Squirrel Time

We quilters tend to get sidetracked, dropping a work in progress to start something totally different. Sandra at mmm! Quilts likens it to a squirrel running across our path and we take off to follow it. That is exactly what I did this week.

In my last post I asked for input on backing for my stained glass batik quilt. Thanks to all your kind comments I chose the M&M fabric.

With a week full of distractions that was as far as I got. Then yesterday I started thinking about fusing again. I have used it for two wall hangings this year and it is the best method I have found for appliqué. I came across two excellent fusing tutorials on YouTube and dug into my fat quarter solids for inspiration.

For the background I chose a deep purple. In my scrap pile I found a little piece that I’ve had around for years but hated to waste it. This was what started me thinking.

This scrap brought to mind pictures of Rio de de Janeiro with its favelas. These are very poor neighborhoods built of scrap wood and whatever materials could be found, with wiring strung from one to unit to another. Most of them are brightly colored, expressing the vibrancy of the Brazilian people.

After a couple of hours rummaging through bins of scraps I added a few more pieces to suggest a hot summer night.

Here is my squirrel project so far, with no fusing done yet.

I seem to do my best work when I have a subject or image in mind. From here on it won’t take long to get this fused and ready to go, with fireworks lighting up the sky.

The other day I went on a beautiful long ride through the Wisconsin farmlands with perfect weather and a lovely breeze. The trees have not yet begun to turn but in October we will have lovely days to enjoy them,

I’m linking up with Angela at http://superscrappy.blogspot.com/and Cynthia at http://quiltingismorefunthanhousework.blogspot.com/

Just Right Backing

This week I have very little to show as far as progress with my quilting. It seems I spent more time ripping than stitching. I had worked out a schedule to get the entire batik top finished by today, but each day brought some delays. Today was no different, because I had my apartment carpet cleaned and of course it had to dry out. The carpet cleaners did a great job and I’m not worried about our annual apartment inspection on Monday.

So my batik squares have been joined into strips with black sashing and i’m following my photo record of the layout. They really look like jewels.

Stitching on black is definitely no fun, especially when it comes to ripping. I have a tabletop ironing surface with not a lot of room to spare. I find that joining rows from the bottom strip on up is the easiest way, letting the finished part hang down in front. The bottom half is finished.

In one of my bottom stash drawers I discovered some backing fabrics that I had completely forgotten about. I must’ve bought them during part of my spending spree a couple of years ago. Here are some beautiful prints on black.

i’m trying to decide between number two and number four. It depends on who the user might be. For a feminine look the lovely floral on number two would be my choice. However number four has the wonderful bright colors, so playful. That would work for any age group. I think I have about 5 yards of that, so there will still be plenty for another project.

This will make a nice lap quilt and I may be tempted to keep it for myself. Otherwise it will go to our quilt group charity collection in October.

Our last 80° weather was today and fall will be here tomorrow with cooler weather just in time. Let’s all enjoy it.

I’m linking up with Angela at http://superscrappy.blogspot.com/and Cynthia at http://quiltingismorefunthanhousework.blogspot.com/

A Treat for Myself

Last week’s trip to Quilt Expo here in Madison was a really eye popping experience, as I mentioned in my last post. I treated myself to a bundle of Cherrywood fabric and I’m just in the enjoyment stage with it.

The suede texture just begs to be petted and I can’t even think about cutting into it yet. I probably will wait to see what the next Cherrywood challenge will be. That will be announced in November. This year’s challenge theme was Prince, so of course all the entries were done in gorgeous purple.

Speaking of purple, it’s finally the Rainbow Scrap Challenge color for September. One of my monthly projects has been 10-inch Rail Fence blocks. I have been using my jelly roll strips, and finally coming to the end of some of those.

My stash also includes a large group of solid 10-inch pieces so I have decided to pair them up with the Rail Fence. I am not going to add brown or black to my rainbow selections, so this is one then I can piece this month by pairing them up with the strip blocks.

Here is my layout done this afternoon.

There is no red here, because the strip block I made earlier did not have 1/4-inch seams. With my new Pfaff machine that’s no longer a problem.

Since this grouping is 40 x 40″ I don’t think adding the red would be helpful. It will make a nice lap quilt at this size.

Lastly, this evening I made my 8 inch improv purple block.

I have accumulated a good size collection of 8 1/2 inch blocks over the last couple of years. I really haven’t used any in a quilt so I think this will be my chance to make a larger quilt.

Our weather here has been just beautiful so far this month and it’s really invigorating. I’m looking forward to the changing of the colors and have some favorite places to go to enjoy them.

I’m linking up with Angela at http://superscrappy.blogspot.com/and Cynthia at http://quiltingismorefunthanhousework.blogspot.com/

Quilt Expo today

The week after Labor Day here in Madison, Wisconsin is the annual Quilt Expo, an overwhelming amount of quilting talent and beauty on display. I went with a group of friends today for a five hour visit. The curated display of about 300 quilts took us three hours to see it all. Checking out the vendor displays was one temptation after another.My only purchases were special pair of Kai scissors and a fat quarter of Cherrywood fabrics.

