Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Joyce's quilt - Encore

When we made the borders for Joyce's quilt out of the beautiful yardage  Vicki Welsh custom hand dyed for us, we only used about half of the width of the fabric. I didn't want to put it in the drawers with all my other collected fabrics to get lost (and which color would I file it with anyway??).  I left it out and finally asked Joyce if she'd like me to make her place mats or a table runner with it.  Joyce said she could use either.

So she gets both!   This is going to be perfect in her very modern house with her black dishware.  I designed the mats to show the full gradation on each mat and get maximum use of the special fabric.

I've made her a set of coordinating napkins already - but I only had enough of that fabric to make six.  She can pick another fabric and I'll make her a full set of 8 napkins to go with these.  

Under the runner on the right you can make out a bit of the backing fabric from Joyce's quilt, which will serve to back the mats and the runner.  I've already started quilting the mats - they should not take long as the fabric tells the whole story:  the quilting just has to hold the layers together.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Night and Day

My Vintage Bow Ties blocks are now part of my next quilt in the June Bride series.  When I studied the bow ties on my design wall, I started thinking of the great musicals of the 1930's and 40's - and specifically "The Continental," the 22 minute dance sequence with black and white costumes from The Gay Divorcee.   My design grew from the vision of the dancers coming down the steps of the set.

The new bow ties are made with sheet music prints. I originally designed this to have complete blocks, but I accidentally made the blocks twice as large as planned.  Once I had them in front of me I realized the top tie would have been way too small, so I adjusted my plan and cut off parts of the blocks to space the ties down the 24" strip. The provided blue-on-black fabric went into the black squares of the checkerboard borders. The light blue silk pieces on the sides are made from what I dyed when I was working on Carolina Waltz.

The concentric circles are supposed to remind you of records.  The smallest circle is 1/2 inch in diameter.  (Yes, I have circle templates that small!)

The most fun for me was quilting with silk thread on silk fabric.  I did have a bit of an issue with distortion, particularly on the wider right side of the piece.  I used two layers of batting.  The extra thickness contributed to the problem.  Now that I've seen how this happened, I would only use one layer next time. 

In this next photo you can see how the directional lines of the quilting form squares on point.  

And to finish off this post, I am embedding a YouTube video of Fred Astaire singing "Night and Day" for Ginger Rogers, also in The Gay Divorcee.  My mother had the original sheet music and I used to play it on the piano for her to sing.  The video is long but if you make it to the very end of the dance, you get to see her land oh-so elegantly on that bench. And what a great dress! (designed by Walter Plunkett)

Monday, May 21, 2012

Next Challenge - Bow Ties

Now that I am putting the binding on my next June Bride/Vintage Revisited challenge, I think it's time to show the starting elements.

These vintage bow tie blocks were hand pieced.  Dorry supplied the blue on black fabric I used as a background for this photo.  We were to use it on the face of the 24 inch square quilt.   (If you don't click on the photo, you will probably not be able to see the blue.) 

Dorry calls this chapter "Tuxedo Rental."  I thought about doing something with a stylized tuxedo cat.  I've enjoyed the company of several, starting with the fabulous mouser Rau (who was also a great music lover) - the family cat from my grade school and high school years.  When I actually put the design on paper, I came up with something completely different. I'll post a photo when I finish the hand sewing and get all the lines I used for quilting washed out.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Blue and Yellow Baby Quilt

I finished the quilting on this yesterday morning, then bound it completely by machine.  I need to trim a stray thread or two, but otherwise, it's done, ready to ship off to the expectant parents.

Sorry this photo of the entire quilt is skewed -- it's because of the angle I used to show the simple quilting.

Well, it's only really simple quilting on the zigzag part where I used spaced parallel lines. 

I broke the inside border area into squares and triangles and used channel stitching in contrasting directions.  I like how the negative space adds interest, and the quilting makes the quilt top appear fairly complicated where I was actually working with a single 5 inch piece of white fabric across the width of the quilt.  The two inner border areas are not the same, because the blue fabric zig zags asymmetrically into them.

I had an easy Greek key stencil that fit the outer border perfectly.  I wish I could say I had planned that, now that it's on there and I like it.  I don't know if this quilt qualifies as "modern" with an ancient design like that.

In this photo, we see that more traditional flannel back fabric.

Here's how it combines with the colors on the pieced side.

Alice and Ann, with whom I worked on the Shindig Raffle quilt, will think I was copying these colors from the ones they chose for that quilt, but honestly, I had this yellow flannel, and I had to figure out which colors I had in my fabric stash that would go with the print and make it a "boy" quilt.  I also wanted to include a celestial print of some kind, in honor of the baby's father, Andrew.  

Thursday, May 10, 2012

More Vintage Pinwheels

Two months ago, I posted photos of my little challenge quilt called Lida Rose.  Dorry is the genius behind these challenges and this week I got to quilt hers.  She calls it Wedding China - she'll probably offer a full explanation of her title on her blog when she finishes it.

She has to decide if she wants a piping accent before the binding, and what color(s) to use.

Dorry took her vintage pinwheels apart the way I did, but it might be difficult to find them among her perfectly matched pinks.  I quilted this lower part with a large scale swirling feather motif, reflected and repeated in triangles -- as though this part were two large blocks cut in half diagonally.

One of the vintage blocks is shown in this next photo of the top row. (it's the pinwheel to the left). 

Dorry's beautiful stuffed applique work got a basket weave treatment.

We already have our next challenge to work on.  She hasn't let on how many vintage blocks will be in the June Bride series.  We had Bridal Shower  last summer, and this was Rehearsal Dinner.  I won't reveal the next one's theme until I have more to post about it, but suffice it to say, we haven't seen the actual Wedding Ceremony - and might there be room after that for a honeymoon theme?

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

New person - New quilt

Yesterday, I cut and pieced a very small quilt (30"x40") for a very small member of the family we expect to make his first appearance in August.  He is the son of my brother's son Andrew and wife Katy.  The quilt is modeled on one I found by searching for modern baby quilts.

"Modern Quilts" fit a particular model, with simplified piecing.  They often feature large areas of white. Not naturally what I'm drawn to -  I did dress up the original with the striped bands at the top and bottom.  But they have determined that babies see contrast and pattern before they see color and can distinguish shapes.  Happily for old great-aunts, the back will look more like a traditional baby quilt - cozy and soft out of a pastel flannel with cute little toy animals on it. 

Now I have to figure out the quilting - nothing too fancy to fit with the Modern Quilt Movement, and besides, this quilt is probably going to be a backup for dragging around since his grandmother, my sister-in-law Joanna, was already knitting blankets for his room in January.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Light blueness

Everyone seems to like the color of the yarn I used for this sweater.  This photo of the back in full sun shows off the pretty qualities of the yarn, purchased from my friend Diane's Etsy shop,  Oh Yarn It All

I took photos in different light trying to capture details with a little less shadow - some were not very successful.

But I still like the look and shape of the sweater!  This next one shows the lace on the lower part.

 Finally I took this final photo back inside the house.  The pattern did not include the lace inset I have at the center front.  Most knitters would just put a camisole or t-shirt under their sweater, but I don't work in a cold office anymore (yeah!) and will want to wear it in the summer.  The way this spring has shaped up, I don't want the extra layer throughout.  So my small bit of the lace does the job for me and took almost no time to make.