Sharing fabric cuttings with my worldwide friends

Monday, March 28, 2011

Week 13 Little Blue Basket

There were some issues with this block for me so it took a little longer to get it done and photographed. This is a pattern I have made several times through the years and I always have difficulty with it; most often in the cutting size of those two rectangles in the lower corners.

Here is my second effort:

I thought about taking my block "on location" out into the woods and posing it with a basket but a quick glance out the window shows there is a strong breeze and the thermometer says 34 degrees so no location photo for week 13.

This is the first time that I have not faithfully followed the block instructions. You'll see on the BB site that she did not have a handle on the basket but the block looks incomplete to me without it so I decided mine would have a handle. I put that on in the traditional way of cutting a bias strip, feeding it through my 3/8" Clover bias maker and then hand appliqueing it down on both sides.

My collection of grey fabrics continues to increase but I have discovered that my thread collection (for hand applique) is not keeping pace. There was not even one spool of grey in my favored Mettler 60 weight thread collection but a blue one did the job.

Surely there will be an applique block show up soon!

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Week 12 Louisiana

This week I could not ignore that the block really should be made in the confederate grey. And I also tried to follow the directions as supplied which means, yes, I did make my flying geese out of three triangles. It is not quite perfect in the center and is maybe 1/16" small on one corner but that is fine for this project.

This being the first day of spring I decided to take the block on location out into my garden and see if I could find something blue to put it with. Alas, it is still early in the season but I did find a couple of small touches of blue to pose it with:

All along I have been trying to keep to the suggested color values and make the block as shown on the BB site. I'm not entirely sure that my use of the pale, medium and dark is totally successful but I was keeping with my plan to follow the directions.

I have a couple of friends who are currently in the midst of a personal challenge involving their art. Jill is the more ambitious and is painting a portrait of a new face every day for the first 100 days of the year. Cindy is making a new piece of quilt art (top only) every day for the month of March - at the end of the month she will decide which ones she thinks should be quilted and turned into a finished item. So with those two as an example I have been trying to discipline myself to get these civil war block of the week blocks done within the first day or two that they are posted. Of course when I am away from home it becomes a little more difficult to keep up but I am going to do my best.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Our Fourth Round Robin

In earlier posts I have been showing you my quilts that have resulted from an international group of friends who have been making round robin quilts together since 1997. We get together at the New Zealand Quilt Symposium, which happens every second year, to reveal the project we have been working on since the previous Symposium as well as to plan for the next one.

For today I am going to show you my quilt from our fourth round robin, The Cryptic Sizzler, which we began in 2003. This time our fearless leaders had planned a strip quilt. The owner needed to select one fabric and then make four 71/2" blocks. For the next few "rounds" we were directed to make a strip (or strips) that would be 36" wide (or was that 35"?) - the size of the blocks in the strip varied with each round and there was also some added cryptic comment that needed to be heeded in the making of the strips. The last robin had the challenge to put together all the strips and then add a border as necessary.

By now we had been working together for a number of years and thought we had worked out what each robin's favorite colors/styles were. I decided to up the challenge for my friends by choosing a fabric in a color-way that I had not frequently used, brown and black. And because my fabric had a distinct motif on it I also named my quilt upfront "Savannah Snapshot" to give the robins some direction in making the pieces for it.

Here is what I got back in January 2005 when we all met up in Auckland:

This is a photo of when it hung in the Asheville Quilt Guild show and, as you can see, it won a ribbon (second place in the group quilt category) so that was exciting.

Of particular note is the larger light central portion - that was a combination of three strips. The top portion was the hill scene, then came a pieced strip and finally the strip with the elephants. Another point of interest is that since the name of the quilt contained the word "snapshot" I made my original four blocks (the ones in each outer corner) to look as though they were photographs stuck in an album. Later another quilter made her strip to look like a strip of film negative.

Here you can see a close up of how the elephant area was quilted. Cheryl traced each of the elephants and then quilted the outline in the yellow on point squares above.

For the corner blocks I used patterns from Margaret Rolfe's wonderful book, A Quilter's Ark. And also note the care with which the robin fussy cut and pieced the feature fabric.

So that is the story of how we came to make The Cryptic Sizzler, our fourth round robin.

Week 11 London Square

Here we are at week 11 in the Barbara Brackman Civil War BOW. There are many interesting stories on her blog about lives and times during the war. A bonus is finding out all the different names that a traditional quilt block might have. The block for this week, for instance, is a variation of the Ocean Waves block. Often, it is the placement of the colors that changes what the block is called; the week 10 Lincoln's Platform is a good example of that notion.

