Pointillist Palette Series

Pointillist Palette #1: Sun
Pointillist Palette #1: Sun

Writing this post came about because I won some Pointillist Palette fabrics from Pam of Hip to Be a Square podcast. Sometimes it is good to revisit old projects.

These quilts are mostly about the fabric.

The fabric in these quilts cemented my friendship with TFQ, though we were well on our way already. 😉

The idea of the series is to play with ratios of color in such a way that subtle shifts in color or fabric changes the feeling of a quilt, though the designs are essentially the same for all the quilts in the series. These quilts started my experimentation with color, which I continue working at today. These quilts are the precursors, in a way to the Fabric of the Year quilts.

These quilts made me into an art quilt maker.

I bought the first batch of fabrics at a shop in Seattle called In the Beginning, which has since closed. At the time, I was in Seattle for a conference. I had been there briefly the month before on vacation, but didn’t get to do much quilty stuff. The day I purchased the fabric was a gorgeous, bright, sunny day and the sun was spilling into the shop lighting up these fabrics, which were arranged in rainbow order. I wanted them all. I was slightly horrified, but also excited at this visceral reaction, the strong desire to possess all of these fabrics. I think I even saw the series in my mind almost fully formed as I looked at the fabrics.

Pointillist Palette #2: Ice
Pointillist Palette #2: Ice

I bought some of each. I cut thousands of squares (WAY before Accuquilt cutting systems) and began sewing them into blocks. Though, I didn’t know it at the time, I did some chunking on these pieces.

I also paid attention to the use of color, which I had never done before. ‘Sun’ is much warmer feeling than ‘Ice’. I think ‘Ice’ is whiter and has a feeling of ice crystals or snow …. or something.

I had sense enough to concentrate the larger patches on the outside of the quilts to give a sense of borders. Definitely a happy accident, though I could have planned it. I just don’t remember.

The fabrics, by Debra Lunn and Michael Mrowka, have multiple colors on each piece of yardage – the colors gradate from dark to light or medium to dark or medium to light. There are many more tones and values that can be used than is obvious when you see some of the fabric. I didn’t realize this until I had the fabric out of the store.

Pointillist Palette #3: Flower
Pointillist Palette #3: Flower

In Pointillist Palette #3: Flower, I started to introduce other fabrics. The idea was that the last quilt (#6) would have barely any PP fabric in it.

The fabric I added was a group of larger scale reproduction flower fabrics. I think they were reproduced from a museum collection. I cut them up, sometimes fussy cutting, and included them with my Pointillist Palette fabrics.

I also started collecting other fabrics I thought I would use as the series went on.

Pointillist Palette #4: Night (WIP)
Pointillist Palette #4: Night (WIP)

Pointillist Palette #4: Night is still in progress and has been for a long time. I took that back of #1 apart to get the black aboriginal looking fabric out of it, so I could use it for the top of #4. People, who shall remain nameless, thought I had lost my mind. I needed a certain fabric and when I made the back of #1, I didn’t know I would need the fabric for #4. I had to make the right decision for the design of the quilt.

I pieced a few squares together recently and feel much more interested in working on this piece. I wonder if I can continue what I started so long ago?

I don’t really remember my ideas for #5 or #6. I may have notes and drawings somewhere. If not, perhaps this 6 piece series will turn into a 4 piece series?

All of the pieces are machine pieced, machine quilted (I did it myself!) and made using commercial fabrics.

FOTY 2012: Back in the Saddle

Fabric of the Year Squares (March)
Fabric of the Year Squares (March)

I haven’t done anything with Fabric of the Year 2012 yet. I decided that I would go even more simple than last year, but would keep one of the elements of FOTY 2011. I decided that I would go with squares and rectangles. I will cut squares out of fabrics I have used this year (but not bought) and rectangles out of the new fabrics.

A lot of the fabrics in the photo are from the Flowering Snowballs foreground. I only used one piece from each of the fabrics in the Flowering Snowball blocks, but I figured it still counted. They are all great fabrics, aren’t they?

FOTY 2012 Squares - March
FOTY 2012 Squares - March

I really like the scrappy look, but think it will be even better when I start arranging the fabrics at the retreat in 2013. Seems like a long way off, but here it is already March, so I know it will be here sooner than I think.

From my brief comment, you might have inferred that I am also working on the Flowering Snowball. I am. More on that later.

FOTY 2011 8/2011 Triangles

Early August 2011 Triangles
Early August 2011 Triangles

I am making progress on the pressing and cutting and you can see the quilt that is next in line from the fabrics I have cut. The design wall is getting to be too small these days iwth so many large blocks taking up space.

