Sharing fabric cuttings with my worldwide friends

Friday, August 31, 2012

Color Inspiration

It seems as though my color choice for the upcoming Grandmother's Choice BOW project was already decided in my subconsciousness when I have been shopping at the garden centers this past year.

Consider this plant pot that I saw every time I entered or left my garage last fall and this spring:

The purples and white look lovely with the green mint which is not quite the chartreuse color I am saying I am using but, hey, it's nature.  By mid August, the flowers may have changed but the basic color scheme has not;

 Magenta may have been invited along for the color party but the basic green white and purple thing is still happening. Or this summer pot on the deck;

Here I have laid out my fabrics as guided by the chartreuse page in Joen Wolfrom's book;

 Earlier this week I had to go to the quilt shop on another errand (yes, I had to!) and of course came home with just one or two more pieces of fabric. That big floral in the center is sort of what I had been looking for for weeks as it combines all three of my colors - it's just a shame about that extra blue flower but with fussy cutting this could turn out to be a winner.

I didn't buy all of those on Wednesday; most of the purples (red-violets to be more precise in my studies of  Joen Wolfrom comments and the Ives color wheel) were already in my collection but in getting ready for the big start tomorrow I realized I had not yet pre-washed the purples. I really like how they look laid out together.

In a half hearted way I have been trying to have a bit of a cleanup in the sewing room; putting away the greys and blues from the last BOW as well as the fabrics from the last two chapters of The June Bride and several piles from Holidays Inc. The reason it is half hearted is because the shelf space is already practically at capacity.

So what's a quilter to do? Start cutting and sewing I guess and/or go on a fabric diet.

You can also go here to see another reason I have chosen the color scheme I have for the upcoming BOW, Grandmother's Choice; cutting and sewing will begin with the posting of the first block bright and early tomorrow morning.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Getting Ready for Grandmother's Choice

Before starting cutting and sewing a new project it is necessary to assemble the fabric pile..or piles 1, 2 and 3. After all if one fabric is needed, five fabric choices are better and fifty five are excellent (either that or creating extra layers of agonizing decision making). Never one to restrict my fabric choices I have decided on the latter approach.

Come September 1 the first block for Grandmothers Choice will be posted by Barbara Brackman and rotary cutters need to be ready to slash into the fabric and get that first block made.

For the Civil War block of the week that was last years project I decided to make it all about color and created a pile of blue fabric and a pile of grey fabric. Each Saturday, depending on whether or not the block was Union or Confederate I had fun creating a pleasing block from the eclectic heap of blue or grey fabrics. To keep all the blocks looking like they belonged to the same project I selected one fabric (silver-grey pattern on a white background) that I used in every one of the 52 blocks.

This time there are other ways that I might go about choosing my fabrics. Again I have decided to make it all about color rather than fabric style. But which colors? Grandmothers Choice is all about women getting the right to vote. A century or more ago this was an issue that dominated the thoughts of many women. Groups were created, petitions were signed, emblems were chosen and colors were selected to represent the fight that our foremothers participated in.

My background is scattered. I was born and bred in New Zealand, the very first country to grant women the right to vote so that is very important to me. But my ancestry includes England and I have also lived there. Additionally I have lived in Australia and Colombia as well as New Jersey and Virginia here in the USA. All those places have influenced me.

In the end I have decided to celebrate my New Zealand (Kiwi) heritage. I will be using a green, white and violet (GWV = Give Women's a myth, so I read, that there is this connection but it makes for a good story) color scheme. I have perhaps overdone my agonizing about fabric selection. Looking on my bookshelf I pulled out the Joen Wolfrom book "Colorplay" and selected a split complementary color scheme of chartreuse (yellow-green), green-yellow and red-violet. I'll mix in a healthy dose of white. For now I'm thinking that I'll make my blocks green and white and invite red-violet in for the setting/sashing.

But things could change.

Here is the current pile. I'm figuring to use one fabric as a constant in every block - and that will be the one that is the big mass in the lower portion of the photo. It has a (sort of) white background with a pale chartreuse pattern on it. There are some other whites, a lovely green on white toile, 8 red-violets, and a whole heap of green-yellow and yellow-green fabrics arranged above the pales. On the left of the photo is another bunch of fabrics that are in the "maybe" pile including three that are purple rather than red-violet. Obviously some of these fabrics might never get cut into but I like to have a lot of choice.

During the year I will be on the lookout for a fabric that features the white camellia as that bloom was the one adopted as the emblem by the New Zealand Suffrage Movement. If you know of such a fabric I'll really be excited to hear about it so I can include it somewhere in my quilt.

My first experience with Ms Brackman's block of the week was wonderful and I hope to build on that for this second project by being more public with what I am doing (i.e. the flickr site). I'm looking forward to not only seeing the lovely blocks being created by others but in joining in and showing my own work.

