Moving Donation Blocks in a New Direction

No joke.

I mentioned earlier this week that I was trying something new with donation blocks.

It started when I ran out of white squares. While I have more white charm packs and can cut them, I didn’t want to stop and take the time. I have seen some quilts that use with all colored 2.5″ squares and no white. I have been thinking of making some of these types of postage stamp blocks and now might be the time.

Sunny Skies from Missouri Star is an idea although not exactly what I was thinking. Southern Belle also has a design that would work. It isn’t exactly what I was thinking and is still very similar to what we are doing now, but without the white. Searching for “16 patch quilt” gave me a lot more ideas, though not the one I had in my head. Putting some blocks on point would use up other sized fabrics. I saw 2 16 patch X quilts (one called Arkansas Road) that were really great. Also not what I saw somewhere, but definite possibilities. Finally, I saw one that looked like a tile floor and was interesting enough to have some possibilities for gift quilts using leaders and enders.

Black background donation blocks
Black background donation blocks

I seem to have a lot of black and dark grey squares, so I decided to head in that direction by making a couple of blocks with those darker colors as background.

This plan serves two purposes. It clears out some of those darker 2.5″ squares and moves me towards a different kind of quilt using the same format.

I am cognizant of the need to make these blocks bright and cheerful. Black and dark grey are not always bright and cheerful, so I have paired the darks with brights, for the most part. I like that moon, but the dark blue does create kind of dark hole.

I have enough blocks to make another quilt from a serious bout of donation block making late last year. I’ll keep donating the blocks I made until I am ready to make the blue and white donation quilt.

ColorPlay Pitcher

Grass Valley Pitcher
Grass Valley Pitcher

I saw this pitcher at an antique store in Grass Valley. Along with the green glass in the background, I thought it would make an interesting ColorPlay. There still aren’t very many colors, but the greens are varied, which makes them somewhat interesting.

I have no idea what time period this pitcher is from, but I imagine it is the pitcher from a wash basin set. I didn’t see the basin anywhere, but I also didn’t look very hard.

ColorPlay March 31-default
ColorPlay March 31-default

I settled down with the Palette Builder by Play-Crafts and got to work. The first palette, the default, was predictably neutral.

It is a mystery to me how so little of this palette can be green. I know our eyes are much more finely tuned than any kind of technology, but still. It is so strange how these default palettes gravitate towards the neutral.

Onward.

ColorPlay March 31 n.1
ColorPlay March 31 n.1

I had to try and get some joy with those greens. I was really curious to know what the various greens were in Quiltlandia.

In the second palette, you can see that I moved the circles around to every green I possibly could.

My palette is pretty green and I am pretty happy with the choices. I think the Kona Spruce does a pretty good rendition of the green of the pitcher.

ColorPlay March 31 n.2
ColorPlay March 31 n.2

I decided to be ornery and see what kind of palette I could come up with that had no green. Predictably (or just my luck): neutrals.

This is actually a pretty sophisticated palette. It would make a great palette for a house you wanted to sell. I can see a realtor choosing this palette for a house s/he was about to list. I think the Kona Pearl Pink and the Kona Ivory keep it from being too neutral.

ColorPlay March31 n.3
ColorPlay March31 n.3

That was fun, but I decided to get back to the greens. I wasn’t very successful, because there are only so many spaces in the photo and a limited number of greens. I came up with a slightly – very slightly – different palette from the one above.

There is some overlap in the greens, but they are in different places in the picture. This is about the time I start thinking I am getting towards the end of the exercise.

Next, I decided to try to capture that gold. It was an interesting challenge that resulted in more neutrals.

That Kona Cinnamon is interesting. I am not sure I have seen it before. I couldn’t get a good white, but I was able to tease out Kona Cotton Cream, another nice pinky shade, and Kona Oyster, which tends towards the greys.

I would never make a quilt with these colors, but it is interesting.

ColorPlay March 31 n.5
ColorPlay March 31 n.5

Finally, more neutrals. What else is there to say?

This palette tends towards the grey. I think it also might reflect the truest palette, if comparing the photograph and the palette with a quick look.

Let me know if you make anything with any of these palettes.

