For the second week of the Stay at Home Round Robin challenge, Chris asked us to make piano keys.
In the world of quilting a piano keys border is one with narrow rectangles in assorted colors sewn together. Oh, I get it, this is like string piecing!
After looking at the other participant’s interpretations, I came back to my own center panel. I decided that my main objective for this round is to continue the outward thrust of the corner triangles. Using the same fabrics, I made half square triangles to use as corner posts.
Then I got out my orange and blue-green fabric scraps, cut them into two inch wide strips and sewed the strips together on the long edge. I alternated the two hues and arranged them from light to dark in shade.
These were cut cross-wise into three inch strips, which I then attached to my panel, adding the corner posts as I went along.
This post is linked with the group Stay At Home Round Robin. If you would like to see the work of other members….
In a traditional round robin, quilters make a block, then pass it to the next quilter who would add to it, then pass to the next, and so on, until the piece had completed its circulation. The final result is a big surprise to the original quilter when it returns to her.
This is a COVID version. Each quilter keeps her original block, but responds to weekly challenges by adding a border around her block. Each quilter in the round robin is responsible for providing one prompt to the group.
Can I try? I’m kinda new to quilting, but I have a few pieces of fabric left over from projects I finished last year. I invited myself to participate. Chris said, “go for it.”
Today each quilter is unveiling her center block. I better get started. First I pulled a few leftover strips that seemed to be big enough.
Both fabrics were experiments. The center piece is overpainted with opaque turquoise. then stamped with a metallic bronze color. The orange piece was painted pale pink, then a resist applied, followed by a deep orange paint. Removing the resist reveals pink lines.
So I have my palette, but I need supporting fabrics and a plan for the rest of the block. During my stash rummage, I turned up this beautiful batik that I had bought just because it was on sale.
The other two fabrics are too small, so I went to the hobby store to buy similar colors.
That part was easy for me. Selecting a block design? I needed help, so I got out a quilting reference book by Celia Eddy.
Gosh, I am so glad I bought this. Now, focusing on patterns that feature a center design and are not too hard for a beginner, I selected this one.
The pattern is called Economy, and includes a square, a right-angle triangle, a focus fabric and three supporting fabrics. It is rated for beginning quilters. Within an hour or so, I had put together my block.
If you also are intrigued by doing a round robin quilt, check out this group.
Below is the schedule of the designers and links to their blogs.
While it was a struggle to pull my eyes away from yesterday’s news feed, I got a surprising amount of work done. We even managed to take down and store the Christmas tree.
My new approach to watercolor painting adopted on Jan 1st has me excited about the potential. This time I chose to apply a quinacridone red wash. After it dried, I added a miniature landscape of snow-covered mountains at dawn.
This took me very little time to complete and I enjoyed every brush stroke.
Moving on to sewing, I got another block design worked up on the Animal Friends project. Here is a little pet condo in bright colors and fun geometric shapes.
That brings my completed block count on the project to twelve. I’m half-way there!
And finally, I found a use for some old yarn from a knitted item that I frogged almost ten years ago. It is a KnitPicks yarn called Gloss – a very soft blend of wool and silk in a dark green color. I bought three balls of a complimentary color to make this charming capelet.
My usual practice on New Year’s Day is to clean out my clothes closet, eliminating all those items I no longer wear and taking stock of any needs for replacements. But this year? Staying at home 90% of the time? Who needs new clothes! I fell into a consistent pattern of wearing jeans or stretch pants and cotton knit shirts.
So today, I will ignore my closet and instead look back at the work emerging from my studio. In glancing at my 2020 posts, I realize how much my work has changed since I started this blog in 2019. What comes to the front are the forays into making art quilts and painting with watercolors. But I’ll start with my first love –
While this year was not a high point in creative design, my output was strong. I completed 3 hats, 4 pair of socks, a toddler sweater, a dress, a top down cardigan, a serape and a water bottle holder. My most complex object was the Weaver’s Square vest made for my daughter.
Technically, I did design this garment. But the fair isle pattern on the vest’s back was adapted from one I saw on Knit/Lab’s website. I don’t take credit for that part. The vest turned out pretty great and she loved it. Here are a few photos of some other knits I made this year:
I finished the year with two UFO’s – a pair of men’s socks and a pair of gloves.
Last year I was focused on learning to sketch. But this year, I was determined to start painting. To that end, I joined the local art association and signed up for some on-line classes. Anyone who has tried to paint with watercolor will freely admit that the medium has its own set of challenges. I spent the year more disheartened than encouraged. In July I followed the daily challenge on World Watercolor Month, organized by Charlie O-Shields of Doodlewash. That’s when I started to see some improvement. I began by painting copies of other people’s photographs. Eventually I was able to paint from my own photographs, from life, and from my imagination. Here are a few favorites.
Confession: I learned how to quilt only for the purpose of realizing my fiber ideas. So there are a lot of technical areas of quilting that I choose not to pursue. While my favorite thing to do with fabric is to paint on it, I am willing to piece fabric into a quilt top when my inspiration seems to require it. I use commercially printed fabric as well as hand painted fabric for these pieces. During the past year I learned how to mount small art quilts onto stretched canvas. This allows me to present them as works of art suitable for hanging.
At the beginning of 2021, I find myself with a number of unfinished objects. I also have more ideas than I have energy to pursue.
So perhaps my goal for the new year needs to be a narrowing of ambition. The hardest part is deciding what to leave behind. I love it all.
