Tuesday, September 24, 2019

Lone Star Quilt Reprise

I finished the second one this week. The last of the red print makes the star points and I quite like how lively the lone star looks on the pink.

Printed cotton in three shades of blue, two shades of green, red, and yellow form a modern Lone Star that rests on a bright pink background.
Lone Star quilt 5

Here's how I started the center. I thought the green would work but it wasn't strong enough. The navy blue print is better.

Two collaged photos show two different arrangements of fabrics. On the left the center is red and light green surrounded by darker green and yellow diamonds. On the right the center is dark blue and red surrounded by either the same dark green and yellow or a very light blue.

Next I tried moving the reds. Across the star points or down them? Should the outer row be green or navy or alternate?

Two collaged photos show bright red prints lined along the spine of the stars or across them.

Or perhaps it should be navy and light blue. Do the inside of the star points look better with dark or light greens and blues? Taking photos helps decide which looks best. Aren't we lucky to live in the digital era!

Two collaged photos show the center star of alternating navy and dark red on the left and medium blue and red on the right.

Finally I tested several borders. Of course, that blue with the green print border was my favorite but there's not enough. And this quilt is for a girl. The pink is a shocker but in a good way.

Both the pink print and a combination of light blue print bordered with a dark olive green print are arranged on the design wall for consideration.
Possible borders for Lone Star quilt 5

Again I started this spiral with orange peel arcs in the center of the star then completed a circle around them. After that, a quick off-ramp starts the spiral.

The center star of the Lone Star is machine quilted with FMQ orange peels and then switches to echo quilting in a spiral for the rest of the quilt.
Quilting detail

Here's a view of the back. The quilting doesn't show up as much on this print as it did on the solid of the previous quilt but it works well with the greens on the front. A navy print finished the binding.

The folded quilt shows front, back, and binding. The back is large purple flowers on olive green and the binding is a navy floral cotton.
Detail of front, back, and binding of Lone Star quilt 7

Done and dusted. Who'd have thought? But now DH will think I can pull this off any time.

Quilt Details
Size: 40" x 40"
Design: Lone Star
Batting: Pellon 100% cotton
Thread: Metler fine embroidery pink cotton
Quilting: Spiral with walking foot

Approximate Yardage: 3.75 yd

The next day I flew out to see my daughter. SFO has wonderful exhibits in their terminals. This time they displayed California Studio Craft from the Forrest Merrill collection featuring work from the 1940s to the present including sculpture, pottery, paintings, textiles, and furniture. Studio craft combines handmade crafting with fine art. Precursors to the American Craft Council and the NYC Museum of Arts and Design raised the professionalism of the artists and increased the popularity of the movement which really took off after WWII with the use of the GI Bill.

Bowl and Tile by Beatrice Wood, 1940s
Bowl and Tile by Beatrice Wood, 1940s

The graceful lines of the legs attracted me. I wonder if it's as comfortable as it looks.

Hammered and soldered copper Sixes by Merry Rink (1976) with shedua and leather Wishbone chair by Arthur E Carpenter (1972)
Hammered and soldered copper Sixes by Merry Rink (1976) with shedua and leather Wishbone chair by Arthur E Carpenter (1972)

Mr. Merrill collected at least two artists' work over the years. The exhibit highlighted how each worked on a simple design in series.  First, John Lewis created lunar themes with his glassworks.

Blown glass Moon Bottle (1970) and Moon Bowl (1972) by John Lewis
Blown glass Moon Bottle (1970) and Moon Bowl (1972) by John Lewis

These two bowls by Kay Sekimachi show the progression of her work. The 1990s bowl is laminated handmade Japanese paper with bark and straw combined with linen thread inclusions. By 2014 she laminated much more delicate maple leaf skeletons adding watercolor and Kozo paper. These two demonstrate how working in a series builds our skills.

Two delicate pieces made with Japanese paper. Bowl (1990s) and Leaf bowl (2014) by Kay Sekimachi
Bowl and Leaf bowl by Kay Sekimachi

Intricate woven, embroidered, and silkscreened textiles were tucked into the corner where the curving glass picked up all the reflected lights making photos impossible.

FUR or Fabric Use Rate Update

I donated 8.25 yards to the guild this month and finished two baby quilts of 3.75 yards each so my total FUR is 15.75 yards/month or a smidge over half a yard per day. That's something to consider before I go shopping again.

