Saturday, May 30, 2015

Folded Star

Cristy Fincher visited our guild recently and I took her workshop on Paperless Paper Piecing. Working with her pattern, Folded, we used glue to hold the pieces together. Cristy is an excellent teacher - organized, patient, and upbeat.

This is the finished top. The center points are not perfect. If they bother me when the quilting is complete, I'll applique something or use thick decorative thread as camouflage. This top is 40" by 40"; a good size for a baby/toddler quilt.

Folded Star with border
I finished one twelve-inch block by the end of class. Cristy suggested a cropped photo in the PicFrame app (a 99 cent purchase.)

One quadrant of the Folded Star pattern
The app collages photo collections but quilters can quickly copy, paste, and rotate a single photo into different layouts. Like this.

Folded Star 1, single view
If you wanted a larger quilt, sixteen blocks might look like this. It was just a quick save and copy of the previous display in PicFrame.

Folded Star 1, multiple view
The layout I used looks like this with the app. The offset center and poorly matched seams are artifacts of my poor cropping.

Folded Star 2, single view
Sixteen blocks look like this.

Folded Star 2, multiple view
PicFrame made design decisions so easy. It was fun to share the results with other participants during the workshop.

I don't have enough fabric to make the multiple views. The single view finishes 24 inches. I added two borders cut 4.5" each. My first plan was to put a four-patch in the corners. It didn't look good no matter which way the red or pale green was arranged. Then I tried pale green inside with red wrapped around it. (Sorry, I forgot to take photos of these.) But the layout with red on the inside wrapped in pale green worked.
With paperless paper piecing, seam allowances are cut larger and trimmed after the seam is sewed.

Seams are trimmed to a quarter inch after each is sewed.
The quilting needs careful planning since all the designs will show on these solids.

Tami and Susan took the workshop, too. I just found Tami's website. She wrote almost exactly what I did (and she wrote it first) but head over to Lemon Tree Tales for a look at this pattern in different fabrics. Susan, who blogs at Quilt Frabrication, has another lovely layout.

Enjoy the day, Ann

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Tiger Stripes Finished

In the Just in Time inventory management system, products are made as demand requires. Usually my quilts finish shortly before the event... sometimes very shortly. My quilting style mimics modern business management! Who knew?

Free-hand cut strips of purple and gold create a rail fence variation in this quilt.

I sewed the binding the evening before we left and buried threads on the way. And so it goes.

My son is quite accustomed to my odd sense of humor. He mentioned two college chants, "Hold that tiger" and "Geaux Tigers", that are now quilted into the rails.

Purple and gold fabrics in a rail fence design.
Tiger Stripes, detail showing "Hold that tiger" quilted in cursive.
After pin basting, I used my walking foot to quilt close to the seam lines on both the purple and gold sides with 50-wt Gutermann thread. Two more lines were quilted in each purple rail. I alternated rows of a phrase with simple lines on the gold rails. His name, university and date were quilted with a small free-motion zigzag at the end of one of the rows. My name is on another rail.

Purple and gold fabrics in a rail fence pattern.
Tiger Stripes, detail showing "Geaux Tigers" quilted in cursive.
I bound it by machine using a double-fold binding cut 2.25". The binding was sewed on the back with a 3/8" seam then pressed, folded over the front, and topstitched close to the fold. This method works well for quilts that will get lots of wear.

Here's the previous post about Tiger Stripes.

We saw a new exhibit at the airport: Life and Style in the Age of Art Deco. Fortunately we had time to study everything, including these colorful paper fans.

Fans from Europe and USA
Look at the heels on these shoes by Beauty Co.

Black and gold shoes from Shanghai by Beauty Co.
Geometrically patterned electric appliances by Royal Rochester were my favorite display. Pluggable pieces include a coffee percolator, samovar, and waffle iron. Wouldn't they look lovely at the breakfast table? And the food would stay hot. Beauty and usefulness perfectly combined.
Royal Rochester electric appliances in porcelain and chrome.
Speaking of breakfast, we enjoyed one at Brennan's. I had a cup of seafood gumbo to start. It might not be breakfast for most of you, but oh, how I've missed it.

