Sunday, May 20, 2012

tangling in color

Wow, its been almost a week since I checked in here. I have been not sewing at all this week and just tangling here and there as I try to gear up to pack and launch the summer plans. I also got caught up in a couple of books and just went ahead and burned through those so I could move on with other things. I am not super patient when it comes to pacing myself reading. When I get into a book I really like with characters I am interested in I really become preoccupied with their fate and have a hard time putting  the book down. Better to rip right through it and reach the conclusion so those questions stop bothering me. Then I can go back at my leisure and revisit all the fine details with 20/20 hindsight, so to speak.

Anyway, Laura over at the Diva challenged us to use a color, sepia to be specific, in our tangling this week. It is ironic that just a couple of weeks ago I made a special stop at the hardware store to raid the paint chips for possible tangling purposes. I used a white Jelly Roll pen on this chocolate brown one and really like the effect. Unfortunately I tried a Micron on a different color and brand of paint ship and the ink would not dry. It remained smudgable. Too bad! I haven't had any more time to play with pen and chip combinations to find ones that work together - but I love the idea - paint chip colors are always so appealing to me - especially in to store where they are all arrayed where you can see them at the same time! In the case of this chocolate coco chip by Behr I think the Inapod was inspired by thinking of cocoa pods.

Of course I also had to try the new Zentangle pattern Pea-nuckle when the directions came out this week. It was a toughie for me, hard to predict at first. Definitely one to practice in order to learn how it will grow so it can be incorporated into the whole. I do like the final result of it when it takes on the look of a spiral. I tried to capture the spiral ends coming through holes in framing pieces of paper... like stitches holding something together. I shaded it with a brown pencil to retain the color difference. I got lucky this week in that just in time for the challenge I ran across a set of Copic Sepia pens and also a set of Copic ash gray pens on clearance. So now I have both colors to play with.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Monday, Monday

Good Monday, everyone!  I had lots of time for sewing this weekend (thank you for a day off mom duties for mother's day), unfortunately I didn't actually finish anything. I am beginning to think I have a real problem in this department. Partly the culprit this weekend was the super clearance batik precuts I ran into on Friday. I mean, 22 2.5" strips of batik for $3.50 I just couldn't turn down. I even knew what I wanted to try with them and started cutting almost right away on Friday. I have one set all cut up and sewn together (I bought three) and found some strips I had left over from a different batik project a while back and cut those up for a little more variety and incorporated those as well. I don't know if I am going to have time to work more on this before the end of the school year for the kids, all that cutting is tie consuming. I think I like where it is going, although it is still a little hard to tell at this point. I am using Judy Laquidara's free Peaches and Dreams pattern - although this looks NOTHING like her original!

I suppose I have decided on the final layout for the New York Beauties. I should have worked on getting those sewn together and decided on some borders, but I didn't. They are pinned and off the wall next to the sewing machine - maybe later today.** Edited to add a natural light photo of the blocks all pieced together Yea! it is all together!**

I did get the HST quilt I have posted about before all pieced together. Now I need to decide what I want to do with it. It does look smart all sewn together and the secondary pattern of diagonal stripes really comes out more strongly than it did before it was all condensed. Any suggestions for additions to this one? It is only 36" x 36" as it stands and I think it needs more, but I can't think of anything that would still allow the HST's to be the focus. What about a total departure from the pieciness of the HST's ... like a band of houses and trees and town buildings all facing the center... call it Cross Roads or Town Squares.

I also pulled a fabric out of the stash that I have been saving for a One Block Wonder wall hanging, got it cut up and got all the hexies sewn in halves. This one I will take with me this summer to play with the placement. This was a first shot just to see what I have. I wish I had more, although I was so grateful to only have this many when I was piecing and pressing them last night! I also have a fish one all in half hexies that I may take to play with too. It just never got put together. I have a little more of this fabric, maybe two repeats worth and three fabrics that are the colors contained in the print so I should be able to put something together.

