Monday, February 19, 2018

Silhouette - Let's Do 52 - Week 8

Cormorant at Sunset

Once again, I am participating in Denise Love's 2018 "Let's Do 52 : 52 Weeks of Photo Prompts" to kick start the lull in my photography.   If you'd like to join us, find out more at the link above.  The more the merrier!

Sunday, February 18, 2018

Diamond-in-a Square 4-patch Posey Test Block


I worked up these 4-patch posey blocks about 10 years ago.  They've been sitting in a box with some of the finishing fabric ever since.  I think I was not happy with the traditional straight-on grid layout with sashing.  The blocks seemed kind of small, and I didn't want them to feel crowded in that grid.

The other day, I had an epiphany to enlarge and frame those old posey blocks with the diamond-in-a-square treatment.   I was finding tutorials about it, but the younger generation of quilters calls it "the economy block" -- I guess because you make the most of your fabric with very little waste.    Perhaps that was a response / backlash to a much more wasteful way to accomplish the same objective by sewing squares onto all 4 corners, then trimming off half that fabric to make the corner triangles -- I can see how that would seem wasteful.  I will admit that I used that method years ago on a storm-at-sea quilt, and it was a huge help to keep everything straight and true.

 Detail - 4-Patch Posey Diamond-within-a-Square

There are many tutorials out there for making the diamond-in-a square or economy block, like this one.  But only a few that help you make the size YOU want to make.    This Economy Quilt Block Tutorial Any Size tutorial from Melanie McNeil at Catbird Quilt Studio was the most helpful for me.  There is a formula for figuring our how big to cut your framing squares depending on the size of the original center.  But the numbers are so precise- down to 1/8th inch.  That doesn't leave a lot of room for the fudge factor.  Melanie's numbers are generous -- which I appreciate, making it easy to trim the finished blocks down to size, squaring them up in the process.  And her table made it easy for me to figure out what size I needed to cut my framing squares.   In my test block, I got perfect points, with a generous seam allowance.  That made me very happy!

For my own notes :
     Center Squares are about 4-3/4 inches
     Cut Black squares 4-1/4 inches
     Cut Pink Squares5-1/2 inches

Then I was trying to do the math to figure out how much fabric I'd need if I set these blocks on point, with an alternate block and setting triangles ...  which added up to 6 yards of fabric!  Hmmmh ...  That's a lot of fabric.  Just how big is this quilt going to be?

There were some very helpful web pages out there for figuring setting triangles, including some calculators like this one from Generations Quilt Patterns.  And after all that, I determined, I'd wind up with a monster-size quilt that would be bigger than a King.  No need to set these on point, and I don't need the extra space setting triangles would add. So, I can nix that idea.

Thursday, February 15, 2018

2-Ply Yarn - Wool and Silk

2-ply Wool and Silk Yarn

The Olympics leaves lots of down time in-between the action, so it's good to have something to do during commercials while you're waiting for those exquisite moments of grace or the agony of defeat--hence, spinning.

Here's that fiber before dizzing and spinning.  Nice stuff!

Sunday, February 11, 2018

Progress on Holly's King-Size Quilt Top

I finished this stage of my mom's king-size quilt.   I really like the way it turned out!

The blocks were trimmed to 10 inches.
Sashing was cut to to 10 x 2-1/2 inches with cornerstone blocks cut 2-1/2 x 2-1/2 in.

 Deatail - Blue / Purple block.  I didn't notice the fish in the batik until I took the photo.  Neat!

 Gray Block with sashing.
This the same kind of block I used in my sister's quilt and in Aidin's Quilt.  Easy Peasy!
It is officially called Sonia's Windows, if you're looking for the pattern.   
The blocks work up fast -- 4 at a time out of strip sets!

Purple block with sashing.  The green is the "river that runs through" each and every block, representing the trees my Dad tends so faithfully.


The next step is to take it up to my mom's house, lay it on the bed, and figure out what we need for borders to bring it up to size. 

Glad I won[t have to quilt this puppy!  It's BIG!

