Tuesday, January 7, 2020

Using the Hourglass Prompt

"Green is not simply a new form of generating electric power; it is a new form of generating national power - period."
~ David Rothkopf


For a change I'm starting the AHIQ prompt right away. {Although I should be finishing the Square Deal or Tethys Waves, they were put away when company came and you know how that breaks the rhythm. A new project pushed its way to the front of the line.} The previous hourglass quilt was rotary cut; this time I wanted to try an improv variation from Cultural Fusion. It seemed like a relaxing and quick{er} solution.

I dug out the pink fabric, purchased as a back but never used it. What if I used it as one value then mixed several turquoise blues for the other? In this photo there appears to be enough contrast. We are good to go.

Several turquoise print choices next to a pink fabric with large red polka dots
Fabric pull for hourglass blocks

Once the hourglasses were sewn... what a mess. No contrast. The colors don't even look good together. {The values are a bit off in the photo but they are just flat in person.}

Sixteen sets of four hourglass blocks with different turquoise print fabrics combine with pink with red polka dot fabric/
Sets of improv hourglass blocks

Sashing could increase the contrast by introducing new values but adding it between each four-patch would make the quilt too big for a baby quilt and too small for a lap quilt. Reworking the hourglasses into a variety of sizes seemed like it might work. It's a bit better in the photo below but definitely not inspiring.

Hourglass blocks rearranged into groups of four to nine blocks with room for sashing between them.
Making space for sashing

Adding black and white stripe as sashing made a difference but it still seems sub-par. What about a black border or binding? No, that's too severe.

Black and white striped sashing fabric and two different black prints for borders.
Adding sashing and possible borders

It's taken me all week to get here. So much for easy. And so it goes.


DH took me to see the fireworks, something we haven't done in a few years. What a delight to see the colorful lights bursting over the Bay and to visit friends over a leisurely meal on New Year's Day. As we age we appreciate these special events more and more.

Fireworks over San Francisco bay with the Bay Bridge in the foreground
2019 New Year's fireworks

He also gave me two quilt themed t-shirts. My favorite one reads, " If I could just find a way to read and quilt at the same time my life would be perfect."


Book cover shows a fern uncurling.Speaking of which, a friend invited me to join her book club and I eagerly agreed. It's been a few years since I've been active in a club; travel and moving cause them to fall apart. Oh, how I've missed the joy of discussing books we can sink our teeth into. We read the first of a science fiction duology, Semiosis by Sue Burke. {Only one other member reads SF and she convinced the others to try it.} A group of earthlings travels in suspended animation to a distant world to start over again without war or waste. The situation seems primitive but manageable until they realize the plants are sentient.

We spent a happy evening discussing themes, relating this book to others we've read, and planning the next few meetings. A couple of us {myself included} plan to read the Sue's sequel.

Enjoy the day, Ann


patty a. said...

Oh my, how frustrating this seems to be. I would have thought there would have been enough contrast too. I do like the striped sashing fabric, but then it could look completely different in person. I am sure you will work your way thru this one and come up with a solution.

The one thing I don't like about hourglass block is all the seams you end up with in the corners. It is just a lot of layers to deal with. How big were your squares before you sliced them? I was leaning toward that method of making hourglass blocks so I can avoid matching seams.

LA Paylor said...

I do read and quilt! I listen to books on disc while quilting!! check! I happen to like the combination you first made... of course it's not in person like you said. I think the camera does help to design though and I like the blur of pattern into color. Color takes center stage but I like turquoises and pinks. It will look different sewn too, really different when it's all condensed. I say learn what you can from this, finish it as your first vision and move to the next. Did you say how you did the blocks? The speedy method of two squares face to face, etc?

LA Paylor said...

oh, and I seldom read SF but the idea of starting over is probably one day coming true. Sentient plants.... I have long felt that to be true, wondering if they hurt when we harvest them. They are alive...

Quiltdivajulie said...

What I see is that those hourglass blocks need to become a border around something else - perhaps coins or four patches done in fabrics that are loosely related to the hourglass fabrics. And perhaps the color of the dot in that pink could become a narrow inner border and/or sashing for a bit of pop (rather than a black or black and white). Just what I can see here on the screen.

Cathy said...

I actually like what you had to begin with. I don't think it is a mess and I think the colors go together just fine but it does need something else like a border. Right now I like your "mess" a lot better than sashing with the stripe.