So that is what is up on my wall. I need to get busy cleaning the house and doing the laundry and beginning to get really organized for the migration in a few weeks. Check out lots of other great design walls over at Patchwork Times.  Have a great week.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Its been a Groovy week.

I have had lots of interesting moments this week looking at the Groovy posts of other tanglers' participating in the "use My Tangle" Diva challenge for this week. There are many different interpretations and different sizes... it has been fun to see. I haven't had a chance to comment on every one, but I have commented more than I usually do and looked at about all of them at one point or another. I was inspired to try some different sizes in another piece.

I still haven't gotten around to some of the variations I would like to try. Maybe next week since the rest of this one is shaping up to be pretty busy with other obligations. Have a great end of the week!

Monday, May 7, 2012

A Challenge? For Me? Why yes, thank you!

Yippee! This week's Diva Zentangle challenge is to use.... my own new tangle, Groovy! How cool is that? I am so anxious to see what others make of this pattern. I had to sit down and whip one out this morning just to celebrate. I do not have a photo of it as I put it on my drawing box, unfortunately, because it isn't finished yet. Here is my morning effort, I am sure I will have to try again later in the week as well. I will be sure to be haunting all the entries in this week's challenge to see how this is interpreted by other fabulous tanglers. Have a great week!

Designs on Monday

Wow, the spring is really moving right along isn't it? I have only a few more weeks to go before we pack it all up and 'migrate' for the summer. I taught a science club class about migration earlier this year and one of the things that inspires animals' yearly migration is the search for more hospitable weather. My son piped up at this point and said "So you migrate in the summer to get away from the heat?" The answer to that would be a resounding YES. I am NOT a hot weather person and if I stay in the south for the furnace-like months of midsummer I am not a person that anyone would want to be around. My husband understands this from experience and does not grumble too much when I pack up the kids and head for higher altitudes and a cooler, drier climate. Missing the 'me' that would be here in the summer would be like pining away for a half-crazed wolverine.
That being said, I am also away from all sorts of media... we have no TV, internet only at the library in town and, while we have a phone, I try my best to ignore the fact - we never had one when I was a kid and I keep it on a high shelf so it is easy to ignore unless it rings (and when there is a thunderstorm since the electrical activity in the air makes it sort of half-ring. We usually call out "storm calling!", it is sort of a standing joke.) We also have very little room in our cozy cabin and what room we have is shared and multipurpose. That all adds up to 'no sewing machine, no room to sew' and 'no posting on ones blog'. So sad, but true and worth all that I gain like lots of screen-less time with my children, lots of time for imagination and hiking and relaxing and nature.
So, I will spend the next few weeks preparing a few hand projects to work on while we are out there. The modern quilt I am appliqueing a border for should be high on the list - I did two of the three borders last summer and have only managed half of the third during the rest of the year. I hope to have it finished when we return. I also want to take the materials required to make the last My Tweets block so I can sew those into a top. Perhaps I will be ambitious and take what may be needed to make, er, begin and applique border for that as well. We shall see. So this is what is on my wall today.

In the mean time I would like to finish putting this top together because I doubt that all the blocks would still be clinging to the wall after a summer's worth of air blowing on it from the nearby vent. I believe I fixed all the placement issues for the blocks and sewed them all into rows together last night. Now I need to press and sew the rows together. I love this method of sewing a place sensitive top together... everything is connected by the threads that go between rows at each seam and there is no chance of getting things backwards back up on the wall.  I think I will keep this one square... maybe make a few rows of something around it to make it bigger... maybe I should pack some graph paper as well. These blocks are only 6" finished so this center will only be 36" square finished. 
I also finished amending a set of blocks for the NYB project I have been working on. They are still not my favorite blocks but that is as much re-doing as I am willing to do on them and I will live with the result.  Now I need to make some decisions about final placement. I thought I had my scheme all worked out, but figured I should at least give other layouts a chance. The top one is my original, the second is another possibility. I kind of like that one... which is your favorite? And am I crazy enough to make a pieced border? What about just NYB block corners and a striped border? I may leave those decisions for the fall unless I am inspired. No use rushing things (I have to chuckle at this... the thought of me rushing and actually getting something finished in one push is almost unheard of!) Ugh, the color is really washed out on these. My flash does this and I usually avoid that my taking pictures in natural light. The wall does not get much natural light and today it is dark and stormy so I have even less to work with. Forgive the washed out look and imagine instead vibrant intense jewel tones.

