Tuesday, April 30, 2019

May the Fourth be with You

May 4 is coming this week. Star Wars Day because - May the Force be with You. We finally found the Yoda fountain in San Francisco. If you're a Star Wars fan, it's an iconic landmark.

Water flows from this fountain topped with a Yoda statue.
Yoda Fountain at Lucasfilm, The Presidio

We joined some friends at the Presidio to view the Walt Disney Family Museum and walk the grounds. The Presidio was formerly a Spanish and Mexican fort, then a US military base but now part of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area. Congress mandated the Presidio Trust manage the park in a financially self-sufficient manner - no federal funds. Lucasfilm {along with other companies} rent some of the buildings and restored others but all property is owned/managed by the Trust.

Leaving the Museum, we stepped onto the main parade ground. There's San Francisco Bay and Alcatraz in the distance. What a view. Many of the officers quarters have become rental condos and duplexes. Some of them enjoy this scene daily from their windows. Wouldn't it be fun to live here?

Alcatraz is visible in the Bay from the steps of the Disney Family Museum. The grassy Parade Ground is bordered by sidewalks and flower beds.
Alcatraz in the distance from the Presidio's main Parade Ground

With my usual photographic abilities I managed to perfectly line up the window bar at the Visitor Center with the Golden Gate bridge roadbed. Not the best photo of the bridge but doesn't the window view look artificial? It must be the change from dim interior to bright exterior.

The Golden Gate Bridge is visible through windows at the back of the visitor center.
View of Golden Gate bridge from Presidio Visitor Center
In the foreground you can see they are in the process of building Tunnels Top park over Doyle Drive. Dallas built one over the Woodall Rodgers freeway that is lovely and well-used.

Between the day trip and other responsibilities, I didn't get much quilting done. I've also noticed a lack of creativity. I don't have the energy to work on something new. But... there are several old UFOs that could use some attention.

Currently I'm sewing sawtooth sashing for the {very old} New York Beauty blocks. One smart move is staggered starts - four each time - so something's always close to done. It also helps keep the scraps more random as older and newer ones mingle on each sash. Here's a representative sample.

Colorful paper-pieced isosceles triangles are sewn to alternate sides of the sashing strip so there is a light and a dark side.
Sawtooth sashing for New York Beauty blocks
Seventy-two are needed but a few extras will give me some design flexibility. Sixty-four were finished when I snapped the photo and the rest were done yesterday. What a relief. I've been {not} working on this quilt for years. Although I can't remember the exact year it was before the Millennium. Sigh.

The next step is the posts. I have some ideas to draft and play with.

Enjoy the day, Ann

Tuesday, April 23, 2019

Several Improvs in One

It's been a while but I finally pieced the border of the Square Deal. After swearing I wasn't going to make more blocks... I did. The top needed a few more strong reds and light blues.

The top is made of multi-color striped triangles paired with reds. There are two rows of Crossroads blocks as an outer border.
The Square Deal quilt top

What's different? Compare the upper right corner of the final version above with the previous {partially sewn} version below. Five blocks were changed out on the top and right. They were lovely blocks but "pushed the envelope" a bit too far in value. The borders were getting muddled. That's always an issue with printed fabrics where several colors coexist. It can add movement or simply cause designs to become lost. Now there are still diffuse areas but also more definition.

EDIT: I reshot and replaced the photo above. The colors were too acid. I still think the photo below has truer colors though.

This layout has slightly darker Crossroad blocks in the border. A few were exchanged for lighter background Crossroads.
Previous layout for The Square Deal quilt
Do you notice my crosses became much wider with each set of Xs? The last set is pretty wide indeed. The first ones were so narrow that the seams overlapped after pressing. Guess I loosened up as time went on.

Evaluating this quilt it meets criteria for:
  1. Chinese Coins {because those were the original units for the striped triangles} 
  2. Two Blocks
  3. Red is a Neutral (because I played with several fabrics before deciding red looked best with those striped triangles}
However, this is not exactly what I envisioned as a Red quilt. Here red becomes the foreground while I wanted to use it as a background - more like Cathy's Confetti quilt. So another quilt idea goes on the {increasingly} long "to-be-made" list but it still feels good to combine several challenges into one quilt especially since life intervened several times keeping me from fully participating.

