Tuesday, June 19, 2018

A Group Blog for Improvisational and Utility Quilting

Kaja and I started a group blog for improvisational and utility quilters. We believe it will generate more interest and encourage more participation than a linky party because every contributor will be able to write as and when they choose.

AHIQ group blog

Check out our inaugural post at AdHocImprovQuilters.blogspot.com. When you have something to contribute let us know and we'll gladly add you.

Kaja and I plan to post there on Fourth Tuesdays... and any other day we have something improvisational or utilitarian to share.

Patty asked how to add the button to her blog. Here are directions if you use Blogger:

  1. Go to the sidebar of Kaja's or my blog. 
  2. Highlight the code (text) under the AdHoc Improvisational Quilters button. 
  3. Press Control and C at the same time to copy it. 
  4. Go to your blog's design page and choose the settings tab. 
  5. Click Add a Gadget in the sidebar. 
  6. Choose HTML/Java script. 
  7. Press Control and V at the same time to paste the code into the second (larger) box in your gadget. Save the arrangement of your layout.

Enjoy the day, Ann

Saturday, June 16, 2018

Contemporary Craft: Weaving

Rooted, Revived, Reinvented is the current exhibit at the Houston Center for Contemporary Craft. I finally had time to view it. The first area highlighted  historic and indigenous examples such as this 19th c. Treasure basket, possibly Yokuts. They were a tribe in the San Joaquin valley and Sierra Nevada foothills - near my favorite parts of California.

1890 Feather basket, possibly Yokuts

Most of the exhibit concentrated on reinvented basketry. I was taken by these small Mixing Bowls by Karryl Sisson (2003) which were coiled with polymer and vintage cloth tape measures. I'd like some in my sewing room.

Mixing Bowls by Karryl Sisson (2003)

Then this amazing basket recalled the Feather one above. The sharp porcupine quills in the top are reprised with black ash and pine needles in the jar.

Porcupine by Joanne Russo, 1999.

From a distance this menagerie appeared to be cut from iron sheeting.

According to Isidore by Carol Eckert, 2015

But closer inspection reveals the scene is entirely composed of coiled linen and wire.

Detail of According to Isidore by Carol Eckert, 2015

At the end a display of "Touch Me" basketry techniques and materials encouraged comparing the tactile impression of various techniques such as weaving, plaiting, coiling, stapling, netting, twining and lashing. How would these translate in quilting?

Basketmaking techniques on display
I hope your weekend is as much fun.

Enjoy the day, Ann

Tuesday, June 5, 2018

Scientific Pinwheel Quilt Gifted

I'm constantly amazed how quickly small quilts get finished. It took part of one day to sew the borders on and pin baste the quilt, another day to quilt it, and it was bound the next morning. Then it just needed a quick wash and dry to be ready to gift.

I like to wrap these quilts into little sausages and tie them with a pretty bow. The colors are pretty enough for wrapping paper and I get to see their excitement when it's unrolled. How do you wrap quilt gifts?

Scientific Pinwheels baby quilt

Scanning my stash brought this yellow and green stripe to the surface.

Green and yellow binding on Scientific Pinwheel baby quilt

Red was my original plan for the binding with grey quilting thread but I like this even better, especially since the backing is red with "sun-printed" ferns.

Back and binding of Scientific Pinwheel baby quilt

I sewed the binding to the back then pressed it away from the back and again to turn it over the raw edge. That means only the corners need to be pinned although I use a stiletto to keep things straight.

Pressed binding only needs a few pins in the corners

This baby quilt going to its Forever Home tomorrow. Hooray!

Quilt Details
Size: 41" x 41"
Design: Medallion with hourglass, Chinese coins, and pinwheel blocks
Batting: Hobbs Premium 100% bleached cotton
Thread: red Gutermann cotton thread, 
Quilting: Free motion Baptist fans 

Enjoy the day, Ann

Saturday, June 2, 2018

Quick Trip to Chicago

After manipulating the corners of the inner border, I decided on this spinning effect. It requires a  partial seam but that's easy enough especially on such long strips. It just blends with the spinning pinwheels. {The other choice was a courthouse steps arrangement. I forgot to snap a photo and I'm not going back. This woman is on a deadline.}

Scientific Pinwheels quilt layout

DH and I flew to Chicago last weekend for baseball. We'd had the trip planned since last year and he encouraged me to take a break. I could have taken a photo of the entire Wrigley's sign but loved that the Cubs flew state, city, and team flags for their opponents.  We arrived early the first day for a stadium tour. Wrigley Field is the second oldest baseball stadium. Their rich history combines well with some recent updates.

