Wednesday, September 28, 2011

A new cardigan

This was a simple little cardigan made of the softest yarn - a combination of New Zealand merino with cashmere.

It drapes beautifully and feels wonderful.

The reason it took so long to finish was I made the sleeves two times.

I had a different gauge than the pattern specified, and the sleeve cap was just too big for the body of the sweater. So I took them off and completely remade them.

It's all better now, ready for cool fall days to come.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Week 39 - and week 28 reprise

This week's block, Hovering Hawks, was straighforward to make. I simplified the color scheme from Ms. Brackman's instructions. She had good reasons to mix reds and blues, but I like the block better with just blues.

Earlier this week, I spent a prize discount won from Tipsy Star Quilts, the newest local fabric store in our area, on a packet of fabrics. It had some prints I was pretty sure would blend well with the blues and reds I've been using. I took apart my Week 28 block, Next Door Neighbor, and put in some of the new fabrics. I reused two of my original choices. The first time I made it, I used a blue that was too clear, and to make the design work, I had put in two other fabrics that went with it. But then the block didn't play well with the more muted tones of the rest of the blocks. I'm a lot happier with this version:

I also got a better mix of scales with these new additions. I am not generally a fan of pre-cut fabric packs, preferring to mix and match my own colors and prints, but I was running out of the lightest and darkest values. And I was getting tired of the combinations I could get with the fabrics I had on hand. With 1/4th of the blocks remaining, these 10 inch squares will give me a quick fix to both problems. The faint blue on white print in my Hovering Hawks block above was also from the new set. I think as long as I keep mixing these with the fabrics I've been using, I'll be happy with the new ones.

(I did prewash my precuts - as I do all my fabrics!)

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Unique quilt gift

Dorry worked with some local friends and our International Round Robin cohort Rhonda to make this quilt as a gift. I brought it back when I returned from my trip to the Washington area earlier this month. The green and black blocks are called Courthouse Steps. The blocks are somewhat difficult to pick out because they are set on point in the quilt with their direction alternating -- and some are partial blocks. Dorry worked with quilt designer Ann Weber to come up with the setting of the stars and steps.

Kerry - Dorry's sister and also a Robin - had sent me the Maori quilting motif we used in the star centers. We saw this design earlier in the Round Robin quilt I assembled for Dorry: Robin Heather used it for an applique motif in two of the blocks that appear toward the left side of the quilt. (click on the image that appears at the link to see the photo large enough to appreciate Heather's versions.) The Maori Koru symbol appears in the green squares at the center of the Courthouse Steps blocks, and inspired the quilting for the border and background fills.

This magnified and lightened photo shows the border quilting -

We hope the recipient appreciates all our work.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Week 38 - Ohio Star

This is another 9 patch trying to fit into 8 inches. I haven't checked the finished size on this one, but I did cut the square pieces at 3 3/16ths. I haven't made it with a dark background before so this was fun.

The Ohio Star is is an all-time favorite block. Joyce and I - with her then 9-year-old daughter's eager assistance - made a quilt for Tanya with large Ohio Stars on a white background some dozen or so years ago.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Week 37: Confederate Rose

I didn't want to spend a lot of time on today's block, so I redrafted it as a paper pieced pattern, piecing the center square to make that possible.

Today was a bright sunny day here in Western North Carolina, but I still had to use software to brighten the image so the prints would show up, simply because I took the photo at sundown. Sundown for us is when the sun disappears behind the ridge opposite us in the cove. It's not the same as dusk, but it does mean there's no direct light!

I briefly contemplated the more complicated version of this block, but it had even more Y seams, so I quickly came to my senses.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Kentucky Crossroads week 36

For Kentucky Crossroads, I finally got to use a wide floral stripe fabric I'd set aside - though I cut a large floral center or two from the part between the stripes for one or two other blocks.

I think it combined nicely with the large blue floral I use only for blocks with larger pieces like this one. This may be the first time I've found a use for the scattered roses print I chose for the center.

I'm just about on my way out of town but I got this one done before departing, and should be back home before next week's block comes out. Barbara Brackman has just begun a different historical series blog, this time on the war of 1812. She's not doing a block of the week, but is highlighting quilts from the period. Fascinating textile history set into the context of the era makes good reading for those of us who cherish these heirlooms.