Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Step 1 finished

The first step of the Diamond nine patch color wash is finished. this is the background for an autumn leaves wall hanging. Right now it measures roughly 46 x 70. It will be trimmed because the setting triangles are oversize to make it easier to square it up in the end.

Here it is laying across my king size bed. It is now too big for the present design wall.

This is a close up of a section closer to the edge than to the center and  the color is more true than the other photos.
It is much warmer visually than the photo below which shows the half blocks on the sides.

 I am not sure how I will deal with some of the edge blocks that stretched  on the bias edges.  I made it much worse by stay stitching along the edge. Some of it will quilt  out but there are a couple of places that will have to be fixed or maybe the half blocks will need to be replaced.

Jack asked if it was going to have some color in the center. I got out a bunch of fabrics that are possibilities.

These are two views of some of the fabrics I am auditioning for the leaves. I will use fewer fabrics and multiple leaves of the same fabric.
I am aiming for a look of the wind sweeping along a pile of leaves.

I am thinking about how I am going to accomplish this and hoping for the best.

Friday, April 22, 2016

Once Again - My Big UFO

I was showing a friend the handquilted "QUILT THAT WILL NEVER BE FINISHED". I opened it on my bed to show it and I left it there to be put away later.  When I looked at it I realized, for the second or third time, that most of the blocks that are within the border are finished.

This is one block with  sashing on the left. Everything was quilted in the ditch and there are concentric circles in the center of the block and 3 overlapping circles in the sashing rectangle to the left of the block.

This narrow strip is one sashing strip and the 4 patch cornerstones on the right and left. This is one that has not been quilted.

This is a secondary pattern that emerged when 4 sashing strips  come together at the cornerstone.

Four blocks with one secondary block.

There are five blocks and 6 or 7 sashing strips with cornerstones still to be quilted. Even with my arthritic hands I think this is doable. If I get that much finished I will quilt the border by machine. I know, absolutely, it will not matter at all to the person to whom I promised this quilt in 2001.

This quilt is from the first year I was in the "Friendship" block exchange group and I requested 2 twelve inch blocks from everyone and asked that all of the pieces in the block be a different fabric.
There are 25 colored patches and I think 20 neutral prints. That was a pretty bold request for someone new to the group. I may have also added that I would be happy for any left over scraps for the sashings.  In my defense, I did ask the shop owner where we met if she thought it was OK to request that block. She said (direct quote) "Sure".

I knew I would not want to piece 25 blocks but I proceeded to start to hand quilt  every single seam in the ditch and the circles and X's  in the 4 patches. I started and stopped quilting a few times and each time I started again, it was for a shorter period with longer stretches between. Now, 15 years later, I find any kind of hand sewing to be "not much fun". However the end is in sight and I am going to give it another try.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Slow Progress

I am moving along slowly. My yard of the darkest fabric finally came in the mail and I finally got out to shop for one more (darker) fabric.

This is where I am now.
The blocks in some of the rows as sewed together. It is very easy to get mixed up when making a blended value quilt, especially when the design wall is too small. After the first 6 diagonal rows were sewed I ran out of design wall.  I put what I had sewed on the bed and sewed half of the next row and laid out the rest of the blocks for the row on my bed. And then..... confusion reigned. The fabrics in that area are so much alike that it is easy to get them out of order. I kept coming back to my sewing room to look at what was up on the wall and also my EQ version on my computer screen. I finally got out my Command Hooks and hung up a makeshift  piece of  flannel board. that isn't really good enough either but I think I can move on from here.

 This is the rest of that unfinished row, already to sew together. After I got organized last night I quit; I am all ready now to finish this row and
move along.

These are the rest of my finished blocks that won't fit on the design wall. I resorted them last night and laid them out in order. I also found one that had one strip sewed to the wrong side. It is there on the end of my ironing board.
These triangles are the end pieces for the rows. The light one is my cloth template with cutting instructions written on it. I cut a strip of fabric and lay the template triangle on it and use my ruler to cut; then I lay it on the other edge and cut the next one. It works but I wish I had a diamond shape ruler.
Next time I will have one!!!!

I will also have a large design wall!!!

This is the latest EQ7 version, rough, but it shows (I hope) my idea of windblown leafs.

Monday, April 11, 2016

A Flimsy

I finished the table runner top and I am ready to layer it up.

