Sunday, July 22, 2018

Mondrian Part II

I have been fascinated with Piet Mondrian art for a long time and tried my hand at designing a quilt, or more specifically a pot holder set, using the basic shapes and colors his art is known for.  

I gave a shot at it back in April: Mondrian :: Colorful & Simple , and was pleased with how they turned out.  I went into it with little idea of what to do and how to do it.  It resulted in many moments of scratching my head and figuring out the puzzle.  I vowed then and there that one day I was going to design a block where I could have some sort of consistency and not have to wonder what my next step was.
And I did just that!!  I enjoyed the design part so much that I ended up designing two different Mondrian inspired blocks. 


One thing I love about the new EQ8 program is the color.  You can choose to print in color or not and in this case I thought it would be best.  I also like to know what size pieces I need and cut them before I paper piece certain projects.  Since these were rectangle and squares, I was able to calculate my pieces and for future use, I wrote the sizes on extra copies I made of the block pieces.

The pieces went together pretty seamlessly and quickly.  The pieces for each block are a decent size so there wasn't any tedious, fussy work in assembly.  

I ended up making two of each block because...well, pot holders do come in sets!  The blocks I made are 9" square which are a good size for me.  

My two sets!  I still have the binding to sew to the back on one set, but I'm pretty dang happy with the results.  Now I can fly through future blocks without losing too many brain cells!

I had planned on have each pot holder in the set to be the same.  However in my excitement of it all I accidentally sewed one piece wrong on one in the second set!  Plan B was to go with it and mix and match!  

A couple things I learned about this design.  You can mix and match for sets.  You can also flip the pieces around in any given set for even more variety.  And, if you choose to do so, you can decide which section you want the colors to be placed. 

I had no intention of making a third set after finishing the first two.  None at all.  The next morning I woke up with an idea and you know how that goes!  I had to do it!  When I think of Mondrian I immediately think of red, blue and yellow.  But it doesn't have to be does it?  No it does not!  My idea was to make one with warm colors and one with cool colors.  Hot & Cold!  That's big idea that popped into my head!

It's fun designing blocks that you know you'll use again.  I'm pretty sure there will be several variations over the next few months!

I'm thinking they might make a great pattern at some point.  I talk about designing patterns all the time but never seem to quite get there.  It is definitely a lack of confidence!  I probably could handle a pattern like this though!  

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

One More Weave :: Small Scale

After trying my first weaving project (Fabric Weaving) I was pretty much hooked!  Not in an obsessive way, more in a curious way.  I'm excited to try new ideas and see what I can come up with.  

With my first project under my belt, and the desire to use as much of my 'undesirable' stash as I could, I had some scraps that needed to go away.  But go away in a good way!  So I thought I'd put them to good use in a small wall hanging using 1/4" bias strips.  

11 1/4" x 11 1/4"
Sometimes a simple thank you isn't enough when someone goes out of their way to do something nice for you.  This quilt will be sent off to its new home and I hope that it will surprise and delight the new owner.  The only thing better than surprising someone is being the one who is surprise...don't you think?!

To make the 1/4" strips I started with 1/2" strips and ran them through my bias maker tool.  I can't imagine making so many strips without that tool!  I'm sure I would never have tried weaving if I didn't have it!

This is only my second time weaving, but there are a couple things that I've learned along the way.  Since I have only tried using prints, I've learned that you need to group more rows of the same fabric together in order to see a distinctive pattern.  And have them go vertical and horizontal.  Darker fabrics will obviously stand out more.

Another issue I came across, and this might be more for humid parts of the country, after making the bias strips I found if you let them sit around for a couple days they start to loose the crispness of the press.  I had to run the iron over many of the strips before I could weave them through.  

The good news is I learned a way to prevent that.  After I had a layer of strips ironed, I would lay them on a board and then place another board over them and repeat. And to make sure they stayed crisp I added a little weight to the top.  I used foam board and heavy cardboard for mine.  Whenever I was ready to weave, they would be ready to go!

I don't really think something this small needs to be quilted, but quilt it I did!  I think I mainly did it so that there was texture and a design on the back.  That's kind of weird when I think about it!  Simple straight lines was the answer...again!

A combination of Aurifil pink, yellow and orange thread was randomly used.  As you can see, the lines created a grid and with that...texture!

Finishing it off with a pretty pink binding, my second woven project was in the bag!  I can't wait for wefty weave #3!  I really want to try it with solids, but I'm trying to use my print stash...what's a girl to do?!

Have I nudged you even closer to trying the Wefty Needle for weaving yet?  Maybe my next project will tip the tables for you!


Sunday, July 15, 2018

One Year Later :: My Therapy Quilt

When I started this quilt I had no idea where it was going.  I was in need of a project to do by hand that would occupy my mind, heart and hands nearly one year ago.  Unbeknownst to me when I started, but this quilt has taken me on journey.  I went from deep sadness and heartache to happiness.  I won't say there isn't still that sadness, but not to the degree that was there in the beginning.  Losing my brother and my four legged best friend at the same time was devastating.  They say it gets easier and it does.  We never forget, we always have our moments, but we continue to take one step at a time until things get better.  

Since this quilt has become more of a celebration quilt, lets just get to it and revel in the joy of it all!

I sound like this is a finished quilt!  It is not!  I have a top, a flimsy...the finish won't happen for a couple months yet!

Much like my last quilt, this one kept growing.  In fact I think it is too big!  Last time I shared my progress I was wondering how I would deal with the edges.  As you can see I added more black triangles.  As for the top and bottom, well I ended up adding an extra row so that I could trim it to have full black stars.

