ColorPlay Ferry Building

ColorPlay March - original
ColorPlay March – original

For a number of years (3-4), I took a picture of the Ferry Building in SF every day as I went to work. I had read an article about a guy who took a photograph of the same NY shop every day around the same time. Somewhere in the article the author (or, perhaps, the photographer) commented on the subtle differences that can me seen in such a project.

This sort of subtle project appealed to me. While I took photos from different angles, there are still differences. Periodically, when I am downtown near the Ferry Building, I will take a new photo for old times sake. Photos to use for my ColoPlay posts are getting thin so it seemed like a good time to dig out a Ferry Building photo.

ColorPlay March n.2
ColorPlay March n.2

The default effort actually turned out quite nicely. No nasty or ugly neutrals. I got a palette that would look great for a boy. I like the addition of Kona Blue Jay. Not because of the same, but because I think it reflects the color of the sky almost perfectly.

ColorPlay March n.3
ColorPlay March n.3

I do like the lighter blues shown in the example above.

ColorPlay March n.4
ColorPlay March n.4

The above palette tends more towards the greys and is very San Francisco-like. The Kona Shadow is particularly good for representing fog.

The photo really doesn’t have enough color data points to get very many palettes. All of them seem to have a variation on the same group of hues.

Try out the Palette Builder by Play-Crafts to make your own palettes.

More EPP

Half Hexie EPP - late March 2017
Half Hexie EPP – late March 2017

About a week ago, I showed you my big English Paper Piecing project. I have been working on it quite a bit and am showing it again with its new and attractive bulge on the lower right. I have thought about EPP a lot in the past week, wondering why I am enjoying it so much. I don’t suppose I really need a reason, but I do wonder.

What I have come up with is that I enjoy handwork, but something like needleturn applique’ isn’t really my thing. EPP provides a convenient type of handwork that is pretty different from machine work. Why would I hand piece something I can easily machine piece?

For a challenge?

Yes.

After  a few blocks, however, it is no longer a challenge.

EPP is handwork, but it is different enough in process to fill a hole. It is also strangely convenient and can be the catalyst for creating amazing designs. Have you seen La Passacaglia?

On my half hexie piece, I have been working on making dots on white half hexie stars and I am making progress with my next two rows (one with a white background and one with fabrics prints in colors.

I have to admit being a little sick of this project and wanting it finished. I have a long way to go before it is finished, however. Learning something new about basting at the last guild meeting reinvigorated me and I can’t wait to try it with my half hexies.

Guild Merit Hexies

Gerre is the president of the guild. Late last year she started talking about merit hexies. In her idea, they were kind of like merit badges in Scouts.

At the meeting on Saturday, I received my first group of hexies and a lovely bag, made by the fabulous Gerre, to keep them in.

Merit Hexies - March
Merit Hexies – March

The most meaningful hexies to me are the special ones that indicate I have participated in some event or activity the guild is sponsoring. Those are on the left of the photo above, except for the Text Challenge hexie, which is on the far right.

The regular fabric hexies are for other volunteering such as making charity quilts.

Gerre wants people to make something out of their hexies that aren’t necessarily sewn together in a Grandmother’s Flower Garden kind of way. She made a pillow where the hexies are spaces apart in diagonal rows and appliqued on during the quilting process (appli-quilted). This is appealing to me. Depending on how many I receive, I could recover one of the couch cushions with a hexie pillow cover. The Zen of Making has a tutorial for an EPP Travel Kit that takes either 14 or 21 hexies.

After the meeting, during the small groups time, I learned a new way of basting fabric over hexie papers. Gerre did a demo and I helped her to restock her supply. It was fun.

Tooly McToolston

Tooly Easel Stand
Tooly Easel Stand

OK. This pattern is not called Tooly McToolston. That is, however, the way I think about it for some reason.

Mary's Gifts
Mary’s Gifts

I am still working on various gifts. This latest item in the group is part of the group I posted a week or so ago.

I like the idea of this easel because it would make my tools available quickly when I was at a retreat or workshop or generally away from my workroom.

This is a gift, but the issue for me is that I already have a box for my tools when they are in transit. The other thing is my box doesn’t make the tools available right away. I have to dig around to get at them. I don’t know. I am on the fence. I like the idea. Clearly I am not linking this change.

