Tuesday, March 30, 2010
Decisions needed to be made, but you know the old saw, "when the going gets tough, the tough go shopping." As far as I'm concerned, those are words to live by.
A couple friends and I spent last Saturday road-tripping the quilt shop circuit around a quadrant of Wisconsin. We stopped at variety of shops, just the sort of itinerary to recharge batteries. First was Holly & Ivy in Ripon, primarily a wool and basket shop.
We decided we would make the trip in a heartbeat if Holly & Ivy offers a class on this basket.
Next was the wonderful Primitive Gatherings quilt shop in Menasha. Finally, we stopped at Yarns by Design in Neenah. A well-rounded shopping experience--hitting all our interests and scratching the itches that needed scratching.
For me, this was an *emergency* shopping trip. I was burning to come up with some solutions to the current quilting issues boxing me in the corner. And success--I found fabric to inspire new directions on my stalled strippy, and at least two other projects.
The answer for the strippy came in the form of an antique-y brown and blue striped fabric at Primitive Gatherings that did a much better job of picking up and uniting the colors on the block strips I had made.
I've also decided to make the strippy smaller. It will be a wall quilt. The toile is gone--that will be a different project. And I decided that as much as I like things made small, the endless lengths of tiny half-square triangles I've made are just too dinky for the quilt as it had been planned. I think the HSTs will look much better on a slightly smaller-scaled quilt.
One very astute commenter mentioned my original quilt plan as having some proportion issues. She was absolutely right. I'm hoping this new direction will solve some of those issues.
Thursday, March 25, 2010
When you've been making quilts as long as I have, you'd think I would have the elementary bugs worked out of quilt planning and construction. But no. I'm continually amazed at the mistakes I can make and the lessons yet to be learned.
A case in point--this "simple" strippy that I had hoped to have completed for a deadline in May. Wasn't I just saying the component pieces were all made, ready for assembly? This week, I pinned the pieces onto my design wall for the first time and had a heart-in-the-stomach experience. Colors are not working at all. And it's a BLUE QUILT. How can it be that colors are out of whack?
The whole point of this quilt is to feature this pheasant toile. But the lights in the strips of star blocks are very white, while the toile is set on a definite beige ground. When viewed together, the stars are glaringly white.
And the half square triangles I hope to incorporate are in the same whitish tones. End result--the toile looks dingy. The contrast is more apparent in real life than in the photo above. Believe me--the effect is not good and I know in my heart of hearts that it would be a mistake to proceed.
I took the whole mess with me tonight for a sewing date with friends and there was consensus: I have two quilts here. There is the quilt that will use the toile and there is the quilt that will use the strips of star blocks. But these component pieces don't belong together.
This is a setback. Some creative thinking is needed.
Sunday, March 21, 2010
Woo hoo! Another weekend of Spargo-ing with the Spargoettes and I have an announcement to make: my blocks are completed. And it only took a year!
The basic sewing was finished on the blocks on the last Spargo weekend. This weekend was spent on embellishments. Let me tell you, over the last two days I've threaded and unthreaded enough needles and I've sewn enough French knots to last a lifetime.
An unembellished block:
All dressed up and ready to party:
This Sue Spargo project is called Flowerbed. (Click on the link and scroll down about 2/3 of the page.) To bring readers up to date--this is a project stemming from a class and the unadvised purchase of very pricey kits by several friends and I. We formed a support group so as to GET BUSY on this project. One year in and everyone's doing very well.
The next step will be assembling the blocks and their sashing, and there will also be borders with applique and embellishments. We aren't out of the woods on this project yet, but there is movement.
Tuesday, March 09, 2010
In a couple previous posts, I've mentioned working on a strippy quilt. This was inspired by a particularly evocative toile whose main feature is an undulating vine with large pheasants. I had originally seen this fabric, in brown, used in a kitted quilt at Country Sampler. A kind blog commenter clued me in that this fabric was available in other colorways.
Serendipity! I was able to score a load of it in blue. Things have taken shape slowly, but now the component parts are just about ready to go.
The toile parts of the quilt took some planning, and the better part of an evening was spent crawling around on the floor on my hands and knees. It was an aggravating fabric design, as many are. Across the width of the fabric, there are two repeats of the major design. But they are not centered on each half of the fabric width. In order to balance the toile design, a fair amount of fabric width has to be cut away. This KILLED ME, but was unavoidable.
And the undulating-vines-with-large-pheasants need to be cut offset in order to end up with a symmetrical layout. Now, I'm all for non-symmetry in some things, but this quilt needs to be well-ordered and symmetrical.
Woe to the quilter who only buys the exact measurement needed for the quilt length. The offset was at least one-third yard. The fact that I bought extra fabric is just pure dumb luck.
I've made Variable Stars, assembled them into strips, and I've made all those hundreds of half-square triangles. But due to losing fabric width in the toile strips, this quilt will not be as wide as originally planned. Luckily the stash produced an antique-y looking floral stripe that will add some needed width. A partial mockup :
Haven't quite decided yet where all the half-square triangles will go....
And if things STILL aren't wide enough, there may yet be a border to piece.
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In knitting news, I scored a nice quantity of Kimmet Croft hand-dyed lace-weight yarn from a friend who's decided to de-stash it. One knitter's de-stash is another knitter's new treasure to pet. Happy, happy.
Will my life be long enough to knit up all the lace I want to make? I intend to give it my best shot.