Friday, September 28, 2018

Maelstrom :: Scraps & Improv

I finished quilting my Geometry Lesson quilt last week and decided before I could move on to the next one I had better take my machine in for a tune up.  It was getting a bit clunky and squeaky, which I'm sure isn't a good thing!  Hopefully it will make the machine quilting process a little less painful.

That very same day I started feeling getting a cold blah!  I wasn't feeling horrible, but not feeling well enough to take on a new project.  That being said, I also wasn't going to sit on the sidelines and not do something!  So, I blew my nose, made a cup of tea and grabbed a project that would be mindless and inconsequential.

17 1/2" x 17 1/2"
Do the colors look familiar?!  This quilt is from all the scraps I had leftover from my recent finish 'Bridges'.  Trusted Kona Deep Blue and Toasted Pecan!  

Several weeks ago I started sewing some of these scraps together for no other reason than they were there.  Simply put.  And now was the time to put them together and let the chips fall as they may.

This is where it ended weeks ago and where it started a couple days ago.  It certainly isn't very impressive is it?!

It wasn't long before things changed and the unimpressive slab morphed into what I think is a pretty interesting quilt.  

It looks a bit pixelated or a little chaotic, and that's all true.  Not all improv is 'flying by the seat of your pants', there is a part of the process that has to be planned to some degree.  That's my experience, loose planning.  

When I decided to add the curve around the center I wasn't sure which color to use.  I only had two to choose from so it didn't take long to narrow it down! 


I almost took the final border in a completely different direction and I'm so glad I didn't take that road!  The way the pecan and blue are opposite from each other exceeded my expectations!  I couldn't have planned it any better...or did I plan it at all?!  

Let's talk quilting for just a second.  Same same...dense and organic.  Enough said!  I'm not terribly creative!

One of my favorite details is the binding.  Look at that line up!  Adding a matched binding was the perfect final accessory!  It's a wonderful way to take the eye from edge to edge.

Hopefully I'll get a handle on this cold situation and be back on top of my game soon!  It would help if this rain would stop and the sunshine would make an appearance!

Sunday, September 23, 2018

Look Into My Eyes :: Hypnotize

Look into my eyes, you are getting sleepy...

I'm thinking Hypnotize might be a good name for this quilt, it seems so obvious!  One  definition of hypnotize is:  capture the whole attention of someone; fascinate.   

I can not get enough of my 'textured twists' these days!  The idea of a black and white quilt with twists had been brewing for a while in the back of my mind.  I wondered and experimented for a couple weeks before settling on this design.  The hardest part was getting the perfect half circles.  Persistence!

34" x 37"
I've made textured twists in panels, squares, curvy curves.  What else could I do?  Half circles seemed like the next logical shape to tackle.   

The trick was getting the curve just right.  There needed to be enough space at the top and bottom so that the twists didn't get lost in the seam, and with the bulk of the seams with the twist there had to be enough space on the sides...but not too much...just exactly enough! 

Trial and error played a big part in mastering the half circle block.  I made long panels that I cut the curves from using a cardboard template.  It made the cutting process go a little bit faster and while each block isn't exactly the same, they are about as exact as they could get.  What's that saying?  Done is better than perfect?!

The next step was the layout.  I had an idea on the layout before I started, but I wouldn't be me if I didn't change it along the way at least once.  My husband played a part in the final design and I'm thankful for his input.  But wouldn't you know after the first couple of rows were together he comes to me with a different idea!  He must know by now that once I get an idea in my head I'm not going to stop until it's finished! 

6 3/4" x 5"
Finished Block
I knew I could easily become confused on which side was up and which was down with the twists, and it really does make a difference in the overall effect especially with it being in black and white.  So I pressed all the blocks with the twists pressed in the right direction before sewing the outside on the half circle.  

I was shocked to see how much black dust came from the fabric after each sewing session.  I fine layer was all over my sewing space and I was compelled to clean each time I finished for the day.  I used Kona White and Black for this quilt.  If you have use a black other than Kona, I'd be interested to know if it does the same thing.

The quilting was intentionally kept simple.  Straight lines between each twist and 1/4" curved lines around each half circle.  In black thread of course!  Even though it's just black and white, there is plenty going on without overwhelming it with quilting detail.  

One other thing about this quilt, the visual effect is all in the pressing of the twists.  I wanted to get photos taken so I haphazardly pressed the blocks.  Now that I look at, I'm not sure I like the angles of the pressing.  I can easily change that with a hot iron!  What other block can you change the look of by pressing it differently?!  I'm not sure there is one!

You know cutting curves leaves you with a lot of scraps, so don't be surprised if you see another black and white combination one day soon!

My second entry for the Blogger's Quilt Festival hosted by Amy at Amy's Creative Side.  If your looking for inspiration or new blogs to follow, you will certainly find it here!


Thursday, September 20, 2018

Bridges :: Two Color Quilt

I might have mentioned that I had quite a stack of quilts that were in need of quilting in a previous post.  All my creative energy is on hold until each and every quilt is complete.  It's like dangling a carrot in front of me...complete the quilts, and the reward is making more when it's all said and done!

