Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Cabins in the Snow

As those who know their traditional quilt blocks will immediately recognize, this little quilt is made of four log cabin blocks.  I'm sorry the photograph is not good enough to show the designs on the various fabrics or to show the 80 little glittering crystals. It is made from my stash of gray and very light fabrics with the exception of the next to last longest grey fabric.

The quilt is the result of the current challenge of our Uncommon Threads group. Each of us chose a piece of fabric from our stash, put it in a plain brown envelope. At our meeting a month ago we mixed the envelopes and each chose one (not our own). It was to be used anyway the quilter wished. As soon as I saw the gray fabric with random white dots I knew I would do something about snow.  I pulled out my stash of gray and found the other pieces which also hint at snow. The idea of a log cabin was almost immediate, so I chose the needed light fabrics. It was quickly made and I'm happy with it as we move into the snow season here. The finished quilt is about 30x30.  I'm eager to go to our meeting later this week and see what others have done with their mystery fabrics. We are a very eclectic group, each quilt will be quite different from the others, probably most will be about this size, or smaller.

Monday, November 06, 2017

Using an unloved fabric

Our Uncommon Threads group was given a group of hand-dyed fabric. We divided them amicably but one piece was left over: an orange and white piece, we all called it an "ugly". Finally the decision was made to cut it into equal pieces and each of us would use it in something.

As usual most of the others were abstract, showing that a touch of orange could perk up a geometric  design. But I cut  mine into little fish --- in fact I didnt have ehough so added some other orange fabric.  I used of  some of my stash of solid blues plus some grey fabric. The challenge was for our September meting so it seemed logical to be "punny" and call this " Back to school.  I 'm actually kind of happy with the piece. I think orange is one of those colors that grows on you as you get older. I feel the same about both yellow and purple.

Wednesday, November 01, 2017

Summer Quilt

During my lazy non-blogging summer, I made a number of quilts and didn't even photograph all of them. It's catch-up time.  This is a small quilt on the subject of summer, made in the spring in anticipation of a nice hot summer--which actually didn't happen.

The Uncommon Threads group chose the summer theme for our June meeting.  This is a small piece, about 15 x17.  I think it needs very little explanation, the very hot sun, shedding arrows of heat is the best part with a print orange circle atop the solid orange one. Quilting is very simple. The brown batik at the bottom is probably the best of choices. Actually I like all the fabrics in this quilt and I think the blue looks very much like the water really does look. In fact, authenticity wasn't the point; the general idea was simply stated. It is not brilliant but it says what I was hoping for. I was disappointed; I didn't manage enough early morning beach walks to get a nice tan.

Saturday, October 28, 2017

Quilting - the real reaso for this blog

Modern side of pumpkin seed quilt.

I've had a recess but it's time to start posting again. The photo above shows the season that's upon us. Our autumn is on and off, glorious days and lot of gray, rainy, windy ones.

I have a number of quilts to post about and am deep into my usual autumn activities at the Academy for Lifelong Learning (A.L.L.) This blog is meant to be mainly about quilts and I've been making quite a few. I'm a member of the Uncommon Threads Group within Cape Cod's large quilt guild (300+ members). The other five members are genuine artists; I am an enthusiastic quilter of both traditional and art quilts but I am not actually an artist, i.e., a designer, a person who things in colors and shapes., I am a person who thinks in ideas and who is sometimes inspired by wonderful quilts I see in the many magazines and books to which I'm addicted.

I have just finished a two-sided quilt inspired by a traditional "pumpkin seed" pattern. The Bayberry guild's theme for their annual show two years ago was "scrap quilts". I LOVE scrap quilts and immediately wanted to make this quilt. In order to use twice as many scraps as in the illustration, I made it two-sided with traditional variety of colors on one side and background of small polka dots. The other side is "modern" colors and white background.  To use even more scraps and make the quilt usable on a single bed, I added borders with more scraps. I've just finished it -- quilting both sides together.  It's heavy.  I may use it on my single bed in the depths of winter but not otherwise.

