Tuesday, June 16, 2020

Making Fabric

"I do not know how you draw the line between fine art and craft, or 
between the utilitarian and the non-utilitarian... I want to be an artist
... I intend to walk where I choose and not care which country I'm in." 
~June Schwarcz, 
Fourth National Conference of the American Craft Council, 1961

The quote reminds me of a recent well-written post by Kris of Pixeladies. I spend so much time {way too much!} worrying about all sorts of things it's a family joke. But I've decided to quit fretting about quilting. Even though I love stretching myself to make art quilts, the usefulness of bed quilts draws me back again and again. But whenever I've "created" a unique layout for any traditional block a photo of a similar quilt comes to my attention... usually just as mine is finished. Not worrying about that either; I'll just show mine and detail my inspiration. I will "walk where I choose and not care which country I'm in."

Quilting

I've been thinking about many ways to lengthen the LeMoyne Star quilt - applique, hourglasses, more HSTs - and finally decided to add a row of smaller stars to each end. In red. Except... there's not much red in my stash. One delightfully splashy floral print, two solids, and a handful of tone-on-tone batiks.  Neither inspiring nor extensive. I pulled out all the red HSTs for potential star points then looked at these fabrics again.

A small pile of red batiks and floral prints grouped on a table.
Fabric choices for center of Sawtooth Star blocks

With such a small group of fabrics I again thought of slabs using bits of these and any red scraps in my bag. Everyone else makes lovely slab blocks. Mine get to a certain size and then look terrible. With a four-inch center, this should be about enough to work out even for me. Here are my first two samples. Not bad although the corners of the Sawtooth Stars could/should be changed around.

The centers squares of  these Sawtooth Star blocks are composed of red scraps of fabric.
Sawtooth Star quilt blocks in progress

That was a quick fix. Then I sewed a row together with narrow sashing between the stars. Why? Two reasons. I don't want them as tightly packed as the HSTs and I'm tired of working with odd sizes. These sawtooth stars finish at eight inches, close but not exactly the needed width. Cutting pairs of random sashing in different widths fills out the spacing and gives the quilt a homespun look. {At least that's my story.} Can you tell that each sashing is a different cream print and a different width? 

With one side sewn, it's an adequate length. I could stop now but making a second side will balance it better and the recipient will like it more.

The Sawtooth Stars are added as a row to one end of the LeMoyne Star quilt top
Sawtooth Star blocks added to one end 

I was dismayed after snapping this quick shot when both ends were sewn because the sides look lopped off. Will it need more stars? Oh, golly. Then it will become too big for a lap quilt and too small for a bed quilt. This is where "the need to add borders" started. {It was too large for a baby quilt and too small for a lap quilt.}

Red and blue LeMoyne string star blocks bordered with two rows of HSTs and red sawtooth stars at top and bottom
LeMoyne Star quilt with Sawtooth borders on two sides

In the end I added a narrow border of random strips around all the sides. Enormous improvement from such a tiny change and something to remember.

A narrow third border of cream print surrounds the Sawtooth Stars and HSTs to finish the LeMoyne Star string quilt top.
Final narrow border of cream print

Now there are three largish tops that need quilting. And the scrap bag is still full. 

Videos


Voting

Election day is November 3 this year. That's 140 days away. Remember you must be registered to vote. Tell everyone!

Enjoy the day, Ann

24 comments:

  1. Amazing what you can do with scraps! Love, love this top!

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    1. Scraps add so much to our quilts, don't they?

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  2. The top turned out wonderful! The random narrow strip border was just what it needed to join all the elements together. Once you put on the binding - maybe a medium to darker color, red would be good if you had enough fabric - that would add the finishing touch. I had a good laugh at your comment that the scrap bag is still full. I don't think I will ever use all my scraps.

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    1. Thanks, Patty. My eye is on a medium blue for the binding. We'll see when it gets to that stage. I have emptied the scrap bag a few times but it seems to refill overnight.

