Around Here Week 49

Over the river and through the woods? I only wish the path led to my grandmother’s house though it does lead me back to my house. We’ve had a very light dusting of snow, but the ground is frozen and ice is forming on the local ice skating pond.

I have no idea where the blue in the shadows came from, but I like it.

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Gift Buckets

Heaven forfend, I found my stash of small gifts on hand was depleted. This is not a good position to be in at this time of year. Luckily, I subscribe to Christine Cameli’s blog, where she gave me the perfect quick (and small) gift to make. She calls it a bucket though I think you could call it a basket.

Since Christine teaches free motion quilting she has scads of fat quarter size quilting samples that are perfect for her project. I have a few practice squares, but I also have upholstery samples. After a scrounge through my large scraps I matched up bucket exteriors and liners and went to work.

A video in Christine’s post shows how she makes her buckets. The post also has a link to her free pattern on Craftsy. If you know the size bucket you want, just watch the video. Christine’s pattern makes a bucket about 4.5 inches wide and tall. I think it’s a good size for gifting with some candy or sewing notions tucked inside, but if you want something larger adjust the size accordingly.

As you can see, I used the same fabric for the liners and cuffs, but a contrasting cuff would definitely be fun. The bucket and liner are made from 8.5 by 6.5 inch fabric pieces (2 each of both exterior and lining), and the cuff is 4.5 by 16.5 inches.

After you sew the exterior pieces (then the linings) together around 3 sides, you cut out a 2 inch square of fabric at each bottom corner. Then you match the seams and sew the cut edges together. I don’t know if that’s clear, so just watch the video.

The short ends of the cuff are sewn together and the cuff is pressed in half long ways, right side out.  You nestle the lining inside the exterior (wrong sides against each other), then pin the cuff inside everything, raw edges together. Once you sew around all the layers you can turn over the cuff and admire your bucket.

I think you could also use pre-quilted fabric for the exteriors. I thought of using some fancy silk scraps but stopped when I saw I’d have to interface the silk. I was in production mode, which meant done was better than fancy.

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Around Here Week 48

I live about a half mile up hill from the Cuyahoga River. Many mornings the river valley is shrouded in fog that gradually lifts by mid morning. It makes for wonderfully atmospheric landscapes.

I ran this photo through a filter to increase the contrast between the trees and the fog. It heralds the end of autumn to me. The leaves are down but the snow hasn’t yet started.

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Target Practice

The Ohio chapter of SAQA was inspired by the exhibit, “Circular Abstractions,” to start a bullseye quilt challenge.  I poked around to see if I could find anything about the history of the bullseye block, but have come up empty.

See the source image

Not to worry. I think you’ll get the idea without any words.

The chapter is holding online meetings to discuss approaches and even an in-person sewing afternoon to work on our projects.

I decided to build some bulleyes first and worry about their placement later. A rummage through my scraps piles gave me enough material for two different approaches.

One is based on Jane LaFazio’s Recycled Circles, a method featured in “Cloth Paper Scissors” magazine [March 2009 issue].

With this technique you machine quilt a 12 inch quilt sandwich, cut it in quarters, and then fuse on scrappy curves. The idea is to make each quarter unique. You machine or hand stitch the fused curves down, and add as many embellishments as you like. You can zigzag sew the quarters together or treat them however you like. I chose to keep spaces between the quarters.

The machined stitched part of Bloodshot Bullseyes is done and I’m starting a lot of hand stitching. The quarter squares are zigzag stitched to red felt, and each fabric arc is sewn down with decorative machine stitches.

For my second approach I constructed crazy pieced pentagons with light and dark rings. Most feature blue and blue/green fabrics as I seem to have lots of those colors in my scraps. The shapes are angular rather than rounded, but I think they convey the idea of a bullseye.  That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

I had enough pentagons (and a few hexagons) to create two pieces. My attempts to put them all into one looked  too cluttered. Rather than piece the pentagons to the background, I decided to machine sew each down to  the background fabric. I’ll cut out the fabric behind them to reduce bulk. That’s happened already with the composition below.

My second crazy bulleye is still in flux.

I predict the final version will look different than this. Already I’m contemplating sheer overlays and playing with shape placement. I’m thinking of quilting pentagons with heavy thread to continue the theme.  Unless I radically change my plan, each pentagon piece should finish around 30 by 36 inches.

Both approaches have given me lots of quality time with my scraps collection, and a chance to feel virtuous as I use some of it up.

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Filed under Art quilts, In Process

A Holiday Trifecta

I love hanging out with creative types because you never know what will spring forth from their brains. At a recent meeting I saw the ultimate quilter’s holiday diorama.

The artist took an artificial foam pumpkin, cut off a third of it, lined it with sewing patterns, and decorated it for the holidays. There’s Christmas and Halloween/harvest quilts, two cats, baskets of yarn, fabrics, and sewing notions, a sewing machine, and even a cutting mat. The outside of the pumpkin is decorated with all sorts of charms, mostly skull related as the maker has a thing about them.

Man caves have nothing on quilters’ caves.

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Around Here Week 47

Some mornings my kitchen turns into an art gallery. I treasure these all too brief out of body experiences.

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Light As A Feather?

One of my art quilt groups is fond of challenges. The latest was to make something to do with the word feather. My immediate thought was, no birds. After a string of free association – feathering oar strokes, the feather embroidery stitch, Featherweight, feather in one’s cap, etc. – I settled on feathering my nest. I guess that’s sort of birdlike, though I separated the feathers from the bird. I guess it ended up on the table for Thanksgiving.

Once I chose my theme I decided to make my feathers from a feather. First, I used Ranger ink spray to color sheets of that Pellon 830 I’m fond of. Then, I rolled fabric printing ink and paint on an actual feather, and made several impressions with it. The printed sheets were fused to Wonder Under.

Next came nest creation. I colored a sheet of dampened Pellon 830, this time with Derwent Inktense blocks. After I fused the sheet to Wonder Under, I sliced it up to make a nest.

As you can see, I had already layered and quilted my background (after much fabric choice trial and error.) The last, and most fun, step was to play around with feather placement.

Because the 830 doesn’t ravel, I did no more quilting. I finished the edges with a fused down binding, a la Frieda Anderson.

The other morning my husband told me he liked my “falling leaves.” After I told him they were feathers he replied, “They look like leaves to me.” After all that work printing with the feather!

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Filed under Art quilts, Fabric Printing