Colorwheel Blossom, 48″ square
Welcome to the Blogger’s Quilt Festival! I’m entering ColorWheel Blossom in the ROYGBIV category of Amy’s online contest.
The original finished blog post is *here.*
It took me forever to find the right colors for the center of the blossom, and I haunted several quilt show booths, combing through their Kona Cottons to find just the right shades, then visited Purl Soho–Irvine to get the right inner petal shades. I appliquéd it to the white background, and then it took me several months to get up the courage to quilt this. I settled on a curvilinear emphasis in the middle field and an angular emphasis in the borders.
It now hangs in our hallway right by the front door, a rainbow greeting all our guests, lighting up our home.
Thanks for stopping by to see Colorwheel Blossom. Be sure to head back to Amy’s Blogger’s Festival to see the rest of the quilts, and to vote for your favorites! Voting begins May 22nd for each category, as well as Viewer’s Choice.
Carla, of Grace and Favour, asked us to make Wonky Baskets for her bee month for May 2015 Mid-Century Modern Bee. She sent us some photos of examples of Gwen Marston’s Liberated Baskets and gave us instructions to make colorful baskets with contrasting handles. I just found my way to completion. I thought I’d share how I proceeded.
This is a result of the process called “Grading Avoidance.” (My final papers just came in and I run upstairs in between each paper and play with the cloth to get my brains back. It’s a skill I’ve learned since becoming a professor.)
Carla’s request reminded me of a quilt I saw last summer in the Springville Art Museum, Going to Market, by PJ Medeiros (quilted by Amity Golding).
I liked all the different-sized baskets, so I drew up this sketch:
I then pulled up a bunch of two-fabric combinations and laid them all out on my ironing board, and started to cut.
This is how I assemble the basket part, beginning with the bottom piece (or base piece). I lay the basket piece on top, about 2″ from the edge, and placing the ruler at a slant, I cut through both the LEFT base and the basket pieces. Shift the basket piece to the left so it overlaps the righthand base piece by about two inches, then lay your ruler down on a slant, and cut through both pieces. I show you how it looks once you are finished (above).
Pin and stitch, then press towards the basket.
Lay the upper piece and the newly constructed basket bottom piece together, then measure about 11″ from where you will cut the base; place a pin. This is the outer boundaries for the handle.
To make the handles, cut a bunch of bias strips anywhere from 1 -1/4″ to 1-1/2″ wide. Fold in half, wrong sides together, long cut edges aligned and stitch a narrow (1/8″ seam).
I have these bias strip press bars that help me with the next step: I slide them in, wiggle the seam to the middle back and press. You can just do this with your fingers on your ironing board. Try really hard not to stretch out your bias.
The above weensy picture (click to enlarge) shows me 1) auditioning bias strips for the handle (I have a bunch to choose from ). Go to the ironing board and press, with steam, a curve into your handle, then pin it on (photo below). It’s better to think about easing in the inside curve, rather than stretching the outside curve, but truthfully, both happen at the same time.
Then back to the above photo: 2) stitch on the handle, doing the inside curve first, then the outside curve; 3) handle stitched, and finally 4) the seam between the upper and lower parts are stitched and trimmed.
For the final press, press seam toward basket so the handle will look like it’s coming out of the basket.
I cut and stacked a bunch so I could slide up here between grading and sew a couple. Bias strips are in the front.
And now I have ten! You can see I’ve made one of them bigger. I also have a couple of midget baskets ready to make, too, to even out the rows. I’m just making them–I’ll figure out how to put them into a quilt later, after these last essays are graded, the final given and grades assigned. A perfect summer project, I think.
Cindy, of LiveAColorfulLife, called me up one day and said she had a great idea and a great name for a bee: Mid-Century Modern Bee, and that everyone had to be at least mid-century in age. Maybe it was the exasperation I felt that all the newbies were claiming invention of tried and true blocks and methods, or that I was ready for another bee, or that Cindy’s charm could not be turned down, but I jumped at the chance to be a part of this new group.
