Monday, December 3, 2012

Tie-dyed Tote Bag

I can finally post this picture - Charles delivered this tote bag to his mom (my sister) on Thanksgiving weekend just three and a half months after her actual birthday! Charles tie-dyed the fabric and we made him a kimono, and there was enough fabric left over for me to make a tote bag for my sister who loves to read and shop.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Origami Books

Most of these books are a ten-page book designed by Kunihiko Kasahara in Origami Omnibus. There are a couple of David Brill books and a few easy eight page books. The thicker books are made with heavier paper. The slipcase with the hardcover book on the right is also designed by Kasahara, as is the bookcase itself. I made the paper for the bookcase about ten years ago with Michael LaFosse at the Origamido Studio in Haverhill, which is closed now.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Puzzle Rug

Springbok puzzles have the property of fitting together so well that they can be picked up and carried around. For the last few months I have been assembling my entire collection of Springbok puzzles and placing them in a stack. Yesterday I arranged them on the living room floor and took a picture from the upstairs hallway. I feel a mixture of awe and concern. Why do I do this?

Friday, June 22, 2012

Aran sweater pattern

The double diamond pattern on the left is the center motif. To the right of that are: single cable, wishbone cable, single cable, nine-stranded plait, single cable, lobster claw, and trinity stitch. All but the nine-stranded plait are from "Traditional Aran Knitting" by Shelagh Hollingworth. I invented the nine-stranded plait myself, though this doesn't mean nobody else has ever made it before. It was straightforward, inspired by the braided rope mats on the schooner J. & E. Riggin, on which I was a passenger for a knitting cruise.

Nine-stranded plait

The pattern includes the two single cables on either side.

k. = knit.
p. = purl.
t.b.l. = through back of loop.
C.4B. = cable 4 back: slip two stitches to back on cable needle, k.2, then k.2 from cable needle.

29 stitches.

1st row: (right side) K.4, p.2, (k.1 t.b.l., p.1) 8 times, k.1 t.b.l., p.2, k.4.
2nd row and foll. alt. rows: P.4, k.2, (p.1 t.b.l., k.1) 8 times, p.1 t.b.l., k.2, p.4.
3rd row: C.4B., p.2, (k.1 t.b.l., p.1) 8 times, k.1 t.b.l., p.2, C.4B.
5th row: K.4, p.2, slip next 6 st. to back on cable needle, (k.1 t.b.l., p.1) twice, k.1. t.b.l., then slip the leftmost p. st. back on to left hand needle and p. it, then (k.1 t.b.l., p.1, k.1 t.b.l., p.1, k.1 t.b.l.) from cable needle, (p.1, k.1 t.b.l.) three times, p.2, k.4.
7th row: As 3rd row.
9th row: As 1st row.
11th row: C.4B, p.2, (k.1 t.b.l., p.1) 3 times, slip next 6 st. to front on cable needle, (k.1 t.b.l., p.1) twice, k.1 t.b.l., then slip the leftmost p. st. back on to left hand needle and p. it, then (k.1 t.b.l., p.1, k.1 t.b.l., p.1, k.1 t.b.l) from cable needle, p.2, C.4B.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

March Palette Challenge

I didn't finish this last month, but not to worry - April's inspirational photograph is a moldy pie, which I find too revolting to inspire a quilt.

This one was inspired by an art glass piece by Lino Tagliapietra.

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Fig Inspired Trip Around the World

The colors for this 30 inch square wall quilt are from the February palette challenge, which was inspired by a photograph of colorful figs. Of course I made two tops at once like I always do, but I've only finished this one.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Quarter square triangle method

What follows are the directions for quick piecing this quilt top, which measures approximately 41 x 50 inches. Our church, together with a local quilt guild, makes about 200 quilts of this size every year for cancer patients and others who are going through hard times and who may be comforted by a handmade quilt.

This quilt top was made by creating half-square triangle blocks with edges along the bias, forming these squares into pinwheels, turning the pinwheels on point so that the grain of the fabric is horizontal and vertical, and filling in the edges with half pinwheels (and the corners with quarter pinwheels).

Note: these directions are for creating a scrappy looking quilt. It could easily be made with pinwheels that are each made from two fabrics. Then the pinwheels would stand out on their own and be noticeable as pinwheels.

Step 1: Fabric selection

Choose 24 dark and 24 light six inch fabric squares. I had 24 deep red, magenta, reddish brown and multicolored six inch blocks on hand. I decided to use up some of my pale orange fabric for the light squares. The more different fabrics you have, the scrappier the quilt will be.
Set aside four each of the light and dark squares. They will be used to fill in the edges. I set aside fabrics that didn't stand out as much because I didn't want the design to be more interesting along the edges than on the inside.