This will also be my first entry for the Blogger's Quilt Festival hosted by Amy at Amy's Creative Side.  If your looking for inspiration or new blogs to follow, you will certainly find it here!

35" x 45"
For the time being I'm calling it 'Bridges'.  During the piecing process I kept getting a vibe of building a bridge.  Steel, beams, rivets...all part of a structure that is vital in the building of bridges.  My mind kept wandering to my days in Portland Oregon where steel bridges are part of the landscape, part of the history of the city.  Sturdy, functional and amazingly beautiful these bridges are a mind boggling jungle of angles.

I designed this quilt with the sole purpose of making it a two color color quilt.  It wasn't easy!  After playing with many different combinations, I settled on this combination of Kona Deep Blue and Kona Toasted Pecan.  The warm pecan is the perfect companion to the rich blue, and a little unexpected!   

The design might look a bit familiar to some of you, as it's the same block design that I used in my  'It's a Gem' mini quilt.  Except this time I took my time and made sure each and every seam and angle was lined up perfectly.  

By using larger blocks (in this case 7") and paper piecing, it was much easier to achieve the accuracy I lacked with the mini quilt.  It also helped that I took my time with this one instead of rushing through.

'It's a Gem'
Quilting happened.  It was another instance where I had a vague idea what I wanted to do and hoped it would come together in the end.  And it did.  

It seemed appropriate to continue with the building of my bridge by adding 1/2" lines representing steel, and circles representing the rivets that hold it all together.  I'll tell you what...making perfect circles is hard to do!  I had to remind myself that even rivets aren't perfectly round!  

I love the angles in this quilt as much as I love the colors!  That Toasted makes my mouth water!  

There are so many design possibilities with this one block, and you can bet I'll be playing with it in the future!  For now, it's back to quilting!

Please head over to the Blogger's Quilt Festival and get your socks knocked off!  It's a quilt show you don't want to miss!


Friday, September 14, 2018

Tidbits :: A Mini Break

I've been going full force designing and making quilt tops the past couple of months, and with that comes a stack of quilting that is waiting to happen.  Not too many years ago I never would have considered starting a new quilt until what I was working on was completely finished.  Gone are those days!

These days I have more ideas than ever and feel the need to unleash the monster every chance I get.  Reality inevitably sets in.  I see quilt tops laying all over and realize they aren't going to quilt themselves.  Arguably my least favorite part of the process, but one that must be done!

That being said, I can always fit in something small...a mini...or two!  Something that won't derail my plans, take up too much time and still feeds my need to design and create!

I'm a big fan of paper piecing and I'm a huge fan of reducing patterns.  I also love to make mini quilts and give them as gifts.  A little something to put a smile on someones face, say thank you, wish them a happy birthday or let them know someone is thinking of them.  

One pattern I like to reduce is 'Geometric Alphabet' designed by Quiet Play  I can take one letter and personalize a mini in no time at all.  

Once the letter is finished I like to add my own personal touch to an already amazing design.  

In this case a border using lots of tiny pieces!  With that all that was left was some quick quilting and binding!  

I'm not even sure what size this finished at!  I was on a mission to make, quilt and send it as quickly as I could, that I forgot to measure it!  It needed to hit the mail in order to make it to its destination in time for a very special day!

I thought the itch was scratched after making this one, but that was not the case!  I can get easily distracted!  

6" x 6"
Guess I was in a geometric mood!  Mmmm...K!  At least I remembered to measure this one!


If one was to save scraps on the tiny size, these letters are perfect for those golden pieces!  I just happen to be one of those kind of people!


The border is always the fun part for me and I kept it pretty simple with this one.  But I like it!  I used two colors for the binding and before I knew it this one was also finished!  

Minis like these go relatively quick, and I have to say I'm often left wanting to 'just one more'!  This mini will be gifted over the weekend...more about that later!

I bought myself a present.  It's nothing special and actually it's really a boring, not a big deal and practical gift.  

A new ironing board cover!  Isn't it gorgeous?!  I really would rather not use it and keep it in pristine shape, but that would mean I'd have to give up quilting!  And spray starch!

My last cover looked like a herd of cows in a rainstorm lived on it!  By that I looked like POOP!

I use starch all the time and it really screws up an ironing board cover!  You can't really wash these, trust me I tried on the last one and regretted it, so the only solution was a new one.  Only this time it was not going to let end up like the last one.  

I grabbed some Home Dec fabric and made a mat to go over the board for starching.  Now I can have a beautiful clean cover for normal pressing and have a mat that can easily be thrown in the wash periodically.  

You might be wondering why I just don't use a towel for starching, and to that I say...I have no idea!  I'm hoping by making a dedicated mat it will ensure that I'll actually use it and my cover can stay pretty and pristine for a longer period of time!

Tell me about your ironing board it clean & pristine or does it look like a herd of cows walked across it?!  


