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OD-ing on orange…

I have had the green claustrophobic blues–the shrubs on the roadside kiss the sides of my car, the trees form a tunnel of green, meeting in the middle of the road from both sides–so what better antidote than to take all my orange scraps and make a reversible table runner to go with my Aurora Borealis reversible quilt (see previous post). When I made the quilt last year, I had all these skinny strips left and made a sample block.
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I finally found where I had shoved all the orange scraps–into a drawer in the spare bathroom. We had company on Christmas Eve so I had to put some things out of sight so we could actually eat in the dining room. C’mon, a lot of you eat on TV trays, too. On finding my sample block, I decided I didn’t want to do this so I started playing. Didn’t like these either.
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In the end I decided to do some minimal piecing surrounded by the navy blend. (That’s a warm fuzzy given to me by a student years ago–I keep it on my design wall.)
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I added the trimmed strips left after squaring up the quilt as a 1-inch unfinished inner border.
P1120915Lastly I kept improvising orange blocks for the backing and added a border. I have now pinned the quilt sandwich, trying to keep the front and back lined up. I need to bring my machine in again and will quilt it when I get it back in a week or so. In the meantime, I will layer two potholders, one table mat and this odd shaped piece that I will turn into a rectangular mat for my hutch.
P1120947The orange scraps have traveled outside to one of my trees. I noticed this a week ago, but yesterday, I noted that the orange has multiplied. Maybe it’s the heat–it was 99 yesterday and so far, only 96 today. I’m melting. Till next time…

 

Whisper of Lilies

My improv piece is finished. Last chapter, I removed the sequined ball because I just didn’t like it. It will land somewhere else eventually–nothing goes to waste.

Sequined wool ball

Sequined wool ball

I found some bits of green crochet thread I had hand dyed at some point and made a small medallion and beaded it with single seed beads.

Beaded crochet medallion

Beaded crochet medallion

Next I added some encrusted beading–my standby of loading three beads at a time close together, knotting after every three groups.

Ecrusted beading

Encrusted beading

I also took the last piece of useable lily fabric and hand appliqued that in a blank space.

Appliqueing last useable piece of lily fabric

Appliqueing last useable piece of lily fabric

Now to finish the edges–I saw this no-binding binding somewhere but couldn’t find it again so did this from memory. I used a 1-inch strip of fabric the length of each side. Stitch it on with 1/4-inch seam allowance, flip it and stay stitch it in place. I meant for the back side of the fabric to show but put right sides together on the second side. Just a reminder–that you pay for two sides of fabric so you can use either side as you see fit.

Finishing side edges

Finishing side edges

Stay stitching

Stay stitching

Press under 1/4-inch and bring the entire flap to the back; blind hem stitch.

Pressing edge under

Pressing edge under

Blind hem stitching

Blind hem stitching

Finished edge

Finished edge

For the bottom edge, I added about 1/2-inch to each end so that I could fold it in and cover up the raw edges on the sides. Note that I trimmed the corner–this gets a little bulky. Blind hem as before.

Bottom edge finishing

Bottom edge finishing

I still have not decided how I will hang this piece, which is approximately 8.25×8-inches so I decided to make a casing at the top for a dowel or branch or something. I cut this strip at 1-1/2 inches and turned under the short edges so that it was slightly shorter than the top width. Blind stitch the long edge, leaving the short edges open.

Top edge casing

Top edge casing

Here is the finished piece: Whisper of Lilies.

Whispers of Lilies

Whispers of Lilies

Give improv piecing a try and then try some different embellishments. When you have a small project, you’re not investing a lot of material or time. If you ruin it, cut it up and make some art pins and abandon them on your favorite walking trail. Check out this Facebook Page:

https://www.facebook.com/groups/ArtAbandonment/

Someone in town is painting rocks that say “Bella Vista Rocks.” I saw one at the hospital parking lot the other day and left it for someone else to find and enjoy! Why? Because I think the article about this project suggested that the rocks were meant for visitors. I belong to the above group but still haven’t decided what to make and abandon. It’s on my bucket list. My bucket overfloweth.

P.S. I tend to think in cartoons and this was going through my mind yesterday. I’m going to use it as a free-motion quilting exercise and see if it turns into something. One never knows, does one? Have a great weekend.

What if flowers were tall?

What if flowers were tall?

 

 

The Black Widow Spider Quilt Project

I finished the Black Widow Spider Quilt (She’s Come Undone) the end of April, but didn’t post about it.  Sometimes I feel like I’ve come undone, but it’s just that I’m working on rebranding myself and my blog and it’s not only time consuming, but frustrating. Back in April I decided to quilt a spider web on this project and used paper to get started. This paper is used for this purpose and for paper-piecing projects.  It’s very lightweight and tears away easily so I thought I’d try it. First I drew some spokes and extended the lines using a water-soluble marker.

Quilting paper

Quilting paper

http://www.goldenthreads.com/

Check out the paper at the above link. I found my at a quilt show so try your local quilt shop or Amazon.