We’ve been going strong for three years, so I’m dividing this post into parts, and am grouping them by the participant, rather than going through the calendar years. We now have a blog, courtesy of Susan and PatchnPlay, so I guess you could say we are all grown up.
I wanted a place where all our blocks, quilts, and tutorials could be listed; you’ll find links to many tutorials of these blocks, so have fun browsing.
The first project we did was Carla’s Church Dash quilt, with the tutorial found *here.* The next year, Carla (Lollyquiltz) had us make another block churn dash block for her, and the beautiful quilt above is the result.
Carla is still working on this year’s batch of blocks, a birthday cake block using *this* tutorial. This bee also does signature blocks, which I love, and you can see the array at the top of her pin wall. My birthday cake block is the blueberry with mint filling, as one of the fun things she had us do was list what “kind” of cake we would make for her. If you use the tutorial, remember to set your print scaling settings at 100% so your block will be 12″ square.
Cindy thought for her first turn, she would do the Winged Square Block with the tutorial found *here.* When I sent around the letter asking for photos of blocks/quilt tops/quilts, she sent me a photo of all the blocks together.
For her second round, she fell in love with Rene’s spiderweb block (another member in our bee) and decided she wanted one too. This became common–we are so well matched that we borrow ideas for each other regularly, tweaking them slightly. We used *this tutorial* for these blocks.
Using *this* tutorial, and again borrowing from Rene’, Cindy went with a rainbow Dresden plate, with a black and white center. Unlike the Always Bee Learning Bee, we make from our stash, not sending out fabrics to each other. It is fun to see how many of us have the same fabrics.
Her last request was matched by another bee she is participating in, so her design wall was flooded with circles.
Debbie, of A Quilter’s Table, asked for a variation of the Hugs and Kisses Block, but done in soft hues and colors (aka “Low Volume”). Her stunning completed quilt, above, titled Common Affection, has gone on to be published and to win ribbons. I love that blue wall, as it really shows off the low volume fabric choices.
Debbie’s next block (in 2014) was a pair of rolling diamond blocks, from *this tutorial.*
Here’s all the blocks together. She’s going to make a few more to even out the quilt.
Rene’ of Rene Creates, and who inspires many of us with choosing blocks, asked us for a spiderweb block (tutorial link found above), but in scrappy fabrics. She made this cool quilt with the colors moving all around–a real scrappy treat. She took it with her when the family did Christmas photographs together; I love the setting.
She laid them all out on her bed to show us how they looks together. Because of different printing sizes, they range from smaller to larger. She plans to place them scattered across a solid background for her quilt.
I made this house for Linda, drawing from my collection of free house patterns that I had worked up for my in-town sewing group. The reason she asked for houses, is that her house burnt to the ground, and she lost everything shortly before Thanksgiving of the year she was with our group. We all made houses, our hearts going out to her as she worked hard to rebuild her life.
(to be continued)
I saw a notice on IG one day, with Megan saying that she had room for another participant in her bee. I jumped at the chance to be with such illustrious quilters, and they gracefully accepted this newbie. This bee sent out their fabrics to everyone, so we would get a little packet of fabrics with directions, then we’d sew it together and send it back. Only once did I worry about running out of fabric, and once, when I screwed up a block, I was relieved that I had similar fabric in my stash.
I grow rather attached to the bee blocks I make, even the ones that give me fits. I always feel badly when the blocks aren’t just so, and given the number of notes I’ve received on my bee blocks from others saying the same thing, I know I’m in good company. So I got to wondering one day: what ever happened to the bee blocks I’ve made? I sent out emails and I’m happy to show you what I’ve received in return. If they recipient hadn’t made it up into a quilt, that was not a problem; some sent a picture of a grouping of blocks. If that wasn’t sent, no big deal. I guess I just wanted a final wrap-up post about my time with this bee. This bee was on their third year, so it disbanded after my final block, but it was fun bee-ing in their company.
