Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Observations on Natural, Light, Low-Volume Fabrics

A few years ago when I was still relatively new to quilting I made this quilt using Amanda Jean Nyberg's pattern, "Sunday Morning."  The pattern called for "low-volume" fabrics. 

My understanding of "low volume" was any fabric that had a low quantity of pigment in the color:   white, off-white, cream, and pastel or pastel-ish.  I used strips of white, cream, tan; light/pale greens, blues, yellows, reds (= pinks); and a few fabrics with white/off-white backgrounds printed with slightly stronger colors.

When I look at that quilt now I see a rainbow of light fabrics.  It was fun to make but I don't love it.  When my older daughter asked if she could have it, I jumped at the chance to give it a new home.

When I began working on the scrappy backgrounds for "Stars on Scrappy Backgrounds" ...

... I was more selective about the tints and tones of the fabrics I used for those blocks.  Most were in the light natural/creamy range, but I chose a few fabrics that included pink/coral/rose and a few with tans and grays.

And when I cut the fabric from behind those appliqued stars ...

... and used the 4" scrappy pieces for another quilt, I was even more selective about the ranges of naturals and low-volume fabrics I used and how many "colors" I included.

I think both of the quilts below have a completely different feel even though both are low-volume.

Neither is right or wrong, better or worse, than the other but knowing that the light fabrics I choose for my quilts will influence the feel of the quilts gives me more control over the finished results.

Most quilters are probably aware of these differences and variations in tints and tones of natural/light/low-volume fabrics.  I think I was too but it became more obvious as I was looking at photos of these two quilts.  My preference is for the warmer, creamy tones but I know there will be times when the cooler greys, blues, and greens will work better for a quilt.

What are your observations when sewing with light fabrics?


Sunday, June 18, 2017

Slow Stitching

If the opportunity arises to do some handwork today these flowers will get some stitches. 

I'm stitching Cheri Payne's Baskets of Plenty #5. 

Did I ever mention how much I love and look forward to Sunday, the Sabbath?  I love going to church where I worship, renew covenants, learn more about Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ, and interact with other like-minded people.  I also love laying aside the usual work and play of the week:   cleaning, shopping, laundry, eating at restaurants, and most other daily activities, including cutting and sewing quilts.  It is a joy to rest, to read, to work on family history, to write letters, to remember my Savior, and (maybe) to slow stitch when listening to uplifting talks or music.  I think of Sundays as a time to refuel both my body and spirit, to rest and rejuvenate.  I hope you have a restful day today.

I'm linking this post to Slow Sunday Stitching at Kathy's Quilts.  Thanks for hosting, Kathy.


Friday, June 16, 2017

A Lovely Finish

This top is finished and I'm so pleased with it!  I like its calm, gentle brightness and how peaceful it looks and feels.  I imagine the promise of a restful nap or a good night's sleep.

Another blogger described it as "modern and nostalgic."  I agree with both adjectives.  All the small scraps of fabric sewn as they were into 4" squares is something modern quilters are doing.  Sewing four 4" squares into blocks with sashing hearkens to more traditional quilts.

I say the quicker the better to layering and basting this quilt.  It is a warren of seams...

with nests of unraveling threads.

In fact, it leaves trails of thread bits as I carry it from one room to the other to work on it.  If Gretel had carried this quilt she would have been found quickly.  Despite the unraveling, I'm depending on the seams and the seam allowances to keep it together until it's layered and basted.

I've been thinking about the back and the quilting.  With all the seams on the front I can't manage to hand quilt a scrappy, pieced back.  Imagine pushing a needle through batting plus four layers of fabric in some places.  I could handle one or two seams on the back but not more.  I'm also thinking about the color of fabric for the back.  Stay with neutral/white/cream, or choose a color/print in medium or dark?  A light back would give the quilt unity from front to back but a color would give it two sides to enjoy.

I'm not sure how to hand quilt it, either.  The path of least resistance?  Which would be where on this quilt?  I'll mentally work on that while I try to choose a back for it.

This quilt has been oh-so-hard to photograph.  We have had full sun all day, but even on other days it didn't seem to like the camera's eye on it.  I think the photos above and the one just below show its truest colors.  The last photo is a little too creamy to be accurate.

I have been calling this quilt "scrappy leftovers" because I used leftovers cut from behind the stars of this quilt.  If it's going to have a name, I think it should be a more generous one.  Sometimes I imagine cracked glass -- a frosted window -- with light coming through.  If it's to have a name, I'm sure I'll figure it out.

Thanks for visiting.

I'm linking this post to
> finish it up Friday and crazy mom quilts
> Finished or Not Friday at Busy Hands Quilts
> Thank Goodness It's Finished Friday at Cut and Alter
> Can I Get a Whoop Whoop? at Confessions of a Fabric Addict
> Show Off Saturday at Sew Can She
Thanks for hosting, ladies.


Sunday, June 11, 2017

Slowly Sewing Circles

Having gone to church and taken a nap, I find myself still tired.  Three little ones under five are very tiring for an grandmother like me (though I'd rather be tired than not have had them visit!).  I don't have much energy but I find I can't just sit and do nothing.  It seems like the perfect solution is to stitch while I listen to scriptures or church talks online.

