Category Archives: piecing

Cool day, warm colors

It’s snowing hard. The tension on my machine is off. The Great British Baking Show is on.

Warm colors are nice this time of year. This wonky log cabin will be a baby blanket. We called baby blankets, “baa-baa’s” in this house. How about in yours?

I used to go down to Pembroke to a fabric wholesaler to buy cotton and scissors. Not so, these eight-inch dressmaking shears. They came from Amazon.

Just so you know (re: my carbon footprint), Pembroke is probably a 40 minute drive.

I’d been sawing at cloth for nearly a year. Having sharp scissors in the house is as delightful as getting a decent haircut was last week!

PS. The light behind the quilt makes clear there is at least one seam that needs straightening. You know it’s crooked if I’m prepared to fix it!

The Barn

Having this quilt on my wall for a while meant a couple of poor color transitions had time to prick at me. When I decided to give the piece to my brother for Christmas, I decided to tackle those spots before shipping it off. It’s not always advisable to attempt “improvements” of this kind.

First, I added some yellow in the foreground to pull the eye foreword and interrupt the blockiness of the patchwork.Stitched a few dark patterned strips on either side to lend depth and to interrupt what had been a distracting light area to the barn’s left.

And finally, I applied more hand quilting here and there and added some red bits to adjust the perspective lines on the cupola and far right eave (not terribly successfully).

The tweaks are okay. Maybe not what I hoped for. With additions like this, you always risk of either disrupting the spontaneity of the original design or of creating new problems while fixing existing ones.

This piece ran the additional risk of spoiling the (possibly impressive) fact that it’s almost entirely pieced.

Anyway. The upshot is that my remediation, successful or not, has whet my appetite for learning. How come I never learned perspective? Really? And, maybe it’s time to learn how to manage transitions more skillfully by attending to color values.

A little happy cloth

In the spirit of finishing things, in the spirit of working with sweet themes, I finished a half-worked patchwork yesterday. I love it –  not because a thing has to be sweet to be loveable, but because I do.

This one I think I will add batting, backing, hand quilt and offer for sale. It could serve as a baby cloth (to be tucked into diaper bag, say) or as a hanging.

(The house is appliqué. The rest, pieced).

Jewel tones and white

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New England quilters have been known to gravitate toward jewel tones this time of year. I know why! This little House Quilt arose from scraps left behind while finishing Middle Passage II yesterday. Sometimes these ‘cast off quilts’ are my favorite. There is a spontaneity to them that can get lost with other designs.

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Here is part of Middle Passage Two. This one focuses on the shape of the sails. I will not back the panel — just edge it and supply tabs on top so that it can hang like a curtain.IMG_7934
My daily pages are filled with snippets of learning that I eventually will share about the Middle Passage. For now, the quiet is good. Oh so good!! The incubation of this snow is making words seem far away. Appointments still being cancelled (though on account of the DOG, not the SNOW).
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It is blessedly quiet here today (school children on vacation; roof clearing crews done for the time being; snow-moving trucks beeping away elsewhere). Why fill this rare, rare quiet with some of the most disturbing history there is?

Teeny vs regular

2015/02/img_7737.jpgI am piecing up the tiny scraps that come with making the log cabin squares. Not surprisingly, I prefer the teeny compositions. I am intrigued by their scale and the sense of possibilities. Each could stand alone or they could be combined into a cloth that hangs together. How to decide?!!

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2015/02/img_7738-0.jpgAnd, guess what? It’s snowing again!
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Five

iron-cloth-deemallonI understood why, working in the basement studio in the winter, standing on a heating pad, wearing Dickensian gloves, and a down vest, the iron’s heat proffered so much comfort. Well, it turns out, even upstairs in the glare of morning light, with a fire going and heat on, I love the feel of warm cloth.

This is square five. I have to tackle, earlier rather than later, what to do about my aversion to uniformity measuring. Three of the squares are roughly the same size. Two are a bit bigger, and by “a bit”, I mean enough to matter.

I am thinking of marking the top of the green bookcase in the living room to use as a template.  Turns out it is exactly as wide as the three same-sized squares.

Which leads me to this.  A couple of goals emerge as I piece: I want to avoid the use of rotary cutter and mat, and I would like to use fabrics already in my possession. The latter commitment may be difficult, because I am also going to be picky about keeping my blues and greens in the right value family.

Finn and I walked and made it back. It’s not so bad out. Growing up in Upstate New York, it was often this frigid. As kids we called it, “booger freezing weather”. Rarely happens around here.
tissue-trunk-duskBut don’t get me wrong – I am super grateful to have the luxury of spending the rest of the day inside, at home!

P.S. The above picture from Sketchbook Project efforts a couple years back, reminds me that I will NOT be participating again… it turns out that letting the booklet go at the end, even knowing that it is (sort of) circulating, is not satisfying.