March Madness Coming

pbstudios_2

I have been working with Painter’s Palette Solids for nearly two years now in various capacities (quilt designer, mostly) and I love these fabrics not only for their wide range of colors, but also for the hand–or how it feels. They are made by Paintbrush Studios. pbstudios_1

I was contacted by them to help them with their launch of the fabrics, to make them a quilt for Quilt Market announcing these solids.  I designed a quilt, sent off my fabrics request and started working.  I fell in love with the saturation of color, the fine thread count–but not so much that it’s too lightweight, like a batiste (which wrinkles terribly)–but enough that it was easy-to-work with, to cut and to sew.

StarryCompassRose_frontStarryCompassRose_booth3

And since I was sewing for someone else and I was hyper-vigilant about matching the seams, etc., it also held up while I ripped out and resewed seams, without showing cloth fatigue or looking used.  I was amazed at this new line of solids and have been working with them for a while now, waiting as they rolled out their fabrics for sale across the United States.

QMarket3_FocusAnd now again, I get another chance to play with my beloved Painters Palette Solids!  They are running a March Madness contest, starting Friday, and at the end of the contest, they will draw two winners to win free fabric…and I hope one of them is you.

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More details are coming on Friday (3/24), with voting in brackets (just like the real March Madness) beginning on Monday, March 27th.  I’ll have a bundle of colors that will go up against other quilters with their bundles of colors.  Vote for the one you like the best in the categories, and send your favorites to the top (I like mine, but it’s also great if you like someone else’s too).

March Madness 2017 button

So, play March Madness Mad for Solids and vote for your favorite bundles.  See you Friday.

Liberty USA Mini Quilt, 3

Well, I finished up the top of my Liberty USA quilt.  And in other breaking news, I also was cleared to take off my sling.  My hands are now free-er than they were a week ago (and I’m even typing more, rather than dictating) but it’s still a slog for a long while.  So, this quilt top will rest until I can figure out how to quilt it, since the left arm is more like a wet noodle than a functioning member of a FMQ duo.

But it’s fun to be at this place. 

One interesting drawback to this whole one-arm thing, is that you can’t clean up the sewing room very well.  So the day after I got my sling off, I noticed the pile of Sarah Jane scraps on the top of the cutting table, as it was one of the last projects I did before heading into surgery.  I had wanted to make Eliza a doll quilt to match her big-bed quilt, and now was my chance.  I scissor cut some pieces, sewed them together, and finished the top.

I tried quilting my HQ Sweet Sixteen, practicing on a quilt square scrap, but it was a no go.  You need two hands for that.  So I used my walking foot on my regular machine and was able to get it quilted.  Off it goes into the mail today!

I’m not doing much cleaning, or sewing, but I have been doing some thinking about where we get our inspiration from.

This is Ingrid Blood’s Bye Bye Rubric Cube.  I have seen it twice now, once in the fall, and once at Road to California, and thought it was terrific.  Then, because I sit and read and read and read (lately), I found this:

Look familiar?  I wonder if it’s more than a coincidence that Blood used Edna Andrade’s abstracts as inspiration (even to the use of that red center), but I have no way of knowing.  Andrade, although she died some years ago, was more popular at the end of her career and after her death.  She worked in the Hard Edge school of painting, of which June Harwood was a “member” — a painter brought to my attention by my nephew, who is observant in All Things Art & Design.  (I actually have two nephews like this, and their IG feeds are always full of interesting images.)  These painters’s ideas are ripe for the picking by modern quilters, as they have a distinct lines between edges, which suits our medium of fabric.  Here’s some more Andrade:

I remember being in a discussion in a class taught by Ruth McDowell, where someone posed the question if she should be acknowledged when we finally finish our quilts.  Typically self-effacing, she offered that it would be a nice gesture to acknowledge those that inspired us, or helped us.

Why are we loathe to state our sources of inspiration?  Does it diminish our efforts, or is it really unnecessary?  Andrade didn’t acknowledge the other hard-edge painters in the corners of her paintings, but Wikipedia notes that:

Andrade listed artists who particularly influenced her style including Paul Klee, Piet Mondrian, and Josef Albers.  Andrade also notes that she was influenced by architectural design, philosophy, mathematics, and design (Locks bio). She was specifically inspired by things such as astrophysics and Freudian psychology, contributing to the complexity and detail of her paintings.

