Tuesday, November 19, 2019

Pastel Hourglasses

"Today there are those who travel by sea to new lands, hoping for a new life. 
They are likely to find themselves locked up or locked out.... 
How would all our lives be if the original [European settlers] were sent back?"
~Kathy Doughty

A niece is expecting her first child and decorating in very soft pink, green, grey, and white. The quilt needs to be finished before the baby shower. Time to get cracking. I purchased this charm pack a while ago for a specific reason. After making a quilt with brights I wondered what it would look like in pastels. Now I have the opportunity to find out.

Charm pack of pastel Kona solids

Although I've never been a fan of precuts {it was a difficult road for me to accept fat quarters and that was about as small as I've been willing to purchase} what I like about this method is the way the pack expands the results of a smaller collection of solid yardage.

I cut WOFs of all {six} light/pastel solids in my stash and crosscut them into five-inch squares {like the pack.} Each charm was paired with a "non-charm" to spread the WOFs across the most fabrics. I.e., make the most variations of the pairs available. It was easy to keep straight because the charms are pinked. Only when the charms ran out did I pair WOF with other WOFs. Make sense?

The pairs were cut into QSTs and sewed into hourglasses so there are two blocks from each pair. Then I moved them around on the design wall for a while. Random worked out as a better layout than the color sweeps of the previous quilt. Did anyone else ever read Ann McCaffrey's Crystal Singer trilogy? After Killashandra Ree goes to a planet for work, her eyes become much more sensitized to color. Ok. There's a lot more to the story than this but these soft colors that aren't photographing well remind me of that minor plot detail.

Hourglass blocks on the design wall

Again I simply SID to quilt it which lets the fabric shine, especially after a bit of shrinkage from a gentle wash and dry.

Pastel hourglass baby quilt

The back is one piece of lovely white lawn extended with a strip of pink. So soft! The baby will love it.

Grey lawn creates the binding.

Binding detail on pastel Hourglass baby quilt

It's certainly the softest I've ever made - not only the colors but the finely woven lawn feels like loving kisses. So this baby will be wrapped in a cloud.

Quilt Specifics
Size: 42" x 42"
Design: Hourglass
Batting: Mountain Mist Cream Rose
Thread: 60-wt pale pink Aurifil cotton thread 
Quilting: SID with walking foot
Approximate Yardage: 4 yds

True Confessions

To my mother's dismay I've always been very hard on shoes and gloves. QS gave me a pair of quilting gloves which I promptly put holes in. On a whim I put on a NEW pair of gardening gloves and have been using them for two years. They are a bit thick but really grasp the quilt. No holes and they were much cheaper than the specialty quilting gloves. 

Use new gardening gloves to machine quilt
Off the Bookshelf

Bad Blood by John Carreyrou has been on my hold list at the library for a while and it's finally my turn. Begun as a series of investigative articles it relates the rise and fall of Theranos whose founder, Elizabeth Holmes, claimed to have created a way to run many lab tests from a single drop of blood.

One of the interesting takeaways is that none of the board members had significant medical expertise. I'd never considered the need to take a step back and think about the hurdles every company faces - regulatory, industry sector, financial. Does a company have employees to meet those needs and does their board have sufficient depth to govern/oversee their efforts? Private companies have more problems in this area because they may not have the advice and experience of a knowledgeable, widely-skilled board.

Enjoy the day, Ann

Tuesday, November 12, 2019

The Rose Quilt is Finally Finished

"If you want to hear the sound of God's laughter, just tell Him your plans."

I like to pretend there aren't a bunch of quilt tops waiting to be quilted but cleaning the sewing room out brought them to the surface. No more kidding myself. One is the Rose quilt {last worked on September 2018. Yikes!} Why did this pretty quilt end up stuffed in a dark corner?

Truthfully FOMMWQ {fear of making a mistake while quilting} hit hard. Every idea became much too complicated. Despite my trepidation, the stems were easy - just some FMQ loops...  until running out of green thread. And you know how hard it is to purchase more. Hahaha.