Brennan's bar, New Orleans
You can find quilt patterns everywhere. This is the tile in the women's room.

Tile at Brennan's
Then we walked around the French Quarter. Off the main thoroughfares, the streets were empty and clean. I guess we were up too early for most people.

Painted facades in New Orleans French Quarter
This was one of the small fountains in the area.

Lion fountain in New Orleans French Quarter
In the afternoon we drove to Baton Rouge for graduation... and quilt presentations.

Enjoy the day, Ann

Friday, May 22, 2015

One Lovely Blog Award

I returned from the graduation extravaganza to an email from Kaja at Sew Slowly. She passed a One Lovely Blog Award to me. It is a way to introduce yourself and interesting new blogs to readers. I'm always surprised by any award or prize. Now I've had both within the month.

Kaja's blog reflects her unique abilities - improvisational quilting, unusual fabrics, photography and an artistic eye for color and design. We first met online through her Little Elephant quilt. I enjoyed the developments, detours and explanations of this beautiful quilt.

Information about me.
1. With quilters on both sides of my family, there were always quilts around our house. They were loved and used to pieces. Double wedding ring, grandmother's flower garden, colonial ladies, dutchman's puzzle, Texas star, Jacob's ladder, star of Bethlehem, yoyo, and several applique quilts.

2. Petting fabric is a major occupation. I started sewing doll clothes at seven, made my first skirt at nine, first quilt at twelve and still quilt daily. Of course, I spent the weekends camping, collecting fossil specimens and hiking with my family... from babyhood. (Thanks, Dad.)

3. I'm a retired geophysicist who loves science and math.

4. I've lived on all three coasts of the US.

5. I drink iced tea with mint and lime, please.

These last two are similar to Kaja's.
6. I sing loudly (and slightly off key) in the car... or anywhere else.

7. Chili improves almost everything.

My favorite blogs share information - whether a creative process, a lifestyle or a book. I believe we build bonds of understanding and friendship when we learn about each others' lives, interests and situations. Many of my favorite blogs are in my sidebar. Here are a few in no particular order.

Stephie at Dawn Chorus Studio quilts, paints, and runs in Cornwall.
Simone at Rosellas and Lorikeets ranches in Australia.
Lisa at Ivory Blush Roses hand embroiders and beads in Colorado.
Maria at Tales of a Stitcher quilts in Alaska.

Thank you again, Kaja, for passing this opportunity to me.

Enjoy the day, Ann

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Philadelphia Finish

It's quilted, bound, labeled, washed and presented. Hooray! And he likes it very much. It finished 77" by 89".

Nine-inch Philadelphia blocks in reproduction fabrics and muslin sashed with floral stripe.

Wanting soft and comfy, I quilted a diagonal grid in gold colored cotton Gutermann thread. This 50-weight thread is a bit thicker than some other brands and was perfect for this use. To me, it is the machine equivalent of utility quilting. (The blocks were previously ditch stitched with invisible thread.) I had planned to use brown thread but it was too harsh against the muslin.

Philadelphia, detail
Spirals are my favorite quilting design so I added them to the border. I usually sew them completely freehand. This time I marked with Karen Kay Buckley's Perfect Circles to delineate the maximum width and keep the spacing even. There are several sizes in the package so it was easy to choose a good size.

Philadelphia, detail of back
Why does the quilting show so much better on the back? There was only one skinny strip left of this Nancy Crow fabric. Not only is it a great design but the material has a beautiful hand.

Philadelphia, detail of border and binding
I've been intending to try mock piped binding for several years and finally did on this quilt. How easy and fun it was! That tiny bit of red perks up the quilt. There are many posts for this technique. I chose Susie's Magic Binding.

Links to the previous posts here.
  1. Beginning the quilt.
  2. Tutorial of the Philadelphia block.
  3. Borders.
Enjoy the day, Ann

Saturday, May 9, 2015

Cowboys, Pinwheels, and Presents

Patricia Belyea emailed me last Friday that I'd won an Okan Arts giveaway. Look what arrived Monday via Priority mail! Patricia graciously inscribed the book so I have a permanent memento of her kindness. I'm so thrilled to own Sherri's book. Guess what I'm doing as soon as I finish the roommate quilt? The scissors are comfortable, fabulously sharp and cut like a dream. Thank you, Patricia!

