Saturday, April 29, 2017

Alternate Method for Mini Trip Around the World Blocks

Since my scrap bag is still full, I decided to make another Mini Trip Around the World. I wanted to see if I could combine some quick piecing techniques with a bit of randomization.

There are two ways I to make Trip Around the World: use individual squares or strips. The first gives you complete control but takes a while. The second can be both more random and more organized. It may also yield unexpected results.

Scrappy Mini Trips from strips on the left and using individual squares on the right

Many people make tubes of six or eight strips, cut them crosswise and unsew between the different squares to make a single block. Like this. Ok. Most people use six strips but I always use eight. The numbers 1-8 stand in for different colors but you see the fabric repeats on each side of the main diagonal.

One Mini Trip Around the World from eight strips

My issue with this is that each half of each block is the same. What if I sewed more strips before cutting?  Here's what two sets to strips (16 total) would look like. As you see,  each block still has all the same fabrics although they are in different locations. Instead of one block having repeat fabrics on each side, now two blocks have all the same fabrics. Only the main diagonal is different.

Two sets of strips to make two Mini Trip Around the World blocks

What about three Mini Trip blocks?

Three sets of strips to make three Mini Trip Around the World blocks

Finally each block has some of the fabrics but they are all different arrangements.

I cut my strips two inches wide so they finish 1.5 inches. With eight squares across, my blocks finish at 12-inches. Each strip set appears in only two of the blocks so I need a bit more than 16-inches of 24 different strips to make these three blocks. When they are sewed into a tube of strips it will only be 18-inches wide. I can easily do this. Hooray.

You could also alter this to the more common 2.5-inch strip (finishing 2 inches) and only use six strips per block. The finished blocks will still be 12-inches and the tube will still be the same width. Your choice.

Here's my first tube of fabrics.

Tube sewn from 24 2-inch by 17-inch strips. (A bit of extra length to make straightening cuts.)

After cross-cutting the large tube into eight two-inch wide circles, I unsewed at different pairs until I had this arrangement of columns.

Tube sets lined up to create Mini Trip blocks

Then I counted down eight squares and unsewed those on each column until I had this.

Three scrappy Mini Trip Around the World blocks from tube sets
Sew those short columns together to get three 12-inch finished blocks.

Enjoy the day, Ann

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Neutral Strings Quilt and AHIQ #20

After washing and rebinding this quilt, most of the waviness is tamed. Not gone. It's worked into the interior though and doesn't show as much on the edges.

Love the striped binding. Remember it was printed with bias stripes so it's cut straight but appears to be bias. That straight of grain binding also helps tame waviness.

Neutral Strings baby quilt finished

Quilt Details
Size: 38" x 38"
Design: String
Batting: Mountain Mist Cream Rose 100% cotton
Thread: Guterman tan cotton
Quilting: Spiral design with walking foot

Oddly, this was the dregs of the scrap bag - what I call the "swash zone" - that stuff you leave each time you empty the bag. It's turned into one of my favorite quilts.

My biggest mistake was pulling the quilt package as the walking foot wound the spiral. I should have placed my hands to offset the bias stretch rather than emphasize it. If I'd done that the quilt would lie as flat as each layer did.

The waviness should continue to wash out at the quilt is used. Fortunately it's designed to be used and washed frequently.

Previous posts:
  1. Piecing the top
  2. Piecing the back with Stephie's scraps
  3.  Spiral quilting
Last quarter AHIQ worked through Chinese Coin variations. Check last month's linkup for enlightening results and ideas by other quilters. I've been preparing for our show, traveling, or fighting a cold most of this month so haven't progressed much on my CCII. I know many of you are still finishing yours and hope you link more this month.

The best news is IT'S KAJA'S TURN to lead the #AHIQ2017Invitational! This quarter she will be sharing an improv method that's been striking her fancy recently. I can't wait to read the details and start learning from this master improvisational quilter. Head over to Kaja's Sew Slowly blog for all the details.