 

 

 

Various & Sundry 2017 #5

Books, Magazines and other Media

Lynette Jensen of Thimbleberries fame has written an interesting book, Quilts with a New Attitude, which is reviewed on the Quilts with Love site. I have never been a fan of Thimbleberries. Despite the probably timeless nature of the patterns, I couldn’t get past the fabrics. All that beige and baby poop brown depressed me. I am not saying YOU shouldn’t like her fabrics. If you like beige and brown, more power to you. Those colors are just not for me. She has come out with an interesting idea. Each pattern has a quilt made in her Thimbleberries line and other version in brighter, more colorful fabrics. The effect is startling. Patterns and block ideas I would have never looked at suddenly seem interesting. The Sawtooth Stars that died in a field of beige are amazingly highlighted in blues, yellows and bright whites. I have always felt that blocks are more universal than we realize and this book proves that. Nota bene: I haven’t seen the book; I have only seen the review and the photos included. I would love to hear your feedback.

The new ‘TV’ show, Fresh Quilting, is now available via the MQG. Have you heard of it? It is also showing on some PBS stations and I am sure you can request it.

Crayola is retiring one of its colors according to a USA Today article. It doesn’t say which one. Apparently, Crayola has to have fanfare and has announced that they will announce which color. Sigh. Why? Why do they need to get rid of any colors. Save those old boxes, people. You’ll have a classic there somewhere.

Patterns & Tutorials

Need a pussy hat for the Science March? The Zen of Making has a knitting pattern. You can find a whole host of tutorials on her site. The list includes vegan recipes including a vegan/gluten-free lasagna that caught my attention.

Do you want to make EPP papers? I found a tutorial that shows you how to make them using Microsoft Word.

The Angela shoulder bag has a great set of pockets on the inside.

I saw a cute little sewing kit that would make a great gift. The tutorial is posted, though embedded in an article which shows nice pictures of what you would be making. There is even a zipper in case you need some zipper practice. My only question is why anyone would need a strand for so many safety pins?

I need another bag like I need another hole in my head. Still, I have found myself, lately, looking a vertical format messenger bags. Not sure what my sewing subconscious is thinking. I found the Pacific Northwest Messenger bag and I think it looks interesting. The article links out to a tutorial and, of course, the shop of the designer. I looked at both carefully and can’t find any interior pictures. ERGH! That makes me crazy. How am I supposed to know if I want to spend time on a bag when I don’t know the layout of the inside pockets? A giant bucket will become a black hole of doom for me.

Events & Exhibits

Sew Sweetness has a bag contest going. Bags must be made and photographed between between March 21, 2017 and April 30, 2017. You can use any of her patterns. See all the details on the website.

Stitch Modern 2017 will be held at the Piedmont Center for the Arts, 801 Magnolia Ave, Piedmont, Calif, April 3-25. The Opening Reception will be held on April 7 at 7pm. Thereafter the gallery hours will be Fr-Sat-Sun 12-3pm. Visit the East Bay Modern Quilters website for more information on workshops, etc

Need a place to sew? Sips ‘n Sews is a membership sewing studio that includes a 3500 sq. ft. workspace, 58 machines a thread wall and notions nook, dress forms, a library of patterns free wifi, discounts and a self-serve tea bar. Check it out at 1167 Sutter Street, SF, Calif. (415) 814-2036.

The Seven Sisters Quilt Show will be held June 24-25, 2017 at the Alex Madonna Expo Center in San Luis Obispo, Calif. There are workshops and pre-registration begins April 2.

People and Personalities

I have never been to Mary Jo’s, the famed fabric mecca in Gastonia, NC between Charlotte and Atlanta. I have always wanted to go and will some day. Schmetz Needles reported her death in a tweet from March 18 and it is a sad loss. The Charlotte Observer did a lovely article.

Kindness

I often use a book to facilitate working out feelings that might lay dormant and insidious. It is called 365 Tao. While it is based in Daoism, it is useful for those of other faiths and spiritual heritage as well.

Dark Blue Journal Cover

I have to admit to using Leuchtturm journals lately instead of my favorite Miquelrius journals. The Leuchtturm journals are slim and fit in my handbag with all my other stuff. They don’t need covers. I couldn’t figure out why I was leaning away from the Miquelrius journals.

Finally, I realized, on Sunday when I needed a new journal because I had finished the old one what the problem was. I didn’t have any Miquelrius journals with the journal covers already made. As you may have guessed, I like to put journal covers on the Miquelrius journals, because the corners of the covers tend to poke me. I looked back and found that the last journal cover I made was the Orange Soda Journal Cover back in November (November seemed to be a good month for me). That was at least two journals ago.

