Thursday, May 30, 2013

Disappearing Nine Patch for charity


A few weeks ago one of our members brought information about making a “Disappearing Nine Patch” quilt.  I thought that it looked fun so combed thru the fabric squares that we had and came up with this set of fabrics…..


The first step was to put them together to make 6 Nine Patch blocks…..


Next was to cut them in half in both directions…..



…..then set them together into a “pleasing” arrangement……


I am not sure that this fills the “pleasing” requirement, but I think that it will be okay once a border is added.

I have learned a few things from this and feel that it would be better if I had organized my lights and darks better, maybe even having one fabric for all of the center blocks.

And that, in fact, is what I have done.  I have pulled fabrics for a second quilt, but wont get to it for a while. 

Tomorrow I head to Abilene, Texas to clean out my Mom’s house……50 years of stuff MUST go……

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

A creative exercise….

Earlier in the month, I was invited (along with 6 other friends) to have dinner with our friend Deb.   She had a plan for the evening that involved each of us bringing 32 scraps of fabric, in any shape or size (between 4 and 10 inches) and 8 pieces of fabric that were the same size and design.

After dinner we were first handed a large paper bag and told to go shopping in Deb’s “getting rid of” pile……


We had such fun pouring thru her recyclables.

When we returned to the table, there was a paper plate sitting in each spot……


Deb then instructed us to walk around the table and put one piece of fabric on each pile, continuing around 8 times….


A fabric version of musical chairs!!!

Next Deb told us the rules of our challenge……her big smile should have told us that something was up…….


The rules for our fun challenge is that we have to make a quilt using EVERY SINGLE BIT of ALL of the fabrics that we were given…….WHAT?????

She also gave us 1/2 yard of a fabric pattern called “Grunge”…..


We are to use at least one piece of this fabric also.

We can add other fabrics to the mix if we want to.

After we were told of the challenge, we talked a bit about some ideas.  You can tell that we are all a bit bewildered……


The biggest laugh of the night came when Cleo produced this large piece of a fabric that is definitely NOT in her color range or comfort zone…..


When I got home, I placed all of the fabrics on the design wall……firstly placing them in a color arrangement (sort of)….

DSC08599 (800x600)

….and then re-did the arrangement moving to a value arrangement…..


At this point I am thinking thru ideas of where to head with this project.  I have been contemplating a strip-pieced something……

We will wait and see!!

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Conclusive proof that vacuuming is bad…..


At the Charity Bee last week, I cut out squares and fabrics to make a simple quilt that alternates plain squares with rail fence blocks.  There was not enough fabric to cut all of the blocks the same so I added a different fabric for a few of the squares.

I easily pieced the rail fence blocks and placed all of the pieces on my design wall…..DSC08558

We were having some friends over for dinner that night, so I decided to do a little bit of vacuuming…..a VERY bad idea.   As I maneuvered around my design wall, several of the pieces blew off and one got caught in the mechanism of the vacuum cleaner….


Of course it was the one that had a limited number……Oh no!!

I thought that there was one extra so I quickly pulled it out of the scraps only to find that it was not an entire block….


I ended up having to add another of the alternate blocks to the quilt…..


I like the look of the finished quilt but it would have been SO much easier if I had just never bothered to vacuum.   Believe me, I will not make that mistake again!!!!

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Making a start…..

I finally made all of decisions and cut into my beautiful Australian fabrics…..three sets of blocks pieced so far……


I decided to cut the initial pieces 9 x 8 and to make my cuts into the 9 inch side.  That way, the final block comes out to approximately 7-1/2 inches unfinished.

I really enjoy piecing the blocks and think that the hardest part will be putting them together in a pleasing arrangement.

More to come……

Monday, May 13, 2013

It’s Veggie Box time…..


Last week we re-started our weekly vegetable box service.  The first box contained gorgeous, soft lettuces, beautiful tomatoes, ripe red Strawberries, sweet carrots, huge leeks and Broccoli Rabe.

Our first veggie meal was steamed carrots and Broccoli Rabe stir-fried with thin sliced, caramelized leeks……



The meat was a left-over Chicken Scaloppine that Michael had cooked the day before.


Saturday, May 11, 2013

Doing something for others…..


For many years I had been heavily involved with the Charity Bee in our local guild.  This group of 10-15 ladies meets weekly to create quilts for the local battered women’s shelter, the Prevent Child Abuse organization, local senior citizen groups and others who are so much in need.

Unfortunately, I have not been able to be involved much in the last 18 months, so last week I happily rejoined the group.  There was much laughing, sewing and even a bit of singing!!!  