Sunday, September 9, 2018

Feisty Fiesta :: Taming the Twists

I have to say I was more than a little bit worried about this quilt after I finished piecing the top.  ('Let's Do The Twist')  After adding more and more stripes, the top became out of shape and I wasn't sure I'd be able to whip it back into shape.

  I decided I'd use basting spray, only the second time I've done that, hoping it would help aid in the effort.  There wasn't any do overs or going back at this point.  Which meant I may as well quilt it and hope for the best.

44" X 45"
As you can see I conquered the wonk!!  For the most part!  I don't know if I should admit this, but it was the first time I ever blocked a quilt.  It's true.  Lots of people do it, I just never felt the need to until this one.  

After the quilting was finished I trimmed around the quilt leaving a little excess batting and backing around the edges.  Then zig zag stitched the edges of the fabric so when I tossed it in the wash it wouldn't fray.  Choosing the hand wash cycle on my washing machine, I tossed it in and let it work its magic.  When it was finished and still wet, I pinned it to the floor carefully adjusting until it appeared to be relatively square and left it to dry.  

When it came time to pull the pins I was hoping it would keep it's shape, everyone says it will, and low and behold!  It did!  Whew!  Makes me want to block another day!

Certainly there are many blocking tutorials out there that will walk you through the steps needed.  I knew enough to give it a try, but full disclosure, I don't know if it was proper or not!

I was determined to use on color of thread for all the quilting when I started...and then, I couldn't help myself.  I raided the thread rack!  As long as it had a bobbin with thread on it, I grabbed it.  Which mind you, happens to be a great way to use up partially wound bobbins.

How could I have a Fiesta celebration without lots of colors?!  The answer can't!  I couldn't wimp out now!

In the twisted blocks, I simply quilted a curve line in between each twist and stitched in the ditch around each block.  The plain log cabin blocks received spiral quilting.  


All the quilting on this quilt was never intended to be straight.  I intentionally quilted organic/natural lines in all different widths.  Considering the nature of shot cottons and the issue I had with it being distorted, I felt it was the best solution to handle the imperfections.  

I pieced the back for a little more party pizazz!  Plus it also gives you a better picture of the quilting.

Color, texture...that usually equals fun in my book!

The 'textured twists' after washing didn't hold their shape, but I knew that from the get go.  Shot cottons are a lighter weight fabric so that wasn't a surprise.  Spray starch is a great tool to get crisp distinctive twists, but doesn't hold up to water!

All things consider, I'm going to call this one a success!  I love the colors, the design, the quilting, the technique.  

And yes, I do have more ideas in the works.  More 'textured twists' mayhem!  I guess I may as well go with it until I can go no more!

Since I'm not a regular at the quilt blocking game, do you block your quilts?  Was there something I should have done differently?


Thursday, September 6, 2018

Bee Inspired 2018 :: Top Secret

I can't tell you how excited that September is my month to share my Bee Inspired prompt for our group!  Excited, yes...scared, oh yeah!  There have been so many great prompts from this talented group thus far.  And I wanted to be sure I was able to live up to the those standards, yet make it fun and colorful.  My prompt is pretty basic and doesn't require much interpretation, but I think it'll be fun!  

That's right, Morse Code!  Morse Code was invented by Samuel Morse in 1836.  It's a series of dots and dashes that represent letters and numbers transmitted by tapping.  There is a method to tapping dots or dashes and the length between words, rather fascinating actually!  

In a very abstract way, tapping on our keyboards is much like Morse Code to me!  Tap, tap, tap, send, tap, send, tap, tap, tap.  And keeping with abstract and improv, I want the blocks to be an interpretation of dots and dashes without the precision the code requires.

A few of my requirements are: no rulers, black fabric for the dashes, white to ivory for the background, the dashes should 1/2" or less.  Those are the basics.

I have asked each person to make two blocks.  One using the code for their name.  The dots should be different shades of their favorite color.  The second block should be a different color of their choosing, again using different shades.  The blocks can be square, rectangle, long or short and up to 18".  

You are probably wonder what the heck is she talking about!  Let me show you!

I'm a visual person and it helps if I can see the idea in front of me before I jump in.  So, I decided I whip up a couple blocks to show my vision of the prompt.  

JAYNE :: 16" x 14"
My first block is my name.  Jayne.  And my favorite colors these days is pink.  You get the idea now, right?!  

VIOLET ::  15 3/4" x 16"
The second block is Violet.  I'm finding it very hard not to make more blocks!  It was actually quite fun and there are so many colors to play with.

While these next blocks are computer generated, I used them as examples.

Ignore the extra 'E' in the yellow block...I was having so much fun that I didn't notice until after I posted on Instagram!  

I can't wait to see what everyone does, and I'm sorry for those who have long names!  I didn't think about that at the time!

You can check out my previous Bee Inspired posts here:

And you can check out the blocks on Instagram here:  #beeinspired2018

My Bee Mates are amazing! 

Shelby @godshomemovies 
Jayne @twiggyandopal 
Audrey @artandstole 
Kathryn @kupitis
Heather @quiltachusetts 
Christine @ccpquilt 
Jenny @pappersaxsten 
Shelagh @stuartmoorestextiles