I actually had a journal cover partially made. I hadn’t really worked on it in a few weeks. It occurred to me that it be an entry in the BAMQG scrap challenge. The donation blocks were giving me a bit of trouble (decision making not sewing), so it was an easy choice to switch projects. I used the journal cover pieces and parts as leaders and enders while I worked out my donation block issues.

Journal covers are not difficult (tutorial is posted -sizes are for the  Miquelrius journals). The time consuming part is the mosaic piecing. Of course you can make the cover out of one piece of fabric for an even quicker and easier version. I rarely, if ever, do that, however.

Dark Blue Journal Cover
Dark Blue Journal Cover

Frequently, I start pulling out fabrics and stick to certain values in that one scrap drawer. I am not sure which fabric pieces I started with, but the first fabrics often set the tone for the entire piece. This one is a little darker than I usually like. I do like the monochromatic look, however, so I stuck with the darker blues.

Dark Blue Journal Cover - other side
Dark Blue Journal Cover – other side

I haven’t decided which side to use as the front. Since I don’t need it immediately, I don’t have to decide for at least three months.

I had some issues with the filling. I have been using flannel, but am just about out. I had some leftover bits of fusible fleece, so I stuck those to the back of the pieced front and filled the rest in with flannel scraps. Some parts are fluffier than I like, but  it works and the project is done.

I started another journal cover with turquoise. Stay tuned.

More Donation Blocks

March Meeting Donation Blocks
March Meeting Donation Blocks

I have several new donation blocks to show you. As I make the Carpenter’s Wheel blocks, the donation blocks keep flying out of the machine as well.I kind of think I should make some different donation blocks, but until I figure out what those will be, you get the postage stamp blocks.

I forgot to photograph this group of lovely pink blocks before I went to the BAMQG meeting. Before I handed them in I pulled them out of the bag, put them on the floor and did the deed. Thank heaven for cell phone cameras. Of course I had to show off my new pedicure. 😉 [It happened to be a warm-ish day and I didn’t have to hang around outside much.]

Donation blocks, March 26, 2017
Donation blocks, March 26, 2017

I mostly made this varied group last week. I still have quite a bit of pink fabric, so there are two more pinks for the Charity girls.

I am not a huge green fan, but kind of like that green block on the lower right corner.

I think, in general, the newest blocks are very cheerful.

Design Wall Monday

Design Wall, March 26, 2017
Design Wall, March 26, 2017

I think it might have been last November that I did a design wall post. I am a little short of content, not having finished or really worked on anything worth showing recently. Some projects are actually worth showing, but not in a recognizable stage. I kind of feel like this whole year, so far, has been dedicated to process and some mindless sewing.

I had to work hard yesterday to fill it up so it would be interesting for you to look at. Not that I hadn’t planned to sew a lot anyway, but you gave me true purpose.

Design Wall, March 26, 2017 annotated
Design Wall, March 26, 2017 annotated

I was pleased and a little shocked that none of the major projects on my design wall were there last November. I am pleased that I have made some progress.

  1. The Lobster has been up there awhile, but not 5 months, which is a relief. I have been feeling twinges lately about continuing to stitch on it, so you may see some progress in the coming weeks.
  2. Latest standard donation blocks
  3. Latest patches for FOTY 2017
  4. Four Carpenter’s Wheel blocks I made yesterday
  5. Latest non-standard donation blocks. I ran out of white squares. While I have more charm packs and can cut them, I didn’t want to stop and take the time. I have been thinking of making some postage stamp blocks with all colored 2.5″ squares and no white. I seem to have a lot of black and dark grey squares, so I decided to head in that direction by making a couple of blocks with those darker colors as background.
  6. The En Provence square is still on the design wall in an effort to keep it on my mind. As I think I mentioned, the Peaky and spike patches are done and I need to move on to clue 3. I am not quite there yet, so it is up there as a reminder.

I am linking up with the Patchwork Times.

BAMQG Design Wall

SIL's Design Wall
SIL’s Design Wall

We had Craft Night at SIL’s the other night. Her design wall was awash with BAMQG projects.

One thing that is cool about this is that SIL never belonged to any guilds (that I remember her talking about) when she lived back East. The other thing is that she does more of the various challenges than I do.

  1. SIL's Design Wall n.2
    SIL’s Design Wall n.2

    The first project is the text project. SIL is smart and makes small projects for the challenges. The blue fabric is a text print and her piecing of the striped fabric is truly genius.

