Friday, July 13, 2012

Progress on the shirt quilt

I started sewing the larger blocks together in rows this morning.  The strip of two on the right is what I did, three times.  Then, remember those 2 1/2" squares I cut from scraps the other day?  I decided to make strips of those to separate the larger strips.  I didn't get further than making enough four patches to put on the wall for the first gap.  I will have to work on the rest on Tuesday.  I have Bella for the next three days, so won't get much sewing done.

Here is a detail of just a portion of this quilt.  When I started this project, I wasn't sure if I would really like it or not.  I liked the idea of using re-purposed shirts and scraps that would probably just stay in the scrap boxes if not for this kind of project.  Now, I am really happy I started it.  I think it is a happy quilt.  The colors all sort of sing to me.  I enjoy seeing the scraps from other projects I have worked on.  I have a piece of a favorite Hawaiian dress, something from a quilt that I gifted a good friend, an old shirt of mine, pieces from a quilt I made for Tom, and many more little gems.  Lots of the fabric is from friends.  I guess this will be sort of a memory quilt.  That is a good thing.  Tom would like it to be a little bigger, and I think I know what to do that will keep the same flavor, but keep me from getting bored.  Does that ever happen to you?
I do have a tip to share about scrap/project storage.  I am a big fan of salad greens that come in big plastic tubs.  We eat quite a lot of them, so I wash them out well and use them for fabric storage.  I keep scraps in them or I keep fabric I am pulling for projects all together in them.  They stack very nicely.  They are free, and I am keeping them out of landfills.
Have a great weekend everyone.  Joyful quilting.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

No quilts today, only chickens

I did spend some time in the studio this morning, making more blocks for the shirt quilt.  I made a design decision about it I will save until tomorrow when I can get it up on the design wall.  I think it is pretty exciting.  In the meantime, I thought I would introduce you to our chickens, just for fun.

Meet Janis Joplin.  Isn't she a beauty?  We are pretty sure she is not an Americauna, which is not really a recognized breed but a mix.  When they were three days old, they all looked alike.  We still like her.  I tried to capture the beautiful blues and greens in her feathers, but the light was just not right.  She is the leader of the pack.

This blond beauty is Veronica Lake.  She is just as sassy as she looks.  She has the fluffy cheeks typical of the Americauna, but they are not as pronounced as they are on Lady Bud.  Veronica is the most stand-offish of the group, and the last one to head into the pen at night.

Just like her namesake, Katherine Hepburn doesn't like to have her photo taken.  Notice the classy pattern of dark against blond made by the feathers on her back.  She also has the darker feathers under her neck.  She has a pretty even disposition and likes to nibble on her greens.

Last, but certainly not least, is Lady Bug.  She is the friendliest of the four.  Because she has the dark cheek feathers, her fluffy face is pretty pronounced.  Unfortunately, I couldn't get a front face view today.  She wanted a profile shot.  I am not sure what the red thing is by her mouth.  I think it is Janis Joplin's little crown in the background.
These four ladies have figured out that they want the safety of the coop at night, so we no longer have to chase them around to put them in.  When they are ready, they climb the ramp by themselves, usually with Janis in the lead.  If we don't get out there when they reach the top, they let us know.  I hope they adjust their bed time as the days get shorter.  I wouldn't want to be out there in the dark trying to get the gate latched.
So far, having chickens is a great adventure.  Hopefully, they will begin laying eggs in the fall when they reach six months old.  I am not going to change this into a chicken blog, but I did want to share a bit of what else we are doing these days.
Tomorrow, I should have more quilt photos for you.  Until then,
Joyful quilting, everyone.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Red and orange make a difference

I spent time yesterday cutting out all the squares I needed for this quilt.  About 20% of them are from the red and orange plaid shirts in the collection.  This morning, I made up ten of those blocks and added them to the mix.  They won't be this predominant in the finished quilt, but I think I like the overall idea.  Thanks to those of you who supported Tom in this idea.  Even with all my cutting yesterday, I still have a shelf full of blue shirt parts.  I cut all the small bits into 2 1/2" squares, so now I have quite a few of those as well.  They may make an appearance in this quilt in some fashion before all is said and done.  I really enjoy making quilts with no real end plan.  Just enjoying the process.

This is my July AAQI quilt.  It is 6 1/2" x 10" and is hand quilted.  If you look closely, you can see some of my hand stitching.  I love these rich warm colors together.  The little inserts of turquoise came from the same color in the small piece of Sandy Gervais designed Tranquility I have used. To see this line, check out this site.) It is the olive green with the orange, brown, blue and cream squares. I used to have quite a bit of this fabric, but I think this may be just about the last of it.  This was the first line of fabric I used to make a quilt when I got back into quilting a couple of years ago.  My chosen style and fabric selections have changed quite a bit since then, but I still love all the fabrics in this line. 
In these two projects, I have combined all kinds of patterns from very traditional shirting plaids to bark cloth to my favorite Jinny Beyer design.  I have thrown caution to the wind in the shirting quilt mixing solids, batiks, plaids, paisleys, and whatever else comes out of my scrap bags.  This goes against the voice in my head that tries to remind me that there is an order to the universe and I should be paying attention to it.  Sometimes I do, but not for these two.  Maybe next time.
The chickens are loving the warm weather as much as I am.  They had their wings clipped yesterday after Janis Joplin decided to see how high she could fly.  Doesn't that sound just like her namesake?  They are now content to munch on the fresh greens Tom gives them every morning when he lets them out of their coop.  I am enjoying watching them grow but wondering how long it will be before they start paying rent with delicious blue shelled eggs.
Joyful quilting, everyone.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

What's that on my design wall?

I was just going to show the progress of the shirt quilt, but decided not to crop out the small quilt next to it.  More about it next.  I added more shirt blocks with strips from the green and blue box.  I made the cuts in the opposite direction to add more interest.  When Tom saw it, he asked if I was going to use some of the other colors of plaids I have collected.  I stubbornly stated that I only wanted to use the blue ones.  Now, I am wondering it I could add some of the red and orange ones.  I don't have as many, so they would be just here and there.  I may make some up tomorrow and see what I think.  I really like the liberated nature of these blocks so far.
The little piece next to the shirt blocks is from my International Round Robin.  This block has had three participants so far.  After I add my touch, there will be one more before it goes back to its original creator.  This is a very creative and talented group of quilters.  We each have different styles, and that adds so much to the pieces.  We also do a fair amount of communicating with each other if we have concerns about what we are thinking of adding.  That is working very well for me.  If you want to see the other pieces in this round robin, hop over to our flickr page and take a look.

I am really enjoying these glorious Northwest summer days.  Tomorrow, I get to spend some time with Bella, and I am looking forward to that.  Tuesday, it is back to the studio.  The creative juices seem to be starting to flow again.  It has been a long dry spell.
Joyful quilting, everyone.