Monday, February 28, 2011

Kaleidoscope progress

Had some fun playing with this kaleidoscope pattern this weekend.

I left the templates in the picture so you can see that this quilt is actually designed in wedges.  In the end, there will be 12 (!) wedges that need to be sewn together to create the quilt.  We'll see how much hair I have left after that step.

It only has 3 of the outermost units on the design wall because I am using fat quarters rather than the full width of fabric to make my strip sets.  I'll need to make a second strip set to cut the other three units.

I thought I was making a mostly blue/purple quilt, and I was surprised at how much the green stands out.  This quilt is full of surprises.  You don't really know what you will end up with, until you cut the units and put them up.

I have been fortunate enough to find two other quilt bloggers who are currently working on this quilt.  You can see Patty's progress here and Carol's progress here.   Both are gorgeous. 

Now back to the sewing machine.....

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Sunday, February 27, 2011

Sunday Silly

We call this pose "Tyrannosaurus Toby".

Do you see the resemblance?

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Friday, February 25, 2011

Kaleidoscope Krazy

I saw that Ricky Tims has a new book out:

The technique calls for making complicated looking Kaleidoscope quilts from straight strips of fabrics.  Intrigued, I thought I would give it a try, and maybe offer it as a class at the quilt shop.  Already, I am having second thoughts.....

I started out with a bundle of my favorite colors, the jewel tones:

Most of these are fat quarters, and the large floral piece on the left is enough for a backing.  As I looked at Ricky's suggestions for fabrics, I realized that he suggests using the full width of the fabric, rather than fat quarters.  Oops! 

I was already in love with this color palette, so I decided to downsize the overall quilt and hopefully get by with fat quarters.  (Risky, I know.)

I drew up the design on freezer paper, following Ricky's directions, and assembled the first set of strips:

From these, I cut out the innermost point of the kaleidoscope (Ricky calls this the "nose") and laid them out to see what direction I was heading in:

I haven't sewn any of these wedges together yet, but I can see that with this quilt, accuracy is EVERYTHING.  This is not a quilt where you can rush, and I didn't.  I really took my time when sewing the strips but it was still a challenge.

I'm a bit nervous about how this will turn out, and wondering if I will be able to show someone else how to do it.  At the quilt shop, you have to try and offer classes for a wide range of abilities.  This would definitely be considered "advanced".
Stay tuned....

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Saturday, February 19, 2011

On point, the easy way

With St. Patrick's Day coming up, I wanted to play around with some green fabrics.  I chose a batik, a stripe and 2 tone-on-tones to make a pattern called Cross Ties by Straight to the Point.

The first step was to make a simple Rail Fence  pattern with alternating stripes:

Next step was to make diagonal cuts across the quilt in the plain green squares:

Then it was time to re-arrange the pieces to make a square quilt with the blocks set on the diagonal:

Add a couple of borders, and this was the result:

The pattern would make a really good baby quilt.  It's a good size, and it worked up pretty fast.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Happy Valentine's Day

Happy Valentine's Day!

I want to dedicate this Valentine blog post to my parents who went out on their first date on Valentine's Day and have been celebrating it together for 67 years now.

Here is a little heart quilt I made once upon a time.  My first attempt at paper piecing.  The pattern came from Carol Doak's book Show me How to Paper Piece.  The whole thing measures only about 18" square.  I remember having fun sorting through the tiniest scraps to find the colors for each heart.  This little quilt is probably to blame for my difficulty in getting rid of any scraps, no matter how small.

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Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Bursting With Charm

I call this quilt "Bursting with Charm".  It was one of those projects that started out quite small and then just kept growing.

It began when I purchased a rotary cutting mat and wanted to try it out.  I started with the nearest pile of scraps, and started cutting out 2 1/2" squares.

Because I enjoyed the process,  I dove into my non-scrap fabrics and starting cutting  2 1/2" squares from them.  Before you know it, I had this stack, which I sorted by color:

As my collection grew, I separated the one big stack  into piles by color.

I tried to roughly arrange the colors by their neighbors on the color wheel,

 and then I started sewing them together into 4 patches.

I laid out the 4 patches on a design wall, and just kept playing around with them until I had an arrangement I liked.  I tried to put the lighter colors toward the center and the darker colors toward the edges to give the overall quilt a sort of focal point.
I used my camera to take lots of pictures of the 4 patches so that I could remember where I had positioned them, and then started sewing them together. 

In the end, I had a quilt top with a total of about 400 squares.  I decided to quilt it with a large circular swirl to accentuate the "bursting" effect.

What had started out as just an experiement with a new toy, ended up being a fun excercise in color play, and an interesting quilt was the result.  I entered it into my guild's annual show and got a first place Viewer's Choice ribbon. 

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