Sharing fabric cuttings with my worldwide friends

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Block 13 - Everybody's Favorite - Universal Suffrage

It was after 9pm before I was able to be taking my photos for this block so it is another "in the closet" shot! The purple fabric color takes a "hit" in such situations and does not really show true.

When I was looking at the sample blocks made to illustrate Barbara Brackman's posting for this week I was struck with the notion that the block had eaten too much Thanksgiving dinner (i.e. it had a "chubby" look to my eye). The block base version looked more pleasing to me so I set out to use that pattern. And it was another week of dithering and dithering over fabric choices. I'm wondering if Georgann who makes the red and white blocks might not have a much easier time of it! But does she have as much fun along the way?

With it being dark and very cold outside there was no opportunity for any fancy setups for a photo this week. But since I had all the blocks out (I had carried them with me yesterday on a Black Friday trip to the fabric store sale) I thought it might be time for another group shot.

I see I need to make a few more blocks that use the more conservative fabrics in my pile. Another thing I cannot help but notice is the purple - when I began my notion was to use a green and white palette with just a touch of purple - seems to me the purple is being applied with a much heavier hand than first planned.

You'll also be wondering how I have a 16 block layout; 13 does not arrange nicely and I have two block 1s and two block 12s so it was a case of all together now and let's see that gorgeous Hoffman fabric that I found early on as well.

And now I'm off to see what else has been done this week. There are some beauties that's for sure.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Block 12 - Little Boy's Breeches - Dress Reform

I feel like a dog with a big ol' bone after doing the block this week. For the past three days I have been gnawing and gnawing on that bone and I'm not really sure it is done yet but I'm ready to let another dog have a try at it!

The general consensus on the Flickr site is that the blog this week was challenging. So many decisions needed to be made before any fabric was cut. At first I wanted to make the breeches floral to show that this was a feminine issue. But then I thought I might like the challenge of using a striped fabric - huh! After cutting several pieces incorrectly I then moved onto thinking that spots would be just fine.

So I made this one on Saturday:

H'mm, am I happy with how that center looks? There's a touch of green in the corner that sort of bleeds into the breeches. Maybe I'll have another try.

 Those striped fabrics were still calling to me and I could not choose which one so I used both. But now, I'm not really sure this one is an improvment on the first one. So I'll see who comments and what they say. I'm wondering if the issue with this block is that I used color as a decider when I should have used value. Maybe if the skinny purple triangles were a much darker purple it might have improved the look.

 For the spotted breeches block I was sewing with my friends at the library. My friends are rapidly being divided into two groups - those who are in the Grandmother's Choice group and those who cannot understand why I am so fixated on getting the blocks just right each Saturday. But pinkdeenster and I were gnashing our teeth together on Saturday and encouraging each other along as we got to a "I give up" point. She got her two versions made by the end of Saturday night I see.

 A comment I got via email on Sunday "I cannot believe that you are considering making another of yesterday's blocks after spending so much time on that one. Maybe you could give it a few more days rest to get a fresh perspective on the darn thing before deciding whether to tackle it again; at that point you might realize what you created yesterday is really OK".

I wondered if the Foo Dog might be able to breathe a little life into this one because I'm not really sure it is an improvement on the first block.

And here's the result of hours of work.There were several "legs" cut incorrectly. Then there were the two legs sewn together in the incorrect way. I called into service my Jinny Beyer handpiecing tool which is very useful for pesky seams. Does the block look better on point? Er, my setting plan is to have the blocks straight.

Do feel free to let me know which block you prefer! Advice like the quote above is always worthy of consideration.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Speaking of houses

A few weeks back I went to our guild retreat where the theme was "It Takes a Village". You might recall seeing the Happy Scrappy Houses blocks I made and wrote about on October 15.

After the retreat it occurred to me that this block pattern would make a cheerful and fun quilt to give to a guild member who is recovering from serious surgery. I put the word out and asked members to make a block for this purpose. When the blocks came back it seemed like a good idea to make two quilts; one small one for the wall and a larger one in a lap quilt size.

