Tuesday, March 29, 2016

March Quilty365

This past month I just treaded water with circles. Despite completing thirty more, I'm still a month behind.
112 Quilty365 Circles 
But I have many more circles cut. I still plan to catch up. Hope springs eternal!

Mary at Fleur de Lis Quilts laid out her plaids and solids to help decide what to do next. They are gorgeous and colorful. Seems like a good plan; I have enough to lay out and capture a sense of the style. Hmm. Not sure what my style is. Perhaps I should focus on adding more greens and yellows.

Circles and background squares cut for Quilty365
Circle quilts are catching my eye everywhere. Here are my latest inspirations.
  1. Odette Tolksdorf, a South African textile artist, made a series title Breathe and Breathing. Grounded on checkerboards, the floating organza has a circular shape. 
  2. Sally Scott created Towards Infinity, a stunning quilt with circles... and fabulous borders. She also includes a photo of another Tolksdorf quilt that I can't find on Odette's blog.
  3. Harmony Within by Sue McCarty of Utah won the Handi Quilter Best of Show at the 2011 IQF. It's a gorgeous Japanese-inspired design but I added it here because of the background. She thread-quilted circles on point with very narrow sashing. Great layout for our circles and the only example of this layout I've found.
Enjoy the day,

Saturday, March 26, 2016

Unintentional Slow Quilting

I'm finally slow quilting. Not because I want to but the machine is messing up.


This should have been a three-hour job but with all the skipped stitches and repeated rip outs it's taking an unlimited amount of time. The machine is desperately in need of a tuneup. Fortunately I have a Featherweight for piecing if not quilting.

The March AHIQ link up continues a few more days. We'd love you to add some improvisational and/or utility quilts you're working on. Be sure to click the thumbnails to read more about each quilter's work. There are so many aspects to study and enjoy.

Enjoy the day,

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

AHIQ Link Up March 2016

Lately I've been quilting tops. Most are scrap quilts, although I'm getting ready to quilt the sawtooth improv. I use dry erase markers on a 30"x30" piece of vinyl to preview quilting designs. To keep any residue off the quilts, make sure the same side is always on top. The easiest way is to put painters tape around the edge of one side so you always know which side is up.
Trying out quilting designs on an overlay vinyl
I thought about quilting the zigzags and echoing them on the muslin. (That's my plan on the right.) Tami and ML came up with the better plan on the left.  We all agreed I should stitch in the ditch around the zigzags. So there will be many threads to bury and it will take a while.

Tami pieced a fabulous top based on the Rhythmic Grid score. Take a look. These are her favorite colors - although the entire group would be willing to take this one home!

Enjoy the day, Ann


Saturday, March 19, 2016

Fifth Log Cabin Baby Quilt Finished

And this is the last of the five log cabin leader/ender projects from last year. Hooray! While it seemed helpful to have the tops ready to go, it's even better to have a finished quilt tucked away for a quick gift. All these blocks are regular log cabins but two columns were made of lights only. Similar blocks appear in this log cabin, too.

The light/dark shading highlights design changes so there are almost endless ways to set log cabins. In fact, they are the same ways you can set HSTs.


One yard of a Jane Sassaman print is extended with men's shirting leftovers purchased in NYC several years ago. The finish on the shirting material makes it shimmer like polished cotton. It also makes it wrinkle resistant and cool - the opposite of flannel, very welcome in hot Texas.


I'm not as happy with the free-motion quilting loops I made on the lights. The darks were ditch-stitched with a walking foot.


Quilt Details
Size: 44" x 44"
Pattern: Log Cabin variation
Batting: Mountain Mist Cream Rose 100% cotton
Thread: Gutermann cotton sewing thread in navy and white
Quilting: Straight line with walking foot and free motion loops

Here are some log cabins I've completed if you want to look at other layouts. Many of these were from the leader/ender project.


Do you have any improvisational and utility quilts for the AHIQ linkup this Tuesday, March 22?

Edit: Linked to Finish it up Friday where there's always loads to see.

