Wednesday, August 31, 2011
Talking about: florabunda
Monday, August 29, 2011
There was a hint of coolness in the air this morning. Summer is winding down, and the flowers are fading. And I completed my Summer of Love quilt today....and all the memories that go with it.
Seeing this spread out in the shade, made me think of the song, "What a day for a daydream".
Thrown over a porch chair, you can see a bit of the quilting design. Yes, my favorite swirls spread all over the entire top. I like the way they softened the whole thing, rather than making one part stand out.
I used Isacord thread....oyster color for the quilting. For sure, this is "Mellow Yellow".
Look close....can you see my mistake? LOL....I didn't spot it until I was finished with the quilting. Actually, there is another 4 patch placed wrong too....I just can't see it in this photo. They can remind me of the "mistakes" I made in my youth.
And finally, the label. I found a flower graphic very typical of the 60's that I used in the background. It doesn't show very well because I formatted the color of it to the lightest gray, so that the text would show up over it. But I did use a new trick here. The border fabric was added and turned under around the label. Then I added strips of heat and bond light around the edges on the back and fused it to the back of the quilt. It will hold it until I get the edges stitched down by hand. A great temporary label!
Many thanks to Bonnie Hunter for discovering the inspiration quilt and sharing the pattern for the florabunda blocks. She has a pdf version of the pattern and instructions posted at Quiltville.com.
Sunday, August 28, 2011
I've been quiet, but busy. I finished up the quilting on the florabunda/yellow one....looks good. Now to get the binding on.
We did a work day at Deana's. Her "friends"---or the bodies, I should say---needed to be moved into storage for a while. If you watch Project Runway, you are familiar with these dress forms. She has a various sizes in her collection now, but limited room. So these were going to storage until needed. I think I should make dust covers for them.....just something to add to the project list.
I started a few string pieced blocks .....I am sticking to a color way for this one.
Don't tell....but I wonder if Trey will recognize that pink princess fabric?
Talking about: scrap quilt
Tuesday, August 23, 2011
Once I had pieced large sections of strings together, I used the batting as a foundation to sew and flip the sections together.
I cut the batting about 1/2" smaller overall in each direction....that way I don't have to trim it ot of the seam after sewing. Stitch around all sides, leaving a 3 inch opening for turning. I also leave the backing fabric larger and trim down after sewing. After pressing, I straight stitch around all four sides about 1/4" from the edge, then I free motion quilt. Done!
Strings are so easy. I do love quick and easy. There may be a string quilt--or two-- in my future. That is, after I get the big yellow one quilted!
Last month we pulled the bowflex into the sun room because of the heat and humidity in the garage. I was determined to improve my flexibility and keep my mobility. So it is 6 weeks later and there is noticeable improvement to me. My back is so much better, just light resistance makes such a difference.
This morning I visited Tunisia thru Nadia's blog. It set me to thinking about the distance I have traveled. My road is not gravel, but paved with fabric and all the extras. My destination is not determined by compass or necessity, rather guided by my impulse and creative heart. My purpose is nebulous and changing.....it is what I need to really nail down. For now, I seek to pass it on...to inspire....to encourage. Think about it-----What road are you on?
Sunday, August 21, 2011
I looked back at the layouts for the strip pieced watercolor and realized I had over looked my all time favorite design. The barn raising, or diamond on point, which is so universal and well liked. You have probably figured out by now, that log cabin layouts work wonderful with this technique.
I am one block short here....but then I am a few days late with it, too!
And another variation with the blocks I have ---using the same design layout. The change is in the center 4 blocks. I used 4 blocks of the unit I did with the medium and dark in the opposing corners for the center. It creates a neat square within a square design.
And just to confound and confuse you a little bit more....What if this design ( or any of the other ones,too) is done on point? The effect changes. Just think what you could do in the corner triangles.....
I need more blocks, because I might just feel the need to try a couple of these layout.
Friday, August 19, 2011
This is the part I love. Just me and the design wall and a stack of blocks to play with!
Part 1 was on prep and layout, part 2 was on the sewing and cutting. One note and correction point on part 2: I said it would take 3 hours sewing time....that was a long guess. I can put together strips cut from FQ and get 10 blocks in 45 minutes, and full width cuts in about 1 1/2 hours. I sew fast and know the technique, but I think a more reasonable time is 2 hours max.
Part 3 is Design Time!
How about a wreath.....the center area would be great for applique. Uses 16 blocks, 4 across by 4 down. Remember these blocks will finish at 5 1/2", so this will be small.
Or another arrangement that uses just 16 blocks, 4 across by 4 down. Concentrate the dark areas and create a small wall hanging or table topper.
Now...I really like this layout. A simple streak of lightning layout of dark areas and light areas. The layout is like using log cabin blocks. Add a few more sets of blocks and create a throw size. Or turn this size into a wall hanging and add applique vines and a border. I used 25 blocks for this one, 5 across and 5 down.