Enjoy the day, Ann

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Sunday, April 23, 2017

Tilework at the Getty Villa

We finally saw the Getty Villa in Los Angeles, a place I've wanted to visit for years. It exceeded my dreams. All of J. Paul Getty's art was housed in the Villa until the Getty Center was built about 20 years ago. Now the Villa showcases ancient Roman and Greek objects only.

Although it didn't seem overly crowded, there were people everywhere. I never could get a photo without others in it whether it was scenic or detail. Ah, well.

We all know that tile floors make good quilt designs. Many artists have already made quilts based on various floors throughout Europe and there are even books of them. But this villa had so many elaborate tiles. This one reminds me of the center medallion on my Sampler quilt.

Medallion tile floor at Getty Villa
There was a similar medallion outside, too.

Medallion tile in the outer courtyard at the Getty Villa.

The tile in this room is the same block design. Only the centers of alternate blocks are changed.

Tile floors enhance the statuary at the Getty Villa.
Here's a detail of the floor although the contrast is not as good.

Detail of tile floor at Getty Villa.

This lovely curved design was in an entry.

This one appears to have pieced sashing.

Where would we be without tumbling blocks?

Tumbling Blocks tile floor at Getty Villa
The Greek Key design always creates a fantastic border.

Greek Key tile variation at Getty Villa

Here's my favorite. It bordered a shallow, interior pool. Don't you love the towers and battlements? Almost medieval feel although it's a Roman replica.

Tine tiles create a city wall with battlements around a shallow, interior pool at the Getty Villa.

Not all the tiles were flooring. Some created beautiful fountains including this colorful wall fountain.

Getty Villa wall fountain flows into a pool

Enjoy the day, Ann

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Thirty Year Sampler

What can I say that you don't already know? We've all heard the adage "the longest journey begins with the first step," but starting wasn't the problem. Consistency was.

All are traditional blocks for which I drafted and cut plastic templates. Then I pieced each by hand. In 1989. After that it seemed logical to hand quilt. Elaborate feathers were planned but I took this on a data shoot to work on in the evenings. Since the light was bad I just stippled everywhere. Now that seems like a lost opportunity. And I also lost interest.

I put it away but dragged it from home to home. Two years ago I got it out to work on on the evenings during the news hour. Even that wasn't consistent work. With our quilt show approaching, I decided to hand quilt the inner area and small blocks then switch to machine quilting on the sashing and outer floral. Good choices. Nothing shows on the black sashing. Originally I planned spirals but changed to quarter-inch straight lines. The floral is randomly free-motion quilted. Now that it's been washed, I can't distinguish  it from the hand stippling.

Thirty Year Sampler quilt 

Each of these is a traditional design based on various grids. For example, Dervish Star is a four-patch while Fish is based on eight-pointed star.

Dervish Star and Fish blocks

Once the Alexander Henry floral was chosen, the other fabrics were selected to go with it. Several lights seemed like a good idea then and still do today but I wish I'd used more fabrics for the colors.

Fifty-four Forty or Fight and Wheel of Fortune blocks

I used the blue and pink fabrics in the four blocks to finish the inner diamond.

Devil's Claws, Goose in the Pond, my variation on Michigan Star, and David and Goliath blocks

The purple and green fabrics made the eight blocks around it.

St. Louis Star and World's Fair blocks
I tried to use examples from each type of quilt block: four-, five-, seven- and nine- patches; eight-pointed stars, circular designs.

Little Giant and King David's Crown blocks

The center medallion is a design from an 1858 Godeys Ladies Book.

1858 Godeys Ladies Book medallion

Binding. Can you believe I also saved a bit of the green and black fabrics this long?

Binding and backing of Thirty Year Sampler

Quilt Details
Size: 84" x 84"
Design: Sampler
Batting: Mountain Mist 100%cotton
Thread: Metler quilting threads, Aurifil 50/2 cotton, DMC embroidery cotton
Quilting: Hand quilting and Machine, walking foot and free motion

Just a note: Happy birthday, Mother.