The following blocks/quilts are in no particular order:
We made ogee blocks for Mary’s turn. One of the hallmarks of this bee was to always be learning, so a lot of new techniques were tried. This one was curves in a Drunkard’s Path block, that when assembled makes an Ogee Block.
This was the first set I made, and Megan requested arrow blocks that turned every which way.
Hettie sent us directions for Hobo Quilt Blocks, and everyone’s was different; it was to be a quilt for her sister, who was graduating with a PhD.
Toni’s Christmas spiderweb blocks were really fun to make, and I love the fun holiday quilt that came from hers and our efforts.
Celeste added to what we sent of Bonnie Hunter’s Boxy Stars, and made two quilts for charity.
Kristina asked for Sparkler Blocks, a pattern by Lee Heinrich.
Leanne walked us through making perfect points for her Ocean Waves block. I didn’t get all of them perfect, but her finished flimsy is wonderful.
Anything that Stephanie conjures up is going to be great, and although I fretted over these blocks (as I worried about running out of fabric and really worried that my finished product was only “pretty good” in my estimation), I love her finished quilt, titled One of these blocks is not like the others.
Marci’s Modern Maples were fun and fast, with interesting fabrics.
The last bee blocks in this lineup are Michonne’s. The lovely story about this is after I sent around the emails last month, asking for photos of either the blocks together or a the quilt/top, she hurried and finished hers so I could post it here with the rest; it looks terrific! And what did these beemates make for me?
I really enjoyed seeing all these blocks and quilts together. Thank you everyone!
Yesterday, I revealed my quarterly art quilt challenge, and as is my usual, this post is about some of the how-to’s.
When trying to think about how to illustrate this poem, I kept thinking of all the pictures I’d taken in Washington DC during cherry blossom season and was thinking that they might work for this. I first searched for a picture of a balloon seller, and found an illustration from what looked to be c. 1950s, perfect for I wanted–a nice, clean interpretation.
This is a composite of several photos; I added in the balloon man last. I saved all this (multiple times) and then started to prepare my fabric. I wanted to use the Bubble Jet Set again, like I did for an earlier art quilt (more info *here*), so soaked my Kona white squares and hung them to dry.
I ironed them to freezer paper, then tried to feed them through the printer just as they were.
So this time I trimmed down the edges and taped it to a piece of cardstock on three edges and then fed it through the printer (I have a flow-through feed path, but I have done in those printers that do a U-turn). Success. I didn’t care that the image was a bit wider and spilled out onto the tape, as I knew I was going to sew fabric strips around the edges. I let it sit for 30 minutes.
The other part of using Bubble Jet is to rinse the printed fabric in their Bubble Jet Set, so after waiting the allotted amount of time, I rinsed the printed images, and hung them to dry (below).
I’d printed two different versions of the balloon man. One with all full-out color everywhere, and one where I had lightened the background by about 30% to let the man and the children pop out a bit more. That one worked best for fabric.
On the screen, they don’t look too different (lighter background is on the right). But my husband said the full-color print was “all a bit much,” language for toning down one part of the picture so that the other could shine. He liked the difference.
I cut the strips 1 1/4″ wide as I wanted a narrow range of gradated colors.
Strips on. I made it a wee bit bigger than our 12″ so when I sew all four of these together at the end, I’ll have room to maneuver.
I drew out the balloons on some waxie paper squares that they use in delis. I’d purchased a big box ages ago and I use them to try out quilting ideas.
I tried drawing it on with a white pencil, but it didn’t show very well, so I just pinned on the waxie paper, and kept flipping it back and forth.
If you read the post about the quilt and the meanings of the motifs, you’ll know why these balloons are here.