And from the notes from the Locks Art Gallery:

I think many of us are skittish after the Modern Quilt Guild laid down the law on “derivative works” last year, and we are skittish about recognizing where things come from, just in case the Quilt Juries don’t let us in.  While I do think there is some good things that came out of the pronouncement last year (just how many floating rectangle quilts can we invent?) it also did harm to those of us who dabble far and wide in our inspirations. [For an excellent recap of that tempest, head here.]  I hope we come back to a more even pitch, so that we can give credit to things that inspire us, just as Andrade did.

Colorwheel Blossom, 2014

I would never have this quilt if it hadn’t been watching the Apple Keynote address when they launched their iOS system changes a few years ago.  I boldly put the inspiration on the entry form when I entered it into QuiltCon a couple of years, and they rejected it. Did they reject it because of the Apple connection?  I’ll never know, but it doesn’t really matter. Yes, it’s derivative and yes, I love it.  It hangs in the front hallway of my home, and it’s still a favorite.  Instead of worrying about whether or not quilt juries will accept our quilts if we springboard off of someone like Andrade, we should make what we love, from what inspires us, and not be afraid of our inspiration.

Another couple of reads:

Derivative Work from Entropy Always Wins

Derivative Work from the Montreal Modern Quilt Guild

Let’s Be Clear from She Can Quilt

Conducting an Image Search While Avoiding Pinterest

I love Pinterest.

pinterest-addict

But I also hate Pinterest when I’m trying to do an image search.  I recently was searching for “wonky row quilts” and everything took me right over to a Pinterest page, which is a crazy way to try to find something. You have landed on this interminable page of images and then you have to search the page again, without the benefit of Google’s search engines. So this is now what I do.

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Your type your key words into the splash page (the first page in a website) that looks like either the one above or the one below.

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You are used to the above two views, where you can find your way to an image library.  I included the first view so you can see how maddening it is to get all those Pinterest results (and no, I don’t think the Pinterest’s search engines are better than Google’s, but then that’s another post).

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You’ll see lots of images, and when you click on one, the screen will split to highlight your choice.

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Head to that link up there at the top, the one that says “Search by Image.”  Click on it to be taken to this page:image-search3

There are several basic subdivisions of this page, and they can be helpful, at times, but I’m looking for a source that doesn’t refer me back to Pinterest.  These results are usually in the “Pages” section.  Avoid any Pinterest listings, and head for pages that have an address that starts with “https.”  You may not need to drill down like this, but in the case that you are looking for the origin of a specific image, these tips may help.

Want to find out if something has been posted from your blog?

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In Google Image Search, click on the camera.image-search-7

From the desktop, drag into the box a photo (or paste in the photo’s URL if you know it).  I’ll do my Christmas tree skirt, which I know has gone a lot of places.image-search-8

This is the result.  While there are multiple results, most of them were for other Christmas Tree Skirts.  image-search9

But in the Pinterest results below, I did notice it’s been pinned nearly 3,000 times.  (This photo gets around.)

Another reality of the Google Image search is for personal security.  Say you want to find out where an image of your grandchild or child has gone to? Pop in their picture.  Many images are lifted from Facebook, so please be careful about what you post, and never post a child’s image without their parent’s permission.

Hope this helps in your searches.

UPDATE:  If you know how to use Boolean Operators, you can also add -Pinterest.com to your search terms.  (That’s a minus sign before the term you don’t want to show up in your search.)  I have mixed success with these, so I didn’t write them into my post, but one of my commenters mentioned it.  Try it, to see if it works for you.

Queen Bee for Gridsters: Piggies!

Queen Bee

I am the Queen Bee this month for the Gridsters Bee, and thought and thought and thought of what I could do.  I happened on this design while surfing the blogs, and something about it just made me smile.  Since I am one month post-op on my interminable rotator cuff repair recovery, I realize that it’s probably because I just needed some happy-cheery-goofy-fun in my life.