Good thing it isn’t for me, because it makes a great gift. I didn’t have much trouble making it. There was one part I didn’t get, but It wasn’t problematic enough to affect the outcome of the overall pattern.

Tooly McToolston in process
Tooly McToolston in process

I found it was really important to label all the pieces. The pocket pieces are very similar, so labeling them helped me keep them in order. You can see the green Post-it notes in the photo above.

Tooly Closed
Tooly Closed

I think this might be a great gift to make for people. I already have the pattern. I already have the a big piece of mat board left. It doesn’t take very long and is useful.

In terms of my new gift grouping, I am not sure if I will put this in another One Hour Basket or if I will make something else. I do like the Big and Little Patchwork Totes from the Make It, Take It book.

Tooly Tool Easel pattern by Sew Together products. $5 No affiliation.

Color My World – Cheryl

Cheryl was fortunate enough to grab the February spot and her piece was the second on which I worked. As I said Saturday, I had two pieces on which to work right off the bat. I missed the February meeting, but got my hands on the color sheet and made a piece.

Cheryl's Color My World
Cheryl’s Color My World

For some reason I wanted to do something a bit more straight-laced and block-like. It couldn’t be too straight-laced, so decided on a checkerboard.

Kelly is next and I am curious to see what she comes up with as her colors.

I have making my own color sheet on my list. I have an idea in mind, but need to find a photo. I’ll wait a few months so I can see what other people bring to the meeting. I doubt my slot will come up before next year.

Kindness

Gift Bag
Gift Bag

Today I received a very kind gift.

It started with the idea to give the guild officers a gift at the end of their terms. Guild officers have a tough job. It is all volunteer organization and there are few perks if a person doesn’t get satisfaction from leading.

Gift Bag
Gift Bag

For the past few years, I have gotten people to volunteer to make bags and then encouraged the guild to bring one small gift for each of the officers. I like this idea better than making officers quilts. While quilts or blocks can be a great memory, they are a lot of work and we all have our own quilts. We all make our own quilts. I think providing a bag with a variety of gifts is a great thank you.

Annotated Bag Contents
Annotated Bag Contents

Today I received the same kind of gift. It was a bag made by Cheryl full of lovely treats, including some chocolate. 😉 There are a number of things that will stock my new Sew Together Bag (I haven’t made it yet) with an embroidery kit.

There was also Thread Magic, some fabric, tea, band-aids, which I hope I don’t need. 😉 there was a spot remover and an inside joke for the arch supports.

I am so grateful to the guild for this gift. I don’t do volunteer work for accolades or event thanks. I don’t do volunteer tasks that I don’t want to do. This gift was such a wonderful and unexpected surprise. Thank you.

Color My World – Karen

Karen, last year’s guild challenge coordinator is leading a new challenge. This challenge is in addition to whatever challenges the new challenge coordinator comes up with. I have decided to join the Color My World challenge.

As is her right, Karen was the first person to provide a color sheet for the challenge. As I join somewhat behind the rest of the group I had two to complete at once. I did Karen’s first and will talk about the other one tomorrow.

Karen's Color My World
Karen’s Color My World

Karen used a landscape photo as the inspiration. I followed that idea and used curve strip piecing techniques to mimic the landscape idea. I am pleased with the way my piece came out.

ColorPlay Workroom

Some things take time. I know that in our house, if something comes in it is difficult to dislodge it. This has a number of effects. Nothing temporary may come in. Temporary has no meaning in our house, so only things that we want to keep forever may come in.

As I work towards my ideal workroom, I have to work with this stricture. Thus when I walked by a new shop downtown and saw the sweets shop with the look and feel I wanted, I had to take a photo. Knowing the look and feel I want helps to weed out anything that doesn’t fit.

 

ColorPlay: Dream Workroom original
ColorPlay: Dream Workroom original

I decided to use this photo as our ColorPlay this week. What is the dominant color you see? And the secondary?

For me, I see a white domination with a turquoise, or, perhaps pink (salmon) secondary color.

ColorPlay: Dream Workroom default
ColorPlay: Dream Workroom default

I do NOT see a preponderance of neutrals! The above is the default palette. Are you kidding me? No white. No turquoise. This is a big failure to me. If we were matching up palettes with original pictures, nobody would pick this palette to go with my picture. Can you tell I am miffed?

