Sharing fabric cuttings with my worldwide friends

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Block 22 - Jack's Delight; Ridicule as Humor

For the theme this week on the Grandmother's Choice project Ms Brackman showed a variety of examples of how ridicule was used  in the printing of postcards and other mass media to make fun of the suffrage movement.

Since the perpetrators were presumably male I was thinking to have a more masculine looking block. But it did not work out.

 I went for this look instead.

 Pondering what I might have about the place for photo props this was all I could come up with. If you are familiar with Mad magazine it is more zany humor than ridicule but there are some funny images there.

This was my reject plaid for the center. Maybe if I had also used it on the corners it might have worked as a block. But looking at my set of blocks so far I think it would not have been a good fit.

I'm hoping to get a Dixie Diary block underway today as this is the last weekend before the next block is posted.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Yesterday and Tomorrow

If you read my most recent posting you will remember it finished with a comment about Tuesday (yesterday) being National Polka Dot Day. I wondered if you would either wear something polka dotted or sew something with polka dot fabric.

I cut out and stitched these two little blocks. I wanted to try out the pattern (in this instance I was looking at the Lil Baskets Quilt in Edyta Sitar's book Scrappy Firework Quilts) as a potential to use in a couple of current projects. The influence of Dustin is creeping into my  fabric choices! In case you're wondering, Dustin is the flickr site guru for the Grandmother's choice project that I work faithfully on each weekend.

Today, in a combination of yesterday and tomorrow, I visited a quilt shop to add to my stash of polka dot fabrics, find a backing fabric for Strawberries and Cream, and to look for pink fabric "in case" I might feel as though I really need another project and will succumb to the Dixie Diary project which Barbara Brackman has introduced. For the DD project "if" I join in I thought I would use the large stash of greys still remaining from the Civil War BOW with perhaps pink as an accent color. And just maybe some of the pinks from the Metropolitan Fair collection by Ms Brackman might work out.

So what is tomorrow you might wonder. Well, it is "Visit Your Local Quilt Shop Day". I try really hard to support my local stores; if we all buy our fabrics online then the small local stores will go out of business and that would be a very sad day indeed because there is no substitute for visiting the store and getting the instant gratification of fondling the fabric, taking the bolt to the cutting table for  cutting and bringing it home right away. As well we can find out the latest scoop on what new lines are coming in, which local quilter recently won an award/published a pattern/sold a quilt, who is the latest longarmer to start a business, browse the books before deciding which to add to our home collection to say nothing of taking along your current project that is on hold because you need input on how to proceed and asking the opinions of the shop ladies or other customers.

I love a trip to the local quilt shop; it is an instant "pick me up".

H'mm, now I come to think of it, I was in one on Tuesday, one today and then, tomorrow, I plan to visit a third. I am doing my part to make sure they stay in business.

Will you participate in "Visit Your Local Quilt Shop" day? And what about the Polka Dots?

Gotta go now, I have fabric to iron.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Block 21 Parasols and P.R.

For the Grandmother's choice block this week we had something a little new and fresh; create a pretty parasol. It seems the parasol was somewhat of a platform for advertising the cause of Women's Suffrage. Not just any parasol but a pretty one that was as much to keep the sun off as to deal with the rain. Slogans could be printed on the umbrella and it became a dual use item for the suffragettes.

 Before even choosing my fabrics for the block this week some adjustments were needed to the basic instructions on the GC blog post. The first issue I had was the even number of the squares on the parasol fringe - it bothered me that I could not balance the pieces so I took the instructions modified for foundation piecing by "craktpot" and redrew the fringe with seven pieces and it made me much happier.

Next came fabric choices and somewhere someone had made a comment about it being polka dot day. Once that got into my head my hand just kept grabbing for a polka dot fabric to use and the choices of just which ones consumed quite a time. I went along with the suggestion of Becky to hand applique the parasol to the background despite the huge challenge of getting that handle to look somewhat reasonable. Alas, the needle tip at the top of the parasol was way beyond my needle skills so I opted for a nice chunky top to match the handle.
 And as for the title on the discussion page, Pretty Parasol, I had just the thing to pose my block with.

