Thursday, June 15, 2017

Monkey Wrench, Old UFO

These 9 blocks were string pieced on paper (phone books) about 8 years ago, and while I loved them, they never seemed to magically transform themselves into a quilt.  Yesterday in a fit of frustration, I made them into this little quilt, mostly from "stuff" that was piled on my cutting table.  Oh dear, why do we procrastinate?  It turned out pretty cute!  The corners of the 9 Monkey Wrench blocks made the secondary pattern of pale Monkey Wrenches.


Thursday, June 01, 2017

Kaleidoscope - Losing Control?

Whew - this is a HUGE project for a DSM, MQ'ed, in free form designs.  I am putting on the last 2 borders using Quilt as you Go, technique (thank you Georgia Bonesteel), to reduce the bulk  - this  quilt is abut 88" x 107".

As I was working, I had the feeling it was "getting away from me".  I don't know what that means, perhaps self doubt?  The border quilting keeps it all straight and true, flat, but I think the center quilting might need more.  Kinda late now for more quilting in the blocks, but I've been considering MQ'ing invisible thread between the blocks.   Oh dear, more work?  Suggestions anyone?  Perhaps blocking will reduce the poofiness I'm not really loving in those blocks.  I like the quilting swirl designs I showed recently on the plexiglas.  You can't see any poofiness in these photos. 

Has anyone else experienced a quilt project "getting away from you" or the feeling that you are "losing control"? 

The dark border on 2 sides is DONE.  2 more sides to go, then DONE.  I LOVE the dog/shark teeth!  They turned out well and were not difficult at all.  


Sunday, May 07, 2017

A tool for MQ designing

I'm ready to start machine quilting my blue/purple/turquoise kaleidoscope, partially finished.  Long sweepy watery lines seemed to be called for, as it is supposed to appear ocean-y, or underwater fronds, not easy on a DSM due to limited hand space.  I needed to practice ... something ... so I bought a 12 inch piece of plexiglass, covered the edges with masking tape, indicated which side was "UP" on the tape, and put the detailing quarter inch tape on the back as quidelines, whethee they were used or not.  Then I placed the plexiglass over the quilt block, and used a dry erase pen to play with designs, and came up with below.  The masking tape on the edges keeps the plexiglass from scratching the quilt, and also serves as a STOP if I get wild with the dry-erase pen! 

My tape does not exactly match up with the wedges but since I usually MQ free-form designs, it's working for me.  My note says "Draw this Side".   
I MQ one block at a time - have not figured a way to continue the design to the next block without breaking thread.  My thread is variegated blues - kinda goes with the many fabrics in the kaleidoscopes.  It's a start!

Friday, April 21, 2017

Quilt Show Preps

Next weekend is the wonderful Chadron Festival of Quilts.  These two quilts have not been shown at that show, but have both been on my blog previously.  Today I am filling out paperwork, measuring, etc., and giving them a good airing. 

This "rebuilt" scrappy log cabin is one of my favorites.  I have instructions on my blog, and have made at least 6 so far.  The standard, traditional border was finished and on the quilt but was toooo ordinary.  I laid it out, measured the angle of the tilted blocks and WHACKED OFF the border, using the same angle, then exchanged sides of each of the 4 pieces and sewed them back on, all tilted.  I LOVE it --  that is after my heart started beating again.  Machine quilting is done in a variety of methods, which we are finding very popular these days, although I made this in 2012.  I call it "Step Lively". 
This is another Pineapple, made with 2 different blocks, made in 2016, called "Pineapple Parade".  I really loved making it, and it's similar to one of mine in a different coloration.  This design was inspired from a DVD lesson, by Gyleen Fitzgerald, purchased from Annies Craft Catalog.  

 

Again, I MQ'ed in a variety of designs, for the simple reason is that I have to keep practicing ALL the ones I've learned.
 Dig that neat backing!

Monday, April 17, 2017

Kaleidoscopes - watch those values!

Above - Some of these blocks are not playing well.  And corners are not on the block making the circles harder to see. 

Below is a lovely block with no corners, but made with dark and medium values. It's a perfectly lovely block but does not work with what I want.  I've made about 75 in the dark/medium values, but I've also made about 75 in the medium to dark and light.  Uh oh, which way shall I go? 
OK, now I'm cooking!  I'm planning for a quilt 11 x 13.  Adding the light corners makes a huge improvement as well as pulling out some that don't work.  Obviously I need to make lots more.  I have made so many of the  "wrong" blocks, I will try for another quilt and use the darker values.  I wanted those circles to be obvious!  I have 49 here - more out of the photo, some on my sewing machine, some on my cutting table - almost enough.   I used an unbleached muslin on the dark corners and a buttery yellow on the light corners.
The blocks are easy to make and finger pressing sped up the process, but getting the blocks, then rows together with those tricky angles, requires careful pin basting. Each block was pressed clockwise, with centers neatly "spun" but sewing blocks to rows, and then sewing rows together requires pressing seams open. 

Sunday, April 09, 2017

Kaleidoscopes, and Vintage Quilt Tops.

These are two vintage quilts given to me.  I foolishly thought I'd get them both hand quilted but ... a friend, who is wonderful at finding vintage quilts and getting them quilted, agreed to take this one above, and get it DONE.  Both are combos of hand and machine sewing.  One down, one to go.
Blue Kaleidoscope - the circles do not appear as clearly as I had hoped.  There will be yet another  6 in. border on each side.  Since I am quilting this on a DSM I decided to reduce some of the overall bulk and will quilt the last borders separately, and add them later, ala quilt-as-you-go.

Below - Apparently I'm on a Kaleidoscope kick so started another .  This design/pattern is so easy - no pins, I can make about 12-15 at one sitting.  I did ALL finger pressing except for the final press, which saves enormous time, and is perfectly effective.  All seams go clockwise, and the center is "spun" nicely.  I need about 220, 6 inch blocks  for queen size.  No color chosen for the corners of the blocks yet, and for now, I am just laying them on the floor - no arrangement of colors yet.  You can clearly see the circles will be more visible.  Fabrics on corners will be lights.   Most of my colors are kinda drab, soft, my plan.   No brights in this one, and no border planned at this point.  All fabrics are from stash.
BTW, if you have never learned the lesson, be sure to ALWAYS use the same ruler per project.  8-(   I started the project with a well-used, reliable 45 degree Marilyn Doheney ruler, then changed to a ruler meant for another type of 45 degree project - didn't double check, and sadly had to trim down the newly made 15 blocks made on the second ruler.