Sunday, June 5, 2016

Gwennie Medallion Month 1

Wednesday June 1, 2016 - Five Days Ago

After keeping my head down so I could finish Tranquil on schedule, I decide to catch up with what's new in blogland. I've noticed these Gwennie Medallion badges popping up here and there.

What's that about? I found the answer here on Lori's blog, Humble Quilts. It's just a casual medallion quilt along, inspired by the many and varied quilts of Gwen Marston. Each month there will be a theme, and we can interpret the theme any way we want.

Lori's theme for the first month is Baskets. Hmmm... Baskets are like a Pavlovian thing for me. Should I do it? I have to dash into the city on an errand, and literally the last thing I see before closing my computer is Lori's encouragement to join in.
So, it's a gorgeous sunny day, and I'm driving down the 401, thinking about Gwen Marston's "style." I remembered this retrospective of her quilts at Plaid Portico recently. Lots of solids...

...and some wavy piecing. Gwen isn't afraid of brown, and what I like the most is the tremendous feeling of depth that she achieves with her colour choices and placement. My theory is that I can get the same result with careful contrasts between light and dark, warm and cool, bright and drab.

And there's plenty of applique in Gwen's history, so I'll want some of that.

Back on the freeway, I get in lane to take the Don Valley Parkway south, but the exit is backed up for almost a mile, which is worse than the usual slowdown. I decide to take Leslie instead, but I am not the only one with that idea either.

But, the weather is perfect, the windows are open, and the radio is on.


The DJ comes on and rather sheepishly jokes that since June 1 is National Olive Day, we should collect as many different kinds of olive as possible, and eat olive it. Slow news day!

It turns out that Leslie is also down to one lane, thanks to a storm drain cleaning crew. But after that the road opens up, and I have a very helpful meeting. On the way home, I am still designing my basket block in my head. My liberated basket block. So, I don't think I should worry too much about matching the corners. And maybe play with perspective a little...


Now, what about the applique? I have so many flowery projects already. I've always wanted to do a project with willow leaves...

Well...what about olives? Olives have willowy leaves. Black olives would be a break from the usual quilty red berries. Could it work?

Thursday June 2, 2016

Luckily, I have all day to work on this project. The wavy background comes together easily, and somehow the basket goes in with hardly a break in the lines. The handle is easy to draw on some freezer paper, ironed right on the block, and then transferred to the handle fabric and cut out. So, that all went quickly.

Gwen encourages making your own applique templates. so I do a Google image search on "olive branch," With the search results open in front of me, I sketch a few different olive leaves, a couple of olives, and make templates. (Ignore the flower for now!)

I notice that olives have thin, whippy stems. So, I make a bunch of 1/4" stems, and cut out way too many olive green leaves. My plan is to design the applique right on the block.

TWO HOURS of fiddling around, many awkward, stiff layouts, and I finally think of winding the branch around the basket handle. Aha, that seems to be working! I take a photo to see how it looks.

On the small screen on the back of my camera, it looks terrible. Argh! All day, and it's a dead end. Olives are stupid. I decide to put just a single red flower on the handle and call it a day. (That flower above.)


Friday, June 3, 2016

It's a busy day, but I do download the photos from my camera to the computer. Really, I think the problem is that the dark green leaves don't show against the brown basket. And I like the line. I won't give up on it yet.

Saturday, June 4, 2016

Back to the stash for some lighter green. How light? Well, it turns out that it needs to be very light, and the leaves on the blue background need to stay quite dark. And somehow, that works.


Two days of rather rough and ready applique (speed over quality), and the block is done!


It's over 17" now, but I'll probably trim it down to 16" finished for the next round.

Once again, the timing worked out, and it was nice to run with inspiration when it struck. I think it was lucky that I only had a week, instead of a whole month, because the tight deadline sharpened my focus. And most of all, I'm glad I didn't give up!

Check out what everyone else made in the link up here, tomorrow. I wonder what the next theme will be? Although seriously, I really have to finish Hen Party. Now, where did I put it?

33 comments:

  1. Your block is fabulous, Monica! I really like how you wrote about its "history" -- your thought process in the choices for fabrics, colors, etc., and its beginning and evolution. My basket center isn't finished yet but I'll work on it more tomorrow, enough to be able to at least post a photo of it.
    --Nancy. (ndmessier @ aol.com, joyforgrace.blogspot.com)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks very much, Nancy! I like to tell the story, I think different people can identify with different things about it. Good luck with your block!

      Delete
  2. sounds like the traffic jams helped your creativity, what a wonderful block you have designed and made this is going to be fun watching your medallion progress

    ReplyDelete
  3. I like to read the story of the block - wonderful block. I can't wait to see more of your work !