I trimmed back the side triangles so there would be 1/2 inch between the points of the squares and the border. I added narrow strips on the two ends which makes the whole pattern "float". This solution has accomplished the problems of making this the size that best fits the coffee table. It is a Hitchcock table and has decorative painting on the ends that I didn't want to cover. The table has a fine black line on the table top about an inch from the edge and black legs.  I needed to add the long borders to make it wide enough and I needed to add something on the ends so it didn't look like something was missing. I think the narrow strip accomplished that. Now I have to decide whether to turn it pillowcase style before I quilt it or quilt it and add a binding. Or....... I could layer it and quilt it and decide if I want a binding or a facing. Writing a post is like talking to myself which helps me think and gives me new ideas as I go along.

I finished the last set of blocks that I have been working on for the diamond background.

I am happy that I will not be replacing anything. I have to wait until I get more of the last fabric before making any more blocks. This is about the right size horizontally but I am probably going to add one more set of blocks on the top and bottom to make it the right size to fill the space where it will hang. I will finish the outside all around with half diamonds using the final fabric which  I still have to buy. I still need to buy fat quarters of several colors also, for fall leaves for the applique. I don't plan on adding a border as the darker diamonds on the outside will be enough of a frame.

This is my EQ7 version  from last October. I have changed the orientation of the blocks and I might omit the free form curvy stripes and there will be more leaves.
Last fall I gathered a bunch of leaves from the yard and scanned them. I will print them in different sizes and use them for applique patterns.

This EQ version makes the background from my actual blocks look very dull but in reality the background has a much warmer tone.

Sunday, April 10, 2016

Table Runner

Last Tuesday I met with some new quilting friends to work on table runners. I came home and got mine put together as far as I could until I decide about the ends.

My original plan was to follow the pattern and leave the ends pointed. After adding the side triangles I had a change of thought. I made the triangles oversize as a cautionary
measure. Now I kind of like the way it makes the squares float. I wasn't sure I would have enough of the triangle fabric to make 4 corners. I used some of the fabric from my diamond quilt and I knew I could spare the fabric for the 4 patches and the side triangles but not sure if I had enough for the corners because I had not yet worked out how many strips I need to cut for the last 2 sets of diamond blocks..

Before I saw the table runner pattern I thought it had square corners and bought this fabric for borders. I may just use it for binding if I don't add the corner triangles. If I omit the corner triangles I will trim the side triangles back to the tip of the squares .........or maybe I will do something else. I am still thinking it over. I will have enough of the light fabric for the corner triangles but I am not sure yet about adding them.

I will have time to think about it and time to finish the top and layer it up after I finish the last diamond blocks I am working on now. I can't go any farther with that until I get another yard of fabric. The shop only had 1 precut half yard piece but more ordered. I took the half yard and she is sending the other yard when it comes in.

It feels good to get back into the swing of things quilting. It has been a while since I had more than one thing going that I was enthusiastic about. Since our move, not getting to meet very often with my quilting friends has taken it's toll. Maybe just finding some new quilting friends has put me back on track.

Saturday, April 9, 2016

Background Progress

I have been working away at the background blocks and I have the strip segments for the last round of blocks cut and ready to sew together.
Well, I think this will be the last round of blocks, I may need to make it wider, vertically.  I will have to make that decision after I sew the blocks into diagonal rows and see how well it fills the space for which I am making it.

 Yesterday I took the quilts down from my design wall and put the blocks up. My little design board at my work table wasn't large enough anymore after I got the first 3 sets of blocks made.
I know it is looking pretty bland right now but when I look at the actual blocks I see the result I had in mind.

I am not able to put the whole quilt up on the design wall. The blocks on the left are hanging off the edge. That little spot is a flower head pin I put there to mark the center of the quilt.

This is a close up of that center. There is not much of a value from one fabric to the next until about the 4th set of blocks.   I thought at first that there was no yellow in the first 2 fabrics but not that I have more blocks made the whole thing has kind of a muted yellow glow. I think  that the lighter fabrics have a background that is more cream than it is white.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          This is a close up showing the fabrics in the last 2 sets of blocks. So far there is only 1 block finished in the last set. I wanted to see if I like the last fabric but I am still not sure. I will have to finish more blocks and if I am still not sure I will add one more darker fabric. If I don't like it I will have to replace about 60 blocks.

It won't be the first time!

And probably not the last time!