Still, quilting the roses became an ever-larger nightmare. McTavishing seemed like it would make petal-like curves. Great idea but heavy stitching might make the quilt stiff or make it pull oddly if everything else wasn't quilted equally closely. So I warted and worried it to death then gave it a quick burial in the closet. Guilt arose each time it was opened.

Chinese Coins with Roses quilt

This past week it occurred to me that the roses could be an improv challenge. Remember Kaja's flower post? Ok, there are several flowery ideas running through my mind but at the rate I'm going it may be next year before there's time to work on them.  So...

After watching YouTube videos by Karen herself and Leah Day, I found Amy Johnson whose curlicues spoke to me. About the same time I realized the quilting could be spaced further apart. {Too soon old and too late smart.} A few hours practicing the technique with dry erase marker on my vinyl overlay gave me the confidence to begin again.

Photos of these overlays on top of the quilt didn't show well so here they are against the design wall. This is a practice rose.

Larger scale spirals and McTavishing with a marker

The result of facing fear is often the discovery that it's not that difficult. Nike is right. Just Do It!

Detail of quilting the roses

Two sections down; only the background left to fill. Julie's combination of fans and flowers would make a garden of flowers for the roses to emerge from...  and they could use more flowers in their garden. ;-)

In the first attempt petals curved and hopped. Unfortunately, I'm a hopper. My curves get out of control quite easily.

Mixing flowers, spirals, and fans in FMQ

After several iterations, my flower petals are much shorter, more like scallops. And most of my fans turned into spirals. Fans or spirals. Both seems okay. My main takeaway from all the practice is that the flower petals should not overlap. A few peeking through the arcs seems better.

More flowers, spirals, and fans in FMQ

The light blue thread was very hard to see but slowing my speed kept me from crossing quilting lines.  It only took two days to complete the quilting. After a quick wash and dry the quilt crinkled beautifully. {This is why I love Mountain Mist batts. The shrink just enough. Like Goldilocks and the Three Bears.}

There was just enough blue gingham print (not yarn dyed) for the binding. Well, one skinny strip went into the scrap bag.

Gingham binding on Chinese Coins with Roses quilt

Previous posts:
  1. Attempting to Applique the Roses
  2. Adding Pieced Roses
  3. Strewing Roses
  4. Adding Stems and Leaves
  5. Top Done
The back is a conglomeration of floral fabrics to echo the pieced ones on front.

Back of Chinese Coins with Roses quilt

Quilt Specifics
Size: 59" x 52"
Design: Chinese Coins with improv pieced roses
Batting: Mountain Mist Cream Rose 100% cotton
Thread: green, red and blue Gutermann 50 wt cotton
Quilting: FMQ loops, spirals, fans, and flowers
Approximate Yardage: 8.5 yd 
(guesstimate because mainly scraps)

Off the Bookshelf

At the library this week I found two, count 'em TWO, new quilt books and snagged both to read. Quilts in the Cotswalds by Kaffe Fassett and Organic Applique by Kathy Doughty are thoughtful reads with my morning coffee. I want to return to large scale prints and these both encourage that. Reading about creative methods sparks new ideas of our own {or you can follow their designs.} These books even have coordinating covers.

Enjoy the day, Ann

Tuesday, November 5, 2019

A New Face to the World

"We do not have government by the majority. We have government by the majority who participate."
~Thomas Jefferson

I voted today. Did you? Make time to quilt and to vote.

Remember the Faces class with Freddy Moran? This is what I made after lunch. What a hoot!

Clara with emoji pigtails collage quilt top

I found the emoji fabric by Timeless Treasures in Dallas last year intending to use it in a baby quilt. While the scientific fabric was made up, this just lingered in the stash. I cut two rows of emojis and dropped one on the background. It just looked like pigtails and there was the top. Freddy loved this fabric so I cut two more rows for her. I can't wait to see what she makes with it.

Detail of emoji pigtails

The eyebrows were petals {from that wild black and white fabric that was Jane's eyes.} Adding the line of her cheek defines her face as a heart. At home, I plucked some eyelashes, repositioned her lower lip, and found brighter red confetti.

