Saturday, April 25, 2015

Tiger Stripes

My youngest graduates from LSU in Baton Rouge soon. Hooray! Their colors are purple and gold and their mascot is the tiger. So you'll never guess: he wants a tiger striped quilt in purple and gold.
Here's the top. This idea came from Sujata Shah's Cultural Fusion Quilts. I've certainly enjoyed her book; she has a great sense of design and color. It's a wonderful way to "tiptoe" into improvisation.

Purple and gold printed fabrics alternate across this quilt.
Tiger Stripes quilt (68"x85")
This zigzag layout looks like tiger stripes to me.

Barb at Fun with Barb made this same design in a delightful combination of red, black, and cream. Take a look.

I've been consciously purchasing yellow fabrics when I find them so there was quite a bit in my stash. I also chose to push into dark gold (almost orange.) But there was a dearth of purple. More shopping required. Two of the new purples have fish on them (one of my son's hobbies.)

Purple and gold fabrics. You can see one light purple with fish.
Here are two other layouts I considered. In the lefthand layout all the rail fences march up to the right. The light blocks are in a slightly different arrangement in the righthand layout.
Purple and gold fabrics alternate to make the rails in this quilt design.
Two possible layouts for Tiger Stripes
This has me thinking about tigers, a frequent topic in high school literature classes. Who could forget William Blake's poem (or at least the first stanza?)

Tiger, tiger, burning bright
In the forests of the night,
What immortal hand or eye
Could frame thy fearful symmetry?

Or the limerick by Edward Lear, William Monkhouse or Anonymous (your choice.)

There was a young lady of Niger
Who smiled as she rode on a tiger;
They returned from the ride
With the lady inside,
And the smile on the face of the tiger.

Did you read The Lady or the Tiger by Frank Stockton? I did and I still think she pointed to the tiger's door. What's your opinion?

Shere Khan in Rudyard Kipling's The Jungle Book was always scary. A man-eater. Last week I watched Earth, A New Wild - Episode 1: Home on PBS which advances the theory that we need to coexist with wild animals for the good of the planet. Part of the episode discussed Bangladeshi tigers that kill one person every day on average. Because people rightly fear these animals, they limit trips into the forests. So the tigers are protecting the mangroves that protect this nation of millions from typhoons.

The grizzly bear was the top of the food chain in western North America until people arrived with rifles. How would this continent differ if they were still around?

If you're not yet tired of tigers, check out these recordings of Tiger Rag (also known as Hold That Tiger) on YouTube.
When Art Tatum first performed this fabulous jazz standard people thought he had a second person helping on the piano.
The Mills Brothers sang in close harmony. I love the way this quartet created so many sounds a cappella.

Enjoy the day,

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Philadelphia Borders

This quilt seems to need an inner and an outer border. I considered using dark red or double pink fabric similar to the one in the Ohio Star in this post... but then found a reproduction stripe at the bottom of my stash. There's enough to cut 4" wide strips for the outer border. The blue hand-dye is left over from Propellers and Planes. I cut it 1.25" (finished .75").
Reproduction fabrics in many colors alternate with muslin in this quilt.
Philadelphia quilt with borders, partial view.
Mitering the border went fairly well although some of the stripe intersections need adjusting. The quilt squares up nicely; my photos are just a bit off.
Mitered inner and outer borders of Philadelphia quilt
The back is mainly a cream/brown/blue plaid enlarged with random brown fabrics. Bears are printed on the narrow strip. (I tried to find alligators.)
Back of Philadelphia quilt
The main seams are ditch stitched. I'm thinking about diagonals with the walking foot for the rest of the quilting.

Enjoy the day,

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Philadelphia Block Tutorial

Several people emailed me for the pattern for Philadelphia.
Philadelphia block
Here's a sketch of the block. It's a nine-patch on a six by six grid which simply means the block evenly divides into three segments on each side and those segments might be divided in half (into units.)

Sketch of Philadelphia block
Just like a block, a "unit" can be any measurement. You may choose the length of a single unit or decide the finished block size first and subdivide. My blocks finished 9". That means the major segments are 3" each (9"/3) and the subdivided units are 1.5" (3"/2).

Here are the parts I cut (with seam allowances included.)

Unit A (center):           1 muslin square 3.5" by 3.5"
Unit B (small squares): 8 muslin squares 2" by 2"
Unit C (inner):             4 print rectangles 3.5" by 2"
Unit D (outer):             4 print rectangles 6.5" by 2"

I sew most traditional blocks with this method because it helps keep the parts in order.

Cut pieces of Philadelphia block laid out
Take A and sew two C to opposite sides. On the remaining Cs and sew two B to opposite sides. Press seams towards prints.

Center strips of Philadelphia block sewed together
Butt seams and sew these three sections together with A in the middle.

Center portion of Philadelphia block sewed together.
Sew two D to opposite sides of the pieced center. Sew remaining B to opposite sides of the final two D. Press seams towards prints.

These three sections of the Philadelphia block will be sewed together as the final step.
Butt seams and sew these sections together with A again in the middle.

The block should measure 9.5" unfinished.

By happenstance one stripe in the border was three-inches wide. I cut the sashing 3.5" by 9.5" and cut the posts 3.5" square (the same size as the center muslin.) But any width sashing would work.

Enjoy the day,

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Philadelphia: It's Not Just a City

If you're a parent I'm sure you've worked hard teaching your children to schedule, to plan long-term projects, to break those projects into smaller parts and set intermediate goals. There were times it seemed as if my children would never internalize this skill. Late night runs to any store still open for poster board or special supplies for the diorama... you know, the one assigned four weeks previously.

When my youngest went to college I had a pretty good idea of his graduation date: mid-May 2015. How has the date snuck up on me? He and his two roommates all need quilts in the next six weeks.

Fortunately, the first roommate wants something traditional. These 9"-finished blocks have been stashed a while.

Philadelphia blocks in reproduction fabrics with muslin
According to my reference books, the block was first known as Philadelphia and later as Easy Four Patch. But it's not a four patch block; it's a nine-patch on a six by six grid.

The city of brotherly love, founded by William Penn, was the seat of our Continental Congress and where delegates met to rewrite the Articles of Confederation in 1787. I learned this in school but am reminded by the new book I'm reading: Madison's Gift: Five Partnerships That Built America by David O. Stewart. It discusses relationships James Madison, America's fourth president, built to reform our federal government from a confederation to a republic, to write and ratify our Constitution, and to establish the Bill of Rights.

Originally I'd planned to alternate these blocks with Ohio Stars.

One Ohio Star surrounded by Philadelphia blocks
Many pieces are cut and sorted but this was the only Ohio Star I sewed. Don't you love the double pink of the star itself!

But I'm on a short deadline. So I just used Philadelphia with a wide brown stripe for sashing.

Straight set Philadelphia blocks with 3" reproduction brown stripe sashing and muslin posts
I rarely sash blocks without extending that sashing to the outside border but this is all of the brown. Something different will be needed to finish the quilt. Currently it's 69" by 82" - a bit larger than the planned lap quilt but these are tall men.

Enjoy the day,