Showing posts with label TQS. Show all posts
Showing posts with label TQS. Show all posts

Saturday, June 9, 2018

The Big Rainbow Plan for 2018

...and probably 2019 too.

Blue for January

So, this is my first post of 2018 for the Rainbow Scrap Challenge. Last year's project was a rainbow version of Bonnie Hunter's Talkin Turkey. I finished the blocks but they are still not all sewn together.

The first colour for 2018 was blue, and I did start my new project back in January. I didn't share it then because I was giving myself time to change my mind. But, it's working and it looks good, so it's on. And it's the project I've been most keen to get moving since my break.

This year, in addition to all the rainbow colours, I'm going to have a range of shapes to keep things interesting.

And the entire quilt is going to be foundation paper pieced. It's slow, but I realized that it will be the easiest way to manage a wide range of scraps, and all the different shapes and sizes I'm going to need.

Is it starting to look familiar to anyone?

How about now:

Yes, it's Sue Garman's Halo Medallion, the 2017 BOM she designed for The Quilt Show, and her last one before she passed away. The pattern is still available this year to TQS members. I loved all the borders and the distinctive Halo Star in the centre, but I knew that a whole month of sewing flying geese, followed by a whole month of pinwheels or HSTs, would never work for me. Then last year I had the idea of superimposing a rainbow over the whole thing:

That way, for each RSC colour of the month, I get to sew a cross section of different things.

Obviously, it's a crazy idea, but I've done a Herculean amount of planning, and so far, so good. My rainbow has 11 colours plus grey and/or beige in the two corners (still TBD), so it's most certainly going to run into 2019.

I was also thinking of doing Bonnie Hunter's Garden Party for RSC this year, but I've come to my senses on that. It will have to wait.

Anyway, I'll get into more details in future posts. In the meantime, check out the rest of the RSCer's at this week's link up.

Saturday, January 6, 2018

Patchwork Barn Neutrals

My first new project for 2018 is The Patchwork Barn, a BOM designed by Edyta Sitar for The Quilt Show. My plan was for a refined and restrained, mostly neutral colour scheme, with hints of soft green and gold. Traditional prints.

Then one day this week my eye happened to land on the project box for El Camino SoCal, with all the Eclectic Elements fabrics by Tim Holtz that I've been using for the background in that project. They were exactly the golden taupes and warm greys that I had in mind!

Even though they are not traditional at all, they still have the pale "rows of wheat" feeling that I want for the quilt, especially when paired with solid white.

And I like the extra texture from the blocky print, too.

I had to laugh, because my "neutral fabric" actually has 15 or 16 different colours in it!

In fact, I realized that beautiful selvedge had to be included in the quilt. Fortunately, Edyta has started us out with very easy blocks. A slight change to the proportions of one the blocks, and my selvedges became part of the design:

The selvedge side is topstitched onto the grey, and the other side is pieced normally with the solid white fabric.

A few of Tim Holtz's butterflies rounded out the last set of blocks:

Even the little four patches looked like butterflies at one point:

There was also a bump in the road...

...which I didn't notice until taking the final photos at the end of the day...

...but which was easily sorted.

Other BOM participants may notice that I switched the darks and lights in the four patches. I think I will like this layout better in the final assembly.

So that is the first month done in one day! If only the rest were as easy...

I don't plan to use the Eclectic Elements exclusively, or even predominantly, but I do love how they worked this month. We'll see what happens next month!

Right now I am literally surrounded by piles of fabric for On Ringo Lake, which has deviated considerably from Bonnie's design. One more day and I hope the whole quilt will be cut. And then, hopefully, a few blocks made for the link up next week!

Monday, January 1, 2018

Resolution for 2018

Happy New Year! Have you made any resolutions this year? I have not made any New Year's resolutions for a while (because the UFO ones in particular were not at all successful*), but this year I have one:

Four new, small, wall quilts


I have a few bed-sized quilts I've started, where I tried to "push the envelope" with edgy colour and fabric combinations, that are giving me a lot of trouble. In 2017 I've spent a lot of time quilting, unpicking, and requilting Picnic. And I've changed my mind about the binding several times. But the bottom line is that I've realized it's a fun, vibrant quilt that's going to be hard to live with. As a large quilt it is just overpowering. But, don't worry, I'm still finishing it!

Then also in 2017 there was Moth in the Window. Within the blocks, some combinations worked really well,

...and some didn't.