Something Large - Let's Do 52 - Week 7

Elephant Portrait
"Something Large"

Photo Processing :
1) Jai Johnson Texture as background - Sunrise Over the Marsh
2) My own photo of a taxidermied elephant (sorry--I wish it had been alive in a natural habitat) at the National Museum of Scotland in Edinburgh.  Weird to see an elephant indorrs with the balcony in the background.
       I cut it out carefully (digitally) and made a clipping mask, then laid it on the JJ background
3) Merge visible layers
4) Topaz Impression - Rembrandt Portrait Filter
           Who knew this treatment / filter also worked for animals?

I am really happy with the way this turned out!

Here's my original elephant photo for contrast.
And to think this was a photo I considered deleting : What the heck do you do with an elephant indoors at such a goofy angle?

I have to say I DO love elephants, and other large animals like whales and Newfie dogs.  Someday I want to go to the Elephant Sanctuary in Tennessee to see them up close. 

Once again, I am participating in Denise Love's 2018 "Let's Do 52 : 52 Weeks of Photo Prompts" to kick start the lull in my photography.   If you'd like to join us, find out more at the link above.  The more the merrier!

Sunday, February 04, 2018

Dancing with the Dawn - Morning - Let's Do 52 - Week 6


"Dancing with the Dawn" or Morning
I hesitate to call it "Fire Walk with Me" due to the horror connotations Twin Peaks brings to the phrase.   But she does look like she's dancing with a big flame.


Photo Processing :
Layer 1 - 2LO Fairy Tales 8 Texture as background
Layer 2 - Cut out Dancer and Blend
Flatten Image
Layer 3 - Rad Lab Clarify - to add light --I would still like to see a little more light on her face ...  May still tinker with this one!
Layer 4 - Topaz Impression - Color Sketch 40% - to smooth and blend


More light in this version.  On the verge of dreams and waking ...


Here is my original photo of a belly dancer at the 2018 Door County Ren. Faire.

Once again, I am participating in Denise Love's 2018 "Let's Do 52 : 52 Weeks of Photo Prompts" to kick start the lull in my photography.   If you'd like to join us, find out more at the link above.  The more the merrier!

Sunday, January 28, 2018

Red - Let's Do 52 - Week 5

Red Apples


Red and Black Medallion
made with Kaliedecam App aimed at one of my quilts.

Once again, I am participating in Denise Love's 2018 "Let's Do 52 : 52 Weeks of Photo Prompts" to kick start the lull in my photography.   If you'd like to join us, find out more at the link above.  The more the merrier!

Thursday, January 25, 2018

Quilt Blocks - Sonia's Windows (Again)


Ma's quilt blocks ...
My mom asked me to finish a King-size quilt for her.  Slow but steady progress.  Here are some of the blocks in a possible layout.

If it looks familiar, it;s the same Sonia's Windows quilt block, technique, and overall colors that I used for Aidin's Quilt here.  My mom liked it so much that she started one for herself.  She was able to make about half the blocks for her king-size quilt, then due to health reasons, asked me to finish it for her. 

Would be nice to have this all finished in time for their 50th Wedding Anniversary!  Today is their 49th wedding anniversary.  ;-)

Next steps :
Trim up the blocks
Choose fabric for sashing (light blue) and optional cornerstones (tree green?)
Sew it all together
Re-assess and add borders to bring it up to size

Monday, January 22, 2018

Lone Star for Beginners



I signed up for the Luminous Lone Star class at Craftsy.  This is one of the first lessons (Lone Star Pillow Top), a small manageable project to get us used to working with inset seams.  I've been sewing nearly my whole lifetime, but still there are things I need to learn, and practice--like these inset seams.  I am amazed at how FLAT it all came out!   I expected bumps and buckles and protrusions, and lots of headaches--but it all worked out, following her instructions.  The key is to mark 1/4 inch from the edges for seam allowance  where you start sewing.  That leaves room for the opposite inset seam to lay flat.


The instructor also advocates the liberal use of spray starch--so I got to use my DIY Linen Water.  My recipe comes from Kay at Borderline Quilter who shared a great idea for making your own spray starch for pressing fabric.  It's so simple!  Just a little Vodka with tap water (or distilled water, if you prefer) in a spray bottle.  It works because vodka is made from potatoes.  Apparently, there's enough starch left in the distilled spirits to make it work in this distilled form.   Only Vodka will work.

