Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Bordering Plan and AHIQ December 2016

As several people noted there's not enough fabric to extend onto all sides. The solution is to use different borders. Thanks for all the great comments on my previous post; they gave me several ideas for incorporating different borders and adding applique.

Julie reminded me of Susan McCord string pieced leaves border on Barbara Brackman's blog. Love the graceful way she incorporated the leaves and vine.  Sue Nickel's New York State of Mind has three different borders. There's another I've been considering that combines zig zag and applique borders. I thought it was Freddy Moran's quilt but can't find it online or in my books.

I measured then measured again but no more fabric appeared. With the narrow chartreuse inner border the quilt now measures 63" by 75". Because there are two different birds, the toile cut into two 6.5" borders: the first is 84" {two strips} while the other is 124" {three strips.} They will fill one short and one long side.

The blue gingham could be cut into three 10" strips but only 129" or four 7" strips that are 172". The final choice was four strips because it's the only way to fit the final two sides.

Here's what it looks like laid on the kitchen floor. Quieter than I realized.

Spiderweb quilt with blue borders
Next is to decide which border extends to the edges - the applique or the toile.

As usual lately, this is not the most improvisational quilt. However, I had visions for the border but didn't have enough fabric to carry it through. On to Plan B which is turning out better than the original idea. That's my bit of improv.

With the bird toile attached, I'm considering appliqued birds on the blue gingham. Another adjustment since my first idea was vine with leaves. Second was adding flowers. I'm working much more slowly than normal because of the holidays, diffidence about my applique abilities, or actually thinking about the results. Not sure what proportion each is playing.

Kaja and I have plans to start quarterly improvisational challenges next year. We hope quarterly will allow more time for all of us to complete other, personal work but frequent enough to see progress on improvisational topics. Check us out next month for all the details!

Enjoy the day, Ann

InLinkz removed because it was hacked.

Saturday, December 24, 2016


Posting year end reviews of my quilts and making public lists for the future has never been an activity I use. However...

The titles of my former pages haven't fit my work for the last few years {and the pictures became increasingly misaligned} so I created annual pages. That's where I really looked at this year's finishes. Comparing my output with my plans highlights some serious discrepancies. They don't match what I thought I'd done this year. Although starting with improvisational quilts, it segued to scrap quilts. Nothing wrong with that; I love scrap quilting. But not what I intended. Also, individual pieces are much more rectangular while my intention was to make curved designs.

In 2014 I worked to finish or donate old quilt tops and blocks. That effort was mostly successful but there's a whole new stack of tops and UFOs this year. Here's where improv and curved piecing stopped. Many of the curved/improv pieces are unfinished. My life turned upside down early this year and when I returned to quilting all I could do was the comforting scrap style most familiar to me.
Quilt tops and blocks in progress 
What are my plan for 2017?
1. Finish what I've started.
  • I didn't clear out the old projects just to store a new set.
2. Work more slowly.
  • I'll only start another quilt as each is finished so I may as well have all possible fun.
  • Edit: This does not mean one quilt at a time. I mean I don't want to rush each quilt to completion and I want to be more purposeful about making sure each quilt has a complete story rather than a quick finish. 
3. Consider ways to combine scrap with improvisation. 
  • Improvisation means developing my own ideas and/or building off thoughts or things I see. My quilts are designed to be useful and useable. Combining multiple fabrics from multiple sources is the way I work. I've tried other methods but they don't interest me for long.
4. Continue curved piecing and working with triangles. 
  • Incorporating free-hand cutting will be one way to keep this going.
While I contemplate how to actualize the plan, I also want to incorporate more thoughtfulness into AHIQ. Kaja and I want it to be a locus for improvisational and utility quilts. A good idea, but it seems to need more than just a linky party. I want to include ideas for quarterly study. This will take more thought.


Our final 2016 AHIQ link up is this coming Tuesday. Hope to see you and your work there.

Happy Holidays!

Enjoy the day, Ann

Saturday, December 17, 2016

Bordering Issues

Time to work on my Spiderweb quilt again. It's been sitting for a year already. My plan was to create an applique vine... using only yardage on hand. Although I rarely applique, it always attracts me. Some of my earliest quilts were appliqued. But that was years ago.

Lack of practice increased my hesitation; however, Audrey at Quilty Folk creates such attractive work I made a vow to try again. She suggested six to ten inches for appliqué borders. Any more narrow and it's hard to have curves in the vines. In my case, nine inches sounds best. After all, it can always be cut down but very difficult to weave more fabric together.

I pulled several fabrics in light blues. This micro gingham is my favorite. With less than two yards it won't extend to all sides. In fact, it will only finish two sides with six-inch borders.

This mottled sky fabric looked great in the stash but slightly off color when next to other fabric. That's exactly why it has been in storage. Perhaps it would improve if combined with some others.