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IG: #gridsterbee

Yes, I made the tutorial and wrote it all up before I went in to surgery, perhaps anticipating the need for something happy-cheery-goofy-fun. To start us off, here’s something to get you in the mood for making my block this month (stop it about 3:00):

babe-the-gallant-pig

For those of you who can’t see the link, it’s from the movie Babe, The Gallant Pig, completing his “sheep” trials. (Go to the blog if you want to see it.)

Yep.  Somehow little piggies have gotten in my heart and under my skin and I want a whole quilt of them, although I may add a barn or tree to break things up.  I first found them on Gayle’s blog, Mangofeet, where it says she is a bonafide farmer.  She found them on Sally’s blog, The Object of Design, which is where I found a tutorial for littler guys.  And I found Gayle, by following a link from Bonnie Hunter’s Quiltville’s Linky Party for her En Provence mystery quilt.  Connections everywhere!

Before I leave all the attributions, please visit Sally’s tutorial page, where she has other tutorials for bunnies and fish and all sorts of creatures.

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But mine are slightly different, both in size and in style, so I wrote up atutorial for what I want.  Since they are small, I’d like you to make me two, if you wouldn’t mind.  I used Gayle’s post for inspiration (also look *here.*). To make it easier on yourself, make them both the same, but if you get adventurous, it’s okay to flip the orientation of the piglets, or make one going up and one coming down.  But really, keep it simple so you aren’t calling me names in the middle of this process.

Again, while Sally has a tutorial (linked above) and she is the designer of this block, I changed up a few things (like the dimensions), so please follow along and make my piglet according to my tutorial.  The piggies are all scrappy, but I do need:

  • sky–a consistent low-volume or “background–no need to make them the same fabric, but the do need to be the same lightness: pale blue, cream, white, tan, low-volume with grey/tan/etc. prints.  Avoid prints with too dark of  text or design so that it throws it to a muddy tonality.  Some background prints are fun and will make the quilt more sparkly.  It’s okay to mix up the borders, but I’d probably stick to the same fabric around the piglet.
  • body–a medium value fabric: small print or geometric, floral, Kaffe, but avoid fabrics that look “splotchy” when cut this small (such as cutting a giant polka dot in half)–generally anything in your stash.  Have fun.  Make me some colorful piglets.
  • ears, feet, snout–a darker-toned fabric that stands out from the body fabric
  • tail–embroidery floss/Perle cotton to match your piglet, to embroider the tail. Pattern is not given for this, but below are some piglet tail ideas. Please use a back stitch.  More info in the tutorial.

piggy-tails-composite

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Gayle showed hers on a tilting grassy hill, which I like quite well, so that’s what I’m asking you to make for me.  Copious amounts of photography and images and text follow, but really it isn’t too hard.  The following directions yield one piggie, so cut everything out double, out of two different piles of scrappiness.

Lastly, I follow standard print journalism standards: the caption in UNDERNEATH the image (MQG had theirs backwards on their award-winners page and I was so confused!)

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Cut the background (sky).piglet-tutorial_opquilt_2

Cut the body fabric.piglet-tutorial_opquilt_3

Cut the accent pieces of snout, ear and feet.piglet-tutorial_opquilt_4

Step one is to snowball body fabric onto the background fabric, using the 2- 1/2″ square pieces of background and the 1 -1/2″ square pieces of body fabric.  Then the last snowball is a double: use one 2- 1/2″ square of accent fabric and snowball on one 1 -1/2″ square of background and one 1- 1/2″ square of body fabric.  Press the snowball corners to the dark side, and trim after pressing.  With the double-snowball, you’ll press one square’s seam allowance toward the accent fabric and the other toward the body fabric.piglet-tutorial_opquilt_5

Step two is to gather the other pieces together:  Line up the 1 -1/2″ x 4″ pieces in body and background, AND the 1- 1/2″ x 3″ pieces in body and accent.  Place on the front accent piece (snout) and the back background piece on the large body piece (lowest piece).piglet-tutorial_opquilt_6

Step three: sew the strips together and then press to the dark side on the top one.  I don’t care which way you press the bottom one, but I went towards the dark as well.piglet-tutorial_opquilt_7

Now cut those strips in half.  Exactly.  The top strip set (A) will yield two with body and background fabric that will measure 2″ across.  The bottom set (B) will yield body and accent fabric that will measure 1 1/2″ across.piglet-tutorial_opquilt_8

