally begun the cutting today, gulp. So far, I've done all the math and cut out the vanilla custard, mandarin and russet fabric pieces.
I haven't cut out the three blue fabrics yet, but here's how a part of the layout will look. The blank triangle spots are where the various blues will go. I like the fabrics a lot so far, they have a nice hand and cut nicely without a lot of powdering but then I haven't started them sewing yet.

Thursday, September 08, 2022

Only By Hand

I'm still spending most of my time in the one air-conditioned room we have (112F today! More than a week of every day 100+) thank goodness we have our power still. So, nope, there's no machine work or rotary cutting from me so far this week of weather misery. Instead, I'm continuing to add hand-stitching to this small, previously beaded and machine quilted piece.
I thought some X's would look good on this building.

And I was right. I really like this variegated Spagetti thread that I've been favoring lately.
When is this piece done? Good question. When it's done "speaking" to me I guess. It definitely needs more beading, so I'll get on that tomorrow.
I would really like to know what the heck I was thinking about this beading right up to the very edge?! Seriously, can I go back in time and gently place my future hand on my past hand holding the rotary cutter and whisper gently, "Stop, think again." What in the world was my plan here? After looking at it for a while, I think it will take a completely hand-stitched small ribbon binding of some sort to contain the edge. Or maybe glue or paint, perhaps just mounting and framing it? 

I'll guess I'll keep stitching and beading and thinking about it, and hoping for it to cool off sooner rather than later please.