Wrigley Field, home of the Chicago Cubs

The next day we toured the Chicago Institute of Art. Silly me. I thought it was mainly a school but they have an enormous collection of art: paintings, sculptures, textiles, artifacts. Having learned from previous experience we selected five galleries to tour thoroughly and left the rest for another visit.

I never realized Seurat's painting was so large. And there was always a crowd in front of it.

Crowds viewing A Sunday on La Grande Jatte by Georges Seurat, 1884.

The painted border is an interesting detail I never knew existed. This is not a mat. It's painted on the edge of the canvas. So quilters aren't the only ones who add borders.

Detail  of the border of A Sunday on La Grande Jatte by Georges Seurat, 1884.

I thought this was a "one-off" paint technique until I saw Vincent van Gogh's Fishing in Spring, the Pont de Clichy (Asnieres) nearby.  Influenced by Paul Signac and Georges Seurat, the Neo-Impressionist style emphasizes scientific use of color theory. You can see many aspects of Seurat's technique in this painting including the bright red mat Vincent painted around his picture.

Fishing in Spring, the Pont de Clichy (Asnieres) by Vincent van Gogh, 1887.

Chicagoans rallied to preserve their city's landmarks and the Chicago Architecture Foundation leads river tours of the varied skyscrapers of downtown. We thoroughly enjoyed ending the day with a sunset cruise while watching the lights go on. So informative, so lovely.

Nighttime Chicago skyline from the river

When buildings are torn down, artifacts are offered to various foundations and museums. The Institute displayed several in their Grand Staircase. Don't you love the Art Deco elevator screen?

Artifacts of Chicago's past at the Institute of Art

Now that we're home I can finish the Scientific Pinwheel quilt. Good thing because the new dad visits soon.

Enjoy the day, Ann

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Back to the Scientific Pinwheels

I'm home for a couple of weeks for some rest and recuperation. At least I thought it would be that. DH mentions the scientific baby quilt several times a week and it is time to finish it up.

Home has a design wall so the first thing was to lay it out again.

Scientific Pinwheel baby quilt in progress

I wasn't happy with the pinwheels as the inner border and thought the quilt could use a quiet area. Then I quickly added more pinwheels in dark to balance the inside and outside. Good enough.

Next was to make some quick Chinese Coins for the inner border. Driven by the design wall, it seemed they should be soft and light. Like this.

Building an inner border of Chinese Coins for Scientific Pinwheel baby quilt
And just as I was congratulating myself on an "original" design, I read Audrey's post at Quilty Folk. Look. Almost the same quilt. Nothing new under the sun; just variations on a theme.

Enjoy the day, Ann

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

AHIQ #33 - Scale Change

I have not quilted at all this past month. Too busy... but I did write about a family quilt we found at Mother's. We know we are lucky to come from a family of makers. We know that history but we can prove it because she SIGNED HER WORK. Sirena passed away long before any of us were born. There is a faded photograph of her but no evidence my mother met her. If she hadn't signed this quilt no one would know its provenance, its importance to our family history. Take the same care for your family. Sign and date your quilts.

I made a few visits to family to deliver small mementos. Driving in Texas involves hours behind the wheel. In fact, you can tell a Texan because if you ask how far away something is, they answer in hours rather than miles. "Amarillo? Oh, 'bout five hours away."

The scenery may appear desolate to others but I love the undulating plains of north Texas. The photo doesn't do it justice.

View of North Texas plains from the Hedley safety rest area

Texas DOT is upgrading the old rest stops with new safety areas combining picnicking, restroom, DOT facilities, and tornado shelters. If a thunderstorm builds while traveling, these are welcome sights indeed.

However, because it's Texas, beware rattlesnakes.

Picnic table at Hedley safety rest area, Texas

The Coca-Cola Building in Dallas has a Foucault pendulum. I enjoyed watching the movement of the pendulum while eating my sandwich last week. If you stay long enough, the pendulum rotates through the circle.

Foucault pendulum, Coca-Cola Building, Dallas TX

Kaja has all the scoop on Scale Change. Be sure to check out her site and all the links.

Enjoy the day, Ann

Saturday, May 19, 2018

Vintage Flower Garden Quilt

While clearing out the house QS and I rediscovered family quilts. Several of them were made by us - including the quilt that makes the background of my banner and one QS made from Hawaiian fabric she purchased on the Big Island. How timely considering Kilauea is currently erupting.