Step Five is to lay them all out.  If you were going to make a reverse-direction pig, you’d need to fiddle with that ear (double-snowball) piece to sew that up differently, otherwise, everything else is the same/can be moved around.  (See second pig at the end.)piglet-tutorial_opquilt_9

Sew the top row together, then the middle and yes…sew the bottom row of pieces together.  Pressing instructions are in a minute, but generally press towards the dark.  PLEASE DO NOT PRESS THE SEAMS OPEN. piglet-tutorial_opquilt_10

Babe!!! Babe!!piglet-tutorial_opquilt_11

This is how I pressed the seams.  I just realized I pressed the legs the wrong way.  Oh well.  Either way is fine, but just not open. [NOTE: I show it correctly in the second pig, at the end.]piglet-tutorial_opquilt_12

Time to tilt this little guy.  Start by sewing on a 2- 1/2″ strip of ground–can be green for grass, or flowery for a meadow, or brown for forest floor or purple for Outer Space.  It just has to have contrast to the background and side strips.piglet-tutorial_opquilt_13

Sew on three side strips, by FIRST sewing on the top, then the two sides, all 2 -1/2″ wide strips.

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UPDATE FOR MY BEE MEMBERS:
Please do not trim.  After sewing on borders, just send untrimmed, untilted.  

Now back to our regular programming.

Now to cut.  Please check the areas in those red circles to make sure you are leaving 1/4″ seam allowances (one above the line, one below the line).  Lay your ruler with the edge along the black line, above.  Cut.

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Now lay a square ruler at the bottom (newly cut) edge.  Now play with the adjacent side it a bit, making sure to leave that 1/4″ in the circled area.  Cut.

Now think about it as a beginning rectangle.  Turn the piglet 1/4 turn clockwise so that the newly cut green line is at the bottom of the mat and the black line is to your left.  Measure over 7 3/4″ from the black line; cut.

Measure 9 1/4″ up from the green line; cut.

Tilt the pig back to a proper vertical and it should look like this:

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The piglet’s rectangle will measure as shown above: 7-3/4″ high by 9-1/4″ wide..

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Again, this is the most important corner when you cut for the tilt.  It’s so the ground will look merged together when seamed.
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I made you an overlay, if you are nervous.  Download the PDF file: piglet-tilt-overlay1 and print it out on vellum paper, or make a template out of this (too much trouble, I think).  It will help you get the right angles.

screen-printing-settingsPlease print it at 100% or you will again find yourself cursing.

If you are really truly too nervous to cut this pig, send it back to me untrimmed and when I get better, I’ll be happy to trim it up.

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Now let’s add the pigtail.  Draw on a squiggle, originating from the pig’s backside edge.  My drawn line is really faint, above because I don’t want to have to figure out how to get the pencil off.  Sometimes I’ve just eyeballed it.  Sometimes I’ve just scratched it in.  See the picture at the top of the post for pigtail ideas.piglet-tutorial_opquilt_16b

Tie a knot in your perle cotton (I used size 8, but 5 or 12 is fine, too) and bring it out at the fold, at the beginning of your drawn line, hiding the knot in the seam.piglet-tutorial_opquilt_16c

Take one stitch (#1) and then skip a stitch, coming out as shown in the photo on the left.  Now put your needle in the same hole as where you came out on your starting stitch (#2) and backtrack and stitch that empty place, which will put you on the road to backstitching the piglet’s tail on.  piglet-tutorial_opquilt_16d

Insert the needle in the last stitch and pull it to the wrong side.piglet-tutorial_opquilt_16e

On the wrong side, weave your thread down from the top , then make a knot (below) by making a loop and drawing your needle through it.  Continue weaving your thread for one or two more stitches, then cut it off.piglet-tutorial_opquilt_16f

Okay, let’s do it again, but with the pig flipped to the other side.

