Thursday, July 16, 2015

More on the Leftover Floral 9-Patch Blocks

When I finished my ninth floral block, I began thinking about ways to set the blocks.  My first thought was to set them the same way as the Crooked Man's Christmas Quilt, but the purples were overpowering and needed to be subdued somehow.  Green sashing was my first thought,  I tried dark green, light green, medium green.  None of them seemed right.  The purples still hogged the show.

The blocks sat for a week until one day I noticed the light pink fabric I had used in the ninth block sitting in my basket of fabrics to put back on the shelf.  I auditioned that and was quite pleased, but it needed cornerstones.  A little more digging produced a scrap of dusty rose fabric that helped bring out the pinks in the floral fabrics used in the original blocks.  Adding both pinks helped draw the eye back to the 9-patch blocks instead of staying on the purples.

I thought I was done at this point, until I happened to spy some scraps of a Disney Tinkerbell print (I think one of the pixies is Tinkerbell).  The colors went so well with the 9-patch units and the purples that I had to find a way to use them in this project.  After a little fussy-cutting, I figured I had just enough rectangular pieces to make a top and a bottom border if I pieced the rectangles together with strips of floral fabric.  Hiding under a stack of Christmas fabrics, I found a little pile of floral scraps, some from the original 9-patch blocks!  (Why didn't I look there sooner?!)

Soon as I began piecing the borders together, my quilt's name changed from Leftover 9-Patches to Pixie Garden.  It's a quilt most any little girl would love, but I have to admit that I rather like it, too.  Someday, I'll take a better photo, but this gives an idea of what the top looks like.  The dark purple is the only fabric that wasn't a leftover or a scrap.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

The Year of Leftovers

I've been dealing with some strange muscular issues that, while not completely derailing me, have slowed me down to sloth speed (that's about 6 feet per hour according to a tv show I watched).  One day in April, I woke up unable to move my arms without weird cramping pains that were most pronounced when my elbows were bent.  Doing something with a side-to-side motion, like moving a carton of eggs from the counter to the refrigerator, was practically impossible (without dropping the eggs!).  No one really knows what's causing the pain, but through trial-and-error I've learned that keeping my elbows bent and using the computer mouse make it worse.  So I'm keeping mouse use to a minimum and finding activities that make me straighten my arms every few minutes.

I've been hand-quilting the Crooked Man's Christmas quilt with 6 strands of embroidery floss, cutting the thread as long as I dare so that my arm has to straighten as far as possible each time I take a stitch.  And I'm doing the same with a couple of unfinished plastic canvas and cross stitch projects.  I don't recommend cutting yarn and thread that long as a rule, but in my case a bit of tangling and a few unwanted knots are worth the risk right now.

After finishing the Crooked Man's top, I found a short stack of eight 9-patch blocks made 5-plus years ago.  In the same basket were some sashing strips leftover from another project from several years ago.  The colors were right, so I sewed the sashing strips to two sides of the 9-patch blocks, thinking I'd find find a coordinating fabric scrap somewhere for the other two sides, then I'd sew the blocks together into a table runner.

Well, I found a coordinating fabric easily enough, and finished the blocks,

but I couldn't make myself sew them into a table runner.  I have no use for a purple table runner, and I couldn't think of a friend or a relative who would want a purple table runner.  But what else can you make with eight square blocks?  The choices are rather limited.

So, I decided to rummage through my scraps and try to make a ninth block that was similar enough to blend with the other eight.  This is what I came up with:

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

All Wrapped Up in Quiltmaker's 100 Blocks

Sometimes my dial-up internet service works fairly well.  Sometimes it doesn't.  Lately, it hasn't.
Sometimes my 60-year-old body works fairly well.  Sometimes it doesn't.  Lately, it hasn't.
Between the two, I've been doing things in slow motion lately, really slow motion.  But, on the bright side, any motion is better than no motion!

While I've been trudging along at snail speed, volume 11 of Quiltmaker's 100 Blocks came out.  If you look on page 36, you'll see "All Wrapped Up," a block that I designed for using those large prints that are too beautiful to cut up into little squares and triangles.  It's a little difficult to see the focal fabric in a small photo, but it features a calico cat and two kittens.

When I first designed the block, I happened to have Christmas fabrics in my EQ fabric palette and used a few to color the block.  The result reminded me of a Christmas present tied with ribbon, so I named the block All Wrapped Up.

This is what the block might look like set without sashing in a small quilt:

Getting away from the Christmas colors, here's an example using a juvenile print as the focal fabric.  (Eeks! The reduced size kind of makes it look like a kitchen print!)

As a runner, the block design loses the pinwheel and circular effects, but it's still quite a striking design for showing off a beautiful print or a beautiful quilting design.

Adding sashing makes the design look a bit like a complex plaid.

I think I like it best set without sashing.  But then again, some fabrics might look best with the sashing.  Which way is your favorite?