Wednesday, October 31, 2012

cutting, cutting, more cutting - all in a day's work.

I never know for sure what I'll be doing in the sewing room when I wake up each morning.  One morning I decided to reorganize my batting, because the cat had figured out how to get in the closet and she likes to sleep among the batting.  Nice and toasty for her, but not so good for batting.  Now my loose batting lives in this case in the closet and the cat gets a pillow on the shelf.  So far, so good.

 Back in 2000 I made this quilt.

It is reversible with the exact same fabric on the back as on the front.  It was made using these instructions from Quilter's Newsletter Magazine, July/August 1998.

Each block is essentially a four-patch folded on the diagonal of each square. A square of batting is inserted before the last seam is sewn. Then the each block can be quilted and then whip-stitched together to make the quilt.

I revisited the quilt and the process described above in preparation for a demo.  While I made the demo block I decided it would become a small mug rug or coaster. (I 'm not too keen on whip stitching a bunch of blocks right now, though it would make a cute quilt.)

That thought led to the idea of making sets of 4 blocks which I could then give as gifts. Consequently, I cut 360 - 4.5 inch squares from dark blues and shirtings which have occupied my stash a bit too long.    And for the same project I cut from batch of odd sized batting, which had been put aside way back when,  80 - 5.5 inch squares.

Not done yet. I've learned that once I get going with a boring task like endless cutting, I do better when I get as much of it out of the way for multiple projects, rather than complete one project and then go on to the next.  So almost as soon as I finished the above cutting, I decided that I needed new hot pads in the kitchen.  I had a stash of "food" fabric that was "getting old".  So I've cut that up along with some more batting and insul-brite.  I am glad to have that cut and ready for action!  The extra hot pads will go into my gift drawer, too.   It feels good to have found a way to use fabric and batting that has been lying around too long.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Puttzing about

I have been puttzing around in the sewing room. After looking at this on the design wall for a month  and adding another strip of flying geese, I decided it needed reconfiguration, even though it had been sewn together.

I am now content with the results after unsewing two times.

The back is made and the binding is cut, therefore no more redesigning.

A momentary clean sweep of the big table and my sewing machine station brought about a "scrap attack".  I did not want to put away the bunches of scraps , so I borrowed an Accuquilt Go from a friend and cut mostly 2 inch squares, which now reside in the squares box.

I also made these blocks of the strips that were lying on my sewing machine table.  I have tons more strips to play with ( see the box on the table), but the scrap attack urge has subsided for the time being.

We shall see what tomorrow brings. In the meantime, there is always something to finish up.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Liberated Medallions- International Exchange

One of the pleasures of attending BIQR is meeting people from all over our country and from other countries, too.  Last year two lovely ladies, Joes and Isabeau,  from the Netherlands, attended.  They brought with them a little surprise for each of us.


These little dolls are made in one part of the Netherlands where wearing the traditional dress is still an everyday custom.   As clothing wears out, some of it is recycled to make these little souvenir dolls.  (The orange dress is worn on National Holidays, while blues, blacks, and other colors are worn on other days.)

On the last day of that retreat (the theme was "small studies") I made a block of 0.25 inch squares and bordered it with some bright solids. I decided to surprise Joes and Isabeau, extending a hand in friendship on behalf of all of the American retreaters there, by giving them some "homework" in preparation for the medallion quilt retreat the following year (;-).  I asked them to take this center and have some of their friends in the Netherlands add to it as a kind of distant participation in making a medallion quilt that originated at BIQR.   They did so (probably twisting a few arms in the process) and brought back this wonderful rendition.  Many thanks to Joes, Isabeau, Ans, Lucy, and Ellen.

close up of the original center(3"x3.5") and three "rounds"

Medallion made by our friends in the Netherlands (24"x24")

At the end of this year's retreat, Isabeau presented me with a center to continue the process. (What goes around comes around - and I gave her permission to do so!)

 I am looking forward to passing this along to the women who have volunteered to grow this quilt.  We will give it back to Isabeau and Joes next year.

Liberated Medallions 2

For my liberated medallion project (at the Beaver Island Quilt Retreat with Gwen Marston), I chose to challenge myself with solids.  I have not used solid fabrics often and wanted to begin feeling more comfortable using them.

Here are my two efforts:
Number 1
30" x 30"

I made the center prior to the retreat.  I showed it to you in this post.  I added a few more skinny strips to the original block.   I also had to resort to using marbles, because I ran out of truly solid grays.

Number 2
Here the challenge was to use a HUGE (for me) center block (the ochre center) and go from there.  I had several consults with Gwen during the process, trying to find a focus for what I was doing. First I thought I'd try for harmonious colors and found myself back to using relatively skinny strips.  So I started focusing on shapes.   It took a lot of effort to insert fabric wider than 1.5 inches and make it interesting!   The little inserts and color changes (not clearly visible here) help.  The renegade red square was suggested by Elisa, one of my buddies at BIQR.

Gwen said "working big is not easy".   She is right.

20.5" x 20.5"

Going forward, I'll be doing more solids work!

Liberated Medallions 1

Liberated Medallions was the topic for Gwen Marston's 2012 Beaver Island Quilt Retreat.
One of the neat things about this style is that there is no formula. These quilts are built one row at a time.  The resulting quilts were as varied as the attendees.  I did not get capture photos of all the quilts, but I'll show you some I did get. I apologize in advance for any blurriness.  These were taken during the last day's show and tell.  There was hardly time to photograph or get close enough for a good shot- hence the angles.  Enjoy the show. (These are from the 5th week of the retreat.)

Sally's Zebras
Jean's Parrot Tulip
Sylvia's Blue on Black
Denise's Baskets
Charlotte's "Spot"
Sue's Portrait
Elisa's Lady of Guadalupe
Kyra's  Framed Applique

Sue's Kaffe Medallion

Pat's Cherrywood Beauty

Karin's  curious Kitty (made from floor scraps)
Close up of Karin's Kitty