Mosaic Inspiration

As mentioned recently, I went to Disneyland Resort with my SILs and nieces. I always get a lot of inspiration when I go there. I wonder if I would be happy wandering around by myself in an empty park just looking at the detail. I notice that I had taken pictures of motifs I had photographed before. I guess I need to get busy and make some quilts based on the inspiration.

Downtown Disney tile motif
Downtown Disney tile motif

One tile motif would be great for setting the donation blocks the guild already makes. I wouldn’t even have to change the design from 9 patches or 4 patches to 16 patches, the work is already done. I am not sure what I think about the all-beige blocks. I don’t want to piece something that doesn’t need to be pieced. Subtle variations in color or a large plain block? I think large plain blocks would look good with a contrasting – or colorful – background fabric. The pieced design could be set in a column, like I did for the aqua and red Column Donation quilt. I am not sure about the half plain blocks on the top and bottom, but they do make the column look stable.

Tomorrowland pavers
Tomorrowland pavers

I still like the lozenge shape. Despite the Mostly Manor Lozenge quilt, that shape is not out of my system. I was on the run when I saw these pavers, so took a quick snap and ran on. I think the design would make a great English Paper Piecing pattern.

I tried to create a design in my journal, but wasn’t completely successful. I thought about sending the photo to Paper Pieces and asking them to send back the relevant shapes that fit together, but I haven’t. I have the half hexie project and the papers for La Passacagalia, so I don’t want to start something else. I thought about, with other EPP designs, just making one block and a pillow cover. This design doesn’t lend itself to that sort of solution.

Disneyland tile
Disneyland tile

Despite the yucky green, the tile design has potential. I like the combination of larger and smaller squares. I also like the subtle sashing design. Using small enough squares would make this design a great stash busting pattern.

In looking at it carefully, for piecing clues, I am not sure if there is a specific block one could repeat. there are definitely 4 patches and a squashed 3×4 motif. This design would be relatively easy to work up in EQ8.

Do you look at floor and wall tile for quilt inspiration?

 

ColorPlay: Tile

I got back from a trip with my SILs and nieces to Disneyland and California Adventure on Sunday. As usual, I was overwhelmed by visual stimulation. I have previously written in couple of places about the colors and motifs I see at the parks.

California Adventure Mosaic/Tile
California Adventure Mosaic/Tile

I do think I posted a photo of this mosaic/tile before, but I can’t find it, so we are doing it again with PlayCrafts, though we will just be using a small piece as I may need to use another piece in the future.

California Adventure "The Grapefruit Experience" (anno)
California Adventure “The Grapefruit Experience” (anno)

I will call the piece we are using the ‘Grapefruit Experience’.

ColorPlay default - Mosaics/Tile
ColorPlay default – Mosaics/Tile

The default, surprisingly, was not all neutrals and included some quite lovely blues.

ColorPlay n.1 - Mosaics/Tile
ColorPlay n.1 – Mosaics/Tile

The first palette was created with just a few tweaks to the default palette.  I like the Kona Marine and Caribbean combination. I am not very fond of the other colors, though Bright Idea is interesting.

ColorPlay n.2 - Mosaics/Tile
ColorPlay n.2 – Mosaics/Tile

In palette n.2, I tried to go for a light palette without being a  neutral palette. In the end I kept the Hyacinth and Coal. I like both of those hues, which look like tones of purple to me.

ColorPlay n.3 Mosaics/Tile
ColorPlay n.3 – Mosaics/Tile

The green I added to palette n.3 was inspired by the #GirlScoutHearts project on Instagram. I am not much of a green fan, but this palette might be a favorite. I like the Turquoise, the Royal and the Lavender, especially. I think the whole palette hangs together well.

ColorPlay n.4 - Mosaics/Tile
ColorPlay n.4 – Mosaics/Tile

With a little tweaking, I got a nice golden yellow. It goes well with the Kona Jamaica, which is one of my favorite tones.

This image had just the right amount of opportunity for playing with color.

ColorPlay n-5 - Mosaics/Tile
ColorPlay n-5 – Mosaics/Tile

I really, REALLY wish Kona had less ravely greige goods. some of their blues are fantastic, even adjusting for computer differences. N.5 is the monochromatic effort.