If you are making two-colored pinwheels, two of the fabrics that are set aside should match two of the 20 fabrics that are used in the next step.
Pair up the remaining 20 squares, avoiding duplicate pairs as much as possible for the scrappy look.

Step 2: Create the pinwheel blocks.

In this step you can optionally align the fabric so that the patterns have a consistent orientation throughout the quilt. This is not really a crucial step, but in this example, one of the patterns had an obvious orientation that I wanted to preserve. The way I do this is by lining up the six inch squares so that they have the same direction relative to the fabric on the bolt. This direction is easily determined by stretching the fabric slightly. In the direction that the fabric is wound around the bolt, the fabric doesn't stretch at all. In the direction across the fabric, from selvedge to selvedge, it stretches slightly. So I made sure each square stretched from left to right and sewed them together that way.

For this quilt it is not actually necessary to use a 1/4 inch presser foot. However the same seam allowance must be used throughout, otherwise the quilt will be skewed.

Sew the squares together all around the side edges. I found it easiest to turn the corner with the needle raised on the sewing machine. Notice that the squares have the corners trimmed. This too is optional, but it will remove the points that occur when the resulting squares are pressed open.
If you don't mind protruding points at the ends of the seams (as shown in this picture), you can skip trimming the corners. I prefer to trim the corners as soon as possible at the sewing machine rather than waiting to trim them on the ironing board before pressing them open.
Cut each square through both diagonals, using a transparent flat plastic ruler and a rotary cutter. Be EXTREMELY careful and cut precisely. If you're not used to using a rotary cutter, take your time. Close the rotary cutter immediately after making the second cut.
Optional: keep the triangles in separate piles according to their original configuration. This makes it easier to achieve an even scrappy look and makes the pinwheel assembly more efficient.
Press the squares open, keeping them in their own piles if opting to preserve the orientation. Press all seams towards the dark fabric. When we join these squares, we will align them by interlocking the seams. This is very important for achieving a smooth, flat quilt with seams and points that line up precisely.
Arrange 18 pinwheels on your design wall, or if you don't have one, use your design floor like I do, or a table. If using the optional orientation method, each pinwheel quarter will come from a separate pile of half-square triangles. There will be eight squares left over. These will be used to fill in the edges.
If you are making uniform pinwheels with two colors each, these eight squares should match two of the squares that were set aside at the beginning.

Sew the left and right squares of the top and bottom of each pinwheel together. I sewed these squares all at once, making a long chain of half pinwheels. If you use this technique, take care to keep the top and bottom of each pinwheel together. Press all seams towards the dark fabric.

Next sew the top and bottom halves of the pinwheels together. Press the seam loosely in any direction, or not at all. During the assembly of the top, these seams will lie in alternate directions, and it's not possible to predict at this step which way they will eventually go.

Step 3: Arrange the pinwheels and fill in the edges with squares and triangles.

Arrange the pinwheels on point in alternating rows of three and two. Take care to have them all point in the same direction. In this picture the pinwheels are rotated 1/8 turn clockwise so that the left top square is pointing up and the right top square is pointing to the right side. This means the seam joining the top and bottom of each pinwheel is on the downward diagonal. We are going to sew the rows together in this direction, so that we can orient the center seam of each pinwheel in either direction as necessary.

In the picture on the left, I placed the pinwheels from left to right without worrying how they looked together. In the second picture, I have rearranged them so that the different patterns of fabric are more evenly distributed throughout the quilt. This step is much easier if the original six inch squares are all different.

Next fill in the side gaps with the eight remaining squares. There will be two empty gaps that we will fill in the next step. If we had made an extra set of half square triangles, there would be two that we could not use unless we picked them apart.
Cut the eight reserved six inch squares along each diagonal, creating 32 small triangles. Fill in the two gaps with two triangles each, and sew them together. Finally fill in all of the edges and the four corners with the rest of the triangles. At this point it's not so important to maintain the orientation of the fabric, but I do anyway in order to keep the different patterns distributed evenly. In this picture I have rearranged the pinwheels so that every row and column contains a bit of the green and orange print.

If you are creating uniform pinwheels with two colors each, assign the matching triangles to the side squares of the same colors. Fill in the side gaps with a third light and dark color, and fill in the corners with the remaining light and dark color.

Next sew the corner triangles together and sew the small triangles to either side of the gap-filling squares. I tried to continue to press the seam towards the dark fabric, but if the last triangle added is a light color, it makes more sense to press the triangle away from the square, which has the seam going towards the light color.
Step 4: Assemble the top

We are going to sew diagonal rows of pinwheel blocks and then sew the rows together. With some care we can make sure that all the matching seams interlock as we join the edges. In order to do this as painlessly as possible, we will attach one block per row starting with the right side half pinwheel blocks, the lower right corner, and the lower half pinwheel blocks. Each of these will be attached to the adjacent block, and all the seams will be pressed in the same direction (in this case, to the right). These seams will eventually be matched with the seams created in the next step, which will all be pressed in the other direction.

