Sunday, June 29, 2014

New Quilting Project

I'm done enough of the hand-quilting on the quilt I made from this fat quarter pack, that I should soon be able to bind it, photograph it, write up the instructions, and post it on my Craftsy page.

That got me started thinking about what my next hand-quilting project would be.

I went out to the studio and retrieved this small quilt top that I sewed together a little over two years ago. Right away, I knew I wanted to do a large-scale, feathered motif. A heart perhaps? Possibly, but then there were still the corner areas to fill in. I wanted a design that would fill up more of the area by itself.

Because the quilt is as nearly square (maybe one-quarter inch or so larger on one axis), a feathered circle seemed like a good candidate.

I took this 8 by 8 inch template, draw the design onto paper, scanned it into the computer, and starting playing with it.

I made it as big as possible, tried a few variations, and soon arrived at this arrangement.

Rather than printing out the whole design on tiled pages and piecing it together, I am starting out with just the center, which measures about 13 inches in diameter. It printed out using just four sheets of paper. For the middle and outer parts of the design, I plan to redraw them so that there are four identical quadrants. As it is, the design is not radially symmetric, there being 23 feathers on the outside of the circle.

To be evenly divisible into 360, there need to be 24. That way, I only have to make a template for one-quarter of the pattern. That matters because of the way I make my quilting templates.

I print them out on paper, and then run the paper through my sewing machine (unthreaded) so the needle punches the design into the paper.

I use a Quilt Pounce to transfer the design to the quilt top, and then draw over it with a chalk pencil, since the chalk from the Quilt Pounce rubs off too quickly as I'm quilting.

I think I will use dark brown quilting thread.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Bees and Lavender

One of the benefits of digital photography is how it frees me to take as many pictures as I want to, without concern for spending money to get prints of many mediocre photos in the quest for the really good one.

A couple years ago, I was taking picture of the wild sunflowers that I had grown from seeds my sister had sent me from Nebraska, where they grow along the roads and highways. There were bees flying around — large, round, black ones that are pretty mild-tempered. I was working from a low angle, trying to use the bright blue sky as a backdrop.

It wasn't until I was reviewing the photos on my computer that I saw this.

I loved the fortuitous capture of the bee staring straight at the camera.

Yesterday, I took a number of photos of the bees in the lavender. None of them are quite as fun an quirky as the sunflower photo, but with the Close-up setting on the camera, I got a decent picture of a bee and some interesting effects with the focus.

This one is a little different in that the flowers in the foreground are out of focus. Usually, it's the background that's fuzzy.

I like the way the flower in the foreground here is backlit. It gives the flower a bit of a posterized effect.

Monday, June 16, 2014

The Coffee Shirt

Earlier this year, I hit on the idea of making my husband Tim a shirt.

We were out and about at one of the theater events put on by Moisture Festival. He was wearing one of his favorite shirts, a bricky-red silk number. It was tucked in, and in the process of settling into our seats, he pulled it out and the side seam ripped badly.

The damage was pretty bad, and I said to him, well, I could make you another shirt.

Later that weekend, we went down to Pacific Fabrics to see what options were to be had.

As we were perusing the selection of batiks, my eyes fell on a coffee cup print. It was perfect!

I bought the appropriate yardage, as well as a pattern, thread, buttons, and interfacing.

Over the next few weeks, I made the shirt. But it had been a long time since I had made clothing. All went well until I did the buttonholes and buttons.

I thought I was all done, but when Tim tried it on, he said, "Sweetie? The buttons are on the wrong side."


I suppose I could have left it that way. But the OCD part of me couldn't let it lie.

I snipped off the buttons, zigzagged the buttonholes shut, and re-sewed them on the correct side.

When the shirt is buttoned up, you really can't see the sewed-up buttonholes. And even if it's unbuttoned, the thread blends in rather well with the fabric print.

So, I got off easy.

And I'm getting ready to do it again, with this really cool fabric based on this iconic image, which we spotted in the window of Esther's Fabrics on Bainbridge Island.

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Quilts of Valor Blocks

Yesterday, I sewed up a couple of blocks to contribute to the Quilts of Valor Block Drive currently going on at Pacific Fabrics.

The block, called "Hearth and Home," is super easy to make. The two blocks took maybe an hour and half to make, including cutting (which I had done the day before). With chain piecing, making one or two more wouldn't have taken much longer.

I adjusted the instructions for making the half-square triangle units, cutting the squares 3-1/2" instead of 3-3/8". I like to make them a little larger and then trim them to size.

I kind of overlooked the sidebar in the first column of the pattern instructions, where it tells you what colors to use. I was just going by the Materials list, where it said to use a light fabric and a dark fabric. 

The block drive continues through July 15. I may have time to make more, in which case I will try to do something more red-white-and-blue.

Sunday, June 1, 2014

La Conner Quilt Museum

I have been meaning to write up a post about out visit to the La Conner Quilt and Textile Museum for about a week now, but am only now getting to it.

My mother-in-law had just returned from some time in California, and 4 of the 5 siblings were in the area, so an outing was arranged more or less half way between Bellingham and Seattle — La Conner, which among other attraction features the abovementioned Museum.

I urge all my quilty friends in the area to take a day and go see the exhibit of art quilts by Marianne Burr before it ends on June 29. Photography was not allowed, but I will take the liberty of borrowing the promotional photo from the museum's web site.

I urge you to go to her web site and see more of her work, as well as a brief description of her process.

Marianne happened to be there at the museum, and I had the opportunity to chat with her, see her working on a piece, and handle and examine some samples.

The other two exhibits were "Color in the Great Depression" and "Suzanis and Crazy Quilts," also ending June 29.

Photography was allowed of those two exhibits, of which I freely availed myself. Since the museum is housed in an old mansion, the rooms were often too small to back up enough to get the whole quilt in the frame. But I did my best. Herewith is a sampling.

"Fans with Green Centers." 1930, maker unknown.

"Blockhouse." 1930, Josie Teeter Schlotterback.

"Mosaic." 1930, maker unknown.

"Rose of Sharon." 1950, maker unknown.

"Circle Star with 8 Point Star." 1940, Jose Teeter Schlotterback.

The third exhibit featured suzanis and related works.