ColorPlay n.7 - Mosaics/Tile
ColorPlay n.7 – Mosaics/Tile

I realized I would be able to create a yellow palette as well.

ColorPlay n.6 - Mosaics/Tile
ColorPlay n.6 – Mosaics/Tile

I also tried on a neutral palette. I could resist.

 

What will you make?

 

ColorPlay November 25

Postamt Boden
Postamt Boden

I owe you a chapter from The Little Spark book, but that chapter will not be this week. Thanksgiving kicked my butt and after I post this, I am going to lay on the floor of my workroom and pretend I am sewing.

Once again we are looking at color palettes. This is an endlessly fascinating topic for me.

I saw this floor in the Postamt at Neutorgasse 46 in Graz when I went to mail some postcards home. I love mosaics and tile as you well know and despite the grime and poor repair of this floor, I thought it was a beautiful design.

ColorPlay November 25 n.1
ColorPlay November 25 n.1

I tried to get a pleasing array of the neutrals. Again, lots of neutrals and ‘repro’ colors. Another challenge. Lots of chocolate and mocha type colors. The Kona Taupe definitely has a pink cast and the Ash looks silvery. The two of them keep this palette from being too depressing.

ColorPlay November 25 n.2
ColorPlay November 25 n.2

I worked hard to keep that taupe in the palette on my second attempt. This second palette is somewhat brighter, especially with the Wheat.

If you make anything from one of the palettes above, let me know.

 

Inspiration Thursday

South Street mosaics, Philadelphia
South Street mosaics, Philadelphia

I recently returned from a trip to Philadelphia. I visited to attend a conference for work. Even though I had to miss the BAMQG meeting it was a good trip. Short and I didn’t get to have as many touristy adventures as I have in the past, but still good. Still, I took a little time on Saturday to go find a gluten free Philly Cheesesteak and in the process found a few new mosaics that I hadn’t seen before.

I really would like to make a Welcome sign in this style for my front porch. Someday.

Tile in Monterey

imagePolitical Wifery is gearing up. Last weekend we went to Monterey to do site visits for DH’s Grand Parlor*. We had to review the various facilities including hotel rooms required for the event. We also talked to hotel event coordinators to give them details about the events.

It was sort of fun even though I didn’t get to visit any quilt shops and my Saturday sewing time was usurped by this task.

I have to say that it was a beautiful day in Monterey and I did enjoy being outside and walking around.

imageOne of the things we did was look at a location for the BBQ. The proposed location is a historical site, which includes the tiled fountain shown here.

The fountain, sadly wasn’t working. Conscientiousness about the drought in California, I imagine. It was still quite beautiful and would be a great inspiration for a border on a quilt.

 

 

 

 

 

*For those of you just joining us, Grand Parlor is the Native Sons** annual conference

**Native Sons of the Golden West is a statewide fraternal organization which brings men together to support the preservation, teaching and education around California history. They also have a strong social aspect and support a charitable foundation that gives money to hospitals to support Cranio-facial Anomalies Teams at UCSF and St. John’s hospitals.

Tile Designs

Restroom floor, California Adventure
Restroom floor, California Adventure

One of the fortunate things about living where I do is that a lot of the stoops have intricate tile patterns. Bathroom floors often have great tile designs as well.

The green and white floor (right) would be an interesting quilt. I wouldn’t do it in these colors, but would keep the light as a resting space for the eyes, then put some scrappy fabrics where the greens are. I would see if I needed to maintain the varying degrees of darks and lights. I don’t think the piecing would be boring since there is quite a bit of variation.

It is easy to walk by and never notice the patterns. This is why it is important to look, an action of which I have to remind myself quite often.

Gabilan Street, Salinas stoop
Gabilan Street, Salinas stoop

These tile patterns are awesome for quilt design inspiration.

The unusual part of this porch or stoop is the pink. I don’t remember seeing so much pink in tile in this type of location before. I also was interested in the heart shaped motifs in the outer border. Given the pink and the hearts, I want to believe that a woman had a hand in picking out the colors and designs.

These types of designs are great inspiration for round robin quilts.