The seam along the center of the whole pinwheel block must be adjusted to go in the opposite direction as the matching seam on the half pinwheel block. This may cause the seam on the whole pinwheel block to not lie flat.
Before the seam is pressed open, press this wavy seam to the side. Then flatten the block after pressing the joining seam open.

Keeping careful track of the order of the rows, add the next pinwheel block to each diagonal row. Press all the seams the other way. In this picture I have pressed the second seam to the left. By doing this, the seams will be facing opposite directions when the rows are joined.

Continue until all blocks are joined into rows. Press seams in alternating directions throughout each row.

Join the rows and press the seams in either direction. Take care to use the exact same seam allowance as in the previous steps. Otherwise the top will be skewed.

Cut four six and a half inch wide border panels from selvedge to selvedge of border fabric. Sew the side panels first, then sew the top and bottom.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Quarter-square triangle top

This quilt top is for our church project "Power of the Quilt," which provides quilts for cancer patients. I tried a new (for me) method of making half-square triangles. I sewed 42 pairs of light and dark five inch fabric squares together around all four edges. Then I sliced along each diagonal, cutting them into four pieces. This made four half-square triangle blocks from each pair of five inch squares, with the seam along the straight grain of the fabric. The edges of these small squares were cut on the bias, but that turned out not to be a problem at all. In fact the squares were more stable than the ones I make by sewing on the diagonal.

However I wanted the straight grain of the fabric to be horizontal and vertical. So I made 39 pinwheels and turned them on point, and filled in the sides with sixteen half pinwheels (and four quarter pinwheels in the corners). The result appears to be an 8 x 12 grid of quarter square triangle blocks. Many of the five inch squares were ugly prints in poor quality fabric, including some polyester. But it turned out well. I have a plan to use six inch squares that will produce a similar quilt on a slightly larger scale. Stay tuned - I'll post pictures of the process with detailed instructions.

The border fabric is a good quality reproduction print made by P & B textiles for the American Textile History Museum about ten years ago. I made two quilts from this collection, one for the wall and one for my dad. I finished the one for my dad in the summer of 2009 and gave it to him for his birthday. Neither of us look too great in this picture, but it captures the essence of the moment.

I had made dual trip around the world quilts and had planned to expand one of them to make a bed sized quilt. I had in mind a series of pieced borders using reproduction fabric, but as the sands of time trickled on, I realized I had to do something different to finish the project. I quilted the inner trip around the world on the diagonal. Then I pieced together four very large rectangles from large triangles in compatible fabric and quilted these separately. I joined them with bias strips front and back to make a wide border. Dad was so happy. We were in Chihuahua City for my cousin's 50th birthday party. Later that day he gave me a gift of his own - two star shaped sequins wrapped in a tissue.

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Hidden Wells

This is the quilt that I made using the January palette from Patchwork Times. It is the same Hidden Wells pattern that I used for my March UFO last year.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Pico de Gallo

I made a Pico de Gallo quilt for my nephew Charles who is a professional cook. Pico de Gallo is a delicious salsa made from tomatoes, jalapeƱos, onions, garlic and lime. I have all the ingredients here except for the onions. I hope the pattern brings him good luck - it is one of my favorite patterns, and it's called "broken dishes" - after all, we tell the actors to break a leg before the show starts.

Power of the Quilt

I have completed the first of six Roman Square quilts for the Power of the Quilt project.

There are five more that were derived from last year's project of making six colorful quilt tops simultaneously. I posted about that here.

2012 Color Challenge

New year, new projects. Patchwork Press is having a color palette challenge. Of course I would choose to make a quilt from start to finish each month rather than commit to completing one I already started. But I hope this year I won't be so obsessive about not missing a month. I am sure there will be some color palettes that don't appeal to me. But this one did, and I decided to make another Hidden Wells wall quilt, similar to last year's March UFO.

Here are strips that I chose in the given color scheme, arranged in eighteen groups of three.

I am sewing together thirty-six sets of strips. There will be two of each set of three colors, but I will cut them differently to make thirty-six different diamond shapes.

Now I have arranged the thirty-six diamonds that will appear to float above the background. When I cut these out, I also cut out 288 small triangles that will form the background.

I used the scheme from last year's Hidden Wells quilt to arrange the small triangles. I didn't plan to have four large light colored diamonds show up in the corners of the quilt - it just worked out that way.