At this point I have been making quilts for about 40 years. I will never run out of challenges. I am trying get rid of many bed-size quilts and mostly make smaller ones. I've just taken three to a group that is sending all kinds of things to Puerto Rico. Groups can sometimes afford the postage and occasionally get a discount from one of the carriers.

Right now I have another twin size quilt to finish (in time for Christmas) and ideas for two more that will be made little by little. We have a monthly challenge at the Uncommon Threads group. I have an idea for my next one.  I am never without a project to work on ... and, by the way, quilting is actually a hobby not at all a full time pursuit,  More in the near future. I am going to try to post regularly now, I hope, into the winter and beyond.

Below "traditional" side of Pumpkin Seed quilt
Traditional quilt side of quilt with a great variety of colors and patterns whereas the "modern" version used a single color for each "pumpkin seed".  I started this mid-spring an now it's mid-autumn.  Of course everything is sewn on machine.

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Crocheted spider webs

Went to Highfield Hall in Falmouth, Cape Cod to see a fiber art show yesterday.  They had just closed to prepare for a wedding that afternoon so I'll have to go back to see the show. However, outdoors, they had two shows: one was 20 various fairy houses in the gardens and woods -- ho-hum. In a grand grove of big old trees was a exhibition of crocheted spider webs. They were a good idea and very attractively hung. I'm not a fan of crocheting and can't quite get beyond Victorian doilies and antimasscars.  Here are a couple of photos -- aren't the trees wonderful? During a past visit another fiber artist had knitted "sweaters" for the tree trunks in bright colors. Since I did not get into the main building I do not have material with the name of the crochet artist . I will get that when I go back later this week; she and her hours of work deserve reognition..

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Quilt Finished

This quilt of interlocking asterisks was just finished, quilting, binding and all. I could have entered it in the upcoming Bayberry Quilt show with the theme of Stars, after all the very name "asterisk" means star. But I didn't know when I would complete it and didn't want to push myself. It's really a winter time quilt and will be put away until about October.  I enjoyed the piecing with scraps and did not specifically try to make the connecting "petals" match.  

It has the look of a "modern" quilt but, in fact ,is not. I saw the design in one of the quilt magazines (probably Quilters Newsletter) with a pattern for the petals and the layout. The original was designed by a quilter and published in a St. Louis newspaper in the 1950s. I didn't keep the article or I would give more specifics including the designer's name.  I love using my collection of scraps and I enjoy the way the asterisks go together.

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Rushing Mother's Day

Four generation celebrated Mother's Day with a brunch out. The older three of us have made it a habit for a few years but this year Stella, at three and a half, joined us. This is not my favorite photo of myself and Stella will say the same in a few years but Rachel and Cory are happy with the photo ... my first with a selfie stick. 

Cory is "into" photography and takes very nice pictures. I'm so old fashioned I had never seen a real selfie stick before. Anyway, the day was chilly but the sun came out part of the time and we went to a "hide-away" breakfast-brunch place called Jack's Outback which is literally out back of the main drag of Yarmouth Port, its driveway so hidden I'm never sure I know where it is. It's very popular and we had to wait for a table.  Which was okay but if we go back another year we'll remember to make a reservation.

Much of the Cape is at absolutely prime spring beauty. We wait so impatiently all of March for the two or three weeks in April when everything awakes. Driving the narrow roads past homes with all sorts of flowering plants and trees is unbelievably beautiful. Last week when I used that road a couple of times -- going even further along it to other towns) the forsythia was fading, the daffodils, narcissus, tulips and azelas were gorgeous. Today they were mostly gone, replaced by cherry and other flowering trees that were full to bursting with flowers --thanks to lots of rain  in the past several days. Magnolia and lilacs were flowering too and everywhere the grass is succulently green and the newest leaves are tender and promising.  It's entirely appropriate that Mother's day should be celebrated at such a time of bloom and birth.

Thursday, May 04, 2017

Blue States quilt to offset previous Trumpiana quilt

This is a companion to the red quilt -- same size, same number of small squares (36). For this, the group callenge was to use paper.  There are half a dozen photos, some of which are hard to see in this picture (click and enlarge - which helps a bit), a couple are partly covered by the tulle "rainbow" across the top. 

