The Grid, the Gridsters (and a wee bit of news)

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When I say the grid, you probably think of something like the image above: a rendition of the electrical grid in the United States.

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Or you might think of a street grid, or the computer grid, or any other type of connected web.

Is it This? Or That?

I also think of the grid we use in making our quilts.  Above is an example of a regular grid, using a 9-patch variant.  This style of quilting — that of using repeated blocks set in a grid — didn’t become popular until the 1840s, as earlier quilts were more whole-cloth, medallion, or broderie perse styles.

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The name of our Gridster Bee is a nod to the idea of the grid, and since I’ve had some non-sewing time, I did some research about the grid, finding its origin in the way that text was laid out on the printed page.  (Note: Where the quotes are unattributed, I could find no source for them.)

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This method of intersecting lines and angles, known as the Van de Graaf canon and used medievally, was popularized by Jan Tschichold in his books discussing classical book design, and became the standard for book layout.  You can see the proportions at work in the magazine layout (above) on the right.

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Some myths about the grid:

  • Grids are a design trend
  • Grids impede creativity
  • Grids are confining, and can only be used for certain designs
  • The grid is a static, even, regular subdivision of the surface both vertically and horizontally

types-of-grids

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There are all types of recognizable grids, such as those above, and in the images below:

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(pencil cubbies in Switzerland)

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(subway tiles in Lisbon)

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(more designs from Spain and Lisbon)

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(circular grid, both above and below)

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golden-spiral(Golden Spiral • from here)

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I love the grid, as ultimately, the function of the grid is to help determine and define proportion, such as the last two quilts, which seem to have some unseen glue holding them together. That’s why some quilts that seem to use no grid at all can either make us shake our heads in confusion, or can capture our gaze.

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And that’s why we’re the Gridsters — not just those in the bee — but all of us in the quilt world.

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And a little bit of news.

I wake up everyday and see this:

sweetsixteen-in-hiatusOn some of my harder days, it has crossed my mind that I won’t ever sit there again, happily stitching away, and I feel so far away from the quilting world that I love.  Cue the tears and the Sturm und Drang.  And then I received this:

quilt-entry-announce2017Pineapples and Crowns_front iphoneGuess the universe doesn’t want me to give up yet.  (If you’ll be there at Quilt Festival-Chicago, please take a photo of my quilt, and tag me on IG [occasionalpiecequilt].) And I was also asked by our guild, The Raincross Quilt Guild, to present a Trunk Show on May 16th.  I’m pretty excited about this, and have been working on my program notes.

So…guess I’ll be a good girl and keep all my Physical Therapy appointments so I can get back to quilting.

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February Bee Block for Gridsters Bee: Pineapple!

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IG: #gridsterbee

gridster-feb_4finalPineapple Block for Sherri for February 2017

This month, Sherri, of A Quilting Life, is our Queen Bee and she’s asked us to make her pineapple blocks.

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First step: make a mess of the sewing room pulling out greens to get the best ones.  (It also helps with re-organizing my messy shelves.)

I downloaded the free pattern, and also pulled up the post from Sherri where she makes her block, so I could glean any tips she had when she made it.

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She suggested we scroll through Jackie’s IG feed until we found the tutorial, which really helped me understand how we put these together (that’s a screen shot of her image above), as the pattern is a bit sketchy on details.  Click on the tutorial link to head over there.

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What confused me was that the pattern calls for cutting all the blocks the same size, different than what I would do if making half-square trianges (HST).  After reading the IG tutorial, I see that Jackie sort of “snowballs” on the white corners, instead of making HSTs.  She marks the line, and sews just inside of it–to the seam allowance side.  She then cuts off the excess.  One advantage of this method: there are no dog ears to trim!

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Yellows sewn: check.  Green pineapple crown sewn: check.

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One other difference in the construction of this block is that the low-volume white is added to the corners of the yellow block after it’s all sewn together, then sliced off and pressed.

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Ta-Done!

gridster-feb_4finalsigAnd here it is with its signature block–with yellow on one corner and green on the other–albeit a bit blurry.

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If you want to make a bunch and exchange them, Elaine’s Quilt Block Quilt Shop in Salt Lake City is having a swap of pineapple blocks–both in the yellow and in a range of colors.  Click here to go their IG page where they announced it.

Next month I am the Queen Bee–can’t wait!

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Gridsters Bee • January 2017

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IG: #gridsterbee

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Susan of PatchworknPlay starts off our new year of our Gridsters Bee with having us make her some New York Beauty blocks.

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She sent us to a webpage (Ulas Quiltseite–it’s German) that had ten different New York Beauty blocks on it, and we could pick two different ones (if we were making two).

gridsterbee-january-blocksThere was even a block for beginners.  I chose Block #1 and Block #6.

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Helpful tip: These words mean that she split them to get them printed.  You may want to join the outer pieces together so there is no seam.  You’ll see what I mean.

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I always remember Leann’s tips for sewing curved edges together (her quick video *here*): it’s best to put the concave piece on top, and the convex piece on the bottom.  But since I had a curved shape with gazillions of pieces, I reversed it.  Don’t know if that made it harder or easier.gridsters-january-2017_3

The second block had another challenge.  If you go and look at it, you can see I was using striped material, and I didn’t want that stripe to tilt.  First piece on (above), and I don’t glue my foundation paper piecing, I pin.gridsters-january-2017_4

I marked the center of the lower edge of the piece (opposite its point).  I folded my fabric scrap in half lengthwise and line it up with both centers.gridsters-january-2017_4a

Keeping it in place, I fold back one side, mimicking the slanted edge that needs to be sewn.  I finger-press it.gridsters-january-2017_4c

Then using all my skills, I move this carefully to the other side of the unit, holding it up to the light to line up that folded edge where it needs to go.  Sometimes it’s easiest to note where the edges are and adjust from there.

Unfold it, being careful not to move it.  gridsters-january-2017_4d

Stitch on that line, trim seam allowances and continue on.  They all line up nice and vertical.gridsters-january-2017_6a

We make each other signature blocks, using a white 3 1/2″ square and snowball on two 2-1/2″ squares on either corner, using fabric from the blocks we made. (Click on the link to see a how-to, as well as how we’ve used our signature blocks: sometimes on the back and sometimes on the front of the quilt!)

The key to success:  IRON ON A SCRAP OF FREEZER PAPER to the back before writing, as it stabilizes the fabric.  I use a Pigma 08 to write.

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We always write our name, but other things to write could be:

  • IG/blog name
  • month/year
  • hometown
  • name of the bee or why you made the quilt

Looking forward to the rest of year with my Gridster Beemates!

 

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