At some point I need to make a back and baste this top. That's a task for another time.

Enjoy the day, Ann

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

Quilt Housekeeping

More quilt housekeeping. My guild show is next month. I thought I had nothing to enter; I certainly don't have the energy to finish something now. But since our show is biennial, I checked my 2018 and 2017 Finish pages to see what might be available.

Oh, joy! Spiderweb wasn't in the last show. It was finished a month or two later.

The spiderwebs in the center of the quilt are outlined in various single colors including red, green, blue, yellow, and purples. There is a narrow light green inner border followed by a border that is a printed toile on two sides and an applique vine on the other two. Finally there are two more borders of improvisational right triangles as the outer border.
Spiderweb quilt

And bunches of Coin quilts. Many of these have been gifted but Fifth Chinese Coins is on our bed.

Columns of scrap fabrics in blue and white with black, brown, green, red and purple prints interspersed.
Fifth Chinese Coins quilt

This week I've been cutting and sewing sleeves. As soon as the show ends, I'll take the sleeves off again and put them in a ziplock in my scrap bag so hopefully I can find them next time I need a sleeve. {Bane of my life.}

Chambray tubes are hand sewn to the tops of the backs of quilts so they can be hung in a show.
Sewing sleeves to quilts

I'm still chugging along sewing the centers of Shadow Star blocks. Kaja sent me a scrap of beautiful shot cotton that I used for one Star. It's a bit thin; shot cotton always is; so I doubled the fabric. That's an old trick to make a quilt last longer.

Two collaged photos. On the left, a thin purple shot cotton is doubled to provide more strength to the compass points. On the right, the block is sewn with a blue print center circle, the purple compass points end in squares that range from blue to coral to white and outline the white star points.
Doubled fabric on the compass points of Shadow Star quilt block

Some of the blocks lend themselves to a different fabric for the center while others need a repeat instead.

Left: fourth fabric for the center. Right: repeat fabric for center.
Shadow Star quilt blocks. Left: fourth fabric for the center. Right: repeat fabric for center.

Fun playtimes deciding what fabric to use. I realize now this quilt will take a longer time to get together and I'm going to enjoy every minute.

Enjoy the day, Ann

Tuesday, April 9, 2019

Regaining Energy

It may not seem like much to you but I sewed these three centers of the Shadow Stars in one afternoon. For the past month I've only been sewing one a week. Guess I'm getting stronger.

Three blocks with white star points and compass points of blue, and green

I'm still thinking about the sashing and posts but decided it would be easier with centers. And here we are.

Enjoy the day, Ann

Tuesday, April 2, 2019

Hourglass Quilt Gifted

Happy birthday to the young recipient.

Here it is, quilted, bound, and washed. No quilting design seemed a good fit to me. Either they distracted from the colors or they seemed too prominent on the solids. Finally I simply stitched in the ditch along each seam line.

The quilt glows with color like stained glass and the QSTs in a range of colors sweep across the surface- red, blue, green, yellow, purple, lavender, pink, orange, and megenta.
Hourglass quilt in solids
The back really shows the crinkling effect of the quilting design and batting choice. Stitch-in-the-Ditch emphasized a gathering effect not seen on my other quilts. I think the combination of two threads (nylon monofilament and cotton) in the ditch and solids caused this. Other fabrics may behave the same but light hits every hint of a fold on solids.

Green quilt back has a wide column of turquoise cut by two narrow strips of violet runs across the center.
Hourglass quilt in solids back

Here's a detail of the quilting. I've said it before but I personally love the way the batting crinkles the quilt after washing. Hopefully you love your choice as well.

The stitch-in-the-ditch quilting shows on the green quilt back, diamonds and squares of stitches.
Quilting detail of Hourglass solid quilt
I was a bit hesitant when starting this quilt last year but it's become one of my favorites. I intended to make a video of this process but that has not happened. Given the current situation, it will not. It's still pretty. And fun. And easy.

Quilt Details
Size: 43" x 43"
Design: Original
Batting: Mountain Mist Cream Rose 100%cotton
Thread: YLI Nylon Monofilament on front, grey Presencia 50 wt cotton on back
Quilting: Stitch in the Ditch with walking foot

Previous posts:
  1. Picking the fabric
  2. Sewing the top
Enjoy the day, Ann