Improv Handbook for Modern Quilters by Sherri Lynn Wood and a pair of Kai scissors from the Okan Arts giveaway.
Roommate 2 is a Dallas Cowboys fan so my son suggested using their blue and silver team colors. Blue abounds in my stash because I've been intending to make a blue and white quilt for ages. At least some of them are the correct blue (although I stretched it quite a bit.)  The centers are the most silvery of my greys. While not my first choice, they fit the color scheme and should make this man very happy.

Again I used Sujata Shah's Cultural Fusion Quilts. Several quilters have made this design. Julie at QuiltDivaJulie has a very colorful version. Don't these versions inspire you to try your own?

These look like fireworks rather than flowers or candies. When my children were very small, we sat on Galveston beach for an amazing show by an Italian firm. It was the first time I saw lavender colored fireworks. They were so beautiful!

Cowboy Celebration quilt (61"x76.25")
Since the Cowboys incorporate a Lone Star in their logo, it became the center for half of the blocks. Directions for cutting perfect five-pointed stars can be found on this site about Betsy Ross, the person credited with creating the Stars and Stripes. These were too perfect for me; I cut them shorter and a bit more unevenly.

Pinwheel before adding a star or circle center.
The stars are fairly large so I appliqued simple circles on the other blocks. The diameters of the circles vary depending on where the wedges start. In my opinion, this adds to the explosion effect.

Machine applique using a blanket stitch
Harriet Hargrave's Mastering Machine Applique has been on the bookshelf for years and... I finally tried it! Not great but not too bad. She has several methods for creating points; I tried them all. We'll see how well each holds up in the wash.

Machine appliqued star point. 
On this star the point is turned under then each side is turned under and trimmed. This point isn't as sharp as I'd like but felt safest since it has seam allowances all around.

I need to make a back, sandwich the layers, choose some free-motion quilting and bind it... by next week. Better get busy.

Enjoy the day, Ann

Saturday, May 2, 2015

The Palace of Fine Arts

We recently enjoyed a weekend of Giants baseball in San Francisco. Since Saturday's game didn't start until six p.m. I convinced my husband to visit The Palace of Fine Arts.

This was one of ten palaces in the Panama Pacific International Exposition of 1915 celebrating the completion of the Panama Canal, the vitality of world commerce, and San Francisco's recovery from the 1906 earthquake. The fair covered a square mile and ran from February through December. Because it was planned as a temporary exhibit, the statues were mostly paper mache while the buildings were wood plastered with gypsum and hemp. A few, including the elephants and fountain in Sausalito, still survive. Like the current Palace, they have been rebuilt in concrete from molds of the originals.

The Palace of Fine Arts, San Francisco
Bernard Maybeck designed this palace as a fictional ruin with Roman and Greek inspirations. Maidens sculpted by Ulric Ellerhusen top the colonnade, weeping at the thought of a world without art. Their tears were supposed to water trees in those boxes but the structures wouldn't hold so much weight.

Weeping Maidens top each set of pillars on the colonnade at the Palace of Fine Arts.
Alexander Bell and Thomas Watson opened the Exposition with the first transcontinental phone call from San Francisco to New York City. Visitors rode in wicker carts through a miniature Panama Canal. At night, lights shining through Austrian cut glass gems lit up the sky bestowing the name, The Jewel City.

A day ticket cost 50 cents; an annual pass cost $10. I learned that Ansel Adams was given an annual pass by his father with instructions to attend daily and learn about the different countries, technologies and scientific wonders. (He still studied composition, grammar, and music at home in the evenings.)

We ran into this lovely group of friends celebrating the Exposition in authentic regalia complete with pennants.

Historically dressed for the 1915 Exposition.
Immediately after they drove off in their flivver a cadre of bicyclists rode through celebrating World Naked Bike Ride day. No photos but it was a unique juxtaposition.

Enjoy the day, Ann