Monday, April 4, 2016

A little Progress

Saturday was a bit of a disappointment for me; I had planned to go to the Basement Divas meeting but the weather report kept us home. The prediction was for afternoon snow and Jack doesn't like to drive when the weather conditions make visibility poor. As it turned out, we would have been coming home at the time it started coming down.

This is a bush on the edge of the patio taken when the first few large flakes started coming down.

This is about 30 minutes later.
So I guess we made the right choice although when the sun was shining brightly in the late morning I didn't think so.
I stayed home and worked on my diamond 9 patch blocks.
I am working on the 6th set of blocks (16 blocks).

This photo shows one block from each set. The bottom block is the center of the block setting (which is not the center of the quilt). The block above it is one of 4 blocks from the the blocks that will go around it and is the same 2 fabrics. The next block above (the point block  is one from the next round of blocks (8 blocks) and fabric #1 has been dropped and fabric  #3 has been added.
Each set of blocks has 2 fabrics; in each set the lighter fabric from the previous block has been dropped and the next fabric in the color run has been added. The block above the point block is from the next set and is one of 12 blocks. The top block is the next in the color progression and is one of 16 blocks. Each set of blocks has 4 more blocks than the previous set and I have been doing the math for the number of strips to cut from each fabric as I come to it. I am up to fabric #6 and I have 3 more fabrics before I need to shop again. I need the last 2 (darkest) background fabrics.
I am writing everything down after I work out what I need for each set of blocks in case this turns into a series. I did this for the square 9 patch colorwash quilts and I had a chart to work with when I did a series of quilts.

Working with neutral low contrast fabrics gets pretty boring (probably pretty boring reading about it too). I have to keep telling myself this is background.  

This is my companion who hangs out with me most of the time. He thinks it is his responsibility to keep me from being bored. He presents himself for petting on regular intervals and he brings me his ball to play with when he thinks I need to have some fun.

Tux is 8 or 9 years old and he  is a very nice dog with very good manners but he is very hard to photograph inside the house. Photos of him require a lot of photo manipulation.

Thursday, March 31, 2016

Diamond Challenge Start

I have fussed around long enough with EQ7 working out how I want to do the Diva Diamond Challenge. I bought neutral fabric for the background blocks at the Farnpark Quilt Show on vendors weekend and I have been doing nothing with it since then.

This is the fabric I bought to get started. It is arranged left to right from light to dark; the order of the right 4 fabrics is subject to change.   These colors are all pretty close to the true colors

This is the same 7 fabrics with 2 more darker fabrics added on the right. These are from my stash and I don't have enough of either of them but I added them just to think about what I am going to look for.

This is what I started on today and it is all I accomplished. There is really no yellow in either of these fabrics. I used the first 2 fabrics for these blocks; the true colors show best in the top color run photo. Each set of subsequent blocks will have the darker fabric from the previous blocks in the "4" position and the next (darker) fabric in the "5" position. Think of the blocks as 9 patch blocks with the 4 position as the inner patch on the outside rows and the 5 position as the center and corner patches. I need to do some math before I get started on the other blocks. Each subsequent set of blocks will increase by 4 blocks more than the previous set.

This is the background I have worked out in EQ7 using the fabrics I scanned into the program for this quilt. .  I still have to shop for 2 darker fabrics for the outside blocks. I believe this will be the orientation but I may change my mind and turn the blocks so the width is vertical. I will need to make that decision after 2 more sets of blocks and I should probably decide before I shop for more fabric as the amount I need will depend on the orientation I choose.

My original EQ version was posted here and I may go back to that one, minus the blue patches

I have made 9 patch colorwash backgrounds like this using square 9 patch blocks and I thought this would be another variation.  The  quilt with the red flowers on the top of this blog has a 9 patch colorwash background done in square neutral blocks.

By the time I am finished with this
 I may be sorry I ever started. 
We'll see!

Monday, March 28, 2016

Neighborhood House

I received this sweet little house block in the mail Friday as a thank you for participating in the Neighborhood Block Party hosted by Irene at  Hilachas and her sister Ida at My Sister Made Me Do It.  

I will be doing something with it but not sure yet what that will be. Right now it is up on my bulletin board.

 In 2011 Beth from Love Laugh Quilt hosted the Neighborhood Block Party. Everyone who participated  received a little fussy cut house patch. I made this one block curved log cabin wall hanging with the little house patch in the center; I hang in in my sewing room in February.

