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Saturday, July 30, 2011

Border decisions revisited

I made the border decision for my little baskets - flying geese!

Is that a large pile or what?!  Thanks everyone, for your input. 

The intriguing thing about geese is that they can be scrappy or color-controlled... in this case I managed to do both.  I won't make an inner border to separate them from the main quilt, I don't think the cornerstones will make them stumble.  I have to make a few more and pair them up, then I can call it a UFO ready for quilting.  Also, these are not "ordinary" geese - more about that, with a tutorial, later!

I did make another wonky house, this time I actually like how it turned out...
There are cave men living inside and they seem happy with their home!  My next house will definitely have a chimney on the roof... you know how it is when a bunch of cave men get together! 

Well, today is car wash day, the birds won't leave me alone - they either like me a lot or hate me, I can't figure out which one it is.  The results seem to be the same so it probably doesn't matter anyway.  Nadine at  The Fabric Peddler is having an open house today - good food, door prizes, a mini-quilt show - I'm looking forward to that, it will be a lot of fun!  

And after that, because I'll be so close, I'll probably make a stop at Costco and you-know-where...
... you gotta like that store!

Sew forth and sew on til later

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Border decisions

I decided on a scrappy border for my little red baskets quilt, and I thought these blocks would be fun to use...
hmmm... that's not quite the look I like for this little quilt. 

I like the idea of that block design because the thin inserted strips echo the shape of the basket handles.  For some reason, though, I'm not too fond of that white background.  I think I must have limited myself too much when I used those medium-blue cornerstones in there; but I'm not taking them out, the quilt's not worth the time. 

Now I'm wondering should I go with a darker blue background with the inserted strips, or maybe green?  Or maybe some scrappy flying geese.

I'll have another go at it and see what it looks like with a different design. 

Today seems to be perking along okay - the garbage man actually put my can back in front of my fence; my neighbor shot some water over onto my drooping porch plants; it's not too-too hot and I've turned off the window air and I'm using ceiling fans.  Truth be told, I'm not crazy about window AC, never have been a big fan of it, so to speak.

So now I have to fix a salad for lunch then make a yogurt run because the prices change tomorrow - I try to buy the Light n Fit when it goes on special, although they raised the price a few weeks ago.  They even increased the price on the STORE brand, can you imagine?  I like the Giant brand; it's been 50 cents a carton since I can remember, and it used to go on sale for something like 40 cents.  Now they have the nerve to charge the same price as for the Light n Fit! 

What can ya do?   Sew forth and sew on til later

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Sooner or later...

... you run smack into a virus!  And sadly it happened to me last week and added misery to an already miserable few days.

It has been so HOT I didn't feel like doing anything but lying on the floor in a puddle.  I have two window AC units, one of which works okay but no way can it cool two floors and a basement.  Well, the basement isn't that important because I don't do anything but laundry down there, but my sewing room is on the top floor and it was TOO HOT to stay up there and sew.  Or sleep. 

But the good news is the temperature has dropped a few degrees and I got my PC back yesterday.  All the garbage is gone, I couldn't believe how much stuff they found on there!  I didn't lose any files or have to reload software, thank God. 

And the other good news is I was able to set up a sewing area in my living room where the AC is, and I did get a negligible amount of sewing done just to keep my hand in.

I sewed together these basket blocks that had been UFO-ing around for who knows how long...

now I have to make a border decision. 

Right now it's a smallish wall hanging, approximately 26", but when I'm done it might be a lap size, who knows.  I want it to have a scrappy border, something to add a little interest; it just looks too plain and boring as it is.  

And I also finished the solid fabric quilt top that I'm swapping with Yetunde, I have to decide how I want to quilt it ...

the top edge looks crooked, but it's straight! 

Go here to see the original Kandinsky this was inspired by.

I think Yetunde will like it 'cuz she's nice like that!  *wink*

That's it for now, still trying to get re-inspired after this awful heat wave.


Tuesday, July 19, 2011

On a house hunt

Three things to be happy about:
(1) tea-flavored water in a large sippy cup
(2) a fresh pedicure
(3) a morning walk before the sun comes up

Actually my pedicure is 3 weeks old, but two out of three ain't bad!

Yesterday I planned to finish up my Kandinsky but that didn't happen, but that's quite okay. 