But for this project purpose, the block of the week is London Square and here is my block:

For my lesson this week I have realized that when I am going to use a stripe/directional fabric I would do well to pay attention to the way the stripes go. While I did recut one of the small medium blue triangles so those all went in the same direction, the large one is going the other way. Shall I recut it? Maybe later. Will I pay better attention next time I use that fabric? Absolutely. But since my block did have good sharp points and the perfect size I am less inclined to fiddle with it.

Are you visiting the flickr page on the BB Civil War blog? I notice that for the block this week most everyone who is posting their block photo has laid out the colors/shades in the same way as suggested by Barbara Brackman. That is not always the case.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Block Making

Today we had our Friday Bee as we do every second and fourth Friday of the month. Generally we all work on our own projects but sometimes someone mentions a specific thing and many of us will work on that.

For today I decided to make a couple of blocks for the "Just One Star" challenge that Moda fabrics has issued. They are calling for 1800 pieced star blocks to be sent to them for assembly into 100 quilts using the "Flag of Valor" pattern designed by Minick and Simpson. You can get all the details by going here The finished quilts will be assembled and given to US soldiers injured in the Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts.

I decided to make a couple; one in each colorway. We had some discussion about the color choices noted on the Moda site as they ask for medium red or medium blue (just what makes a medium red we wondered). Once I remember to sign them, the blocks will be ready to send off.

Our guild , like many, also does Block of the Month. While I was away this past weekend at our Retreat I worked on the February and March blocks. The purple fan block was for February and I won the blocks back on Tuesday night - there were only six blocks made and I am embarrassed that everyone saw I was less than thrilled to win them. However, with our auction coming up my friend Gayle offered to turn those six blocks into at least a finished top and then it will be a donation for the auction. She worked on that at the Bee today after we chose suitable fabrics to sash and border the blocks with.

The March BOM is a Spinning Pinwheel. We were asked to make them in bright cheerful colors so that was a fun block to make on a grey day.

As I currently have two major long term projects underway it is good to be able to sit down and start and finish something in just an hour or so.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Red and White Quilts

There is an outstanding exhibit of a collection of red and white quilts about to open at the American Folk Art Museum in New York City. While we can all dream about going to see it the reality is many of us will not be there. But we can still make our own fun by viewing all the beauties on display in the world of blogging.

Taryn of Repro Quilt Lover is hosting a bloggers' display of red and white quilts and is inviting others bloggers to send a link to show their red and white quilts.

My first red and white quilt "Little Red Schoolhouse" was made in 1983 (or was that 1984? for shame, my label does not include the date). There had been a house quilt on the front cover of Quilters Newsletter Magazine that I admired; I seem to recall that quilt as being blue and white, and certainly it was a larger size than mine. The piecing was all done by machine and then I added some hand embroidery to embellish each house. And, I even hand quilted this one which makes it unusual as that happened very seldom.

I am adding this closeup to show you the small amount of embellishing I did do. Each block had something added to it. In this block the fabric had paw prints all over it so I added a black cat sitting at the door.

This quilt was made while I was living in Barranquilla, Colombia. At the time I did not have a lot of things I could do and as a result I could spend hours each day working on my hand quilting.

My next quilt was made as a round robin quilt during the time I lived in Melbourne, Australia. The summers were very hot and I named this quilt "Red Hot Melbourne". Once the quilt top had been to every quilter I need to get it finished. This was a very early attempt at machine quilting. I decided to add buttons and charms in one of the borders to remind me of things that happened while we lived in Melbourne. This quilt was made in 1997 by my quilt Bee "Crosstown Quilters".

The quilt is not quite as off square as this photo would suggest. You can see my friends were very creative with their additions: included are needle turn applique, yoyo flowers, buttonhole applique, traditional and paper foundation piecing.

I do like red and white quilts. Red has been a long time favorite color of mine and many of my quilts will include red somewhere in them. I'm looking forward to browsing all the blog postings of red and white quilts and thank Taryn for her idea.

The Third Round Robin

For this round robin we returned to a traditional medallion format. We asked each robin to tell us what style of block they would offer to make for another robin and to tell us what style of block they would love to have as a center in a quilt but would not make themselves. The offers and requests were matched up and those became the medallion center.

Subsequent rounds were essentially following the traditional format although of course not everyone kept to a traditional style e.g. the medallion center was not exactly in the center for one quilt and, in some, an applique embellishment was added over the top of a pieced round previously done.

