Around Here Week 46

Nature has marvelous taste in seasonal bouquets. Here’s one she presented to me just before the hard frost.

I leaned over a fence and found the perfect arrangement. Unfortunately, it’s too big for my table, and I know I can’t bring my table to it. I’ll just keep it in my mind’s eye at Thanksgiving dinner.


Filed under Inspiration

If You Cut It Small Enough…

… ugly fabric won’t look so ugly. At least that’s what Bonnie Hunter told us at a long ago workshop. She was dealing with millenium fabric, which was truly godawful. I tried to find an example to show you, but it seems to have been banned from the internet.

Because I had less than wonderful results in some pieces from my Sue Benner paint/print dye workshop. I wanted to cut those up. I thought a pattern called Flux, designed for Art Gallery Fabrics, would work to punch up my fabrics with bold solids and impose a grid order on them. While I used the same dye colors in my fabrics, the patterns were all over the place.

My plan worked, kind of. The pattern calls for increasing the size of the center blocks with each row from the center. It turned out more of each fabric was needed than I had. I decided to use the same fabric on the diagonals rather than in rows to eke out my supplies. I still didn’t have enough fabric, so I threw in a commercial fabric from Joann’s clearance bin.

Here’s my original sketch. Nothing like good old graph paper. The interior squares are crooked because I cut them out, colored them separately to give myself more flexibility and set them down on my foundation grid. At this point I still hadn’t decided on the center of the design. I ended up trying at least two different schemes for that area.

In fabric that translated to this.

I’ve called it “Trip Around Columbus” as a tribute to the trip around the world effect. Because it’s 56 inches square, I may have it quilted on a longarm.

I remade some of the squares because the first fabrics I chose just didn’t work. Those rejects gave me enough material to make a go-with wall hanging, called “Fractured Trip Around Columbus.”

I bet you thought I never used patterns. If someone else has done the work, why should I reinvent the wheel.


Filed under In Process, Modern Quilting

Around Here Week 45

I was going to avoid the sometimes cliched photos of autumn leaves, but then I saw this scene and couldn’t resist.

The effect of golden reflections in my neighbors’ windows is a bit like a Thomas Kinkade painting, but not as twee. I cropped the photo to eliminate a deck and lots of gray vertical boards, but the colors are true.

I love it as a color scheme and maybe even inspiration for a modern type quilt.

As an aside, check out the prices at the Thomas Kinkade website and then try to make the case that a quilt for $1000 is overpriced.


Filed under Inspiration

My Scrap-a-thon

I store my fabric scraps in containers of big chunks, little chunks, and strips. I have been known to rummage in trash cans after a group sewing session. My parents were children of the great depression so I absorbed the lesson to save leftovers by their example. When I noticed that I couldn’t fit the lid on my container of less than 1.5 inch wide strips I decided it was time to create fabric out of those strips. (I also have containers of 1,5 inch, 2 inch, and 2.5 inch strips.)

Here’s what was left after I pulled out all the strips I thought I could use. These leftovers are mostly multi-colored prints that don’t play well with others and want to hog the show. Some of the strips even ended up in the trash.

First I sorted the strips into color families and values.

Then I sewed the strips together. I’ll treat these as whole pieces of cloth when I use them, even though some (such as that pink in the purple) contain zingers.

Of course, I found other candidates for cloth making in my “to be filed” pile, so I sewed them together, too.

My boxes of small chunky scraps are next up for fabric creation. I have an idea to make a crazy quilt bullseye piece for an Ohio SAQA challenge. Wow, I sure have a lot of blue and blue-green scraps.

In case you think I’m a bit obsessive about scrap hoarding collecting, check out this quilter’s organization system.


Filed under Commentary, In Process, Techniques

Around Here Week 44

I discovered a new way to pass the time while I waited at a railroad crossing the other week – take pictures. Akron’s back ways abound with railroad crossings that are used by freight trains at times I find inconvenient. After a while the graffiti painted on the cars got boring, so I picked up my phone and started snapping.

My interest was in the clouds and electric wires, but I was amused to notice the reflection of the Mustang’s rear on the hood of my car. Since the trains at this intersection usually take about 10 minutes to clear the crossing, I had plenty of time for photo ops.


Filed under Inspiration

My Nancy Series

I just can’t seem to get serious about quilt series. Usually I lose steam about the third or fourth iteration, and my current series is no exception.

As is often the case, my Nancy series began by accident. I attended a presentation on Nancy Crow’s way to create quilts, and we attendees played around with slicing and dicing solids using her methods. I sewed together most of the solids scraps I owned to create several starts of what I’ll call pieced cloth.

The first completed top was “Not Quite Nancy,” in which I included prints and circles. Many of you commented on this one while it was in process, and it is the better for those comments. The tag at the top is the dimensions.

Next, I finished off a smaller piece I named “Nearly Nancy” as it was made totally with solids. Oops, there’s one bit of almost solid fabric. I think the binding color sets off the other colors nicely. It’s actually quilted.

Then, I went Anni Albers with “Nod To Nancy,” which is more regularly pieced, though still asymmetrical. It’s quilted but the edges need to be finished. The waviness is in my piecing, not your screen.

Finally I devised “So Not Nancy,” which features two densely pieced blocks surrounded by shades of red and a bit of blue fabric I dyed. The large unpieced blocks run counter to the Crow method of dense piecing.

Right now I have just a few pieced fabric starts left. They’re in my parts department so they may show up in future work. Of course, I have yet to quilt two of the above tops, so it’s not like I have nothing to do. I expect you noticed I quilted the smaller ones first.


Filed under Art quilts, Completed Projects, In Process

Around Here Week 43


One aspect of artistic endeavor is finding interest in the mundane, even in society’s outcasts. A case in point is Japanese knotweed, pictured above on the banks of the Cuyahoga River. It is considered among the world’s most invasive species. It’s certainly the bane of my local parks departments.

According to, Knotweed, in the Buckwheat family, is not liked in western nations because it grows around three feet a month, sends roots down some 10 feet, grows through concrete, damaging roads, dams, buildings and just about anything made by man.

And yet, I like the screen of its stems that allows me to see the river and the opposite bank. Its dark green leaves provide a refreshing contrast to the lighter, grayer green of the distant trees. Maybe it would work as a horizontal composition with lots of criss crossed narrow pieces as part of one row.

According to the website noted above, you can cook and eat its leaves. Perhaps a knotweed puree over ice cream or knotweed bread. Recipes are provided. I can tell you where to harvest lots of it.


Filed under Inspiration