Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Trash Circle and Blender Rails

That's a much better title than just circles and rails, isn't it, even though this is just another post showing another circle and more rail fence blocks.

First, I will show you my trash.  These are selvages and other trash that is made during the quilt making process. Everything is less than an inch.  I just hate throwing it away, but gosh, I won't have any room in my house if I save everything, including the last little snippet.  I have been forcing myself to throw away the snippets, but this time I decided to use these snippets to make my circle, and then I would be able to throw away the leftovers. 

At first, I was going to use the snippets in the shapes that they were, but I decided that I would be allowed to trim them to shapes that I wanted. I secured the pieces with a glue stick and then sewed it all down with straight lines instead of going around each piece individually. I see now I could have used white for the eyes instead of pink and given her some eyeballs. Except for the background square and circle, everything else is from the trash pile.  Instead of making it easier, this just made it more difficult to throw away the trash.

These two blocks are my latest additions to the rail fence quilt.  I really like these because they serve as a bridge between the fabrics that are already in the quilt.  The one on the left helps show that the pink and the purple do go together, and the one on the right show that the pink and the orange do go together.I really didn't want to reject the orange fabric.  It's like having a friend, and then discarding her because your new friends are prettier. And she really is pretty too.

Here they are all together. At this point, I think I have enough blocks, but I really like making these, so I am going to add some more. I will add some more orange, and there is some more purple fabric I would really like to add.  I think I should also add a red so it doesn't look like the odd ball.

I also wanted to tell you about my new project. You probably don't remember my photo scanning project, but it is way back about when I started this blog.  Basically the rule was to scan at least one set of  pictures every day, but more is better.  I managed to get all of them scanned that way.  Well my new project has to do with quilt magazines.  I have a whole bunch of them going way back in time since I haven't ever thrown any away.  My plan is to get rid of all of them. It will make space and reduce clutter in my house, and give the dust mites fewer homes to live in.

The plan is that I will go through the quilt magazines and scan whatever patterns I want and give away the magazine. I am not allowed to keep any paper. This keeps me from taking the lazy out of just ripping out the patterns I want, and still keeping a mess. If you want any, let me know - they aren't in any particular order so it will be hard for me to find a particular issue, but they are all quilt magazines.  Right now my plan is to give them away to a local charity.

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Monday, November 23, 2015

Week 1 of Project 365

Hello again!  You have been seeing so much of me lately! Mostly because I'm making daily circles and showing them to you keeps me motivated.  Here's my output for Sunday.

A circle to represent the Cultural Fusion rail fence quilt I am making. This was made out of leftover rails.

Here's what my first week's worth of circles looks like. The rail fence looks like a chair with a steering wheel.  Or maybe someone sitting in front of a computer. I do lots of that.

And here's my progress on the rail fence quilt.  The red fabric on the left is from the Islamic Tile Quilt.  This block doesn't have much energy, but the fabric strip was already cut up the right size and it asked nicely. Maybe its calmness will make the other blocks look more energetic.  The one on the right has lots of energy and I really like that pretty pink color.

And here are my blocks all together.  I have started cutting one of my fabrics 1/8" inch bigger and trimming down to avoid having issues with seam allowances. Next up will be more blocks with more white in them.

Sunday, November 22, 2015

More Circles and Rails

Shasta Matova's Quilty 365 Circles

The block on the left is Friday's Quilty 365 project.  I took Zeus in for a bath. I bathe him outside in the summer but in the winter he gets to have spa treatments. He looks so cute  now, all trimmed and clean.  They gave him a yellow bandanna with ladybugs on it, which really brightened up his face. It's just a fabric triangle, which I absolutely love.  Too bad, there wasn't enough to put in the rail fence quilt.  It did make me rethink that the yellows I was planning on using are not bright enough.