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You can see how the ear needs the double-snowballed corners switched.piggy_opquilt_2

And the back, showing the pressing, this time with the correct pressing for the legs.piggy-trimming_opquilt_1

You have to think on this step: do you want your piggie going uphill? Or downhill? piggy-trimming_opquilt_2

I voted for downhill since I already have an uphill.
Here’s how I laid my ruler, keeping an eye on those 1/4-inch seam allowances.piggy-trimming_opquilt_3

Now you can see how I use my square ruler to find the next edge.  piggy-trimming_opquilt_4

It’s really straight, even though the photo doesn’t look like it.piggy-trimming_opquilt_5

I put the ruler on as I described above, and worked it until I had the correct measurements of 7-3/4″ by 9-1/4.”  I ended up trimming off a slice of a previous cut to get those dimensions.  Then I do the tail. piggies

Here they are together, but not sewn together.

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That’ll do, Pig.

Thank you everyone!  I look forward to a whole farmyard of little piggies, running around my design wall.  While I attribute all these ideas to two very fine quilters: Gayle, of Mangofeet (she is hilarious to read) and Sally of The Objects of Design (who has made a stunner of an En Provence Mystery Quilt), all the photographs and instructions above are my own.  Please do visit their blogs to see all the fun piglets that are running around there.

The Grid, the Gridsters (and a wee bit of news)

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When I say the grid, you probably think of something like the image above: a rendition of the electrical grid in the United States.

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Or you might think of a street grid, or the computer grid, or any other type of connected web.

Is it This? Or That?

I also think of the grid we use in making our quilts.  Above is my example of a regular grid, using a 9-patch variant.  This style of quilt — that of using repeated blocks set in a grid — didn’t become popular until the 1840s, as earlier quilts were more whole-cloth, medallion, or broderie perse styles.

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The name of our Gridster Bee is a nod to the idea of the grid, and since I’ve had some non-sewing time, I did some research about the grid, finding its origin in the way that text was laid out on the printed page.  (Note: Where the quotes are unattributed, I could find no source for them.)

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This method of intersecting lines and angles, known as the Van de Graaf canon and used medievally, was popularized by Jan Tschichold in his books discussing classical book design, and became the standard for book layout.  You can see the proportions at work in the magazine layout (above) on the right.

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Some myths about the grid:

  • Grids are a design trend
  • Grids impede creativity
  • Grids are confining, and can only be used for certain designs
  • The grid is a static, even, regular subdivision of the surface both vertically and horizontally

types-of-grids

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There are all types of recognizable grids, such as those above, and in the images below:

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Patricia Walker Rusk’s Sunset Gardens

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pencil cubbies in a shop in Switzerland

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Bullseye by Vicki Ruebel

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Upward Modbility by Stephanie Ruyle

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Christa Watson’s Square in a Square

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Lisbon Subway Tiles

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Cindy Wiens’ Delta Breeze

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Three versions of my Neighborhood Quilt, by my students

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(more designs from Spain and Lisbon)

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Velda Bowen’s Fractured Rainbow

(circular grid used, both above and in combo with a regular grid, just below)

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Shine: The Circles Quilt

golden-spiral(Golden Spiral • from here)

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(A diagonal grid, both in Shutty’s and Van Orman’s quilts) )

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Tesselation by Jenn Van Orman

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Stephanie Ruyle’s Embers

I love the grid, as ultimately, the function of the grid is to help determine and define proportion, such as the last two quilts, which seem to have some unseen glue holding them together. That’s why some quilts that seem to use no grid at all can either make us shake our heads in confusion, or can capture our gaze.

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And that’s why we’re the Gridsters — not just those in the bee — but all of us in the quilt world.

tiny nine patches

And a little bit of news.

I wake up everyday and see this:

sweetsixteen-in-hiatusOn some of my harder days, it has crossed my mind that I won’t ever sit there again, happily stitching away, and I feel so far away from the quilting world that I love.  Cue the tears and the Sturm und Drang.  And then I received this:

quilt-entry-announce2017Pineapples and Crowns_front iphoneGuess the universe doesn’t want me to give up yet.  (If you’ll be there at Quilt Festival-Chicago, please take a photo of my quilt, and tag me on IG [occasionalpiecequilt].) And I was also asked by our guild, The Raincross Quilt Guild, to present a Trunk Show on May 16th.  I’m pretty excited about this, and have been working on my program notes.

So…guess I’ll be a good girl and keep all my Physical Therapy appointments so I can get back to quilting.

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