Wednesday, March 28, 2012

F is for . . . .

Finished!  Finally!

This is a quilt that was started about two years ago and I've been cutting fabric off and on since.  As a "scrap quilter", I don't have a lot of "width of fabric" like many.  I'm happy with scraps, pieces, hunks and chunks rescued from friends' trash (you know who you are!).  So, because this does best when the strips are pieced from WOF, I've cut as I've gotten fabric and put it in bins.

Each octagon requires two strips at 2.5", 2 strips at 2", 1 strip at 2.5" and another strip at 2.5" (for pinwheel).  Obviously, that's a lot of fabric and because of the cutting requirements, there is enough for another quilt that is would be scrapier.  BUT NO TIME SOON.   I'm tired of octagons!

The pattern is "Paperweights" by Aardvark Quilts and octagon quilts are certainly popular right now and popping up on blogs everywhere.  Kudos to those of you who are making them.  There is bias everywhere.  The only straight of grain on the outside edge is where the kites come together.  Everything else is off grain.
While the pictures were taken on a windy day, some of the "play" you see in the black-on-black kites is where there is excess fabric.   Let's just say there are some "A cups" and one "B cup" in the kites.  I'm going to have to quilt the heck out of it to get it to lay flat.  Prior to quilting, it measures 86" x 102".
Suggestions by the designer were to make sure you had a good mix of dark, mediums, and lights in the fabrics so that different elements would "pop" -- the outer border in some, the middle strip in others, and the pinwheels in some.  I thought I had a good selection of darks for the outer strip but they aren't showing up in these pictures.  There's not the depth I had hoped for but I'm pretty much over it!
No border -- just 49 full octagons and maybe 11 half blocks.  I have stay stitched the outside as I'm pretty sure this could fall apart if pulled very much.  It will be going to Chicago in two weeks for some quilting.  I have no idea what to do with it but have some time to decide.
The designer recommended putting all the octagons together and all four kite pieces together and then assembling with way too many angles to me.  I put this together in blocks -- as noted above.  It's hard without a huge design wall but the quality control for me was much better.  I nested the strips and then pressed all the joined seams open so there would be less bulk.
The pictures that follow are the requisite spring photos showing some of the flowering trees in our yard.  Since this is our first spring in this house, it's always a surprise to see what comes up.  We knew we had three dogwoods and a redbud, but we didn't know that the larger dogwood was a pink one (scrawny but pink).

The redbud is past prime and I was tickled to find a lilac -- although it's on the other side of our fence, it's on our property so I'm going to presume the neighbors think it's theirs and enjoy the color and fragrance.
We made a quick trip through Chicago on our way to Madison WI last week and were stunned to see that the same flowers were blooming in Chicago and Madison (tulips, for goodness sakes!) as in Kentucky.  My son's clematis is bigger than ours and has more blooms.  The earth is so out of orbit when it comes to this wacky spring!
I hope you're having a blooming good day!  Jan

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Quilters' Day Out

Today was my first Quilters' Day Out which is an internationally recognized day (third Saturday in March) that is set aside to honor and celebrate the art of quilting.  Interestingly, this special day originated in Kentucky many years ago - expanded to a few other states - and has now grown to a day that is recognized throughout the world.

The small guild that I belong to had a "Crayon Challenge" among the members to reveal at the show.  The rules were:

  1. Two crayons were blindly pulled from a bag that included 64 Crayola Crayons.
  2. If you hated one of the colors, you could put one back in and draw again.  One time.  No more!
  3. Fabrics had to be in the colors of the crayons you drew -- and you could use any shade that could be created by coloring on a white sheet of paper - depending on the pressure you used.
  4. You were allowed to add one more color to the quilt -- but it had to be from the box of 64 crayons and that shade only.  No scribbling for shades.
  5. Size could be anywhere from 40" x 40" to 51" x 51".
The pictures I took are terrible and don't do the quilts justice.  
Pink Carnation and Red Violet were drawn and White was added as accent.  This quilter actually used her crayons to color in the squares and heat set shavings in the outer border.
I'm so sorry I didn't get a better picture of this one.  She drew Pink and Blue and didn't want to make the expected baby quilt so she added black and with with an Amish look.  She had seen the pattern in Quiltmaker and modified it slightly by adding flying geese.
This quilter drew Olive Green and Yellow and added Sky Blue as her accent.  This came from March, 2001 Quiltmaker Magazine.
This quilt was beautifully done. I don't recall which colors she drew but she embellished with yellow buttons and did some amazing quilting in the open spaces.
This quilter drew Salmon and Navy Blue and elected not to use an accent color.  Hand quilted.
This quilter drew Yellow and Green and made these cute little pieced baskets with her White accent color.  Hand quilted.
Brown and Blue-Green were the colors drawn for this quilt and she added Dandelion.  This was Viewer's Choice and much more striking in person.
Unfortunately, this one didn't get finished due to illness.   She drew Orange and Black and I think others were expecting a Halloween quilt.  Surprise!
The primary crayons for this quilt was Spring Green and Raw Sienna and Salmon was added as an accent. It's made from Celtic Pieced Illusions by Karen Combs.  Alas, it wasn't finished either.

I hope you've had a chance to celebrate quilting in whatever manner worked best for you today!  Jan

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Blue Skies....

I am not a knitter anymore - but I love yarn and I used to love knitting.  I've done sweaters, afghans, socks, scarves, you name it!  Time and arthritis got in the way and quilting passion picked up.

This is a "sky scarf" which is current fairly popular on Ravelry, I think.  Basically, you knit a row everyday that reflects the color of the sky.  Most I have seen do the garter stitch but I decided to do popcorn as I like the blending better from row to row.  More of a "heather" look".  This will be for Mr Iquiltforfun and has 41 stitches for the 41 years of marriage.  Since it's already 15+ inches after two months, we're thinking we won't do a full year -- it would end up looking like a Harry Potter scarf and way too long to be functional.
 It has been fun to do and not too taxing.  Interestingly, I do find that if we're traveling and the days get "backed up", knitting several rows results in pain in my thumb which means I need to learn to knit continental (which is so much more ergonomic and efficient in movements) or give up the hope that I would ever be knitting funky socks in the future.  I really think I'd have to take a class as You Tube is not a great teacher for me on this for some reason.  I've done a little continental stitching - but I think I need a coach!
The yarn is worsted weight acrylic (I wasn't about to invest in fancy-dancy yarns in case this didn't work out well) and I'm using size 7 needles.

White:  foggy or snow (not much of that, thank goodness)
Blue/white:  blue skies with white clouds
Blue:  clear blue skies
Gray heather: overcast
Dark gray:  storms (last dark gray row on the left was the day of the deadly tornadoes)

There are a number of variations that I've seen.  A few people are doing "mood scarves" and using different colors to reflect their mood on any given day (that would be a bit too revealing for me).  You could also do colors to reflect how you spent your day (on the go, resting, friends, whatever).

I hope you have blue skies and are getting to stitch!  Jan

Friday, March 2, 2012

April - May - June

As we move into spring like weather (actually we're under severe weather warnings for today!), seems like a good time to take a peek at three more months of wall hangings from Nancy Halvorsen's "Be Attitudes" quilt/calendar.  I showed the first three months last week in this posting.
I really love the April block!  This little bunny looks so joyous, doesn't he?  The eggs are actually my favorite part.  They are some teeny tiny batik scraps that friends had given me and they were less than 1.5" so I needed to find just the right place to showcase them (or toss them....) and these eggs were just the right size!  Aren't they cute?
The May block was fun -- I enjoyed using the batiks...and had to buy buttons for the plant stakes and tabs. Everything else was stash, of course. It always looks so "springy" on my sister's wall (which is brick red).
June is in honor of Father's Day and it's a bit hard to see the detail.  When I look at this quilting (done on a longarm), I am particularly unhappy with it.  The trick with these was that once you were started, there was no going back and picking it out.  I just had had to grit my teeth and finish it.  It was hard to pull it tight and that shows here.
When our father died, there were a few items of clothing that I couldn't get rid of for whatever reason.  I went into the cedar chest and pulled out his jacket that he loved and wore a lot and decided to repurpose the part that was special to me.  The buttons were used for the tabs and his monogram was appliqu├ęd to the back.  So we now have that preserved for as long as she wants!

I hope you're finding time to stitch!  Jan