ColorPlay March 17 first attempt
ColorPlay March 17 first attempt

My first attempt to stack the deck is not much better. The colors are slightly nicer, but still no white, pink or turquoise. I know this is because of the shadows, but I am still annoyed.

ColorPlay March 17, 2d attempt
ColorPlay March 17, 2d attempt

My second attempt is, at least, slightly more palatable (HA!). The colors are a bit lighter and a bit fresher. Still no white or turquoise.

ColorPlay March 17 n.5
ColorPlay March 17 n.5

Despite the fact that the Kona Emerald doesn’t look anything like any emeralds I have seen, this palette is slightly better. At least there is a pinky-red included.

 

I absolutely will not use any of these palettes for my workroom. If you haven’t tried the Palette Builder by Play-Crafts, go and try it — after you leave a comment ;-).

Finished: Ends Donation Top & Back

Ends Donation Top - March 2017
Ends Donation Top – March 2017

As mentioned, this top was sort of unplanned. It did, however, come together very well and last week, I was able to finish the top, back and batting.

I am a little sad to give it away as I really like it. Of course, I like most of the quilts I make as donations, but this one is particularly pleasing to me for some reason.

Ends Quilt back - March 2017
Ends Quilt back – March 2017

The back is fairly plain. Several large half yards of fabric and I was done. I also put the batting together with Heat Press. There might be more Heat Press than batting and I hope that the quilt won’t be stiff as a result.

I made it for a donation quilt, so off it goes.

Various & Sundry 2017 #4

AQ Updates

I finally put all the finished quilts from last year on the Gallery page. On the Gallery page, you can see a list of all the quilts I have ever made. Not all have links to photos, but I am working on that. Take a look

I have updated the tutorials page. Have you looked at it recently?

I also updated the Lanyard tutorial. Have you made a lanyard for your guild meeting nametag?

Media

The Quilt Alliance has a new post about saving our quilt stories.

Frances of The Off Kilter Quilt podcast and QuiltFiction fame has a new story posted. You must sign up for her newsletter in order to read it. Well worth it as her newsletters are short and sweet, but packed with info.

Projects & Patterns

Remember the Lined Drawstring Bag from InColorOrder? She has a new post out that details all the variations for her bags. One of them is a shoe bag. I was thinking about Grand Parlor and making shoe bags for the 9-10 pair of shoes I bring. Kismet, I think! She also has a slide show of all the bags she has made. Take a look.

Oliver+S posted about seam finishing techniques. There are visual examples as well as explanation.

I like some papercrafts and like them even more when they flow over into fabric. You might remember the paper wreath tutorial I posted, which I then translated into fabric.  I found a Scandinavian Heart tutorial that is made from fabric. It would be a great gift! The Quilting Daily (@QuiltingDaily) tweeted the link out originally.

I went on a little EPP tangent looking for a Jack’s Chain (now called Ferris Wheel) pattern. It started on the PaperPieces.com site, but branched off into a search and then down a rabbit hole to different sites.  One site with multiple interesting patterns is Imaginesque, a UK site. I saw a very interesting block with no name, beyond Block 21, but infinite possibilities in terms of color transparency.

I also found a pattern for an EPP Travel Kit, which I might add to my list of gifts.

Imaginesque also has a pattern and instructions for Block 49, which looks like a flower to me. I haven’t thought much about curves in terms of English paper piecing, but seeing these blocks makes me start to think about it.

I spent some time burrowing around in the Imaginesque site to see if I could find an explanation for the numbered quilt blocks. I found block number 1, though it is just posted as another pattern and doesn’t seem to be any sort of specific project. Imaginesque is no longer updated, but there are a lot of posts with patterns to explore.

Techniques, Tips & Tricks

I heard about the ‘flat back stitch’ for sewing together EPP recently. I didn’t know how to do it, but tried and like that the stitches do not show on the front. The video I had marked was actually a JPG, so I had to go searching for one to see if I was doing it right. 😉 I found one by Step Gingerly that is useful, but there are a lot of different ones you can review.

Have you see the hand sewing guide at Art Gallery Fabrics?

Cluck Cluck Sew has some great tips about healthy sewing. As usual DO NOT self diagnose. Go to the doctor if you have pain. Her tips, however, are useful and sensible. I have been taking Pilates for awhile, but my new focus is stretching. I have been feeling tight and creaky, so back to stretching for me. What about you?