Marking spokes for spider web quilting

Marking spokes for spider web quilting

Spokes in silver thread

Spokes in silver thread

Tear away every other one

Tear away every other one

If you tear down a spider’s web enough times it will kind of drive the spider over the edge and its web will become erratic. I knew that if I just kept quilting instead of taking break that my quilting would become erratic and it did, which was the effect I wanted. I know, I can be perverse at times. Here is the quilting, front and back. When quilting with fine metallic or clear thread, you can sometimes end up with a mess–or if you’re not careful when winding a bobbin.

Tangled web of thread

Tangled web of thread

I used Superior Metallic Silver on top and cotton thread in the bobbin. I used up a gradated piece of gray for the back and pieced the binding, still trying to use up black and red scraps. Another project finished, except for the label. I almost have a sheet of labels to print out so it will happen before summer’s end. After your project is quilted, spray water on the blue marking lines and let dry. Sometimes you will need to do this a couple of times to get all the marks out–be sure the marks are gone before exposing the quilt to heat or the marks can become permanent.

Spider web detail

Spider web detail

Spider web quilting-reverse

Spider web quilting-reverse

Black Widow (She's Come Undone)

Black Widow (She’s Come Undone)

Real spider stories: One of my earliest memories is of finding a black widow in the backyard when we still lived in Virginia.

My daughter used to reenact Medieval battles with the SCA (Society for Creative Anachronism) and was about to put on a helmet when she noticed a thick spider web that had formed overnight–Black widow in Arizona. And here in Arkansas, we need to watch for the brown recluse. They do not build webs but lurk in dark corners and piles of leaves. Get thee to emergency if you are ever bitten by one.

We had spiders in our basement in Minnesota and one spring I was doing deep cleaning and every night the spiders kept getting larger in my dreams. By the last night, this spider jumped up on a chair with GIANT mums and it was just as huge–I quit cleaning in the basement for awhile.

That’s enough of that–I’m getting the creepy crawlies. May all your dreams be pleasant and your spider encounters harmless. My next post I’ll finish up with Self-Portrait 1, which is not being entered in ANY contests. Sometimes things do not work out as planned and it’s back to the drawing board.

Correction, Wonky Churn Dash and Death of a Project

Yesterday I showed you how I made a wonky churn dash block for a guild challenge.  Here’s a little correction: I said I pressed the seams to the blue throughout.  Actually when you add the corner half-square triangles, you should press toward them so your seams will nest in the middle.  That is if they even meet in the middle.  Additionally, if you really want this block to lay flat, you can press seams open as another option.

Today I made another block, starting with a blue center.  Make four of each of the following units (bars and half-square triangles):

Two units

Two units

Trim the seam allowances to reduce bulk:

Half-square unit

Half-square unit

Do a casual layout of your wonky units:

Block layout

Block layout

Sew the units into rows and cut straight edges so you can sew the rows together:

Trimming

Trimming

Adding bottom row

Adding bottom row

Ready to square up

Ready to square up

Square up your block.  In this case, I made it a rectangle.

It's a rectangle!

It’s a rectangle!

As for The Animal Collage Project, for now the hippo is dead.  Poor Hippo.  I just can’t find the love to get back to this project.  Sometimes you just have to set things aside and move on.  Hippo for Sale…

Hippo

Hippo

I’ll be back after my sweater class on Saturday for an update.

The Wonky Churn Dash Block

My modern quilt guild has a tiny challenge for the month of March: make a wonky churn dash block.  Here is a traditional churn dash block from Marcia Hohn’s Quilter’s Cache website.  Marcia has a lot of free blocks and step-by-step instructions/patterns on her website; check it out:

http://www.quilterscache.com/C/ChurnDashBlock.html

We are all using the same colors, deep red and deep blue.  No rules for size or fabric, just the two colors.  There will be a drawing at our March meeting and some lucky member will go home with all of the blocks.  I started with these strips (the remains of my hand dyed turquoise and some sparkly strips from my daughter) and three red blocks:

Red & Blue Scraps

Red & Blue Scraps

I cut some wonky triangles from the sparkly fabric:

Cutting triangles

Cutting triangles

I sewed the blue triangles to the red squares, not placing them at the halfway point–that way I had enough of the printed fabric for the corner half-square triangles.  Trim the seam allowances as you go to reduce bulk.  I pressed everything to the red fabric.

Trimming seam allowances

Trimming seam allowances

Next I started laying out pieces for color placement:

Step 1

Step 1

Step 2

Step 2

Step 3

Step 3

Okay, so here are all the pieces, but is this really going to match up enough to work?  Who knows–it’s a crap shoot when you piece on the fly.

Here I put the units together in rows and trimmed straight edges in order to sew the rows together.

Top Row

Top Row

Center Row

Center Row

I even managed to match up the center seams fairly well.  Here is the finished block–I couldn’t quite squeeze 6-1/2 inches out but I think it’s pretty cute.   It will lose some points but it has personality. This took me less than hour, start to finish.

Squared Up

Squared Up

If you have some scraps and want to try some improvisational piecing, make your own churn dash–or choose another simple block and PLAY!  Be brave and have some fun.

Tempus fugit.

Upcoming posts: South Beach Diet Update, Unpattern Sweater Update