A huge thank you to Barbara Brackman, Becky in VA and Dustin (the wonderful flickr leader) for giving us this opportunity. And thank you to everyone who share their blocks with the rest of us.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Secret Sewing Projects

It must seem as though I'm not doing anything in my sewing room lately. I am creating but I can't show photos here as there are secrets to be revealed and it wouldn't do if they had been seen here in advance.

I have a couple of long-term ongoing group projects.

One is my June Bride project. For this I have gathered a group of 13 other quilt friends who were willing to be challenged. We are up to chapter three of the June Bride and here is how it works; I find a set of old quilt blocks and hand one (or two depending) to each participant. They need to use that old block and come up with a new 24" x 24" finished quilt. It is called the June Bride because I was one and we incorporate "something old" (the old block), "something new" (the new quilt), "something borrowed" (the concept from Mary Kerr - see her website here) and "something blue" (blue has to appear somewhere in the new quilt).

The big reveal for chapter 3 is next Saturday and I am running tight on time...yikes. Right now I'm waiting for a block to dry before I can stitch it into the row. I'll give you a sneak peak at that block
The block on the left has been rejected. That pale blue was just too pale. I enlarged the flower just a little, put it on a different background (that background fabric was given to everyone and has to be used someplace in the quilt) and I'm a lot happier with it now. The bloom idea comes from a pattern by Deborah Kemball (Beautiful Botanicals) - she has used it in several quilts and sometimes adds the embroidery. Her quilts look divine especially the ones she makes from silk fabrics. I'm not sure if I should add the stem lines in the new block or not. My "technical director" thinks not. What do you think?

My other project is Holidays Greetings Incorporated. For this we are a group of seven friends (3 in Melbourne Australia, my sister in New Zealand, I friend in Newfoundland Canada and 1 in North Carolina and I make the seventh). We have been sewing together making variations of a round robin style for years. For this project we have each chosen a holiday as the theme for our quilt. The deadline for this round is coming up on October 1 but I have my block finished quite a few weeks ahead of the deadline.

That's good because I need to get organized for Grandmother's Choice which begins September 1. I am working on pulling together my fabric pile. This is another block of the week project masterminded by Barbara Brackman - I have put a link button on the right so you can see what this will all be about. To be truthful "I" did not put it there - things like that are the responsibility of my "technical director" (aka #2 son). He does not at all approve of my current choice of chartreuse green as one of the main color choices but there is a reason for it. And besides, everyone who knows me will immediately understand why I use green as it is the biggest color pile in my fabric collection.

Alright, let me see if that applique block has dried out yet.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

A preliminary Ta Dah!

At last I have my Civil War quilt top together and I think I will name it "The Blues and The Greys".

Hopefully, it is now published on the flickr site on the Barbara Brackman Civil War blogspot. To get it there was beyond my technical abilities so I had to call on my Technical Director aka my ever obliging son. Together we muddled through and something is there now.

But I thought I might put more detail/photos here:

Here is the completed top. It should measure 96" x 96" (I have not actually taken the tape measure to the quilt to check it...) so it was a big challenge to even photograph it.

Right now I don't have a destination for this as a finished quilt. It is clearly bed sized but I don't have a bed crying out to have it so the incentive to get it finished is not there. Once I know what I'm going to do with it I will be better able to decide on how it should be quilted.

Here is a closeup of the central portion. I never was able to find out the identity of "Soldier Y" so here he is in the Union Army Star. There was a great ship print I wanted to include so Naval Victory from the Rosemary Youngs book was a good venue for that. And, to honor my friend Judy, I included a Possession of Manassas block (also from the Rosemary Youngs book) Those four blocks were extras over and beyond the 53 blocks that came from the Barabar Brackman block of the week blog.

Here is a general shot of some blocks. Excuse the rippling effect that comes to you courtesy of hanging the top from a long tomato stake (which was only as long as the quilt!) hooked on a couple of cuphooks in the trim board below the garage roof overhang on the deck.

 General Robert E. Lee.

 General Ulysses Grant.

 General George Meade

General Stonewall Jackson

The four Generals were necessary additions as I needed a total of 61 "sampler" blocks as well as the 60 setting blocks. At the end of the year I had more blue blocks than grey so I decided that the setting blocks should be mostly grey to even things up. Oh, I must also note that I got the inspiration for this setting from  postings made by Thalia T and Elleninfl. Thank you to those two quilters.

If you have been reading this blog for a long time you will know that I decided to make my blocks using blue and grey fabrics rather than using civil war reproduction fabrics. I chose a silver grey on white Jinny Beyer fabric to use as my one constant fabric and it appears in almost every block (perhaps not in all the extra blocks). Two thirds of the way through the project I ran out of that fabric and it was a real struggle to find another yard or so but, thanks to the internet, I was able to get more. Trust me, there is very little left.

I am very excited about starting the new Barbara Brackman block of the week "Grandmothers Choice". Again I will choose one fabric to appear in every block but this time I think I will purchase at least four yards to guard against running out.

It is so great to have this top finished!