Events, Exhibits & Projects

Some people attended QuiltCon and, kindly, wrote about it. Quiltin’ Jenny was instrumental in getting Frances to Savannah, I believe. Quiltin’ Jenny’s post talks about 6 things she saw there. There is so much more in her post than 6 things. It is a fantastic post and you should go read it. Frances has a special podcast where she talks about her experiences there. I know there are a lot of other posts, so go read some of them and plan to be in Pasadena in 2018. HollyAnne of String & Story and Quilts for a Cure also has a post, which is a more general recap, but has fantastic pictures. She posted a lot of insightful thoughts on the quilts.

Are you participating in the Scientific Quilter’s March-a-Long?

The Chester County (Pennsylvania) Historical Society is holding a Quilt Day in May. Check their newsletter for details. Thanks to AQSG’s Barb Garrett for the tip.

The Virginia Quilt Museum is showing a stunning exhibit of early applique quilts from the Mid-Atlantic region. It is a small but serious exhibit which includes 20th century examples of appliqued beauties. The museum is located a short hop off the interstate in Shenandoah Valley’s Harrisonburg, Va. See the website for details on hours etc. Thanks to AQSG’s Neva Hart for the tip.

Pat Bravo and Mr. Domestic are having an EPP party in April 2017.

Quilt San Francisco 2017 Show and sale will be presented by the San Francisco Quilters’ Guild on Friday, March 24 10:00-7:00 and Saturday, March 25 10:00-4:00. Check the website for more details.

Pine Tree Quilt Guild presents their Springtime in the Pines show on May 6-7, 2017 at the Nevada County Fairgrounds, Grass Valley, Calif. Admission is $7 and there is free parking.

The Roseville Quilters Guild presents Oceans of Fabrics, Waves of Quilts, May 19-20, 2017. It will be held at the Lutheran Church of the Ressurrection, 6365 Douglas Blvd, Granite Bay. It will be open Friday 10-5, Saturday 10-4. Admission is $7.

NQR

The BBC had an article on some of the funny names of London Underground stations. I found them entertaining and they made my mind race around in creative ways.

Products, Tools and Fabric

New Workroom Chair
New Workroom Chair

There is a TJ Maxx near my house and, as it is the one outlet type store I can actually stand shopping at, I go in for a look occasionally to see what they have. I have found some great finds: dresses for #politicalwifery, a set of sunflower plates for a gift swooned over by the recipient and recently a chair for my workroom.

I had a chair. It was an office chair we got for free when the bank DH worked at (about 1,000 years ago) was purchased and they were closing his location. It no longer moved up and down and was not hideous, but not pretty either. I saw this chair and knew it would be perfect or the new look I am working on for my workroom. It is slightly lighter weight than my old one, so I can’t pile up as much fabric on it, but all parts function and it is pretty.

Bag clips
Bag clips

I bought this pack of bag clips not for chip and bread bags in the kitchen, but for my workroom. They are too pretty to hide away in the pantry. I have decided that the things I use should be pretty.

No more beige and brown for me.

En Provence Update

En Provence with Peaky & Spike
En Provence with Peaky & Spike

I have a very tiny update for the En Provence Mystery quilt. I have enough of the Peaky & Spike blocks finished to make 9 patches.

In fact, I may be completely finished with the Peaky & Spike blocks. I don’t know what goes in the corners and haven’t taken the time to look it up.

This block, the only one I have laid out, is not sewn. Laying it out, however, gets it closer to being sewn. I hope you don’t think this is a poor showing!

I have to say that it occurred to me that I might want to use the blues from the Blue Lemonade Hunting & Gathering box for the colored 4 patches. If the clue asks for 2 inch squares, I’ll be golden or In like Flynn. I have to find the clue and look it up.

EPP In Process

Half Hexie EPP - Feb 2017
Half Hexie EPP – Feb 2017

I have done a  little more on this piece since I took the photo, but it is slow going so not much.

Despite my protests yesterday that I wasn’t in a rush to finish this piece, I really do want to finish it so I can start the La Passacaglia. Having two large EPP projects seems ridiculous and I only have a certain amount of handstitching time, so focus is the requirement.

My big push now is to make dots on white stars. I need a lot of them and can’t move forward without them. I think I have three in process, but a number of strips cut, waiting.

