Thursday, February 26, 2009

Succumbed to temptation

I've promised myself that I will make at least one purchase per month from my local quilt shop, so I stopped by there yesterday to buy a quarter yard of a stripe, any stripe, found it, and then this flannel jumped out at me, so I came home with two pieces of fabric. Most flannels are either cute little kidsy prints or apparently intended for a hunting lodge, so I liked this one immediately. Unfortunately, there were no coordinating fabrics, but maybe I'll run across something one of these days. No project in mind, but lovely fabric in hand.

I've been finishing up the teen boy's race car quilt for the children's oncology unit at the hospital, using donated fabrics. I enjoy doing these projects, but since the goal tends more toward project completion than uniqueness, this quilt is more toward the scut work category (in the best sense) than something I love creating. My goal is to get it done and get it on its way so that I can have fun making something original. Of course, I will always have a quilt for the hospital in process, but once the top is done, it's full bore ahead to get it finished.

Two more quilts are lined up in various stages of completion, plus the black bunny I'm making for dear daughter #2, and then my mind will be freed up for something new.

Hmmm, just thought of other duties. Well, let's hope my mind will be free one of these days.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Cool weather adjustments

The cooler weather since Christmas has kept me from enjoying my Hideaway studio, since running the heater in that large space for just one person doesn't seem to make sense. On quilt guild days I let myself spend the whole day in there, but otherwise I pray for warmer weather.

One day a week doesn't satisfy my make-something needs, so I set up a table in the house for scrapbooking and have been working on the journaling of about 100 layouts completed about a year ago.

On Friday I pushed my scrapbooking supplies aside, set up my little black Singer Featherweight for sewing, leaving my Janome 6600 in the Hideaway so as not to have to lug it back and forth. I completed the two quilt tops I have been working on for some time. One is the race car quilt that will be donated to a local hospital for the children's oncology section. I learned they were short of quilts that would be of interest to older boys, so I've made that my focus.

The second is the black and white strip-pieced tumbling block quilt I started in order to use up the leftovers of my previous black and white quilt, "Benediction," the one with the aspens and falling leaves. After the purchases of more fabrics needed to finish the tumbling blocks quilt, my black and white fabric stash is larger than when I started trying to use up the leftovers. I guess I'll be working in black and white for some time to come, and by the time I'm finished with what looks like a b&w series (sometime in my mid 90s), will have enough b&w fabric to open a quilt fabric "remnants and pieces" store.

After sewing the strips of tumbling block triangles, the next step was ironing, 1 1/2 hours before I finally finished, feeling completely tortured during the last hour. Since there was so much bulk at the confluence of the 30 degree angles, I felt the seams should be pressed open, and as anyone knows who has pressed a lot of seams, pressing them open takes much longer than merely pressing them to the side.

Now resting my ironing hand.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Fabric Art Workshop: Angelina fiber

This week my second online class started. See the left column for information on the book we are using.

This is my first ever attempt at doing a journal size quilt. I have never worked so small (9x12), and I can see I need to rethink my proportions.

The roof of the hut is Angelina pressed between parchment paper. I must have had my iron too hot, because that stuff smelled nasty. When I've fused Angelina before, I did it with a light touch and probably a cooler iron, and it retained some 3D properties. My first attempt at the roof thatch was very flat. This is a re-do and therefore a little poofy.

The purple piece in the sky was Angelina pressed onto a rubber stamp, and the square Angelina confetti bits at the base of the hut was cut from a fused-flat sheet and glued on with FabriTac.

The hut walls are skewers, sewed on by machine.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Color & Composition: Line and Shape

The second lesson in my online class deals with line and shape. While I was doing these exercises, I couldn't help but think I was wasting my time. These were such tiny baby steps, so simple, and why was I using up fabric and fusible web when I could do the same thing with paper - or maybe even markers?
Photo #1: Four different compositions from the Nine Patch of Compositions, made with black fabric fused to a white foundation.

The restriction on the first (upper left) was to cut straight strips and have the strips perpendicular to the sides of the foundation. The second had to have no strips perpendicular to the sides. The third was to be a composition using curved pieces, and the fourth a combination of curved and straight pieces.
Photo #2: Two colors of fabric fused to a white foundation; vertical and asymmetrical compositions.

I did the exercises, and while I was doing them, I found thoughts intruding into my brain, such as: This is an interesting layout. I've never tried this before. How about if I combined this composition with that one on my next project?

My conclusion is that what may have felt like a waste of time was good venue for opening up new ideas and ways of looking at things. I've discovered this happens in almost all situations in which I fear I may be bored into oblivion -- new ideas are sparked by the most mundane circumstances.