Monday, July 27, 2015

Manic Monday

I am working on 4 projects at once. One, a green-and-orange pickle dish quilt for an October wedding. This one is under control. Paper piecing, bit by bit (sorry, no pic)

Two, the Pressure Drop quilt is growing. It is stalled out in my decision whether to change-up the backdrop to darks for more visual interest, or just keep it light (sorry about the picture quality). Please comment if you have an opinion.

At any rate, I used the Palette Builder (see post) and found a lovely mauve in Bella solids to use as the backing:

Next, a lap quilt for my aunt. This is sad: she has only a couple months to live. She loves pastels, so I whipped out this:

Obviously, this is my first priority, but I am waiting for a shipment of another yard of Kaffe Fassett's "Spray" in wine for the backing. I already have this yard of it (isn't it cheerful in a complex way?):

My aunt is being so brave, so wonderful. Meanwhile, we are hatching monarch butterflies at our home. I hope she doesn't mind a few butterflies on her quilt. Maybe a little corny, but I'm confident she'll accept it in the right spirit. Applique butterflies, tonight!

And, waiting for all these decisions to hatch and packages to arrive, I got a wild hair on Saturday and started a split rail fence. I sewed all day Sunday and now I have enough squares for a 72 x 72 quilt (meanwhile exhausting a couple of old shirts of my husband's, and all the sage green in my possession!)

Speaking of old shirts, well I had to make him some new, and last week pulled out my handy pattern. Must have made a dozen shirts for him since we've married!

No wonder I keep complaining that I don't have enough time for my sewing!

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Palette Builder

The other day I read an article on hospice care, and how different people approach their final days. And it struck me that on my dying bed, I would like to be playing with swatches of fabrics and creating palettes for quilts, albeit ones I would never make (I do plenty of that at age 51!).

In short, I am a color freak and will be one til the day I die. So of course, I was thrilled to discover Palette Builder 2.1.

I've used palette generators before. Plug in a photo, it spits out a palette. Unfortunately, the palette it usually spits out is paint colors or perhaps Pantone colors. Not very helpful to a quilter. We need one that spits out Kona cotton colors.

And guess what, they have made such a palette generator! ("they" being a company called Play Craft). Follow this link and you'll come to this page:

Pressing the button leads to your computer files. So, then you load your image. Just for fun, I loaded an image of the cover of Cream's album, Disraeli Gears ("In a white room ... with black curtains ... near the station...")

At the top right, circled in red, is a drop-down menu. You can choose Kona Cottons, Bella Solids, "all solids", or Aurifil Threads. Here's the palette I got:

Now wait a minute! Where is the acid green? I said. Well, that's what the circled + button is for. You can ask the palette generator to go back and get more colors. You can also hover over any color you don't like, and press the - button that appears, to remove it. (As it so happens, both buttons are roughly speaking, acid green). 

Here is my Disraeli Gears palette, tweaked:

I could write more, but I know you color freaks out there are dying to try this. Just go to  Have fun and as always, play safe!

Friday, July 10, 2015

Pressure Drop

After the Swoon Quilt and all the anxiety involved in its 1.5-year gestation, I am glad to do a quilt just for the sake of it. And what better fabrics and colors to use than ones I have no investment in? Calm colors, easy colors, fabrics just sitting around.

The seed of the idea comes from this "Kilim" fabric from Benartex Left Bank collection that hasn't found its way into anything for the last two years. The name suggests it's based on carpet motifs, but it reminds me of wallpaper, which is exactly the purpose it serves in my quilt:

I only have 1 yard of it, so besides it and the stripes I've got these fabrics queued up to extend the idea (oh so casually), including my husband's old shirt:

Here are some of the highlight fabrics, including a beautiful Kaffe Fassett, a marsala print, a mauve, and one of my old favorites, the quickly dwindling toad fabric:

Most of these have been untouched oddballs because of their "off" colors. But they coexist well in this lazy day quilt. I made one of templates myself out of cardboard. I have to be careful not to shave it down as I cut!

The block is 9.5" and the drunkard's path template I used to make it finishes at 6" square.

I got the idea for the block from this antique quilt, from Eli Leon's collection of vintage quilts:

Unfortunately, I am not motivated enough to attempt anything so beautiful; I just want to cut and piece, cut and piece....

Monday, July 6, 2015

Long-Arming the Swoon Quilt

I spent the 4th of July weekend... you guessed it! Finishing up the Swoon quilt:

Months ago, at my request, the couple had visited my Pinterest patchwork page, and kept commenting on spiral quilting, so I had to break out of my "Meander" comfort-zone and go for some custom quilting to complement the patchwork:

I especially enjoyed making leafy-viney borders. They are not your traditional leafy-viney borders, but I like that:

To my horror, this is what the quilt back looked like as I was quilting. I was cursing my choice of a dark color ("potting soil"), of cheapish JoAnn fabric, etc.:

But practically all the needle holes healed themselves in the wash!

The couple loved the color of the back, which matches their walnut-finish floor. And I think they like the quilt itself! It's on facebook now, getting "likes" from their friends. All's well that ends well!

Friday, July 3, 2015

Swoon * Agony

Following friend Doris's example (see post), I finally settled on a [modified] Swoon quilt as the first-year anniversary quilt for my stepson and bride. I have struggled with this gift since they first announced the wedding, kind of shadow-dancing with "their colors" (which were never clear), hoping the construction of their new house would give me some clues. Tan? Gray? Each seemed to have its advocate, and their final solution was: both? 

As a background, I finally found Peppered Cotton (these solids have different warps and wefts, like oxford cloth) in tobacco brown: rich fawn-brown warp, greenish-gray weft. This seemed to solve the tan vs. gray perplex in a fabric I could enjoy spending time with. 

However, I was not happy with the collection of the first nine blocks. Individual prints from my scrap stash had inspired me to import accents of pink and orange. These clashed. I wished I had chosen bigger, bolder patterns. Finally, I weeded out the four that seemed to disturb harmony the most. These will become a baby quilt some day:

I was left with the blocks that adhered firmly to a gold-and-blue regimen, from aqua to true blue, honey to tan. Back to the store to buy more of those colors, again more "blenders" rather than big, bold prints. The sales lady was shocked that I was combining batiks with printed patterns. But I felt hemmed in by what I'd already chosen.

Two weeks later, the quilt top is done (except for 3 inches of tobacco brown needed around the edge. I like the negative space of the brown. We are seeing them this Sunday, when I will present the finished product.

It is what it is. I hope it provides some "Mediterranean" sunshine (they honeymooned on the French Riviera) into a subdued (gray and tan, now I'm hearing "greens"--?) setting. I have not yet been to their house. They moved in two weeks ago while I was in Ohio. I hear that their bedroom carpet has a touch of blue. I've got my fingers crossed.

Update here