Tuesday, December 31, 2019

Quilting Year in Review and AHIQ Prompt 2020

"The hallmark of those countries and companies that continually thrive is that they continually reinvent themselves."
~ David Rothkopf

So long 2019. It's been a rough year for our family. How fortunate that my siblings and I get along so well. They are the best. With all that, you'd think I wouldn't have done much quilting and yet there are more finishes than ever {although the stash level hasn't dropped much.} How did that happen? Most of them are baby quilts - relatively quick, easy to quilt since there is less weight to manipulate, and a great way to use up extra bits.

Chinese Coins,
Scrap quilt combines leftover Chinese Coins with red, pink, and orange solids to make HSTs. A narrow turquoise inner border and a wider border printed with multicolored triangles finishes the quilt.
Scrap quilt using leftover Chinese Coins to make HSTs

Lone Stars,

Red, yellow, orange, and purple fabrics create a modern Lone Star set on a yellow background printed with large medallions. The navy border is printed with colorful geckos  and the corners are a red and orange batik.
Lone Star baby quilt

and Hourglasses featured heavily.

The colors of a wide variety of solid fabrics sweep across the surface of this quilt. Pink, orange, red, brown, blues, green, and yellow are included.
Hourglass quilt in solids

Parallel lines, spirals, and fans are my go to quilting designs. The first two use a walking foot but the fans are FMQ. Angela Walters' YouTube videos have given me many new designs to quilt and smaller quilts are the perfect playground. Fifteen baby quilts, two small collage quilts, and only two lap quilts.

After several years of declaring I'd start sewing clothing again it finally happened: three dresses and two shirts.

A dolman-sleeved dress in a large scale blue print next to an Aloha shirt printed with surfing Santas.
Examples of the clothing sewed in 2019
What's up for 2020? Several larger quilts that were set aside. Once the quilting is done on the Square Deal, I'd like to finish Tethys Waves and the star quilt but I also have more clothes in mind. Having a friend to sew with helps with clothing; we encourage each other and help with fitting. Hopefully I can leave more time for new projects like wall quilts or art quilts. Several of these ideas have been running around my brain for a few years. It's time to make the time to make them.

Monthly FUR (Fabric Use Rate) 
Two finished baby quilts = 7.75 yds plus two yards donated for a monthly total of 9.75 yds. I only started tracking in October so the grand total for the past three months is 72 yds.

AHIQ Prompt 2020
Kaja and I email frequently - especially when a new prompt is due. Trying to remember all the previous prompts was difficult so we added a page just for them because we all get behind in our intentions or change our minds about a project or simply want to review the past. We've tossed several ideas around and decided some need more gestation. In the meanwhile I finished another hourglass quilt, this time for my niece, and am discovering several more ideas. Kaja commented that she'd like to explore those blocks, too. It seemed like a good prompt for the beginning of 2020.

Would you like to join us exploring Hourglass? While we are thinking of the simple block, it could have many other interpretations. That's part of the joy of improvisation. What does it mean to you?

Use the hashtag #AHIQhourglass so we can find your work and post it on the AdHoc blog. More details there.

Happy New Year!

Enjoy the day, Ann

Tuesday, December 24, 2019

Back to the Square Deal

"I slept and dreamt that life was joy. I awoke and saw that life was service. 
I acted and behold, service was joy."
~ Rabindranath Tagore

When I saw Tula Pink's Free Fall extra wide on a trip it called to be made into a dress but without the pattern I couldn't calculate yardage. The store closed and that opportunity was lost. Finding the fabric online seemed like a sign but... It's printed at a much, much larger scale. Instead of kumquat-sized circles, these are grapefruit. Who needs a quilt back 108" wide but only 72" long? The mistake compounds - absolutely not a dress and not enough for a larger quilt either. It could be the back to several baby quilts.