I really don't like to read sci fi but I might like Semiosis. When I was in second or third grade we had those "duck and cover" drills and I always wondered what I would do if I had to start over. I was a little young to be wondering such things but I've always been a worrier. Anyway...I don't really like to read sci fi but I did like to watch shows like Twilight Zone which had starting over as a theme in several of their programs. Plants now aren't sentient? Guess I should stop talking to them. ;-)

I've been reading a lot of WWII historical fiction lately (in the middle of the night when I can't sleep) and happened on nonfiction one called Born Survivors- a remarkable true story of survival. https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/23287193-born-survivors

My husband makes fireworks and we live in the country so we used to have quite a display because my youngest was born on the 4th of July. But he hasn't made any the last few years. Maybe he will get back to it one of these days.

Ann said...

It was a surprise for sure but it gives me more opportunity to improvise my way out. I'm still not pleased with this but think it's getting better.
I think the squares were 5 or 6 inches. Sujata's method trims them at the end and they are smaller than they'd be if I matched the seams. But not by much.

Ann said...

You're right that quilts change tremendously as we sew the seams together. Since it's a baby quilt, I'm not too worried. It will be good enough for a baby to spit up on. I just thought there was more contrast than I'm seeing now.
I used Sujata's method which is to stack squares right side up and cut with scissors. Not face to face.
I've read somewhere that someone studied plants and they are aware who hurt them. Interesting.

Ann said...

Hourglasses are usually a border and I've done that. I can always do it again if this continues to be a problem. I was planning to make them the center and put something else around them. Red like the dots sounds nice and bright. I may add some. Thanks, Julie.

Ann said...

Yea. I'm not real fond of that stripe and may change it out. But I'm going to try something with the border before then. Otherwise I'll just cut a bunch of fabric with no idea what to do.
I remember one or two duck and covers. Like that would have done any good. I think there have been studies that show plants are more aware than we may think.
I saw that book once, perhaps in a recommendation somewhere. I'll look it up again since you suggest it.
Fireworks scare me but I love the colors. They are so beautiful these days with the slow releases. I love how the colors change and they blossom or shower. Good luck to your husband and you.

O'Quilts said...

Great inspiring post...Thank you

Shelina (formerly known as Shasta) said...

I do have that problem - once a quilt project is put away, all these others jump in line in front of it. Those fabrics did look like they had plenty of contrast at first. Luckily you made an improv quilt so you can improv your way to make one you like.

Kaja said...

I often find the quilts I think will be easy are the ones I struggle with the most. Looking at your blocks I like some of the combinations better than others but can't put my finger on why. Maybe you need more red in there somewhere, to balance the red dots?

interestingquilts said...

lay out a row all facing the same direction. Lay out the 2nd row shift by 1/2 a block, now you have a snake in the grass... It isn't hourglass but may be the start of something more interesting

Mystic Quilter said...

Can't believe you have almost finished an Hourglass piece already!! Love the pink and turquoise together, always a beautiful combination, but I agree with you on the possible black border, it does look severe and takes the eye away from the setting and colours.

Ann said...


Ann said...

Holidays play havoc with our projects, don’t they?
You have such a way with words and my quilt is coming along. It’s fun to try to make a silk purse from a sow’s ear.

Ann said...

That is so true, Kaja. I find the projects that look great halfway through come out worse than the ones that are a mess at that time. Perhaps it’s because I have to pay attention. I hadn’t thought of red but the black and white is working so far. I may try red too.

Ann said...

That’s an interesting idea and I may try it in future. I don’t want to unsew what I have now since this was supposed to be a quick project.

Ann said...

Pink and aqua should look good together but it’s this arrangement or ??? I wonder if I should have sewn them with solid white. Oh, well. I think the changes are coming along.

gayle said...

I'm just fascinated with those dots and how they turn up in the hourglasses. Some blocks are just chock full of dots, and others have very few.
I like the idea of splashing some red around. (I'm trying to restrain myself from suggesting orange. I always suggest orange...)

audrey said...

If there's one thing that I know for sure, it's that you of all people can figure this quilt out.:) It's always amazing to me to have a great color mix and then stumble into a mushy mess. So many times our instincts lead us in the right place that it's hard to believe they can let us down at other times! Love your initial color blend and definitely think it has potential. The background fabric is so interesting with that darker dot. Maybe bring some of that darker red in? Looking forward to seeing the rescue. It'll probably be better than what you wanted to do in the first place. lol

Ann said...

That’s why I purchased this fabric all those years ago. It looked so sassy. Why didn’t I think of red? It’s my favorite color.

Ann said...

Thanks for the compliment, Audrey. We’ve both had problems like this. Funny how things look one way before they are cut, differently after, and changing again when they are sewn. Red might have helped. I didi’t have one that worked and thought I needed a definite value change. I’m enjoying working on this little problem