Wednesday, April 1, 2015

A Bit of Inspiration

Every single time I wear these striped socks, quilty ideas flash through my head. Blink, blink. 'This could be a really great quilt!'  You know us obsessive quilter types--always making everything about quilts. So I finally went digging through the totes to see what could be done with my version of these particular colors.
Inspiration is everywhere....
Hmm... not bad for a half hour playtime! Then I started flipping through books and pattern binders... Talk about a time killer. I wasted a couple hours figuring out that while I really want to make a couple super, duper complicated quilts 'some day', the time is not now. Nor with these fabrics. Focus, girl, focus.....
Time to put the thinking cap on....
I have something a little more playful and um.. fast? in mind. So for now they will sit on my counter and every now and then I will glance longingly at them and think hopeful thoughts. Unless of course I steal enough fabrics out of the stack to make things look really pitiful, which will then cause me to hurriedly stash them back in the totes. Or maybe I'll get a big brainwave just a few seconds before I go to sleep, on the night before I leave town, early in the morning, for vacation. 'Cuz that has definitely happened before. And... you never know, they could actually be made into a quilt some day too. I might actually get an idea, time and motivation all at once. Stranger things have happened before.*wink  In the meantime I'm enjoying looking at my most recent fabric stack. What about you? Do you ever make little stacks of great {might actually be a quilt someday} fabrics?

Monday, March 30, 2015

This Quilt

I have stitched on this quilt until my eyes have practically crossed. Then it gets set aside for work on something else. Each week though, I consistently keep coming back to this quilt, and as always, I'm seeing the kind of progress that eventually should gain me one of those things we love to call a finish.
Baskets on the main panel....
As you know, I prepped the baskets with the outside seams already turned under on the machine. It was a great method as far as placement and speed of stitching, but wowsers! It has done a number on my fingers. Having thicker seams means that it has taken more effort to slide the needle through the edges of the applique pieces. That extra bit of 'oomph' slowly adds up to a very tender spot {um.. hole?} on the finger pushing in the needle. I ended up having to use a lightweight leather thimble. gah! Honestly, it just feels awkward and clumsy and I really, really don't like using thimbles with applique work.

Tho it was nice to finally figure out that the hand motion is different {duh!} when sliding the needle in down and sideways rather than using a rocking motion like I am so accustomed to. I couldn't figure out why my thimble was continually falling off my finger! Ah the disconnect between creativity and logic. Sometimes the most obvious things take awhile to be well.., obvious. Thankfully, after these baskets are all stitched down, I should be able to stitch sans thimble again and then we'll be back to business as usual, albiet with a sensitive spot on my finger!
Looking at the back...
The joys of implementing the things we want to make! I have definitely struggled with all kinds of feelings in making the panel below, but the rest of the quilt seems to be getting easier all the time. A lot less dread, irritation, and that itchy 'I don't wanna to be doing this' feeling concerning putting all the little pieces into place. Definitely more excitement at what it's turning into right in front of my eyes. Hmm... crazy busy? Emotionally messy? lol
Done with this panel for now.
After the baskets, I will have three out of five panels completely done except for a tiny bit of applique work! Yay! There's a point at the end where I just have to see everything laid out in front of me {lined up together} in order to place those littlest pieces for optimum impact, flow or spark. Whatever the word is, I'm sure you can get what I mean.

And yes, I already do that occasionally, how could I not? It's important to continually check progression. Does it look cohesive enough? I check for possible color problems in how the eye will move across the quilt--the flow. As there is a lot of wording, I try to have different things grouped together well enough so that it's easy to quickly understand my point.

I also try to plan far enough ahead so I don't have to go back and change anything major, just fine tune a few details perhaps. I've been lucky with this quilt so far and haven't wasted or ruined too much of the wrong thing until I've completely used up an important fabric. I think the main thing for me to continually keep in mind is this: whatever applique I decide to add at the last minute {and I do have ideas for that, believe me}, it will be MUCH easier to add it on one panel at a time than wait until the entire quilt top is sewn together! Experience is such an excellent teacher in that regard.*wink
Always stitching in the evening....
My youngest daughter has been especially supportive in my efforts to make this quilt which helps tremendously. It's the sort of quilt that a few people will probably shy away from at our annual quilt show, thinking it's really busy, odd and entirely too emotional to be interesting or relevant. Some people just don't care for non-traditional quilts. That's perfectly okay.