Then I thought about the quilting. Each fabric on Jane's had a thread change. That seems a bit much for an improvisational piece. On the other hand, I couldn't see anything when quilting the background with clear nylon monofilament. I'd like to quilt over/across the collaged pieces rather than outlining them but the pigtails should be highlighted with circles... which is just outlining.

Clara with emoji pigtails collage quilt

I don't know about you, but after noticing something - good or bad - I often repeat it. It suddenly seems like the sole solution. It's either the dichotomy between my conscious and subconscious or simple hypocrisy. So here I am again, changing threads with each fabric color.

Once it was quilted, she really needed earrings. I kept wondering about ears but finally decided to call it done.

This quilt also called for facing. Here's a photo of it in progress.

Sewing a facing on the Clara collage quilt

Quilt Specifics
Size: 25" x 24"
Designs: Collage
Batting: Hobbs 80/20
Thread: Blue, red, pink and yellow 60-wt cotton and black poly threads
Quilting: FMQ and walking foot
Approximate Yardage: 1.25 yd

Off the Bookshelf
The first one wasn't on the bookshelf but I read Mary Robinette Kowal's Lady Astronaut of Mars {the actual novelette is here}, loved it, and then found her two prequels: The Calculating Stars and The Fated Sky {and another to be published next year}.

The series follows an accelerated space program after a 1953 meteor wipes out the east coast of the US causing extinction-level climate change. Like Hidden Figures the women are calculators who run the math for the launch and trajectories. Mary is a writer and puppeteer {interesting combination} with an optimistic outlook on life. There are problems to be faced but most people can change for the better. Let me know if you like this series.

Enjoy the day, Ann

Tuesday, October 29, 2019

Farmhouse Quilt Finished

"You can't be both awesome and negative.
Choose one."

Evidence indicates I will never have a stash of finished baby quilts. They leave as soon as the the final strings are buried. In the meanwhile, time is passing and the farmhouse quilt will be gifted next month. You may have noticed I'm working to the deadline... as usual.

Farmhouse quilt - Log Cabin and split Ohio Star blocks

I was amused to see Julie's latest quilt because we both quilted freehand Baptist Fans. Is that an example of great minds thinking alike? A few years ago Julie gave me the courage to try fans again when she shared some tips. Her post with all the details came while I was out sick but it’s here. Take a look and then try it yourself. I never mark them because it's always hard to see them on my quilts - unless they are so dark they never come out. And somehow, mine always come out larger, 6-8 inches. Four-inch fans would be easier to quilt. My new goal. 8-)

Detail of binding and backing of Farmhouse quilt

There are a few dark blue plaids and stripes in my stash that looked terrible next to this lovely ikat border. I finally dug one plain dark grey-blue with enough yardage to complete the binding. Hooray.

Previous Posts:
1. Starting to piece Ohio Star blocks
2. Blocks sewn
3. Top bordered

Quilt Specifics
Size: 66"x76"
Design: Log Cabin and Split Ohio Star
Batting: Pellon 100% cotton
Thread: Gutermann 50 wt light blue cotton
Quilting: Free motion Baptist Fans
Approximate yardage: 8.75 yd

Off the Bookshelf
I knew William Smith as one of the founders of geology who developed the science of stratigraphy and created the first national geologic map in 1815. His greatest accomplishment was recognizing the continuity of the rock formations and confirming that by the specific fossils within. Fossil collecting was a stylish pastime but no one else bothered to actually relate them to the rocks where they were found nor to relate one outcrop of a rock to any other location. Simon Winchester wrote his biography with The Map that Changed the World and the cover of my copy opens to a replica of his famous map. Smith was a blacksmith's son with modest education who faced many difficulties getting recognition for his work which still hangs today at the Geologic Society of London.

The Map that Changed the World by Simon Winchester

FUR or Fabric Use Rate Update
Five finished quilts = 21 yards. Two dresses and one shirt = 11.5 yards {which includes some preliminary muslins.} Sixteen linen hand towels. I also donated 6.5 yards of fabric. Total FUR = 39 yards.

