Thursday, September 26, 2013

Crowded at the Orphanage

Quilting at church was last week Tuesday. Since then I've been working off and on with their scraps. I brought home the leftovers from the string blocks we made and combined those strings with the leftovers from the odd width log cabin blocks I just made and other odd bits. I was thinking next we might work on some crumb quilts but I don't think we have enough crumbs for that. That led me to digging to see what else we might work on next. I pulled out the pile of orphan blocks. It had grown since I last sorted through them.  I put 9 different quilt kits of blocks together. I also bagged up more string blocks I made with sashing fabric for a total of 12 new kits.

                  This is my favorite collection of blocks. These are 12".


And this one with 9" blocks. Most kits needed a few more blocks to round it out to a workable number so I took smaller blocks and will have to add frames or something to make them work. It is a good opportunity to add a bit more of the right color to tie the blocks together.With a bit of luck, sashing, cornerstones and borders can do that too.

Of all the blocks donated to us, it is rare that I trash a block. I did that with just one block this time. It was not just that it was so poorly made AND ugly, but it also used real sleazy fabric. It just wasn't a keeper. Then sometimes when I have a block that doesn't work out I cut it into pieces for crumb quilts. 

And that brings me back to the topic of willy-nilly quilting. As a rule, I just cut up the blocks that don't lie flat or  square. It really doesn't matter to me if the points are missing. In my own quilts, I strive for perfect points. I don't find it difficult and that is what I was taught 30 years ago and for every reason you can think of in  between. On the other hand, I know there is a number of quilters that rather enjoy quilts that break the rules. They are even encouraged to do so by the likes of Gwen Marston and her books, Liberated Quiltmaking and Liberated Quiltmaking II.
Believe it or not, there aren't any quilt police. You might think otherwise if you overhear a conversation about the workmanship of a quilt. Some people don't understand that quilting isn't the same thing to everyone. Some find pure joy in combining fabrics at random in a willy-nilly, carefree fashion without regard to any rules.After all, quilting should be fun, relaxing and stress-free.  Others are uncomfortable at the thought of quilting with such wild abandon and consider the work sloppy or lazy. When I first started teaching quilting, I had to learn that we all quilt for different reasons and there are lots of reasons to take a class. I also  learned that quilts don't have to be perfect. I'm glad I know how to make a quilt near perfect and know when and how to work nilly-willy. Sew, what about you? How do you feel about quilts with attitude? Is it okay to "miss the points" deliberately, or not?  I think they are fun, I sure have a hard time doing it deliberately though. Just thinking about all those scraps and the wonky wild quilts they could make.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Quilting Willy-nilly

My design wall has been busy. We had quilting here Friday night and not having anything current to work on, I grabbed a box off the shelf. Inside was a bunch of scraps and this one block. I thought it was funny how it was the same block as the black and red ones I worked on last. I guess I had thoughts at one time to make a quilt of them in Civil War prints.

So I made 4 more and not liking them, decided to add them to the Civil War orphan home. Then I grabbed another box and it was nearly empty. All it had were the makings for two blocks. One I could figure out as it was almost done. The other, I don't know so make a white and rust Anvil block. Here are the new additions to the home. I already had the Monkey Wrench blocks.

And here is the gang so far. A few more and I will be ready to put them together. Not in any hurry though. So I put them away and called it a night.

I'm glad I wasn't out of town this weekend cause on Saturday the neighbors had their annual barn party.
Wasn't actually in a barn, but at the farm. Great to catch up with some of the neighbors. Then on Sunday I was in the mood to start something new. I thought straightening out my one drawer of Civil War fabrics would be inspiring and sure enough I came up with a pile of fabric I'd like to get used. I probably had some of them nearly 20 years. Later while browsing through a few quilt books I came upon a technique I wanted to try, and started these Square-in-a-square blocks.

The technique for the Square-in-a-square blocks comes from Anita Grossman Solomon's book Rotary Cutting Revolution. I really like the technique, but the method makes pairs of blocks with positions of colors reversed. I could be more creative but for now I think I will whittle away the overflow from that drawer and see what happens.The two star blocks I left out cause I liked them. Who knows? They may be the inspiration for my yet another quilt.