The block on the right is Saturday's 365 circle.  It was a day of disappointments. Nothing horribly bad happened, but there were a lot of popped happiness bubbles. 
  • The clouds were very pretty yesterday and the sun was shining bright when we were walking, but then I saw that the flag was flying at half staff and that reminded me of the ugliness in the world.
  • My mother is disappointed in a project we worked on together, and there is nothing I can do to fix it now.  
  • I had a gift card I wanted to use up, because they charge a monthly fee that was reducing my balance. Since I don't really need anything from the store, I decided to put together a care package for my daughter. After taking a long time to choose the things that would come up with at least the balance amount and be light enough to mail, I had to wait in line at the cashier (people paying with cash and checks, the nerve), and it turns out that the gift card I wanted to use was expired. I had even called ahead to find the balance on the card.  I wound up not buying anything there since the whole purpose was to use up the card.
  • I went to another store, but my energy and motivation had petered out, and I couldn't think of anything to put in a gift basket. Why was I thinking of giving a care package for Thanksgiving anyway?
  • It started to rain on the way home.
  • I got too improv with my rail fence quilt, and my strips were not the right size.  I had to rip and resew, which is why there is only one of each of the blocks shown below.
  • That circle fabric was in my black and white box, and I thought that gray would be an interesting thing to use instead of black and white, but when I brought it downstairs it looked more blue than gray.  Looking at it again today, it might still be gray and not blue, but whatever, it's not going in this quilt.  
  • It seems appropriate that I ran out of bobbin thread when I was applying this circle on the background today. Hopefully the disappointments stay in Saturday and don't continue on Sunday.
Shasta Matova's Cultural Fusion Rail Fence blocks

Here's my progress on the Cultural Fusion rail fence quilt. I added two more blocks. It was hard for me to mix that red and that black pattern in one block because I wasn't so sure they go together, but I am trying to mix more patterns, like the Australian quilters (and Sujata) would.  I do like it.  The red fabric (which was used in the elephant circle) is made in Japan, which helps with the Cultural Fusion theme.  I also like the energy in the pattern in the black and white fabric on the bottom right.  All the light fabrics seemed pretty solid in the other blocks, so adding some pattern makes me happy.

June asked about the size of these blocks.  They are less than half size of the pattern in the book, plus my improv sewing means they might need to be trimmed before they are put together, so the block will be 6" square finished. I don't know how many blocks I am going to make, but my minimum is 15 to have enough variety and choice in the layout.

These fat quarters are other fabrics I had considered for the quilt, but right now, I am thinking that I should just stick to the pink/  red/ purple. The strips at the bottom are WIP so that pink and red will go in the quilt. The orange blocks that are already made seem to be outliers that may get to be specially chosen for the orphan quilt, but I will wait until all the blocks are  made before I make that decision. I might make a border in the blue, depending on whether it will work with the quilt. It's been begging to be in the quilt since the very beginning.

This Quilty 365 project brings up the Project 365 I did in the past, which was a photography project. I have been taking my camera with me more often, and the clouds were so pretty yesterday.

American flag flying at half staff photo taken by Shasta Matova

10 Reasons I Love Quilting

Stephanie at IndieQuilter wrote a post about the reasons she loved quilting, and encouraged others to list their own reasons..  I've decided to follow along on my blog.

Here are my reasons, in no particular order.

1.  I love combining different fabrics and see different patterns emerge.  Just like mixing paint and seeing new colors emerge, but better because there is the pattern in the fabric too.

2.  I enjoy the mystery of it.  I choose fabrics and think they will go together, but until the block is actually made or the quilt is actually put together, I'm not really sure what the finished product will look like.

3. I like the creativity of it.  I can choose to add or not add certain fabrics or combinations. I can take a pattern and change up something, or I can design my own. I choose the style I want to make - modern, improv, traditional, art, etc.  Totally up to me.

4.  After all the time I spend doing it, I have something to show for it.  It's not like watching movies or playing video games.  If I did those things, nobody would really know I did that or care years from now, but with quilts, there is a bonus end product that I can use or share or display.

5.  I can customize a quilt that fits the person I am giving it to.  It is truly unique and one of a kind, because no one can make another one just like it, not even me!

6. I like the feel of fabrics and the feel of completed quilts.  And they provide warmth!

7.  It is something that waits patiently for me.  If I don't have time to work on something this week, month, year, it won't spoil or change in the meantime.  It will simply wait until I am ready.

8.  It calls me.  I am constantly drawn to the colors and shapes and designs and want to keep making more and more and more.

9.  The quilting community is awesome.  Everyone you meet is so sweet and generous and creative and helpful.

10. It helps me develop skills at a pace that is comfortable for me.  If I want to master a new skill, I can make a small project.  If I want to take it easy and practice a skill I already have, that is okay too.  I can make casual quilts that don't take much thought but take lots of energy (small pieces) or I can make complex quilts that take a lot of thought or skill to put together.  Totally up to me.