FOTY 2011 Triangles – End of July 2011

FOTY 2011 Triangles
FOTY 2011 Triangles

The triangle collection is growing, but not fast enough. The halfway mark for the year is long past and I have piles of fabric to wash and cut. Sigh.

I pressed a bunch while I was on the phone over the weekend. Being on the phone is an excellent time to press fabric. Get yourself a headset and try it out.

Still I have to cut the bits I need for various projects, too and I am behind on that. I realized that part of what was holding me up was the difficult to read list of patches I need to cut, so I have to redo that. Hopefully, that little project will speed up my process.

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FOTY Triangles, also late July 2011
FOTY Triangles, also late July 2011

After writing the above, I got busy pressing and cutting. I have a much larger collection of triangles now and a slightly smaller pile of fabric to press and cut. I got into a routine and ended up getting a lot of prep work done for the Food Quilt.

All the fabric I bought is now washed and just waiting to be pressed.

FOTY Diamonds

May FOTY 2010 Diamond
May FOTY 2010 Diamonds

While TFQ was visiting, we had to attend a family event. She was invited, but declined to attend, so she stayed home and rested. One of the things she did while resting was iron the fabrics that I had washed, but had not yet pressed. TFQ is one of the fastest pressers I have ever seen! She made a neat pile for me and I needed to cut various pieces from them. The pile got moved a couple of times during the week because the ironing board needed to be used for the actual pressing of clothes!

I was feeling a bit better on Sunday, and I didn’t want to have repress any of those fabrics so I went to work and cut various patches I needed from these pieces. The main shape I need is diamonds, as you know, for the FOTY 2010 quilt. I also cut some Tumblers and Eye Spy pieces and a few food fabric pieces for my mom.

This is the biggest group of diamonds I have added to the pile thus far. I have to say that there are distinct advantages to cutting into the fabric shortly after I buy it. I have mentioned that it is helpful to know that I like a fabric so I can go and buy more before the fabric manufacturers stop producing it.

The other advantage I found this time was that I know immediately if I don’t like a fabric. There are several in this group that I really don’t like. I have decided that I don’t like little tiny splotchy dots. It could be that the colors of the fabrics with those types of motifs in this group are not my colors. I might feel differently if they were turquoise and hot pink.

I have also been testing the ‘white water’ by buying more fabrics with white backgrounds. I have also decided that there are some fabrics where the ratio of white is too much. I love coffee fabrics, but the coffee cup fabrics above with the white background are really not my thing. Something about the orange and icky green combined with the white do not make me happy.

I also have to admit that I am a little scared of this year’s FOTY quilt. How am I going to do the edge? I don’t want to cut off diamonds, so I’ll have to cut half diamonds of some border fabric and do a self bordering type border. Will I need to organize that well before the CQFA retreat? I think so! Can I do it? I hope so. Yikes! What was I thinking?

Making Bullseyes, Part 2

In the previous post about making bullseyes, I left you ready to sew the circles on. Tips on appliqueing the circles to the background:

  • use a quarter inch foot.
  • start sewing less that a quarter inch from one of the folds. This ensures that your stops and starts will be covered when you sew the pieces of the bullseye together later.

Then you sew. Once you sew the circle on, you get the finished product pictured above.

To cut out the back, carefully separate the top and the back of the block. Pinch a little bit of the back, inside the sewn line about a quarter inch from the sewn line. Make a small cut, being careful not to cut through to the front. Cut around the inside of the sewn line. I use a pair of applique scissors, which help to protect the front from cutting through.

Here is a block once I have cut out the back.

Here is a close up of the sewn line and the cutting line.

Making Bullseyes, Part 1

Yes, I am experiencing a period of creative lack of focus. I am all over the place, working on lots of different projects, starting new things and thinking about new ideas…and not finishing anything. Normally, this behaviour makes me crazy. I like to focus and really delve into a project and think about it hard, but at the moment I am happy to just be working on something creative. This will create a creativity chaos later, but I keep telling myself that it will shake out… later and I will be able to pick up the pieces and create order…later.

As mentioned in my Second Cup of Tea post, I am back to working with Julie and Adrienne on our Bullseye project. There are links to previous quilts in the project, so go look at that post if you have no idea what I am talking about.

I finished sewing the circles on to Julie’s backgrounds yesterday. Nothing like people relying on you to get me going. Now I am I working on cutting out the backs of the circles before I send them off to Adrienne for the next round. Above are Julie’s squares with my circles on top. These are not all of them as they would not all fit on my design wall.