How about a star? It doesn't show real well in the photo, but on the design wall....wow! I really like this too. I used 24 blocks for this one....4 across and 6 down. The effect could be stronger for this....I will refer back to it later.
I know, you are asking, where is the heart? Well, I came up 2 blocks short on it. But I managed to get a passable heart layout. The minimum number of blocks needed for a heart is 36.
To get a good heart shape, you need at least 20 blocks that have a very strong "log cabin appearance". By that I mean, half light and half dark fabrics. Tip to get the heart shape: Start at the bottom and create the center. Work up one side, establishing the dark line. Then go to the other side and duplicate the first side.
Thursday, August 18, 2011
WOW! The response yesterday was over whelming....thanks for commenting and the emails. This is a long post for part 2...hang in there.
Sewing the strips can be confusing. You need to keep them in order, so please follow closely. (Note: For this section of the tutorial, I am working with very short strips. I will end up with 3 blocks.) With this technique you are not limited to a certain size. I am using 4 x 4 in this tutorial, but you can use whatever number of fabrics that you want. 25 fabrics = 5x5 36 fabrics = 6x6, and so on.
Before you begin, create a swatch card (found on the Pattern Page at the bottom) or take a photo and print it out as a guide for fabric placement. What's a swatch card? It's like a road map, only for fabric. You can use an index card and number 1 thru 16 for this project. Beside each number tape a sliver or scrap of the fabric that is being used in this layout. This is the visual reminder when you are sewing of the correct order and placement.
You have 4 rows across and 4 down. We will sew the first row down together, the second row down, then the third and fourth.
Create a stack of row 1 down by removing the bottom fabric first--# 10. Then place the fabric above it --# 6--on top, then the next --#3--on top of the stack, and finally the upper corner--#1-- on top. This stack is now row1....label it with a sticky note or tape marked 1.
Repeat for the other 3 rows down. Label each and set aside. These stacks will become your strip set for this group of blocks. I have created stacks for the 4 rows and I am ready to begin the sewing. Set your machine for straight stitch and for 1/4" seam. Either move your needle over, use 1/4" foot, or what ever works for you. The need here is for consistency!
Wednesday, August 17, 2011
Talking about: insights
Tuesday, August 16, 2011
I had another request for a tutorial on these quilts, the Shadow Heart and Kit Kat. So here goes......some of this may sound like a repeat, and it is. Bear with me.
Lights, mediums and darks!
You need fabrics with color and different values of color to achieve blending. Florals work wonderful, and prints and designs that are not straight lines. Oriental prints are great too. All sizes of prints....some closely spaced and no background showing, and others with background showing and less dense florals. I also use some paisleys and swirl-type designs. All types of leaf prints, but I avoid tone-on-tone type prints, as they hard harder to blend. A note on the background color of the fabrics: Avoid bright yellow and red backgrounds as they do not blend well. You need backgrounds in white, beige, tan, green, dark blue, brown, black. The darker backgrounds create the shadows and add great depth to the overall effect.
And if your stash does not yield enough fabrics.....check out what Wanda has on her Wandaful Blog. She is offering an outstanding array of fabrics perfect for this technique. And the strips are already cut for you!
2 inch strips
You need 16 fabrics for the block---- 16 strips cut at 2 inches full width of fabric or from fat quarters. From each set of 16 you will get : full width of fabric cut = 20 blocks, or if cut from fat quarters = 10 blocks.
I use this general rule of thumb for my layout before sewing the strips. Each square on the grid is numbered...note the number placement tends to run on the diagonal. Number 1, 2, 3 are the lightest fabrics. Number 4, 5, 6, are light to light-medium value fabrics. Number 7,8, 9, 10 are medium value fabrics that have dark areas in them. Number 11, 12, 13, 14, 15 are medium to dark. And 16 is the darkest.
By laying out the fabrics according to value on the diagonal, wonderful blending occurs.
In this photo I have picked 16 fabrics, and placed them according to the value of the fabric.....not the overall color. I use a red value tool called a ruby beholder, and I strongly recommend one. But lining up the fabrics side by side and then standing 10 foot away is another way to decide on the fabric value!
Or take a photo and turn it into a black and white shot. This is the same group of fabrics that I converted to black and white in Picasa 3.
Here's another example of a different set of 16 fabrics. The darks in the lower right corner are stronger in this one, and I used more medium values.
One thing to note about large prints, there will be blocks (once sewn together) that differ slightly in value in areas. That is because these prints tend to have areas where more background shows and other areas where the darker pattern or motif shows. That is fine...don't stress it, it will be great in the end.
To recap: First select 16 fabrics. Second, determine value. Third, cut into 2 inch strips. Fourth, layout according to value in the grid for sewing.
Next time, I will cover sewing in order, pressing, recut and sew again. If you have questions about any of this, please let me know.
Now, I have to sew strips, press, etc. and take photos.