Free Spirit made this newer toile with leaves and birds. There are two different rows of birds which might cover three sides but... no appliqué.

Testing bird print toile as a border.

I decided to cut the toile and pin it against the spiderwebs. Even if it's not used here, this would be the cutting width for anything else. Maybe.
An inner border improves things. This pink string from my scrap bag is too wide. {Good thing. That's all there is.}

Eventually I tried some lighter fabrics. These are two yardages from the stash {as opposed to scrap strings.} Using lighter colors for the inner border might emphasize an applique vine. {Even though the toile stands in for the outer border, I'm still trying to figure out how to applique a vine.

Making haste slowly.

Enjoy the day,

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Final Strings

Only twenty-six string blocks remain of those I sewed in January. Twenty-five will make a baby quilt although I'm not sure anyone will want this. One block is blue {which I won't use} but the others are black, white and brown.

Here's what evolved.
Black, brown, and white string quilt
Black, brown, and white baby quilt
On one hand, it's handsome {perhaps.} On the other, not the most cheerful baby colors. If it were larger I could easily give it as a man's lap quilt. But it's not. Nor am I planning to enlarge it.

Someone will want it some day.

Enjoy the day, Ann

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

A Finish with an Easy Quilting Design

I finished the blue string quilt. These certainly are quick, easy quilts for toddlers. Not much to them; perfect for playtime, games, and spills.

Paper pieced string quilt in all shades of blue
Blue string toddler quilt
The binding is the light green I planned {and then discarded} for the green string quilt. It complements the bits of green in the strings.

Simple back of blue string quilt
A simple back. Of course, there wasn't enough of the larger piece but I had this eighth-yard remnant to finish it off.

Quilting and binding details of Blue String toddler quilt
Finally, a close up of the quilting and binding. I eyeballed 1.5" spacing between narrow rows that mimic flat-fell seams on jeans. The idea came from the sashing of this old t-shirt quilt.

Quilt Details
Size: 40" x 48"
Design: String quilt on paper foundation
Batting: Mountain Mist Cream Rose 100% cotton
Thread: DMC fine embroidery blue cotton
Quilting: Walking foot on a domestic machine

Enjoy the day,

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Vacation, Strings, and Kaleidoscope of Butterflies Dec 2016

I didn't expect to find any butterflies this month but QS (QuiltingSister) sent this adorable pin from her vacation through Utah. These represent some of the same butterflies that make it to the California coast in January.

In the meanwhile, our family celebrated four birthdays and one wedding anniversary with a long-planned trip. The perfect {temporary} escape from political turmoil.

Disney's Animal Kingdom has an African bird habitat chock full of colorful species like this purple starling. He has one bright yellow eye while the other is black.

Purple starlings have one yellow eye and one black eye.
Purple Starling, Disney Animal Kingdom
The Golden Weaver entertained us for a good half-hour building his coconut-shaped nest on one of these extremely large leaves. Don't you love these shades of green and yellow as the light hits shines through the leaves? I was also struck by the analogous color scheme of each of these birds.

Golden Weaver, Disney Animal Kingdom
Disney displayed several Imagineer sketchbooks from a trip to Africa at Tiffins Restaurant. I couldn't decide which was my favorite. While I loved the watercolors, I was equally drawn to the quicker pencil sketches with notes. Tiffins decorated the walls with enlargements of some of these pages. I wanted to wander through them like a gallery but restrained myself so others could enjoy their meal. {Darn my mother for insisting on polite table manners.}
Sketches of baobab tree and African wildlife
Imagineer Sketchbooks, Tiffins Restaurant, Disney Animal Kingdom
Jane LaFazio does similar work with her collages. Perhaps many painters combine words with their work.

On a regular {non-netted} trail this tiger swallowtail posed for several minutes with wings wide open. Show off! Guests took turns snapping photos as he obligingly remained in place, unlike the shyer fellow in California.

Tiger swallowtail butterfly, Disney Animal Kingdom
As a young girl I enjoyed reading Swiss Family Robinson so I climbed their treehouse at Magic Kingdom. This lovely Odd Fellow's quilt graced on one of the beds. {Sorry. It was after sunset when the photo was snapped.} Who'd have expected to find a quilt at an amusement park?

Odd Fellow's quilt, Swiss Family Robinson treehouse, Magic Kingdom
More string blocks awaited our return. These blues range from icy white to darkest navy but I wasn't sure how well it would look without a secondary color. Turns out the aqua and green strip used in so many blocks pumps up the quilt.

Blue String quilt
There was one leftover block from this set. And, the original light green binding from the green string might work here. Lucky me if that's the case.

Enjoy the day, Ann

InLinkz removed because it was hacked.