Enjoy the day,

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Fourth Log Cabin Quilt Finished

The fourth small log cabin is quilted and bound. The top is from last year's leader/ender project. (There were five in all.)


I'm using the new-to-me plan for the back. Four WOF reds create the sides: two quarter-yards, one third-yard, and one half-yard. That made the length 47", enough to overhang the top. The width is only 40" so I sliced it about a third of the way across and inserted a cream quarter-yard remnant. Look closely; the top of that strip is a different fabric so it reaches 47", too. This one is so pretty.


Straight lines with the walking foot on the lights combine with free motion loops on the dark. Tami's recommended marking the middle of the dark to keep the loops aligned. Great idea.
Quilt Details
Size: 44" x 44"
Pattern: Log Cabin, zigzag variation
Batting: Mountain Mist Cream Rose 100% cotton
Thread: Gutermann cotton sewing thread in navy and white
Quilting: Straight line with walking foot and free motion loops

Stephie at Dawn Chorus Studio continues discussing how long it takes to make a quilt with Kaja Zeisler of Sew Slowly. Kaja is a master improvisor and hand quilter. Stephie has written a thoughtful article; take a look.

Remember the AHIQ linkup for improvisational and utility quilts is next Tuesday, March 22. Kaja and I hope you'll join us; there's always lots of good reading.

Edit: Linked to Finish it up Friday.

Enjoy the day,

Saturday, March 12, 2016

A Quilting Marathon

As Stephie wrote in her recent interview, I'm still working towards starting and finishing one quilt at a time. It's a goal. I doubt I'll get there soon - in part because program chairs take more workshops than most. A couple of years ago I focused on sorting old tops and blocks into keep (and finish) or donate piles. Since then I try to quilt one of the older ones whenever I work on a new quilt.

And then... I set the improv sawtooth top aside to mull over the quilting design. In the meanwhile, I started my current kaleidoscope. That meant pin basting four tops.  Two are log cabins from my last leader/ender project.

Six pin-basted tops ready to quilt
However, you can see six quilts in this photo. The green and coral one is from a workshop with Cristy Fincher. I've been saving that to use with Amy's Craftsy class, "Quilting with Rulers on a Home Machine." What's holding me up? Bernina doesn't yet have the correct feet for my machine. So I may simply mark it and move on. There will be another chance to quilt with rulers in future and it will be helpful to have this one done. The sixth top is another propeller quilt. I found more to say with that block.

The quilts are laid on 24"x48" folding tables. These are my basting tables; I can't pin on the floor anymore. I clip the back to the tables with Sears spring clamps then drape the batting and top over that. I can pin about 20" before the quilt needs to be moved. When it's moved I clamp through all three layers on one side but only clamp the bottom on the other. The batting and top drape over the clamps on that side. (See the near side in the photo below.)

Pinning the Lobster Boat quilt.
I'll be quilting for the next few weeks. I've got a deadline to finish before the next workshop - this one with Freddy Moran. What fun!

Enjoy the day,

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Maria Shell Workshop

Last week Maria Shell led us in Abstraction of Place (now named Abstraction through Color, Pattern, and Repetition.) After showing slides of various projects, Maria had us choose fabrics and walked the room helping us push our color choices. Then she demonstrated some of her techniques for abstracting, which involved looking carefully at the object or scene.

Maria Shell demonstrates construction techniques
This was the most amazing part of the workshop for me. I've never had anyone explain how they abstract an image before.

This two-day workshop was a treat. Everyone brought their own ideas. Many were natural: flower, shrub, hillside, path. Others were man-made. For example, Jan chose a skyscraper. What did I choose? Well, baseball has started again. It's spring training now. So I chose some photos from AT&T Park, home of the San Francisco Giants.

2014 Baseball World Series, Game 5 - SF Giants vs. KC Royals
I'm using these fabrics to represent the crowd.

Some fabric choices for the crowd
Here's what I had by the end of class. It will take a while to finish. The triangles are about two inches high; the quarter at the bottom is for scale.