Restroom, California Adventure
Restroom, California Adventure

Finally, the piece de resistance, another restroom floor. I love the curved outer border and, especially that circle in the corner. When taking photos of tile motifs that you might want to translate into quiltmaking, it is really important to take photos of the corners, otherwise it can be difficult to figure out later.

I am not fond of the colors, but also like the combination of hexagons and curves.

Magic Garden

Magic Garden Mosaic
Magic Garden Mosaic

Last year, I went to Philadelphia for a conference. I had been there before, but didn’t remember much about the smaller things I saw. I remember going out to Fairmont Park and my friend,  Kathy, coming to tour around with me. I wrote about the quilt shops I visited on the most recent trip, but never wrote about the City.

Magic Gardens Entry View
Magic Gardens Entry View

Recently, I read a FB post and was reminded of the Magic Gardens. I had seen it my first time through, I think, but was enchanted and mesmerized by it when we walked by on this most recent trip.

The Magic Gardens is on South Street, which is a funky street full of funky little mom and pop shops. There is an entry fee, but a person can see quite a lot from the street.

The place is amazing. The walls are filled with broken pieces of tile and glass. There are archways and walls made from concrete embedded with different types of crockery and tile all done in a mosaic style.

Messy Rooms
Messy Rooms

The place really looks like a mess from certain angles.

One thing I liked about it was the reuse of materials. I was particularly enamored with the bicycle wheels embedded in the tops of the walls. There is something about the shape that is appealing. I don’t remember seeing bicycle wheels embedded as if they were windows, but I think that would be an interesting look and I wonder if they will do that sometime in the future?

Magnificent details
Magnificent details

The details are magnificent as well.

I remember when we remodeled part of our house (an agonizing process, if there ever was one!) that we looked at all sort of interesting things, including tile. There are wonderful tiles out there that I loved, but didn’t match our color scheme or were too much or were too expensive.

In the Magic Garden I saw some very interesting tiles being used even if they were broken. They were used and fit in perfectly. They were used, but not used randomly. The details show care and thought in the designs.

I really want to do something like this for my porch.  I want it to be interesting and I want people to stop an look closer before they ring the doorbell.

Messages
Messages

There are messages as well. This one is a common one, but no less poignant and the artist took care to embed it in the structure and make it timeless by not referring to specific wars. It makes me think of specific wars, which, I guess is common because of my time. In the future, perhaps people will think of other wars and wonder. I hope not, though.

The message also makes me wonder if the artist really believes their own message? Does s/he fight with other artists for space in the Magic Garden or for materials or for money. Do they fight because they are lovers or do they consider their message as applying to their lives as well?

Dishes
Dishes

I saw themes as well. While the photo with the dishes was on a nearby building not in the Magic Garden, it illustrates what I mean. This mosaic piece had a number of items that reflected real life. Also, the shape of the dishes is carried out farther than just around the dishes themselves. Two themes.

There is a lot of texture in these pieces, which adds to the entirety.

 

Mosaics in Real Life
Mosaics in Real Life
Mosaics in Real Life pt.2
Mosaics in Real Life pt.2

Around the Magic Gardens are mosaics that have been affixed to other walls. I don’t know if these are projects of the Magic Gardens programs or if people in the area have been inspired by the mosaics. I know that air conditioners and sign posts don’t make for excellent photos, but I like the way the mosaics have been worked around real life. We can’t do without the windows and signposts, so why not make them part of the landscape? Why not work around them and execute the vision rather than becoming frustrated that the wall isn’t perfectly blank? I am glad the artists worked through their challenges. We need more art in our every day lives.

I have so many more photos, but think I will save them for another day.

Tile as Inspiration

Tile Floor - full
Tile Floor – full

I walked down S. Michigan Street in Chicago towards the Art Institute of Chicago one day. I am a sucker for architectural details and saw tons. I was in a rush, though, because I only had a little while to check out the AIC.

On my way back, I ducked into vestibules and lobbies to take photos. I was rewarded by this tile floor. I want to make this border. I need to figure out how to make this border!

Border detail
Border detail

I think that the border could be divided up into blocks to make the piecing easier and more straightforward to piece.

Notice the little corner treatment inside the straight green inside border.

I even kind of like the green and gold, though I wouldn’t do all that piecing, then create a green and gold quilt with such an elaborate border.