Tethys Waves needs a back but this is much too short so I pulled out other quilt tops. According to my calculations it was just enough for the back of Square Deal but once pinned it came up an inch short. Grr. Fortunately there's loads of width left so I matched the design as best as I could, pinned and then glued it in place, then took the whole mess to the machine to sew the seam. Crazy but it worked {if you don't look at the birds closely because they are different angles.}

Pale blue sateen printed with five-inch olive green polka dots interspersed with a few flying swallows.
Large scale Tula Pink Free Fall fabric back

SID the sashing and borders was my first task {Hey, I remembered!} then I stitched the edge of the quilt to keep it from pleating during the FMQ.

Bernina 1240 is used to stitch in the ditch the sashing and borders of The Square Deal.
SID sashing, borders and sides of quilt

The dreaded thread color decision was next. I could use red to match the large HSTs, light blue to blend with the Coins, or nylon monofilament to cover it all. The blue looked terrible on the HSTs while the red wasn't quite as bad on the Coins {probably because of their variety} so that was the choice. You might have to enlarge the photo to see the threads crossing it. Let that be a lesson to us all; sometimes we create a bigger deal out of things than is called for. {I do this almost every time I choose thread. Sigh.}

Both thread colors are laid on the quilt top to choose which one works better.
Red or light blue quilting thread?

Because the back is light blue I tested that color in the bobbin. No threads are peaking through from the other side this time. Yea.

The quilting designs came from Angela Walters YouTube videos. While the wishbones are easier, I can't make the quilting travel easily so I'm going with the echoed lines although it involves more quilting and more time.

A plastic overlay is used to mark free motion petals, libbon candy, and parallel lines that might be used on The Square Deal quilt.
Three variations of a quilting design from Angela Walters

OTOH ribbon candy might look nice on the sashing and straight lines here will add good contrast. That's my story for now. We'll see what emerges.

Merry Christmas to all!

Enjoy the day, Ann

Tuesday, December 17, 2019

Adding Flowers to Tethys Waves

"The danger is not that America will collapse into a Depression tomorrow... The danger is that the paralysis of the American political system - its inability to tackle any big multigenerational problem anymore - will just very slowly erode our strengths and assets as a society. We will slowly choke off immigration, slowly give up our commitment to free trade, slowly allow the budgets for research in science to decline, slowly let our public schools slide into mediocrity, and only slowly face up to our energy challenge."
Thomas L. Friedman
Hot, Flat, and Crowded, p20, 2008

Friends are a blessing. The blue striped yardage from Kaja that was used to bind the Froggy Star reminded me of Tethys Waves because it's in the same family of blues. There's enough to appliqué triangles over those gaping white triangles on the sides. But then... Thinking about the AHIQ flower challenge, a better solution presented itself. You guessed it. Flowers. A small bit of red batik scrunched under some larger pieces lurked in my stash. Ah, the joys of cleaning house... Well, at least of cleaning the sewing room.

Red batik flower petals with striped blue centers.
Half flower pinned on the sides

Can you tell I don't appliqué much? That's a lot of pins. But this time I wanted to see the result before sewing everything. See, this old dog can learn a new trick. After pinning three red petals and adding a blue center to one I can tell the idea works. It tones down the gaping white triangles while blending with the floral theme of the red squares.

The cream corners are filled with half flowers of red batik and blue centers.
Half flowers added to Ocean Waves

It's only eight half flowers. How long could it take? Knowing myself, much too long if handwork was involved. So these were blanket stitched by machine in matching thread. Done it a couple of hours.

Red and white print creates centers for an Ocean Waves quilt. The side triangles are filled with red batik half flowers with navy blue striped centers.
Tethys Waves quilt top with side flowers
Now to find a back. And consider whether or not to add a border. And figure out a quilting design that won't take the rest of my life.

Off the Bookshelf

The cover shows a blond woman in a ruby red Regency gown  looking over her shoulder. Fairy lights of glamour light up the background. I enjoyed the Lady Astronaut series so much I picked up Shades of Milk and Honey, too. It's the first of an older series by Mary Robinette Kowal set in Regency England with a small twist - magic exists. Threads of glamour can be pulled and twisted to created visible images. Young ladies of quality are expected to practice this talent along with painting and music.

