WIP Wednesday (Selvage Blocks)

Selvage Quilt Block_yellow

Okay, these 20″ blocks are addicting.  Someone on IG commented on my selvage stash, but the whole thing could fit into a gallon ziploc bag.  There are all those selvages on my stash, however. . .

Other Works in Progress, this Wednesday morning:

Rainbow Petals.v2Rainbow Petals–the more I type that name, the more I realize it needs to be changed

LollypopTree Top FinishedLollypop Tree Quilting.  It’s such a big project, I keep waiting for the decks to be cleared to start on it.  That’s always a bad idea if you are trying to get something done, but a good way to procrastinate.

February CrossX blocks_2

Cross-X Quilt Blocks. That’s February’s installment on our Friendship Swap to the left.

Cutting out the quilt with the Mirror Ball Dots fabric.  Let’s just make that THINKING up the quilt with the Mirror Ball Dots fabric.  (No photo)
That’s enough for now.

Linking up to Lee’s Freshly Pieced blog and her WIP Wednesday.

WIP on

A Record of Quilts–Making A Quilt List

I have two links up above, one titled “100 Quilts List” and the other “200 Quilts List.”  It’s been interesting to be able to say with some accuracy how many quilts I’ve made over my lifetime, but I didn’t start those lists when I first started quilting.

Dad's Art Book Pages

Those lists began because of my father’s journal of his paintings (this is one volume of five), which are a record of how he created them, colors he chose, inspiration, sketches.  My friend Lisa also had a quilt journal and when she showed it to me, some time ago, I was in an insanely busy time of life and thought I could never do such a thing.  But life changes, from busy to not-so-busy, and as an experienced quilter, I began to want a record of my work in this life that didn’t vanish under dust or dirt, or disappear into a student’s backpack, never to be looked at again.  I began quilting in my twenties, some four decades ago, so that was a lot of quilts to account for.

CCA holding quilts

And once I started my journal, I wanted it to be accurate, a habit that has come about because I am married to a scientist, and we are all about accuracy in this house.  I started making a list, pulling photos from albums, and bugging my children to let me come and photograph their quilts.  That’s my oldest son, Chad, above.  We met one day at his work and we laid out the quilts he had in the conference room, so we could photograph them.

Photographing Quilts

At that time, we had wooden lift-up garage doors, and I stapled a white sheet to the front, set up a table and gathered every quilt from what I had in our house to photograph.  I pinned the quilts as straight as I could to the sheet and waited until the sun had moved off the door, so I could get an even tone (adjusting for the shadow).  It took me about three days, and the neighbors were quite entertained by all my going up and down the stepladder, photographing the front, turning the quilt over (you see a back up there), and then a few close-ups here and there.

BrookeMaddy

Another time, I drove to Arizona, where two of my children lived, set up a borrowed frame and pinned and photographed, over and over, with grandchildren watching, finally being allowed to wrap up in their baby quilts.

MeganPeter SunandSea

I started going through all my digital photographs, looking for quilts.  Above are Peter and Megan the night before their marriage, holding a quilt I gave them.  And from all these sources, I started compiling my list in a simple spreadsheet.  Where I had dimensions, I put them in.  Dates were critical, but I decided to keep it just to the year.  Was the quilt labeled?  Photographed?  I noted that too.  A couple of quilts are gone forever, but I remembered them, and tried to put them in where I could, numbering and re-numbering.

I decided to only include finished & quilted tops, but I know Thelma, of Cupcakes and Daisies counts hers by pieced tops.  However you decide to count yours, I would encourage you to start writing down what you have accomplished.  I guess the biggest pay-off came from me when I came home from Arizona with those frames and was able to photograph some of the larger bed-sized quilts that I couldn’t accommodate on the garage door.

Clay's Choice

This is Clay’s Choice.  The first big quilt I’ve ever made.

