Potato chip quilting

There are some stack and switch techniques that are done with two fabrics at a time, making opposite or reverse blocks. I like many of those, but making them is like eating potato chips. You can’t eat make just one! Using the brown and light neutral needs that type of technique.

Brown is definitely NOT my favorite color–though it does rank higher than purple! My daughter asked why I was making a brown quilt if I don’t like it much. Simple–use up the stash! My thought on this one is that the brown and light/neutral will be high contrast and look just fine.

Simple technique, yet it makes unique blocks. Start with stacked squares–mine are 9″–and make two cuts straight across the stack. Measurements are random!

Take the center strip and make two cross cuts. Again, measurements are random. Switch the center squares and you are ready to start assembling the blocks.

Sew the side strips to each side of the center square. Then the top and bottom strips will be added. Now, remember that there are no added seam allowances here, so the top and bottom strips will be longer than the center strip now. You don’t have to match at either end, or you can start out even at one end.

After sewing, trim those extra bits off the edges and you have two blocks that are the same, but look different when you start arranging them.

Hmmm….these look crooked in the pic, but they are really nice and square!

Anyway, make blocks in the same manner, random cuts on all sides, and keep making and making like eating those potato chips. You can certainly stack more than one light and one dark square together when making those cuts. I don’t like to do more than 4 simply because those random cuts make for more variety.

So here are the first few I made. Some of my light is not as light as I might have wished, but it will work. I’m going to go ahead and make as many blocks as I can from the browns I have. If I decide that I need added color, I believe I have an idea of how to add that easily and effectively later. And I’ll have lots of time to decide what color will work best…potato chip sewing is a touch slower than production chain piecing!




Four Seasons

Is a seasonal series a cliche? It might be, but it’s what I ended up with. I started playing with fabrics and embellishments, as usual, and the seasons just popped up!

Does this say winter? It does to me!

I wanted summer to be exuberant and abundant…maybe should have had a few more beads, but this kinda gets the feeling across.

I really revved it up for fall. There were even a few more beads added after this pic.

And I totally changed my bead plan for spring after I found those sweet little butterflies in a bag, in the back of the bottom drawer of my bead stash!

Now the embroidery and embellishments are done and I’m ready to mount them on canvas…………..but I have to wait for the paint to dry. I’m using a soft gray and hope they will look good on that color. I’ll try it as soon as that paint is safe to touch.

Cliche or not, I like this series!

New games

As I said before, this week is shaping up to be very busy and sewing time is at a premium. I’m playing when I can and I have a new toy!

I succumbed to the allure of a new specialty ruler, the Classic Curves ruler by Sharon Mc Connell of Color Girl Quilts. I’ve been wanting to play with the Drunkard’s Path pattern again for a while, but wasn’t sure if I wanted traditional or improv. This decided it for me, along with the other possibilities she shows with the ruler. So, here’s my first try using it.

I’m also using some Sherrill Kahn fabrics that I have savored hoarded for years. I didn’t realize how much of that fabric I had until I grabbed it all off the shelf and unfolded it! Sheesh–yardage! I haven’t bought yardage in years…I’m a fat quarter buyer! This may end up as a very large quilt.

Hmmm….lots of waste fabric with the first few blocks. Each concave cut made from a single square leaves enough waste for a smaller convex piece.

That’s fine if you are planning on making two quilts and you want to buy twice as much fabric as needed! I hate waste and know that I will not make an entire quilt this way. On the instruction sheet is an alternate method of cutting the concave parts with less waste and I haven’t had time to try it yet. If I’m not happy with that, I will consider cutting this half of the pattern using a template. We shall see, when I have a bit more play time!

I also put together some basic step-outs for making a hanging sleeve. I have to do a demo for anyone at our next guild meeting who is unsure of how to do it. I thought it was a totally basic skill until I realized that many, many people never hang a quilt on a wall. They make them for beds, believe it or not!

I used a hunk of some of my oldest–should I say vintage?–fabric and every time a bit of that is gone, I smile! Happy to de-stash in any way I can!

Enough turquoise!

At least for a while. It didn’t take long to finish up the second turqoise quilt. The picture looks an awfully lot like the first one, doesn’t it?

It would be wrong if it didn’t! My fears were true, though, and I had miscounted and miscut. I had plenty of blocks, but they were all angled in the same direction! Eleven blocks left that I really can’t use…they can sit in the scrap box for a while.

The only real difference between the two quilts is that I used the mis-matched half blocks that I had cut also. It’s not immediately noticeable, but like twins, it makes it easy to tell them apart!

I saw a ton of ideas for more quilts during the retreat this weekend. Some were even ridiculously simple and easy and fast. I should only consider those for stashbusting, but I love Drunkard’s Path variations. I think I want to do one.

Improv curves or template curves? There is a new BIG cutting ruler out there that I might consider, but improv is my thing. What to do, what to do, what to do……………..oooo, and then I get to pick fabric! Fun times ahead for sure!

Issues of ‘too much stuff’

Quilt retreat this weekend–hooray! I decided to take my sewing machine and quilt my daughter’s quilt, rather than ONLY take hand work to do. That’s a simple bunch of stuff to pack…the machine, the thread, the quilt, even the binding…Bam! It’s ready.