But I realized that my real problem was the pink background I'd planned:

It's warm and pretty, but I can't live with this on a bed, the energy level is just too high. I've noticed that the blocks look quite good on the solid grey background I've used for the photos, so I'm thinking some kind of grey blender (not totally solid) will be much better here.

Remember Brinton Hall? Same problem:

My plan to was to applique this centre section onto some bright blue Kona solid. I couldn't let go of that idea! But, it was going to be too, too much on the bed. (Just right this minute I've realized that a dark neutral, maybe even brown, will be the way to go here. Aha! Once again, the benefit of blogging.)

Anyway, it seems to me that the solution for the future is to try out the more energetic colour combinations in smaller quilts. That's what I did with Daydream Baskets,

...and that worked great. And even though it was a busy time of year with the holidays, it's also already a finished top.

So, I want more of that. At least four more! Some piecing, some fusing, but all are intended to meet that "non-trivial" criterion that I mentioned last spring. This resolution is really a continuation of that train of thought. With Daydream Baskets, even though it is just one block, I am satisfied that the improv piecing and the bold colours give it enough personality to hold its own on the wall. That is what I mean by non-trivial. It captures and holds your attention.

And new bed quilts will have to be somewhat calmer. I've been looking at the 2018 BOM at The Quilt Show, "The Patchwork Barn" designed by Edyta Sitar.

At first I thought that all that blue was not my taste, so I was relieved that it was off the table! But then...Barbara Black, who is going to be blogging the project all year, showed the civil war reproduction fabrics that she planned to use for the quilt. And I didn't love those either. Of course, the natural question became, what would I love? For me, that is The Most Dangerous Question. I had three ideas in quick succession:

  1. Brights on white, in the style of Lori Holt. Can you imagine the cheery red barn and bright multicoloured blocks?
  2. 30s reproductions on solid cream, a softer vintage variation of the first idea. A very very tempting idea...
  3. Then I started to think, most of the old barns around here are a lovely weathered silver grey, and wouldn't that be nice with the coloured blocks? Or...what if the whole quilt was neutrals, similar to Kyle's elegant version of the 2017 BOM, Halo Medallion? Grey and taupe on white, with a small hint of green and gold...a real challenge to get it right, and it could be really beautiful. Ack! Sold.

So, between the four arty wall quilts, my Rainbow Scrap Challenge quilts, this new BOM and all my UFOs*, the year is looking pretty full. I have no schedule, and I don't mind if I get behind on the BOM (sometimes that works better). Once I get Picnic out of the way there are several other flimsies that I'm raring to get sandwiched and quilted. But the four small quilts will be the top priority. It's going to be an exciting year!

*Oh, and yes, I've come up with an 18 in 2018 UFO list too! That'll be on Wednesday.

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Country Progress

Here is the pony from Month 8 of Lynette Anderson's 2015 BOM for The Quilt Show, My Country House. Mine is pretty much the same as Lynette's design, I just made the legs a little thicker and the stomach a little fatter so she looks more like a pony than a horse. When you search for pony photos online, they all look extremely well fed!

(And if you somehow haven't seen those Scottish ponies in their cardigans, you should definitely have a look here.)

In addition to all the individual blocks that I've been showing, last month I also managed to sew the postage stamp border around the centre house block:

Those are 3/4" stamps, because my quilt is 3/4 scale! There still need to be hearts appliqued into the dark green squares, and the flowering vine appliqued onto the pale yellow border. And the blue bird is still missing from the right chimney.

Even with lots left to do, it was time to finalize the layout so I can finish all the details. So, here it is all pinned up on my design wall:

It's coming along! The squirrel and the owl applique blocks in the top row both have leaves that will overlap the adjacent blocks, so those are not finished yet. And the Month 4 strip across the bottom is completely missing.

But, I don't feel too far behind. Half the flags for the final Month 12 border are already done. Plus, wool applique really is a lot faster than needleturn. And, it makes a relaxing break from working on the machine. So, that is what I'm going to do today! My half square triangles for Week 1 of Allietare are now half done, and I feel comfortable taking a day off. I'll get back to them tomorrow.

So, it's more slow stitching this Sunday, and I'm linking up to Kathy's Quilts again this week. Plus, I'll link up to Design Wall Monday at Patchwork Times tomorrow. Happy stitching!

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Country Beehive

Until now, I have been pretty much sticking to the script on Lynette Anderson's 2015 BOM, My Country House. But for Month 9, Lynette's design for the beehive has two flowers on the same stem, very close to the right edge of the block. Since I am using thick wool felt for those flowers, I would have had to sew them on after joining the block if I kept to the design.