I like to attach the label before the reveal date. On this day, my father was going into surgery for a broken hip. He fell when he was hanging a painting in his art studio. Did I mention that he’ll be 90 in December, and is still a source of inspiration for me–still going down to his studio to paint daily? But today, while I thought about him, I couldn’t make the labels at all–something I usually can do in my sleep. The middle shows the label. . . printed on the freezer paper backing. Next. The righthand side shows the label when I forgot to print only the first page, plus I obviously put the fabric down too low and it printed partially on the masking tape. I finally got it the third time. He had his surgery, and is fine, but to say I was feeling a wee bit distracted and out of sorts would be an understatement.
Now I’m thinking that the other quilt needs to be spiffed up with a photo or two. I need to get those woods darker and deeper, but will have to think about how to do this.
I always enjoy trying to interpret a theme or an idea in these little quilts, but there are some days I approach the task kicking and screaming. It’s always soooo much easier to just pick up a block or two, start whacking away with my rotary cutter and tada! a stack of blocks is sewn and done. It is harder to take the time to think about what I want to say and how to say it. It’s on days like that I’m keenly aware that I’m not an fine arts artist like my sister Christine, or my father.
However, I’m my own kind of quilt artist, and I choose to keep doing these little art quilts because it stretches my brain and pushes me to explore new techniques. Everyone has to find a way to keep growing in their quilting, otherwise we become stagnant and stale and slip out of the conversation. For me, this is one way to remain in the stream of creativity, and I’m always glad to have these art quilt challenges come around again.
Many thanks to the other quilt artists who participate–they inspire me!
For those of you who are avid English Paper-Piecers and are new followers, welcome!
#2 in the Literature Series
Continuing our theme of literature and my personal love of poetry, this is the second in a series of four art quilts for this year, a collaborative effort by the Four-in-Art Quilters, a name chosen because we do four small (12″ square) art quilts per year. For this quarter, I chose e.e. cummings’ poem “[in Just-],” a poem about a balloon man selling balloons in Spring. I’m also following a seasonal theme, as the last art quilt focused on Winter.
e.e. cummings’ poem appears on the surface to be a simple sensory poem about “when the world is puddle-wonderful” and “bettyandisbel come dancing / from hop-scotch and jump-rope.” It’s a world where the wonders of childhood dominate, from mud, “piracies” and “marbles” to the sight of a balloon man with his wares to sell to the children.
But in the last stanza of the poem, the capitalization and descriptions change. The “old balloonman” becomes the “goat-footed balloonMan,” with his whistling pipes and inferences of Pan, a somewhat lascivious ancient god who is half goat, but has the reputation of pursuing the women. Suddenly the poem changes, the games of childhood left behind as Pan brings different games to “eddieandbill” and “bettyandisbel,” games from which they will never stop playing.
(detail of center panel)
When this version is presented by my students to the group (they each have to choose a poem, analyze it and present it), there are some groans, as in, “can’t this just be about balloons and spring and mud and marbles?” Yes, it can. But perhaps e.e. cummings is trying to have us look at two spheres at once: childhood and adulthood, and that razor-thin edge where we cross over from one into another. We then have an interesting discussion (all very G-rated) about when they felt they crossed the dividing line from childhood to adulthood, and the answers vary from when I got my driver’s license, to when I first kissed a boy, to when someone left home, to when they had their first jobs and bills and live-in girlfriends. And so it goes. The balloons of childhood escape from our hands into the heavens, and we can never get them back.
I plan to join all the quilts together when I’m finished; here are the two I’ve completed thus far.
I can’t believe I left off the author’s name, so I hand-wrote it in. There will be a final label when all the four quilts from this series are joined, so I’m just not going to worry about redoing it right now. The “Deconstruction Post” will be next, with some info about how I made this quilt.