I found some fun bug fabric in amongst our stash and started cutting out a small quilt which I just finished up……


It will be returned to the group and one of the women will use their long-arm machine to quilt it, someone else will bind it and it will wing it’s way to a happy owner.

It feels good to be giving something back……..

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Playing with Acrylics


Several months ago one of my very creative friends (Jennifer at Jennifer Jangles) had a clearance sale on her ETSY site and I purchased a series of canvas flags and a couple of small stretched canvases. 

Just after I got them, I spent a few minutes and painted them with Gesso to get them ready for playtime….IMG_1066 Then, life took over and I didn’t get a chance to go back to them.

SO, two weeks ago I had a few minutes and decided to play with some paint.

I was painting on my cutting table, so put down a large piece of freezer paper to protect the surfaces.  The paper came in handy when it was time to try out my design idea…...DSC08543

I traced the design onto the flag with pencil and started painting……


Well, that turned out ok!!!

The next week I decided to try another one and headed upstairs again……DSC08546

That one turned out even better!!!

I wanted to show what I am using for a pallet.   It is the plastic insert that contained mini quiches that I cooked for a party.  Each tray has 24 small cups and has proven to be perfect for this use…..


Today I had a few minutes and decided to make a third in the series……


This flower isn’t as good, but I like the background a lot better and am happier with getting a better stroke with the brush.

I am using VERY cheap paints and brushes and know that it is effecting the quality, but I don’t care because I am HAVING FUN CREATING and that is what it is all about!!!!

Hope you get to create today too!!!!

Friday, May 3, 2013

Australia on my mind……

Back in the 1980’s, Michael and I spent almost 7 years living in Canberra Australia where Michael did his PhD and then worked three years as a Post-Doctoral fellow.

We had a wonderful experience there, both of our kids were born there, and we came home with fun remembrances of the Land Down Under.

Since then, many friends have sent Aussie fabrics as gifts, and when we traveled there in 2008, I was FORCED to buy lots of fabric to properly cushion a Granite Mortar and Pestle that Michael purchased.

The result was a box of wonderful fabrics…..


….and they have been much on my mind for a number of years

I have been torn between wanting to do a pictorial quilt with semi-realistic images or something more free, just concentrating on the fabric itself.  The fabric finally won out and I started thinking about patterns that might work.  I knew that it needed to have movement of some sort.

For several years I have owned the book “Vivacious Curvy Quilts” by Dianne Hire….61kY3doXhZL._SL500_AA300_

and thought that it would be the perfect pattern for my Aussie fabrics….

….but first I wanted to play some with making curved blocks.

The process is fairly simple……

First, select two fabrics that are the same size (I started with 9 inch squares) and stack them evenly on top of one another….


Next, you make curved cuts into the fabric stack…..


…..alternate the strips……DSC08516

….and start sewing the curves.

Dianne suggested that you always start sewing from the same side of the block and that you match the edge of the block when you start a seam…..


Then you “lift and separate” as you sew the pieces together, carefully matching the opposite curves.  I found that it was helpful to “tap” the top fabric up and down as I moved thru the seam.  As suggested in the book, I sewed with a 1/8 inch seam……


You then spritz the seam with water……


…..and press it flat…..


It was amazing how flat the curves pressed out……


At this point the block is NOT a square!!!   In her book, Dianne suggests that you not square up the block until you have done all of your design work and are ready to sew the final top.    Here is why…..

The piece shrinks in a very uneven manner during the sewing.  With this block, I could now square it up to a 7 inch by 8-`/4 inch rectangle……


….or square it up to 7 inch squares that look like this……


….or this…….


It is interesting how the cropping changes the flow of the lines.

I tried a bunch of different types of curves and ended up with this on the design wall…..


I really do like the movement of these blocks and think that it will work well with the Australian fabrics.  The one thing that I want to think about is whether I want to leave the blocks as rectangles or square them up.  I really like the additional movement that you get with the rectangles but am not sure about how I would make it all fit together.

The other option would be to start out with a rectangle rather than a square, making the cuts to dissect the longer edge…..much to think about!!!

I also know that I need to add some solid or “reads as solid” fabrics to the bunch.


I am thinking that I want to add greens, browns and maybe a touch of dark reds and/or gold.  Those are definitely the colors that remind me of the Sunburned Country!!!

I am thinking of making the blocks in two fabrics with one being the Aussie print and the other a solid…..


Final decision is what size block (rectangle) to start with.   The book suggests starting with a 4 – 7 inch block but I am thinking that might be too small for a queen size quilt……

SO SO SO many decisions, but SO SO SO much fun to look forward to!!!!

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