Tuesday, January 30, 2018

New snack mats

   While I was making the watercolor place mats, I put together a couple of snack mats.    A mug rug is not big enough for the island in the kitchen, and place mats are slightly too large.....snack mats are just right for here!


   The size is about 9'' by 12''.  Perfect for a small plate and drink.  I used leftover binding strips to finish these off.    Since these will get a lot of wear and be washed over and over, I use a zig-zag stitch to finish the binding on the front.

    I watch Bonnie on Quilt-cam while finishing up all my bindings and started on some of the Boxes  Squared blocks that I had cut.   She shared her new pressing mat made from Alpaca fur.  Interesting......not sure I need one, but I am tempted.   Maybe I will check it out a bit more. 
Happy stitching.  

Sunday, January 28, 2018

Country Garden bed runner

  Done!   The Country Garden bed runner was finished off with a mottled purple binding.  Since the blocks and floral fabrics used were on the lighter side of the spectrum, it seemed to work.

  This runner is a good study in contrasts.  some of the combinations are very high contrast of light and dark, and others are less so with both fabrics tending to the light. 

 The Country Garden  is a mix of every sort of bloom, and leaves run the gamut from green to blue-green to a taupe-lavender.  It's my garden and I made it a fun one.   I see sunshine in the light backgrounds  and blooming roses and daffodils.   If you study it closely you might find the weeds I never got to pull :)

   Quite a contrast between the two....you can see why I had a challenge getting them to work nicely together in one quilt. 

     The blocks are 16 patch made with 2 '' strips.  I used 3 blocks across and 10 blocks for the length.  The post for the Shade Garden is here.

  The tale of two gardens comes to  an end.   I have two runners for bed or table.....to switch out with the season or mood.  It just will depend on the story I want to tell. 
Happy stitching. 

Thursday, January 25, 2018

Shade Garden

  Things got away from me this week and I forgot to finish up this post.
     In November, I began playing with 16 patch blocks.   I was having fun with floral fabrics and contrasts of more solid/tonal fabrics.   The 16 patch block is quite addictive and I just kept making sombinations. 
   Along the way, I realized that I had two distinct moods to the blocks I was creating.  I referred to them as "shade garden" and "country garden'' blocks.  I had a hard time merging them into one quilt.  So they became 2 different projects. 

   I decided I wanted to make a bed runner for different seasons.  This is the first, "Shade Garden". 
    The floral fabrics are like spots of sunlight that peek thru the shaded garden.  This version has  the accent/contrast on the darker side for this runner.

  The block size is 6'' when using 2'' strips.  The runner is 18'' wide.....and 66'' long. 
  Photo on the right shows the different combos of fabrics that I used. 


    Simple swirl quilting all over and one of the abundant florals in my collection for the binding. 

   The Country Garden version is ready to bind and will be finished soon:)  Then I can do a better comparison.
Happy stitching. 

Monday, January 22, 2018

Watercolor place mats and values

  The place mats generated a lot of emails and comments.  I put together this collage that includes:

  •  the work in progress,
  •  the finished place mat and 
  • a couple of guides for layout of the values.   
I am hoping you can click on the photo and open it in a separate window to print for reference.    Remember this is a guide for achieving a blend, not an absolute.  Every fabric combination will give different results.  The look will be different with the same fabrics depending on how each one is cut and how you place them.  

  Basically I used about 5 values of floral fabrics.  The very lightest fabrics create the focal point of light.   Next lighter value  has an obvious print on a light background.  
Then the medium value prints  on tan, cream, light green or pale yellow background.  Darker medium values that tend to be darker overall and usually have little background showing come next.  The darkest values have dark backgrounds and dark prints.  

     So if you wish to try this technique on a small project, head to the stash and cut some squares.  Prints ---floral, paisley, swirly fabrics work great and are the easiest to blend.  Here's a post on selecting fabrics.    And a post on value    You don't need a lot of any one fabric.....one or two squares are fine.  But you will need variety...the more choices the better.  

For full details on using the gridded interfacing see the tutorial  Design a Watercolor page under the banner.  