Do you see those two pink and orange blocks that have 8 rays, 4 pink and 4 orange? Those are the ones that were amended... the inner ray band is different in the second layout. That is the final form... I wish I had done the light pink rays in the darker pink originally, but it did't seem to have enough contrast. Unfortunately the light pink has TOO much and I don't have any of the background fabric left to redo them (and I am NOT picking out the tiny paper piecing stitches!) I may play around with which sets of blocks to use in the center together, but I like the 'order' of the configuration.

Finally, on the wall today are the first 5 blocks of a one block wonder wall hanging that I want to take with me this summer so I can play with the placement... we like to do puzzles on a rainy day and a one block wonder is certainly a kind of puzzle! I have done the cutting and was leader-endering these together while I sewed blocks together for that HST quilt above. 

To check out what is on other quilters' wall today hop over to Design Wall Monday. Have a great week!

Friday, May 4, 2012

Friday Finish! More than one... sort of

I have TWO things to 'Whoop' about this Friday so I can link up with "WhoopWhoop Friday" over at Confessions of a Fabric Addict.

This one has been done for almost two weeks, but I was waiting for the big reveal. So, we gave a retiring teacher a quilt that I made for her last night... the one I have been blogging about for a while that has all the names of the children from her classes back to 1997 on it. I started working on it back in January and posted first about it here and then here and then again here. We had a little stressful moment earlier in the week when she told the PTA president that she couldn't come to the meeting to present a student with an award (our ruse to get her to come) because she had plans with a close friend who was coming into town! AHHHH! Her husband swooped in and saved the day; contacted the friend who subsequently fibbed to the teacher about a change of plans and he and the friend and the teacher's daughter all surprised her at the meeting just as we also surprised her with the quilt. I boohoo'ed through the whole little 3 minute speech - it was really quite horrifying. But its over and she loves it and no one minded the tears because they were choked up too.  So here it is all FINISHED! It is called "The Ripple Effect".

 Here is a close-up... all the light neutral squares have student names and the year they were in her class. The bees are because her class theme was always bees. The flowers and leaves are all machine raw edge applique and the vine is finished edge machine applique. 

The quilter added the bee quilting in the border which is a little distracting on the front but really cute on the back.

And the backing has a bunch of blocks that the teachers and admin staff at school signed as well as the label. It got put on the quilt sideways by accident, but looks just fine anyway.

This is the little speech that went with it (you will have to imagine the wavery tear filled voice I read it in *eyeroll*).
As many of you are aware, after 14 years of teaching second grade at CHES this teacher will retire at the end of the 2011-2012 school year. I know a handful of second graders and I thought that surviving thirteen years of second graders called for some special recognition! In her case, thirteen years worth of second graders amounts to nearly 300; the yearbooks say that 296 students have passed through the doors of her classrooms. I thought about the lasting differences she has most likely made in their lives. I also began to think about the many teachers in my own history that left me with lasting lessons and the teachers that have made big impressions on my own childrens’ academic futures. I realized that many of the words and deeds that have left the most indelible impressions have not necessarily been huge watershed moments in time. Sometimes they are, but more often the little things… the trick to remembering the 9 times table, the pneumonic that helps you remember an important series of facts, the well timed compliment or well thought out criticism, the simple, consistent faith in a child’s potential… those are the persistent ripples that propagate over the surface and into the future, the softest of echoes that you hear over and over again. The small things don’t make as big a splash, but the ripples are just as long lasting.  I think that the ripple effect caused by dropping even those small pebbles in a still pond is a very good analogy for the potential effect a teacher can have on a student’s life. Certainly she has had that sort of a positive and lasting effect on many, many of her students. To thank her for that and so that she may remember all of those ripples that began with her we would like to present her with this gift, a quilt entitled “The Ripple Effect” which contains the names of every one of those students who were lucky enough to have had her as a second grade teacher. Thank you.