I started a PFP house for my guild's raffle quilt, but I goofed up somehow and need another piece of background fabric which I'll get this weekend.  Then I thought to myself how cute it would be if I made some wonky houses, using the instructions I found here

Well, I grabbed my 6" ruler and made my block outline; I used 6" simply because that's the only size that would fit my 8-1/2" paper. 

I didn't like the first one I made too much...
I used batiks but I'm not crazy about the amount of contrast.  Should have chosen another fabric for the body of the house.  Besides, it looks like an outhouse to me (do outhouses have windows?).

I didn't like the second one I made either...

I thought I'd use solids but I'm not happy with the colors.  *sigh*  That roof-and-door combo looks just like an arrow pointing towards the northeast.  I'll try this again, and next time I'll hit the "perfect" combination of size, shape, color and fabric.  I just know it...

Sew forth and sew on til later

Monday, July 18, 2011

Making progress

Three things to be happy about:
(1) cornbread
(2) sleep-in days
(3) Caesar salads

I had to throw in a plug for Caesar salads because lately I've become a real fan, I have one for lunch almost every day!  I like to add a little shredded carrots in mine, some chicken breast strips from Costco, substitute the croutons for a piece of cornbread from Whole Foods or Wegman's (they add corn in theirs), and I'm all set. 

I hadn't done anything with my Kandinsky solid for almost a week, except add more fabric to that little starter block and stare at it... I just didn't want to deal with it.  Have you ever had days like that??  Here's the picture again:

Then yesterday I did feel like dealing with it and I made some progress...

You're looking at the original and then at my version, scrolling back and forth, back and forth, LOL.  They're just kissing cousins, trust me! 

The pieces at the top will be incorporated in some clever way above the black strip.  I really wanted to pull in some of the yellow from the log cabin area... the camera doesn't show the true color, it's a sort of cheddar.  I substituted a paler piece of yellow, but maybe I'll add the cheddar anyway, give it a little bit of sunshine up top. 

The background fabric looks sort of grey but it's really a funny shade of blue; the only grey I had was a bit too pale, and I definitely did not want to use black!

So that's my progress so far, we'll see what today's doodling will come up with.

Sew forth and sew on til later,

Sunday, July 17, 2011

My solid swap challenge

I received my beautiful solid quilt yesterday from my 15 Minutes Play swap partner, BeeBee...

Isn't it gorgeous?  For inspiration, she used the painting Starry Night, by Vincent Van Gogh.

I'm glad I had a chance to do this solids challenge, it stretched my horizons in a whole new way.  Soon as I finish the Kandinsky I'm doing with Yetunde I'll look for another project for solids; I love the process.

I haven't been doing much sewing or blog-hopping lately, my attention has been focused in other directions.  But I have pieced some scraps to cut up for quilt blocks (it's called "made fabric"). 

On this one I started with the little leftover triangular section, added the B&W and pink pieces...

then I just kept adding pieces around it in a clockwise fashion...
there's no rhyme or reason for how its done; you can go clockwise, counter-clockwise, left-side right-side, it doesn't matter.  Just keep adding pieces to make it bigger.

On this one I show how I added to an uneven edge: I took a straight piece and laid it on so that I had a straight sewing line...

Then I trimmed off the hang-overs and pressed...

Now I have a straight edge to attach more scraps to! 

You can use odd shaped pieces of scraps, strips, what-have-you.  You can also take two or more big pieces and sew them together to make ever bigger pieces.  The object is to use up your scraps to make large sheets of fabric. 

It's a really good recycling option, with the bonus of not having to think too hard about what you're doing.  When you want to get your hands into some fabric but don't want to do anything specific, you can easily make fabric sheets!

Stay tuned for some blocks I pieced using my "made" fabric!

Monday, July 11, 2011

Another solid quilt started

After staring for almost a week at the Kandinsky I'm to swap with Yetunde, I made a start on it yesterday (see previous post for picture). 
It's fuzzy but I think you can see it. 

This is just a stick-your-hand-out test, but I'm trying out the colored squares section as a sort of log cabin style.  We'll see where it goes.

I haven't started digging through my stash yet for the head wrap and background fabric for my Jill quilt, but I'll do that today after running a few errands.  I have so many fabrics in it already that I don't need to add anymore colors, so I'll try and match something I already used.  I kinda doubt it'll be finished by the weekend though - I can't keep up with Yetunde!