Nine Patch Reimagined
Nine Patch Reimagined

Several of these blocks are spread over the center of floor that has the border above. I glanced at it and thought “nine patch,” then I looked at it again and was intrigued because of the way the middle squares (green in this rendition) are smaller and part of the space disappears into the background. I really like the way the yellow squares are much larger. I’ll have to try making one of these.

 

Inspiration Sunday

Entryway tile
Entryway tile

I am fortunate to live in a place where I can walk down the street and see a quilt pattern. Recently I saw this tile entryway and it reminded me of the Basketweave Baby pattern I mentioned some time ago.

This tile pattern is also similar to one I saw in Petaluma. I was lame and didn’t take a photo of the corner of that older entryway, but there may have been a reason. I do like to take photos of the corners, so if I decide to make such a pattern into a quilt pattern, I know what to do with the corner – or at least I know what someone else did.

There would be a lot of partial seaming if I made this as a quilt.

Do you see how the piece looks like there are curves. If you click on the photo to make it larger, you will see that there are no curves. That illusion is so interesting to me.

Enjoy!

Pieced Backs

Not too long ago, Frances asked, in one of her podcast episodes, about making pieced backs and whether there was a tutorial.

I didn’t look for one, but I knew I had a back to make soon (for the Stepping Stones), so I thought about taking the opportunity to make a tutorial.

As I have mentioned in the past, once the top is finished, I am done with the project and want to move on. I love piecing. The other parts, such as making the back, making the binding and label, quilting are all dull for me. However, I have found that the Finishing Fairy does not visit my house and I have to do my own finishing or finish by checkbook.

My first step was figuring out how I make the pieced back. The basic premise is easy: sew pieces of fabric together until you have a piece large enough to accommodate the quilt.

What I realized is that it isn’t quite as easy as a step 1, step 2, etc tutorial. I sew bits and pieces together as I am making the quilt that end up larger when I am ready to sew the back together. You aren’t going to have the same size pieces as I have. So, this will be more like a guide rather than a tutorial.

I am a firm believer in not buying new fabric just for the back. Yes, it would be easier, but I have a lot of fabric and I might as well use it. I try to use the largest pieces possible as well as the pieces I have sewn together while making the quilt.

The first thing I do is make a label. I make my labels using a word processing program (Google Docs would work just fine) and then I print the piece out on paper backed fabric. I have also used the stitch letters on my sewing machine to write out a label.

The label will be sewn into the back, so as soon as I peel the fabric off the paper I start sewing. Know your paper backed fabric  and ink so that you know whether the ink will wash out immediately, over time, or not at all. I use fabric backed paper from Dharma Trading Company and my regular ink jet printer.

Tip #1: larger pieces make the back go together faster

When I made the back for FOTY 2010, I purposefully used really large pieces. That was the best back experience of my life, because it went together really fast. I suggest you start out this way with pieced backs so you don’t lose your mind. This is your fair warning!

Tip #2: As with blocks, sew from smallest to largest.

I start with the label and surround it with fabric until I have about 1.5′ from the right hand side of the back and about the same from the bottom.

I sew the label into the back so if a quilt is stolen, the label cannot be ripped off without ripping out the quilting.

Tip #3: Plan to leave extra fabric around the edge if you want to longarm. 4″ on all sides is usually sufficient.

Once I have one corner completed, I sew across the bottom of the quilt back until I have a piece the desired width. I make the width generous as I don’t want to go back when I think I am finished and have to sew on a strip to a long edge.

Tip #4: Coordinate your backing fabric with the fabric pieced into the front.

I use fabric that will coordinate with the front, though it isn’t necessarily the same fabric. If I have a lot of leftovers that I don’t think I will use in another quilt, such as in Stepping Stones, then I will use the leftovers for the back.

Tip #5: Leaders and enders techniques make the process of sewing the back go faster.

Where possible I will sew smaller pieces/shards (not schnibbles! I am not advocating doing something that will send you to an insane asylum) of fabric together using Bonnie Hunter’s leaders and enders technique. Now, I have not taken a class from her, so visit Quiltville, Bonnie’s blog or buy her books to learn her methods. My idea is that I put pieces/shards through the machine after the regular pieces for my top so I can get those to ironing board for pressing faster (discussed previously in this post). Also, this alleviates the need to put a scrap piece of fabric through the machine to keep your feed dogs from eating your triangle corners. Finally, it minimizes scraps added to the scrap pile.

