Yes, it is spring. And we’ve had more deer this spring than ever before. One day, we counted NINE in the big meadow…along with a passel of wild turkeys who are preening and displaying in hopes of a mate to make more little turkeys. Anyway, one day I came home and spotted many of the deer on the neighbor’s back 40, which is just beyond the stone wall that marks the boundary of our property. If you look through the woods, you can just see one of the does looking at me before she decided it was time to go elsewhere. There were at least five of them up there!
So, I’m working on a new quilt. But we can’t publicize photos until after jurying. But I figured I can show you one bit of it–the fabric that I am dyeing, because this isn’t what it’s going to look like. I’d be surprised if anyone will be able to see this then realize that my entry is the one attached to this photo. I hope.
I wanted a very exact color. Thanks to my classes with Carol Soderlund, achieving this is possible, but sometimes I need to overdye. My biggest challenge is that I haven’t dyed enough fabric to have a good grasp of how much the color will change once washed and dried–it lightens up a lot. And in this case, the blue I wanted ended up being a mix of two blues, which I haven’t done in any of the classes I’ve taken. So I was winging it. I ended up using ProChem’s Intense Blue and a tiny bit of turquoise. To get the shade I need, I used 0.9 gram (which is a ridiculously small weight) of Intense blue and…get this…. 0.1 gram of Turquoise. On my first attempt, I used a very pale wash of the Turquoise over the solid blue I had dyed with Intense Blue. And it was too turquoise. So I started over. The second attempt is the one that is on the table above, on its second round adding more of the combination (with a lot less turquoise) to get it a bit darker. It worked!
And that’s all I can show you until about June. Gotta get to work! More anon!
So I have been hideously absent from blogging. Basically, lots of life happening. One of the things I’ve been doing is painting the house. In particular, I needed to get two walls done when the temperatures were at or above 40 degrees, but the perennial beds were still low enough that I could get the ladder in without damaging the plants. Luckily, we haven’t had a super rainy spring or I’d be out of luck.
Luckily, I had purchased only sample amounts. Finally, we got a match that is as good as you can get. Here it is in progress:
Temperatures have dropped again, with mornings in the 30s (just above freezing), so I am working inside a couple days. Once it warms up, I’ll be distracted outside finishing this area and the porch (on the right in the photo above). Then I’ll get back to the house once the quilt is done and submitted by the deadline. Phew! I’m tired!
Thanks to Bill Reker, the Traveling Exhibit Coordinator, for forwarding these images of the SAQA (Studio Art Quilt Associates) exhibit Food for Thought on display in Australia, and thanks to the person who sent him the pictures. The exhibit was on display in Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne. The AQC, Australian Quilt Convention (Conference?) is held in a building of breathtaking beauty. I’ve decided that whenever I finally in this life ever get to Australia, I have to go during AQC just so I can see this building!
Here’s another shot of the overall exhibit:
And one more…some day I really must get to Australia and New Zealand!
I honestly don’t know how long I had the fabric for the two lap quilts I just made. Maybe 18 months ago (?) Joshua’s sweetie Ashley asked if I could make a lap quilt from some of her Grandmother’s clothes. Of course I said yes! Her gramma had died recently, and Ashley’s mom, Sue, was really missing her. I looked up some quilts on the internet, hoping for a pieced pattern that would work for a scrappy quilt, look good, yet not take a ton of time to assemble.
When Thanksgiving rolled around and her mom came up to Maine for the holiday, she brought with her….gulp…three white kitchen garbage bags FULL of clothes: turtlenecks, sweatshirts, fleece tops, a fleece bathrobe and a couple of nighties. Oh. My. Not a single woven anything. Wish I had taken pictures before I began the deconstruction process!
And Sue asked if I could make two quilts, not one–one for her and one for her brother. Sure! I showed Sue the images of quilts I’d found and she picked the square in a square design you see above. The original was quite scrappy, and went from lights in the center to mediums to darks, with a half-drop on the columns. Alas, I seem to have deleted the original photo, plus I don’t know where I saw it anyway!
Well, let me tell you–the lesson is to make sure FIRST what the fabrics are. Then see if you can ask (I didn’t) if you could buy and use something woven for the back. I didn’t fully realize how much time it was going to take to prepare the fabrics. First I had to cut apart the shirts and sweatshirts and nighties. Then I figured out how I could maximize the fabric in the body and sleeves. I cut those bits a bit oversized and, having made a trip to Joann’s Fabrics with a fifty percent off coupon to buy a bolt of tricot interfacing, I starting fusing the interfacing to the stretchy turtleneck fabric. Then I made another trip to Joann’s and bought another bolt (almost used up).
FINALLY, I could start cutting out the pieces. I decided given the fabric, it would be best if I used a 3/8″ seam (from needle to edge of walking foot) and pressed the seams open. And I decided to use only turtlenecks and nighties for the top, leaving the sweatshirts I had deconstructed for the backs. I sorted and stacked. I sewed blocks, trying not to duplicate any pairing of fabric. I realized that I had lights and darks, but no mediums. OK, the point of this quilt is love and family, not duplicating a picture from the internet. Mental adjustment.
Once I got to sewing, it went fairly quickly: sewing the blocks for and assembling the two tops took less time (by quite a bit) than prepping the fabric! I divided the blocks into two pretty equal piles and started plopping them on the design wall. Turned out I had enough for two very similar quilt tops six by seven blocks (they are about 9.5 inches finished).
Next: backing. I laid out the sweatshirt fabric: enough for one backing. So I also cut apart the fleece tops. I decided to make one quilt with only sweatshirt fabric, the other with only fleece, to avoid “bad behavior” on the part of the fabrics.
I cut batting (poly needle punched from Quilters Dream) a little larger than I needed. Then I sewed the larger squares to the batting batting by overlapping the edges and using a zigzag to join the “seam” and attach it to the more stable batting. Regular seams would have been ridiculously bulky and stiff. I didn’t interface the backing as the quilt was going to weigh a ton already, plus I didn’t think the interfacing would stay stuck long enough to do any good.
I used the walking foot (thank heavens) on my Janome 15000 (thank you again to Janome America for their support and the loan of this phenomenal machine) to quilt a spiral from the center out, then switching to straight lines in the dark border. I used a variegated light color for the center, and a purplish variegated for the outside (Superior Threads).
The only thing from those three big bags I did not use was the green fleece bathrobe! I have a few sorta larger pieces of fleece left, and then stuff like the cuffs and top of shirts left. And oh….I used a dark blue solid for the binding. Done!
I’m so glad they are done, and so glad I was able to make them. It will be a while, though, until I do another something like this–I may need to lift weights to be ready for the quilting process! Eli may want a t-shirt quilt for college, but I’ve already told him, it must have woven cotton sashing on the front and a regular quilting cotton on the back! I’m really looking forward to being able to give these to Sue (or have the kids take them down to Connecticut to her) and really, really hope she and her brother like them and enjoy being snuggled in a “hug” from their mom / mom’s quilt!