These are Adrienne’s backgrounds

Above are Julie’s backgrounds, which you can also see above with my circles on them. If you want to make bullseye blocks, first you find two friends, then you cut 9″ background squares. We actually cut them 10″ inches so we can trim them to the correct size later. I am a big fan of trimming after working with TFQ on many projects.

This ends our agreed upon instructions. What follows is how I make them. Whether or not this is correct, I don’t know. It works for me. If you want another opinion, take a look at Mary Tendall Etherington and Connie Tesene’s book, Quilts from Aunt Amy. It has all the sizes and the original inspiration.

After you have cut the background squares, fold them in quarters and press, then send them to your friend. Once that is done, you need to cut the same number of 8″ squares. Then press in quarters again. Pressing in quarters helps you line up the circles on the background. Aunt Amy doesn’t tell you this as far as I remember.

Above are the 8″ squares folded and press with one of Julie’s backgrounds.

I have paper templates from the previous bulleyes- one for each size of square. I place the 8″ paper template, folded, on the folded fabric square, being careful to line up the openings and folds of the paper and the fabric.

Then I cut…
Once the circle is cut, I open it up, line up the pressed fold lines of the background and the circle and, voila’, the piece is ready to sew.

Follow-up: Series of Bags

In case you didn’t have a chance to read some of the recent comments, Laume wondered about the sturdiness of the Eco Market Tote that I discussed in a previous post, by asking “I’ve been wanting to make some bags for awhile now and have been resistant to actually buying a pattern – a bag – how hard can that be I think. But I know I really do need a pattern and so instead I just talk about making a bag some day. Are these sturdy? Are the shoulder straps comfortable when they’re weighted down? They all look wonderful, especially the first one with the big art deco print.”

TFQ saw that comments and answered:

“I’ve been using the red/white/black one for a couple of days and the straps are pretty comfortable — not cutting into my shoulder despite my walking a mile and a half to work with about 10 pounds of stuff in it.

I think the straps would be less comfortable if we had not made them wider, and interfacing the handles for the lighter-weight fabric definitely helps. The bags are completely lined — in fact, they are reversible — which helps with the sturdiness factor, but for a bag you’re going to use to haul around a lot, I agree with Jaye, choose a fabric with a little body to it, like heavier linen or a lightweight home dec fabric. “

The Eco Market tote comes from Favorite Things. Watch out for the errors described in the previous post. The company said that they have fixed them, but the patterns with errors are still in quilt shops.

Series of Bags

TFQ and I went to Quiltworks Northwest in Bellevue on Friday. At the shop, TFQ saw this bag made up and bought the pattern. The pattern is called Eco Market Tote and is from Favorite Things. I don’t normally buy or even think about non-quilt things, so I didn’t pay much attention. I was interested, but not from the making point of view. I am not sure what lit the spark, but after we visited the Quilting Loft and saw the Alexander Henry Home Dec fabrics, I knew I wanted to make one. TFQ suggested that we make them and it was a great idea. I would have never finished mine if TFQ and I had made the first ones together/at the same time. While we were working with our own fabrics, we puzzled out the directions together. We, unfortunately, got the first printing of the pattern and there are a few mistakes, which have, since, been corrected (TFQ contacted the company). We also made some adjustments, like making the handles wider than the pattern calls for.

The fabulous thing that I found is that this is a great opportunity to work in series. No, it is not a quilt, but it is a great canvas for showcasing fabric combinations. There is also a lot of room for creativity – different types of pockets, different fabric combinations, different fabric ratios and even embellishment. I know that TFQ has picked out fabrics for two more and I would like to make more as well. I have several large conversational fabrics in the quilt backs stack that would really be great as bags. I also have some great French fabrics that a friend brought me from France that would make excellent totes.

This is my bag. As mentioned, the fabrics are from the Alexander Henry Home Collection. They feel like canvas, but may be a kind of cotton duck. I am actually kind of stunned that I picked them out as the accent fabric has a lot of brown and all of the fabrics are very 1960s looking.
This was a great project to branch out in the fabric department and try something new. I wouldn’t buy these for a quilt, but for this bag, they are great!

Back of the bag in construction phase.Front of bag with pocket pinned on. The back and front are the same until you put the pocket on. The above picture is how that back looks and the picture below, as you can see from the picture of the finished product, is how the front looks.

This is the third bag. TFQ made it today.

She added two more pockets on this side to break up all the black. The new pockets do a good job of bringing the red fabric back into the limelight.


The lovely piece below has the distinction of being the first bag we completed. It is TFQ’s bag, but I think it was a real collaborative effort – at least int he brain power department. This was also the bag we learned on. The fabrics are fabulous and it turned out really well.
Detail of the the reinforcing X stitching to keep the handle secure.