Wednesday, February 29, 2012

A puzzle for you...

Someone suggested that I add bees to the border of the quilt I have been posting about (like in yesterdays post) so I tried it on a trim piece left from the border cuts. All in all I am pretty excited by the bee. However, as I looked more closely at it I realized that the 'random' scatter of letters on the fabric is not entirely random.

I got to looking at the full scrap piece and can find the following words...

Love, joy, hope, patches, apple, path, passion, liberty, more,

These all occur in straight rows and none of them are backwards, although some of the letters are in different orientations. Can you find these words? Can you find any other words? I am intrigued... It does not look like a 'word search', but it turns out it is! Cool! Now if I could just stop looking for words and go to bed! Goodnight!

Monday, February 27, 2012

More of the same... and that is a good thing.

Oh my, its been a while since I've gone a whole week with no time to post... I've been busy sewing so that is a good thing!  I have been working on this teacher gift quilt to try to get it done so I can drum up interest from faculty and staff and parents. I would love it if they would be willing to "go in together" on this retirement gift so I can have it professionally quilted. It has gotten quite large.

To the right is what it looked like Friday night. I had a big sewing day planned for Saturday that never happened due to bailing out an absentminded and less than totally organized 11 year old, but that is another story. I worked a little Saturday night and a bunch Sunday afternoon and evening and this is where I stand now, after adding 3 borders this morning. Those borders look plain, but they are actually parchment colored with about 16 point Time New Roman capital letters scattered all over it - very appropriate for a teacher.

It needs one more border with a single 'light' block in the upper right corner to make the numbers come out right for the student names from 13 years of teaching 2nd grade. I have one made that is very low contrast so it won't stand out too much.  The vine and leaves will extend all the way around. I am not sure that will be the final arrangement, but something like that. What do you think, alternating leaves like it is, or opposite? Should the wave of the vine be longer? I would like to add a few flowers to give her fellow faculty a place to sign if they want to. What style flowers? I am thinking a pretty primitive look similar to the red flower on the left. Any suggestions?

So that is what I am up to. Keep your fingers crossed that I have enough of the green fabric to make the vine... I did the calculation but it seems like a ridiculously small piece of fabric yielding an unbelievable amount of 1" bias strip... I am skeptical. To see what others are up to head over to Patchwork Times for Design Wall Monday.

Oh, oh, I just did a little trial on a scrap piece to see how I would do a bee buzzing around a flower...

Squee! I am in love with this little guy! I definitely need some tear away stabilizer before doing too many more of these. Oh, and this gives you a better view of the border fabric. That is all, nothin' else to see here citizens...

Monday, February 20, 2012

Yay! Some Progress to Report on an Actual Quilting Project!

Don't get too excited... its not like it is on the "Finish Along" list for this quarter or anything, it is actually a new, high-ish pressure project with and actual due date and other people depending on me getting it done. Ack! Perhaps that is why there is actual progress to report!

I posted a previous design wall Monday about a quilt based on 9 patches that I had begun with some left over 4 patches. This is what it has grown into, mostly over this weekend. I still need to do some figuring but I think I am about 18 blocks from finished on this one. I am also thinking that it needs a border with a waving vine and some machine applique, possibly raw-edge leaves to soften the patchiness and angularity of it all.

Ultimately it will be 8 blocks high and 7 blocks wide, beginning and ending with a 'dark' row of blocks left to right. The border will be in the neighborhood of one of the darker gold/tans in the neutral and the proposed vine would be a nice solid dark green, to the forest/loden end of green. The leaves added to the vine will be scrappy to echo the central part, but not all over the map... mostly darker colors. Note that I am not totally in love with this quilt yet. It seems like so much chaos. I have tried an alternating layout but that is much more chaotic. Any suggestions? Other possibly layouts? What about concentric 'circles' of dark and light rather than rows!? I just now thought of that... let me run upstairs and try it.


Oh yes, I think I like that one better... with the additional dark row on the right and the blocks at the top required to complete it. Do you think that looks better? Especially with a gently curving vine winding along the border? It changes my numbers a little, but I don't think that is a deal breaker at this point. Gotta love looking at a design through the lens of a camera to change your perspective.

The idea behind it is that the recipient has been teaching at the same school for something like 15 years and is retiring this year. I wanted a 2" light square for every student she has taught during that time. I will get the students I can find (like my son's class) to sign their first names in a square and I might be able to muster the help I need to write the names of the others (taken from past year books) in the rest. I still have some work to do, but it is coming along and I would be happy to hear some feedback on this one, as I am far from confident at the thought of the end result. What do YOU think? To express your insightful opinions on other people's current projects head over to Judy's Patchwork Times Design Wall Monday post.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

An update on the 'less than appealing' fabric giveaway.