Enjoy the day, Ann

Tuesday, September 17, 2019

Who Knew?

And... just as I was ready to design some feathers for SIL's grandmother quilt, DH came home. Inspired by Preeti’s posts at SewPreetiQuilts, I relate the following:

DH: Two guys just returned from paternity leave.
Me: Wow. Everyone in your office seems to be having children.
DH: Yeah. {Pause.} Do you have any more baby quilts?
Me: No.
DH: Could you make some?

And so I made another Lone Star from fabrics that were already out of the stash. {At least I don't have to fold and return them to their box.}

Blue, red, and yellow Lone Star quilt on yellow striped background
Lone Star quilt 4

Playing with the center was a fun afternoon. Here are some of the possibilities. I started with blue and green in the center but finally realized it looks much better with a simple navy star.

Photos show blue and green diamonds surrounded by yellow and blue diamonds to form the center of a Lone Star quilt
Possible center variations for a Lone Star quilt

Spiral quilting is quick and easy. Good choice for a quilt that should have been given several months ago. Remembering how difficult the center was to encircle {in-spiral?} I used an orange peel on the first half of that star and drew a circle around them. That was the only thing I marked.

Then I took the "off ramp" and started spiraling around.

An orange peel design surrounded by spiral quilting on a Lone Star quilt
Detail of quilting at center of Lone Star

I chose a width for the stitching and simply maintained it by eyeballing. The other trick is to not stretch the quilt as the foot goes around. I hold my hands so the section I'm working on is squared up. Hand position needs to change frequently to maintain that squaring of the fabric.

The presser foot of a domestic sewing machine used as a guide for spiral quilting
Spiral quilting the Lone Star

Variegated yellow thread that ranged from pale yellow to orange worked beautifully on the yellow background and looked good on the back, too. I'm finding a mid-range light works well across lots of fabric. Variegation helps when it crosses such different colors. {This is a written reminder to myself. I fret about thread color way more than it matters.}

Spiral quilting on the front and back of a quilt
Detail of spiral quilting

I've quilted most of my life and sewed even longer but my constant complaint over the last forty years is that I have too much fabric. How do I know? It happens when I can't remember exactly where each piece was purchased. {I know I'm weird.} I just can't work with so many choices plus there have always been quilt shops nearby.

Rooting through the stash invigorates me when there's only one or two boxes but it quickly overwhelms me when the stash grows. {Yes, I know I'm weird.} With stacks against the design wall, it seemed like a good time to reduce the bins.

These stacks of fabric wait to be put on the design wall or be returned to their boxes

I disposed of two. That leaves four {and that is still two too many.} {Yes, yes, I know I'm weird.} This fabric won't all fit in the remaining space so... it either gets made up, replaces something already in the bin, or will be given away. Since these are my current working fabrics, they must be some of my favorites. I'd better get busy.

Why mention it now? Glad you asked. Several quilters {like Nann at With Strings Attached} track their fabric by weight or yardage. I've decided to join that movement by adding the approximate yardage used to make each quilt. This will certainly be a rough estimate because we all know there will be scraps left over but it will hopefully raise my awareness of my fabric use rate. Hmmm, that's FUR. Perhaps I could calculate a monthly and annual FUR.

Quilt Details
Size: 40" x 40"
Design: Lone Star
Batting: Pellon 100% cotton
Thread: Gutermann 50 wt cotton, variegated yellow
Quilting: Spiral with walking foot
Approximate Yardage: 3.75 yd

Enjoy the day, Ann

Tuesday, September 10, 2019

Lone Star Quilt Top

The Lone Star top went together without any trouble. The effect of the fussy cut diamonds in the center is striking to me and the medium blue brightens up the otherwise dour fabrics. Those dots make me happy, too.

Once again I considered adding appliqué in the corners but that would call for another medium blue and there's none in the stash. Plus, SIL would probably like feathers. Markings will show up easily on the white but so will mistakes.

A full range of blue prints create a Lone Star on a solid white cotton background.
Blue Lone Star quilt top 3

This traditional design runs in my family. My parents had a large version on their bed made by my grandmother. It was already a generation old when they got it and finally disintegrated when my kids were young. By using all our quilts daily, my mother sparked my lifelong interest in quilting. {Now I know who to blame.} So much better than storing it in a cupboard and never learning to appreciate handmade items.