This parasol is way too pretty to get wet or sunburnt and has, unfortunately, lived in the coat closet since I received it as a gift a couple of years ago so I was happy to at last put it to good use.

I imagine next week we'll be back with a pieced block and although most of the regulars on this project sigh when the word applique is mentioned this block was fun to do for a change.

Back again with a comment...I just found the reference to polka dots. It is on Barbara Brackman's main blog here - check out her posting on January 18 when she declares that Tuesday, January 22, 2013 will be National Polka Dot Day. So here's my little challenge for you - either wear something polka dotted that day or stitch something with it and let us hear about the result.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Block 20 Memory Wreath - Emily Wilding Davison

Oops, I just remembered that I have not yet done my blog post about the Grandmother's choice block for the week.

This is the photo that I took of my block last night after I had made it using the best available light.

Here is the same block ten minutes ago on a dreary afternoon but with natural light. The purple changes color dramatically but the white fabric looks better with the artificial light. Some you win, some you lose. I chose that white fabric specifically for its swirly pattern to go with the center motif.

The story that goes with the block this week was fairly shocking - if you have been to Ms Brackman's blog you will have read all about Emily Davison (a well known suffragette) who threw herself in front of the King's horse while it was galloping by in the famous Derby horse race at Epsom Downs (England) in 1913.

I felt that the block as shaded for this week did not really look much like a wreath so I changed where to put the light and dark fabrics. This big motif fabric has been sitting quietly waiting and wondering if there was ever going to be a block with a space big enough for it to be used. This might be it's only chance so I decided to make it the centerpiece and then make my wreath out of purple which is variously the color of mourning and of royalty.

And to remind us that the horse involved in this tragedy was owned by the King I have posed my block with a crown.

I was out on a fabric retail therapy trip yesterday with friends, one of whom is also working on this Grandmother's Choice project. We were chatting about what working on this block of the week is doing for us; my friend mentioned it is teaching her to sew more precise seams and give more thought to fabric selections and fussy cutting.

Since I had already had a chance to work on those skills with the Civil War block of the week I conclude that what this one is teaching me  is how to better photograph my block. Purple is a difficult color to photograph and the fabric I chose as my recurring fabric is also one that does not show up well in photographs. Then there is trying to get the photo exactly square (like the block). I am learning but I still have a ways to go.

It is always good to learn new skills even if you did not expect that was what you would gain by participating in an activity.

H'mm it seems another new skill I had better work on is blog posts. This one seems to have a case of big gapiosis and I'm not sure why. Oh well, like me, it is not perfect but it is what you get!

And now I wonder if I can figure out how to put this daylight photo of the block into the flickr group and delete the one that is there...

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Block 19 - Old Maids Ramble - Desperate Walkers

The first item on the agenda this morning was to get my block done. With all those little triangles I knew it was going to require extra piecing time but I was woefully ill-prepared for the fabric agonizing time. Yes, this block has given me a lot of grief.

The concept of the ramble through the green countryside was fine for my basic green color scheme. I chose a fabric with a leafy purple berried plant for my country walk and off I went. But alas, it was the thought of that horse galloping by and stumbling when it saw the purple triangles that began the downhill roll.

My technical advisor and I thought I could do something better than the safe two fabric option so we added in the big green dot and the purple stripe fabric. But from a distance (how far away is that horse and it's rider - twenty yards?) what jumped out were those purple triangles. So back to the fabric pile I went.

Now the next option (yes, the triangles are simply laid on top) was photographed in the closet so the color is not ideal but you can easily see that it is a pale green dot fabric that has overlaid the purple. I thought this was a better choice. But my technical advisor says that surely I should be using a purple fabric. So back once more to the fabric pile.

And now we have the third option.  So pretend you are on that horse and let me know which looks best as you gallop by.

Or there is always option four which is to make it the simple two fabric block as made by Becky and shown at the beginning of this mornings post on the Grandmother's choice blog.

