Wednesday, June 17, 2009

The wastebasket next to my sewing maching is overflowing. There are fabric snippets and random threads all around it on the floor. So something must be getting sewn, even if I don't seem to have a lot of progress to report.

The major news is that the kitties thoroughly approve of their new cozy pieced onto a dryer sheet foundation. I put this together on Sunday, and brought it up to the house, where it was thoroughly ignored. I realized that this was somehow related to the code of kitty ethics, so I tried not to get worried and did my best to ignore that it was even there. Monday morning I was rewarded by Bart checking it out, then Princess figuring out that he had something neat and bugging him to death until he left and she could check it out. Eventually they figured that it was almost big enough to share, and they have been doing so quite nicely for the past two days. The only major problem was a tendency for the thing to skid when they leaped up onto the credenza. I may add some puff paint paw prints to the backside to make it less slippery.

I finally got up the nerve to cut the fabric for the Stack-n-Whack fan quilt. I know I'm not the world's most accurate cutter, and I was worried that my cuts to create the stack that gets whacked would not work. Once I realized that this initial cutting was followed by squaring up and opportunities for accurate alignment of the layers I was fine. The fans look quite stunning, actually, especially on the cheddar yellow background. I'm not sure yet just what the finished product will look like, but I think it will turn out quite nice.

This weekend I am off on a ramble. There's a quilt show in Birmingham, and that seemed like a good excuse for a road trip. So as soon as I get finished in Lake Providence tomorrow I will head east. Friday I will do some general shopping, then be ready to hit the show early Saturday morning. I plan to come home with enough background fabric for the fans to do nearly anything I want to with them. And who knows what else might come home with me. And I'm going to take the tesselated leaves with me; if the light is good enough in the hotel room I will work on that in the evenings. And of course there will be knitting, probably socks.

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

I've been pondering what to do with these swap blocks. For the immediate future, the answer is to put them back in their basket and work on something else. But there is a plan for them. I just can't do it now.
The first thing I saw when I put them up on the design wall was that they were a pretty uninspiring lot. Lots of pretty little calicos, but not consistantly. There's one block that's black and white, and another that has some pretty vivid yellow hand-dyes in it. There's a good bit of brown, and blue and green, but they don't really go well together. And the overall effect is pretty muddy and blah.
So I turned to Sharyn Craig for inspiration. She has a whole book devoted to setting blocks that takes ugly ducklings and turns them into pretty respectable swans. The first message was that the finished quilt can be whatever color you want it to be. And she shows examples from blocks laid out on different colored backgrounds to make her point.
Now these blocks are pretty small and plain, and there are quite a lot of them. I don't want to make two quilts, and I don't want the finished quilt to be enormous, so that limits how much extra fabric I want to add. But I decided to pull some strips out of the scrap bin and see what I liked.
The red seemed to do the most for the blocks, and there is no clear red in any of the blocks themselves. So that seemed a natural choice for the sashing. But then yellow is my favorite neutral color, and I immediately saw what I wanted the sashing to be:
That pretty yellow star does quite a bit to distract from the surrounding blocks. But by itself it's not quite enough. The colors are still pretty muddy. So the next step is going to be to overdye the blocks and see if that will add some zest to the mix. I can visualize the final product - a bunch of blocks of varying shades and intensities of blue. But right now I don't really know how to do it.
The good news is that Quilt University is going to be offering some dying classes next month. So I will be patient and take the classes and get some guidance in my experimentation, and then see what I can turn these blocks into. Meanwhile, there are plenty of other things to work on.