Mary credits Jane Austen as her inspiration. While not as complex and deft as Jane's novels, it is an intriguing read that reminded me of Rick Riordan's first book, The Lightning Thief - another clever first book developing a coherent alternate world - that should improve throughout the series. Definitely worth the time.

Enjoy the day, Ann

Tuesday, December 10, 2019

Froggy Went a' Courting

"Quilts leave messages in signs and symbols."
~Kathy Doughty

This is absolutely the end of the stripe now sewn as the border. The top is quilted and bound. {No more sticking it back in the stash to age some more.} Instead of salamanders, this one features frogs. I finished the other first because it attracted me a bit more but I've changed my mind. This is my new favorite of the pair. Ha. How's that for fickle affection?

Blue, green, yellow, purple, orange, and red fabrics create a modern Lone Star set on a turquoise print background. The navy border is printed with colorful frogs and the corners are another blue print.
Lone Star quilt 9 with frog border

For the back there wasn't enough of any fabric that worked with the front so I sewed WOFs together... and it still came up short. One more narrow pale blue strip was added. If you ignore that strip it looks a bit like a flag, doesn't it?

My now standard spiral was the quilting choice. This time I held it properly so the result is wave-free. Easy peasy if I just remember to position my hands correctly.

Folded quilt shows part of the front and the background sewn of orange, medium blue, and pale blue print fabrics,
Four stripes make the back of this Lone Star quilt

Next up was binding. The top has lots of bright colors. For a while I tried to match/coordinate with one of them but none worked. Then I really looked at the border. At the outside is a dull navy; not at all expected but it makes the brights shine.

Taking that as an example, I pulled the last of the stripe with dull navies, greys, and reds from Kaja. Perfect. And I have an idea for the remnant, too. Fabrics are moving out of the stash and out the door.

A navy stripe homespun is used to bind this Lone Star quilt.
Binding detail on Lone Star quilt 9

Open, folded, or or simply tossed, this one looks cheery and bright.

What happy memories are sewn into this quilt. The frogs are an obvious sign {see quote above} but it holds deeper memories for me. This child especially loved to play at the creek, wandering miles up and down stream. He brought home loads of precious flotsam/junk every trip - from fossils to tadpoles to bits of pipe stuck in concrete. Lone Stars remind me of one house where my parents had a classic example on their bed. I snuggled under it next to Mother while we watched Wizard of Oz, pulling it over my eyes whenever the wicked witch appeared but keeping my ears open for Glinda. Oh, to have a dress like hers!

Folded quilt shows the front, back, and binding.
Lone Star quilt 9 detail

Quilt Specifics
Size: 38"x38"
Design: Lone Star
Batting: Pellon 100% cotton
Thread: Gutermann 50 wt light blue cotton
Quilting: Spiral with a walking foot
Approximate yardage: 3.75 yd

Off the Bookshelf
DD sent me Old Man's War by John Scalzi, telling me I would enjoy it. She was correct - as usual.
The cover shows a squadron of spacecraft flying to a white planet with red streaks.
Scalzi is a long-time blogger but this was his first science fiction novel; there are currently six in the series and I plan to read them all. At 75, people from Earth may enlist in the Colonial Defense Forces and leave Earth to fight aliens. No one knows how their bodies are enhanced but John Perry and his wife sign up anyway.

Scalzi writes confidently and clearly about what makes us human as well as mortality and life extension. He also begins addressing the ethics of war and humanity's inhumanity, concepts I expect to be developed as the series progresses. I've ordered the second book, The Ghost Brigade.

Enjoy the day, Ann

Tuesday, December 3, 2019

Reprise and Somebody Had Her Face Washed

This is the other baby-size top from that old nine-patch exchange. The tan is the same fabric as the center of the previous quilt but the blue and red are different. And all of these blues and red were used up making these two quilts. Yea!

It seemed like a good idea to practice my new FMQ skills again. I used the same design on the nine patches as the first quilt. The outer tans have a new-to-me dot-to-dot from Angela's video. The middle one had the same problem as the previous quilt - it needed a "centered" design. This one didn't turn out as well as I'd hoped but it was still good practice. The red and blue squares got figure eights this time but I rotated the design for the two colors. {Just for fun.} Thread on each of those squares had to be started and stopped but all the others traveled or ended in at the edge.

