Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Shoofly quilt not yet revealed

Sorry, I posted a blog that was incomplete, as is the shoofly quilt. I hit the publish icon when I was trying to hit a save and preview button... It will come back later for the full story and photos.

Friday, January 25, 2013

"Birds in Air" a small quilted throw

Birds in Air completely quilted and bound waiting for a wash and label
One last step, a label, to complete my Birds in Air throw quilt for the Madrone Road Fabric Challenge. The rules were simple, make a quilted project of any size or shape using the fabrics given out at DC Modern Quilt Guild meeting in December 2012 and any solid color fabrics. The challenge winners get your quilt project included in Madrone Road Fabrics booth in the Modern Quilters Conference  Feb. 2013. These have to be completed and photographs entered in a Flickr. group for judging by Jan. 31st. I will load my completed quilt tonight on the finished project Flickr.com group follow the link to see some of the many other projects entered in the contest.
Birds in Air photo from a book that inspired me to use this design for Madrone Road Challenge
This quilt top, is inspired by an antique quilt in one of my books from 1880. Since the challenge gave us so little material I decided small triangles of printed fabric mixed with white background would be a light and bight way to spread out the precious Madrone Road cotton fabrics. Planning was tough for me because of the math. I didn't know how big it would end up being and in the end I used two different sizes of triangle squares to us as much of the fabric as possible. The problem became how many flocks of birds would fit together to make a nice size quilt top. The original antique had big flocks of many birds and was a full bed sized quilt. With the little bit of fabric I had I could have made one big bird flock block but that didn't appeal to me when I considered the possible layouts.

First set of triangle squares were all 3 inch and fit together this way.

second set of large and small bird flocks laid out with solid candy blue Kona backing fabric
 Eventually I landed on adding smaller blocks down one side and the biggest squares were reduced to only 4 squares per set. This layout gave my project a nice spread enough to be a small throw.

swatches of Madrone Road and white background (sky) muslin

working on the embroidery label
finished label on the back 

crinkles after cold wash and a few minutes in a dryer

full front view of quilted throw "Birds in Air" 31 x 58 inches 

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

tiny quilt project

Madrone Road Fabric swatches plus white for quilting Challenge 

I have a new project finally underway, a challenge I mentioned earlier. It's the Madrone Road Challenge given out to DC Modern Quilt Guilder members who wanted to play with these lovely fabrics. To prepare over the past two weeks I have been practicing making half triangle squares with the Shoofly blocks.
practice blocks of shoofly design

The Madrone road challenge is going to be double triangle squares in a 19th century pattern called "Birds in the Air" It's kind of like flocks flying over head when I look at the simple diamonds of these triangle squares. I am piecing the Madrone Road fabric with pure white muslin to make it go further. I am not sure how big the finished top will be but it has to be done soon and quilted before the end of the month. I hope to get it near done by the DC Modern Quilt Guild meeting on Jan. 19th or perhaps I will finish there at the sewing day meet up. It can't be very big in the end with only fabric  6/8ths of a yard but it is fun to have a matched set of fabrics for a change.
preview of the birds in the air layout 

1956 Thunderbird with Dan Murray at NGA

Last week I went to see the great retrospective exhibition of Roy Lichtenstein a famous pop artist known for his paintings of cartoons at National Gallery of Art with my pal Dan and he drove us down to the mall in his coral Thunderbird. I couldn't resist a photo of the car in front of the picturesque Capitol. The show is great fun and got me thinking about updating my quilting designs. Dan agrees I have traditional quilting down and I can slip some modern quilts in my folio. Traditional is historic and that is my favorite thing still it is nice to live in our times and reflect what is around us in some way.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

shoofly a new year's project

first blocks using two plaid fabrics gifted by Jason Alexander
Last week when I was thinking about how to use some fabric that I have for a DCMQG challenge. These fabrics are a collection of Madrone Road prints. Five little one eight yard squares are to be turned into something quilted by end of this month. Since I only have those fabrics in small supply I started looking around for a new block design I liked and wanted to try. Studying a book on the basics of block designs as they are seen by the folding of paper "origami"  helped. Kei Kobayashi's 520 Quick and Easy Patchwork Designs published in 1993 gives me all the basic designs broken down into groups of numbers of squares that make up a square block in a zillion different ways. It's mind blowing to see them all drawn out in simple black white and gray formatting. Luckily that book also has a few full color heirloom quilt examples to help the quilter visualize possible uses of these simple graphics. The black and white designs become a skeleton to build your block designs in your choice of colors. I was thinking about how to divide the Madrone Road fabrics up into light, dark and medium values when I came upon the idea of making a test block using some other fabric.
laying out pieces to build each set of blocks on the  ironing board 
 During my Christmas visit to Manassas, I was given some old clothes by a friend as  I was showing him some of my quilting projects. Jason Alexander and his wife Maria are fun people and live the good life following their dreams. He makes pottery and teaches and they are in the process of building a home and studio in the woods... I began making a Shoofly block the day after Christmas and New years day I finished the 28th block using two woven plaid fabrics from Jason and a number of my blue and white fabrics from my recent projects. It's always exciting to be in the process and usually snow balls once I get a pattern going. This was meant to be a test block project for the Madrone Road fabric challenge and seems to have expanded into something much bigger. Who would have thought that such a small bit of fabric could inspire so many blocks.

Also inspiring me was another gift, the beautiful new book by Denyse Schmidt Modern Quilts Traditional Inspiration. I got permission from this book to substitute a few like fabrics that were not from the same sources, they look alike enough to pass and add some sparkle to the finish collection of blocks. Doing this reminded me what my color teacher, Mary Buckley, always told us to do when working with color "add sparkles, glitter" or some feeling of a brightness to make the work live! Leaving off some of the perfectly matched fabrics and adding the almost matched is a real relief to the eye but I know it is unseen at first glance.

Here are the images of the blocks, now I am trying to sort out what the blank spaces will be filled with to finish to top. Will I use white like the felt wall, pebble gray print- a neutral with texture, darker blue or perhaps a light lavender, then there is a surprise orange? Those are a few choices I have to make before I take the next step to complete this top and any suggestions from you readers are always welcome.

some of the mixed up shoofly blocks on the white felt wall

shoofly blocks on pebble gray

shoofly blocks on warm blue
the orange option 

yellow on hand recommended by Elle