Enjoy the day, Ann

Tuesday, October 22, 2019

Almost the End of an Era

How beautifully trees grow old. How full of light and color are their last days.
~John Burroughs

Cleaning out continues. This time I found six yards of beautiful linen, a gift my parents brought me from Europe years ago - before my oldest was born. All these years I thought it was yardage for a shirt and doubted my ability to make it fit correctly. When I pulled it out this time it was only nineteen inches wide. {It must have shrunk while in storage.} Perfect for hand towels or dish towels - some to use and some to gift. There was enough for eight of each.

Linen hand towels
Sewing Specifics
Project: 16 linen hand towels
Size: 13" x 19"
Thread: 50- white Gutermann cotton thread
Approximate Yardage: 6 yd (but only 20" wide)

Remnants of a very old novelty stripe used to make a twin quilt for my youngest son were the next to surface from the stash. Ribbons of red or orange-and-yellow wiggle waggle between each row of critters. It made the stripe directional so the corner posts were needed to fill out the width of the quilt. Yes, we may all be getting tired of lone stars but I have the design down now and am interested in working out background variations. A few more ideas are wiggling around my brain. Haha.

Lone Star quilt 8 with salamander border

Softer colors were planned for the quilt but once I added orange it started looking like a gas flame and screamed for a stronger center star. There was just enough of the African print to put green and blue diamonds in the center and plain blue ones at the outer points.

Possible center stars on this lone star quilt

Ah, that saying: Pride goeth before the fall. Someone wasn't keeping the quilt straight as she quilted and the result is waves. Grr. But we all know the solution. Measure across the center for the binding widths and ease the sides in place.  As you can see from the first photo, everything worked out once it was washed and blocked. Whew.

The wave at the bottom happened when I didn't keep the packet squared up while quilting.

The egg print on the back is Birdwatchers by P and B Textiles from our dearest sister's stash. It's lovely and meaningful - almost too good for a back - but I'm sticking to my pledge to use the best stuff first. The yellow at top and bottom were needed to extend the length.

Detail of quilting and binding on Lone Star quilt 8 with salamander border and birdwatcher back

Why did I ever think I could create a stash of baby quilts ready to go? This one was gifted the day it was done.

Quilt Specifics
Size: 37"x37"
Design: Lone Star
Batting: Pellon 100% cotton
Thread: Gutermann 50 wt yellow cotton
Quilting: Spiral with a walking foot
Approximate yardage: 3.75 yd

This photo of the original quilt using this fabric was in my files. It's amazing the 25 year old photo made the transfer through all those computers because the camera is long gone. My son loved playing at the creek so it includes every fabric I could find with aquatic life. Bugs and caterpillars fill the corners. You can tell I've always designed around limited yardage of any one fabric.

Every Critter in the Creek twin quilt

For a while I used the leftovers to make baby bibs. Then it just rested in the stash until this week. There is just enough border print before this era comes to a close.

Off the Bookshelf

Using a combination of patient and family histories, interviews with other professionals, and summaries of research, Dr. Gawande shines a light on elder- and end-of-life care in Being Mortal, another wonderful book from my shelf. After bookmarking twenty pages I finally just started underlining, something I rarely do with any but textbooks. He traces the evolution of elder care through family care, poorhouses, nursing homes, hospitals, and hospice.

We lose abilities with age and those with incurable diseases may face that issue sooner. Most of the current solutions fail to focus on the varied desires of the people for whom they're designed because "we want autonomy for ourselves and safety for those we love." Ranging from Plato to Daniel Kahneman's Thinking Fast and Slow to Keren Brown Wilson's community living model, he develops thoughts on "how to make life worth living when we're weak and frail and can't fend for ourselves anymore."

Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End by Atul Gawande

Psychologist Laura Carstensen theorizes that "how we seek to spend our time may depend on how much time we perceive we have." As time horizons contract, whether through age or civil unrest, our focus becomes more immediate and concrete - family and simple pleasures.