Enjoy the day, Ann

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Spiral Quilting

What's wrong with this quilting design? Once my quilting foot was on the design, I realized each spiral would put more and more of the quilt to the right of the needle. By the end the entire quilt would be there. Talk about a difficult way to quilt.
Spiral started the wrong way

So I rubbed this out with water and wound the spiral clockwise. Now half the quilt started to the right of the needle and every round moved it further to the left. I dodged a bullet.

But what did I do next? It was late, I was in a hurry, so I didn't hold the quilt square as the walking foot moved along the bias. In fact, I pulled on the quilt. Even though the top squared up nicely, by the time the quilting was done, I had a lovely flounced, Spanish-dancer of a quilt to get under control.

Do you see all the waves along the bottom?

Back of neutral string quilt shows lovely scraps from Stephie and spiral quilting
After carefully washing the quilt I measured across the middle to determine the length of a side of binding. The quilt had to be eased on each side.

This will never be an award-winner. Well, it wasn't planned to be. But I should have been more careful.

BTW: Lovely quilting design. I will use it again with much more care.

Enjoy the day, Ann

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Gifts from Abroad

Back in January, Stephie at Dawn Chorus Studio and I were inspired to exchange fabric scraps when we each noticed the other had a QIN {that's quilt-in-need.} Look at those darling foxes, bunnies, and birds. Of course, I got the better half because Stephie also included a couple of her hand sewn circles.

Scraps Abroad

She suggested I use her scraps to bind the quilt but they are too adorable. Wanting to see more of them, I added an insert of the prints on the back.

Stephie's fabric remnants create an insert on the back of this quilt
Just enough to finish off the back with some more saved for future projects. I'm reminded of Stephie every time I look at these.

Enjoy the day, Ann

Saturday, April 1, 2017

Kaleidoscope of Butterflies 15, Bees and the Guild Show Prep

Bees and Butterflies

My darling QS sent this butterfly card she made. It's beautifully tinted. So clever of her!

Butterfly card

From April 2015 to April 2016 the cultivated honeybee population declined 44%. Bees typically die off in the winter when food sources disappear but for the last two years we've lost as many during the summer as the winter. You understand why this is a problem: bees pollinate 35% of the world's food.

Scientists generally agree that species face extinction due to habitat loss, climate change, and rampant chemical use. We can help by not using pesticides and keeping some "weedy areas" in our yards. Bees like to live in dead/dying plants.

Here's an interesting article about entomologist Robin Thorp's continued search for the Franklin bee. Since this bee doesn't make honey, why should we care? Monoculture creates increased risk for species collapse. When a disease strikes a species, the greater the diversity of related species, the more likely they are to recover. Remember the die off of American chestnut trees and the battle against oak wilt? When one tree becomes the singular street tree it may look "pretty" in a mechanical way but greatly increases the transmission of disease. There is strength in diversity. {Hmm. This hits some political notes today.}

SCVQA Quilt Show in Santa Clara

Our biennial quilt show runs this weekend. I'm part of the the stand take-down crew. We start after the 300+ quilts are down. It's a quick operation and much easier since we recently purchased new rods.

Not only is SCVQA a larger group but we have a wide diversity of quilting - art, traditional, modern, really a bit of everything. Each show highlights one or two noted quilters. This year Mel Beach and Sue Bianchi share their artistry. Both are award-winners. Mel, known for her lively colors and modern style, has several quilts touring with challenge quilts. Meanwhile Sue frequently creates works based on photos and/or heavily embellished with buttons. Both are talented artists with unique visions who enjoy sharing ideas. The show's up through Sunday! {Hint, hint.}

It was worth the effort to get Spiderweb and my old Sampler finished in time for the show. I also entered Boxes {finished in 2016} and hope to share details of these next week.

Here's a portion of the Sampler as it was being blocked.

Sampler Medallion quilt
Block the Sampler before the show

There's still some time to link up with #AHIQChineseCoins.

Although {once again} I haven't made a kaleidoscope or butterfly block, I plan to share a design next month. Tune in and let's see how colorful we can be in May.

Enjoy the day, Ann

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