Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Another kind of blanket!

Finished at last - it's 7 feet long, 54 inches wide.

Obviously I usually make quilts, but this yarn told me it would be the prettiest, softest throw for our living room.

Knitting drapes a lot more softly than a quilt.

The cats loved it while I was making it.

I think we'll love it, too.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

I'm From the South

... that's the title native New Zealander Dorry has given her 7th International Round Robin quilt, which started with her requested theme of "South Pacific." There are a lot of pictures of this quilt already on my blog, but I think all the people who helped to make it for Dorry should see their individual contributions, so I posted quite a few more pictures now that it's quilted.

First an overview of the spiral layout I created for the blocks.

Dorry's block is the Tiki Man. He is the First Man for New Zealand's native Maori people. Dorry's Tiki Man did not need any embellishment - just a lot of outlining and stitch-in-the-ditch, with a fern encircling him to tie in with the spiral theme.

Heather made four six-inch blocks with Maori koru designs - I'm only showing two of them here. All four were echo-quilted to reinforce the strong design lines of her applique work. The blue and tan nine patch above Heather's blue block is possibly where the quilting of the colored spiral shows best in my photos.

Rhonda's block is in two parts: the upper scene of the Whangarei Heads includes the native Harakeke flowers on the coast. For quilting, the sky was treated with spiral swirls, the water got lines parallel to the shore to show waves, and the sand has pebbles. Below is the symbolic Silver Fern, simply outlined with a smaller spiral fill in the background.

Judy appliqued this flowing koru design that helps to keep the spiral moving around the upper corner. I echo quilted the white area and outlined the koru motifs on her green fabric.

Jo made this next block that combines the pohutukawa with another Maori koru design. Jo used two background fabrics, so the quilting is in two parts, with echoes for the floral side and the inside of the koru, and swirls on the outside of the oval-shaped motif.

This block by Dorry's sister Kerry takes the same pohutukawa flower and stylizes it to beautiful effect. The quilting consists of several lines of echos for some of the blossoms, then swirls to be consistent with the sky in other blocks.

Kerry also made this Kereru in a Puriri tree. I quilted some of the background fabric's leaves and curls, but kept the foreground leaves and bird simple so they would stand out in 3-d.

Kerry ambitiously made three blocks for her sister. The last of Kerry's blocks is Dorry's favorite Fish and Chips stand with a trio of Pukeko walking by. I quilted this scene with more swirling skies and pebbles for the road/sidewalk, and a lot of outline stitching.

For completeness, the John Dory (a species that might be served at the Fish and Chips stand) was my contribution to the quilt's blocks. In this photo you may be able to see the stylized fern background fill I used everywhere but on the colored spiral. You can also see how I used the Hoffman New Zealand Challenge fabric Kerry supplied me with to supplement all the swirling, spiraling, or leafy blues and greens in one-inch squares to fill in the background of the quilt.

And last is the border area. The 3/4 inch inner border has a little tiny leaf vine. The outer border got my quilted adaptation of a Maori border design.

The International Round Robin group has recently been tossing about for a name - "Remarkable Robins" has become the favorite - do you think it is a good one?

Monday, February 13, 2012

Fun Fur

A few years ago, I made a fun fur scarf for myself - it's quite toasty warm! When I was in Chicago two weeks ago, my brother Roger said he'd like one just like it - so Roger, it's in the mail -

A closeup of the furriness. It would be challenging to knit, if you were trying to shape a garment. But this stuff is really forgiving -- just knit garter stitch.

Photo taking was delayed because right after I set it up, someone moved in.

It's cat-tested and -approved, brother Roger. Lu sat there for at least an hour, until I tempted him off with some crunchy treats.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Whimsy? maybe not for me

I signed up for the President's Challenge from my Reston guild this year, which was called, "How Does Your Garden Grow?" We were asked to include each of these two fabrics....

...rick-rack, and a button in a small format quilt. The fabric on the right is more bright pink-coral than it appears in this fabric scan.

The rick-rack and button to me automatically make this a "whimsical" quilt. I always admire these when I see one, so I thought I'd give whimsical a try.

In my mind, I missed whimsy by quite a bit. It's not an awful quilt, and I met the challenge requirements. It will no doubt be very different from the other members' work. That's part of the fun of the challenge, when they display all the quilts and you see how different quilters interpreted the theme.

My garden is really a forest, so I made the quilt using this photo, taken on a crisp October morning, for the background. I traced the lines of the mountains for my pattern.

The trees were made by tracing and repeating one tree from a different photo. Although fabulous sunsets are not really what we have here, a hand-dyed fabric gives a sunset look that pulls in the required fabrics' colors. Violet belongs in my "garden" only by virtue of the native rhododendron, and there's really no place for the pinky coral.

Perhaps I should have made my own whimsical bear instead of using this realistic one.

The rick-rack is visible in the photo above, separating the mountain view from the stylized American beech leaves. I put each leaf on a larger coral or violet leaf shape to repeat the idea I used with the trees, where the required fabrics make the trees glow with the evening light. I have pink on the left and upper part of each tree's left-hand branches, violet on the right and the lower part of the right-hand branches.

The owl button I found and the windy sky quilting are the truly whimsical elements. I might try it again some day, or maybe I just give up on whimsy.