Sew forth and sew on til later

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Bisa Butler workshop at The Fabric Peddler

Thanks to everybody who encourged me on my solids challenge quilt... can you believe that little booger is still waiting for the binding?  I'd better do it this week because I want to take it to my guild meeting for show n tell on Saturday!

Nadine at the Fabric Peddler hosted Bisa Butler for a workshop yesterday and what a great day it was!  Bisa is so talented, very easy to work with, and she's the very model of patience.  She provided two images of Jill Scott, we chose the one we wanted to work with.  I chose this image with a head wrap because she was looking directly ahead and there was no hair to deal with...

We had to assign a value to the fabrics we were going to use; of course, being an over-achiever (translation: I couldn't stop dithering around and make up my mind!), I brought tons of fabrics with me!  Our first step was to release the face from the background...

(am I crazy, or is that a really large face??)  That soft blue is the "light" that I used for my base. 

Next I placed my medium and dark values on one side of her face...
the eye was a bit of a challenge.  Here you see it without the iris and that little spark; I'll add that later. 

See, I'm working away diligently...

so is Renea...

I like the tattoo'd effect Renea uses on hers...

Of course, quilters gotta eat, so we took a little break... 
Nadine provided a scrumptious lunch for us, we all enjoyed it! 

Back to the class... here's my piece with one half of the face done and I'm working on the second eye:

The eyes can be a challenge, I'll tell you!  I never could get that dark ring around her eye to look right. A couple people kept saying mine had a tropical look... I think the eye looks like a tiger's eye.

And here's the result of my day at the workshop. 

One thing Bisa mentioned is that our finished piece can reflect the mood we're in at the time; I chose to create my piece with a "carnival" look rather than going for real-life coloring. 

There are highlights ("extra-light" areas) on her face; looking at the light fabric I chose for the base, if I were to start over on this particular one, I would have chosen a different fabric because I think the light areas in it sort of interfere with the few extra-light areas.  Perhaps I might even have chosen to use a solid here.  Hmmm... solids...

So, anyway, I have to do the scarf - none of the fabrics I had with me was "just right", so I chose to do it at home.  And I may or may not do the neck, we'll see.  Earrings, an iris, a little sparkle on her lip and eyes, and the face will be done!

Then I need to make that all-important decision about the background.  Bisa likes to leave that til the very end so she can see what the quilt asks for.  I'm convinced that someplace in my stash the perfect background fabric is just waiting to jump out at me begging to be used - when it does, I'll be standing there with open arms!

Sew forth and sew on til later...

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

My second solids quilt

... is still at the "let me see... let me see..." stage.

See my post from July 1 to see the Kandinsky I'm working on.  For some reason that dark background keeps getting in my way, so I removed it in Photoshop to see if it could help my inspiration...
hmmm... maybe. 

Anyway, these are my tentative fabric choices:
for some reason the photo is a bit fuzzy but you get the idea. 

I'll put in some black, grey and maybe brown - or maybe something else, I'm definitely open to change.  We'll see; right now I'm a bit clueless! 

On another note, I did survive the 4th, all those fireworks!  They're illegal in the close in counties in Maryland and Virginia, so those residents bring them into the District to shoot them off.  Fireworks have really changed since I was a kid... no more just the tiny little things that pop, or the roman candles that shoot off sparks.  Now they just love throwing lighted cherry bombs into dumpsters and running like hell; it sounds like the neighborhood is being invaded.

I figure we have another week and a half to go before they're done. Sew forth and sew on til later,

Monday, July 4, 2011

Happy 4th of July

My July postcard ...

I made this one for a 2006 postcard-of-the-month guild challenge - enjoy!

Sew forth and sew on til later...

Friday, July 1, 2011

Challenge done

This is my solid fabrics challenge quilt...
all done except for the binding and sleeve!

It looks way different from the version I started with...
See what can happen when you climb out of that box!??

I've already started planning my second masterpiece; this time I'm exchanging with my friend Yetunde

We're both working on the same piece - it's called Gravitation, by Kandinsky.  Yeowww, this will be a REAL challenge for me!  Box, get outta my way!

Sew forth and sew on til later...