Realization that life is finite "can be a gift." It drove the La Crosse, Wisconsin, hospital to develop a questionnaire for patients that ended up prolonging life, increasing peace in patients and their families, and reducing medical costs by starting family conversations about what people do and don't want before the crisis occurs.  They clarify how our lives continue to have value and reflect our goals when a cure is not possible. "You may not control life's circumstances, but getting to be the author of your life means getting to control what you do with them."

As a surgeon, Dr. Gawande recognizes the drive of all medical professionals to fight for life but he points out that death will always win in the end. We need serious and truthful discussions to prepare for the inevitable consequences of both a disease and its treatment options.

The book also discusses chronic aspects of aging, not just diseases. One point was that looking down while eating prevents the choking that many elderly experience. This was particularly useful to me because both my mother and grandmother suffered from this. I wish I'd known sooner but will put it to use in my own life.

Being Mortal touches on a wide range of topics centered on a simple question. How do you create a meaningful life at every stage of it?

Enjoy the day, Ann

Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Facing the Year with Freddy

"If you want something to fall in your lap, you have to move your lap to the right place."
~Sandra Bruce

As the time passes more and more junk email arrives in my box. Most are true junk but some are various shops I've inadvertently signed up for. How and where do they obtain my email? Sometimes, it's a lucky break and this was one of those times because Freddy Moran was teaching her Faces class and there were a few last minute cancellations... and I was in the right town... and I had the day free... and the supply list was very short. Two fat quarters, glue stick, scissors, and scraps.

Even better, a non-quilting friend wanted to come. Off we went to play with paper dolls for the day. Not that there is any paper involved but it's as easy as that childhood pastime.

Here's my first face. The hair is leftover triangles from Propellers and Planes - the quilt that will never die. Several smaller quilts have spun off from its leftovers and more of these triangles yet remain.

Jane: collaged face in fabric

Working quickly, the top was finished before lunch. Her eyes were flowers from a wild black and white fabric. Lobster earrings don't show up as much as I wished but they dangle beautifully. Moving her eyebrows made the biggest change in her expressions - frowning, quizzical, surprised. This position reflects the bemused wonder in her eyes.

Jane with a nose job

Before quilting the next day she got a quick rhinoplasty. Now the printed butterfly marks the tip of her nose. I also added a strip of background fabric on the left so some of her spiky hair shows. But once it was quilted, that section didn't work anymore. Off it came.

Jane quilt

Facing seemed the best way to finish this quilt but it took two days to sew correctly. Binding would have taken me a couple of hours. It's not that hard but I don't face quilts often. The consolation is {perhaps} it looks better.

Freddy recommended not trying to make a specific person. However, my kids insist this looks like their favorite aunt.

Quilt Specifics
Size: 23.5" x 19"
Designs: Collage
Batting: Hobbs 80/20
Thread: Various 50- and 60-wt cotton threads, 

and YLI clear nylon monofilament
Quilting: FMQ
Approximate Yardage: 1.25 yd

At the beginning of class Freddy shared her story. After a medical issue and entering hospice she felt she'd lost her creativity and would never make another quilt but, remembering a recent class on Mostly Matisse by Rosalie Dace, she challenged herself to make one face a day. By the time 54 were completed she regained her creativity, improved enough to leave hospice, and started showing the quilts. Here she is sharing one of her collage quilts with several Faces in the background.

Freddy Moran at New Pieces Quilt Shop, Berkeley CA

Me Made Update

With two dresses under my belt, I felt ready to tackle a new challenge. My friend was not available to help fit the pattern so I sewed a muslin of the top only using a "bargain" fabric that had tiny holes in it. I was so annoyed to discover them but it's perfect for this use. 

It took a couple of days to work out the adjustments because I chose the hard way. Only afterwards did the easier methods occur to me. Sigh. At least now the alternations are completed if/when I make it again.

Fabric: A Garden for Olivia by Lida Enche for In the Beginning fabrics
Dolman sleeved dress

The attached belt wraps around and ties with a knot in back. No bow. I reduced the skirt width twenty inches, lengthened it half an inch, and added deep pockets. Why did designers think mid-century women didn't need pockets? When they are deep enough that items don't spill out, they remind me of Winnie the Pooh's useful pot. A place to put things in.

