## Original Bullseye Border

I don’t always start a quilt and finish it right away. Often, I start a quilt in order to work through an idea and then I get stuck on one part. Putting it away is a good way to let the project and idea percolate. Such is the case with the Original Bullseye.

The Original Bullseye is back in my crosshairs, mostly because of the Dale Fleming class. If found some directions for the border I want to make in QNM (I think), but the directions were  a little arduous, so I didn’t start right in. However, since taking the Dale Fleming class her wave directions have been rattling round in my mind. I think I am going to use them to make the border for this quilt.

I haven’t done it yet, because I still mulling over colors and whether to put more circles in the border.

One silly thing that is keeping me from doing this is whether I have enough freezer paper. That is not the main hinderance. I have some other quilts higher on the top of the list. I do feel like I am getting close to moving forward on this project.

## Design Exercises

We did a bunch of things at the CQFA meeting and one that I haven’t yet written about was the design exercises. We continued our design and creativity series (not sure if that is the name, but I had to make up something!). This time Friend Julie was the teacher. She used Color and Composition for the Creative Quilter: Improve Any Quilt with Easy-to-Follow Lessons by Katie Pasquini Masopust. I thought she was using the other book, so I told everyone the wrong thing, but no harm done in the end.

Julie decided to have us use paper instead of fabric and I think that got us to be a little freer. Julie was a great teacher! She gave clear directions, kept us on track and guided us skillfully.

The first exercise (upper left) was composing with line (pg.26 in Ms. Masopust’s book).  Julie had us cut lines and choose a design from the “Nine Patch of  Compositions.”

The second exercise was to break up the negative space with diagonal lines (upper right).

The next exercise allowed us to use curves (lower left). This is a design that reminds me of a quilt I have had on my inspiration board that is made of large feathers. I’ll make it someday.

Finally, we were allowed to use any of our scraps to create a final composition (lower right). The great part of this workshop was to work with others people and to see what they were making. It is fine line between seeing what people are doing and being influenced by what they are doing. I don’t think I was and I really enjoyed working with everyone.

Great job, Julie!

## Lil Sissy Pencil Roll

Pencil rolls usually take me about 3 hours to make. That assumes, of course, that I don’t sew the ties to the back as I am making the pencil pockets and have to rip out.

This one took me three days for a number of reasons. First, not being one to make simple requests, she wanted one that would accommodate the colored pencils she had cut in half so she could have half of her collection at her job in SF and half at home in Santa Barbara. This meant that the pocket had to be smaller, which meant adjusting the pattern and not just sewing like a demon. I mulled this over for some time and finally came upon the idea of two pockets. The green and white city fabric is used to make a pocket on both top and bottom, so there isn’t really a top. Looking at it now, I should have made those pockets a wee bit wider or the whole piece a bit smaller, but it will work.

Second, I was sick almost all of last week, the weekend and the previous Friday. No kidding and no fooling around kind of sick. Stay in bed and don’t do anything kind of sick except read and sleep kind of sick. I don’t remember being that sick in a long while. The only thing I really accomplished was cooking dinner one night, breakfast one morning, loading the dishwasher twice and reading 4 books.

Finally, I made a lot of mistakes in this project. I blame it on the illness and the mad desire not to waste all this time at home. Getting well just doesn’t seem like enough, but apparently it had to be.

Yes, that is a ribbon or tie from the Merry & Bright Jelly Roll I used for the It’s a Merry & Bright Wrap quilt. It really was the perfect length to tie up this pencil roll. It also fit with the linen feel of the fabric I used for the outside.

Yes, that grape fabric is another fabulous FabMo fabric. I only used half the piece, too, so I’ll have to think of another accessory to make for Lil Sissy with the rest.

I don’t really get a sense of the fabric until I start working with it. This backing fabric was more loosely woven than the quilting cottons I normally use. One of the good things about the FabMo fabrics is that they are generally of good quality. At least I think they are of good quality. Despite the looser weave (and I am NOT saying it was holey), I had no problem with fraying or raveling or any of the sewing. Looking at the back of the piece, I find that the leaves and grapes really look 3 dimensional.

Kathy Mack of Pink Chalk Studio‘s pencil roll pattern has EXCELLENT directions. I really like this pattern and think that you should go off, as soon as you are done reading this post, and have opened a new window, and buy that pattern. I know I have waxes rhapsodic before about her pattern. I like this pencil roll pattern, because the font is the right size, and there are enough visual cues: boxes and borders, drawings, etc for me not to get lost in a mire of directions.