Red Journal - Closed
Red Journal – Closed

As I have discussed on different occasions, I call the end result of sewing bunches of scraps together randomly mosaic quilting. I use the leaders and enders method to facilitate the mosaic quilting result. I made the entire cover of the red journal by using the leaders and enders method to get a mosaic quilting piece. I enjoy sewing like colors together to make new fabric. If I have nothing else to do or I can’t think or I am stressed out, it is a good activity.

How does this relate to pieced backs?

Mosaic Quilting for Pieced Backs
Mosaic Quilting for Pieced Backs

I do the same thing, but on a larger scale. When I am finished piecing the top and am definitely working on the back, I find pieces that fit together and sew them. When I am piecing the top, I sew the smaller pieces into larger pieces and then use the larger pieces for the back.

Mosaic Quilting for Pieced Backs
Mosaic Quilting for Pieced Backs

Tip #6: Skip sewing small pieces together if you have not done so prior to finishing the top.

I just want to finish, so if I have not sewed smaller pieces into larger chunks prior to starting the back, I skip it. It drives me crazy to have to stitch little bits together for no other reason than making a back. Why this doesn’t bother me when I am using them as leaders and enders, I don’t know.

Tip #7: Backstitch

Any seam that will be on the outside of the quilt or not crossed by another seams gets a few back stitches. All of my handling rips out those stitches and then I have to go over them before giving them to my longarmer. To alleviate the process I backstitch. I backstitch more than just the outside seams as sometimes I don’t know what will become an outside seam.

Finally, I sew chunks the same width as the first chunk (with the label) until I have a piece the same size as the top with an additional 4″ on each side. Depending how how small the pieces are, the back can take me 4-6 hours. I am slow, and get cranky when I do this.

Alternatively, you can just buy a big piece of fabric and put it on the back. 😉

Ninth Circuit HQ Tile

Here is some eye candy for you.

I had so many photos (60 or 70??) that I couldn’t process them all for posting. I may use them for other posts in the future. If you want to go on a tour and see this beauty for yourself, check out the public tour information and sign up. Go and visit. Totally worth your time.

I know you are thinking “WTF? Has she lost her mind posting all these photos of things that aren’t quilts?”

No, I am not, at least for this reason.

You need inspiration to make quilts and the floors at the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals Building in San Francisco provide enough inspiration to last a lifetime. The thing I like about mosaic and tilework is that both translate well into quilts. The place was a museum of tile and mosaics, and a hidden gem. The intricacy of the designs rival Christine Porter and Judy Mathieson’s designs. I didn’t think there would be anything to photograph. (I don’t know why I ever think that, except that, perhaps, tiredness and laziness drive me to it.)  Fortunately, I had my new phone with me, which actually took some ok photos. I ran the battery down to the bone (lousy battery), but I got enough photos to keep most people happy.

Enjoy.

 

Various & Sundry 2011 #14

Save 20% this week from Cafe Press using the code TA0802. You can buy from any shop, but especially the Artquiltmaker Store. 😉

Learning
Everyone on the web seems to be way better at Photoshop Elements than I am. My friend, La, tries to give me little tips, but I forget by the time I get home. As result, I have helped to organize a class at Always Quilting on August 27, 2011, 10-4 and is taught by Lynn Koolish of C&T fame. It is open to everyone though the BAMQG and CQFA folks have had a two week headstart on sign ups. The class is now on the shop’s website. You can register via the website or by calling their shop at (650) 458-8580. Hope to see you there!

I was listening to an episode of Creative Mojo the other day (via podcast) and Mark was interviewing Patrick Doughty, an artist whose medium is sticks. I wasn’t terribly interested in the work, but find that I can always learn something. He said something really profound in response to a question about getting stuck. He said (paraphrasing) that it takes time to get into the groove of creating. He creates every day or only takes short breaks. this helps him not to have to get back into the groove, because he is already in the groove. This is a really important part of how I work. I think, write or read about quiltmaking every day I cannot be at the sewing machine. I cut, press, fold and organize fabric when I can’t sew (like last week when my machine was getting services). Every other time, I sew. I am always in the groove, because my work is in the forefront of my mind.  I do get stuck on projects, but then I move to another project or cut, press, fold and organize my fabric.