So, I used the same elements in a different layout:

The beehive fabric is the same as the house fabric in the centre block. I thought it would be interesting to echo the same layout as the house block, using the flowers the same as the trees:

However, if you think about the perspective in the beehive block, with the stems behind the horizon, suddenly they look about twelve feet tall. Truthfully, they are reminding me of the Martians in the original War of the Worlds movie:

At around 0:36 you'll see the resemblance!

But, I'm not doing it again. I think once the block is sewn into the whole quilt, and not standing alone, it will be less obvious.

Plus, I'm really happy with how cute the bee is:

I have a few more bees cut out, to scatter around the rest of the quilt. So, on I go! The last three applique blocks are all nearly done, with a just a few embroidered details left. They will make a nice break from the heavy sewing with Allietare!

It is a long time since I linked up with Slow Sunday Stitching, so it will be fun to see what they are all up to over there. Check it out to see for yourself!

And, how do you like my changes to my blog layout? Now it's a little wider, the text is larger, and there's room for bigger photos. Of course, I changed the header photo too. If it's a problem for anyone, please let me know!

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Feathered Star

I'm still not sure that I should have done it, but I did, and here it is!

This is Sue Garman's feathered star pattern, which is Month 1 of Stars for a New Day. It was the 2009 Block of the Month at The Quilt Show, and now you can buy the pattern on Sue's website. I've been holding onto the instructions since 2009, waiting for the right time to start it.

Almost three years ago I bought some of the Victorian Modern collection by Weeks Ringle for this same quilt. But that just never felt right.

This fabric is all from Connecting Threads, and most of it is their new Heirloom Manor collection. I loved it immediately, and I also thought it would work well for some fancy, fussy-cut English paper piecing. "But I'm not going to do that," I said to myself! "I'm still working on Texas Star, which is all EPP, and after that I have Best Friends Forever."

Then I remembered Stars for a New Day, and I bought it. While I was washing it all, I thought again how ideal it would be for fussy cutting. "But that would be stupid," I said to myself. "Just because you can, doesn't mean you should."

Ironically, it was while I was doing some improv sewing that I decided to just go for it. Improv seems to foster a "why not?" attitude, I've found.

This freezer paper frame idea is adapted from Janet's idea at Quiltsalott. You position and lightly iron down the frame...

...then iron the template down in the middle, and peel off the frame. I reused the frame, but made separate templates for each piece, and scissors cut them all with a generous seam allowance.

I ended up fussy cutting almost every piece. The navy diamonds and small tan triangles were cut to avoid the pattern and make them more solid-coloured. In for a penny, in for a pound!

In the end, though, the fussy cutting was not the tricky part of the block. The tricky part is right here:

If you ever find yourself judging a feathered star, that is the place to look. But, you definitely shouldn't judge it unless you've tried it yourself! The first one took me five tries, and then I wised up and basted each seam first.

Until I got to that point, I was thinking that it is a surprisingly forgiving pattern! The blue feathers are foundation paper pieced, so it is easy to keep them all sharp, and Sue's pattern eliminates the Y seams.

Anyway, there it is, and now I will pack it away until the new year. While I was working on it yesterday, zoned out in the blue, white, blue, white, paper piecing, I had another idea for a new improv project! But, surely I have enough already...

Sunday, November 8, 2015

My Country House Blocks

The last four pieced blocks for the TQS 2015 BOM, My Country House by Lynette Anderson, are finally done! Yes, I've been distracted by various new projects, but they were also a little picky to put together.

The original blocks finish at 9" square, but my 3/4 scale blocks finish at 6 3/4" square, and the math starts to get complicated. So I decided to foundation paper piece all the outside units.

I drafted my own foundations on graph paper at the original 3" finished size, and then used the photocopier to reduce them to 75%, which is 3/4 scale.

I don't know why my cutting mat always seems to be upside down!

Anyway, then I trimmed the units, removed the papers, and put the rest of the block together like a normal nine patch.

This block is called Garden Path. The white diamond is normally continuous around the block, but I deliberately broke it up. My hope is to balance these pieced blocks with the applique blocks, so I don't want the piecing to be too dominant.  We'll see soon if I was successful with that!

Truthfully, I was running out of ideas at this point, but I thought it might be interesting to have a block that is all background fabrics. It looks a bit like a swampy pond to me!

And, here are all four together. If you missed the first nine, you can find them here.

