Wednesday, April 27, 2011

82 days wall quilt

There is a story behind this quilt. Several years ago, someone on an email list wrote that she was working on a calendar quilt. Calendar quilt! I can do that, I thought. In my mind, each day would be a fabric square on a calendar page. Somewhere around mid-April I lost interest, and I ended up with three 5 x 7 blocks that looked vaguely like the pages of a calendar. This was one of the years that I was choosing what color to wear based on the date. The colors would rotate every nine days between red, orange or black and white, yellow, green, blue, indigo, violet, pink and brown, and pastels. I read this in a numerology book, and though I am not a numerology enthusaist, I liked the idea of not having to think about what to wear.
So while going through my UFOs and deciding what to do with them, I decided to take those silly calendar pages apart and use the squares in another project. But halfway through the process I decided it would be nice to reconfigure the strips into a rainbow square. So with a little rearranging, this is what I got. My husband suggested to make the border charcoal gray. It is called 82 days rather than 81 days because there is a square in the lower left area that represents two days.
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Easter Eggs

I guess this is sort of related to quilting - the eggs are "tie-dyed" with the Paas kit from the grocery store. Fabric is wrapped around the egg, crinkled, and the dye is applied to the fabric. So dye only ends up on the eggs where the fabric touches it. So - fabric - quilts - totally relevant!
The "grass" in the basket is shredded origami paper from old projects.

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Sunday, April 24, 2011

William and Lily's quilts

Here's another example of dual trip around the world quilts. William's quilt is on the left, and Lily's is on the right. I had no idea there would be a Lily when I made William's quilt, but I was already making two at a time. I finished William's quilt in May 2007, and I finished Lily's quilt this month.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Dual Trip Around the World Process

Yesterday and today I went through the process of making dual trip around the world quilt tops using a strip piecing method I came up with so that the outer diagonals use different fabrics from the inner diamonds. Last February, I showed two baby quilts made the same way, and this is also the method I used to make Pink 1 and Pink 2. In order to make two 11 x 11 tops, I chose 12 fabrics. (The future border fabric is included in this picture.) I numbered the fabrics from 1 to 12. (Unfortunately, the order from left to right in this picture is backwards starting with number 5.) For this pair of quilts, I used the same fabric for #1 and #7: a Noah's Ark pattern, fifth from the left in the picture. I also had to substitute another fabric for the beehives (seventh from the left) because there wasn't enough of it.
Whenever I use this pattern, I have to make a chart to show where the different fabrics will end up. Here is the chart for the 11 x 11 version. The bold lines indicate the sections that are created in different steps. The center square will be cut from an extra piece of fabric. Notice that fabric #1 is only in the quilt on the left, and fabric #7 is only in the quilt on the right. That's why there were no repeats when I used the same fabric in both places.

Step 1: making panels of strips
I want the finished squares to be 2 1/2 inches. So I need to cut three 3 inch strips, at least two of which have to be 21 inches long. The third can be shorter, up to 18 inches. That way I will get 20 squares of each fabric. I started by sewing together the strips to make panels. Ideally there would be three panels, but I was using up scraps of novelty fabric, so I had to make a few smaller panels. These two pictures show strips 1-6 together and strips 7-12 together (some of the ones on the right are upside down). Next I will sew them together to make panels containing strips 1 to 12 in order.

Step 2: crosswise strips for upper left and lower right sections
Half of the panels (30 inches worth) are going to form loops of twelve strips. This is done by folding them in half, right sides together, and sewing strip 1 to strip 12. These loops are then cut into crosswise strips and taken apart in different places according to the chart. The pieces are used for the upper left and lower right sections of the two tops. Each piece will have six squares.
Here is a picture of the ten crosswise cut loops before they've been taken apart. (One of them is hiding.)
Here is a picture of the upper left layout of the crosswise cut loops for both tops, taken apart and arranged according to the chart. The lower right layout will look the same, but upside down.

Step 3: crosswise strips for lower left and upper right sections
The rest of the strips will be joined end to end to form long chains. These chains will be taken apart in sets of five squares, and will form the upper right and lower left parts of the quilts.
To make the work manageable, I divided this step into two parts, making two long chains. One of them started with fabric #1, and the other started with fabric #7. Here is a picture of them waiting to be sewn together.
Here are two of the chains (one each for upper and lower sections), and on the right is one of the chains separated into five square pieces.
First I arranged the pieces from one of the chains that started with fabric #7. It just works out that they have to be staggered like this.
Now I fill in the gaps with pieces from the second half of the chains. I go along matching the pieces with the chart, remembering which fabric is which.
At this point, I still have some options. I didn't like the way the high contrast fabrics ended up in the corners of the quilt on the left. So I turned each section upside down to get a different look.

Step 4: choose a center square
Now I need to find a square to put in the very middle. I can use the color that would follow the sequence, or I can use any other square at all. For the quilt on the right, the color from the sequence made sense. Here it is with all the strip pieces laid out.
I ended up choosing a different fabric for the center square of quilt 1. The fabric from the original sequence would have stood out too much for my taste for a center square.

Step 5: sewing the pieces to form long strips, and sewing the strips together.
At this point I rearranged a few of the strips so that the same picture from a fabric pattern didn't appear in two adjacent squares along a diagonal. I sewed the pieces of strips together, and then I joined all the strips. Here's the final result:

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Lily's quilt

This is my April UFO, finished today, which I'll give to my new niece Lily at Easter this week. I still want to add a little bit of quilting so that the edge pieces don't pull out, but technically, this is a finished quilt. There is another one like it that I gave Lily's brother a few years ago, along the lines of Pink 1 and Pink 2, but I don't have a picture of it yet. Stay tuned! Update: They're together here.
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Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Pink 1 and Pink 2

I've updated the photos of these quilts using the raw format of my digital camera. The in-camera jpg conversion doesn't preserve the colors in some cases. If I bring the raw format into Picasa and then export as jpg, it comes out much better. So here they are, Pink 1 and Pink 2, dual trip around the world blocks, a little out of focus (probably not the camera's fault). They are about fifteen inches square. They're not quilted yet - I'll probably add borders and make them wall quilts.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Dark Hidden Wells

My March UFO was basically a Hidden Wells pattern. I learned this method from a brochure written by Mary Ellen Hopkins. For this quilt top, rather than sew together many strips, I thought it would be interesting to try a shortcut by using a border fabric that already had a large design in lengthwise strips. I have had this top folded in my UFO box for a while, so you can see some wrinkles that I wasn't able to iron out completely. With another pass of the iron, it should be ready to quilt. The question is, how many more years will it take me to finish this one? And who would want such a dark quilt? It's not big enough for anything but the wall.

Monday, April 11, 2011

My other hobby

Well one of my other hobbies. I am learning to draw in the classical style of the 19th century. This is my first "finished" drawing. Ideally I would have spent a lot more time on it, but there was a limit to how many days the model was going to sit for us.
I used carbon pencil on heavy watercolor paper. It is a meticulous process that includes the use of a knitting needle held at arms length to measure proportions and transfer them to the paper. But it some sense it is a simple and systematic method that anyone could learn.