Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Creative Constraints at ISU Class

jill here...

Talk about fun and interesting!  Twice a week, sixty Iowa State University students explore different strategies and solutions in a Creative Thinking and Problem Solving class.  Most of the students come from the Apparel, Events, and Hospitality Management majors but there are a few from diverse disciplines.  One of the elements the class utilizes is guest speakers from diverse walks of life to share their strategies.  Last week we shared our creative components and how they apply to our design process and business model. We discussed constraints within our design/business models, showed some of our quilts and challenged the group with a design activity.

The activity challenge: to design within constraints.  Not wanting to influence their design thinking, we shared minimal information on a quilt block and showed them a traditional nine-patch (with nine patches, all equal in size, three different values).  They each had a paper selection of 3 values and a white sheet.  We asked them to create, by tearing the construction paper, another design. One resourceful student even had a pair of scissors in her backpack and yes, we let her use them!  The constraint was that they had to have nine pieces in the final composition and glue it down to a base sheet.  The time constraint was 20 minutes. The above and below designs are some that they produced.

Looks like there was some quilt influence.  We relished the positive feedback.  Several students said that their Grandmothers had made them a quilt.  Our designs were different from the traditional, perhaps inspiring some creative process.   They picked up on our comments about the importance of networking to find help and solutions!

Talk about fun and interesting...'till next Tuesday!

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Quilt idea, hit or miss?

Marny here…

Pursuing an idea can be hit or miss (success or failure).

Remember this "block" created from charm squares? It got stuck in my mind. Questions started popping up. Wonder if these were made as true blocks and placed on plenty of background? Could I strip piece without waste? What about proportions within the block?

And then I thought of Nelson bubble hanging lamps. Take a look here to see what I am thinking. They look lovely hung together, but they are proportioned differently from one another. Hmmm. Is it worth trying?

Strip Set 1
Cut one dark line 1 ½'' x 21''
Cut two medium green 5'' x 2 ½''
To get started cut two segments at 2 ½'' intervals.

Strip Set 2
Cut one dark green 2 ½'' x 21
Cut two medium green 4 ½'' x 21
Cut one  3 ½'' segment for now

The three strip set segments stacked. It is blocky.
 Time to add "curves" and thereby reference the Nelson bubble lamps.

Cut four 2 ½'' squares of background.
Mark corner to corner on their wrong sides.

Stitch to either end on the pencil lines

Trim ¼'' from the stitching line. Note the correct side of the stitching line for trimming.


Pressed open. Repeat for other 2 ½'' segment from Strip Set 1.

Seam to Strip Set 2 segment. In this picture it is the 3 ½'' segment.

Here is an 8 ½'' Strip Set 2 segment is used,
along with two 2 ½'' Strip Set 1 segments as before.

Hmmm. Not so sure about this.

Fiddling time.

Extending the line, simply vertical?

Extending the line as a path through the shapes?
The possibility is intriguing, but by no means a sure bet.
I really won't know if it is a success or a failure until I make more blocks and play around with them. And even if it is a "failure", the idea itself may payoff in the long run. Solutions sometimes show up way down the line when your mind is busy looking for answers to different questions. Or sometimes it is a "failure" that helped you understand or expand an idea. Trying is worthwhile.  

Till Tuesday…

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

You Want a Piece of Me?

Pieces of one another!

Jill's aqua, purple and gold.
jill here...I recently returned from a quilt retreat with a 10 year Chicago connection!  What fun to get together with friends, sew a lot and share quilting ideas and projects.  Since we were ahead on our charity contributions, we decided to challenge ourselves: "You Want a Piece of Me?".

The assignment, if we chose to participate, was to create a small composition (one dimension of the piece must be 9 1/2" unfinished) in the recipients choice of colors, in the style of the maker's choosing that would be recognizable to others.  My choice of colors was aqua, purple and gold.  One friend created a negative/positive design that I was lucky enough to receive three different combinations, thus the three similar blocks.  How we choose to finish/display them is up to us!

Here are some of the other blocks!

Janis' grey, cream, turquoise and black.

Sharon's aqua, blue and peach.

Anita's blues, greens, purples in bright, saturated hues.

Kathy's blue, rust and cream.
As you can see, once we had some of the main colors, we were free to add in others to our liking.  It was a stretch to create a block for another in our style, hoping they would like it.

We're going to try it again next year with a different theme, yet to be decided.  Any suggestions?

'Till next Tuesday...

