Saturday, September 28, 2013

Value and design Part 2

    Value and design go hand in hand for me.  I think that the Trip around the World design is one that lets you use both to get fabulous looks.  My quilt, the World is a Garden, is probably my all time favorite using only floral fabrics.
  I used the Eleanor Burns method for this, and about 14 or 15 different floral fabrics.  Actually, one of the strata has 2 different fabrics used, as I did not have enough of just one.  I just found a very closely matching print and mixed it in.

   Anyway, my point here is to show the value change from very dark---black background does it---to light.
   As the background value changes, the overall value of the fabric changes, too.  That is why I look for fabrics with black or dark green background, tan/ beige, and cream/ white backgrounds.  It makes the transition from one fabric to the next easier.
   Note, too, the different scale of the prints.  Some are large with little background showing, while others are smaller with background that does show.  You need both for good transition.

   Evening Serenade was done with batiks and tonal fabrics using the same method to create a bargello look.   This time I really concentrated on the value since I did not have a lot of print in the fabric to do the work for me.  This little wall hanging lead me to try several bargello designs recently.

    And finally, Sir Old Man's retirement quilt.  The blending was much harder with this one, as he picked out the fabrics!  But we got that central "glow" that he wanted by concentrating the lights, then the accent color, and blending the tans and browns.
   Note here:   I laid out the fabrics in a run, and took photo.  Then I viewed it on the computer and turned the photo to black and white to have a better look at the value.  Just don't ask how many times I did that!

   And that's the archives recently I have tried bargellos, coins, and quarter log cabins using floral fabrics and value.

  Insight:   Good design principles work, you just need to use them!

On the up side......the back is better.   Happy stitching.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Quilts from the archives

   After making 3 or 4 wall hangings using the 2" square technique for watercolor, my mind began wondering what else could I do with the blending of fabrics.  Did it translate to strips or other configurations?  My first venture was a simple one....using strips to create a strata, or set of strips usually  in a defined arrangement.
   I pulled out a couple of older quilts...waited for the sun to go behind the clouds and took a couple of photos of these quilts from my early stage of working with value.
  This is Misty Window using the strata technique.  I kept the color palette in the blue, green, purple range.

  I included floral prints and  tonal prints--mainly.  The glow comes from the light values clustered in the center.  The block values darken toward the edges.

 Then I moved on to a simple much loved block....the court house steps.  This is a variation of the traditional log cabin block, and it uses lots of strips and makes tons of scraps, too.  Summer Garden 2006 was made before I began blogging! Yet the same design principle again......light blocks clustered in the center.  And the blocks are set on point.  Setting the blocks on point improves the interest and seems to let the blocks blend better.

   Here's a close up this quilt.  Maybe you can pick out the actual block.  You can see how very, very busy each block is.  All the better to fool the eye, my dear!
Large setting  triangles of medium to dark fabrics were used on the outer edges.

   And playing with value continued with batiks.   I was quite taken with the cobblestone blocks that Wanda at  Exuberant Color was using a couple of years ago.   I played around with the blocks to use up every scrap of those precious batiks.
    By arranging the units according to value, I created a background setting for applique in Heads Up.   I decided where the light source was--upper right--and let the overall value of each cobblestone darken as I worked to the opposite corner.  A blended border strip was added to extend the size.

  So I had answered my question....using value to blend fabrics, create a light source, and add interest applies to many more techniques and blocks.  
  What else could I try?  Part 2 in a couple of days.   Happy stitching.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Still here

Yes, it has been quiet around here as I re-coup a bit of energy and let the back heal.  I managed to get the two tops pinned and ready for quilting.  One is under the needle....only about 1/3 done, as my stitching time is quite short, maybe 15 minutes at a time.  So, I haven't really begun anything new.  I think I just pushed way to hard the last couple of months.  So I am just taking a break.
   I have had a few questions from new followers---welcome!---and I thought I would give some general response to them, too.

