Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Progress Through Guilt

I'm making progress. Slowly but surely. Here's what I've been up to.

I figured out what was missing from that improv quilt. I reconstructed the circles and lines I deconstructed in the other blocks and voila - a new block. Now I just have to figure out the quilting. It's always something.

I've also made progress on the coffee quilt. Actually, it is pretty much done. But I don't have the right fabric to bind it. Like I said, it's always something.

I was approaching the other UFO, the blue quilt, in the same way I approached the coffee quilt. That is, stop piecing and see what I could make with what I had. But I didn't seem to have enough blocks to make something out of what I had. So I pieced some more. It's still not working. Did I mention, it's always something?

I've also picked up my crochet hook. I have all this yarn in my sewing room and it has been sending me on a guilt trip. Every time I go in there, "So you're making stuff out of your fabric stash again. I guess we're not good enough to be stuff." And, "We were here before some of that fabric. Sorry, we're not as much fun." That kind of thing. Yarn can be so whiny sometimes. So I'm also busy converting the yarn into scarves and hats and other such things so it will get off my case. It's looking at me right now. I'd better go.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Stitched Myself Into A Corner

So I decided to to a little improvisational quilting. Like jazz, but with cotton and thread. Because sometimes you just have to play with your materials to see what will happen.

I made these blocks. And I wasn't entirely sure where to go next. Did this ever happen to Ella Fitzgerald? Did she ever start scatting and it just got away from her?

I felt like they wanted to do this.

Now what? Heck if I know. So I cut up some more fabric and came up with this.

I like the x blocks. But, as the kids say, I'm not feeling this design. I think they might want to be in their own quilt. I've taken enough art classes to know that the eye needs a place to rest and this thing probably needs a color to unify the blocks, yadda, yadda, yadda. I'm just going to leave the blocks on the design wall and see what else they have to say. But if they start singing "A-tisket, A-tasket," I'm leaving.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Is It Procrastinating if It's Fun?

I really should have worked on my UFO's today. I've finished the quilting on the coffee quilt. It only needs a bit more work to be done. And the blue quilt is up on the design wall. I sewed some of the blocks backwards, so I need to unsew them and put them together correctly. I should have done either one of these things today. But a box of hand dyed fabric was calling to me. It was saying, "Come play with us."

So I cut some squares, and rough cut some circles and sewed them to the squares.

Then I decided to see what would happen if cut them, shuffled them and sewed the back together.

Then I cut them again, shuffled them again, and sewed them back together.

It's fun to play.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

New Year's Resolution Quilt 4

I finished the fourth bad luck quilt. This one is called "Don't Squish Spiders." If there is a spider someplace you would prefer there be no spider, get a piece of paper or a cup, and escort it outside. It is bad luck to kill a spider. For one thing, they eat bugs that are even more objectionable than spiders.

The quilt is machine pieced and quilted. Everything is from my stash except the thread. The spider web is made out of angelina fibers and sewed on by hand. The spiders are hand beaded. As I mentioned before, they came out a little more realistic than I anticipated. I was thinking cute beaded spiders. These things look like they might car jack you. I think the legs are creating the ick factor here. Since they are dimensional and not flat on the quilt, they look like they are going to crawl away.

You might be wondering how I come up with designs for the quilts that incorporate objects or images like the bad luck quilts. I usually have an idea of what I want to make, like a spiderweb or a broom. I use these as keywords in a google image search. For those of you not familiar, you go to google, select images, and then enter the search term. It will spit out pictures instead of websites. And you can search for anything. Even coffee stains. Just don't search for spiders. Trust me. There's something out there called a camel spider, and once you see it, you can't unsee it.

Anyway, I try to find several different images. I don't want to copy the images I find. Instead, I'm looking for common characteristics of the object that would help you identify what it is. Like the bands on a broom or the holes in a salt shaker. Or the legs on a spider. These are sort of iconic elements that help you immediately identify an object even though it might be a strange color or in a weird setting. I then sketch the object and plan the background. Sometimes, the background will be a setting, like the Buy A New Broom quilt. Lots of times, I try to enlarge an element of the object and make that the background. The Don't Spill the Salt quilt has baby blocks as a background because if you look at salt under a microscope it has a cube shape. And sometimes I don't put that much thought into it and just go for a pretty color. So that's my tip for the day.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Why Is There A Tissue On This Quilt?

Because there's a spider on it. Ewww!

I am aware of the fact that I made the spider. But still, I didn't think it would be so creepy looking.

It's giving me the willies.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

These Are The Good Times

All Skate officially moves from the UFO pile into the done pile. Woo hoo! It is machine pieced and the curved piecing is done by hand. 98% of the quilting is done by hand. The circles were quilted free hand for the most part. Marking the quilt was a pain, so I didn't bother. Actually, if I drew the circles free hand, this what they would look like.

The quilt is from a magazine pattern. I added the border because I couldn't bear to have the bias edges in the circles on the outside of the quilt. For some reason, it reminds me of when I was a kid and would go to the roller disco. I had my own skates you know. I got them for my 7th birthday. If you look under the table you can see them (that's me in the yellow shirt which I also got for my birthday). We had a raging slumber party the night before that brought down the canopy bed. We went to the Rink (or the Loop) roller disco the next day for a party. My mother's mentor, Abena Joan Brown, rented a limo for us so we wouldn't think people just rode in limos during funerals. I still hear certain songs and think, "that's a fast skate" or "that's an all skate." And somehow, the music and all of those memories are caught up in this quilt.

Now, I've got two UFO's on the list. I'm half way through piecing the top of one of them. How exciting.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Pardon the Interruption

My regularly scheduled quilting was interrupted by a baby blanket that needed to be crocheted. The baby arrived on Easter and I was not already prepared with a hand made blanket for him, so I quickly whipped one up. It kind of looks like a quilt doesn't it?

I know these are rather bold color choices for a baby blanket. I usually make them in more traditional pastel colors. But I fell in love with that blue. And, based on the one week pictures, I believe the kid has the sophistication to pull off such a bold choice in baby blankets. This is actually from a Vanna White pattern and made in Vanna White yarns. It is very unusual for me to follow a pattern so closely. Fortunately, I accidently sewed two blocks together in wrong place so my streak of not following the directions remains unbroken.

I made this little hat from what I had left over. It looks too small to me but I have been assured that it is newborn size. My son was nine pounds and change when he was born so I can never gauge how small regular sized newborns are.

Now, back to the quilting.