In the late 80s, Catherine Anthony offered her final eight-week Master Quiltmaking class which I was clever enough to join. She and her daughter, Libby Lehman, wrote a set of books detailing six-inch blocks. Of course, I purchased the oversized books {but later passed them on during a move. It's hard to transport big paperbacks.} Catherine was a treasure-house of details about math calculations and  precision sewing. Towards the end, we covered Lone Stars and I made a pillow which is long lost. No photos either but that traditional design was my first Lone Star.

In 2006 I took a class with Jan Krentz and made my second Lone Star for a friend. Her book Lone Star Quilts and Beyond is still available. It was in my library until recently.

The cotton sateen border print had been in my stash for a while. Most was used making a dust ruffle and trimming the curtains but it was so lovely I couldn't discard any.

A Lone Star of tone-on-tone blue, orange, yellow, red and green prints sits on a paisley printed sateen border print.
Lone Star quilt 2

Here's a detail. Choosing fabrics was pretty easy - just match or tone with the border. Most are batiks or tone-on-tone prints. As you can tell, I don't worry about mixing different types of fabric.

The photo shows the edge of the Lone Star inset into a border of more diamonds that form star segments for an inner border with the aqua paisley fussy cut as both a central background and an outer border.
Detail of Lone Star quilt 2
The border print reminds me of happy times creating our first home. Very fond memories.

Enjoy the day, Ann

Tuesday, September 3, 2019

Another Grandmother Quilt

It's time to make the back for the Ohio Star/Log Cabin quilt. At least it should be since that's the next step and the leftover fabrics are in a pile on the dining room table. They'd make a good start but when I spoke with SIL last week she mentioned she will be a grandmother soon. So I changed course.

Seven blue and white prints ranging from navy to cream, floral to plaid, to tone-on-tone.
Possible fabric choices

And cut a bunch of diamonds for a Lone Star. The fussy-cut centers used all of that scrap and only made four. That's lucky because it forces me to get creative. Soon there will be two tops to back and quilt.

EDIT: Check out Mel Beach's Fruity Mandala for a stellar example of fussy cutting.

The center star has four fussy cut diamonds with fleur de lis prints alternating with a geometric navy print.
Possible Lone Star quilt center

Because these are the leftovers, they make an interesting combination. The "better blending" fabrics are all gone. That's probably a good thing for this Lone Star design. There was a quarter yard of the light blue and I used it all. Interesting how it brightens the design.

For comparison, two different medium blue prints are places next to the outer diamond in the Lone Star.
Possible star point fabric arrangement

Everything went swimmingly until the star points. I arranged the final diamonds several different ways. Fortunately digital photos are easy to shoot. Now I just need to decide. 1) Light to dark with two medium choices.

2) Dark/light/medium or adding a cream to the center of the point.

For comparison, a floral on cream print is tested near the center of each diamond point.
Possible star point fabric arrangement

3) Or moving the cream around some more.

The floral on cream print is moved to other locations within the Lone Star.
Possible star point fabric arrangement

Small variations. The probably don't make much difference but I'll think it over before I sew them up.

Off the bookshelf

Almost fifteen years ago I read Adam Gopnik's, The King in the Window, about a young boy celebrating Epiphany in Paris who sees another young man in 17th century dress in the window. The window wraith {one of a cadre of dead French artists} mistakes Oliver for their new king imploring him to find his sword and reclaim the kingdom. Although a children's novel, it weaves French history of plate glass with quantum physics and Alice in Wonderland in such a complex manner that it became one of my favorite novels. As the reviewer put it, "Harry Potter for the Mensa set."

So I purchased two of his previous non-fictions and set them on the shelf where they remained until this cleaning. Currently I'm reading Paris to the Moon.

The cover shows a small boy bending over to pick up a pebble in a Parisian park.
Paris to the Moon by Adam Gopnik

Before the millenium, Adam and his young family moved to Paris where he continued to write for the New Yorker. His journal, intertwining raising a small child while navigating a foreign city, became the chapters of this book. Each chapter combines seemingly dissimilar actions that he ties together in a wry fashion by the end. Perfect for reading at the beginning or end of the day.

Enjoy the day, Ann