Once the blocks were collected two guild friends came over to my house and we spent a day putting together the tops. This was a speedy project - we got the tops done, then quilted and bound. If Hurricane Sandy had not intervened we would have been finished even sooner.

Here we see "A Pieceful Cul-de-Sac".  We wanted to make this fun and remind the recipient of the many hours she has spent volunteering in a local elementary school so figures from the Lorax (of Dr Seuss fame) along with a pumpkin (It's the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown - we did this on Halloween) appear in this quilt.

 And here we have "The Missingu Village" . Please excuse the uneven light across the image - I'm a better quilt maker than photographer.

Since most everything I make now takes months, if not years, to complete it was fun to make a couple of quilts that were completed in under a month.

And as for schoolhouses I did make a Little Red Schoolhouse quilt way back in 1980something...

I see this was made using a similar pattern to this past Saturday's block 11; there are subtle differences however like the chimneys, that band of white above the windows and the small step below the door. My goodness, I even handquilted it! You can read more about this quilt on my post dated March 7, 2011. And looking at it I think I prefer this pattern to the one I came up with for block 11.

Have you "built" any houses lately?

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Block 11 - Little Red Schoolhouse - Lucy Stone

The pattern for the block this week bothered me a little perhaps because of my background in architectural drafting. So I had to redraft the block before I could even begin to select fabric.  The dilemma was to try and keep as much of the original block as I could but to change the portions that bothered me the most.

 I just could not make the block with only one window. A schoolhouse needs to let the sunshine in so the children can stay motivated and alert. The tall narrow chimneys were another part I did not like but the photograph on the Grandmothers Choice blog that showed the Mt Holyoke Female Seminary had many tal narrow chimneys so I left them proportioned as they were.

Each week I admire the blocks made by "kookaburra calling" and I was inspired by her block that included a rose window so decided to add one to my block.

Choosing the fabrics took a long time. I wanted to use the floral one for the windows and doors and the siding fabric was selected easily. But choosing the roof fabric? That took forever. This one may be a tad too bold but the roof and siding colors are closest to the exact colorway that I intended to work in for this project than many of my blocks to date.

 At the top of our street is an old schoolhouse and I wanted to "pose" my block with the building in the background. It was a clear and sunny day and the white of the schoolhouse and the brickred of the chimney and adjacent tree showed up well against the sky. Alas though there are other things that have to be worked around like ugly overhead wires and the gravel side parking lot.

The New England asters are still making a pretty showing so I planted the block in front of them for another shot. Gee, I think I had more fun taking the photos than the sewing and fabric selecting.

It's too bad that I could not easily find a photo of the old schoolhouse where I first began school. If I search hard enough I could but I wanted to get this posting up.

I was also thinking about my friends in New Jersey who should have been voting at a schoolhouse last week but had to go instead go to the Firehouse where there was emergency power. They have been many many days without electricity.

So here it is, block 11 my Little Red Violet Schoolhouse.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Block 10 - New York - Susan B. Anthony Breaks the Law

How eerie is the timing of the block for this week? Although it is easy to see why Ms Brackman chose a block about voting (here in the USA we are four days away from going to the polls) she could not have imagined how we have been all glued to the media watching the devasting photographs of a New York ravaged by the huge storm/hurricane Sandy.

This was a block that we also made for the Civil War block of the week. In that project I made the upper left corner of my "flag" a star block.  But for this one, since it is about voting after all, I decided to use the check mark with which a ballot is marked.

I have situated my block adjacent to Wellington, the capital city of New Zealand and thus the location of the Parliament.

In thinking about how I might pose my block to take a photo I first thought to use some of the piles of flyers that my mailbox has been stuffed with these past weeks. But I guess we were super efficient with recycling this week and most of them are all gone.

But I did come up with these two (one had to be rescued from the trash bin and is looking a little curled around the edges). Although I thought I should be showing flyers from both parties I notice that Susan B. Anthony announced that she had voted Republican and that is the two flyers I found. So here I am paying homage to Susan B. Anthony. She was arrested for her illegal  vote and never did get to vote a second time as she had died before the law was changed allowing women the vote.

I'm looking forward to not so many flyers in the mailbox after Tuesday!