Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Progress, Girlfriends

It was sunny for the first time in a couple weeks and I hope this picture shows the true colors of the floral print. I'm counting on the sun because it won't be due to my photography skills.

The star is pieced and came together fairly painlessly. I've got half of the squares and triangles set in too. No problems there either. Yeah!

I'm on vacation this week and enjoying sewing and cooking. One of my resolutions from last year(s) that I did nothing with was to organize my recipes. I've made a dent! Actually, more progress than in past attempts. But certainly will not finish before year's end. And, found two more recipes to try in today's food section so. ...

I'm trying to distinguish between tried-and-will-make-again recipes and haven't-tried-yet-but-will ones. How do you do that? Recycled a bunch of clippings that I decided I would not in any real-world scenario ever actually make because they were too complicated, would take too long or required an ingredient I was not likely to find without a great deal of effort on my part and therefore was not likely to even look for. I'm so lazy in my old age! Or maybe just more realistic.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

It always starts with fabric

Found this Phillip Jacobs' print at the local quilt shop when I was looking for something to go with the Transformers fabric. No, I did not think the Rowan colors and prints would match Megatron, but you never know what you will find where so you must look at everything in the shop.

The Transformer star blocks are all done, and I've decided on a setting, but need another 2.5 yards of solid blue that is currently on-order at the shop, so I had no choice but to find a suitable pattern for the Daffodils and Dogwoods. I think this is it: The "Girlfriends Galore" pattern from Material Obsession's book.

I buy a lot of fat quarters so I don't have the yardage the pattern calls for, but a bunch of fat quarters in similar colors will substitute for each single fabric in the pattern, with the print above substituting for the the light green floral. I hope I have enough. Would hate to have to go back to the shop to buy more and be forced to look at everything again.

I spent the good part of a day cutting out the diamonds for the center star. It takes longer to cut when you go scrappy, but it's worth the effort. So much texture.

I got part of it pieced, and I'm really liking the way it is coming together although the photo isn't so great. I'll cut as I get to each section so I can change my mind about what fabrics to use along the way. Kathy Doughty did such a good job with the fabric placement in her pattern. When I studied the composition, trying to figure out what fabrics to use in mine, I was really impressed by what she did. I like this pattern so much more than when I started!

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Mapping out a new career

A friend of mine from work who knows I quilt, sent me this link. What a cool idea: Map quilts. I need to think up a great idea like this and start a new career. I like the idea that each quilt made would be different. I'd get too bored doing the same thing over and over. And it's unique. You need a niche to set your creations apart.

I didn't feel comfortable inserting a photo of a soft map quilt from the Haptic Lab site on my blog so you'll have to head over there yourself to check them out. But so that this post isn't just words, here's a quilt of mine that's related. It was made for a guild challenge in 2003. The theme was "Florida State of Mind." I was living in Orlando then.

All the blocks that make up the quilt are somehow related to Florida. The land area is covered with Alabama and Georgia blocks for the neighboring states; Tallahassee and Key West for those areas; Cypress, Orange Peel and Sunshine for those symbols of the state; Seminole piecing for our Native Americans; Crackers for what native Floridians call themselves; and President's Choice for the role the state played in the 2000 Presidential election. The water area is Ocean Waves and Storm at Sea for the annual hurricane season.

The backing is flamingos, of course.

This quilt was machine and hand pieced and appliqued, and machine quilted. This really was a challenge! I used every technique I knew and tried some I hadn't before. While I'm proud of what I accomplished, when it was finished I could clearly see where different choices in value would have made it much better. I should have kept the land green and the water blue, but made the greens dark and the blues light. Then within the greens used lighter darks and darker darks to distinguish the values in the blocks themselves. Same with the blues.

Every once in a while I think, I should make that again and do it right. Then I think, I must be crazy to make another of the same thing. Maybe a different state? Maine, where I grew up. I have some great lobster fabric. Hmmm. Maybe all 50 states? Maybe. Someday. I need to be a little more crazy first.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Mr. Morris, say good bye to Megatron

You can see a bit of the William Morris at the bottom of this picture. For a while he was up there with these fussy-cut Transformers stars. I had to get him down. Quickly.

Now I can concentrate on these stars. Not exactly sure what the big plan is, but the test block (the green one) came out OK. So at least I know what the block will be. I decided I didn't want to make the stars different sizes, so figured out what size could be used for cutting Megatron, Bumblebee, Optimus Prime and Barricade out of this fabric I found online. Quality is crap, but there wasn't much choice of Transformers fabric on the world wide web. I bought the only yard and a half I could find. Hope my nephew still likes them by the time this is done!

I didn't want to make sawtooth stars. Too boring. And I might need to make 20 of these. Or more. To help keep my interest that long I switched up the proportions on the star points and then drew out the pieces to exact size so I could make freezer paper templates and start cutting this at night. We have a no-math-after-dark rule in this house and several cautionary tales to accompany it. Because I wasn't reading numbers on the ruler, I felt I could bend the house rule against rotary cutting after dark.

The only tricky bit is lining up the odd angles so that the points meet where all four pieces come together. I think I'll cut quite a few (during the day today -- not going to press my luck) and then piece them all at once. After a few I should be able to eyeball the placement and it will go quickly, and I need to make room on the wall for some ideas backing up in my head.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Today's weather: 2F, feels like -18F

That's -16C, feels like -28C if you're into Metric. How exactly anyone can tell the difference between 2F and -18F is beyond me. As I walked to the train this morning, my eyes watered constantly -- no doubt to keep them from freezing -- and soaked my face and scarf. Where's this global warming all the kids are talking about?

I finished this top last weekend. When I started it, I thought it might be the backing for another quilt, which I haven't posted about. (Then again I haven't posted.) But this one isn't big enough and I rather like it more than the other one so it's deserving of a top all its own.

The inspiration for this came from a posting on Fibercopia that I sketched on the back of a grocery list and kept with other piles of scribbled ideas until it was time. I have lots of notebooks, but they never seem to be within reach when I get an idea.