  2. The green and pink piece is actually a quillow. That fabric was truly a challenge for SIL as she normally works in a different palette.
  3. The blue and white square and rectangle piece is the latest challenge from BAMQG. This year’s theme is scraps and the first challenge has to do with using scraps to make a piece from squares and rectangles. I like the white as I think it adds a lot the the piece.
  4. You might recognize the postage stamp blocks from the various posts I have written about donation blocks and quilts. SIL is using sashing on hers as I often do.

There is a certain cohesiveness on her design wall that appealed to me.

San Francisco Quilters’ Guild Show 2017

SIL and I went to the SF Quilters’ Guild Show yesterday. It is still on today so you can see it if you have time. The show was held at the Event Center at St. Mary’s is located in St. Mary’s Cathedral. The Cathedral is a San Francisco landmark designed by award winning architects Pietro Belluschi and Pier-Luigi Nervi, in case you were wondering.

I had never been to that particular venue, though I have driven by many times. I thought it was an improvement in terms of lighting over the place they used to use South of Market.

Freddy Moran - talking about her special exhibit at SFQG Show
Freddy Moran – talking about her special exhibit at SFQG Show

Luke Haynes and Freddy Moran both had special exhibits. We were able to catch Freddy speaking but missed Luke. We saw both exhibits, though many of the quilts Freddy had hanging were the ones she showed at the lecture I attended several months ago.

I am always interested to see Freddy’s work. She is getting up there in age and I am inspired by her continued work, visiting classes, etc. She talked about going to Sisters every year and taking classes, which I think is wonderful. Everyone can learn new things.

SFQG Viewer's Choice Award System
SFQG Viewer’s Choice Award System

The show had a very interesting system to determine Viewer’s Choice. They gave each entrant 5 stick-on orange dots. Our job, as viewers, was to stick an orange dot on quilts that were Viewer’s Choice favorites.

While this might have given some quilts an unfair advantage, because people could see the favorites, I thought it was easy to manage. I rarely vote for Viewer’s Choice at quilt shows. Since I didn’t have to try to find the quilt’s number or the ticket box for depositing choices, this was and easy activity in which I could participate.

I have found that each show has a signature or theme. It might only be noticeable to me. I think it can be because of a workshop given where a lot of participants finished their quilts. It can also be that someone showed a quilt and others were inspired. I noticed a LOT of log cabins at this show. There were certainly other quilt designs, though I would say that log cabins dominated. They were certainly not all the same type of log cabin, but there were a distinguishable number.

Red Triangle by the Mod Squad
Red Triangle by the Mod Squad

SFQG now has some modern bees (small groups). One of them purchased the same fabrics. Each member made chunks, then they got together one day and put the chunks together into a really great Improv design.

The cohesive colors definitely help. However, the overall design doesn’t look like it was made by seven people. In addition to the colors, there is also a sense of cohesiveness in the design. Of course, I can’t help liking the colors. 😉

SFQG Antique Quilts
SFQG Antique Quilts

There was also a room full of Antique quilts. Many of these were in amazing condition. I was shocked at how good the colors had held up, especially in one quilt, apparently from the 1880s that a bright and vibrant Turkey red included.

Untitled by Juna Carle (quilted by Theresa Silva)
Untitled by Juna Carle (quilted by Theresa Silva)

I saw a couple of excellent La Passacaglia efforts. We looked carefully at the quilting of most of the quilts. We weren’t in agreement on all of the efforts, but found a number that could have been improved by better quilting efforts. One quilt made a group of Monkey Wrench (Churn Dash) friendship blocks shine. They could have been set straight or on point and been indifferent, but the artist did a great job.

The vendor mall had a couple of good booths. Serge-a-Lot and Heartway were both there, which was great. The Sashiko booth from which  I bought a selection of needles at PIQF last year also set up shop. The Featherweight guy had his fabulously painted Featherweights. I was pleased see he also sells Sew Steady Tables. It is good to have multiple options. There were 3 jewelry vendors and a makeup booth. I found there to be a distinct lack in the vendor department. I wanted to buy some fusible fleece and no booth had it.

We spent about 3 hours at the show and it was a good way to spend a Friday afternoon.

 

 

 

Nota bene: Copyright marks on photographs above are intended to denote my ownership of the photographic image not of the quilt or the quilt design.

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 Quilt – 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 Quilt – 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.