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Sewing Machine Cover from DMMQG challenge fabrics and charm squares

We left off here. The original thought was to make a bag.
but now a sewing machine cover seems like a better idea.
This pieced front for the cover is 20 ½'' tall.
It is too wide and will be cut to size below.
An 8 ½" square was cut from each of four remaining challenge fat eighths.
(I'm saving the final challenge fabric.) 
A 2 ½'' strip of color was added along one edge.

A second 2 ½'' strip was added along the next edge. (log cabin style)
These blocks measure 10 ½'' square.

A few 20 ½'' square arrangements were possible, but this is the one I chose.

I added 2 ½'' strips to the sides to make it wide enough to
 cover my machine. It measures 24 ½'' wide by 20 ½'' tall.
It is a bit tall for my machine, but is sure to drape nicely. 
Bigger is better than too small. 

The "front" was trimmed along the sides to measure 24 ½'' across.
The "front" was sandwiched with batting and backing and quilted with a simple
 loopty loop stitch similar to cursive practice strokes.

The "back" was not quilted.

  • After the front was quilted the "back" was seamed on. Now 24 ½'' by 41'' 
  • The joined halves were placed right sides together with a backing fabric, pinned and stitched with an opening for turning. 
  • The whole thing was turned right sides out, corners pushed out, and edges carefully pressed. 
  • The final step was to topstitch all around the perimeter.

A machine cover done!
Till Tuesday…

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Des Moines Modern Quilt Group Challenge + Charm Squares = Project Part 2

Marny here…time for Part 2. See Part 1 here
This is where we left off. Since this layout is cute, finishing seems right.

One thing to be aware of is these two units are not the same height,
therefore some trimming needs to take place to make the layout work.
Just ½'' is trimmed from all the taller units.

The two middle rows are pretty straightforward now that they are trimmed.

Units in the middle rows are sewn.
(Just rows are sewn, the rows are not sewn to one another yet.
They need background pieces sewn to their sides/ends still.)

Note the ends of the rows do not line up exactly.
The rows need to be staggered just a bit to keep 

the dark verticals where they belong.

A "background" fabric is now starting to be incorporated.
It is a black with mutidirectional white ovals.

2 ½'' wide background pieces were sewn to four short pieces
bringing them up to size, and makes sewing by rows possible.
See above and below.

More background pieces added. 
The narrow strips are 2 ½'' wide and long enough to extend beyond the interior rows. The two inserted between the color units 
in the top and bottom rows are 2 ½'' x 6 ½''.
The eight "square" background pieces are all 4 ½'' tall, 
four are 5'' wide and four are 4 ½'' wide.
The rows are ready to complete and be sewn to one another.
Hopefully Part 3 will have a bag well underway! (It was 83 degrees here on Monday, not a time for sewing, it was a time for enjoying the brief promise of summer.)
Till Tuesday…cooler weather is returning so…

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Scrappy Backings

Spring is teasing us!

jill here..... A friend recently hosted a sewing get-together  to complete some charity quilts.  These quilts will be given to school age kids.  The photo shows the 2 "girl" quilt tops that were made from the Brioche and Baguette pattern.  One column and one row was added for additional size.  The quilt top measures 49" x 66" so the backings need to be 57" x 74 when sent to a machine quilter.

This is one of the focus prints.  Isn't it cute?  The white background really pops in contrast with the aqua sashing.

I started with a full width of fabric that was only 65" long (the cute little Monaluna bird print).  I had to bring it up to size by adding to both the length and width.  These two pieces were sewn together and trimmed to 10" x 57" wide.

The chevron print was cut width of fabric (x 2) and joined together lengthwise.

The "chevrons" were sewn to the trimmed width of bird fabric, leaving the selvedge intact on the left side.

To balance the weight of the aqua chevrons on the side, the birds were sliced again lengthwise and added to the other side of the chevrons. The birds are flying 2 directions but that's okay!

Then the back panel was sliced horizontally about 1/3 the way down and 10" piece inserted. Finally, the smaller cut was and flipped and sewn for visual balance.

The second backing was a different challenge.  I had several WOF colors that were trimmed various widths (here they are folded for easier handling) measuring them to bring it to the desired length.  Not to make my life more difficult but to create just a little more interest and variety, I trimmed some of the dark blue and inserted it into one of the yellows fabrics.  I eliminated the other yellow which will be used for the binding.

Once the widths were sewn together, I added 2 WOF chevrons to the side and trimmed the excess to fit.

I cut across the backing and flipped again for interest and balance.

 Here is one of the options.  Jackson is telling me it's time to come upstairs. 

Here's the second option.  Now it's really time to quit.  I think I like the first option better but I'll leave the decision for tomorrow.

Hope spring comes your way.  'Till next Tuesday.