My husband helped me put it up on the frames and I stepped back a bit to photograph it, then looked up from the camera to really see it.  This was the first time I had seen my quilt off of a bed, all arrayed in its beginner-quilter glory.  I paused and studied it–the white floral sheets, the solid greens, the Clay’s Choice triangles in a dainty blue print spinning around, each in their own block.  I remember tracing around cardboard to get those shapes, stitching the blocks, and hand-quilting it over several years on a small portable frame.  I looked at it, all the memories of the making, here, visible in this fabric concoction, never needing to be dusted, or re-done, or rewritten.  This quilt, nearly 35-years old, captured all of that in its pieces, waving back and forth in the late afternoon breeze.

“Everything okay?” my husband asked.

Oh, yes.  Everything is just fine.

At the Bandstand, Under a Starry Night

BandstandStarryNight_front

 At the Bandstand, Under a Starry Night, front

I’ve written about this quilt on this blog before, where I referred to it as Hunter’s Star, a description of the block.  But now it is finished, binding and all, and has a new name: At the Bandstand, Under a Starry Night.

SFO Bay Bridge_1

I’ve done a couple of “under the starry night” experiences this past week, and there’s also been some bandstanding, or music.  The photo above is of the San Francisco Bay Bridge, where they have an LED art installation, The Bay Lights, which makes patterns with fish swimming across the bridge, clouds, waves, shooting lines, sparkly doodads and all sorts of patterns.  We drove up to San Francisco to see this, as it’s only here for two years.

SFO City LIghts

And here’s The City’s lights, with the Ferry Building in the foreground.  I had first made this quilt for my youngest son’s college quilt.  He was enamored of music of all kinds, acquiring the nickname of Audioman, so I incorporated music-themed fabric into the Hunter’s Star design, a personal favorite.

BandstandStarryNight_back

 At the Bandstand, Under a Starry Night, back

However, he took one look at it and kind of squinched up his eyes, subtly shook his head and didn’t say much.  I figured it out, and made him a different one (#43 on the 100 Quilts List), which he liked much better.  This one sat around.

BandstandStarryNight_detail2

I pulled it out because I’d put it on my Finish-A-Long list, rummaged through my fabric stash, finding the borders already cut out.  I slipped in the yellow inner border for some variety (funny how your quilting tastes change), found a large piece of IKEA fabric and put a back on it so my quilter could get it quilted for me.

BandstandStarryNight_back detail

Back detail

As you all know, it had been a beyond-stressful week for me not only for my own puny reasons, but troubles within my larger circle of people I love.  And then the landline phone on the house telephone went out.  That’s it, I said.  So I sat down and put on the binding, and Friday morning found me traveling north with my husband to a scientific conference.  I happily stitched as he drove.

BandstandStarryNight_tree1

 quilt on a large cypress tree, outside our hotel room

So we found ourselves here in Monterey and it’s the jazz festival — a Big Deal, with Big Names — jazz in the lounge, on the stereo, musical instruments being seen everywhere.  And I thought of the best kind of music, being played with great affection and intensity under a starry night, perhaps even by a band on a bandstand on a summery night, and so the quilt found its name, and its finish.

BandstandStarryNight_tree

FinishALong Button

This is one of my project on the Finish-A-Long list, and quilt #47 on my 100 Quilts List.  Yes, I went backwards.  (Although now I only list them when they are completed, earlier I slipped in a couple of tops only.)

Using the Other Side of Fabrics

First off, after I finally figured out how to use Mr. Random Number Generator, and making sure that comment included a trip, I’m happy to announce that the winner of the Itsy Bitsy Scissors is Mary, of Needled Mom.  Congrats!

I figured since I subjected you to a swath of vacation photos, I needed to get real and get some real quilts back up here on the blog.  I started yesterday on the newest Schnibbles for June, Dulcinea, beginning with the background fabric in a navy-blue print:

background dulcinea

A high-quality iPhone photo, uploaded, then recaptured as a screen shot.  Love technology.  Kidding, but it does come in handy.

mockupDulcinea

I filled in with mostly Comma prints, but a few others (I hate doing one line of fabric), but it just wasn’t going anywhere for me, until I turned the background fabric over to the “other side,” not the “wrong” side (shown in pink circle).  Why do I not say “the wrong side”?  It comes from the era of watercolor quilts, when we tried to blend blend blend our tones across multitudes of itty-bitty squares.  We learned to consider both sides of a piece of fabric as possibilities.