About Us: We live all over the world, from Scotland and Australia to the continental United States. Our blog is *here.*
Please visit the other Four-in-Arters, and their quilts around this theme:
Circle #11: Vintage Test Pattern
This is the eleventh block in a series of twelve circle blocks, conceived and created when I needed another hand-sewing project, and wanted something beyond hexagons. I had several sources of inspiration for this one:
As a child, I remember these “television test patterns” on the tube when I’d get up too early, before the station had signed on. And I liked the Greek Cross reference, too, since many of these circles were designs taken from a Greek Orthodox Church in Ljubljana, Slovenia (from our vacation last year). So I give credit to both sources of inspiration.
I have been giving away these patterns for free, as I want to share my designs for anyone else who wants an interesting pattern to sew up on those days you are too tired to do anything but watch a good movie, and do some stitching. But Please: do attribute the source of this to Elizabeth at OccasionalPiece-Quilt (or OPQuilt.com) and do not print off copies for your mother or your friends. Please direct them here to get their free copies. Many thanks. Here’s the pattern in a PDF file for you to download: EPP #11_OPQuilt_Circles. Print off four copies and cut out, but you only need one circle.
Please make sure your printer settings are set to a 100% scaling, as shown above.
Here’s the circle drawn up in my quilt software. I’ve taken to printing out this little color drawing and putting it in a small bag with all the glued-up pieces. I like referring to the drawing as I work.
Picking fabrics–I always lay them out. I jumped the gun and cut the cross-bars early, as I have another circle with that fabric and while I wanted these circles to be different from one another, I still wanted them to be able to have a conversation, so I repeat fabrics here and there. When you cut out your circle, I’d make it about 1/4″ bigger than it is. See Circles #10 for some tips on the circles.
Once I got all the little points around the top of the circle printed out, I noticed that it would be hard to figure out where the “curve” of the triangle was, so I drew little arrows on every one of them. As it turned out, I was okay about figuring out how they went, but if you think you might need the extra assist, do it now.
As is my habit, I lay out all the glued pieces for one final check before I start sewing them together.
Then I loaded them all up in my little bag with the drawing and went outside to the patio to stitch, while listening to my audio book.
This time it was The Last Chinese Chef, and I was craving Chinese food by the time I finished listening to this. But not Americanized Chinese food; I wanted the food in the book.
Stitch the upper row sections together, then the lower, then join them, keeping those seams aligned if at all possible. Notice that I have not glued down the lower edges of the lower section to their papers (the innermost part of the circle), as I want to appliqué the center circle onto the piece, and it’s a lot harder if I’ve folded the edges and glued them down.
Then, line up four green triangles with their curved edges at the bottom, and the points that go in-between them (three pieces). Lastly, lay the half-triangle on each side. NOW sew them together. You don’t want to be sewing on a full-triangle on those outer edges, like someone else I might just know.
When sewn together, it should look like this. It’s now after dinner and I’m inside, still listening, but sewing by lamplight, instead of by sunlight. I couldn’t stop listening, nor stop sewing. These get addicting.
Join a checkerboard unit to the triangles unit.
Then stitch one of those ray-sections to the checkboard units, making sure you are attaching it to the same side on all four units. In this photo you can clearly see the raw fabric edges of the lower checkerboard pieces. Sew together two of these units, then sew those two units together to create a full circle. At this point, you can remove all the papers, except any that are at that outer edge. If the papers are hard to slip out because they are glued, use the tip of your small scissors or a stiletto to loosen the fabric (so you won’t have to tug and pull).
Cut a 14 1/2″ square of backing fabric. Yes, it is bigger than the circle, but I want to make sure I have enough to work with when I figure out how I’m setting all these together. (I have no clue at this point!) Now it’s decision time. This version, with the red rays arranged North-South-East-West, or. . .
. . . this version, with the rays arranged like a flower? I marked the centers of my large backing square, and set down the circle, pinning it for appliqué. I went with the traditional version (North-South-East-West).
Cut away the backing fabric, leaving a 1/4″ seam allowance. I love these little Karen Kay Buckley scissors, as the tips have little teeth that grip the fabric, holding it while trimming even the smallest bit of fabric.
