Thursday, October 29, 2015

Improv projects and 'Liberated' block arranging, AHIQ Linkup #2

'Pacific Blues' #1 & 2 close-up, I like the colors together.

'Pacific Blues' #1 mother of pearl and 'star fish' added.
'Liberated' style blocks arranged in sampler style.

Pacific Blues #1 needed a couple of 'star fish' and some mother of pearl pieces sewed on, I decided.
I want to have 3 in this series to show the moods of the Pacific Ocean. Of course the many moods of that ocean are endless but I figure three, one for relative calm and bright, one for darker, moody and restless and three for a late summer sunset. That will keep me busy for a while.
I've taken some of the blocks I have sewn together going through Gwen Marston's book, Liberated Quiltmaking II, and laid them out on a piece of fabric I'm using as a 'design wall'. I'm going to use that fabric for sashing and flying geese borders. I wanted to get a feel for how the blocks could go together and what I might want to add to fill it out. So this is my progress on improv projects so far.
I get a lot of encouragement and inspiration from all of you other improv designers/quilters at
Ad Hoc Improv Quilters Link up #2
Long live the challenge!

Saturday, October 24, 2015

San Jose Museum of Quilts & Textiles.. Found/Made

Quilt top made from double knits.

Quilt tops displayed hanging from clothes line.

String quilt

American flag in log cabin blocks by Luke Haynes

Entrance display quilt.

Friday I drove to San Jose to see family and the San Jose Quilt Museum exhibit, Found/Made, a quilt collection including quilts from 1940-current. I went with my daughter-in-law and we enjoyed ourselves looking around and talking about fabric, quilts and the memories of vintage fabrics and quilt patterns in our lives. Good time! 
The song, 'Funky Town' reminds me of San Jose. It's a colorful mix of hustle, bustle, palm trees and a beautiful rose garden, San Jose Heritage Rose Garden, right in the middle.
Enjoy something beautiful this weekend, it keeps you young!

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Fun with Square in a Square blocks and Valorie Wells' Greta Pattern..

Square in a Square blocks I've been sewing together.

Greta quilt pattern by Valerie Wells.

I've been sewing up 'liberated' Square in a Square blocks as in Gwen Marston's book, Liberated Quiltmaking II. That intuitive method really speaks to me. It says, "Relax and have fun!"

Valori and Jean Wells at The Stitchin' Post have put out some good modern quilt patterns. Staying up on patterns and color trends is one of my favorite interests. In the current Keep Sake Quilting catalog,
Valori and Jean both have designed stunning kits, Colored Happy and Color Work Table Runner, on page 40 and 41. 
Enjoy your Tuesday and share a smile!

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Square in a Square Blocks and Hand Embroidery Added

Four patch blocks for center block.

I'm skipping ahead to work on Square in a Square and Cabbage Rose blocks.
Hand embroidery added in contrast color.

Machine quilting practice using different tensions..

 In working through Liberated Quiltmaking II by Gwen Marston, I skipped ahead to Square in a Square and Cabbage Rose blocks, just because. I decided to use some fat quarters that I won as a door prize at one of the quilt guilds I belong to. The prints, colors in the fat quarters are not something I would choose  to work with, but I thought that it would be good practice in making due and using what I had on hand. Adding some other fabrics to the mix for pizzaz, I made up a lot of four patches. I'm going to use them for centers in Square in a Square and Cabbage Rose blocks. Then I'll sew them together with other Liberated Quilting II blocks into small quilts and use them to practice machine quilting. I want to work at that until I get results I'm comfortable with. However, big quilts will still be sent out to a long arm quilter because they do such a great job.
Today I've been hand embroidering and working on machine quilting, experimenting with different tensions. 
Also, good news, Sujata Shah, who wrote the book, Cultural Fushion Quilts, will be moving to the West Coast soon, in case you hadn't heard. Very exciting, she is booked to speak at one of the quilt guilds I belong to. It'll be good to see her there.
That's all for now, have a great day!

Monday, October 12, 2015

Embellishing linen apron and Pumpkin Bars....

Last Friday I wanted to use up some linen fabric that had been hanging around too long. I decided to sew up an apron with it. Making a big adventure of it I went to the local Jo-Ann fabric store and chose a pattern. Using a pattern brings back fun memories of learning to sew in home-ec class.
Aside from the ties made of bias strips, a little fiddly, it went together fairly easy. I had to embellish it of course with a vintage lace edged hanky on the pocket and some cross stitch on the hanky and neck. Linen works great in the kitchen.

Yesterday, I baked some pumpkin bars, with my new apron on, the apron worked out fine and the pumpkin bars are delicious. Come on over for coffee. Happy Monday!

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Running and Fly Stitch added to Art Quilt and Holiday Quilt

Winter Holiday Quilt, running stitches added.

Close up of Pacific Blues #1 and #2.

More Fly Stitches added to Pacific Blues #2.

I've added fly stitches to my art quilt Pacific Blues #2 in different colors with the changing seasons in mind. I keep P.B. #1 close at hand to compare and keep the theme flowing. Slow thoughtful work, no hurry here.
In looking ahead to the holidays, I've pulled out my small Winter Holidays quilt to finish it up with running stitches and a hanging sleeve, putting it up soon to decorate. I mostly finished it a couple of years ago, but it just didn't get done all the way,  needed embellishment of some sort. Now with some extra time and inspiration it will get done.
The Canadian Geese are back in town, so entertaining, delightful fall.

Friday, October 2, 2015

Log Cabin blocks a little Improv a little Modern

Log Cabin blocks, original 4, approx. 18" x 18" ea.

Original 4 blocks, cut into 4ths each and sewn back together.

16 blocks all together, 4 blocks x 4, approx. 35" x 33".

Close up view.

I read Beth's blog about how she had made a big log cabin block and cut it up and I was inspired. So yesterday I got brave and using four big log cabin blocks I had made up a while ago, I stacked them and sliced them into fourths giving me 16 blocks. Then I played around on paper with my ruler and pencil and markers, figuring out how I wanted to sew them together. Log Cabin blocks can be arranged in some really fun designs! With my plan on paper I laid them out and sewed them together adding strips of fabric to get them all the right size to fit like I wanted them to. This was a bit improvisational. I know different people use that term to mean different things. When I use it I mean using what you have and arranging it in a way that is pleasing to you, using your 'voice.'
I also decided I like pressing seams to the side when using a 'scant' 1/4 inch seam. It seems to me to add strength. I noticed when I press 'scant' 1/4" seams open they can tend to unravel at the cross seams. I'm not going to use 'scant' 1/4" seams anymore for that reason and I'm going to press seams to the side as I have in the past. I read some article that pressing seams open reduces bulk. I think in garment construction that's good but quilts are different. Full on 1/4 inch seams and pressing to the side, that's what I have been doing and it's worked fine for me.
Isn't orange a great color? Purple sets it off so amazingly.
Remember to share a smile, it's healthy.