  Do you use watercolor kits?
  No, I have a very large stash of floral fabrics.  The problem I see with the kits is the limited  variety in the selection of squares they send.  One fat quarter of a good floral print will give you 80 or 90 squares to work with. By a "good floral print" I mean one that is on either a light beige or tan background and the floral print is spread out and full of color.    The photo on the right is an assortment of the type of prints I am referring to.  The value range is from very light to quite dark.  You need them all!

   See the full tutorial here.  Two methods of design and construction....find the one you like and try it.

  Persistence is the key to this technique....and using a value viewer / ruby beholder.  Practice blending fabrics.  You want a smooth transition from one to the next.
That is probably the second most asked question I do I create the glow?    Value!
 Once you get the hang of it, you can put value to work for you in just about any quilt you make.  Value gives you the sparkle by using the contrast of light and dark.  
 I  will share a few examples in the next couple of days....just to give you some inspiration.

Happy stitching.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

On the diagonal

What a difference a cool front makes!  The weather was just perfect yesterday, so Sir Old Man and I tackled the large front bed that looked like a jungle.  Both of us are glad it is now weed free and things are chopped least for a while.

  The postman made a delivery yesterday too.   Three doll quilts from SandyO of the HGTV Message Board.  Sandy is a Mrs. Claus from Michigan  :)   Thank you, Sandy.

  I love the soft colors and simple arrangement of these little blocks.  She used 2 1/2" charm squares to make all three of these.   Look close and you can probably see how she created the diagonal design.

Hint:  Each little charm square is bordered on 2 adjoining sides with a  solid color fabric.  That unit is turned and rotated to create the diagonal layout design.  This is a good /quick /easy pattern to take note of for the future, and would be a great design done with 5" or 6" charms.

 Thanks so much for being a Mrs. Claus.

 My diagonal Faux Braid is now a flimsy.......ready for the borders.   I have been rambling on about this for a while, so I thought I would share a glimpse of what I got accomplished finally.
    Just sewing in short periods of time, it went together really quick.  If I had been running on full power, would be completed in a couple of days.

 I picked out a periwinkle  color fabric for the inner border and a light tonal print for the outer border.  So sewing  this is my task for this week.  I am having a hard time sitting to sew due to back spasms, so I won't stress myself with a big to-do list.   I think it may be a good time to do some baking instead.

Happy stitching.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Double Sliced Layer Cake....doll quilt!

   Linda, a Mrs. Claus of MS, sent this adorable doll quilt.  She is also known as "Warm Buns" on the HGTV Message board.  In her sweet note this Mrs. Claus included instructions for making this cute pattern.  She says it is the "Double Sliced Layer Cake" method  that she adapted to 5" squares for the doll quilt.

   I want to share her basic instructions, so get those scraps ready.

Begin with 12  5" squares.  You can see she used different prints of blue, red,  pink, purple, and yellow.

First cut:  1 1/2" strip off of one side of the 5 " square.  (Stack 4 and cut. Set aside in order).
Sew:   Reverse (or mix them up) the order of the slice by flipping the stack over.  Now sew a 1 1/2" strip to a 3 1/2" piece.  Press.
Turn half way around with the narrow strip at the top.
Second Cut:  Cut the unit you created in half.
Mix them up again.... to keep from having duplicate fabric in the same unit.
Second Sew:  Join two of the units together.  Be sure to have one narrow strip at the top and the other piece should have the narrow strip at the bottom.   That means you don't have to worry about matching !
Each of these blocks should be 41/2" square.  Press.

Design time.....lay out the 12 blocks you created by flipping and turning them to avoid seams to match.
Refer to Linda's doll quilt and you can see how she rotated the blocks to achieve this.

Thanks so much, Linda, for being a Mrs. Claus and for sharing your info with us all.

  Note:   I did a quick search and found the full size instructions at Missouri Star Quilt Company using the Layer Cake  pre-cuts.  So buy a layer cake, or raid your stash, and make a scrappy throw.
Happy stitching.

Monday, September 9, 2013

Faux Braid teaser

  I thought I would stir the pot with a little tease on the Faux NewFO has begun.    I was in a rush, so pardon the wonky photos.