So that is my BIG Whoop, Whoop! for this Friday. I am also thrilled to be finished with 16 New York Beauty blocks that I started a little over a month ago. I have enjoyed the journey, its not totally over yet but there is NO WAY I would have the patience to make a huge number of these blocks... not at this phase of my life. I do really love some of the color combinations I have here and would love to see a whole quilt of them... but I think a wall hanging will do for now! Here is the almost final arrangement, I think... (the color is bad here thanks to the flash but there is little natural light on this cloudy day)

I like the symmetry of the layout, but I think I will play some before sealing the deal and sewing them together. I am also not happy with the pair of blocks with the 8 orange and light pink rays... it is too light (even more so in this picture where everything washed out a bit). I have redone the interior ray band to see if a change there would help... here is the original

here is the redone inside band done with rays pointing out (instead of in) and in a darker pink... there is less contrast which is why I chose the lighter pink in the first place, but the light pink just doesn't blend with the rest of the color scheme very well. What do you think? Original, the one with the new ray band or a totally redone block with the new inner ray band and the long rays redone in darker pink too (oh please nobody vote for the last one - way too much work!). If I didn't have to be the one to do it I would vote for the last option, I may settle for the middle one... that is only two seams with normal length stitches to pick out...

So that is my Friday Whooping. I hope to have some designing for a hand project done by Monday so I can set it aside to take with me on vacation this sumer - it is rapidly approaching and if I don't plan now I'll end up not having stuff to work on while away from the machine. Thanks for stopping by!

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

More Zentangle action

Good afternoon all! This blog has had a busy day. Since Linda Farmer at sent out the link to the directions for Groovy, my new tangle pattern I have had more hits than I usually get in a month! Very exciting to be 'published', look for me in the "G's".
To bad I didn't have time this morning to post my challenge entries for The Diva's Challenge #68 Duo Tangle: Hybrid/Strircles! I had not used either tangle before so it was a fun challenge. Here are my pieces...the first one is a little rough... lots of ideas floating, no real organization in my head yet...
The second came out better, although the Hybrid section at the bottom was supposed to look like the Hybrid section at the top but I lost focus at a critical moment and started doing lines in the wrong place! Ahh, 'no mistakes' right? Hybrid does have lots of potential doesn't it? I really like the effect of curved lines and the variation of doing some sections with wide lines and some with narrow. I'd like to play more with it, varying the pitch of the original diagonals among other things.

The Strircles sections in the second was inspired by a stained glass window that I designed and made while in grad school (one of the many distractions that my research advisor felt certain would delay me finishing my PhD indefinitely. She was wrong!). It was a fun exercise in thinking about issues of color and transparency and designing things in a way that it could be made in glass. Sadly there is no window in my current house that it can hang in unobstructed so it sits in my closet.

I am also going to post a couple of old challenges that were either done too late or done in time with no time to post...

This one was a challenge from March sometime to use Paradox and spirals in the same tangle. Thanks to a very long committee meeting I made one big spiral and Paradoxed the whole thing.

The next one was a challenge to use Fengle which I love, but have a hard time incorporating with other tangles smoothly... I guess this could have been an entry for Laura's Aura's too!

One last one I finished this afternoon... I have been trying hard to use a string in my pieces without following the lines as a hard edge. I think I succeeded better than usual with this one, and got to use HiC's which I have been wanting to use. 

That is all for now, I have some quilting things to post later this week... lots of exciting 'near finishes' that I am working on, and one that is done but I can't share until Friday.  See you then.