Tuesday, October 30, 2018

A Square Deal

Right before sewing things together, I found a huge flaw in my design: it would be just under fifty inches. Too large for a baby quilt and too small for a throw. This one feels like a keeper so it needs to be larger.

A double border overwhelms the small center {no photo} but increasing the block to a 16-patch makes it a bit larger without ruining the design. This works well for me. The layout works, the right scale looks good, and it adds eleven inches to the length. Two weeks later and I'm almost back to square one. Haha.

The Square Deal quilt block
In Jinny Beyer's Quilters Album of Patchwork Patterns, this block {without the strings} is called The Square Deal. It first appeared in the 1932 Kansas City Star. Was it named for Teddy Roosevelt's domestic program whose basic goals included conservation of natural resources, control of corporations and consumer protection? I'm not sure; however, anything that strengthens the middle class, reins in oligarchs, and protects our environment would be welcome to this day.

Work slowly continues on the sawtooth sashing for the New York Beauty/Rocky Mountain Road. Each uses twenty-one triangles. Currently I'm working on a few sets at a time so something is always "almost done." It's so depressing to work for a couple of hours and only see one triangle added to the overall lengths. Just a way to fake myself out.

Sawtooth sashing for New York Beauty/Rocky Mountain Road

Enjoy the day, Ann

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Maps, Sashing, and Humboldt County

When I'm uncertain how to proceed with an idea I just ignore the situation and work on something else that "needs to be done" so I feel like I'm actually progressing... but I'm not. My friend, Mel, laughingly calls it Productive Procrastination.

Somewhere the map from Valerie Goodwin's class devolved into ignorance and, despite my interest in map quilts I'm confused how to sew something other than a paper map re-creation, petrified of making a mistake, worried that the resources will dry up or disappear. As if I'd ever run out of fabric in my lifetime.

To avoid facing these issues, I've been sewing sawtooth sashing for the Rocky Mountain Trails/New York Beauty quilt. A good thing since they've been in a pile for a couple of years. With 38 complete now, I'm halfway through.

Sawtooth sashing strips

I finally forced myself to start cutting and sewing fabric for my first map quilt. Funny thing. As I sewed, the project became easier. Yes, there are mistakes places I'm not completely satisfied with my work; however, the top went together much more quickly than expected. And many new ideas are inspiring me to create more map quilts. Details of the map project are on AdHoc Improv Quilts.

With the map top completed, there was absolutely no quilting this weekend. Instead we visited friends in Humboldt County. First we drove through coastal redwood forests. Topping out near 400 feet, they are the largest trees on earth, grow in cool regions near the ocean from San Simeon north into Oregon, and collect much of their water from fog.

Humboldt Redwoods State Park: Founder's Grove

Taking a break, we walked the Founders' Grove loop at Humboldt Redwoods. It's less than a mile, very flat, and includes some of the largest trees in the park. The opening in this redwood is much taller than me; my outstretched hands couldn't touch the top. Inside the hollow extended two or three stories. How many people have sheltered in this cozy room over millennia? Top right is the root structure of a toppled redwood. Bottom right is the 346-foot Founders Tree. I never could get the entire tree in a photo. That sign is about two-feet high.

It was foggy and chilly. Temperatures on the road were mid-60s (17 degrees C) but dropped to the 40s on the trail. Brr.

Back in the car and on to Eureka where we toured the Dick Taylor Chocolate factory. This "bean to bar" chocolatier started when two carpenters read about chocolates on the way to a wedding. They purchase beans from several places to make single source chocolates. On the table are two cocoa pods with a roaster behind them. Afterwards they let us sample all their varieties. I liked the Belize but the others preferred Madagascar chocolate.

Dick Taylor Chocolate factory tour

With beautifully clear weather we took an afternoon harbor cruise on the Madaket, the oldest boat in continuous service in the US. It also contains the smallest licensed US bar. Don't you love all the qualifiers?  We saw several islands with numerous birds and sea lions.
Madaket harbor cruise ship

Sunday morning meant a trip to Los Bagels. On their opening day they had a problem with the bagel maker. Instead of bagel shapes, they got slugs - oval shapes with no hole in the center. They cooked those anyway, topping them with a mix of dried onion, garlic, and seeds which they named Slug Slime. They are a big hit to this day as well as a lesson to us all. Not every mistake is a disaster. Open-minded thinking can help us all reorient our results.

Los Bagels, Arcata CA

Enjoy the day, Ann

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Color Study Chinese Coins Finished

Binding attached, signed, washed and dried. The Color Study quilt is ready to use. It's a lovely size for a throw and a friend of mine might enjoy it.

