Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Modern Technology and a Twist

 jill here...An interesting situation arose last week while I was checking orders.  Someone on posted a comment on one of our quilts (thank you very much) and it started an unusual situation.  Our Paypal site wasn't functioning correctly and  others wanted to purchase the pattern so there were requests via our email.  Evidently the Paypal site was "under construction" so we retrieved  information and were able to send the patterns off to their new creators.  It was fun to chat with  people more directly.

Now this is a challenge that is hard to complain about.  Our business would not have been possible even ten years ago.  So it's really incredible that blog sites, secure payment systems and hundreds of you out there in the quilt abyss keep us going.  We are grateful and thank you.  Please let us know how we can engage you in our journey.

Now on to the twist... Have you ever seen those little bits of fabric sewn into garlands?  When I recently observed a mobile, I thought it would be fun to adapt it to fabric in a vertical format.

I started with a dot and a stripe and fused them right sides together.

I sliced them into 3 1/2"  lengths by a 1/4"  wide.  Looks like spagetti  confetti.

I press them in half to identify the center (important for balance).
Looks like a spider; not what I was going for!
The strips were too long and not rigid enough.
The fabric, although fun, was too busy and confusing.
So I shortened the strip and fed it centered through the  presser foot.
I used regular thread and took three stitches between strips.
Getting there, but not quite yet.

So I fused with a heavier weight interfacing,
choosing a larger scale  stripe, cut on the bias,
same on both sides.  I was attempting to create the barber pole twist 
This time I pressed in half before cutting from a  2 12" width strip.
I'm getting smarter....

So final test:  Instead of just thread, I used a narrow ribbon.  It looks more finished but doesn't have as much spin.  I added a few beads at top and bottom  to finish.

Always different from expectation, but fun!
Till next Tuesday.....

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Waves with a nod to Modern Quilt Design Elements

Marny here...back to Hot today-Modern Quilts are Too! posted two weeks ago.  Options have been considered, a direction committed to, and the table runner top completed.

I was aiming for using lots of negative space and asymmetry.  In this case, the negative space is Kona Cotton Snow.  The layout will give the asymmetry.

The first step was to cut the "beach glass" blocks into 7 1/2" squares that will finish 7". Sets of three seemed appropriate.  They had enough repetition and enough variety to be visually interesting.
The next step was to work on layout.  I had something in mind, but it seemed a good idea to stop and test the idea.
The "verticals" off kilter were fun but not what I wanted to portray.
The "verticals" fall on the same horizontal.  Again a layout that was not that supportive of my vision.
Now we are getting somewhere!
One last decision to explore-sashing or no.  I am thinking no, but again it doesn't hurt to mock it up.
With sashing in between the columns and
without sashing.  Getting better.
Sewn together.   21" x 56" finished. 
Negative space and asymmetry abound.  These are two design elements that make this project a modern one.  I look forward to quilting it vertically.

All along the process I was dreaming of the beach.  You see, I am just back from Hawaii - a fun high school reunion and a fantastic family vacation.  Once you have lived near an ocean, waves are part of your being.  At least they are part of mine.  And it was never about beach glass but about sets of waves coming to shore.  The colors are those of the Pacific.

Bear with me and enjoy part of Hawaii's beauty.
Textures and colors

Scents of flowers

Tropical critters

The nightly ritual of the sun setting on the horizon.
 Till Tuesday then....

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Modern Quilts....Hot or Cold?

jill here....Since we took a "process" pledge, I have to share a recent dilemma while creating a Flatbread sample.  Usually color is my strength and not my challenge but sometimes, experience is the best teacher (or gets in the way)!

Perhaps only having four colors leaves little room for error.   Value is maybe even more important than color and I had already figured out that puzzle. The pattern calls for four values: light, medium light, medium print and a dark.  I had selected the medium print (green leaf print with some blue on a neutral ground) at the quilt shop, hoping for universal appeal.  The light background worked well and the mottled medium seemed the appropriate value.  The dark was similar to the green in the print only darker, more yellow than blue.

Medium light


Medium print
Sorry about the color but you can see the discordance.

The problem seemed to me that the medium light and the medium print were "blurry".  There just wasn't enough definition between the two to make it more exciting.  So I had some choices:  change the  color or the texture, trying to keep the value similar.  I went back to the quilt shop and purchased a blue small texture (trying to relate to the blue in the medium print).  Still not right!  The blue was too clear (pastel), too light in value and didn't work with the earthy undertone of the medium print. 

Well now it was too late to shop so I had to find something from the stash.  After unsewing the previous attempts I was discouraged but finally came up with a gold. The value was right, the texture was nearly perfect and the color was still questionable.  I had to remind myself that you don't have to marry every choice of fabric!

So ultimately what I was reminded of is that there is an undertone that affects the color balance.  There was this gold, earthy undertone that keep influencing the direction I should take.  My resistance has a lot to do with avocado green and harvest gold in my previous life.  Surely someone will like it!

'Till next Tuesday....

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Hot Today - Modern Quilts are too!

Marny here...

The forecast in this morning's paper says it all.  "Be prepared to deal with hot temperatures again today.  Our highs will be in the middle 90's.  There will be a gusty south wind that may feel like a blowtorch."  For some reason that description seemed very apt to me!

So down to the sewing room I go.  The temperature is better and there is fabric to play with.  The scraps sorted on my cutting table are calling to me.  One pile in particular seems to be all about "cool."  It happens to be made up of the analogous colors:  green to blue-green to sort of blue.  There are three values of each.

They happen to be the leftovers from one of our new patterns called Supper Club.  I have a variety of little pieced units remaining.  I love the cool colors of the ocean, grass and sky.  Slicing and dicing will commence.
The little strip sets get cut into unequal portions.
Another scrap gets cut into 1 1/2" strips.  Not sure at this point why, except that it seems it might be useful down the line.
The little units are stitched to a background strip.
Cut apart and pressed.  Then sewn to another, wider strip of  background.  
Cut apart and pressed to reveal "blocks".
Playing with layout 1.
Layout 2.
Layout 3.

Lots of playing and decisions to be made.  The blocks purposefully have unequal amounts of background on either side.  I may add some to the top and/or bottom of the blocks as well.  Then they will be trimmed down.  At this point, a really asymmetric result with more negative space is what I have in mind.  But there is a lot of flexibility built into the process.  It will also need a something unexpected to add visual interest.

This process would be great for many of the pieces we are left with after finishing a quilt.  The little center "stripes" don't have to be pieced leftovers, they could be any fabric.  Just think of the baby quilts and table runners that could result.  Give it a try!

See you next Tuesday.