These circles look bright but when viewing the whole quilt they are much less so, which is exactly what I wanted.  I hope that's how it looks when the circles are sewn.  Click here for a view of the quilt top.

I'm linking this post to Slow Sunday Stitching at Kathy's Quilts where you can find links to the slow stitching others are doing this week.  Thanks for hosting, Kathy. 


Saturday, June 10, 2017

A Cow's Udder?

With my daughter and grands here all week I didn't have time to work on my Baskets of Plenty block 5 of Cheri Payne's facebook quilt along.  The photo below shows where my thoughts were headed before they came.  Until...

... I asked my husband what he thought.  I nearly always ask him after I have something to look at.  I find that others sometimes see what I've missed.  He commented that he liked the flower on the left but the one the right....  And then he stopped and said he didn't want to influence me.  When I pressed him to tell me what he was thinking he said that the flower on the right made him think of a cow's udder.  A cow's udder?  Really?!

Not to risk others thinking of cows when looking at this basket I changed colors.  (I wasn't absolutely committed to the coral, I just thought the color worked with the basket.)  This was the in-progress basket before our busy grands arrived. 

I didn't take time to take a photo until tonight.  Hmmm.  I checked facebook and saw that Cheri had already posted her finished Block 5.  Then I considered using just one of the blue flowers and adding several round/oval flowers in the salmon/red range.

Since this last photograph I've cut stems, leaves, and the roundish red/coral flowers.  But I'm still playing with the layout and haven't positively decided on one or two blue flowers.  Or maybe I'll go back to coral.  Oh, the possibilities....

I've been late with every one of these blocks.  It's become a pattern.  I started earlier this month and was almost ready to stitch until the "cow's udder" comment and my decision to redirect the block's colors.  Will I ever finish a block before the next block comes out?  Gosh, I hope so!


Monday, June 5, 2017

Prepping Little Circles

The scrap quilt of last post is now a quilt top.  And surprise of surprises, it lays flat.  All those little pieces sewn together into 4" squares, then into blocks with sashing, and now into a quilt top.  And it's flat.  Amazing!

I think it has a bit of a center medallion feel to it.  I played with several layouts but went back to the one with blocks with the lightest sashing in the center.  The fabric of that striped sashing -- I don't know if you can see it very well, but I'll post better photos later -- is one I love with its gentle cream and pale coral colors.  The fabric came from a pair of boxer shorts and there's a limited amount of fabric in boxers  I would have used it for all the blocks in the quilt had I had enough of it.

Today I cut out circles for the center blocks,

and basted the edges.  I still don't have success with needle-turned applique, so it's basting for me.

I considered cutting circles by hand, without a pattern, but in the end decided to trace the circles on the back of the fabric and use a cardboard pattern to press them into the same size.  While the pieces of each square are random sizes, shapes, and tints, the overall feel of the quilt to me is one of precision, with each block and sashing exactly the same size.  I decided the circles should also be uniform.  I plan to put circles around the edges, too, but in a different fabric.

I wish I could photograph the colors accurately.  Maybe I'll find just the right lighting when the top is finished, or when the quilt is quilted and bound.  For now, this is as good as it gets.

I was able to get this far because my daughter and children are coming this evening.  They needed to be at church on Sunday.

I'm linking this post to
> Monday Making at Love Laugh Quilt 
> Oh Scrap! at Quilting is more fun than Housework
> Moving It Forward at Em's Scrapbag
Thank you for hosting, ladies.


Wednesday, May 31, 2017

"Stick to a Task . . ."

Yes, I did!  I stuck to it and I finished sewing these 32 blocks together.  Truly, it only took a few hours to finish them.  As unending as the sewing seemed at the time I wrote the last post about them, I knew I wouldn't want to put away the blocks and all the fabric only to have to pull them out later.  So I pushed through.

I do love these blocks.  All stitched and pressed, they look scrappy and fresh.

One of my early ideas for the layout of these blocks was this (though the blocks in real life are lighter and less creamy than these).

The circles in the photo above are cut from fabric but for the blocks I laid out on the floor I cut circles from red paper.  (I didn't want to waste good fabric, you know.)  I don't know yet whether the quilt will get circles or not. 

I hope to sew the blocks into a quilt top tomorrow and then let the top rest for 5 or 6 days while my daughter and grands are visiting.  Then I'll deciee about the circles (or something else, or nothing else) next week. 

The saying goes,
        Stick to a task till it sticks to you.
        Beginners many, finishers few. 

Even when I have to push myself to finish something (and maybe especially then) I feel a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction.  Do you, too?

I'm linking this post to
> Oh Scrap! at Quilting is more fun than Housework 
> WOW at Esther's Blog
> Let's Bee Social #179 at Sew Fresh Quilts
> Midweek Makers #74 at Quilt Fabrication
> Needle and Thread Thursday at My Quilt Infatuation


Monday, May 29, 2017

A Thank You to Our Fallen Heroes

On this Memorial Day, the day when we honor and remember those who died in service to our country while in the armed forces, my heart is full.

I hope the angel ears of our fallen heroes can hear my quiet thank you and know my heart's deep gratitude.  Their ultimate sacrifice blesses so many of us in so many ways.

Thank you.

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