Color Study Chinese Coins quilt

Back of the quilt is a collage of corals.

Back of Color Study Chinese Coins quilt

Originally, I wanted to bind the quilt in dark blue but didn't have enough of any. There was some bright orange/coral in the discard pile that worked well.

Quilting and binding detail, Color Study Chinese Coins quilt

I found a Hobbs 100% cotton batt which is another favorite of mine. Plus, it's made in Mexia, Texas located between Dallas and Houston.

Quilt Details
Size: 62" x 72"
Design: Bars variation of Chinese Coins
Batting: Hobbs 100% cotton
Thread: peach Gutermann cotton thread and YLI smoke monofilament nylon
Quilting: Straight lines with walking foot

Previous posts:
  1. Sewing the top
  2. Stitch in the ditch quilting
  3. Walking foot quilting
Maureen at MysticQuilter is working on these same blocks in batiks. We both enjoy mixing the many fabrics in within the constraints of a block. Each has its own individual style.

Enjoy the day, Ann

Tuesday, October 9, 2018

A Border Ready and Waiting

I'm still working on the HSTs and came up with a great plan while putting the extra HSTs away. In the box were the Cultural Fusion Crossroads blocks that have been waiting over a year.

A dark block anchors each corner while the remaining Crossroads blocks were added in two possible values. They both look good to me. The one on the right needs a very strong border while the one on the left needs something else. The blocks won't fit together without some type of border or adjustment.

Dark and light borders around HST center

Compare the photos above with the one below which was an early version of Chinese Coins II. Even though the stars are about the same size as the triangles and the coins in CCII are narrower than those in HST, my Crossroads blocks changed appearance like a chameleon. They are spindly and fragile below but perfect with the HSTs. Like they were planned for this design. Why this works is something I need to study more.

Chinese Coins II quilt with possible Crossroads block border

In other news, Color Study's binding is on. It should be a finish soon.

Binding strips cut, then sewing to back first

A group of us visited the San Jose Museum of Quilts and Textiles recently. Their exhibits included fifteen or more swing coats by Patricia Montgomery celebrating important women of the Civil Rights Movement.

Honoring the Heroines of the Civil Rights Movement: Patricia A Montgomery
exhibit at The San Jose Museum of Quilts and Textiles

Construction is highlighted by the unfinished coat on the wall. The textiles and colors of each coat vary. They are embellished with quotes and photos celebrating each heroines importance. In a time when Helen Keller has been removed from Texas social studies textbooks, it's even more important to remember that women can effect change as much as men.

Strong People Don't Need Strong Leaders - Ella Josephine Baker

This yellow coat highlights Ella Baker who advanced group-centered (grass-roots) leadership where people "directly directly participate in the decisions that effect their lives." One advantage is that the movement becomes important rather than a single charismatic leader. This idea led to longer-lived, independent organizations such as the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee (SNCC).

Enjoy the day, Ann

Tuesday, October 2, 2018

Tea and Ephemera with Judy Coates-Perez

Judy Coates-Perez spoke at our guild recently and I was fortunate enough to take her class. A graphic artist, she's taught for decades and has very professional, open-ended classes. Her topics are well-organized; she doesn't try to teach everything in one day.

And the wealth of knowledge she shares! Because she's worked in mixed media so long, Judy knows how almost every paint and dye react, different tools and products that have come on (and gone from) the market, as well as the best uses for everything.

Collage from Tea and Ephemera class with Judy Coates-Perez

We each started class with a piece of fabric Judy had already treated with ink. It looks like old parchment but those dark spots are from ink rather than dye. Then we worked through screen printing, inking and printing on tea bags, collaging papers, stamping, stenciling, painting and using color pencils.

Each of these could have been an entire day but Judy gave us concise instructions and turned us loose to practice them for a while. She encouraged us to view this class as extended practice sessions rather than worry about creating a single finished work. She uses her class examples in an interesting way - cutting them up before resewing as a background for further painting.

She's a very generous teacher, sharing all her knowledge openly. Occasionally teachers want to hold certain information back but Judy shared everything this class encompassed. Our class fee included a CD with all the handouts for this class. Such a clever idea that saved our hands from cramping while we took notes.

Judy recently taught in Karlsruhe, Germany so Europeans might have an opportunity to take a class with her. If you get the chance, take it!

Photos of her work and information about her workshops, books, and supplies are on her website. She brought Primordial Sea and Moon Garden to our meeting. What a treat to view her art so closely.

Enjoy the day, Ann