There was also this Flower Garden quilt,

Flower Garden quilt by Sirena Jenny Salyers, 1935

a classic Depression era scrap quilt made by a master quilter

Detail of Flower Garden quilt by Sirena Jenny Salyers, 1935

One of the unusual aspects of this quilt is the path of tiny connecting diamonds and triangles in very pale blue. Were they always this light or has the color faded over time?

A pale blue diamond path surrounds each flower in the Flower Garden quilt.

What a lovely, though time-consuming, addition to this masterpiece.

Best of all, our great grandaunt signed and dated the quilt!

Flower Garden quilt signed and dated by Sirena Salyers, 1935

This one must have been at our Grandmother's house. I'd never seen in growing up. Most of our other family quilts were used to death over the years. What a better fate than rotting forgotten in a box. So this one will continue to be enjoyed, encouraging future generations to appreciate and love quilts.

Enjoy the day, Ann

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Only a Few Pinwheels - AHIQ 32

Over the past two weeks I've made ten of these small pinwheels. Even that tiny amount was difficult both to carve the time out for and to find the creativity to select combinations.

Pinwheel baby quilt it progress

LeeAnna at Not Afraid of Color, who recently moved halfway across the country, has written several posts about the experience: the excitement of discoveries along the drive, the struggles of house-hunting, the challenges of finding her feet, her supplies and her mojo. She's creating again and contacting nearby quilters. Hooray.

There are parallels with my life. Fortunately we are a large clan so most items have found a home where they will be a memento of happy childhoods without becoming a mausoleum. But we've now reached the paperwork. Oh, my stars and garters. Everything was well arranged but still must be read before deciding to keep or shred. The shredder is very small and overheats regularly. I'd get a new one but... it's helpful to be forced to slow down this process. Surely we will reach the end soon. Then we can donate the shredder.

I haven't read anyone's posts, haven't responded to comments, haven't sew any borders or made any quilting plans. I did take a lunch break and wander through a quilt store but even that didn't inspire me.

QS is coming to help again so I cleared these blocks off the spare bed. Instead of putting them away immediately, I laid them on the floor and snapped this photo.

Pinwheel baby quilt with space for an inner border

I think a quiet inner border might be the solution. The colorful pinwheels might actually work although I'm going to try to make a few more with black and white... and purple and green.

What have you been up to? Reading about your creative decisions will be a blessed hour of tranquility.

Enjoy the day, Ann

Saturday, April 14, 2018

Making a Border or Another Quilt

My creative abilities drop off dramatically under stress. After making the center with large triangles all I could think of was small pinwheels and/or Chinese Coins. So I cut squares off the ends of some strips for pinwheels.

Generally the triangles were randomly matched. But sometimes the prints were just too busy. I like the pair on the left much better.

Potential pinwheel blocks
And then the comments came in. What wonderful ideas: scientific and mathematical equations, math symbols, purchasing a bit more of the Scientific Method fabric. How I wish I'd read these before cutting the triangles.

Sewing pinwheels

Sewing them together became slower and slower. As the pile of pinwheels grew, the border became less and less interesting. I laid them out as a single border...

Single pinwheel border on two sides
and as a double border

Double pinwheel border beginning
It looks like I need more whites and a few more black fabrics, too. And perhaps another stopper border.

But I'm still intrigued by Nann's idea of math symbols. So I'll set these aside and make addition and multiplication signss. And what about division and subtraction? Could they blend into a Coin border? Something to ponder.

I need to finish this quilt soon but am finding many paths to follow. Perhaps I'll buy some more fabric and make a small series. After all, these beautiful babies keep coming.

Enjoy the day, Ann

Saturday, April 7, 2018

When a Scientist Needs a Baby Quilt

DH came home last week with a request. Another co-worker is expecting a baby boy. Just what I need to work on in the evenings.

While at the Dallas Quilt show I purchased a fat quarter of this amusing print - perfect for a budding scientist.

Here's the center, four hourglass blocks that finish about 19-inches. Working with scale. Finally.

Science baby quilt center

The next border will probably be some Chinese Coins. What else?

Enjoy the day, Ann

Tuesday, April 3, 2018

Medallion Chinese Coins IV is a Wrap

I can't settle in for long quilting sessions. It's up and down all day - short spurts of quilting with long breaks to complete other tasks. Consequently this little top took weeks to finish. It should have taken about half a day. But it's done. Quilted, bound, signed, washed, and dried.

Say it with Flowers: Medallion Chinese Coins IV quilt

The first quilting idea was a single squared-off spiral. The sketches looked good on the borders but didn't work in the center. Then I saw Barb's post of Baptist Fans on a variety of quilts and knew that was the solution... again. The examples with seven curves were particularly attractive so I determined to try them. The result?