Triangles representing fans in the stands
I'm thinking and sketching some ideas to make this top. It will be a challenge to construct an abstract foreground.

Stephie Boon at Dawn Chorus Studio just started a series, "How Long Does it Take to Make a Quilt?" and chose me as her first interviewee. Her thoughtful questions and journalistic skills make me sound so decisive and organized. In the next few weeks she talks with Kaja and Audrey. Take a look at the series and another look at Stephie's amazing work.

Enjoy the day,

Saturday, March 5, 2016

February Quilty365

I'm behind on my circles this month. Way behind. Finishing these will catch me up through February, a total of 118 circles. You can see only five are sewn. Ah, well. There are more Red Circle days in my future.

Circles to be finished for February
Since I'm so far behind, I decided to run some Google searches for inspiring circle quilts. Here's some eye candy - two whole fists full! Hopefully this will boost my energy to get back on track.
  1. Malka Dubrawsky made Twinkle Twin. Such a happy quilt.
  2. Karen Costello Soltys designed Japanese Circles on dark backgrounds.
  3. Kevin Kosbab used a pattern in American Patchwork and Quilting to quilt Verner with two different sized circles.
  4. Holly DeGroot designed at least two baby quilts of circle blocks.
  5. Brigette Heitland created a sophisticated quilt with circles inside circles.
  6. Anorina appliqués cheerful circles on black and white squares.
  7. EDIT: I found the quiltmaker and she has a glorious body of work. Timna Tarr's O Happy Day and Portrait of Flora both juried into the 2011 Cincinnati International Quilt Festival. The colorful background squares of the first are just as effective as the circle in circle on black of the second. Such different styles. Which would you choose? 
  8. If you haven't yet started your circles, Lulu has a pattern for Googly Eyes, an offset circle in a larger circle. Looks like eyes or olives, your choice.
  9. Connie Brown mixed circles and squares in V-Spot Target Attack
  10. Shirley made Bubbles II with circles that touch each other rather than being appliquéd onto single size squares.
Linking up to Audrey's Quilty365 for March. There are many great progress photos. Take a look.

Guess what? My computer is back. Hooray. And there's still a bit more time to add something to the Kaleidoscope of Butterflies link up Cathy and I started to celebrate and educate about these essential insects in severe decline.

Enjoy the day,

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

March Kaleidoscope of Butterflies

My latest kaleidoscope quilt is pinned, ready to be quilted.

Brightly colored fabrics and tulip-like extensions make a lively kaleidoscope quilt
Kaleidoscope with Tulips
Last month, Linda of Koka quilts and I chatted about the effect of fabric choices on the kaleidsoscope. She used a soft tan plaid in all her corners. Don't you just want to snuggle up in hers? Maureen at Mystic Quilter is making another lovely variation with four strip sets in each wedge.

Mine is much louder. To get in the mood, I chose three different focus fabrics. In addition to the Zandra Rhodes fabric, I used these two: a diamond print and a psychedelic wave pattern. {Sorry I forgot to take photos when I had yardage instead of remnants. Some day I may learn.} The wave is called Cool School by Maria Kalinowski. {That's all I can read on the selvedge.}

Two of three focus fabrics used in this kaleidoscope
These happy, colorful fabrics come from different lines because I do NOT want them to match exactly. Using multiple foci widens the "acceptable color range." Once the focus fabrics are spread across the floor, I toss any possibilities on top. The new fabrics don't need to match all of them. In fact, all they need to do is work with one and "not make me sick." {And I have a strong stomach.} Some look fantastic while others are just okay. I do think about the value range and pull fabrics across that spectrum.

I haven't seen a single live  butterfly this month. Have you? QS sent me a photo she took last summer.

Monarch Butterfly by QS
Lisa Boni translated her own monarch with stump work and added it to a small, ornamental pincushion. As always, her work is gorgeous.

There's still another day to join the February Ad Hoc Improv Quilters linkup. And linking this up with Scraptastic Tuesday. Always fun to see the different projects.


An InLinkz Link-up

Enjoy the day, Ann