Others, especially those similarly affected by the fire, will no doubt be very drawn to it just to see what it says about our town. Ahh... They are the ones that make me extremely nervous as I've never entered anything remotely like this. A potentially 'stand out in the crowd' type of quilt just because of how 'personal' and 'different' it could be. Most people are way beyond wanting to be viewed as victims and have been busy picking up the pieces and trying to move on. This quilt could be something they don't want to talk about anymore. Or even think about! What if it makes people angry? Sad? And so I go round and round in my mind, yet basically ignoring all my trepidation and worries anyway in my determination to be getting on with the implementation of this quilt. I guess that's what us quilters do. Use fabric to get a message across and let everyone else deal with it exactly as they choose.....

Friday, March 27, 2015

A Change of Pace. Or Not.

Things have been busy lately. I've been putting what little bit of time I have for quilting into applique or hand quilting work. Then I found myself in the quilting room digging through fabrics for no particular reason--just because it feels good. 
Little scrappy corners...
A project caught my eye and made me feel sorta guilty about the lack of attention. Then it kind of beckoned.
Chain piecing love.
Come work with me and things will move quickly.
A whole pile of quilty goodness!
Almost anything moves more quickly than needleturn applique...
Nicely ironed and ready for sizing...
It felt good and there was immediate progress made.
Cutting off almost as much fabric as I added on.
I admired my work and wondered if I could actually get it sewed onto the quilt someday soon.
The potential border....
Then I got distracted by the middle of the quilt. Does it need an applique fix? Hmm.. Lets try this and see if it makes things better.
Auditioning an applique fix....
Wash, rinse, repeat. How and why does it always come back to applique right now?*sigh  Don't mind me. I'm just having an obsessive, fixated issue with my needle and thread lately.....

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

'Cuz I Know You're Just As Thrilled With the Marsala Quilt As I Am

Right? It's gonna be fabulous when it's all done. Trust me on this! lol  I am having a lot of fun with this quilt in case you hadn't already figured that out. First I went through my stack of potential fabrics for this quilt and pulled what I thought would add a nice bit of spark.
Some brightness for the quilt....
Then I drew four different quarter circle units (each on a specific size square of plastic template plastic), making sure to draw them all different widths. I want to have plenty of interest, which for me means not a lot of 'perfectness'.  Is that a word?

I went back to the 'Unconventional & Unexpected: American Quilts Below the Radar' book by Roderick Kiracofe out of curiosity and also for more inspiration. Yes, I finally caved and bought it. {My goal the last couple years has been to only buy books I'm positive I'll use, peruse, and be happy with long after the first day they reach my quilting room}. It's a truly amazing book and I love adding it to my collection! This particular quilt really drew me in from the moment I saw it, but then you know me and my current weakness for circles in quilts!
Another little bit of inspiration...
Not that I want to make an identical quilt. I did after all use a completely different block. The crossroads block looked like it would work better for this quilt considering the fact that I'm trying to use lots of marsala (and its lighter colored cousins). Some of those cousins are very dingy and boring looking too--a real challenge to make this quilt look happy and fun! Which I don't have to do. It can be any style I want to make it, but why make a dull looking quilt that I'll never feel happy using?
Trying to lay out the circle units.
Here's the first block after getting all the applique units stitched down. This one looks pretty good, but several have a little bit of poofiness in the center from where the bias stretched a little. I tried to be careful and pin well, but you know how quickly it happens. I'm almost positive it can all be dealt with when I attack it with my hand quilting some day....
One block finished!
Checking out how the blocks are looking side by side--there is going to be some obvious mismatching seams. Yep, it is bit startling at first! But it's exactly the look I'm striving for so I refuse to stress out about it, and in fact, I am NOT fiddling with any of the circle placement. At all. Every block is going to be stitched as-is and then meet up where they meet up.
The first three blocks on the wall....
I really, really like the close-up of some of the blocks where I had to use more than one background color. And also where I had to piece my strips! That make-do look is something I adore and some of you probably think I'm nuts for actively trying to implement the look. Each to their own. I honestly feel very impressed that I've grown enough in my quilt making to be comfortable making this sort of quilt. It's not a product of mistakes afterall but elements I've consciously decided to incorporate. Believe me, that makes all the difference in the world in how much I can appreciate the look in my own quiltmaking.
Looking at it a bit closer....
I'm hoping to make the April deadline, but no real worries about that. My entry will just be a top, not a completed quilt. There's only so many deadlines I can handle in a year and this is just meant to be a fun change up from my Fire quilt applique. And get me one more quilt into my quarter circles series.*wink  Hey, did I just skip past the second one in the series or what? hehe

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Slow Stitching the Vertical Baskets Quilt

Just a quick update on the current quilt in the hoop. This one has progressed fairly steadily all along. A hoop here and there in the evenings and occasionally a couple intense hours of work all at one time.
Vertical Baskets moving along through the stitching.....
It all adds up eventually! Now I'm working on the borders which always seem like the part that could be fast and rarely ever is. Oh well. It will be finished up soon enough and then I can waffle over the quilting on my next one!