A scrap quilt with small nine-patches alternate with red, cadet blue, or tan solid squares are quilted with a variety of free motion designs.
Four-Patch Nine-Patch baby quilt 2 with quilting ideas from Angela Walters

I forgot to SID at the beginning so had to add it as a final step. Note to self: if you're going to SID, do it first.

The forest green back highlights the many free motion point-to-point quilting designs
Back of Four-Patch Nine-Patch baby quilt 2 with quilting ideas from Angela Walters

Despite a box full of solids, none of them worked for binding except a tan twill. Because it was a bit thicker than quilting cotton I wondered if it would work at all. I sewed the binding to the back first then pressed it - an important step to make the binding smooth. After folding the binding to the front and pinning every few inches, it was easy to sew close to the edge.

Quilt Specifics
Size: 40" x 40"
Design: Four-patch nine-patch
Batting: Mountain Mist Cream Rose 100% cotton
Thread: grey, red and blue Gutermann 50 wt cotton
Quilting: FMQ based on Angela Walters videos and walking foot SID
Approximate Yardage: 4 yd 

Clara has been bothering me quite a while because she looks like a tart. When I couldn't stand it any longer, I removed her heavy red triangles of blush and added two small peach hexagons instead. She still has false eyelashes and they will stay. The hussy!

The large, bright red triangles of blush on Clara's face are replaced with small, peach circles and give her a softer look.
Clara collage quilt with a facewash

I hope your Thanksgiving was as delightful as mine. Lots of family gathered together. My daughter suggested I purchase a Spiralizer apple peeler for the pies and crumbles. They are a lovely company out of Wyoming with great personal service. How did I manage all these years without it? We all took turns coring, slicing, and/or peeling the apples and potatoes. This little machine lets you pick and choose among these features plus it has an additional appliance that juliennes. I have a food processor but this little hand-turned machine works much more easily.

The red enameled Spiralizer has a long bright steel screw to push the apples through the peeling and slicing mechanism. The cardboard box is in the background.
Spiralizer apple and potato peeler

You know you're a Texan if you think Blue Bell makes the best ice cream. I hadn't been to Brenham since the children were in grade school. Things have changed.

A collage of three photos show a statue of the Blue Bell logo in the garden, the front of the creamery factory, and the ice cream store counter inside the building.
Blue Bell Creamery

The girl with her cow is printed on every carton so, of course, they commissioned it for their front lawn. The last time we visited, tour guides led us around to watch workers filling buckets with ice cream. Now we washed our hands before entering and were not allowed to bring food or drinks. The factory floor is much more automated and every worker is carefully garbed for safety. It still looks like a great place to work and the ice cream is delicious.

Family left in stages and almost everyone missed the weather delays. Now it's so quiet. Good thing I have some projects to keep me busy or I'd be crying.

Enjoy the day, Ann

Tuesday, November 26, 2019

Free Motion Quilting Practice

"The American people must understand that as soon as America doesn't stand for something in the world, there is going to be a tremendous erosion of freedom. It is true. And yet, it is awful hard to convince people of it at home."
~George H.W. Bush

From time to time I remember to check my YouTube subscriptions. Recently Angela Walters started a new series called, Help! How Do I Quilt It? which I've found helpful. She is extremely organized yet friendly and funny. She created a panel printed with all the blocks she discusses quilting over the series and sells thread and other tools. And then she taped these videos that are freely available. I really, really, really don't need another project so I didn't purchase the panel {That would have been too easy.} so I was just watching them randomly.

Angela's first video discussed nine patches and oh, how I wished for a small quilt to practice. Then I recalled these blocks from a trade many years ago. I sewed them into two baby-sized tops last year but all the solids gave me the willies so I put it away.

