Sunday, April 23, 2017

Shindig 2017

I should have posted these a few weeks ago, but we got busy moving out of our house and back in (the floors were refinished).

The Mountain Jam Circle quilting collaborative did it again - cut the pieces out together, then Alice and Ann pieced the chain blocks and put them together in four big chunks with the setting triangles and blocks.  I pieced the Carolina Lily and put the top together.

And then I quilted it.  Alice and Ann got it back to put the binding and label on it.  You can click on these photos to see them a little larger or I have a closer photo below.

The quilting did not take very long - I used a stencil for the baskets and Lisa Calle's Pro-line rulers for all the verticle parallel lines in the setting triangles as well as the lily block.

As always, we hope the Folk Heritage Committee sells a lot of tickets!  They still have photos of last year's quilt on their website - but as soon as it is finished, this one will replace it.

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Five symbolic blocks

My dear friend Dorry pointed me to a fiber art blog and  The 70273 Project.  I'll let you read about it there.  I decided to make five of the smallest size block -

I see there were stray threads in my photo, but the blocks are already packed up to go to the organizer who is here in North Carolina so no new photos will be taken.  I'm not sure how to describe the feeling I had while making these, but I feel better that I participated in the project during this weekend of the Holocaust Remembrance.

It's not like me to make anything like a quilt block that has this sort of loose, hand-drawn appearance, but I felt like that was what I needed to do.  My favorite of the group is the fourth from the left - made with a blotchy darker red print I had only a scrap of.  The center one is made with gros-grain ribbon, which I was going to use for all of them, but I really like the rest made with regular quilting fabric better.

Sunday, January 15, 2017

The Hexathon quilt with stars and flowers

When I chose the yellow fabric for the background of the first block, I envisioned a lot of the blocks would be star patterns and always intended the setting to be a starry sky.  Then one of the earliest designs looked like it would make a nice flower, so that was a step away from the plan.  And then something went totally awry when I came home with a fat quarter of a lively floral print that had all the colors I was using.  So I have a melding of the stars and flowers with the final product.

The palette started with a set of fat quarters Joyce gave me for Christmas.  I thought the colors would make a very lively baby quilt and since she's going to have some grandchildren some day, that was the intended purpose for these blocks as I made them.   There were a couple of blocks I didn't like very much after I made them, but once that floral became the setting fabric, I decided I could include them after all.

This photo of the back shows my quilting plan.  When I did all the block outline stitching, I also outlined all the plain yellow background pieces, so some of the hexagon blocks have additional quilting lines in them.  I changed my mind about quilting each block per the piecing once I got all of that done, and went with a star-flower to simplify things.

The backing is pieced with this gradient blue and green and the lattice that I used for the middle border. Norris says he likes the starry sky fabric which is also used for the binding.

Saturday, January 7, 2017

Westering Women - Block 12: Road to California

This block closes this series.  It's an easy one to construct, but I took my time choosing fabrics from the selection I had set aside for this project so that I was sure to include two I hadn't used before.

I probably made this last weekend but didn't get the photo done until yesterday when the light was not very good.  I think the block is much prettier than it appears here.

I've been too distracted with my own family history to appreciate the stories behind this series as much as I might have.  Quilting has been taking a back seat this year, but my family discoveries are mostly not as colorful as my quilts, though I may some day do like some of the genealogy bloggers and tell a success story or two.  But I have finished quilting the Hexathon quilt and am ready to stitch the binding on, so that one will show up here fairly soon as a finished project.  I still have the blocks from the previous Civil War series to put together in a quilt before I'll work on this one. And there's a quilt for a family member who already had a quilt but has recently upgraded to a larger mattress, so I've got some sewing to do!

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Thanks to Anna Banana...

Here's my Westering Women Bear's Paw block, revisited -

Anna-Banana gently pointed out I had rotated one of the four-patches.  Now they all are oriented as intended.

She also asked about my comment that I might be quilting the small Hexathon quilt for weeks to come - well, mostly it's just because there's no close deadline, so I have other priorities!  (Holidays are a part of the slowness.)

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Westering Women - Bear's Paw

I was late making November's block - it came out just before a trip to Chicago to see my family.  I've made plenty of Bear's Paw blocks before - but they didn't have the four four-patch blocks for the feet (the white triangles make the claws.) To change this one up, I made it the negative of the blocks I'd done before (light paws on dark background instead of the other way around.)

Only one more block for this project.  I have the Hexagon quilt loaded on the quilting machine, but haven't put the first stitch in yet. If I do only a little every day, it could take weeks even though it's a small quilt.

Friday, November 25, 2016

A quick hat and a pillow

The first hat I made for Norris was as big as the amount of yarn I had (there was maybe a 5 inch tail when I  finished to tie it off) and it was really a bit small, so I knew I needed to make him a better one.  This one uses leftover yarn from the plaid throw I made last year.

Norris says he likes it even though it's a little colorful for his taste.  He does not smile for my camera, but he did agree to model at least:

The pattern was free on Ravely, called the "Strib Hat."  It was a very simple design with a changing rib and stripes for interest.  But I had the first stripe done and Norris said he really prefers his hat to turn back so there are two layers covering his years.  After the first stripe, I essentially knit everything else inside out.