I took a lot of photos with my iPad and I’ll just share some of them here. A lot of them are close-ups of the beautiful piecing and quilting, with no identification. Please enjoy them.

This exquisite piece of quilting depicted the state flowers of all 50 states, including my home state of Rhode Island with its bouquet of violets.

I love this vibrant variation on simple strip piecing.

There was a lot of use of metallic thread stitching and crystals.

Here is a beautiful example of appliqué work.

This is a stunning example of 1/2-inch square piecing.

A hand stitched piece of shibori dyeing.

I like this improv piecing with just touches of color added.

A beautiful example of paper piecing.

Just a small example of the intricate piecing and quilting.

A modern version of scrap quilting.

A beautiful example of double wedding ring with star points added and done in batiks.

A really colorful combination of piecing and, again, intricate metallic stitching.

Finally, a whale of a finish.

This will have to last me until next year.

I’m linking up with Angela at http://superscrappy.blogspot.com/and Cynthia at http://quiltingismorefunthanhousework.blogspot.com/

A Rainbow and a Finish

Fall is in the air, my favorite time of the year. I seem to have a new burst of energy with the coming of cooler weather. With the end of the Rainbow Scrap Challenge in sight its a good time to get my quilting projects finished.

Late this afternoon I completed my Chinese Coins top. Because of the late hour I had to photograph it on my small kitchen design floor, so it had to be folded in half.

I have more than enough of the green to do the backing and will probably throw in another strip or two there.

One of my other RSC projects has been neglected. I’ve been preparing charm squares using a rainbow of batiks and attaching a 1-1/2 inch black strip to five of each color. Today I opened the box and started sorting them out. By adding pink, lime green and turquoise I have 10 colors.

These rainbow batik colors surrounded by black will give me a stained glass effect. The placement of the blocks will be something to play with, whether a straight rainbow or a total mixing of the colors. There will be horizontal black sashing as well. I take photos of all my layouts to test them and to keep them in correct order for piecing.

I may finish this as a wall hanging or a small lap quilt for myself, a bright spot of color during the cold winter months.

I’m linking up with Angela at http://superscrappy.blogspot.com/and Cynthia at http://quiltingismorefunthanhousework.blogspot.com/

And the Winner is….

In my post last week I asked for input on a background color for my Chinese Coins strips. I had tried them on a gray background, but it just was not the right choice.

Several of you suggested trying brighter colors and that sounded like a good idea, especially because I love bright tones.

Here are two of my favorites.

As you can see, both of these choices were too dominant, overpowering the strips. Back to my stash I went, hunting for pieces that would be large enough for the length I needed.

I couldn’t find what I wanted in my fat quarters and yardage. So I decided to look in my box of backing fabrics, which had been gathering dust on a bottom shelf. Voila! The piece I found was 104 inches by about 60 inches wide, plenty for the front sashing strips and a back as well.

Yesterday my friend with the Go cutter provided me with eight 3-1/2 x 52 inch strips.

Today I was down to the wire and managed to get the front stitched together except for the top and bottom sashing.

This beautiful soft mottled green was the perfect choice! Thank you, dear friends, for your helpful suggestions. I am so happy I took your advice and did not settle for less than the best.

Another blessing has been a change in the weather to lovely cool dry days, so welcome after all the heat we have had this summer. I hope that those of you who are still suffering from heat will have the same cooling soon.

I’m linking up with Angela at http://superscrappy.blogspot.com/and Cynthia at http://quiltingismorefunthanhousework.blogspot.com/

Chinese Coins

What started out last week as an RSC project sort of morphed into a more interesting idea, which I’ve got all laid out on my design floor. Once I started using my big stash of charm squares, I couldn’t stop. It was lots of fun piecing pairs and then sets of four and finally sets of eight.

This was my final set of the light blue for this month. I really get carried away cutting my 5-inch florals in half and stitching away. I decided not to use the improvisational strips that I had started with, to keep the rows of strips uniform.

In order to mix and match the sets, I made them all in strips of eight. So far I have laid out long rows using three of these sets per row, if that makes sense. I probably will make them longer when I figure out the final size of the quilt.

My latest idea was to space them with 3- inch gray strips. In my stash I found two 1-yard gray pieces, one called “silver” and the other named “dove” (no, not gold). A friend of mine has a Go cutter and I asked her to cut me selvage-to-selvage strips of the silver.

Disaster! I had not opened the folded silver fabric. It turned out to be only a yard wide and I don’t know how it got into into my stash. So here at the moment on my floor are the results.

It is now midnight again and here I am writing this post to show you my Chinese coins in progress. I really do like the floral color scheme, but the grey is not working for me. So it is back to the drawing board to test out black or some other neutral tone.

My idea for the backing is to use florals of some kind. It will probably be a lap quilt. I’m looking forward to seeing everyone else’s projects and I hope you will come back next week to see my finish.

I’m linking up with Angela at http://superscrappy.blogspot.com/and Cynthia at http://quiltingismorefunthanhousework.blogspot.com/