Small nine-patch blocks alternate with cadet blue, bright red, and tan solid fabric blocks and highlight a variety of free motion quilting.
Four-Patch Nine-Patch baby quilt with quilting ideas from Angela Walters videos

Angela showed several ways to quilt the block but she returned to the start each time since that worked best for her panel. Mine was already sewn and I wanted to travel from one block to the next to avoid starts and stops. Also, my nine-patches are "backwards" so I wanted the x's in the corners.

It took half the day marking the vinyl {the best idea to practice quilting designs I've ever found} but I finally figured out how to do it. Here's a diagram of my variation of Angela's design. There are nine pictures on this graph going across and then down {with space between each picture.}

Traveling nine-patch quilting design based on Angela Walters video will move across the quilt without stopping. No need to tie and bury threads.
Traveling nine-patch quilting design based on Angela Walters videos

Since Angela was so gracious to film videos, I don't want to reiterate all her details. This is just a reminder to myself of the order I quilted the nine patches. Go watch her series. It's fabulous. But my version moves me across each block so I can quilt them diagonally.

And here's a photo of the front and back of my quilt after completing all the nine patches. You'll notice only two of the corners have x's. The others could be done by sewing a diagonal line the other way across the quilt. It's the only way I could figure to allow me to end up on the opposite side of the quilt without backstitching.

Two collaged photos show orange peel FMQ in progress from the front and back of the quilt.
Nine-patch quilting based on Angela Walters design

All that and the large solid squares are still not done.

After watching her video again I decided to add quilt the red and blue squares with dot-to-dot on one side and continuous curve on the other. Angela had one more line of dot-to-dot but again, I wanted to travel across the block rather than finish at the starting point.

Then I framed the tan squares and used curves I call figure eights but Angela calls wishbone. Her wishbones have much smaller curves; something to work on. The last four squares on the middle of each side seemed to need a centered design so I created my own variation as Angela. It did end up back at the start but it's on the edge. No threads to bury.

This photo shows all the quilting but you'll notice none of the squares are SID.

wo collaged photos show finished point-to-point FMQ from the front and back of the quilt.
Quilting designs on Four-patch Nine-patch quilt

Angela and I both have a compulsion to keep those seams from coming loose. So my final step was to take care of those long seams. I used the walking foot. Usually SID is my first step. Doing it last meant this was not as neat as one could hope. Lesson learned.

It's a lot of quilting and took more time than I usually spend on a baby quilt but the point was to practice her methods. Learning new skills always takes more time.

The forest green back of the quilt highlights all the quilting designs.
Quilting designs on Four-patch Nine-patch quilt with stitch-in-ditch added between blocks

Changing colors on the different squares meant there were several threads to bury. I have two drawers of thread and none of them are tan. But as part of my clean-it-out kick I chose to use what's on hand. The grey was too stark against the red and blue squares so I changed threads.

There was just enough red remaining to bind the quilt. The back looks a bit Christmasy but it matches the red on front.

I learned new ways to think about quilting, tried several new designs and feel more confident. This one can go on the baby quilt stack... you know, the one I've spent half a year trying to build up.

A darker red solid binds the Four-patch Nine-patch quilt
Binding detail

Quilt Specifics
Size: 40" x 40"
Design: Four-patch nine-patch
Batting: Mountain Mist Cream Rose 100% cotton
Thread: grey, red and blue Gutermann 50 wt cotton
Quilting: FMQ based on Angela Walters videos and walking foot SID
Approximate Yardage: 4 yd 

Monthly FUR (Fabric Use Rate) 
For my records, October saw three finished quilts = 17.75 yds, one shirt = 3.5 yds, and 2 yards donated for a total of 23.25 yards.

After my niece's baby shower we visited the George H.W. Bush library in College Station which none of us had seen before.

Front view of the library includes a large fountain surrounded by eight flagpoles flying American flags.
George H.W. Bush Library

With much more land than his son's at SMU so there is room to add Air Force One when it's retired as well as the engine that carried his body here. George, Barbara, and their daughter, Robin, are buried nearby.

The museum is chronologically arranged with sequential rooms for various stages of his life. Interestingly, a section of the Berlin wall was gifted to the library by the citizens of Berlin. This side faced West Germany while the other side is completely blank. They are spread worldwide. I've seen other sections at Rice University in Houston, Montreal, and Mountain View, California. Have you seen any?