DIY Linen Water
In a spray bottle, mix 2 capfuls of straight Vodka in 1-1/2 cups water (tap water works, but you could also used distilled).  [Sometimes I add a little green tea essential oil, which I have on hand for soap-making.]
 

For a heavier starch, mix 3-4 capfuls of straight Vodka with 1-1/2 cups water. Quilter's Moonshine (water with a little vodka).  

You could also look up recipes for Quilter's Moonshine.   This one actually includes starch.

This was a nice little project for an afternoon.  I used fabric left over from the iron caddy I made in November / December.

I made a second one with fabric left over from the Shade Tree Quilt.   I think these will be stand-alone wall hangings, as I don't need more pillows hanging around the house.



Baby Steps!

This class and the practice is all in preparation for a BIG upcoming project :

The Radiance Quilt Kit from Keepsake Quilting.

Next year (2019), my husband and I will be celebrating our 20th wedding anniversary (seems longer--in a good way!).  A new quilt is the perfect way to mark the occasion.   This will be a new technique/style for me. And a definite challenge!  One step at a time.  ;-)

Yes, I'm starting to list the kits I buy to make myself accountable to actually making them sooner than later.  Stars seem to be the new theme ...

Sunday, January 21, 2018

Window or Door - Let's Do 52 - Week 4



Here's a more recent pic from our visit to see family in France last summer.  This is from the Normandy region, where CL's Cousin Mary-Martine lives.   Photo run through Topaz Impression with the Overpaint filter.

Here's the original. 
Seems like it was a little more golden in my memory, with that bight July sun!

Here's one from my archives ...

 Gold Door and Scooter in Toulouse, France - May 2014
This is one from my archives, but fit the Door prompt for this week.

 I was channeling my inner Kat Sloma when I took this shot.  Kat is known for capturing scooters on virtual film, especially in Europe--and they are everywhere in Europe!   (Really, Kat, this one's for you!)   As soon as I saw it walking the city streets of Toulouse,  this scene made itself!  The tall gold doors coupled with the horizontal stripes on the other garage-type door, along with the idea of movement and mobility in the scooter.   I took the shot,  added a few textures and voi la!

Image Processing in PhotoShop Elements :
1) Background image
2) Nancy Clayes Texture nc_0607 - Multiply Blend Mode at 34% opacity
3) Kim Klassen's Sissy Texture - Soft Light at 34%
4)  Kim Klassen's Rest Magic - Luminosity at 13%
5)  Shadowhouse Creations M08-2012-3 Overlay Texture - Screen at 56%
6) Added a solid color frame in black (a la Kim Klassen) - Soft Light Blend Mode at 76% opacity


Once again, I am participating in Denise Love's 2018 "Let's Do 52 : 52 Weeks of Photo Prompts" to kick start the lull in my photography.   If you'd like to join us, find out more at the link above.  The more the merrier!

Sunday, January 14, 2018

Out of Focus - Let's Do 52 - Week 3

Out of Focus

This is from a photograph taken on a rainy hike around a Canadian-style pond in Scotland.
I cropped it down, then ran it through Topaz Impression with an Oil Painting Filter to give it a painterly, impressionist feel.



Here is the original cropped photo.

Once again, I am participating in Denise Love's 2018 "Let's Do 52 : 52 Weeks of Photo Prompts" to kick start the lull in my photography.   If you'd like to join us, find out more at the link above.  The more the merrier!

Saturday, January 13, 2018

Liberate Your Art 2018 Possibilities

2018 Liberate Your Art Possibilities Collage (Rev.)

Here are the possibilities for my art that I am considering having printed for the
2018 Liberate Your Art Post Card Exchange hosted by Kat Sloma.  

I will have all of them printed at Moo.com, but still not sure which one(s) to make the official LYA 2018 Post Card.  We can also mix and match, too.  No need to send all the same card.

If you like what you see, feel free to contact me for an extra-curricular side-swap. 
If you want to join us, please do! It's a wonderful way to share your work with other creatives around the world.  It's also neat to see where your work winds up in it's new home.  