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  3. what a really terrific solution. I like the discussion you started. It really resonated with me. Just last year, I started making improv gemstones, then saw someone on The Quilt Show doing them and stopped making mine. I planned out a Klimt quilt, then saw one at a show so stopped. I like not caring what others are doing, just make what you want to make, be it art, bed, a mix, both, neither. The sorry fact is, I'm worried about just too much right now to be worried about my art!

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    1. Sometimes the internet is a bad thing and this is my poster child. We think of an image and start ours only to find someone else is doing it/has done one. Then we stop because it's not "original." But if we didn't know about theirs beforehand, it's still original. I think if we acknowledge where we got the inspiration {and aren't making an exact copy} it's fine.
      Hawaiian quilters used to put their work on the line inside out when drying so neighbors couldn't copy it. But we all inspire each other.

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  4. Great adventure! Thanks for sharing, always appreciated.
    Worry is a feeling, shocking I know, but I think a lot of people don't stop to realize that fact.
    Emotions serve a purpose but when they run your thoughts and actions they distort your life and take away any positive momentum.
    Look at the founding fathers of our nation they faced a lot of opposition. And of course they worried sometimes but that wasn't the main focus of their thoughts and actions.
    Being brave gives hope and sets you on a good path.

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    1. Good points, Janie. I've wasted a lot of emotion on worry. You're right. Pushing on through is the answer.

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  5. Fabulous quote - and a great solution to your not too big not too small quilt top!

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    1. Thanks, Julie. It resonated with me when I saw it.

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  6. I love the addition of the red stars and the narrow border. Perfect! I have a square one that I am going to add to also, just need to decide what block to make for the top and bottom rows.

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    1. Thanks, Wanda. I have trouble making square quilts rectangular "at the last minute." Too often the solutions just seem like they were tacked on. This one looks planned even though it wasn't. I will look forward to your quilt, too.

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  7. I am impressed that triangle borders came out evenly! I think the narrow outer border provides just enough of a frame. Now, quick--get it quilted before you think any more about the layout!

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    1. Boy, do I need to get this one done, Nann. If I figure the size my blocks usually come out right. Enough so that the times they don't I go crazy. Upon switching to another machine I usually have to change the seam allowance a bit but this has been my go-to machine for years.

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  8. Why do we fall into the trap of thinking we 'should' be doing something else, that anything else might be more important or better in any way, at least in regards to our quilting? I'm glad that you consistently strive to do the things that make the most sense and matter the most. Your quilts have such a personal touch that is you and only you.:) Your made-fabric works very well here with these stars. I'm not sure that I would have thought of it myself, but it really helps finish off this quilt superbly. Kudos to you for getting an extra layer incorporated into this wonderful quilt!

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    1. I think our eyes and brains are trained to notice the unusual or different. Probably so we'd notice a predator or a storm. But it explains why following fashion is so important to people. We have lots of perfectly good clothes in our closet but want something in a new style. So we notice the new and different style of other quilters and admire it. What is that saying about familiarity breeding contempt.
      But you are reminding me of things I tell others. Your work is yours. Your vision works best for you and your fabric. At the same time, it's fun to push ourselves into a broader vision of a more complex world, isn't it? {Some day my admiration of your applique will push me into adding some to my work!}

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  9. Gosh the Sawtooth Stars are perfect around the border!! Your quilt is looking splendid!

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    1. Thanks, Maureen. They were fun to make and worked out even better with scrap slab centers.

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  10. That is a great quote! I like the mixture of stars,not just because it is a good solution to a problem but also because different styles of stars together always pleases my eye somehow.

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    1. The quote seemed so pertinent to quilters and self-doubting women so I qualify on two counts.
      Thanks for pointing out the appeal of these different stars on the same quilt. They actually look even better to me with the "made" fabric of the centers of the sawtooth stars.

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  11. What a charming flimsy! Well done!

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  12. It keeps getting better and better. Varying size of coping strips!!! A perfect solution for an imperfect situation :-)

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    1. Some days I amaze myself with stupidity and some days with brilliance. This solution was one of the latter. So much easier than messing with 16ths and 32nds.

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