Clothing Specifics
Style: Dolman sleeved dress
Pattern: Retro Butterick
Fabric: Cotton broadcloth print with large blue flowers
Yardage: 3.5 yds plus 1 yd for the muslin sample
Thread: Gutermann 50 wt blue cotton

Enjoy the day, Ann

Tuesday, October 8, 2019

A Simple Border Variation for Lone Star Quilt 7

The logic of nationalism always flows downhill, toward the gutter.
~ Adam Gopnik

Of course I had to use the last few toile diamonds - rabbits paired with squirrels this time.

Lone Star 7 baby quilt

The row where the diamonds split into points is the lightest round in this quilt. It's not usually my favorite locations for lights but the background is dark. I used the rest of this Australian print, combining it with a funky greyed chartreuse floral. when it ran out. The subtle variation works well... at least IMO.  

The centers went together easily but there were a few possibilities for the outer points. The lighter diamonds on the left or dark ones on the right. 

Looking at different diamonds in the star points

When the large diamonds were sewed it was time to choose a background. My favorite is the large scale floral on white but there was not nearly enough. I tried combinations of grey-blue and mustard, alone and together to see what worked. Close up the mustard seemed too dark but fortunately we have digital photos. It's a winner.

Dusting off my math skills, I calculated the size of the corner squares and subtracted the width of the outer border to determine a cut for the inner border. 13 - 4 = 9 + 0.5 so 9.5" square and 4.5"x13.5" rectangles. You'll notice I deliberately chose to extend the border beyond the start point - to make it larger and to avoid having to match those points with the binding. Ugh.

Next I multiplied the total width of that corner square by 1.41 {square root of 2} to get the hypotenuse of the background triangle. (13 x 1.41= 18.33) After double checking that each leg of that triangle congruent to the width of the square, I halved the hypotenuse to find the height of that triangle. (18.33 / 2 = 9.165 or about 9.125") 

Subtract the width of the outer border here to get the height of the inner triangle. Add seam allowances and cut. 9.125 + 1.25 = 10.375" square cut QST.  Then outer borders 19.625" by 4.5". Edit: Math calculations added. Use your own diamond side lengths for your work. 

It's just math; the real magic is how well these two fabrics worked together.

Auditioning background fabrics

Same old, same old quilting design. It works well across all the fabrics and repetition increases my muscle memory and skill {hopefully}.

Orange peel quilting in the center before spiraling out

The binding gave me a few problems. I was sure red was the answer. Wrong-o. No dark green in the right tones could be found even after pawing through the stash. No blues worked either. Finally this little pinky-purple stripe called me. Kaja sent it to me last year. It seemed like a waste to use it on the binding but it's perfection. Thanks, Kaja!

Quilting and binding detail, Lone Star quilt 7

After a quick wash and dry the batting shrunk up more than usual. Or perhaps the striped binding makes it appear scrunchier. I wish I'd washed it before adding the binding.

Closeup of Lone Star quilt 7

There was enough of the mustard print for the whole back, something that rarely happens around here. And there's enough for the back of another baby quilt. Oh, good. These fabrics are moving along! Don't misunderstand. They are all lovely but I've been saving them for the perfect quilt - that  mirage in the distance we always look at longingly.

Amounts like this {3-4 yards} continually wait for the spot that needs that exact yardage because "we can't waste any." ROTFLOL! But leaving it to molder in the stash is another waste.  My new story is to use them up now. There will be more lovelies tomorrow.

The Superior thread was a gift from a fellow conference attendee and it is the best thread I've used in a long time. I know it's available online but I need to see if there's a local source... and if it comes on large spools.

Quilt Specifics
Size: 37" x 37"
Designs: Lone Star
Batting: Pellon 100% cotton
Thread: Superior MasterPiece 50 wt golden brown cotton
Quilting: Spiral with walking foot

Approximate Yardage: 3.75 yd

Me Made Update

With the kinks worked out, a second shirtwaist dress made up fairly quickly. Now that the neck is tighter in back, the sleeves don't bind when I move. I've needed summer dresses for a while but couldn't find anything appropriate in the stores - washable, modest, lightweight. Houston summers are meltingly hot and humid.

