Thursday, October 30, 2008

Autumn Trees

Our quilt group is woking on mastering trapezoids this month for our technique challenge. Sometimes no matter how hard you prepare, things just go wrong. I made a nice instruction page and used my quilt software for the tree block so we could measure seam allowance requirements to understand better how to use them. I used my home computer for the master, but somehow my print settings were off, and the design was innaccurate. I found myself looking into 20 confused faces which was very disturbing.

I chose to use our community service day to try to undo the confusion and so cut 126 tree blocks (15 pieces in each block) so that we could stitch them up together to master these trapezoids. Well, wouldn't you know it, I shorted each block by 2 background pieces, so had to rob from some kits to give enough pieces for others. It took another whole day just to get the correct number of pieces back into the kits. Since I had used quilt-room donated fabrics there just was not more background fabric to be cut for some of them.
We got a good start at our monthly community service day, and quite a few blocks went home with members to be completed. With a corrected copy of the pattern and with better cutting and stitching instruction, hopefully this project will lead to at least 5 more lap-sized quilts for donation.
Oh, just a C&M note, the ends of the strips where the 45-degree cuts were made for the tree trapezoids? They are being sewn up to make triangle units that will finish at 1-12-inches. Now just how can I use all of these autumn-color triangle units?

Creative Surge, Cont.

Here is the second chicken bag, front and back. Inside are several pockets made with the navy lining fabric. I've decided that contrast fabric pockets would be better as it is easier to find them when looking inside the bag. Bag #1 is now in Texas with it's new owner, and this one is hanging near my recliner for whatever purpose meets my fancy.

Fleece hats for my grandsons with flashing pumpkins fastened to the brims, a fleece jacket for my granddaughter with a scarecrow applique and slashed edges all around, and Halloween pillowcases made their way to New Hampshire to be enjoyed this holiday season. The jacket was a little snug in the sleeves, but the mom has been advised to cut out the sleeves, do a stay-stitch like was done around the jacket edges, and slashing to finish the edge and she will have a vest to enjoy another year. The granddaughter wore the jacket to have her school pictures taken in, so we'll enjoy this vest for a long time.
I have to admit that these projects all came out of "scraps" starting with the scarecrow applique that was from a pre-print leftover, and the fleece was given to me by a friend. The printed squares of the border of the pillowcases was given to me, as well as the yellow for the small accent strip. I always find that when working with scrap, you usually "get to shop" to get something to go with them. The black print and the orange and purple stripe were my purchases.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Creative Surge

This weekend I was feeling a wee bit creative. I had found a piece of chicken print fabric that seemed perfect for a pieced bag. I don't know where it came from--one of those common donations of scrap that I receive, I guess. The print was just right for cutting between the chickens on the border print to make the whole outside of one bag and the front for a second. I had purchased a fat quarter selection at a Jo-Ann Fabric's sale a few months ago because the stripe and prints in the package were perfect for a pieced bag, especially the stripe for a top. I was delighted that the two fabrics paired together so well.

While I semi-watched the series re-run of Project Runway I started developing the ideas for how to assemble this purse. Working with a pattern is sometimes frustrating, but when you are designing and stitching and making up everything as you go along, the process can become very complex. For instance, I forgot to stitch handles into the bag top as I added the stripe. Okey, I guess it will be a shoulder bag instead of a hand bag, and so then I had to hunt up the D-rings I had in the supply drawers--somewhere--and had to figure out how to attach them so as not to ruin the nice top trim. The handles had to be made to fit the D-tings as both sets were slightly different in size. I used batting trimmings from a friend (leftovers from a commercially quilted quilt that were just too large to throw away) in the handles, and I should have used more in the bag and trim . Lining and pockets were another creative decision and I used the leftovers from my grandson's quilt I made earlier in the summer. Then since I only had half a bag of the chicken print I had to decide how to back the bag, and how to do a pocket, or pockets on the outside as well as the inside. Then how far do I box in the bottom to make the purse bottom and sides.

Fitting in my C&M concept, I have about a 10-inch square of the back, lining and handle fabric, and a 2-inch strip of the stripe fabric left following my creative surge. It seems to me they about evened out with this project!

I'll have to post pictures of the second bag later. The camera has been used too much this week and the battery has to be charged. In the meantime, know that the bag will be visiting in Texas with my friend, Cathie, who used it today while driving me to funeral services. I have to admit it looked pretty nifty, and presently holds some holiday redwork so it will serve a useful purpose!
I also worked with some fleece and pre-print scraps during this surge, but will post about them later as the package has not been received by the intended "victims" so will post after they receive it.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Perfume on a Pig

Here are versions two and three of the rail fence using the muslin strips as the center. These would make great lap quilts for hospitalized teenagers or pre-teens, as the muslin centers would be the perfect place for signatures and best wishes thoughts. Although each are set alike, the prints differ depending upon which scrap fabrics were being added to the stash as the quilt stitching progressed. The last version has many more reds--I think I was running low on other colors.

These quilts were made from a more calico-type print that was rescued from scrap contributed from unknown sources and from a box falling from the garage because of a borken door. A friend took one look at the relative "ugliness" of the quilt in comparison to the other versions and wanted to know why I had chosen the blue print as setting fabric. Well, it's because I cut it for the former variation, found it not suitable and took out what I had sewn. I used it for these quilts because it was already cut--you know, I had cookies and milk.

After completing the "grandma style" top I decided to perfume the pig and add some Grandmother's Flower Garden hexagon motifs I had on hand, adding a vine and leaves for good measure. Yes, Jo, I did it all by hand! Beauty is always in the eye of the beholder.
There is quite a bit of distortion in the top so this quilt may have to be tacked instead of quilted. I'll know better when I lay it out to baste it.

This version is made with the same background, but the center of each block is the same print calico in a dark value. The eye rests more easily in this version with the repetition of the same fabric. I decided this needed no "perfume" so it will be finished just as it is now.

This final version uses the same 2 x 5-inch strips, but uses a partial seam technique to add the strips around a square. The blocks finish the same size of the rail fence, and when I show them side-by-side, observers puzzle over what is different. The center is a 3-1/2-inch square. The same selection of strips was used to make this quilt as the first rail fence quilts. The surrounding black setting and border give it a bright dramatic look.

The box is still full of these 2 x 5-inch pieces as I seem to be adding to them all of the time. I'm thinking that a Pioneer Braid would be another fun design to use with the accummulated strips. Now let's see--do I have cookies or milk?