Quilt-a-Longs
I think I talked about the Farmer’s Wife Quilt-a-Long. There are a lot of blog posts, discussions and projects blooming out of it. I saw on the ModaLissa site that the United Notions people are having a Hen Party (go read the post) that also has to do with FWQAL. Perhaps I do need to jump in…meaning ‘need’ in the broadest and most non-committal sense of the word.

Camille Roskelley of the gorgeous red dotted chair blog, ok the Simplify blog, has posted another group of her Farmer’s Wife blocks. I love them! Perhaps I do like grey after all. I think I have get out my Ultimate 3-in-1 color tool and see what I can learn from her color scheme.

How about my Block-a-Long? Have you made any blocks? Let’s see them? Are they boring?

Color
I am reading a book (review soon-ish) and I realized the author was not doing complicated piecing, but was creating complex color stories to tell in the form of a quilt. I am intrigued by this concept, especially after working on FOTY 2011. I ran across the Michael Miller site, which is doing color stories every week also. During the week of July 20 they had an aqua and red color way, which you know I love.

Media
I am feeling like Miss (Ms?) Popularity lately. I never was one of the cool kids at school so I am not quite sure how to handle it. I was recently interviewed on episode 2 of the SeamedUp podcast. It was fun to talk to the SeamedUp ‘girls’ and get to talk about design a little bit, my blog and life a little bit. They produce their podcast in a very professional way, I think, but laugh a lot along the way.

I was listening to a recent Annie Smith episode and heard about Cori Blunt. I took a look at her website and blog. Her drawings are really sweet, I especially like her bike pillow. Of course, I probably wouldn’t do any of those quilts, but I can admire them. I do like the way she did the sashing around the star blocks in the Cherry Tweets quilt. Very clever.

In conjunction with her episode #166, Amy of Creative Mom Podcast post GORGEOUS pictures of stairs with mosaics on the risers. Even if you don’t listen to her podcast (which you should!), go take a look at these photos. They are wonderful and make me want to do some mosaic work on my stairs.

I think I heard about GenerationQ magazine from Adrianne at some point in the not so distant past. I was reintroduced to it last week via an article they did on smartphone quilting apps. There are two that are interesting to me. One is block pattern app similar in concept to Around the Block, one of the most useful books in my library. The other, which constantly made me think of TFQ is the Fabric Stash by Blueshift Software app. She needs this app. This one does not get high marks, but the writers say that the portion where you can document your fabric stash works really well. It seems easy to photograph your fabric and keep it handy on your phone when I go shopping, especially for projects like the Food Quilt where I am trying to get one piece of many different fabrics. it is on the pricey side for apps, but it may be worth trying out. Now to get Blueshift together with SeamedUp so I can zap my fabric from my phone straight into SeamedUp. That would be awesome (at least in my head).

Other Artists

Lil Sissy passed on a  good blog post from Kelly Rae Roberts. I think it worth reading and keeping in mind. Short version: there is a time to dream and a time to savor.

Vicki posted an Art Saves story on Crescendoh. I didn’t know about those stories until I saw a link on Vicki’s site and happened to click on it. Very interesting. I like the stories.

Fabric

Last week, Julie of The Intrepid Thread post some photos of new fabrics in her shop. She posted:

  • Sweet Treats http://fb.me/16eeAMWIt
  • Licorice Cloud http://fb.me/SdMcvn79
  • Cotton Candy http://fb.me/wwGp0deq
  • Sapphire http://fb.me/Ez55AJPA
  • Ruby http://fb.me/TwMwQ24o
  • Citrine http://fb.me/160LGuNQ8

They were some fabrics I saw when I was on my quilt journey a few weeks ago. When I saw them at New Pieces I thought that I couldn’t possibly use such fabrics, but when I saw the pictures Julie posted, I thought they might be fine if I cut them up. Is there a meeting point between fussy cutting and strip piecing that would allow the beauty of some of the larger motifs to come through? What do you think?