Improving my EPP

I haven’t been happy with the right sides together method of whip stitching my EPP pieces together. I don’t like the stitches showing on the front. No matter how careful I am, I seem to always get a few stitches showing. ERGH!!!

Finished star using flat back stitching
Finished star using flat back stitching

I mentioned recently that I had heard about the Flat back stitch for sewing EPP shapes together. I watched the video thoroughly, eventually, and tried it. I like the technique, although it isn’t without hassle and have modified my stitching accordingly.

One thing the video shows is starting inside a seam. The idea is to slip the needle between the fabric and the paper, catching the knot on the inside. I never thought of that!

Flat back stitch using WonderClips
Flat back stitch using WonderClips

I have been using WonderClips to hold my pieces together. It is imperfect at best despite the fabulousness of WonderClips. The video shows using regular transparent tape. Another great idea.

There are a couple of other good things about the flat back stitch. First, you don’t have to bend the paper/card pieces when you insert a piece (Y seam idea). This makes the card last longer. Second, the stitches don’t show at the beginning of the line of stitching, which they can if you are even a tiny smidge not careful. DIY Addict has some info about this after the 2:50 minute mark on her video.

This technique takes me longer, but I like the look and really am not in a rush to get another star attached to this piece.

It is a good day when I learn something new.

Other resources

DIY Addict video: flat back stitch

Sue Spargo Threads

I am a sucker for embroidery threads. Not really the floss that comes in hanks, but the Perl Cotton balls, the Aurifloss and, now, Sue Spargo embroidery threads.

I admire Sue Spargo’s work, because of the cheerfulness and liveliness of the designs. Her book, Stitches to Savor: A Celebration of Designs, is a favorite. I admire her work with the simple shape of the cups and want to do something similar with cakes. Can you imagine how fabulous a cake quilt would look with embroidery designs applied to it to simulate frosting and cake decorations?

Of course, given the colors I bought, the cakes would be cheerful, and, possibly, unappetizing. 😉

You may noticed that I have mentioned Sue Spargo embroidery threads a few times recently. After visiting Thistle Dew and Stitch quilt shops, I was hooked. Both shops had these threads and it was the first time I had seen them. I have a lot of Perl cotton, etc, but couldn’t help indulging in a few spools. I want them all.

I have used them on Under the Sea and they were great to use. I need to get inspired by Gerre and use them more.

Creative Spark #10: Break Your Own Rules

The title should make a post unnecessary, but I am going to write anyway.

“You must disrupt your normal patterns so you can see the world with new eyes” (pg.45)

I don’t know about you, but I have a routine. Several, actually. I have a routine to get my day started, though it varies depending on the day. I have an evening routine and a work routine. If someone were to look at the week overall, they would see a larger routine overlaid on top of these other, daily, routines.

I am not sure about disrupting these patterns right at the moment, but my patterns for working on my quilts can, and, according to Bloomston, should be disrupted. One of the things Bloomston learned in her Drawing 101 class was to “seek surprises” (pg.45). I took down my design wall in order to sell it. The sale didn’t go through and I haven’t put it back up yet. It is a hindrance, but the surprising thing is that I am finding I work on more projects simultaneously than I did with the design wall up.

Huh.

Don’t get me wrong, I need my design wall. It is a vital tool, but at the stage I am in with my various projects, I can do without it.

Seeking surprises could mean using different fabrics. My SIL did this recently. She made a GREAT quilt, which is totally not in her colors.

There is a section in the chapter where Bloomston relates her experience learning to see art or a piece of art on which she was working ina  different way. “We dove beneath expectation, convention, intention, and ego. We spoke about art as liberation from conscious thought. We discussed abstraction and pure form-pure mark making” (pg.46). I get a new view when I hear people talk about their perceptions of art.

“…seek the unexpected” (pg.46). This is the best advice.

There is another worksheet that is all about doing the unexpected. Do the unexpected. What does that mean for you?

Nota bene: we are working through Carrie Bloomston’s book, The Little Spark. Buy it. There is a lot more to each spark than what I am writing and the original chapters will help you. Go buy Carrie Bloomston’s book, so you get the full benefit of the fabulousness! You can see my book review, which is what started this flight of fancy.

You can find the last spark on the blog about a month ago.