Pin on, then appliqué the center circle. See Block #10 for some appliqué tips. I should have placed that “weave” pattern aligned straight up and down, but instead I just slapped it on. As a result, I always want to tip my head to the side when looking at the center circle. I’m sure no one else will notice (well, now you will) so I’m not redoing it. Keeps it real, keeps it interesting.
Remove all the papers, and admire your work.
Here are they all are, lined up on an ironing board that is obviously used for other things than ironing. (Anyone else have to clear off their ironing board in order to iron something?) I think they do play well together! I’ll post the last circle at the beginning of June, and then hopefully, the quilt setting on July 1st. I’m posting this circle block a wee bit early as we have our Quarterly Four-in-Art Reveal in two days, on May 1st.
I hope you’ll join me then for our little gallery of art quilts!
Sing A Song of Sampler Blocks
Pieced, Appliquéd and Quilted
57″ high by 53 1/2″ wide
No. 146 on my 200 Quilts List
I put out a call for a variety of blocks in 6″ or 9″ or 12″ sizes, and then as they came in, placed them all up on my design wall to see how they played together. I used some of the ideas from these friends to create a few more blocks, following Carla’s lead when she created hers. Like Carla, I also worked in the small signature blocks as part of the design.
One day I opened a card from Rhonda, another friend back east, and she’d made me a bird block to be added to my project, as she had read my blog and wanting to contribute to my modern sampler. So that spurred me on to making a few more birds as well.
Then I had to try some flowery blocks, two different kinds to go with all the other flowers, and a Dresden block, and once I got started, I also added a Road to California block (made four times so it would be big enough to add variety). It’s kind of fun to try making all different kinds of blocks. Finally I had enough, and the right size of blocks and I was able to sew it together. Happily so, thinking about my good friends.
I saved some of the smaller blocks for the back.
Happy Spring! Spring into some quilting!
Pineapples and Crowns
Pieced, Appliquéd and Quilted
No. 145 on my 200 Quilts List
I had forgotten to piece all the signature blocks into the backing from Mid-Century Modern Bee, so I just kind of swooped them onto the back. While they may look a bit unusual, I figure the back of my quilt is like looking in my clothes closet–no one will see it but me–and this way I won’t lose these precious tiny blocks. I wish I had a signature block from the other piecers of the blocks, but that bee didn’t do them, and that bee is now scattered.
The background is a series of petite prints on a white or creamy colored ground–no beiges or grays to muddy the clarity of the colors–and is a contrast to the solids of the pineapple steps and the crown petals.
I quilted this quilt over a week, using seven and a half bobbins, in a free-swirling pattern, outlining the leaves and stems in the border. I got the idea for my border from the masters of borders, the Piece O’ Cake ladies, but varied it somewhat to fit what I needed. I was interviewed for an article on quilting last week, and I noted that if we think we are making something original, we are slightly delusional. Actually I wanted to say we are straight-up delusional, for everything comes from somewhere else, but I qualified it so quilters wouldn’t have their feelings hurt. The idea, I think, is to make that snippet of influence new for you.
Mark Ronson, the well-known DJ-record producer, noted in his TED talk that we are all sampling from everyone else, sampling being his word for when recording artists slip in a line or two from someone else’s recorded song to bring a texture or a reference to the work that has gone before (cue at 6:15 for his discussion). So you might say I sampled some early pioneer in the use of her pineapple block and the Piece O’Cake ladies for the border, and both of these were probably sampled from somewhere else, somewhere. I feel richer for being a part of this quilting universe, with good ideas slipping in from places beyond.
Yes, you did a notice another quilt in that first photo. Stay tuned.
These photos were taken in our local university’s botanic garden, in the gazebo near the iris section, overlooking the creek gully. It’s a very old gazebo and I fully expect that one day I’ll arrive with my quilts and it will be gone. Until then, it will be sampled into my photos, my coda on the making of a quilt.