All that being said, I almost never pay attention to making a 12 or 24 slot pencil roll. I see what size FabMo fabrics I have and make as many slots as will fit the piecing of backing fabric I have, so I don’t have to waste or cut it. The thing is that I am probably not going to use these weird fabrics for anything else and it seems a shame to throw them away. Nobody to whom I have gifted an 11 slot pencil roll or an 8 slot pencil roll has complained, so I am going to keep doing what I am doing. One thing about making the same thing over and over (remember all of those Eco Market Totes I made?) is that I get to know the pattern and how the item goes together. This method works for me.

## Creative Prompt #69: Quirky

quirky manner

Quirky Gourmet

quirky way of looking at things

quirky: The word quirk is used to describe an odd habit, and is used as a surname. (Wikipedia)

Quirky quotes

Post the direct URL (link) where your drawing, doodle, artwork is posted (e.g. your blog, Flickr) in the comments area of this post. I would really like to keep all the artwork together and provide a way for others to see your work and/or your blog.

The Creative Prompt Project, also, has a Flickr group, which you can join to  post your responses. I created this spot so those of you without blogs and websites would have a place to post your responses.

## Another Visit to the Amish Quilts

The Amish Quilts from the Stephen and Faith Brown Collection will be leaving the DeYoung on June 6. TFQ bought the exhibit catalog and, before even looking at the whole thing, slammed the book shut and made plane reservations to come down. I am glad she came down the weekend of the 15th, because I have been sick as a dog the past few days and if she had come this past weekend, I would have been no fun.

I love looking at exhibits with TFQ. It is fun seeing an exhibit through someone else’s eyes and pooling our knowledge about pattern and design. I also love looking at exhibits a second time. I always see things I didn’t see before. Sometimes TFQ and I see completely different things in a quilt.

One thing I saw that made my day was a small double wedding ring. It was made with the same color of fabric at each end of the arc. This technique made the piece look like there were flowers all over it. The quilt is in the book (plate 38, pg.88), but the “flowers” don’t glow like they did in the real piece.

I am not sure why I didn’t notice the little Roman Stripe Variation (plate 73, pg.123) in the corner of the exhibit the first time I went, but I didn’t. I really like the way the stripes almost match up, but not quite. This would be a great and not-too-difficult quilt to make. However, where we think of the non-matching stripes as charming, anyone making this quilt today would just be considered a poor piecer.

There was a contained crazy (plate 13, pg.620 that had some really nice embroidery stitches. That little bow stitch in the drawing above was in each block.  Those arcs were some quilting designs that I also liked.

One unexpected joy was that the exhibit catalog was \$10 off. I lashed out and bought it along with a book of postcards of Amish quilts in general. When looking at the book I am struck by how the quilts look the same, but do not have the glow that do in person.

After leaving the exhibit, we went up to the Tower. From the outside it just looks strange, but the view, even on a foggy day, is fabulous and I love going up there. On the way up, we saw a sculpture star in the elevator lobby

The lobby had a number of these wire sculptures and I think they were designed with the shadows in mind. This one would be a wonderful Christmas decoration, if an expensive one.

I liked the way the ferns looked through this window screen. It is made of metal and soldered to the window frame. I think they put it there so people in the garden wouldn’t stare inside. TFQ pointed out that they didn’t really think about cleaning the window when the design was being discussed and implemented.

## Decorator House Visit

Every year there is a decorator showcase house in my city. This year I was offered free tickets to visit when TFQ was here.

The house is in a neighborhood called Presidio Heights. It was a jewel of a house, not what I would call a mansion, but not small either. The house was laid out really well – the flow was wonderful. The rooms weren’t stupid either.A real family could live there. The ‘bones’ of the house were good: nice details, good sized rooms, plenty of bathrooms, great storage.

I am a big sucker for entry halls.It had a really nice entry hall where people had space to take off their coats and shoes, put their gloves and packages down before being in the house and having to deal with stuff.

It was fun going with TFQ as well, because she has a really rich art background. As we were standing in the dining room, she made a comment about the Rothko on the wall! Yes, indeed, there was a Mark Rothko painting in the corner of the dining room!