Then it took me two days to figure out what I wanted to work on for the hand sewing. At first I thought I would use the pile of necktie fabric that I have collected.

You would be surprised at how much fabric there is in a simple silk tie.

And I have plain scraps and glitzy scraps galore, from which to choose.

I know that I want to make samples for our Blue Lake project this summer. Ooooookaaaay! The design of that project will be wide open for student imagination, so my imagination had an awful time trying to figure out what the best examples will be.

Poor empty box here, waiting for me to make a decision…

It’s not as if I’ll be leaving on Monday for that assignment and have to have everything ready. It’s not until July! I’ve got time! But you know how sneaky that time thing is…next thing I know, July will be here and I can’t stand the thought of being unprepared.

What? You think everything I do is totally improvised? HA! When I’m teaching, I like to show everything I can think of…and have samples of everything I can think of…so that the students can envision how to do improv. I was taught by nuns—I DO my homework, or else!

I was getting overwhelmed with too much stuff again, too many choices! I ended up going to the box of vintage linens, which also has a bunch of silk and sample fabrics, all in light colors. I have a charm pack of grunge fabric, a little wool and ALL my favorite embroidery thread. Surprise–no beads! That kind of embellishment can wait until after I get home.

I will make whatever I can with what I have! And, you know, it’s a retreat with a bunch of artists who use textiles. Everyone will have scraps and all of these women are sharers. It will work.

See the little carry-on bag on the right? That’s clothes. I can pack for a week in that little bag! All the rest is sewing stuff…so that means I’m headed for a good time.

I can’t wait to see what I come home with, and I’ll share it with you as soon as I get it figured out!

Looking at options

Looking at another busy week ahead, but it will end with a weekend quilt retreat, so all is good! I’m still debating whether I want to take all hand sewing and not bother with a machine, or pedal-to-the-metal and quilt Deb’s quilt. Probably end up with both and I can switch off whenever I get tired!

As I was putting blocks up on the design wall, though, I decided that I will NOT be bringing the turquoise quilts to put them together.

It’s not going to be hard, but it will be so much easier to do it on that wall where I can spread it out.

I had to be sure to have equal amounts of blocks cut opposite ways on the diagonal. I could fudge and adjust if it was all batik, but it’s not!

And it was super helpful to stack and organize with a background and print alternating before I cut. It really made the sewing go soooooo fast!

And then it was time to start putting blocks on the wall………one row of diagonals one way and the next row with the diagonals the other way. After I got a few rows up, I started to wonder about arranging by color instead of random.

Here is random……..

and here is matching…………

Right now I like the matching better, but these were leftover random pieces of fabrics to start with. I’m pretty sure I won’t have enough matching to make both quilts like this.  Won’t know until I get them both laid out!

And THAT is when I decided that this project will not be going to the retreat with me. It’s crazy that such a simple design requires so much thought, but, there it is!

Tuesday will be show hanging day at our library, so I have to get stuff ready for that. I have sooooooo much that it’s hard to edit down to a reasonable amount!

And Deb is traveling this week so we’ll be helping out with getting AJ to and from school and activities. That’s the most fun part of the week!  In fact, it’s almost time to go get him now!

New Stashbuster

Waiting on fabric to be washed and dried before I can quilt Deb’s text quilt, so I got fabric out to start the next one.

This is a 6′–or it might be 7′–table and I’ve laid out a few fabrics that go together!

And there were actually some fabrics that I pulled off the shelf that did not get along with these. I knew that I had a lot of turquoise related fabric, but this really floored me. And, you know, if I don’t get it out and use it, my shelves will never, ever be realistically stocked!

I have a simple pattern in mind, not improv, so I should be able to cut pieces and sew with no re-measuring or trimming. Fast, fast, fast……………………………………and then I cut.

Stacks and stacks of squares. There is no way that this will only be one quilt! Maybe matching twin quilts. But it will be whatever it takes to use up this fabric!

And I think I’m going to do something very unusual for me…get organized! Before I cut the squares, I’m going to stack and cut in pairs. I know already that there are more print squares than the solids. My norm is to just go for it and make adjustments as I need them. I’m using hand dyes and I’ve cut up all I have in this color family. Shall I dye up a bunch of yardage and figure on even more leftovers? Or shall I match up what I have and dye only what I need to finish? Common sense says the latter…looking at my shelves and seeing still more fabric that can go with a nice turquoise……..well, I guess I’ll dye up a bunch!

And as long as I’m dyeing, I can dye up a back for the text quilt. I’ll tell ya, I’m a fabric snob. I had a piece of wide width backing to use, from an estate sale, but it’s just not the highest quality so I won’t use it on a quilt for my daughter. It will be fine for wall hangings but it’s not what I want for a quilt that could get used every day. So everything is on hold for a little dye day, and this is a babysitting week for our grandson’s spring break. Guess I’ll have to slow my roll a bit!!!

I’ll say it again….so, so much fabric! I’m so happy to be using it.

And there is so much more………….