Watercolor Quilt

Here’s my version: Color Study: Night Infolds the Day.  My friend Leisa got us started on this adventure–I think it was her first quilt ever.  We cut about a zillion little squares, and since that cool gridded fusible web hadn’t been invented yet, we pieced them all.

Watercolor detail 2

So the technique was to smooth the colors across the colorful sections, and sometimes no matter how many little squares you browsed through, it just wasn’t possible.

Watercolor detail1

So you flipped the piece over and used the “other side,” like the middle partial square in the upper row, and the full right-hand square in the second row.

Watercolor Back

I used an allover celestial print for the back–that was pretty daring for that time — all of 14 years ago.

Watercolor Label

The label.  I exhibited this is a local quilt show, and stitched on their label, too.  The best part of this story is that our friend Tracy adopted our six pizza boxes full of squares (we sorted them by value, from light to dark), added about a zillion white squares and made herself a wonderful quilt from our leftovers, another value of getting together in a quilt group.  This is #29 on my 100 Quilts List.

Carmel BluesAnother quilt where I used the “other” side sometimes, was on the quilt I made for my mother (mentioned in last week’s post).  We’d gone to a quilt show in Carmel, where I’d picked up a fat quarter pack of blues.  This is titled The Blues of Carmel, and is #19 on my 100 quilts list.  It’s named not only for the ocean at Carmel’s edge, and that pack of blues from the quilt show, but also because my mother has blue eyes.

Carmel Blues Back

The back of this is merely a whole cloth, allover design, which I used as a guide to hand-quilt.  Pretty much the only people who machine quilted their quilts at that time were J. C. Penny’s or Sears.  It was hand-quilt, or yarn-tie.  Quite a range of options, right?  Since this was made in my earlier days, it doesn’t have a label.  I need to remedy that.  This quilt was published in Joen Wolfrom’s book Color Play (page 64). Don’t know who Joen Wolfrom is?  Google her.  Her book, Patchwork Persuasion is ground-breaking.  And just typing “#19 of 100 Quilts” makes me realize how far I’ve come, and how far quilting has evolved, in the nearly two decades since I made this.  Of course, I’M not any older.

Dulcinea Label

This was on my melon for lunch, which reminds me I need to get back to sewing that Schnibbles quilt, another one in Sherri and Sinta’s Another Year of Schnibbles!

Scrappy Stars!

Scrappy Stars, full view

I can finally write this post, as I caught Dave before he picked up his latest Donna Leon book (see the picture at the end for my stack).  I used to have this perfect photography studio, but then we had to replace our garage doors and I can’t staple a white sheet onto it any more.  So, I have Dave hold up the quilt for me in the back yard.

Here’s the requisite languid beauty shot: Quilt Draped Over Something.

The back.  You know that fabric you have that you love love love and it’s been sitting sitting sitting on your shelf for too long?

This was mine, so I put it to good use on the back of this very red quilt.

My quilter, Cathy of CJ Designs, did a meander over the star points and a star on a rolling wavy line in the borders. I had wanted to quilt this myself and imagined some glorious feat like Angela Walters accomplishes–all detail and punch and wonderfulness.  But in the end, I traded “Done” for “Glory,” as the pragmatic side of me realized that summer was o-v-e-r and if this quilt was to be enjoyed, I needed help on the quilting.

The label:  Scrappy Stars • No one sees what is before his feet: we all gaze at the stars.  –  Cicero

This is my number 100 of 100 quilts.  Now I’m starting on my second batch of one-hundred quilts.

I’ve arranged this stack of Donna Leon books I’ve finished in order of publication, with Death at La Fenice the very first one she published.  Notice how we get the paperbacks from used books stores (via Amazon and Abe Books online).  ( That second one is titled Death in a Strange Country.) There’s a lot of her books out there. So far, Acqua Alta is my most favorite, but I do like her subplots and characters. I’ve made a note to buy little almond cakes while we’re there, as they only appear around the first part of November — a piece of trivia gleaned from one of the novels.  At any rate, I look forward to reading more of these as soon as I can.