After today there will only be one more post about this monster!  You can check out my adventures with diamonds in these posts:  

August 2017:  Star Light, Star Bright
October 2017:  Diamond Hexie Stars
November 2017:  Diamond Hexie Stars 2
December 2017:  The Real Work Begins
April 2018:  Hexie Diamond Update

I was left with a big pile of templates, yet it doesn't reflect the actual number of triangles and diamonds in this quilt.  I would make my hexies stars and take out the center templates so I could reuse them for the next batch of stars.  After a while some get pretty messed up.  I would print off sheets of them on an as needed basis. 

The template/triangle/diamond reality is this:
78 - Hexie Blocks 
936 - Diamonds
199 - Triangles

Now that's a lot!!

I've been calling this quilt 'Michaels Garden' after my brother.  The gray star represents him...front and center, loud and clear!

All the fabric is Kaffe Fasset, the black is Kona Pepper and the gray is Kona Steel.  The bright solid diamonds are a combination of everything...whatever was on hand and I could get six diamonds from it was fair game!

I cannot believe I actually hand stitched this entire quilt!  One thought that crossed my mind, besides me thinking I had lost my mind, was back in the day that was how things were done!  Imagine having to cut each piece of fabric,  hand stitching the pieces together, and then finishing it off with hand quilting.  I think my current productivity would be cut by 90%!!


Not every point is lined up perfectly perfect.  Then again perfection is in the eye of the beholder.  It doesn't bother me, not even in the slightest!

I had fun cutting out prints for each star!  At first I had to have three exact matching diamond groups, later on when my supply was dwindling, I ended up being much more flexible.

The back is a mine field of seams, dog ears and threads!  I used glue to hold and fold the fabric around the templates, which meant that some of the fabric was hard to pry loose!  There's a lot of fabric threads that ... don't judge ... I don't care about and I'm going to leave as is.  Seriously, there are hundreds, thousands or more!  Plus, I'm keeping the quilt for myself and picked Kona Pepper for the backing for added camouflage!

It was bitter sweet when I finished the last stitch.  This quilt became a part of my nightly routine for so many months and frankly, I wasn't ready for it to end!  It was time though and I can always start another EPP project!

This quilt will end up being about 60" x 90" and weighs a ton!  I first thought I'd quilt it myself, but I came to my senses pretty quickly!  How could I spend all that time hand stitching every piece and then mess it up with basic quilting?!  I could not!  A member of our guild will take on the challenge and work her magic!  September will be the magic month for a real, total and complete finish!

Would you take on the challenge of making an entirely hand stitched quilt?  I might day!


Wednesday, July 11, 2018

It Wouldn't Stop Growing!

How often have you started making a small quilt and the next thing you grew into something much bigger than expected?  Because of the way I work, usually with no or little plan, it happens quite often to me.  


When I started this quilt I was determined to use the fabrics I picked in the May Blogger Bundle I curated for  Needle & Foot Fine Fabrics.  You can read my post about the bundle and the start of this quilt here:  Blogger Bundle

The bundle is still available in Bernie's Etsy shop, you can find it right here:  May Blogger Bundle

I began paper piecing the 4" kite blocks with the idea that I'd make a simple, small table runner.  It would be the perfect size to showcase the fabric and be a relatively quick project to complete in a timely manner.  

The paper pieced block is by Flying Parrot Quilts and is free when you sign up for her newsletter.  It's one of those blocks that I've wanted to play with for a long time and this was finally the time to do it!

My first batch of blocks gave me a good start, but I soon discovered I needed more.  I would layout my blocks and decide I had to have more in order to distribute the prints around, and even then I couldn't decide on a layout.

Eventually all of the blogger bundle fabric was used and I was left with a feeling that there still wasn't enough.  This was a 'put on your thinking cap' moment for me!  In the end I went through my stash and picked fabrics that would compliment the original fat quarters.  

It still didn't mean I had a layout in mind though!  In time that idea finally came and the rest fell into place.

46" x 61"
I decided to keep the prints together in threes and add a plain square.  The background is Kona Snow which lets each print standout.  It took a while to get just the right layout!  Once all the blocks of four were pieced, I figured it was the best time to tear out the paper. 

After careful thought I choose Kona Black for the inside 1 1/2" border (finished) and a 3" outside border (finished).  With the three blocks that stood out the most, black, it seemed like the best idea.  Plus, I could then use black for the binding.

Believe it or not, I kept the quilting pretty simple!  The center of each block looks so poofy!  I didn't do any quilting in the black border at all.  But I did quilt some groovy diamonds in the outside border.  They look a lot like the kites!

One other detail about the quilting...I decided to use a heavier thread.  I had a spool of Aurifil 30wt in an off-white.  I like to add the color name and number of the thread I use, but this thread was unnamed!  But the number is 6722!

Again with the pieced back!  I didn't have a big piece of anything that would go with this quilt!  So I grabbed my left over Kona Snow, a piece of Kona Bone and lastly Kona Ivory.  And with all my little bits and pieces I made four slabs and gave them the wonky block effect for the finishing touch!

The funny thing is I originally was aiming for a runner, which led me to think I'd instead make a baby quilt.  By the end of it all it grew to a good sized throw quilt!  Welcome to my wacky world!

The May Blogger Bundle was inspired by Spring.  The start of sprouts, flowers and weeds!  By the time I finished it became Summer with oppressive heat and humidity!  Its amazing how just  a couple of months can change so drastically!