Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Two more finishes to brag about. The first was sort of finished a couple of years ago, but I was never really satisfied with it.
The vast expanses of solid pink seemed to overwhelm the Laurel Burch fabric that was meant to be the focus of the quilt, and it's hard to overwhelm Lauren Burch. At the same time I didn't want to do anything too fussy. I thought about using the spaces to display collectible Laurel Burch buttons, but they are much too expensive to just slap onto a wall quilt that will mostly hang in my studio. Covered buttons were the solution. I even removed the shank wires that come in the kit and glued them on with E6000, following a tip I read in the latest American Quilter magazine. So a problem solved in a pleasing way. And I've got another project in the works that might benefit from covered buttons. I guess I'll have to start keeping them in stock. Some fused applique helped cover another problem and add interest to the center at the same time.
The Sunflower quilt was inspired by an awesome piece of fabric and a book called 9-Patch Pizzazz by Judy Sisneros. It uses large cuts of the large floral print and 9-patches to fill in and blend. It took a while to get the design just right; lots of arranging, photographing, rearranging, photographing again, then sitting back and waiting for what felt right. The subtitle of Judy's book is "Fast, Fun, and Finished in a Day." Well finished in a year more like it. There are some deviations from the "straight and narrow" that are not immediately apparent. Some of the yellow squares do not belong to a nine-patch; in fact there is one that is just appliqued in place. But they somehow helped create the flow of color through the piece, and so are ultimately necessary. The other deviation is in the quilting. It's just a simple diagonal cross-hatch, except that every yellow square has a quilted X through it, but the lines are not necessarily carried through to the larger pieces. Again, it was about continuity of a certain kind, but not necessarily traditional. The result is a nice wall quilt to use in late summer or early fall.

Meanwhile I have been hard at work at a quilt that I can't show pictures of yet, but which involves paper piecing and fussy cutting and a lot of precise but tedious work. In between bouts with that I am working on kitty cozies. The one with the big green and white + in it started life as some blocks pieced from scraps onto dryer sheet foundations. As I was going through boxes of scraps I found the green and white strip, left over from another project. It was too good to cut up, so here it is. I haven't tested the dryer sheets with the kitties yet to see if they approve of the residual scent; when this one has batting and backing I will let my crew give it a test nap.

The other one I put together today in about 30 minutes. I had strip sets left over from Hunter's quilt, so trimmed them to a consistent size, discovered I had 8 of them, and found a coordinating cat fabric to slap into the middle. Instant kitty cozy top. And no dryer sheets on this one.

So the studio is a total wreck but good things are happening there. I had to take this set of pictures with the quilts clipped to my fabric storage bins because the design wall is occupied with the secret project. In fact, I'm beginning to think this is the time to get the sheets of homosote and do the design wall properly, so I can have multiple projects at that stage. So far I've resisted it, but there comes a time when half-assed will no longer do. I'm also going to invest in another folding table, so I have more surface area to cover with projects in process.

I started this year with four projects that I wanted to finish before the end of the year. Three of the four are done; the only one that is languishing is a hand-quilting job that now has to be at the top of the pile because it's the only one left in the pile. But that means it's also time to sort through the bins and pull a couple more UFO's out of hiding that might become potential finishes. Having a list of four was a good idea; I could ignore all the others and not get weighted down by the mass of them. And each of these needed something different; I'll have to think about that too as I try to decide what should go onto a new Fab Four list.

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