The West Berlin side of the wall is painted in multi-colors and includes the word Vision.
A section of the Berlin Wall

A room dedicated to the Gulf war held the Gate of Kuwait. The hundred-year-old door is framed with plates bearing the names of American service members killed in that conflict and contains this inscription:

The names of all American lives lost in the Gulf War are engraved on the gate.
Gate of Kuwait
"When a man gives you the key to his home it means you are the best and most valuable friend to him; when a man gives you the door to his home it means that you are one of his family."

Happy Thanksgiving. I hope everyone connects with family or friends - whether in person, writing, voice or video.

Enjoy the day, Ann

Tuesday, November 19, 2019

Pastel Hourglasses

"Today there are those who travel by sea to new lands, hoping for a new life. 
They are likely to find themselves locked up or locked out.... 
How would all our lives be if the original [European settlers] were sent back?"
~Kathy Doughty

A niece is expecting her first child and decorating in very soft pink, green, grey, and white. The quilt needs to be finished before the baby shower. Time to get cracking. I purchased this charm pack a while ago for a specific reason. After making a quilt with brights I wondered what it would look like in pastels. Now I have the opportunity to find out.

A collage of two photos shows the 5-inch charm pack combined with a variety of pastel solids from my stash.
Charm pack of pastel Kona solids

Although I've never been a fan of precuts {it was a difficult road for me to accept fat quarters and that was about as small as I've been willing to purchase} what I like about this method is the way the pack expands the results of a smaller collection of solid yardage.

I cut WOFs of all {six} light/pastel solids in my stash and crosscut them into five-inch squares {like the pack.} Each charm was paired with a "non-charm" to spread the WOFs across the most fabrics. I.e., make the most variations of the pairs available. It was easy to keep straight because the charms are pinked. Only when the charms ran out did I pair WOF with other WOFs. Make sense?

The pairs were cut into QSTs and sewed into hourglasses so there are two blocks from each pair. Then I moved them around on the design wall for a while. Random worked out as a better layout than the color sweeps of the previous quilt. Did anyone else ever read Ann McCaffrey's Crystal Singer trilogy? After Killashandra Ree goes to a planet for work, her eyes become much more sensitized to color. Ok. There's a lot more to the story than this but these soft colors that aren't photographing well remind me of that minor plot detail.

 3.5-inch hourglass blocks are placed on the design wall as they are sewn and pressed.
Hourglass blocks on the design wall

Again I simply SID to quilt it which lets the fabric shine, especially after a bit of shrinkage from a gentle wash and dry.

 White and grey lawn mixes with with pastel Kona solids from both a charm pack and my personal stash.
Pastel hourglass baby quilt

The back is one piece of lovely white lawn extended with a strip of pink. So soft! The baby will love it.

The quilt is folded so the the white lawn back is visible. A stripe of pink solid fabric runs across the back to add interest.

Grey lawn creates the binding.

The folded quilt shows the front, back, and grey lawn binding. The stitch-in-the-ditch quilting shows better on the back.
Binding detail on pastel Hourglass baby quilt

It's certainly the softest I've ever made - not only the colors but the finely woven lawn feels like loving kisses. So this baby will be wrapped in a cloud.

Quilt Specifics
Size: 42" x 42"
Design: Hourglass
Batting: Mountain Mist Cream Rose
Thread: 60-wt pale pink Aurifil cotton thread 
Quilting: SID with walking foot
Approximate Yardage: 4 yds

True Confessions

To my mother's dismay I've always been very hard on shoes and gloves. QS gave me a pair of quilting gloves which I promptly put holes in. On a whim I put on a NEW pair of gardening gloves and have been using them for two years. They are a bit thick but really grasp the quilt. No holes and they were much cheaper than the specialty quilting gloves. 