Lately, I have been a little too serious about my fiber and art pursuits. This realization came to me after reading the following book by Rayna Gillman.
She has been quilting and writing about quilting in the improv style for more than twenty years. I am enamored with the quilt on the cover of this book. And it reminded me about an idea I had some time ago for a playful, dare I say it, Whimsical quilt using the fabric pictured at the top of this post.
First, a little story about how I came to acquire the dog and cat print. Two years ago I was teaching fiber arts to a group of homeschooled kids. For our lesson using fabric paint, I purchased this and a few other black on white prints that were suitable for over-painting. When the students were asked to choose a fabric, no one selected this one. I was mystified. Don’t all little children love cats and dogs?
Fast forward to this year. During a fabric rummaging session, I came across the print and thought about using dogs and cats as the center patch of a log-cabin block.
How cute would this be looking out of a child’s quilt?
I decided to pair it with this print, giving me the project’s color scheme.
So last week I got busy cutting strips of many colors, stripes, prints, dots, etcetera. The more I cut, the happier I felt.
I followed Rayna Gillman’s general suggestions for sewing the strips into sets.
…….and then cutting them up and sewing them to background fabric. After a few hours of stitching, cutting and stitching some more, I had my prototype block.
The working title for this project is “Dog House, Cat Barn, Animal Friends.” In addition to dog house blocks, I intend to make a block with a cat in a barn. Some of my blocks may have both animals in the centers. Who knows how far I can push this idea?
This may be the start of a jolly, fun, playful and whimsically fibery love affair.
While visiting my mom last week, she showed me this quilt, just come back from the long arm shop. She called it her Pandemic Quilt. Apparently, in order to earn that name, a quilt must be made entirely with materials you already have in your stash.
She told me that the inspiration for this improv, scrappy quilt came when she was experimenting with embroidery patterns available on her new, very fancy, baby lock machine. Take a look at the flower in the upper left corner block, above. After working this center she cut it into the shape of a pentagon. This allows for the crazy log-cabin piecing to take place. After a little experimenting, she embroidered the block centers first, made her cuts and then did the piecing. The centers include the words “Spring” and “Summer.”
The white sashing and black cornerstones give the quilt a fresh modern feel.
Good work, Mom. I love to see you get creative.
Addendum: Jackie says,
” I think this quilt is a good example of combining techniques. The embroidery is strictly modern and surrounded by an old technique of crazy patch piecing. A purist would hand quilt this but my old arthritic hands no longer hand quilt so it was finished on a long arm machine which is also a modern invention. “
Today I finished up my practice sample for the Duckweed fiber object. This involved making the quilt sandwich and quilting.
I started with the walking foot and black thread. The stitching included wavy lines over the foreground and sewing around the duck. Next I switched to white thread and the free motion foot for creating the ripples around the base of the duck and outlining the duck’s wing feathers. I continued on my making white ripples to match the black ones in the foreground. To finish up, I used yellow-green thread to quilt the background.
As I worked, I began to like it more and more.
For the purpose of comparison, here is the inspiration photo.
And here is a close-up of my duck.
Making this piece was really good practice. I might do some things a little bit differently when I begin work on the main piece. I’ll give this project a few days rest and come back to it with fresh eyes.
For the past couple of weeks I have been working on a new project. It’s inspired by this photo, which I captured in September at a nature reserve in Madison WI.
I didn’t have any big expectations for this quick snap of a group of mallard ducks. But when I looked at it on my computer, I was captivated by the foreground – a mish-mash of colorful and spotted reflections. How might I create this look in fabric?
For this project I chose to use ring-necked ducks instead of mallards.
I love the black and white coloration and the crispness of its markings. Since this species of duck is also native to Wisconsin, I decided that it was a fair exchange.
For the background, I selected some commercially printed and hand-painted fabric. these were sewn together in strips. Next I pieced together the first three ducks.
Eventually details will be painted on the ducks with fabric paint.
I took a pause for a few days. I want to use the confetti technique to render the mottled foreground. But this is a very new technique to me. So it makes sense to practice first.
I put together an extra duck so I could practice painting his reflection.
The next step? Go to U-tube to watch some instructional videos on the confetti technique. I had done this already, but the second viewing helped me work up my confident. With the prepared fabric in hand, I applied fusible webbing to the backs and cut them up into pieces. For the next hour or so, I fiddled around with layout.
Did I mention that the title of this work is “Duckweed?” I guess I forgot to say. When I was at the marsh, it was the duckweed that really caught my attention. It was growing about the pond profusely in an intensive shade of green. This is what I am attempting to depict with my confetti pieces.
I next fused the duck in place and stitched a piece of tulle over the whole sample. The purpose of the tulle is to make the quilting easier. Here is where I left off today:
I’m fairly happy with my work. But I want to try rendering the reflection in the confetti technique instead of paint. I also want to work on the shapes of the confetti pieces.
Fellow blogger friends, please bear with me for posting something that is meant for a narrower audience.
I’ve decided to gift many of the fiber objects that I have made over the past two years to family members. To that end, I am publishing this virtual trunk show.
Here goes: Dear family, you have been so good to each other and to me this year. I want to offer you my fiber pieces as a thank you. The images below are organized by category. I have several knitted accessories, some watercolor sketches and a few art quilts. Let me know which ones you like. I will be bringing these objects home on Thanksgiving. That week-end, I will have a real trunk show, so that you can see and hold the objects before making your final choices.
To see images close up, click on each.
Knitted shawls, scarves, hats and other
Water color sketches
You may call with any questions or email me, at my aol address.