Friday, October 2, 2015

Country Cat

Here's a nice, peaceful cat, just minding his own business.

Or is he?

This is the third applique block from Lynette Anderson's My Country House. Another ambiguous one!

In Anderson's design the cat is looking a little away from the bird. In my experience, when a cat suddenly turns his back to wash an itch, that is when he is deciding if today is the day that he will finally eat you.

So I thought it might be friendlier if the cat was turned towards the bird. What do you think?

Cats always seem to have an ulterior motive.

In the photo you can also see my trusty bamboo background fabric, and the dark pink flowers are a weed that pops up between our patio stones every summer. This spray hung over my "photo shoot" in a convenient way.

Ten days ago it was still hot and humid outside when I photographed the first two Country Critter blocks. This morning I had to put on an extra fleecy layer, because it was only 8 C (46 F). Suddenly I'm in the mood for warm, cozy projects! (And carbohydrates...)

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Country Critters

I apologize, I was unable to resist that title!

Here are the first two applique blocks from the 2015 BOM for The Quilt Show, Lynette Anderson's My Country House. Month 5 was called "Naughty Fox," but mine is a grey coyote instead:

A couple of winters ago we had a coyote right here in our suburban backyard. We have foxes too, but design-wise I prefer the silver grey coyote. Coyotes are controversial here in Toronto, but the consensus is that they are here to stay. Anderson's quilt block is a little ambiguous. Are the chicken and coyote friends? Or is the chicken chasing the coyote away?

Month 6 is "Rabbit Love:"

Since my version is 3/4 scale, and all the critters are felted wool, I have been stripping down some of the details in each block. The original design has an embroidered heart on one of the rabbits. I stitched it, but then took it out again. It felt cluttered, maybe due to the busy, aqua rose background fabric. I love that fabric! I remember buying a lot of it for almost nothing in the 90s, at the same time that I bought all the pink and yellow fabrics for Circa 1998. "That will be useful," I thought. But I never thought it would take this long to use it!

But anyway, since the background is so strong I decided to fill in the leaves so they would show up from a distance:

Mary Corbet posted her video for Raised Fishbone Stitch a while ago, and I have been looking for a chance to try it ever since. It is fun and not hard to do, although I probably should have used a hoop. I kept the stitches a little separated since the fabric is lightweight, and because I wanted to make the whole leaf with one length of floss (almost a yard -- 90 cm).

Wool applique really is addictive, and I have enjoyed making these blocks. They were only a couple of days each. That's a good thing, since there is still much more to do!

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Summer Dreams

aka Dreaming in Colour

Doesn't that block look like the very definition of dreaming in colour? I chose a "high summer" colour scheme for my version of Lynette Anderson's 2015 BOM, My Country House. So I guess it was natural that I gravitated back to it during my summer break. I'll tell you more about my break next week, but right now I thought I'd slide in just one post before the long weekend.

You may remember the centre block:

After a couple of inner borders (still to do), the design has 13 pieced blocks and 7 applique blocks. I planned all the piecing in advance, and one day ironed and cut all the fabric in one fell swoop. For me, that's just easier and less confusing than ironing and cutting the same fabric multiple times.

My goal was to make each block as interesting and unique as possible, and to see how many "looks" I could get from the same designs. This is the second churn dash:

One light, one dark, but actually a similar idea with the negative space, I've realized. Still, I think it will take the viewer a few moments to realize they are the same block.

Despite all my plans, somehow I still ended up with two red Ohio Stars:

For Month 5, Lynette Anderson made this Golden Gate block:

I changed the placement of fabrics to make them look more like Shoofly blocks:

Doesn't look like the same block, does it? In general, I changed the blocks to make the main motif less dominant. Because I used such bright colours, I felt the pieced blocks were in danger of dwarfing the applique blocks. We'll see in a month or so if my plan worked!

Anderson's Month 6 block was Night Vision:

This is nice and balanced in her subtle colour palette, but I really struggled to make it work in mine. Finally I decided to replace it all together:

I've been seeing these Rolling Stone blocks everywhere (Lori Holt calls them "sunflowers"), and they fit with the same 3 x 3 construction that Anderson uses, so I went for it.

I'm not sure of the name of this last block, because it hasn't been officially released yet. But, after playing with it for a while I found a star shape in the centre, so I'm calling it Found Star for now:

It's like playing with crayons. :D

Here's all nine:

Just four left now. Have a great long weekend, if you're having one, and I'll be back next week!
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