I am not sure that this was the painting, but it looked similar.

The above painting was for sale and the hosts at the house were supposed to have all of the information about them. They couldn’t find the info on this which TFQ was interested in. I am still waiting to hear back. My arm has been bothering me, so I didn’t bring my good camera and the cell camera in combination with the art lighting really makes the bird look skeletal. In reality, this was a very appealing looking painting.

I see quilt blocks everywhere and this marble floor was no exception. It would not be for the faint of heart, but I imagine the center rectangle being one color and then the elongated hexagons flowing into each block because of the color.

This Moroccan Table was in a room at the top of the house, which was described as an aerie. This room was designed by Benjamin Dhong and he was really nice to us. He designs rooms with neutral colors, but we did not find the Aerie to be boring because of the neutrals. He had added some color that added a lot of interest. The colors did not stand out, but really kept the room from being too neutral. I think the man has a gift with neutrals.

This detail shows different motifs that could also be used in a quilt. I think it would be another that wouldn’t be for the faint of heart, but perhaps Jane Sassaman’s technique could be used to make the work a little easier.

The middle with the rectangles as a circular border is really effective as well.

We went out into the garden because we wanted to see everything and TFQ also loves to garden. I thought they could have done more with the garden, but there were some plants that were interesting colors and shapes.

This may be the most perfect camellia I have ever seen.

I have heard of Columbines before, but don’t think I have ever seen one. There were a number of different specimens in different colors. I was really interested in the layering effect of these flowers.

This piece made a blank wall more interesting. I thought it was a gate, but it really wasn’t. I like the waves.

## Pineapple Progress

The Pineapple has been on my mind lately. I took TFQ’s visit as an opportunity to get a new perspective. I laid the blocks out in the living room and we looked at them and talked about them.

One of the problems is that some of the blocks are too big. I couldn’t figure out why some were so much bigger than they were supposed to be until I was fiddling with these blocks on Monday. I caught a glimpse of the black block in the middle and realized that I cut some of the center blocks slightly larger than they should have been.

My idea was to trim the blocks and make them a little wonky. No, they won’t match up perfectly, but the way they are now; they won’t match up anyway. After my discussion with TFQ, I think I will trim the blocks straight and see how it goes. Worse case scenario: they don’t fit together.

TFQ made no promises that this would work. Sometimes, as I have mentioned, it is just good to talk over the process. I like these blocks. I like the cheerful look of the piece. If it doesn’t work as a quilt; I will have a lot of really cheerful pillows.

I have been trying to clear out my email.

One of things I do with my email is that I use my Inbox as a To Do list (one of them). I get notices of happenings in the quilt world and leave them in my email Inbox until I deal with them. If people email me, I keep their email until I can craft a thoughtful reply. I get notices of new uploads to various sites. When I go and look at the site, I delete the email. I joined QNN TV last year so I could watch Mark Lipinski. I have found it hard to allocate the time watching the videos so the notices of new episodes have been stacking up. I spent some time watching some videos the other day and found some really interesting.

In one episode Jodie and Mark interviewed Gail Kessler, a designer and Marketing Director for Henry Glass about fabric design and Michelle Bencko of Cicadia Studios. They talked about fabric design including numbers of fabric in a collection and how to get started. Gail Kessler said that she gets contacted every day by people who want to design fabric. She said that the first thing she asks is whether they are famous.

I was shocked, initially, but I think it was a way to get people’s attention; to make them pay attention to the realities of the business. What I understand she meant by her comment was that she has staff to design fabric. I think it is a valid point when she says that what sells fabric is the name on the selvedge and she wants -needs – to work with people who are out there teaching, writing books, writing a well followed blog and willing to help market their fabric via those outlets. Fabric is tough business.

Thinking in terms of business, this makes sense. It is easy to think that something is easy and lucrative. Nothing is ever as easy as it looks and we often don’t know what people do all day when they go their jobs. I think that Kessler’s comments are good. There are a lot of talented people out there who have great skills in design. They can be in house designers for fabric companies and churn out designs that the fabric companies can sell. The missing piece is the marketing and that is really important. If people don’t buy fabric designs, the fabric companies won’t make fabric and won’t stay in business. I think Kessler is right that names sell. It makes sense.