New rubberized, turquoise gardening gloves allow better control while machine quilting on a domestic machine.
Use new gardening gloves to machine quilt
Off the Bookshelf

The cover shows the title in large red type with a subtitle: Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley Startup.
Bad Blood by John Carreyrou has been on my hold list at the library for a while and it's finally my turn. Begun as a series of investigative articles it relates the rise and fall of Theranos whose founder, Elizabeth Holmes, claimed to have created a way to run many lab tests from a single drop of blood.

One of the interesting takeaways is that none of the board members had significant medical expertise. I'd never considered the need to take a step back and think about the hurdles every company faces - regulatory, industry sector, financial. Does a company have employees to meet those needs and does their board have sufficient depth to govern/oversee their efforts? Private companies have more problems in this area because they may not have the advice and experience of a knowledgeable, widely-skilled board.

Enjoy the day, Ann

Tuesday, November 12, 2019

The Rose Quilt is Finally Finished

"If you want to hear the sound of God's laughter, just tell Him your plans."

I like to pretend there aren't a bunch of quilt tops waiting to be quilted but cleaning the sewing room out brought them to the surface. No more kidding myself. One is the Rose quilt {last worked on September 2018. Yikes!} Why did this pretty quilt end up stuffed in a dark corner?

Truthfully FOMMWQ {fear of making a mistake while quilting} hit hard. Every idea became much too complicated. Despite my trepidation, the stems were easy - just some FMQ loops...  until running out of green thread. And you know how hard it is to purchase more. Hahaha.

Still, quilting the roses became an ever-larger nightmare. McTavishing seemed like it would make petal-like curves. Great idea but heavy stitching might make the quilt stiff or make it pull oddly if everything else wasn't quilted equally closely. So I warted and worried it to death then gave it a quick burial in the closet. Guilt arose each time it was opened.

Chinese Coin background with three large red roses of improvisational log cabin piecing. The stems and leaves are green batik applique.
Chinese Coins with Roses quilt

This past week it occurred to me that the roses could be an improv challenge. Remember Kaja's flower post? Ok, there are several flowery ideas running through my mind but at the rate I'm going it may be next year before there's time to work on them.  So...

After watching YouTube videos by Karen herself and Leah Day, I found Amy Johnson whose curlicues spoke to me. About the same time I realized the quilting could be spaced further apart. {Too soon old and too late smart.} A few hours practicing the technique with dry erase marker on my vinyl overlay gave me the confidence to begin again.

Photos of these overlays on top of the quilt didn't show well so here they are against the design wall. This is a practice rose.

Quilting design sketched on plastic overlay using a black marker.
Larger scale spirals and McTavishing with a marker

The result of facing fear is often the discovery that it's not that difficult. Nike is right. Just Do It!

Serpentine FMQ mimics petals on the roses.
Detail of quilting the roses

Two sections down; only the background left to fill. Julie's combination of fans and flowers would make a garden of flowers for the roses to emerge from...  and they could use more flowers in their garden. ;-)

In the first attempt petals curved and hopped. Unfortunately, I'm a hopper. My curves get out of control quite easily.

FMQ mixing flowers, spirals, and fans sketched on plastic overlay in black marker.
Mixing flowers, spirals, and fans in FMQ

After several iterations, my flower petals are much shorter, more like scallops. And most of my fans turned into spirals. Fans or spirals. Both seems okay. My main takeaway from all the practice is that the flower petals should not overlap. A few peeking through the arcs seems better.

FMQ mixing more flowers, spirals, and fans sketched on plastic overlay in black marker.
More flowers, spirals, and fans in FMQ

The light blue thread was very hard to see but slowing my speed kept me from crossing quilting lines.  It only took two days to complete the quilting. After a quick wash and dry the quilt crinkled beautifully. {This is why I love Mountain Mist batts. The shrink just enough. Like Goldilocks and the Three Bears.}

There was just enough blue gingham print (not yarn dyed) for the binding. Well, one skinny strip went into the scrap bag.

Folded quilt highlights the binding and the front of the quilt.
Gingham binding on Chinese Coins with Roses quilt

Previous posts:
  1. Attempting to Applique the Roses
  2. Adding Pieced Roses
  3. Strewing Roses
  4. Adding Stems and Leaves
  5. Top Done
The back is a conglomeration of floral fabrics to echo the pieced ones on front.