 Eight blocks--so far-- set side by side for the diagonal layout.

 Or if you prefer..... set on point to create vertical rows.

   I am thinking the diagonal for the florals, but a fall tone in the vertical setting  would be great.

   The tutorial is here.
  Insight Be sure to follow the instructions when assembling.
   In other words, do not get distracted by the movie you are watching.  If you switch sides that you need to add strips to during the process, you will be ripping and miss all the car chase scene!  Ask me how I know  ;D.

Another doll quilt arrive.....with instructions!  I will post them tomorrow.......because it's an easy scrappy quilt for "Double Sliced Layer Cake."   Sounds good, doesn't it.
Tonight is the challenge reveal at guild, so I am rushing to get things finished before I go.  Till then, happy stitching.    

Saturday, September 7, 2013

More Mrs. Claus stitching

   Just Ducky describes these two!  Bright and colorful with an adorable duck print novelty fabric.  QuilterChris made these to represent Oregon.
She is a member of the HGTV Message Board.

   QuilterChris also made these two to represent Illinois.  She used a modified log cabin block to frame a Peter Rabbit novelty print.
  All of these are just so cute and perfect for the Mrs. Claus project.  Thank you!

   From Mrs. Claus in California, aka Sue Stitches at the HGTV Message Board, came an autumn color doll quilt.  Sue called it a little wonky, but I think it is wonderful.  She dressed it up with a hexie appliqued flower.  Really cute detail to add to the rich tones of this one.

   A pair of zig-zag quilts arrived from Wildcatmom of the HGTV Message Board.   Karen is a Mrs. Claus from Kansas.   I love this vertical and the other horizontal.  The simple pattern really shows off the color and both are quite striking.

  Thank you all.

So as of this week.....the total doll quilts is 136!  We are well covered.
    Rudy is chomping at the bit to get to sorting the sizes for the delivery....that's his job. He has been watching this stack/crate fill with each passing week.  So if you happen to pass by and here clicking knees and stomping worry.  It's Rudy hard at work....thanks again.

Friday, September 6, 2013

Progress for September

   The house is quiet is gone and the laundry is caught up. This week has flown by, yet even so I managed to get a bit done on my September list.
  The Scrappy Trip Around the World is ready to put together...yea!  I will web the rows together and add a simple border to this one.
  What I learned on this one......Follow the plan on pressing the seams.  Bonnie's hints on this make it so easy to get things to match up.

    Between loads of laundry I was cutting up fabric.  Now the cutting is done for the first Faux Braid --my NewFO--using floral fabrics from the stash.   I can't wait to see what they look like.  So some stitching is planned for them over the weekend.  For the instructions to here  for Tutorial at VroomansQuilts. 

  And lastly, I put together a quick doll quilt....or two!   I had a pile of floral units pieced and put them together in a zig-zag pattern.   This is the one for Sydney, the twins sister.

  And more doll quilts arrived in the mail.  I am heading outside to take some photos and post them tomorrow.
Happy stitching.

Monday, September 2, 2013

About that Faux Braid

   I lovingly snitched Sharon's photo of her faux braid quilt last week.....which is made from Quarter Log Cabin blocks.  She did a very good tutorial on her construction method , which can be found here, at Sew We Quilt a couple of years ago.  I suggest you click over and print it out or at least read it to understand the simple changes she made.
 A little update:  Sharon of Vroomans Quilts re-posted her tutorial , so we can easily find it!  Thanks.

   A traditional braid, or friendship braid, or French Braid have an inherent problem, namely dealing with bias edges. This faux braid takes care of bias, just one block to work with.  The key or secret that Sharon found is in the color placement!  Read that as working with value, and you know you have my attention.
  I promised to share a few ideas---from my list of about 30 ideas, so here they are.
  •     A two color quilt.  Maybe blue and white, or a green and white quilt.
  •     Sunset color:  red, gold, purple against a very pale blue as the light side.
  •     A modern quilt:  use yellow and grey prints and a simple white as the light.
  •    For a little girl:  Pink prints and very light green as the light.
  •    Ocean waves:  colors of sea glass--blues, and greens and teal----with  white as the light.
  •    Midnight moon:  dark blues and a silvery grey/white for the light.
  •     Desert sands:  Rust, brown, and turquoise and teal with sandy tan for the light.
  •    Coffee break:  brown, and mocha prints with creamy tones for the light.
  •    Autumn leaves:  gold and rust and greens and browns with tan for the light.
  •    Floral garden:   floral prints on lighter background with creamy white and tan for the lights.