## Sorbet Fabric

I know I haven’t shown Sorbet in awhile. I had a number of different issues and it wasn’t working out as the mind sorbet that I needed. I think what I determined is that quilts are not mind sorbet if I have to amke a lot of decisions. Bags and pencil rolls are mind sorbet.

At some point I got some creativity energy behind the project and decided to make some blocks. My laptop, with EQ6, where all of my design ideas were) crashed and died. I had the basic measurements, so I thought I could plunge on, but then the finished blocks went missing. That sealed it for this project for the time being.

Time went by and I found the blocks! I put this project on my list of TFQ to dos. One of the many good qualities that TFQ has is that she is more than happy to paw through the fabric in my fabric closet. What we did was look at all of the fabric I had set aside and then all the fabric in the pastel/Easter/sorbetish colors that might work. We also figured out that we needed a few more stripes and some graphic designs.

The fabrics above are all put aside to possibly use for the project. Nice, eh?

## Merry & Bright Wrap Progress

TFQ came to stay last weekend. She and I wedged a visit in even though we had a family event in the middle of her visit. One of the things *I* like to do when she is here is get her opinion about my various projects. Often I get stuck and need to move forward but seem to be unable to make any decisions. I can ask any quiltmaker I know, but TFQ knows me well enough not to suggest something completely stupid. She also often prevents me from doing something stupid because I am just tired of the project.

One of the things we worked on was the border of the It’s a Merry & Bright Wrap. I didn’t really work very hard at finding a border by myself, to be honest. I was glad, because what was in my head was not what I ultimately went with.

We auditioned a couple of color combos, including my idea, which included a white dotted inner border (no photo, sorry). I had a lot of that fabric and wanted to use it, but it was too stark as white often can be.

TFQ suggested yellow. We looked through a number of yellow fabrics until we found one that fit well with the yellow from the Merry & Bright Jelly Roll. I found the blues and yellows in this group to be off the beaten path. Interesting, but different than what I have in the fabric closet. The yellow we went with is an older commercial print and not part of that group.

I was pretty interested in using a blue/teal/turquoise color. I found the tone-on-tone in my fabric closet (left photo), but we both felt the quilt needed a bit more pattern. I liked the idea of bringing out the blues, but, since I didn’t have any large pieces of blue from the group and nothing I had was the right tone and I didn’t like the idea of having to buy and wash new fabric I used the green. I happened to see some half yards at Rainbow Resource at the EBHQ show, so I had enough.

Truthfully, we didn’t agonize too much over the colors. We did the Lorraine Torrence thing of making visual decisions visually, we picked and then I sewed them on the next night.

I used the new walking foot to sew the borders on and they are flat and I had not problems. The quilt is now ready for a back and to be quilted. My finishing seems to come in clusters!

I will probably use red for the back, since I have plenty. I don’t know if I will longarm this quilt or send it out. We’ll see.

## Creative Prompt #68: Oval

Shape

face

hockey oval

Oval Office

oval cut diamond

Oval: In technical drawing an oval (from Latin ovum, ‘egg’) is a figure constructed from two pairs of arcs, with two different radii. Wikipedia

speed skating oval

Oval: An oval is a curve resembling a squashed circle but, unlike the ellipse, without a precise mathematical definition. The word oval derived from the Latin word “ovus” for egg. Unlike ellipses, ovals sometimes have only a single axis of reflection symmetry (instead of two). Wolfram

Post the direct URL (link) where your drawing, doodle, artwork is posted (e.g. your blog, Flickr) in the comments area of this post. I would really like to keep all the artwork together and provide a way for others to see your work and/or your blog.

The Creative Prompt Project, also, has a Flickr group, which you can join to  post your responses. I created this spot so those of you without blogs and websites would have a place to post your responses.

## Mother’s Day Leaf

This is the card and wrapping I received from my mother for Mother’s Day. I love the wrapping paper. I think it is the colors.

One of the reasons I buy fabric specifically destined for and make gift bags is so that I don’t have to wrap gifts using paper. I also like to have an excuse to buy holiday fabric that I know I will never use for a quilt. FabMo has created a whole new aesthetic for me for gift bags.

At the last CQFA meeting, Bron brought a few pieces of FabMo fabric and I scooped up a couple. You’ll see some of them soon, but I already made the gift bag.