We wouldn't want it to feel badly about itself so I guess we really shouldn't call it 'ugly'! I have no time to learn new things about the random number generator and there were few enough entries that I used a little random generator of my own. I put slips of paper with the names on them in a basket and let the resident 3 year old pull one from the pile. Trust me, you can't get more random than an energetic 3 year old! So here's the scoop.

Joan won the panel of kite flying children. I hope it brings you many hours of free motion fun! Remember, stock up on needles and clean out the lint before you start!

Chiska won the bird/owl fabric. I hope you find a wonderful use for these happy little birds on royal blue.

Thanks for playing everyone. Should these ladies not contact me within a week I may just draw again!

Thursday, February 16, 2012

busy days, late nights, no time in the sewing room...

All that leaves just a little time in the evening for some tangling to work out the kinks from each day. So I had time for the Diva's challenge of the week and another tangle and some working on a new pattern (to me anyway - I almost remember seeing this one somewhere else but I can't find it now). The twisted ladder/chain thing comes together very neatly and evolves in cool ways from just drawing box Z shapes over and over... it is a little hypnotic. I suppose the right word is 'Zen'. I would like to do it enough that I can learn to control it's evolution and direction a bit more. Here is the diamond pattern for the challenge this week. Too bad I didn't turn in the other way on the page so I wouldn't run out of space. Ah well, no mistakes right?

I was so inspired by all the Sanibelle from the challenge last week and decided to try some of the new things I saw. I thought I liked Sanibelle before... the 'tame' way I do it but it really comes alive with a little more curve and some extra lines! This was a celebration of that and an excuse to use the new one and try out some other variations. Groovy even slipped into this one!

Thanks for stopping by! If you are a quilter-reader... I do still sew, I promise!  My sewing room is in part of my 11 year old's room so there is no sewing after about 9pm and he really frowns on me hanging out up there while he tries to do homework! I should just reclaim the dining room (since there has been an outdoor playground structure in there for the last 9 years!) and move the sewing stuff in there. The kids don't use the playground much anymore... Sigh, I would have to keep the sewing things a bit neater  since it is open to the rest of the house. Ahh, always some bad to temper the good! Have a great week

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Ugly Fabric? I have no ugly fabric!

I ran across this ugly fabric party over at Charm About You on Tuesday night and was inspired to go see what I could dig up out of my own already too large stash. I discovered that I really love all my fabric and can see many possibilities. Yes, there is some that I bought for a particular purpose that turned out to be not as perfect as I had hoped. There are some pieces that are not 'rock star' focus fabric but that will work admirably in a supporting roll, or in a backing... there just aren't that many that I have purchased that I look at and think... WHAT was I thinking?  I do have a nice 32"x34"panel that I will probably not use in the foreseeable future. I bought it as a possible charity baby quilt but it really has more wall hanging potential. The image is cute, but not super sharp and the rest are all lovely colors and supporting patterns. It would be a great thing to practice some free motion quilting on... not too big, lots of places to play. Let me know if you are interested. It even has a label all ready for it printed on the fabric. The photo only shows part of it, the border is complete all the way around.
For some reason this photo won't post upright, sorry.

I have this piece a shy yard by 42" that was sent to me along with an online order. I did wash it but can't imagine using it for anything.

Then I realized I had only looked in the filing cabinet and the shelves in the closet... what about that fabric bin over in the corner? The bin of shame...  Well, that is a whole other story. There are fabrics in there I am embarrassed to say that I own... awful calicoes that I bought before I really knew how to quilt. Stuff that wasn't really worth posting photos off even. I have one really atrocious kelly green one that has crows dressed in overalls and straw hats... ugh.  So I do have some uglies... REALLY uglies, but these would have to be cut into REALLY tiny pieces for me to want to see them in a quilt, anyone's quilt!

If anyone is interested in the panel or the blue with birds leave me a comment and I will pick a random comment by the 18th of February, next Saturday.  Thanks for stopping by.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Challenge for the week, and a new pattern (maybe)

Good morning... or afternoon, or evening for that matter, depending on what time you see this. The point is that I hope you are having a pleasant portion of your day as you browse around at nice things to look at and amusing things to read on the internet I was delighted to see that the tangle pattern Sanibelle was chosen as the challenge at The Diva this week because it has been a favorite of mine since I found out about Zentangle a few months back. I used it quite a lot for a while and had been trying to branch out and use new ones recently. I have been less than impressed with my recent tangle efforts and it was good to get back to a comfortable, familiar pattern. So here are my entries for this week. BTW, CONGRATULATIONS to Laura Harms on winning the Most Fascinating Blog of the 2011 in the teaching category!! Totally well deserved - you rock!

Does the pattern at the bottom of the ZIA above look familiar? It is sort of a tangleation of Nightsbridge I guess. Just add random bouncing spots. The one below makes me want chili for dinner... kidney beans anyone?