 And for added inspiration visit Wanda at Exuberant Color for excellent details on how she sorts values, and works her magic in colorwash with batik fabrics.  

I will pull some fabrics and hopefully have more insight to share next time.  So let me know if you have more questions. 
Happy stitching.  

Saturday, January 20, 2018

Project progress

  Everything in the sewing room seemed to be so long term.  And this week I needed, absolutely required, a quicker project that could be finished. 

   And nothing soothes me like working with floral fabrics.   I decided on  a couple of place mats as a quick project. 
   I worked these up using 10  2'' squares across and 8 squares down.   This would be excellent practice or a first project for anyone wanting to work with values.   I enjoyed playing with squares again that I made 2 more smaller ones for the kitchen island.

  Quilting was simple straight lines---easy and fast.

  I had questions this week about the mixed bindings that I carry on about using on my quilts and projects. 
Maybe this photo will give an idea of what I used on the mats.  I used two floral prints that were mainly blue.  Just joined and stitched down.....they just seem to blend and work well together. 
  On a larger project or quilt I will often have 5 or 6 different prints in the binding.  I will sew them together based either on color or value.   For example, I might begin with a light strip, then on to medium value, and then a darker strip.  Other times I could just mix the whole shebang together and let it rip.  I am not going for a prize but enjoying and using what I have. 

  Other questions came about the quilt rack Sir Old Man made for me about 7 years ago.  Unfortunately, the question was from a no-reply blogger.....so no return comment from me.  Please, if you want questions answered, we have to have an email to respond to.   Link your email to your account, or ask questions directly via email.  And yes, I can direct you to the plans for the quilt rack, but I have no way to tell you that. 

  Much nicer weather this weekend....sun is out.  We still have snowy patches, but that we can live with.   Like most everyone else I am looking for spring already :)  Happy stitching.

Friday, January 12, 2018

    I never expected to be so quiet for so long.  A month can slip away in a blink of an eye for me it seems.  The busy times of Christmas took a toll on me and I needed about 4 days to recover from than, and another couple of days to get the house set back in order.   Just when I felt better the first Arctic blast arrived and elevated my pain level beyond what I could tolerate.  Mornings of 6 degrees and days that barely got above freezing are not my friends.  I don't do pain meds, and rely on things like Tylenol to get by.   So I read a lot, and then read some more,  and just waited it out.

  This week warmer days came, the sun returned, and I spent a couple of hours each day just soaking in the warmth and Vitamin D.  I pulled out projects that had been cut and began some simple piecing.  My finger tip nerves are hindering me a bit, as I have a great deal of problem feeling the fabric.

 Just picking up pieces for pairing takes forever.  I had parts for this Crossroads pattern cut and sorted so that is where I began.  It is a forgiving block and my lack of accuracy in spots can be worked in.  It's from Connie at Freemotion by the River....here's her tutorial.  
   I have made this one several times---scrappy, floral, fall theme prints---and in different sizes.   Crossroads to printout from Connie.  

   It took a few days  but I got parts cut for a Boxed Square throw.  The pattern is here  at Mary Quilts.    This one is just florals---dark versus light values.  I plan on sewing these  leader/ender style as I put the rows together for the scrappy Crossroads top. 

   My two 16 patch bed throws are pinned and sitting by Hot Legs for a quilting session.   We have another blast of very cold air blowing in tomorrow, so I really should get one done.

   Sir Old Man is down for a week or so.  He thought it was a sinus infection.  I thought he had pneumonia.  We were both wrong.  He is on steroids, and an inhaler for now for allergic bronchial reaction to inhaling wood dust----so so we think.  He was at the guild sanding on a donation project and forgot his mask.  First mistake.  On donation projects they use common/lower grade/overseas import products.......between the lines read  non-native species that we have not been exposed to can cause allergic reaction.   He is no worse, and has been able to rest better now.    It was still scary for him.

  Rather than a recap from last year, I updated the quilts for 2017  page.  As for 2018.....who knows?  I have no big plans, I have a couple things to quilt, a couple things I want to make.   I'm not running a race this year.
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