Another box on the shelf had leftovers from a quilt made last spring. I think I need to put some time in the closet organizing the PHD's and maybe putting a few kits together.
And now for browsing blogs linked up to Judy's blog.

And as for quilting willy-nilly, well that will be the topic next time.

Monday, September 16, 2013

New Challenge Announced

Quilter's Rule needs this quilt before their office closes today. Good thing I finished it yesterday. They will be displaying it in their booth at several shows out west. I hope people find it inspiring and participate in the QOV tool challenge. Thousands of people already have the tool, so maybe they will dig it out and join the fun. If you don't have the tool yet and enjoy making quilts for QOV then please, order a Thirtysomething Square Up. You don't have to make a quilt with these blocks. Any design will do, so long as you use the tool. For more ideas, check out past posts about Thirtysomething in the sidebar to the right. If you have my book, S is for Scraps, two designs use the tool. For challenge details, check out this link.

And if that isn't enough links, I'm also linking up to Judy's Patchwork Times for her Design Wall Mondays.

Monday, September 9, 2013

Another Top Done

My sister and her husband were on their way through the area on  a long road trip and while I was waiting to meet up with them for lunch I got the borders on my version of Kim Brackett's "Pinwheels on Parade". I am really happy with the yellow for the border. Everything else I tried was distracting to the other colors in the blocks. 

Today it is supposed to be in the 90's again so I think I will work down in the studio and get some more quilting done on my Quilts of Valor challenge quilt.

I had a great time at lunch with my sisters. The one from Illinois joined us. With mom and dad both gone now it will be interesting to see just how often we get together. Of course once everyone is retired and next to no grandchildren in the picture, perhaps we will see each other occasionally.

I am off to do some blogging at Judy's Patchwork Times. I  haven't linked up all summer but as long as it is Monday.

Friday, September 6, 2013

Home Alone

My plans for the day changed so instead of going to Quilt Expo in Madison I stayed home and got these blocks and sashing put together. I have enough fabric that matches the sashing for the back so I will get it quilted soon and take it in to church for a comfort quilt. I wouldn't normally use such a busy print for the sashing, but this works for me. Probably cause none of the other fabrics really have much going on.

I also put some time on the longarm. I found the perfect time to work downstairs. When the sun is coming in the window at just the right angle I can see the quilting so much more easily than when all the bright lights are on overhead.  Now I have plans to rig up a light so it shines at the same angle as the sun. I think that means Mark will first have to add another outlet for me downstairs. Oh goody.

We are slowly adjusting to Mark's retirement. He was gone today and I did indeed relish my time alone. I still have a few hours so I am going to see if I can find something else to sew. It is either that, or paperwork. Uck!

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Play Time

Working on the log cabin blocks put me in the mood for some piecing. I didn't want to put too much time into planning a project so I picked up these pieces that I brought out a week ago and started cutting. I already had enough of these  3-piece triangle units to make 16 blocks, but which block? Only11 of them had the dark rust triangles sewn to them.

My first thought was to make this block. After making 3 of them, I decided I didn't want the whole quilt of those. Though on second thought, had I changed the colors of the large triangles in each block, I might have liked the idea more. I just may have to redo this in my favorite 1800 prints.

I had already pulled some more dark reds to use and not wanting to consider any other options, I kept cutting. I also limited myself to the 1 1/2 strips of the white I had left. So next I came up with these blocks. Now I was having fun coming up with simple variations just by changing the color or position of the little squares.

And you just know I had to turn those black squares to the corners too, just to see what else could be done. And don't you know it. My favorite block of the whole bunch is the last one.  I have about 15 square inches left of the white and the gray.  Perfect!

This time-out was just what I needed. Things have been a bit stressful around here with our house guest. And now that Labor Day is past the  fall quilting season has official begun and I have to get busy. I hope to find the time to blog about it.