something is happening at the zoo

Today I discovered the internet has decided I am a gay, Russian man with erectile dysfunction so I guess I should go figure out a spam system for my site. <sigh> Unfortunately, this is type of work is too close to what people actually pay me for to do on a Sunday – so next week maybe. In the mean time, if I accidentally delete your comments, let me know. This is only if you comment directly on the site; Facebook should be fine

I started a new quilt, based on animals. This has extra meaning for me because my grandmother used to make quilts where she would take coloring book pages of animals and trace them.  I have some unfinished blocks she started and have used them in previous quilts like the ducky quilt on the back and in the cow in Paul’s quilt.

Anyway, I use my own technique. She traced them on the fabric with ball point pen and zigzagged around them. I put two layers of fabric over a piece of paper with the image on it. I draw over the image from the back with free motion on the sewing machine.  Here is my first camel attempt:

Steve and Paul loved it. However, when I told Steve about the next step, trimming it and zigzagging the edges, he didn’t think it would work out because of the color of thread I had used, He thought it would disappear into the background.  So here is Camel number 2:

I used a reddish brown thread for the base drawing then the lighter thread for detailing. Not sure what I will do with the first one yet.

 

 

New Year -new themes

This quilt was made for my family gift exchange. The goal is to bring only handmade gifts. Before Thanksgiving I got out the box of misfit blocks. This is a surprising large box of blocks that didn’t for various reasons meet the cut for the finished quilt. Sometimes it was math, that I wanted the quilt to be a different shape than the number of blocks I had. Other times they didn’t fit. There are some experimental blocks as well, blocks that I made one of and then realized I didn’t have the patience or the will to make more of that block.  I sorted them by color and came up with enough blue blocks for a lap quilt (also, yellow and red, but that is for another day) with only a few strips added to size them up. When I had put them together, they just didn’t quite have focal points so I added my theme for the year: birds.

The floral pattern on the back was the only material including batting I bought, and of course, I bought too little so I had to add my own spin.

It is difficult to see but the quilting is also small birds surrounded by wind-like lines.  It fits this year’s Roberta theme of birds, but also evokes the Holy Spirit. Since the birds are white it is also my wish for all of you (and me) for 2017: Peace.  Happy New Year!

 

another cat block

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This is the third cat block. I took the pattern from pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/pin/570972058990043301/.  These kinds of blocks are somewhat tedious to put together, but they are so impactful when they are done, that I periodically get sucked into one. I think this one took me about three weeks of fairly feckless sewing.

 

kitty cat quilt

So as the valentine quilt starts to complete, I working on this quilt that I have been thinking about.  I have one block done already here. This quilt I am taking ideas from pinterest where there is an unlimited amount of cat blocks. The second block I made was an adaptation from this stained glass piece I saw on pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/pin/570972058990043413/

 

cat quilt

The question that I am still debating is whether the cats should have faces.  I have started a third block also- more to come.

new blocks

I can’t seem to get past the block stage lately, here are a couple new blocks.

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The top one may not make the quilt because it is out of scale.  I am disappointed in my math.  I had cut out these little squares a long time ago and tried to make the heart the right size for them.  I had to come to terms with the fact that having perfect corners is not in the plan for right now. There is something in the intensity of color that resonates with me very strongly.

 

 

long cold weekend

My youngest buddy had his wisdom teeth out on Friday.  He is doing well, but because of this, the weather and football we had an inside weekend.  I spent a lot of time sewing while binge watching House (just in case he had medical complications) and going through things and discarding them.  I read The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing by Marie Kondo last week. Really good book.  I have about four bags of discards on the porch specifically of items that no longer give me joy.  If you think that on my porch in brown paper bags your joy is hidden, let me know. I am totally willing to deliver joy to your house if you live within 40 blocks of my house and if it is contained in brown paper bags on my porch.

On Saturday I discovered that I had a box of colored pencils and Steve had a box of color pencils.  The difference between his and mine was that his were all perfectly sharpened. Even though we both are artists, there is no way we would ever use all these colored pencils.  So being somewhat OCD, I inventoried all the colored pencils to make sure that we had every color before I give the balance away.This was a several step, completely crazy process.  In case anyone needs a completely OCD method of deciding to keep or discard colored pencils, I am sharing it here.

Step one: Lay out all of Steve’s colored pencils, according to the spectrum.  Lay out all of my colored pencils according to the spectrum. These must remain separate until the next step.

Step two: Save all the white pencils.  You really cannot have too many white pencils when you sew. Also, silver.

Step three: Starting with yellow, sort all of the pencils by color name and manufacturer.

Step four: If there is no duplicate, save. If there are duplicate of color and manufacturer, this is no guarantee of these pencils being the same exact shade especially if the paint color of the pencil is a different color. If you give away a Rose Art yellow that is slightly, almost, but not quite imperceptibly, different from another Rose Art yellow colored pencil your life will be irretrievably ruined.

Step five: This step requires 25 years of foresight.  Marry an artist who will allow you to interrupt him multiple times while he is reading the paper to color several nearly perfect quarter inch swatches of pencils that look nearly the same but not exactly.

Step six: Chose the best pencil from the duplicates based on completely arbitrary reasons including size, how sharp they are and the mood of chooser.

Step six: Repeat steps 3-6, for all the other colors.  Correct order is: yellow, red, orange, green, blue, violet, brown and black. I don’t know why, but this order is deeply true and proper.

This process takes about 45 minutes or for the people who keep time more accurately: one episode of House with the commercials removed. This time frame also includes one good-natured argument about whether it is crazier to perfectly sharpen fifty or so colored pencils or to spend a Saturday morning sorting them carefully for discard. I lost that argument pretty soundly. That I have spent forty five minutes documenting this process in this blog nails the lid on the coffin of that argument. Also, provides solid evidence for why I work in provider data.

So for people who read this blog for quilting, I finished three more blocks for my Quilting Block & Pattern-a-day 2016 Calendar:

 

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This one I will use for sure. I have a kitty cat quilt in queue after the Wizard of Oz quilt.  Already built the pinterest page.  In an only vaguely related aside, if you are interested, here is the No Place like Home inspiration page on pinterest.

I blew the block up to 8 inches.  In fact, any of these appliqued blocks I am blowing up to 8 inches instead of what the instructions say. That would be one criticism I have of these patterns.  Many of these quilts are based on 12×12 blocks.  This requires me to have xerox machine or go to a copy store because my computer printer only allows paper up to 8 1/2 and 11.  I would suggest that most blocks be 8 inches or less.  It would actually be nice if the calendar was big enough to allow 6 inch squares and the designs could be that size so the designs could be as is.  I suspect that most people are not using these as fun puzzles like me and may actually make the quilts as designed so I won’t complain too hard.

Here are two other blocks from the calendar:

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This one turned out a little lopsided.  I used a different technique for applique for this one than the previous ones.  The previous ones, I used reverse applique and the xeroxed pattern as stabilizer.  This one I cut the pieces and used glue stick to hold them. I will do a comparison of applique techniques in a future blog.   The yellow center piece I used English applique, a hand applique technique.  If I use this in a quilt, I will probably slash the back and stuff to add more dimension to the applique.

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