Eight floral prints combine to make the back.
Back of Chinese Coins with Roses quilt

Quilt Specifics
Size: 59" x 52"
Design: Chinese Coins with improv pieced roses
Batting: Mountain Mist Cream Rose 100% cotton
Thread: green, red and blue Gutermann 50 wt cotton
Quilting: FMQ loops, spirals, fans, and flowers
Approximate Yardage: 8.5 yd 
(guesstimate because mainly scraps)

Off the Bookshelf

Quilts in the Cotswalds by Kaffe Fassett and Organic Appliqué by Kathy Doughty/At the library this week I found two, count 'em TWO, new quilt books and snagged both to read. Quilts in the Cotswalds by Kaffe Fassett and Organic Appliqué by Kathy Doughty are thoughtful reads with my morning coffee. I want to return to large scale prints and these both encourage that. Reading about creative methods sparks new ideas of our own {or you can follow their designs.} These books even have coordinating covers.

Enjoy the day, Ann

Tuesday, November 5, 2019

A New Face to the World

"We do not have government by the majority. We have government by the majority who participate."
~Thomas Jefferson

I voted today. Did you? Make time to quilt and to vote.

Remember the Faces class with Freddy Moran? This is what I made after lunch. What a hoot!

 Clara's face with blue eyes and emoji printed fabric for pigtails glued in place.
Clara with emoji pigtails collage quilt top

I found the emoji fabric by Timeless Treasures in Dallas last year intending to use it in a baby quilt. While the scientific fabric was made up, this just lingered in the stash. I cut two rows of emojis and dropped one on the background. It just looked like pigtails and there was the top. Freddy loved this fabric so I cut two more rows for her. I can't wait to see what she makes with it.

Circles of yellow emojis with a variety of expression including heart eyes, sunglasses, laughing until it cries.
Detail of emoji pigtails

The eyebrows were petals {from that wild black and white fabric that was Jane's eyes.} Adding the line of her cheek defines her face as a heart. At home, I plucked some eyelashes, repositioned her lower lip, and found brighter red confetti.

Then I thought about the quilting. Each fabric on Jane's had a thread change. That seems a bit much for an improvisational piece. On the other hand, I couldn't see anything when quilting the background with clear nylon monofilament. I'd like to quilt over/across the collaged pieces rather than outlining them but the pigtails should be highlighted with circles... which is just outlining.

Collage pieces free-motion quilted in place using matching thread or nylon monofilament.
Clara with emoji pigtails collage quilt

I don't know about you, but after noticing something - good or bad - I often repeat it. It suddenly seems like the sole solution. It's either the dichotomy between my conscious and subconscious or simple hypocrisy. So here I am again, changing threads with each fabric color.

Once it was quilted, she really needed earrings. I kept wondering about ears but finally decided to call it done.

This quilt also called for facing. Here's a photo of it in progress.

The dark grey facing on the Clara collage quilt hides all binding to the back.
Sewing a facing on the Clara collage quilt

Quilt Specifics
Size: 25" x 24"
Designs: Collage
Batting: Hobbs 80/20
Thread: Blue, red, pink and yellow 60-wt cotton and black poly threads
Quilting: FMQ and walking foot
Approximate Yardage: 1.25 yd

Off the Bookshelf
The first one wasn't on the bookshelf but I read Mary Robinette Kowal's Lady Astronaut of Mars {the actual novelette is here}, loved it, and then found her two prequels: The Calculating Stars and The Fated Sky {and another to be published next year}.

Book covers - The Fated Sky and The Calculating Stars - have silhouettes of women .

The series follows an accelerated space program after a 1953 meteor wipes out the east coast of the US causing extinction-level climate change. Like Hidden Figures the women are calculators who run the math for the launch and trajectories. Mary is a writer and puppeteer {interesting combination} with an optimistic outlook on life. There are problems to be faced but most people can change for the better. Let me know if you like this series.

Enjoy the day, Ann