I wanted a relatively tranquil quilt contrasting the "hot" an "in your face" red one. The pictures have their meanings too. On the right edge, one up from the bottom the somewhat confusing pictures is of people watching a "virtual reality" movie with those big goggles on.

I found that I could adhere the pictures, cut from magazines, to lightweight interfacing with thinned glue. The pictures became stiff enough and secure enough to be sewed on.  Of course these art quilts are not meant to be washed.

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Machine Quilting Expo

Not a good photo but a very good quilt.  This was best of show at the Machine Quilting Expo last Thursday in Manchester, NH. The excellent, and appropriate, machine quilting doesn't show at all in the photo. I say "appropriate" because in previous shows I've seen too many quilts so ostentatiously over-quilted I thought technology had trumped (or should that be a capital T?) good taste.  I am not a fan of long arm machine quilting -- although I saw many examples of it in this show that were beautiful and pushing me to change my conservative attitude.

Unfortuantely I no longer have my program book to give name of the quilter.  The design, I was surprised to see, is a "Modern" one that, in fact, I like a lot. This artist has a sense of humor andmay be making a statement about the environment, either consciously or unconsciously.

For me quilt shows are almost as good as museum visits. The artistry and technical brilliance of many quilters is amazing, a whole area of art making that is unknown to many, many people.  A one-man show by Mark Sherman had about 15 quilts, showing many styles Sherman experimented with. I understand his impulse to try his hand at portraiture, various takes on traditional patterns, many new ideas. I admire a person who has the time and creativity to come up with a great variety of quilts, and most of them at last 40x40.

I think there were over 100 quilts in the show. Some were  so complex and, at the same time, technically so perfect, that the only word is amazing.  I was glad to have endured a miserable bus ride (8 hours of grayness and continuous rain). The quilts I saw further fired my enthusiasm for quilting, while forcing me to recognize that I am nowhere near their league ... and in fact I don't aspire to be. I enjoy my forays into visual arts in the form of quilt making but i don't have a personality that would lead me to do this kind of quilting.

Sunday, April 02, 2017

APRIL is National Poetry Month

I've made a few quilts that illustrate poems.  This one was easy.  The poem, that is on the quilt is by William Carlos Williams -- a very short poem that many people have memorized.  (It doesn't take a lot of brain power.) 

So much depends
on a red wheelbarrow
glazed with rain water
beside the white chickens.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

New art quilt

This is a kind of breakthrough -- at least a new direction -- me.  The challenge was to make a quilt with "metallic" in it.  Actually I have many fabrics with metallic print. I was happy to have a chance to use some. I made half a paper piece star -- didn't like it. Chucked it. That happened twice more and then I made a set of 18 little stars and put them together.  And didn't like that either.  Out it went. I decided stars weren't "in the stars" for me this time.  In a fit pique I pulled out all my red fabrics that had some metallic on them and I made four 9-patch blocks, simple, plain old 9-patch.  That was okay but not very interesting although I like the fagrics . So I quilted it very simply and dug through my collection of fabrics with metallic and found one with a swirly design. I cut it up into four segments and decided to applique them on with couched gold piping.  This is what I came up with.  And I even found a name that suits me although I will not explain the metaphor that is intended.  The name is "Trumpiana".  I have never made a truly abstract expressionist quilt before. I think it's far from perfectly executed but actually it makes me feel good. I expresses what has been on my mind.   I wish the photo were better but I don't have a camera that will make it better.   I think this is a new direction for me,  already I'm thinking of making one that's in blue fabrics (mostly without metallic designs. I don't know if it will be another 9-patch or something else traditional with something untraditional about it.  But I have a name in mind already so they can be a pair so I'll definitely try to make it the same sizes with is about 40x44.  More on that score in the indefinite future.