There are so many more reasons  It is difficult to limit myself to 10, but these are the first 10 I thought of, so they must be the most important. :)

You can read Melanie's list at Catbird Studio.  I found about this list from her.

Friday, November 20, 2015

Elephant and Rail Fence

Yesterday's circle was an elephant. I thought I should make sure there is at least one elephant in my quilt.  I like how the background fabric looks like the elephant has a tusk! I also like how the elephant fabric made a design on his forehead and has a circle for the eye.  I attached a separate fabric for the ear; it's subtle but it is there.

And I started yet another project.  I've had Sujata Shah's Cultural Fusion book for a while now and it has been calling and calling me.  I kept making it wait since I wanted to finish something, but I broke down to start it.  This quilt makes me happy.  I'm making two blocks with the same colors, which makes it go even faster, and makes it easier to chain piece and make sure I have something underneath the needle at all times without needing a leader/ender.These blocks (I'm making them half the size as in the book) are so quick to make.  A few seams and I appreciate the way I combined the fabrics, a few more seams and the block is done already.  And then it is time to choose two more fabrics to combine. Most of my brights seem to be tone on tone, but I want to add zippy, energetic fabrics as I go along.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Islamic Tile Quilt Top Finished

Islamic Tile Quilt made by Shasta Matova
As I promised you yesterday, I pressed the Islamic Tile quilt so I could show it to you today.  Pressing is not my strong suit, and I obviously need to press it again, but this quilt is made up of a whole bunch of 2 and a half inch squares.  Even those long lines were made with separate squares so they would look more like tiles, and I managed to keep the design looking like the inspiration tiles I saw at the Islamic Center in Toronto.  Now I have to think about how I want to quilt this. It's a fairly big quilt by my standards - bigger than a lap, smaller than a twin bed.

Next up, I wanted to show you a purchase I made from Spoonflower.  Since the fabric is printed on order, it is expensive, but when I think about it as gifts instead of fabric, and you buy them when they are on sale, it somehow manages to fit into the price range. I bought four fat quarters which will be hemmed to become kitchen towels and if I can bear to part with them, I will give them to my family.  The print quality of all of them was very good, so any issues you see has to do with my taking images in the wintertime when it is always dark, and trying to fix the light quickly with photo editing.

The elephant will likely stay with me since I have a collection of elephants around the house.

I was showing my mother these, and she has asked for this one specifically to be hers.  She likes that the design goes over the calendar. I think if I was designing a calendar like this, I would have thought that people would prefer to have the calendar easy to see, but I was wrong.  How often are you really going to look at a date on a towel anyway?  She did ask me why I only got four, and now I see that maybe getting more to share with others would have been a better idea. 

I'll have to think long and hard about which of my relatives will get these two.  They are going to have to be super nice to me between now and gift giving day!

I haven't made my Quilty Project 365 Circle today, but I wanted to share with you a Pinterest board I created for me to save circle ideas. I do hope that people have realized that Pinterest is a great resource and not a place that steals ideas. When I copy an image and put it in my hard drive, I can't remember where I got the image, but when I pin it, I can click on the link to get back to where I found it, to see other details, to remember where I got it, and maybe even ask for permission to use it. Also, on HubPages, I find that a lot of my readers come directly from Pinterest instead of through a search engine.

I have to go make my circle of the day now.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Day 3 of Quilty Project 365

I won't be posting each block every day, but it helps me to remember to take the picture and the thought behind it.  I saw a row of rings that were broken like spokes, and I wanted to recreate it, but this is easier.  The background fabric is also used in A Life of Plenty and the fall fabrics have been used in several different fall quilts, including Dear Jane.  I like them both so I use them sparingly in many quilts.  Today, I am thinking about the love of family and pets, so the x and o are quite appropriate.  I didn't really mean to sew a spiral, I started securing around the circle and didn't want to stop so I kept going into the center. I thought the center of the spiral wouldn't match the center of the x because I wasn't keeping track, and I would have been okay with that, but it centered by itself!

In other quilting news, I have finished my top of the Islamic tile quilt.  I have to press it and then I will show it to you.  Since this is a tile quilt, I thought I should stitch in the ditch only, but that requires too much precision, so my original plan was to quilt a quarter inch away from all the seams, but I think that also is too much precision (and sewing).  I'm now thinking about doing some organic lines instead. I'm not sure if that makes me lazy, or if that more honors the quilting medium, which gives you more options than tiles would.

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