Saturday, March 12, 2016

On My Walls

I haven't done any sewing since I made the second Neighborhood house.

 But I did go to the local quilt show during vendors weekend and purchased some neutral fabric for a low contrast diamond colorwash background.
The six pieces along the bottom are arranged in light to dark order and the larger piece at the top will go in between the 2nd and 3rd from the left. I will be adding something darker at the end and some (sky) blue sprinkled around.  We'll see how it goes.
I also changed out the  small quilts on my design wall and bulletin boards. This is the board between the two shelves above my sewing machine. The shelves are 6 ft. long and go from the book case to the adjacent wall.
This is on the adjacent wall. It is a narrow space a few inches wider on either side of the board.I covered these two boards with gray flannel for better color photos. 

I like to change some of the little pieces hanging on them from time to time to brighten up my mostly white space. A few of the pieces stay all the time, the bunny postcard from Annie (Freezeframe) and the "Quarrelsome Wife" proverb. 


Below is my dinky 4 x 4 foot design wall

I made the 3 more colorful pieces when the Diva group was working through Ruth McDowell's "Piecing Workshop" book. After I made the pieced leaves I used the same border fabrics to frame a large floral motif and a left over block  from another Diva project. I wanted all 3 pieces to tie together but have different borders.
 I made these to be hung on a wall together but they hang in my closet. I put them up here in a way to fill  the design board but I would probably not hang them exactly this way on a wall. I have a lot of quilts that I made because something inspired me, they do not fit in with the decor in our house or in the homes of anyone in my family. They hang in the closet and I am going to get them out and put them up in my sewing room to enjoy and to inspire me.

The other two finished pieces on the lower left are zentangle inspired circles that I drew on fabric and stitches on a background and the quilted on most of the larger lines. The other little circle on the middle right is just a circle drawn on white fabric. Looking at this, I am wishing I had a white room where I could hang this arrangement and add unquilted small tangled circles in different sizes to fill in the empty spaces.
Hmmm......They are right there on the wall in this mostly white room. The walls, bookcase, shelves, tables, and sewing machine table are white. My office chairs are black and my rug is gray, the closet doors are white, the valence over the window is black and white stripe and the door is orange. Why have I never thought about hanging these in my sewing room before? They will have to come down if I need the design wall for something and I may change them out for other things from time to time. for now I will enjoy them. Yes!

Monday, February 29, 2016

Another Neighborhood House

I finished another house for the Neighborhood Block Party. I plan to get them in the mail tomorrow.

I had great grand kids here Sunday and 3 of them wanted to sew. We were going through all of my boxes of fabric to find something they wanted to use and I pulled out some fabric  for another house. You can check out some of the other houses here

I like making houses but I had trouble getting these houses the right size. I had to redo the left side of this one as it was 1/2 inch too small so now it is a bit offside. I should stick to wonky for improv piecing.

The kids all wanted to make something different so it got hectic. Although I planned to get some photos of them working  I was so busy helping everyone that  I never got even one pic.

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

House Block

It has been almost 2 months since my last post. I have no excuses; I just didn't do any sewing. I did rearrange my sewing room and that made things a lot better but there was no inspiration or desire to sew anything.  I dragged out 3 fairly large boxes of photographs and took up all the space I might have used for sewing.

In January I made a commitment to make a 12 1/2 inch house block for the Neighborhood Block Party. Beth from Love Laugh Quilt hosted the party for a few years but last year life got in the way and there was no block party. This year Irene, from  Hilachas, and her sister Ida, from My Sister Made Me Do It, decided to start it up again.   I still have boxes and piles of photos all  over the place but the blocks are due in a few weeks.  Time to get started!

I got out my box of "housing elements" and I found a strip of leftover grass and the  Sewing Divas from the Lorelei panel that we used for our Basement Diva Challenge. I cleared a small space for cutting  and pressing, pulled out my large laundry basket of scraps and started playing. I chose one of the smaller single Divas for the occupant of the house and the yellow striped border around the block  reminded me of a door frame. None of my "sky" fabrics rang any bells for me until  I found the raindrop fabric. I would have preferred the blue or gray background raindrop fabric but the raindrops were the wrong direction on the blue and gray strips I found.

 I had fun making this block and the ideas for another project are running around in my head. Sometimes you just have to do something to get the creativity flowing. I had that in mind when I signed up to make a house block. Maybe I will Make one more block to send (just to build up some creative steam).