Monday, March 06, 2017

Waiting, somewhat impatiently

I am waiting impatiently for spring -- we had a week of "teaser" spring, beautiful skies, temps  in 50s, pushing 60s. The last few days the sky has remained lovely but a nasty wind has blown down from colder climes to the north. This morning is brilliant but the temperature, when I heard the radio report before getting out of bed, was 16 degrees.  My apartment is warm enough but the idea of that   chill just beyond the shining windows made me curl up a bit longer in the warm cacoon of pillows and quilt.

The quilt in this picture has been sandwiched with batting and backing and pinned in place but I won't get around to quilting it for some time. I have too many other projects that I need and want to do first.  And, I admit, the actual quilting part is my least favorite.

I like this quilt, it looks quite modern. The truth is it's not modern. The design was published in a newspaper in the 1950s (with a white background as you might imagine). It was resurrected and printed with a paper piecing pattern a couple of years ago in one of the quilters magazines I read -- I think it was Quilters' Newsletter magazine.  It was fun to make with various scrapes and I love the  setting with just one spoke of the asterisk (as I think of the pattern -- others might call it stars) touching.  This quilt will reappear when finished sometime in the relatively distant future.

Friday, January 13, 2017

Two new entirely scrappy quilts

At last I finished this UFO. It's tied throughout the checkerboard; the red border is quilted by machine.  The binding was to be all obvious zig-zags like the section in the lower middle of the photo but the fabric, inexpensive and from JoAnne's, was not printed straight.  A shame because I like the effect.  Ah, well. 

I saw a checkerboard quilt in a European Fabric Mania magazine about three years ago and realized it could be made in 12-patch increments by a method of sewing strips together and then cutting them, flipping every other strip and sewing into blocks.  I had quite a collection of blues and also of whites, many with blue print, so this scrappy quilt contains at least 50 different fabrics. As always I love that so many patterns can all lie side by side making a coherent pattern.

This strip quilt is even more obviously scrappy. A similar one (no two could ever be alike!) was on Selvage Blog (see sidebar) a couple of years ago. It clearly did not need a pattern, just many horizontal strips and a couple of rows of shorter vertical strips to break up the pattern. Nothing complex about the sewing. I attempted to chose among the many, many strips, ones with color affinities so there seems to be a little bit of planning -- actually not planning ahead but thoughtful choices as I went along.  That was terrifically enjoyable for me. I love freedom of choice as I sew, it can't become boring.

I did not attempt to make all strips the same width but stayed in the 1-1/2 to 3 inch range, most are 2 inches or a little more or a little less.  I tried to make the entire strip the same width even when I sewed pieces together. The pale pink and black border makes me smile. The entire back is a busy, small scale black and white stylized print. So much fun, I'm feeling tempted to make another  ... but my "to make" list is always in mind. 

Friday, January 06, 2017

On diisplay- Star Quilts

The summer Bayberry Quilt show will have Stars as the theme.  To inspire people, Tumbleweeds, the large quilting fabric store at the edge of town is displaying star quilts.  A call eent out to members of the guild for quilts they can hang for the month of January.  I gave them three of mine to hang. I've been making star quilts for ages. The red-white-black one is the result of swaps on Swap-bot so, of this 9 patch sampler, I made five square from Carol Doak paper pieced patterns and the others were sent to me.

This star "quartet" with wreaths of flower shapes is another Carol Doak pattern (she did a book of 50). I had a spell of making quartets which measure about 30x30. I actually made 24 of the 50. That was several years ago and I have given away the majority of them. This is a  favorite of mine because I used a striped brown/maroon fabric that worked with the wreath and the borders nicely (click to enlarge and see the print).

This lone star quilt was made about 15 years ago from a paper piece design I found in one of the quilting magazines. It has over 900 pieces. I hesitated to display it because the piecing is so time consuming, and I cannot direct anyone to the paper pieced pattern I used. But maybe it would be a bit inspiring ... besides, I'm quite proud of it and showed it in an Empire Guild (of NYC) show when it was new.

If this morning's snow fall cancels plans I had for today, I will make progress on a small "challenge" quilt for that sunmner Bayberry show and possibly also make one or two of the Block of the Month patterns for the January guild meeting.

I love star quilts as much as I love log cabin ones.