Looks like Moo.com has a sale on now 25 postcards for $21.  That does not include shipping (Probably more like $27 delivered.)
Be careful when you set up your orders.  Last year, I ordered the larger postcards (5x7in.).  They looked absolutely gorgeous, but were too big to be part of the official exchange.
Choose the SMALL-sized post cards, and you'll be fine.

Friday, January 12, 2018

Stacked Coins Scrap Quilt Done!






Finished quilting the quilting on the long-overdue Chinese Coins quilt.  This top was a "scrap"quilt made with a pile of 4-inch squares cut in half, and then some ...

It took me a long time to feel like this quilt had "come together."  Probably in part due to working with all the pieces so closely and for so long.   I was also a little disappointed that it didn't seem to have the emotional impact that a true scrap quilt does -- where you can point to any given fabric and tell a story about where else you used that particular bit of fabric, or where it came from.   I had purchased the 4-inch squares as a set -- just for the sheer variety.  They were not cut from my stash from other projects.

By the time I took a photo of the completed top, and could see it at a distance, I think I finally had the "Blue Earth" effect, and it did come together for me, and I really started to like it.

I think I'm going to hang it on the wall in the new year.  ;-)



Batting : Hobbs 80/20 Heirloom Batting (my stand-by because I love the way it crinkles up after it's washed and makes thinks look antique-y

Thread : Thread Art multi-colored purple and gold (Polyester embroidery thread that is strong enough to use for quilting.  I love this stuff because it also has a nice shine to it.  I know polyester thread is quilting is against all the rules set out by the quilt police.  But I'm not making my quilts for them.

Years ago, I'd purchased some rayon thread for thread-painting and embroidery, but it rotted in about a year to the point where I couldn't sew with it without it breaking constantly.  It was an expensive and short-lived investment -- I mistake I will not make again!)


Detail shot of the threads which seem to glow against the black background.  
They get lost in the colored squares. 

 From the back.
Quilting Pattern : 2-inch grid sewn with the walking foot on a diagonal

Sunday, January 07, 2018

Small - Let's Do 52 - Week 2

Small

This is a snail on the Isle of Skye in Scotland.

Couldn't really find any textures or treatments that improved it, 
so this is basically straight outta the camera.

It made me think of a fascinating book I read a few years ago ... The Sound of a Wild Snail Eating

Once again, I am participating in Denise Love's 2018 "Let's Do 52 : 52 Weeks of Photo Prompts" to kick start the lull in my photography.   If you'd like to join us, find out more at the link above.  The more the merrier!

Saturday, January 06, 2018

Rising Star Batiks Quilt

Rising Star Batiks Quilt
[Photo from Craftsy]

Just wanting to pull all the pieces and notes together for when I start working on this gorgeous quilt!
I love the purples and the blues together.  It's the yellows and oranges that are harder for me to get used to -- though they look great together here as complementary colors.

Rising Star Batiks Quilt Kit at Craftsy 
 (Ordered 1-6-2018)
 
There are several more detail pictures of this quilt at the Craftsy website, including showing how they quilted it with a kind of doubled grid pattern.  Simple and do-able.  Angela does a much more involved feather which she shows in the video below.   

Detail - Photo from Craftsy




Follow this up at YouTube.  She has several useful links in the details box for more info.

Angela's bonus video on Paper Piecing for Perfection.

4 Types of Paper You Can Use for Foundation Paper Piecing - Craftsy
I haven't done a lot of paper piecing in my quilting career, but enough to know that it's the perfect technique when you need perfect points or precision piecing.   I little fusty, and kind of a pain to rip off all the paper.  Fortunately, not all the blocks require paper piecing -- just the star points.

Using Tracing Paper in Foundation Paper Piecing
   Basically, it says that using newsprint as from a kid's art pad works just fine.  Tracing paper can be problematic to put through a printer.

What Paper should I use for Paper Piecing?

Monday, January 01, 2018

Outside : 2018 - Let's Do 52 - Week 1


French Landscape near Normandy.  Walking by a Wheat Field with Marie-Martine summer 2017.

I added a texture layer, and ran it through Topaz Impression to add the Cezanne filter for a painterly effect.

Once again, I am participating in Denise Love's 2018 "Let's Do 52 : 52 Weeks of Photo Prompts" to kick start the lull in my photography.   If you'd like to join us, find out more at the link above.  The more the merrier!