Linking up with Kathy's Slow Sunday Stitching 'cuz this is definitely what you'd call slow stitching.*wink

Thursday, March 19, 2015

30 Quilt Blogs That Inspire Me to Be Better

Some quilt tops waiting in the queue...
Having done a similar list three years in a row, you'd think I'd be better prepared for this. Um... no. My side link has 100 quilt blogs constantly updating just because I don't wanna miss out on anything that might be the slightest bit interesting. But then there's my Bloglovin' feed... Which we really don't want to discuss. {It's like potato chips. Hard to stop at just one.}

So this year I attacked my favorite blog list like it was a diet. If I could only have access to a very few quilt blogs, which ones were nonnegotiable for elimination? You know which bloggers I'm talking about--they of the mad skills who make us rather ordinary quilters practically weep with envy.*sigh  And then I carefully added to. Because really, how could I leave out the quilters I tend to follow just because they quilt with the kind of passion and dedication that I completely understand {and suffer from myself}. And what about those quilters who inspire me for reasons that are a bit hard to pin down, but nonetheless compel me click onto every new post with a smile? There are lots of reasons to be crazy about a quilt blog. Hope you enjoy the ones I listed today. You know tomorrow it could be a completely different list...

Listed in no particular order:
Gotta love the bloggers who keep link lists of their favorite blogs so the rest of us can go check out who inspires them.*wink

Monday, March 16, 2015

Putting Some Very Traditional Looking Borders Together....

I figured it was more than time to put the some borders on this quilt top. All the baskets are from Wendy's Basket Galore BOM {a very fun but wowsers, also occasionally a rather complicated exercise in making basket blocks}. After finishing, they desperately looked to be needing some companion blocks.
Getting a striped border....
I loved the look of Wendy's blocks combined with applique, so I roughed out some ideas on paper and finally came up with my own free style red and green applique blocks. I'd been wanting to make a whole red and green quilt for a very long time, but didn't have enough drive to make it happen. Working with only two or three colors in an entire quilt just seems painfully tedious to me, no matter how brilliant the outcome! I can only say that my boredom threshold must be very quite low?
And then a floral border....
I ended up trimming the applique blocks down a bit more than I had hoped for as a couple basket blocks were half an inch smaller than the intended size. Half an inch doesn't seem like much, but it resulted in cut off points on a couple baskets and almost no room around the sides of a couple applique blocks. Thankfully this quilt is more than busy enough to absorb all those little 'oops' areas!

I went with a reproduction style stripe for the inner border as it ties in very nicely with the other reproduction prints in the baskets. It my opinion, it also makes for a {striking} framework for the busy middle of the quilt, especially paired with the pieced setting triangles. The entire unit just helps to pull the eye out and then move it around the quilt, all without getting mired down in the organized busyness of the middle.*wink Whether it works or not, it sounds good!
A finished quilt top!
I know the colors in the striped fabric were a bit iffy for some people, but when the red border was added on, it fit together like it was always meant to be. That red fabric was one of the few pieces of fabric that I actually bought more than a fat quarter of all without knowing the {future} intended use--just because I was in love with it! I've tried using it on numerous quilts before and never felt that zing of perfectness until this particular quilt. Sometimes you just know that a certain fabric will be very necessary to the success of a future quilt.

So.. I have a question. Mostly because I read a very negative post awhile back that I've been wondering about.  Does the use of a small inner border and then a larger floral border always date the quilt maker {say, back to the 80's, early 90's}? Is it one of those design elements that instantly signal 'I didn't have any better ideas, so I'm using the old fallback; ie, I'm lazy'? 

Personally, I think it does sort of instantly stamp our quilt with a certain look of traditionalism because, let's be honest, it's been done to death! The thing is, like any other time honored design element, it does have its uses. I feel that, if done properly {and isn't that the elephant in the room!}, it doesn't have to look like a haphazard, lazy sort of design decision and can wrap a quilt up with a sort of very pretty bow. I'd love to know what you think and no.... I won't be getting the least bit offended if you don't agree with me!

Update: These questions are pertaining to quilts we see in general! Sorry to put you on the spot by not being clear. I am very happy to put these particular borders on my quilt and call it a good choice no matter what others might think. I'm just questioning quilts we see being made hither and yon, by friends and at shows etc. Is there a feeling of 'hmm... that was a very uninspired finish for a quilt'?

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...