We were six robins for this round robin but we never actually made anything for our own quilt i.e. there were five rounds/turns on each quilt. The owner supplied two fabrics as well as the request for the first/center block.

I named my quilt "Code Orange goes to Code Red" in advance. At that time the name was chosen because the weather people came up with codes for how hot the summer day was going to be - code red meant really hot and humid and unpleasant - but also because one of my chosen fabrics featured orange and red. However, during this robin the 911 attacks occurred in the USA (the World Trade Center, the Pentagon and the downed plane in Pennsylvania) and the name took on an entire new meaning as colors were used to indicate the perceived threat level of another attack.

Judy had fun in round two by using some precious fabric from her collection and fussy cutting the bugs to remind us of the joys of what hot and humid weather brings.

I'm not sure if you can really see them in this detail shot above but you can get the idea certainly.

My request was for a needle turn applique center in the style of yesteryear but in the fresh colors of the 21st century. The fabrics supplied were the pale green background of the center and the bold red used extensively. Of course the amount of that latter fabric I supplied was not sufficient but the ever resourceful robin who needed more searched online for that fabric and found it in Canada as I recall.

The challenges in our round robins are not always confined to just cutting fabric and sewing it!

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Week Ten Lincoln's Platform

Here we are at week ten, almost a quarter of a way into the Civil War Block of the Week project. The past two weeks have been a challenge to me to get done quite as promptly as in the earlier blocks as I have been out of town at quilting events. This weekend my quilt guild had a three day retreat but I did manage to find time to visit the BB blog on Saturday as well as get my block made with the limited selection of fabrics that I had taken with me.

As has already been said on other blogs, this is a block with many names; I usually call it Churn Dash and it is a particular favorite of mine. I will say though that I prefer to make this in a size that divides nicely by three; making it in the 8" finished size requires some special cutting.

Here is my version for this week:

As usual, I tried to keep true to the pattern as shown on Barbara Brackman's Civil War blog and since this was named Lincoln's Platform I chose from my blue fabrics to make the block.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

The Second Round Robin

For our second effort we were still a group of six but Kirsty had decided she could not take the heat so stepped aside and Rhonda eagerly jumped into the frying pan!

This robin was all about making blocks, that is until we got to the ultimate round when you had to make the border. The first few rounds had robins making a number of blocks; the size and number of blocks changed each round although they always added up to something that would equal 12" x 12" I'm recalling (h'mm later rounds got bigger). Let me think and see if I can recreate: round 1 had the owner make 4 blocks at 6" each, round 2 was 9 blocks at 4", round 3 was 1 block at 8" and then "some other blocks" (I'm losing the plot here), round 4 was 1 block at 12" and six at 4", round 5 was a big round as you had to make blocks plus you had to put all the blocks made so far together (and that likely meant you had to make more blocks to make the puzzle fit together) and then the final round was to put a border on the entire piece. The owner got to supply two fabrics and could say one "do" and one "don't" about their top.

I had somewhat of a contest going to name my quilt, although at the end the name "A Little Green Kiwi" was a name I came up with. Here is the result:

Just like giving birth, after all these years the result is lovely and I forget what pain there might have been in putting it together (i.e. giving birth to the robin top!). Remember this one is mine - I put the blocks together for another robin (who was it?) and then had the border to create for, I think, Rhonda's top.

Judy and Rhonda have already said this 2nd round robin was a favorite and I think mine came out pretty darn well also.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Week Nine Birds in the Air

Oops I'm a little tardy this week but I have a reason - I was away from home for five days at a Quilt Fest. It was a grand chance to enjoy looking at a wide variety of quilts, visit lots of vendors and just enjoy being with my quilt friends. And if I added some blue and grey fat quarters to my fabric collection well, you won't tell will you?!

So here it is Tuesday and I have my block ready to show you:

Since this block is most often shown set on point I chose to photograph it that way. I had a pleasant set of grey fabrics ready to cut and sew for this one but with today being the first day of March (the month when spring begins) and a sunny one at that, the grey got set aside for a brighter selection in blue.

On the down side while I was out and about I stopped in at the fabric store to purchase some more of my selected pale grey background fabric which I plan to use in each block. Horrors, it is part of the Jinny Beyer Palette # 9 and they are now stocking palette # 10 and this fabric is no longer available. Not to worry, I still have quite a lot left but if I do run out I will just have to substitute the pale grey that replaced it in the # 10 palette.

How is your progress on this BOW?