Here's a quick assortment of fabrics I pulled from the closet that would be a great fall theme quilt in the
 red /gold tones.  
  Think of all those fall tone batiks.....they would be perfectly happy in this design.

A second quick selection I found.  These are 4 fabrics from the Willow line by McKenna Ryan  from a few years back.  Why am I still saving them?  I think they would be perfect for this quilt design.  I like that the background of the prints has darker and lighter areas that will blend into the beige/tan light.
Matter of fact....I think I will be cutting into them for this!

  Second idea.....this faux braid creates a diagonal layout.  That diagonal design would lend itself well to some applique in the light areas!  If you are doing a fall about some leaves appliqued there?  And ocean theme could have sea shells appliqued in some of the light areas.  Or no applique, and plan some special quilting on the diagonal.  

   Third idea.....if you don't want the diagonal layout, just put the blocks on point.  That will give you vertical rows of light and dark area.  And idea two would still apply.
   A simple block with lots of design possibilities.  Just what I love to play with and see what happens.  
  So as for me....I have some cutting to do, just as soon as I am passed the next batch of company....out come the florals and the Willow fabrics!   I plan on cutting and working on two different ones--probably lap size, just to see what happens.    Happy stitching.  

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Mrs. Claus has been stitching!

Packages have been arriving quite regularly......and most have a very special name in the return address area.  I wonder what the postal delivery person thinks when they drop off all these soft packages from
 "Mrs. Claus"?

  From Mrs. Claus in Minnesota comes the cutest kitten print and 9 patches.  Simply tied with pink yarn, it is just so sweet.   This was made by Lois of the HGTV Message Board.

  An added benefit of organizing this project....the cards that often accompany the doll quilts.  Such is the case this time from Lois.  A vintage pattern note card and pattern piece envelope were tucked in with the doll quilt.  Can I just it!  

I began to sew when I was about 10 years old, and I remember patterns from this era.  Thanks, Lois, for this added touch.

  Kelli, aka Sprmom on the HGTV Message Board, made 2 doll quilts to represent West Virginia.  I think of these two as Cinderella Dreams.  I know 2 little girls will enjoy these pretty ones featuring our favorite princess.

   Two doll quilts to represent the states of Colorado and Alaska were sent by Mrs. Claus of CA, aka Nancyc20 at the HGTV Message Board.   I remember that this Mrs. Claus made several last year, too.  I love pinwheels and both are really cute.  Thank you.

  Aliquilt, Mrs. Claus in Ohio, sent a triple play of cute ones.....a bright and bold scrap quilt, a 9 patch of red and butter gold, and a panel print of Noah's Ark. A really great variety and all so cute.

  There are a pair of Mrs. Claus sisters that live in Maryland.

   Patricia  Anne sent these 2 beauties in blue and yellow.  The colors are so beautiful!  She is representing the states of Delaware and Maryland.

  And Mrs. Claus of Maryland is Angela from the HGTV Message Board.  A bright zig-zag, and a beautiful blue 9 patch came from her.

  I know these two sisters had a great time making the doll quilts.

 The last package to arrive yesterday was from Mrs. Claus in Texas.   But by now we all know who she is......from Nicki of the HGTV Message Board. She is one terrific organizer and help! And I can see she even found time to make a trio of doll quilts, too.....  scrappy  4 patches, squares of pinks and brown, and a cute rail fence doll quilt.  Thank you, Mrs. Claus, this project has grown because of your involvement.

What a great assortment of doll quilts!  Nothing says love like a little fabric and thread.

Big hugs and thanks to all the participating Mrs. Claus.

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