Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Today's Bargain

Very occasionally some quilter's - or sewer's -- stash arrives in my local Goodwill store and if I'm there at the right time, I get a treasure trove.  Today was such a time.  I ignored all the small remnants and the many Christmas print fabrics and chose the black and grey group. 

As the photo shows I chose one white and one red and the little holly Christmas print -- the rest are blacks and grays.  I have been making black and white blocks for some months, in fact, black and white blocks often with a touch of red.  And I have been seeing gray quilts with orange and thinking about how good that looks.  Anyway, here are twelve pieces of fabric, the white, red and Christmas print are only 1/2 or 3/4 yard but all the rest are from a yard to four yards.  A very satisfying bargain at $18. (especially when one things that fat quarters are nearly always $1.99 and up these days)

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Past quilting projects

I've been spending a lot of time quilting but my show quilt projects are slow and I am not ready to photograph them.  Meanwhile, I've gone through my photo files for other reasons.  The farther back in the file I delve the more quilt pictures I find that are familiar -- I'm sure I made that quilt -- but have been forgotten until reminded.  This is only one of several. I don't remember making these blocks, and I don't know what became of the quilt -- I'm pretty sure I finished it.

Probably many quilters would find such memory lapses are incomprehensible.  But then my quilting process is my own -- I call it "hobby-istic" as I've defined before.  I see a block in a magazine or book or at a quilt show that fascinates me -- this block still fascinates me, think it might have been paper pieced.  I make the block, maybe well, probably not very well. In this case I like the colors but perhaps I didn't when I had finished it.  I think I gave it away; I know I don't have it and probably didn't keep it long.  As I look at it, I think I'd enjoy making it again ... but probably won't. 

Quilting is a visual art; I have no art training and am insecure about both color choices and design. Every quilt is, to me, much like a child's drawing -- I mean an untutored child who likes the red crayon today and the green one tomorrow.  It adds a dimension to my more literal usual interests.  As I've written recently, it's a kind of play.  When I get fairly serious as I am about the two quilts I'm currently working on, I enter a different kind of quilting mindset, pleasing in a more structured way, although remnants of that  child's play usually remain -- especially in color and design choice.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Adventures in Design, Joen Wolfron

Being nice to myself, I took the gift certificate my granddaughter gave me for my birthday and the 30% off a regular priced item from the coupon flyer ti Jo-Anne's Fabrics yesterday when I needed a yard of white-on-white fabric and bought myself this nice, fat, much illustrated book:  Joen Wolfrom's Adventures in Design.

Frankly I need it and should do her exercises although I'm not prone to doing exercises just as I'm not prone to taking quilting workshops no matter how brilliant the person giving them. I have an independent streak that is a fault at times.  The dinky little school I went to 1-12 had no art at all so I've educated myself to an extent by reading about great artists, looking at art in many of the great museums of America and Europe and reading quilting art books and magazines.  I still make egregious errors in color choice and much more.  Truly I don't know what I'm doing half the time.

What I do know is that I'm having fun and that some quilts turn out quite nicely -- and some are an embarrassment.  As I wrote below, I'm impulsive as a quilt designer.  And that is not really the way to  go for something that's actually artistic.  Every now and then I've bought similar books and somehow the color wheels never stay in my mind.  Anyway, I really like the looks of this book and I'm going to read it slowly and possibly absorb something by the time I've finished my current projects and am ready to do something  else.  The trouble is there are at least a dozen ideas percolating already and I may impulsively decide I must do one of them first.  Quilting gives me much pleasure but it's not about ego, it's about playing.  My ego is wrapped up in other things.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Why Did I Make This Quilt Top?

I just  finished this throw quilt top this afternoon.  It's going to be a UFO for at least three months.  I have enough of the fabric that is the outside border for the back so my usual reason for not quilting a top doesn't exist -- usually I don't know what to use on the back and often have to shop for something appropriate.

All afternoon I've been saying to myself, I shouldn't have made this.  I like the colors and it came out reasonably square, but I have no need for it and the colors don't actually go anywhere in my home.  Why did I put this much time into it?  The answer is because I am an impulse quilt maker. Many very sensible quilters carefully plan what they are going to make, shop for the perfect fabrics and work very hard to make wonderful, possibly heirloom quilts.  Not me.  I stash fabric I like and even fabrics that were a mistake to purchase.  This fabric was a mistake even though I still like the colors.

The whole thing came together on impulse.  I bought the fabric on sale and thought it would make a good Bethany Reynolds style stack-n-whack quilt. I love watching those designs take form as I sew them.  I picked up, free, at my guild's share table, a printed kaleidoscope muslin with 16 blocks and four small corner blocks.  I love paper pieced work and this was nearly the same.  So one day I got started cutting the triangles which is when I learned that the fabric was not quite accurately printed so it became impossible to have really perfect centers of the blocks.  And the circles were very repetitious.  I'm happy to see that in the photo they look less repetitious than I thought.

When I had made the blocks I realized I needed hot pink as an accent color because it would be very boring with just back stripping, so I bought a yard of the pink and it was a good decision.  I hope I have enough left to bind the finished quilt, if not, I'll get aqua bias binding.  So there it is, ready to be folded into a bag with the backing until I finish the quilt I'm working on for our guild show in August, as well as the small red and white quilt, not even begun that I also said I would have ready for the guild's challenge at the show.  Being an impulse quilter  sometimes makes me do some personal stock taking.  But I've admitted enough faults for one day.

Tuesday, June 05, 2012

Fish don't necessarily swim

This fantasy fish that is currently swimming in my sewing room is from Carolyn Pugh of New Zealand.  She sent it to me in a swap.  I wish you could see the metallic stitching on the fish. I know New Zealand is an exotic place but I think this fish is unique.  You can see some of Carolyn's delightful dresses made for and modeled by her charming daughter on her blog here./