Not quite as good as I wanted. The final curves are much larger than the available area under my needle so I had to stop in the middle of each, reposition, and start again. Almost every one has a jog or curve change there. Perhaps not as noticeable to you as it is to me.

Baptist fan quilting with seven arcs

This reinforces a post by Amy. Among other tips she mentions the "range of motion that keeps the top under control and flat at the needle." In my case, five curves is the maximum for my machine. Lesson learned and hopefully will be remembered.

Binding detail on Medallion Chinese Coins IV quilt
There were a number of blue bindings in the leftover bin. All sewed together, they make a good finish. And the fans look better than I first thought. What a relief.

Quilt Details
Size: 45" x 52"
Design: Chinese Coins
Batting: Hobbs Premium 100% bleached cotton
Thread: tan Superior cotton thread, YLI nylon monofilament
Quilting: walking foot spiral and free motion quilting

Linking with Linda and Julie for Sew, Stitch, Snap, Share.

Enjoy the day, Ann

Saturday, March 31, 2018

Bars 3 Quilt Off to a Forever Home

Technically I should have finished Bars 1 first but these small quilts are much easier to carry back and forth. They fit into my minuscule bits of free time. Because most of the tops were sewed {for the demo that didn't happen} I can sew a few quilting lines at a time without worrying where I was in the process. There is less fabric to wrangle under the machine arm.

Bars 3 uses the last of the pastel strips with whites, this time alternating with whites and very light tints.

Bars 3 quilt

A friend of my grandchildren will have a baby sister soon. Gifting each child with a quilt seems more welcoming and inclusive so I'm sending the two small Bars quilts to them.

Binding and quilting Bars 3 

They both have similar straight line walking foot quilting. After writing about "halving the quilting lines" several times, I finally remembered to snap some photos.

Quilting by "halving the space" with a walking foot

This one is bound with the same stripe as her sister's. It first appeared in Strippy Nine Patch, then became a binding on Spiderweb 3. It's a treat to use these beautiful fabrics and use them up. Pink was my mother's favorite color.

Quilt Details
Size: 39"" x 43"
Design: Chinese Coin
Batting: Mountain Mist Blue Ribbon 100% cotton
Thread: white Gutermann sewing weight cotton
Quilting: Straight lines with walking foot

Linking with Finish it up Friday.

Enjoy the day, Ann

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Scale and AHIQ 31

It's going to be a hard year again for our family with many decisions to make. After a month of non-stop sorting I realized everyone needs a weekend. Like any full-time employee Monday through Friday will now be spent clearing out the house and estate. Weekends are free to sleep in, read, quilt, visit, recharge. Putting this plan into practice, I attended the Dallas Quilt Show followed by dinner with my favorite nieces. When I lived in the area I was a member of this guild {and also a program chair - my perennial office.}

As a large show that offers cash prizes (winner's list here) it draws out-of-town and even out-of state artists. Several were prizewinners at other venues. For example, Cynthia England's Reflections of Cape Town was the Best of Show at 2016 IQA in Houston but was much easier to see here since we could spend more time up close {and frankly, in better light.}

Reflections of Cape Town by Cynthia England
There were many beautiful quilts - both purchased patterns and original designs - but these attracted my attention for their use of scale.

Carol Morrissey abstracted a photo of her grandson with circles in a variety of colors and sizes. After spending a while here I believe the background is one solid grey fabric (with perhaps  a bit of texture painted on it). Carol created his face pointalist fashion by identifying the major portions of light and shadow. As always the beauty is in the details such as his chin, both ears, and the white highlight in his eyes.

Jake by Carol Morrissey

Using Carolyn Friedlander's Envelopes pattern, Rachel Kent incorporated letters to her father in Happy 60th, Mr. Postman to celebrate his milestone birthday. I assume she mailed prepared fabric to people who wrote a message on it. Did she mail special pens, too? Then it looks like she fitted their responses to different sized envelopes. Again, did she outline various boxes for people to stay within? All the replies are fairly "square." I'd have expected a few people to create long rectangles if they didn't understand the intended use.

Happy 60th, Mr. Postman by Rachel Bryan Kent

Terry Mosher used varied the size of bars to create his Hippy Trippy Christmas based on a Kaffe Fassett design. Of course I see another Chinese Coin variation in this two-color medallion. {I see them everywhere now.}

Have a Hippy Trippy Christmas by Terry Mosher

Red and green always make lovely quilts. Most of them are definitely seasonal. I think this one could be used year-round. It reminded me of my Watermelon quilt - a red, green, and black quilt that evokes hot summer days.

Enjoy the day, Ann