    ReplyDelete
  4. So glad you are joining in! Very cool block with a story behind it! When we quilters get that spark of an idea, nothing can keep us from creating!

    ReplyDelete
  5. Great thought process! I love it when the wheels spin and see it though! Great block!! And that background is terrific!

    ReplyDelete
  6. I love your block -modern and traditional too ! And the story made me laugh !!
    Thank you for sharing !

    ReplyDelete
  7. Inspiration can strike at any time and you certainly went for it. As I was reading your comment about nor liking the design I was saying No! It's great! Keep it. I'm glad my esp dodged timelines and got you to keep it!

    I made a sketch on the 9th of May and finished by the 13th. Love all the designs being inspired by Gwen.

    ReplyDelete
  8. I enjoyed reading your diary days of creating your block design. You were right to switch to a lighter green for the leaves. Your design works very well in the fabrics you ended up using.

    ReplyDelete
  9. What a delightful twist on the traditional basket fillers! Black olives are a staple in this household but it never would have occurred to me to use them as inspiration or a focal point. Can't wait to see what you do next!

    ReplyDelete
  10. I love your block. It is so much fun seeing what everyone has designed. This is going to be a fun sew along. Hugs

    ReplyDelete
  11. I love those olives so very very much!

    ReplyDelete
  12. Fabulous block! Very true to Gwen's process and great finish. Looking forward to your next step

    ReplyDelete
  13. I love the stories behind your quilts (and quilt blocks)! You never know when inspiration will strike!

    ReplyDelete
  14. Your block turned out awesome! Loved your process and that you kept a log of each step. Love the background you did!

    ReplyDelete
  15. It looks like Day 1 of your "adventures with a new block" ended up being inspiring despite the frustrations. Glad you stuck with the olive idea. The lighter leaves look great.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you! You know I always have plenty of ideas, it's the bridge between inspiration and realization that's the challenge. I'm glad I stuck it out, and it's interesting how the short time frame helped, because normally I hate deadlines. On to Month 2!

      Delete
  16. I love, love your block. Ideas can definitely come from anywhere, as you proved. Changing those few leaves and making them lighter made a huge differeence and the fractured background is delightful. Great job!

    ReplyDelete
  17. Your basket with olives is beautiful! What a fun change from the usual red berries, and I love the wrapping around the basket handle. I think the color change in the leaves adds to the depth of your block, and it looks very natural to me.

    ReplyDelete
  18. I really enjoyed your "process in your head" post Monica! Too funny, so much like what mulls around in my head……AND the frustration…….grapes are stupid! LOL, yes, sometimes they are!!
    I woke this morning with a basket on my mind, just can't decide…….

    ReplyDelete
  19. I love your olive basket -- it's one of my favorites. Your solution to the contrast issue was perfect. It's so fun when quilters share their process -- thanks for that!

    ReplyDelete
  20. Your block is lovely. Thank you for taking us all on your creation journey. You really made a conscious effort for this to be new and different and original.

    ReplyDelete
  21. I loved reading this post and thank you so much for sharing your olive and basket journey. It really is a journey when you are involved in the creative process and you had a most successful ending. I love it!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks very much, Jocelyn! The journey continues in Month 2, so I have a very strong "back to the drawing board" feeling right now. :D

      Delete
  22. Great block! I love the way your branch winds around. Stunning!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks very much, Katy! It took a while, but I got there. :D

      Delete
  23. You are truly amazing. This is such a good story of creation (I'm imagining the Bible's creation story rewritten like this). And the end product is great.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. With soundtrack? LOL, thanks, Jillian! Blogging is about the journey, right? Otherwise I'd just be on Instagram. I'm glad that so many others have resonated with it. Thanks as always for your encouragement!

      Delete
  24. What a great post! I love olives, so your basket pleases me quite an unreasonable amount.

    ReplyDelete
  25. Turned out great. We had an olive tree in the yard when we lived in California. Turns out you can't eat the black olives when they are right. They are bitter beyond description. Olives have to be processed in a lye bath before they are edible. So the birds had fun with them and we didn't get to eat any as I didn't want to fool around with lye. Anyway the leaves are gray green in color and you hit just the right note with your block.

    ReplyDelete
  26. How did I miss this post??? Wow!!! I LOVE the background for the basket as it makes the basket so much more interesting. What a fun summer you have ahead of you!--Terry

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks again, Terry! I think I have a better plan for round 2 now. All the best!

      Delete

Thanks for taking the time to leave a comment! It is well appreciated. Happy stitching!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...