This fabric is some kind of velvet like material and it changes the whole look of the gift bag. I didn’t take any chances when sewing it. I used the new open toe walking foot because I am not familiar with how this fabric acts in the sewing process.

The ribbon is also from another gift.

It is an odd shape, because I just used the shape of the sample and folded it in half. The edges were serged and I wanted to maintain that integrity.

One of the things I like about it is that it looks really special. That is a good reminder for me that the fabric really makes the piece – especially in other types of sewn accessories that don’t have the opportunity for quilting or embellishment, etc. I realize that the maker could do both on a gift bag, of course, if the design were different.

I actually think that gift bags would be a good way to try out new techniques, feet, stitches on your sewing machine, free motion quilting, etc.

## Eye Spy & Tumbler

I have been cutting patches for Julie‘s Tumbler quilt for awhile. It seems only fair since she cut a boatload of hexagons for my Eye Spy quilt. Periodically, I get a bunch together and give them to her when I see her. They fit very nicely into a Recchiuti caramel box, so she gets a nice smell of chocolate along with her Tumblers. It occurred to me that I should surprise her sometime and give her a box of the actual chocolates!

I kind of like having a list of patches to cut as I work through new fabric or fabric I am using. There is something nice about collecting a bunch of blocks and then putting them all together at the end of the year or the end of some other timeframe.

The other day, Julie wrote about getting close to the end in a recent post. She is struggling with the same issue I had and that is the edge. When I was finishing up the Eye Spy, I didn’t want to slice off several hexagons to make a straight edge. That is the suggestion that many resources had for the edge of an Eye Spy.

I also didn’t really want to sew a binding around all of those weird angles. I did that once and once was enough. The one weird angle in the Chocolate Box was enough for me. As you may remember, I did some triangle gymnastics on the Eye Spy to finish the edge in order to end up with a straight edge.

I think this is a case of thinking about what design would be best for the quilt. Chopping off hexagons that were fussy cut to include an image would be jarring, I think. If I had thought ahead, I might have made the edge hexagons a solid or tone-on-tone fabric and not worried about chopping them off. Solid fabrics might have provided a kind of border effect.

I am happy with my solution. It wasn’t the easiest solution, but I think it looks good. I am sure Julie will come up with a good solution as well.

## Knitting Box Un-Fail?

Last week I discussed the Knitting Box. I thought it was a hopeless failure and I would have to go back to the drawing board.

My fabulous readers came up with some solutions, including a list of comments about “portable knitting sacs” (thanks, Jessica!) and using a pattern for a take out box (as in Chinese take out). On Jessica’s list, I found the Port-a-Pocket and the Knit Knack Sack. One lady also described how to make something similar from a CD. I couldn’t exactly follow her directions, but my go back to them if the failure cannot be repaired. Knituition also had directions for a knitted wrist yarn holder. Sarah on Ravelry shows a slight variation of Knituition’s wrist yarn holder. Halcyon Yarn also has a wrist yarn holder, which, not being much of a knitter, looks like a torture device to me. I will only subject my SIL to that as a last resort. Finally, there was something called a waisthook. I have no idea how this works and am also thinking torture device!

One of these hints led me to the portable knitting pouch, which is made from fabric and up my alley. I also found a Yarn Traveler bag, which is interesting, but doesn’t quite fit the belt criteria. The portable knitting set was also a source of inspiration.

I decided to bring it with me on the trip to Mother’s Day brunch and show it to the intended recipient. My SIL agreed with me that the Mirkwood Designs pattern has style and I should try and salvage it if I could. My SIL and niece played around with it in the car and we all brainstormed on how it could be salvaged. First, they found a different way to fold it (above). This way of  folding it keeps the box together pretty well. It is actually probably the intended way to fold it. The bad part is that the parts still aren’t strong enough to hold a ball of yarn. An idea they had was to sew up the side about an inch, so that the box will already be partially shut.

I think sewing it up a bit is a good idea. I used some Perl cotton so that it doesn’t matter if the stitching shows. If I put some beads on the end of the Perl Cotton I won’t I have to try and hide the knot. My only concern is that they would get stuck on stuff as my SIL moves around with the box on her belt.

I will probably put something on the top to keep it together. I talked about buttons. My niece suggested snaps and SIL suggested velcro. I’ll see what I have around and try them.

I always say that more brains are better and this is a perfect example of more brains getting involved helps a lot. Thanks, all!