This time I pleated the skirt instead of gathering it and deepened the pockets. I'm pleased with the matching of the plaids on the front placket and sides but somehow forgot to match the sleeves.

Brown and blue plaid shirtwaist dress

The plaid has been in my stash for donkeys years. It's a thin tight weave that should wash and wear well. Done is great but well done is the best. 

Clothing Specifics
Style: Shirtwaist
Pattern: Out of print McCall's 
Fabric: Lightweight woven cotton plaid
Yardage: 4 yds 45" wide
Thread: Superior MasterPiece 50 wt brown cotton

Enjoy the day, Ann

Tuesday, October 1, 2019

Bye Baby Bunting - Another Finished Quilt

Who remembers this old rhyme?
Bye baby bunting.
Daddy's gone a-hunting.
Gone to get a rabbit skin
To wrap his little baby in.

This quilt started with the light blue toile next to the center star. The variety of animal heads wreathed by laurels seemed to be perfect Shadow Star centers. I used a few there but didn't know what to do with the rest. The middle of each diamond trio was fussy cut to highlight rabbits and deer. {And there's enough for one more quilt.}

Fussy cut rabbit and deer on Lone Star quilt

The grey-blue of the toile called for darker fabrics - almost a reproduction feel - but then came the border.

When I don't know what to use next, my usual method is to toss the fabric {in this case, the sewn diamond sections} on different yardage until something sparks. This was the one that did it for me. It's such a contemporary design and while there aren't any gold colors in the diamonds, it blends well and actually enlivens the somber colors in the star.

Lone Star 6 baby quilt 

The triangular pieces were cut from one QST so they line up well. Of course, there wasn't quite enough so one corner square is pieced. There wasn't enough to match the pattern across all the sections but the offsets seem to work well enough.

Sewing Issues

I'm out of my favorite Mountain Mist Blue Ribbon batt and can't find it anywhere. The closest store quit carrying any Mountain Mist and only has Pellon. I decided to purchase some on sale. It's thicker than I like, not as evenly spread but shrinks up well {although it seems a bit uneven. On this small quilt the shrinkage could be from the quilting so I will test this some more.} I'm not as fond of this as MM or Hobbs.

Quilting details on Lone Star 6 baby quilt

The previous Lone Stars were quilted with the walking foot. Wanting to change designs, I switched to FMQ where my troubles began. Lots of skipped stitches. Ten or twelve in a row with no rhyme or reason why it's happening. I cleaned the machine {again}, changed the needle, rethreaded, used the bobbin hook all to no avail. This is the same thread I've been using for a while so the only difference is the thicker batting.

I decided to use the walking foot for orange peels on this small quilt and didn't have any skipping problems. On my next trip I purchased a larger Schmetz 90/14 microtex needle and tried it on the wavy lines of the background. Still not working so back to the walking foot until the machine gets cleaned and repaired.

Binding detail on Lone Star 6 baby quilt

The binding is a navy lawn printed with tiny birds on branches. It made a crisp edge here, even after shrinkage. The quilt is about four inches smaller each direction after a quick wash.

Quilt Specifics
Size: 37" x 37"
Design: Lone Star
Batting: Pellon 100% cotton
Thread: cream Gutermann 50 wt cotton
Quilting: Orange peel and parallel lines with walking foot 

(after FMQ didn't work)
Approximate Yardage: 3.625 yd

Reading Update

I'm currently reading two books from my "purchased but never read" shelf: Memories of Silk and Straw and Memories of Wind and Waves, both by Dr. Junichi Saga who collected stories from his older patients every evening.

Two books by Dr. Junichi Saga

He lived in Tsuchiura which is in the lower left corner of the frontispiece map. Both books contain stories of ordinary people from the area: shopkeepers, farmers, yakuza {gangsters}, geisha, and midwives. Another of his books relates the stories of a local yakuza but I wasn't interested; however, Bob Dylan read it and liked it so much he seems to have included some of the wording in his album, Love and Theft.

