Thursday, October 17, 2013

latest quilting adventures

For weeks now, all I have really wanted to do was to make another quilt (or two, or three....LOL!)  With my first jewellery class put to bed a couple of weeks ago, I put off putting everything away* and starting going through my batiks, plucking out some possible contenders for my first project.

If you're interested in a bit of the how and why, read on....but I will warn you, it's not really all that interesting, unless you are interested!  No one will know if you just scroll through the pictures.... ;-)

Inspired by this, I knew that I wanted to start with squares of fabric as my base.  Since I already had a bunch of 10" squares (including those I won on Debbie's blog giveaway eons ago - thanks again Debbie! <3 i="">, it was a easy choice to go with a match (and use 10" squares for my starting point).  To make a quilt large enough for a Queen bed, I quickly determined that I needed 110 squares (later revised to 121 because I initially only factored in half of the seam allowance loss...sometimes it doesn't pay to rush through the math!).   I was determined that they would all be different fabrics, so I had to make several passes through my fabrics and broaden my range a little to include a few greyish greens and some lighter values than I would have otherwise chosen....

All of the fabrics lined along the back and in the first 2 rows in front (above) were pre-cut squares - the rest needed a quick pressing and a square cut.  This process took a couple of evenings....but by the Friday night, I was ready to start making little groupings of fabrics I would 'stack 'n' whack' (essentially stacking 5 different fabrics in one pile, then taking even cuts off of two sides and repeating a second time....then shuffling the pieces from the first pair of cut to reveal the fabric in 3rd place, and the pieces from the second pair of cuts to reveal the fabric in 2nd place).  But first I decided that I should loosely sort my final fabrics into lights, mediums and darks....

About half of my stacks of 5 pieces were lights + mediums and the other half were more mediums + darks.  I tried to make sure that I didn't pick two pieces that were too similar one after the other....but I later discovered that when a bigger piece is cut, it can almost look like the parts came from different pieces of fabric (since there is sometimes a lot of variation in both colour and value across the surface of a single batik, esp. in a 10" square piece) when some of my blocks were sewn together, there was a bit less definition (= more blending) than I would have liked to see.  All in all, I was pretty pleased with how it all came together. 

So on the Friday evening I started making sets of five fabrics and cut four of the stacks and sewed them back together again (=20 completed blocks).  Each set of 5 squares received a different set of cuts, so essentially there are really only 5 blocks with the exact same shape dimensions within the block (just look at the corner squares in the above picture and see the range....then look at other blocks with the same corner-square size, but likely different framing widths around it). 

For my attention span, I need to work with a system and it's especially important that I trim as I I would work on sewing two sets of blocks at one time (=10), chain sewing the first piece and then pressing (for all 10 squares), then attaching the 2nd piece to all 10 squares, etc.  Once each set of 10 blocks was completely sewn and pressed, I would trim (to 8 7/8" square) and then stack in a pile of either 'dark' or 'light'.

On the Saturday I was able to sew the rest of the blocks (= 101 or 121 in total), and I finished off my evening by starting to lay them out on the floor.  But before I did that, I did 'deal' my lights into five different piles, in an attempt to spread the fabrics around a bit (each fabric appears only 3 times - so I didn't want to have to worry too much about clustering them all together).   I was only able to fit about 4-5 rows at a time in my open I alternated between light and dark squares (on the diagonal), and then adjusted as necessary.   Once I was happy with the arrangement, I stacked up each row and kept the pairs/squares in order. 

Sunday morning I started working on sewing the blocks into rows and then joining the rows together.  By lunchtime the quilt top was all sewn together, save the centre seam (I really want to give it a good pressing first, and the smaller pieces will be a bit easier to handle).

Now I just need to piece together the back (yes it will be pieced, but more simply)....and then deliver it off to Sue to work her magic and make it into a quilt!  Hopefully I can get it put to bed (tee hee!) before I head off to Vermont in 10 days...

* in the interest of full disclosure, I must confess that for more than a week following the class, the wonky piles of baskets and bins from class were still cluttering up my mud room.  Right where I unloaded them upon arriving home.  Once again, it's a good thing that I live alone and get very little company.... ;-)

Thursday, October 10, 2013

cool beans

I received a v. interesting email yesterday from The Textile Museum about an upcoming event/workshop/project and wanted to share with those who might be interested.....

"We’ve partnered with Creative Matters (a Toronto based rug design firm) to host a display, a series of workshops and a lecture about rug design and production. The workshops are 2 hours each and invite participants into our exhibitions to design artwork for a rug design. The designs will be judged and the wining rug will be hand-woven by fair trade artists in Nepal."

You can learn more about it here.  Unfortunately I will just be flying back from Nova Scotia that day, so can't attend myself....but I would love to hear from anyone who attends about the experience... ;-)

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I am so behind in my blogging lately, I might never catch up.....projects without photos, photos without posts, and a desperate need for an assistant!  Sadly, nobody wants to work for free, but maybe I could convince someone to work for wool...?  ;-)  The good news is that I am back in the habit of making AND feeling like blogging again (finally!), just need to make the time...

Thursday, October 03, 2013

yesterday at the Textile Museum of Canada

I am freshly back from a little whirlwind trip to the city, where I met up with Elaine and we went and took in the "Artistry and Ancestry: Maya Textiles from Guatemala" show at the Textile Museum and then returned for a hands-on, behind the scenes seminar to look at more items in the collection.

In short, it was amazing.  I would imagine that there isn't a rug hooker around who wouldn't leave the exhibit and not feel the urge to rush home and hook a simple geometric rug, be inspired to be more random in their colour placements, or just plain old use more colours in their work.  Yes, it is that inspiring and wonderful....and I am very confident that you won't regret going.  And the show has been extended to January 12, 2014, so you have time to plan a trip.

I took a few snaps - just with my phone, so not the greatest....

Here is a little tease about the rugs - but if you want to see them, you will have to go and see the show for yourself... ;-)

P.S.  If you do go, you should try to view the show in a clockwise direction from the elevator. or stairs - this way you will save the hooked rugs for last... ;-)

P.P.S.  There is also a great catalogue available at the gift shop.... ;-)