Preparing for Pineapples

I have wanted to make a Pineapple quilt for a long time. With that thought in mind, I have collected various patterns and foundation papers, thought about fabrics and discussed the project with St. JCN. I have also seen some beautiful Pineapple quilts, such as these:

This one was shown at the Marin Needlearts Guild Show a few years ago. I don’t know the maker, but if you are the maker, I will be happy to post your name here.

I don’t remember where I saw this one, but I like the way the maker used black in the actual pineapple blocks and I also LOVE the border. The use of the the black and white print in the border is also very interesting. It reads as grey, but works with the red-orange.

On a whim (talk about impulse shopping!), I signed up for a Pineapple class using the Positively Pineapple book and ruler. It will be held at Black Cat Quilts in a few weeks. This is not the method that I intended to use to make the quilt, but it will give me an overview of this technique. I have long admired quilts made by Lynda Milligan and Nancy Smith, so this will also give me an overview of their patterns.

I have a lot of preparation to do for the class, but have already started. I bought the book and borrowed the ruler from St. JCN. Now I need to gather the fabric. I will use dots again. I am not done with dots and have plenty that I can use. I have decided to to dots with white backgrounds for the “background.”

These are the dots that I have decided on so far. I have enough of each of the fabrics in the group to use for the entire background, but would like to add to the group. The one on the far right is still a maybe, but seeing it with others gives it more of a chance.

Thinking More About Solids

I read a bit more of the Amish-Inspired Quilts book. One thing I noticed, as I was reading, was the picture of the quilt, Lorna’s Vine. You can only see a bit of it, but the thing that struck me is osmething that St. JCN and I discuss all the time: more fabric is beter than less. St. JCN has recently accepted that she prefers making scrap quilts with lots of fabrics. In this picture, the vine and leaves use many different solids, which adds a lot of interest to the quilt. Why in the world should a quilt be boring even if the fabrics are all solids? It shouldn’t. More fabric is better than less.

Piece O’Cake Amish-Inspired Quilts

I often look through the Piece O’Cake books at stores, sigh and don’t buy them. I love Love LOVE the photos, the authors’ designs and the layout of the books. I would love it if they just wrote a book with photos of all of their quilts in it. I don’t like the patterns. I don’t need or want to make the exact quilts that they have made. My dear friend, JulieZS, author of High Fiber Content, gave me Piece O’Cake’s book Amish-Inspired Quilts: Tradition with a Piece O’Cake Twist.

Every now and then, lately, I have had a few minutes to sit and read, so I have started to read it. Normally I don’t do this with quilt books. I look at the pictures and that’s it, under the assumption that all the text is basic and repeats from other books. Thus, I was pleasantly surprised when I started to read Amish-Inspired Quilts. First off, I liked the way Becky talked about her sons in the dedication, but mostly I liked the way they talked about using using solid fabrics.

I used to use a lot of solids. I liked the simplicity and the depth they created in quilts. They can be a bit harder to use if something doesn’t make them stand out. I have gotten away from using solids as I have progressed in my quiltmaking.

The authors say in the first section on color “These quilts feel bold. They often feel contemporary, which is a testament to their classic beauty. The design of the quilt itself is very important when working with solids. Solid fabric has no pattern–the visual texture is smooth. The riot of color that comes with prints, plaids, and stripes is not there. When you use only solid fabric in a quilt, each shape is clearly defined. The structure of the pattern is for all to see.”

I had a strong reaction to the above statement when I read it, because when I used solid fabrics, I was trying to take out some of the many variables of quiltmaking, so I could understand it. As my skills improved, I got away from the simplicity. Perhaps, lately, I have been trying to regain some simplicity by using simple patterns. Consider Thoughts on Dots.

From squares only, I have made it back to triangles with Serendipity Puzzle, but now I wonder if I didn’t go far enough into simplicity. Should I have tried squares and solids? We’ll see. It is never too late.

Life in Quiltmaking HELL!

All I have been dreaming about today is See’s candy. I had it for lunch and it didn’t make me feel better.

I got inspired by the QA challenge, “Creative Art Quilt Reader Challenge: “What’s in a Name?”, discussed in a recent issue. My idea fits perfectly into my Women’s Work series. The entry is due on March 1 (or thereabouts). I wanted to finish this project by the end of vacation. I have a scanner, so I thought it would be manageable. I’ll add a little techno-quilting wizardry, and some embellishments to the mix, send the thing off and be done with the project. Famous last words.

I scanned some Michael Miller fabric that I wanted to use (and can’t find more of IRL). When scanning it, I can see the weave and the images aren’t sharp. You can see how it looks at:

I tried to sharpen it in Paint Shop Pro. No change. I copied it on to paper and then scanned it, but the same problem occurred. I am out of ideas on how to do this except for not using this fabric and trying to scrounge up some copyright free stove and household images somewhere else on the web.

I have asked some of my smarter friends, but if you have any ideas for how to fix this image (or rescanning tips) or web places for copyright free images, let me know in the comments. Your assistance would be appreciated.

To console my tattered quilting pride, I have been sewing on and off all day and am making some progress on Serendipity Puzzle.

I am at a point where I need to cut a few more of the colored triangles and a bit more of the background. I am waiting until I cut a bit more lavender, some of the yellow stripe and, perhaps, some more of the brown before I sew the remaining blocks together. I want to be able to rearrange the elements within the blocks before I sew them.

The progress that I made is some kind of miracle considering the way my sewing space looks. My sewing space is small in the best of circumstances (cutting area is about 2.5’x2.5′).

It has been full of boxes for 7 months due to the neverending construction going on downstairs. This is not ideal for sewing, but manageable. This week DH decided to redo his closet. Now my sewing space looks like this:

I am glad I have a space to sew, though.