The Strib pattern was designed as a fitted cap, but Norris also likes room at the top of his head for an air pocket as he thinks that provides better insulation.

I knitted that while this next project was being blocked on my quilt design wall.  You get two photos because there are two sides.

I did not intend to make the two sides different, but accidentally switched the yarns I was using as the second contrast color only a few rows into the first side.  The one above is made the way I intended them to show up.  I can't decide which I like better.

This pattern, Ponni Cushion, is by Hazel Tindall - one of the few women who has held the "World's Fastest Knitter" title.  She does not knit "continental" style - touted to be the faster method by many. Seeing her knit on video, it doesn't look very relaxing but listening to her talk while she works, I'm sure she enjoys her knitting.  I had no idea she also designed patterns.  I think they all use Shetland wool.  The yarns I used were a combination of wool and silk, with some colors made of wool and cashmere.  That sounds like it would be soft and comfortable, but the Shetland wool is hard and durable and seems to win in the combination.  I don't think I would use these yarns in something you wear next to the skin.

Back to my pillow, here it is in context on our foyer bench.

That project almost finishes my first level of decorating projects.

Monday, October 31, 2016

Westering Women and the Hexathon is over

My Westering Women block for October - I wanted to emphasize the star points, and have them light colored.  Then I thought I needed a bright fabric for contrast, so the little lattice print came in to the mix, and  seemed to want to be in small pieces. 

The last hexathon block was a complicated one and I only need 25 blocks for my setting.  These are my final three.  You get a sneak peak at my setting fabric with a couple of these - I used these as "leaders and enders" for the Westering Women block, forgetting that I hadn't photographed all the blocks yet.  (The setting fabric on the lower left corner of this one is not yet sewn on, but the block looked sad with a missing corner.)  The hand-dyed fabric is from Vicki Welsh.

I used foundation paper piecing for this block - this set of gradient hand-dyes is also from Vicki.

And my final block - I should try to fix a couple of those Y-seams.  I was running low at this point in the Hexathon!  But I love the combination of Vicki's shibori dyed points and the commercial batik.

With a jump start on the setting of these, I should have this colorful little quilt put together soon.  The Westering Women quilt has two more blocks to go and I don't have a setting plan for them.  My Civil War quilt blocks have been finished for over a year and I do have a setting design and all the fabric purchased.  I just haven't had the motivation to see that quilt finished?

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Westering Women and Hexathon blocks for September

I just don't upload to the computer as often as I used to - here are my quilting efforts for the block programs for September

The Westering Women block was called "Sage Bud for Fort Laramie."  I thought I was done using that pale blue fabric that makes up the buds, but this one called for it.

 The brown stripe was a shirting fabric I purchased probably in the late 1970's.  I cut a shirt for myself out of it and never made it.  After my mother died, I found the pieces, still pinned to the pattern and took it home and decided to use it for quilting.  This was the first time using it in large pieces - the wrinkles did not iron out of it.  I may simply have to quilt it heavily to disguise it.

And here are four hexathon blocks that I don't have much to say about.  This first one was nice and easy and I think Vicki Welsh's hand dyed stripe makes it exciting: 

I can't really say the "nice and easy" part about these next two, though the second one also benefits from two of Vicki's hand dyes.

This last one though is a variation on one of the earlier blocks and also has Vicki's fabric for two of the three fabrics (the paler blue green was a commerical hand dye).  That particular week's block included a curved applique element, as though laid over the six points of the star shape featured in many of these hexagon blocks and I didn't think it would be all that effective in my brights.  So an easier choice helped me stay current with the program:

HIP HIP HOORAY I recently figured out how to set these colorful blocks!  My original thinking would have had an alternate hexagon or other shape out of a dark dark blue, perhaps flecked with yellow or white or with little stars on it.  But a couple of weeks ago, I helped in a volunteer effort to stuff the goodie bags for the attendees of Quilters Take Manhattan, a fundraising program for the Quilt Alliance that took place late in September.  For my few hours of work, I was rewarded with some of the fabric donations, and after washing them all, the fat quarter piece went up on my design wall to ponder for a different purpose.  Pretty quickly I could see it worked well with these blocks and promptly ordered some more. It's a choice not within my usual style at all, but then, these blocks are also in that category.

Friday, September 16, 2016

Love the cables!

I like cables in quilting, but they are difficult to do well by machine.  On the other hand, cables look wonderful in knitting and are not hard at all.

This sweater was finished at least 6 weeks ago - just didn't photograph and then when I did, I didn't post the pictures. 

This sweater was made from the top down, without any seams - first time I've done one of those.  It has a small applied I-cord to finish the neck, sleeve, and lower hem - first time I've used that technique on anything but my plaid afghan.   There were three varieties of cables, and the way they moved around on the front kept the knitting very interesting.  The pattern, Siesta, by Carol Feller, was free!

The yarn came from Diane's inventory after she closed her big business in Oregon.  I spent a little and got a lot of yarn for my money.  I have projects lined up now that will take me through the next couple of years.

Here's a fun photo only one of my friends seemed to notice on Facebook, combining a quilt and a knit: 

It was the last night of the Shindig when they finally gave the quilt to a ticket buyer from Maryland. Alice is the one behind the quilt and Ann is standing next to her.  Ann's husband Russ took the photo.  We have to plan next year's quilt now - no hand piecing this time!