Map of the Lake Kasumigaura area from the frontispiece of Memories of Wind and Waves

I've never been to Japan although DH has but I enjoy reading blogs like Pamela's Hokkaido Kudasai and Julie's My Quilt Diary for their art as well as their insights into life in modern day Japan. These books are almost an anthropological look at a former era - from the fall of the Meiji Restoration to the 1930s and reminds me of Lark Rise to Candleford and Letters of a Woman Homesteader. The former concerns small town life in England about the same time while the latter are the collected letters of Elinor Stewart from her Wyoming homestead. I loved Elinor's book but seriously wished they'd put the letters in chronological order. {I went back and marked the chapters into that order myself 'cause I'm just that way.}

Let me know in the comments if you'd like Dr. Saga's books.

Enjoy the day, Ann

Tuesday, September 24, 2019

Lone Star Quilt Reprise

I finished the second one this week. The last of the red print makes the star points and I quite like how lively the lone star looks on the pink.

Lone Star quilt 5

Here's how I started the center. I thought the green would work but it wasn't strong enough. The navy blue print is better.

Next I tried moving the reds. Across the star points or down them? Should the outer row be green or navy or alternate?

Or perhaps it should be navy and light blue. Do the inside of the star points look better with dark or light greens and blues? Taking photos helps decide which looks best. Aren't we lucky to live in the digital era!

Finally I tested several borders. Of course, that blue with the green print border was my favorite but there's not enough. And this quilt is for a girl. The pink is a shocker but in a good way.

Possible borders for Lone Star quilt 5

Again I started this spiral with orange peel arcs in the center of the star then completed a circle around them. After that, a quick off-ramp starts the spiral.

Here's a view of the back. The quilting doesn't show up as much on this print as it did on the solid of the previous quilt but it works well with the greens on the front. A navy print finished the binding.

Done and dusted. Who'd have thought? But now DH will think I can pull this off any time.

Quilt Details
Size: 40" x 40"
Design: Lone Star
Batting: Pellon 100% cotton
Thread: Metler fine embroidery pink cotton
Quilting: Spiral with walking foot

Approximate Yardage: 3.75 yd

The next day I flew out to see my daughter. SFO has wonderful exhibits in their terminals. This time they displayed California Studio Craft from the Forrest Merrill collection featuring work from the 1940s to the present including sculpture, pottery, paintings, textiles, and furniture. Studio craft combines handmade crafting with fine art. Precursors to the American Craft Council and the NYC Museum of Arts and Design raised the professionalism of the artists and increased the popularity of the movement which really took off after WWII with the use of the GI Bill.

Bowl and Tile by Beatrice Wood, 1940s

The graceful lines of the legs attracted me. I wonder if it's as comfortable as it looks.

Hammered and soldered copper Sixes by Merry Rink (1976) with shedua and leather Wishbone chair by Arthur E Carpenter (1972)

Mr. Merrill collected at least two artists' work over the years. The exhibit highlighted how each worked on a simple design in series.  First, John Lewis created lunar themes with his glassworks.

Blown glass Moon Bottle (1970) and Moon Bowl (1972) by John Lewis

These two bowls by Kay Sekimachi show the progression of her work. The 1990s bowl is laminated handmade Japanese paper with bark and straw combined with linen thread inclusions. By 2014 she laminated much more delicate maple leaf skeletons adding watercolor and Kozo paper. These two demonstrate how working in a series builds our skills.

Bowl and Leaf bowl by Kay Sekimachi

Intricate woven, embroidered, and silkscreened textiles were tucked into the corner where the curving glass picked up all the reflected lights making photos impossible.

FUR or Fabric Use Rate Update

I donated 8.25 yards to the guild this month and finished two baby quilts of 3.75 yards each so my total FUR is 15.75 yards/month or a smidge over half a yard per day. That's something to consider before I go shopping again.

Enjoy the day, Ann