I forgot another aspect that slowed me down this morning. Was I the only person who spent an hour puzzling what to do with the 14 larger triangles mentioned in the sewing instructions? Finally I figured out that it was a typo and I only needed 4 - one in each corner. A consolation prize is that by using the blockbase cutting dimensions my block did end up practically perfect in size.

Once I get the fabric for those four outer large triangles sorted out (and I have engaged in yet more reverses stitching!) I am expecting to use the clipping trick on the reverse side to deal with some of those lumpy seam intersections.

A simple country ramble has left me tangled in the brambles.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Rounding up or down

If you are expecting some profound comments from me about my past quilting year you'll be disappointed. Likewise, anything insightful about the upcoming year will be hard to find.

Last year I was audacious enough to list on the sidebar projects "I really want to get finished in 2012". Look carefully, because nowhere did I say I will finish. I had a good go and made progress but not everything got done.

Clean Green New Zealand is my biggest disappointment. Alas, I'm not sure if it even came out of the bag and that is too bad because I would really like for this one to be a finished project. Maybe this year.

Holidays Inc is a round robin that is still in progress which was the plan. We are up to the second last round and there are still a few weeks to go on this round - which is just as well.

The Civil War BOW project became "The Blues and the Greys". Yay! the top got finished mid way through the year. It will go to a longarm quilter in the next week or so.

The Dark Hours has not seen much action in the past several months. Some might see this as a good thing since it is somewhat of a therapy project.

The June Bride is another project that was never going to be finished by the end of 2012 as it is a challenge with several rounds. The next round is due at the end of the month and I will have to be super busy to get it done on time.

Not appearing on the list is this one "Strawberries and Cream". I began it in a workshop with Jo Morton in April and it is using Jo's pattern "Rhubarb Crisp". I needed a red and white project for our big guild challenge to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the guild. This one is getting close to the top being done. It looks somewhat haphazard in this photo as I am in the midst of assembling the vertical seams. Still to come, I think, is an unpieced white border which will be finished off with a red binding. This too must get to the longarm quilter in the next few weeks so this is my current focus in my sewing time.

 Another project I began in 2012 was the Grandmothers Choice BOW with Barbara Brackman. Each week I get the block done and posted so you know about that one. Here I am showing you all of my 18 blocks to date. I have a concept for the sashing/assembly and it might be a good idea to get some blocks set with that idea so I can check if it is going to work or not.

In between there have been unexpected projects to work on like quilts for quilters with health issues or who are leaving the area. And a commission I have been given to make a memory quilt using the fancy fabrics (not quilters cotton by any stretch of the imagination) from bridesmaid/party frocks. I'm not too enthused about this one as it has been slow to get started while I wait for instructions from the potential client. And in another small group I belong to we create quilts for wounded soldiers and, once a year, a quilt to raffle off to raise funds to buy the fabrics for the wounded soldier quilts. So those interrupt the progress of completing my "get it finished" list.

Oh, and of course there was the "full on" activity in January/February when I was the co-convenor of a quilt exhibit in an art gallery space. That was an unexpected hit for the gallery producing their highest ever number of visitors. We have been invited back for January 2014 but this time there will be more planning time so it should not be so overwhelming to produce the show.

What will  I be doing in 2013? Watch this space as they say.  The Grandmothers Choice project has 49 blocks so that should be a finished top at least this year. The Barbara Brackman appreciation society (aka the flickr group from the Civil War BOW and Grandmothers Choice BOW) is all abuzz about a (thankfully) block of the month project that Barbara will launch this coming Saturday "Dixie Diary". I have not committed yet but, who knows, I might want to join in on that one too. Of course I would restrict myself to using the leftover "fabric collection" from the Civil War BOW or other selections from the huge pile of fabric that is threatening to overwhelm my sewing room. This notion is known as famous last words.

In the next few days I guess I should update my side bars. But in the meantime I am having fun reading the blogs of other quilters who have already listed their expectations for the year.

But the real "must do" project is to tidy up my sewing room! Let me hope it does not take all year for this project to be done.
What projects are you embarking on this year in your sewing/quilting life?