This is one I did some time ago and somehow never shaded (fixed that this morning) and never scanned in... maybe I didn't like it at the time. I think it shows that Sanibelle does not have to be done en-mass to be effective and pretty... it works with just a few motifs to fill in a V shaped space with elegance.

I had a couple of comments about the wavy pattern in the last ZIA in my post from last week which also shows up in the top entry to this challenge. I was looking for any known pattern that might resemble it. No one came up with anything and I haven't run across any so far either. So, here is a stab at breaking it down... it is very easy actually.

I am calling it groovy because, despite how the lines and shading make it look in drawn form, in the original pattern (found in the wooden panels in an elevator) the white spaces in the tangle pattern were smooth curved grooves in the panel, just the right size to run a finger down. It was a very soothing and textural touchy-feely pattern. I tried not to fondle it too much lest I creep out the others in the elevator and embarrass my pre-teen son. Here it is paired with Inapod and Footlights and River. Note that the sine waves that make up the backbone of the pattern should touch at the peaks, or very nearly. The lines that fill in the spaces should meet the sine wave spine smoothly and at an acute angle to get the right flowing feel. 

I hope you have a fabulous and productive week. Thanks for stopping by.

Monday, February 6, 2012

It's Still Monday!

But just barely! I took my design wall photo earlier today while I actually worked on the project up there! For a whole hour!  But that was only after cleaning up the three year old's room and putting some laundry away, and before making lunch and teaching a science club class after school, making dinner, ruining 4 petri dishes - tell me what good are petri dishes you can't sterilize by boiling? - replacing said petri dishes at the local school supply store and filling 6 of them with nutrient agar all the while coaching an 8 year old through the design of an 'incubator' made out of a cardboard box, a heating pad and a wireless thermometer that usually lives on the front porch and tells me if the kids need a coat before heading to the bus in the morning. Wow, that was an impressive run-on sentence! This project is on my quarterly To-Do list for the Finish Along, so I am proud that I am actually working on it. Sadly, I thought I needed only two more blocks and maybe some borders but...

...after finishing those two I think it is still an odd proportion and really needs another row of four - each block is 12.5". I have enough fabric for the backings and I think enough for all the sashing strips I need - it is a QAYG string quilt sewn together with narrow strips on the front and a folded strip on the back that flips over and has the folded edge sewn down later - similar to binding. I will have to look at the yardage I have left next and decide. I am thinking about a border of the fireworks fabric on the left... still no decision there. This is a charity quilt that was never finished when I still ran the quilting group at my church. It will go to the county foster care group who will see that a foster care child will have a little something to call their own, even if the bed they sleep in is not technically theirs. I think the cute little baseball theme should fit right in for a sports loving boy. The black stripe fabric that runs down the center of each block is also the back of the quilt.

To see what everyone else was up to today, jump on over to Judy's Design Wall Monday post - those little thumbnail photos are always so enticing... little windows into other quilters projects and processes, successes and challenges. Have a great week.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

My Zentangling for the week.

Whew! This week's challenge is to draw a whole Zentangle piece with your non dominant hand. I will admit to laughing out loud when I read this challenge on Monday as I was waiting to have my dominant hand X-rayed at the time. Sunday morning I was ruthlessly tripped in mid stride by my own bootlaces getting tangled (and not the good kind!) up on the wrong lacing hooks and fell badly on my hand. I ended up bending several fingers backward and the hand was swollen and very sore. The good news is that it was not broken  and it is getting better, slowly. The even better news is that while I was alternately applying ice and heat to the right hand I could tangle with my left!

I will admit that they turned out better than I had hoped. It TOOK FOREVER since I had to creep along at a snails pace to get a decent line quality. I also had to keep stopping myself from switching hands. This is another lefty piece. I was not about to fill in the whole space with Tipple with my left hand... just shoot me now! I was losing patience. I guess this was mostly an excersize in patience for me. I could forgive the wobbles, although I didn't like them,because I am, as they say, all thumbs on my left. It did frustrate me to have to go so slow when I knew I could whip it out using my right hand. 

Then I thought I would show you the finished purple challenge that I presented only partly done a few weeks ago.  I got some good advice via comments and took those to heart in trying to find just the right tangle to finish it up.
And, finally I thought I would show this one done during a very busy week last week. The string was arrived at by laying a few of my wavy hairs out on the page (not the gray ones, they are too hard to see against the white!) and tracing the line they made on the paper. The tangels are mostly recognizable except maybe the one on the bottom right. It was inspired by the wood (faux I am sure) paneling on the inside of an elevator I rode that week. It was a fabulous texture and very touchable. I am sure there were people who wondered why the crazy lady in the elevator was stroking the walls! I really like the ink build up where the lines flow together. Does anyone recognize this as an already names pattern? Or might this be a new one? The closest I could come up with was Scrumble, but it is really totally different than that in both process and end result. Do let me know if I a missing out on one like this that is already out there. 

Thanks for stopping by and have a great week.