Thursday, February 28, 2013

Ready to take the plunge...

The first appliqued outer border strip for "Baltimore Rhapsody" is all stitched up and ready to plunge in water to soak the glue out.

I prepped more than I had time to work on in Alabama...big surprise.  (I always pack quilting projects like I am going to a deserted island for a week...I WISH!)

I am liking the swags with the holes in them.  They take a little longer to applique down due to the additional edges to secure down.

The effort is worth it.  The last swag border I did (on the wall above the couch) poofs out, caused by the compression of the batting from all the hand quilting that surrounds the swags.  That has always bugged me.  Since I will be hand quilting inside these little swag cut-outs or vents, my swags won't be poofy.  YIPPEE!

Three more outer borders to go...

In stitches,
Teresa  :o)

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Some outer border resolution...

OK, so I have finally made some sort of decision about the outer borders of "Baltimore Rhapsody."  I will stitch one of the border strips, and see if it is truly what I want.

I will use F clefs in the corners, in a heart motif.  THAT I will figure out after I get the four long strips done.  I am really liking the swags with the holes in them.  The G clefs are a little intense...and I have to make 24 of them...oy!  Fortunately, I have 148 leftover purple circles, so I hopefully don't have to make more of them!

In stitches,
Teresa  :o)

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Last Christmas present finished...

I am no painter, but one of my sisters asked me to embellish a potty stool for my little nephew with a train theme.  Not my strong point.

After much procrastination (and too much hand applique), I finally got it done.

Am I the last person to finish a present for Christmas 2012?!?  It's in the mail, Lainie...

In stitches,
Teresa  :o)

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

On the Road Again...

"All Around the Town" is going to one more show before it gets retired to a wall in my house.  Just like "Banana Joe," the winner of the recent big dog show, it is time for this quilt to relax and just hang around the house.

I shipped it off for the AQS - Lancaster Quilt Show by way of Paducah, KY and my daughter and I are shipping off to Alabama for her mid-winter break (I'm glad WE didn't get stuffed in a black plastic bag, followed by a stuffy box for OUR journey).

In stitches,
a  :o)

Friday, February 15, 2013

Heart fabric fondling...

Thanks to LuAnn over at Loose Threads, I did a little Valentine's Day playing around.  I collect heart/love fabrics, and LuAnn's little piece was just the thing to make.  It was tempting to make it bigger because it was hard narrowing down the fabric choices (the HARDEST part for me, always!).  

I don't have the HST's and squares sewn together yet, but this little project allowed me a little sewing machine time...too much hand applique lately and NO piecing.  My little pieces will finish 3 inches, so the whole thing is only 18 x 18.  I had hoped to make a smaller version for a mug rug, but I wanted to show off more of each fabric.  I am such a fabric addict...

I hope everyone had a great Valentine's Day!

In stitches,
Teresa  :o)

Monday, February 11, 2013

What I did during Downton...

Well, I am trying a plan "B" idea for a swag border.  I really love the plan "A" roman knot...maybe because it is fast and I get to start quilting sooner, LOL.

To make sure that is NOT my motivation, I thought I would mess around with one appliqued border to see if that is truly where my lazy heart lies.  

I thought I would make the swags look like "cut work" - maybe because I was watching Downton Abbey and looking at Violet's lace hankie.  Have you ever seen swags with holes in them - I think I made it up, but after looking at MILLIONS of quilts in books, magazines, museums, and the Internet, one never knows...

I managed to trace and cut up a lot of freezer paper during that nice, long episode.  (Thank God, nothing to cry about in this one...all those tears and nose blows make it hard to get anything done!).

I am still messing around with the block setting.  I've been considering with the suggestion of putting the conductor in the bottom left corner and trying to arrange the other blocks in some sort of "orchestra order." It's not easy with a square/diagonal setting, when the orchestra is a semi-circle, but here goes nothing...I got out all my little paper bits again...

This one is as close to the real deal, the real order as I could get.  Really, the timpani should be beyond the trombone, but just not possible in this setting.  To me, the bottom row is way too heavy with dark objects. I modified it a bit to get the piano off the bottom (after is only a concerto instrument and not normally in the orchestra line up...).

OK...this is weighted better, and I like how the woodwinds are right, plum in the center where they should be (flute next to oboe on one row, and clarinet next to bassoon on the next).  But the angles of the long, skinny instruments bother me.

OK, maybe that is better.  My daughter is off from school AGAIN (snow day? really? WE didn't get the blizzard...I think someone just wanted a 4-day weekend...) and walked by and noticed that I really could turn the oboe 90 degrees and not hurt the integrity of the block.  Ah, young, fresh eyes...

So, back to the quilt cave to delve deeper...

In stitches,
Teresa  :o

Friday, February 8, 2013

Decisions, decisions...

Boy, oh boy, am I ever up against a design wall.  I am having a hard time deciding how to proceed with setting these 16 finished blocks into a quilt.  I really thought I had a plan, but after seeing all the blocks together, I sort of fell out of love with my old plan A.

Then, every time I walk by the design wall, I move blocks, and try to remember to take a picture.  Still no spark of inspiration.

Next, I printed out tiny versions of the blocks, and played with the layout that way.

Now I am looking at plan B...and plan C, plan D, plan E, etc.

I have been studying all my idea books where I saved pictures of Baltimore style quilts...LOTS of sticky notes of things I liked at the time I saved them.

I have been scouring all my quilt books that contain antique Baltimore album quilts....A LOT MORE sticky notes, and books scattered all over the quilt cave.

I've been doodling around on my computer, too.  I am a very visual person...I really need to see it.  A lot of the antique Baltimore style quilts I've been studying seem really busy.  While I was making the blocks, I was thinking I would put tiny sawtooth sashing around every block.

But now I think that is too busy.  Sue Garmon can really pull that off...she has a great eye for how to balance all the elements, but I seem a little lost.  I doodled around with other possibilities...not sure any of them really grab me.

Even a thin, basic strip sashing seems blaring to me when done in green, red, or brown, but maybe if it is done in a very light brown so that it doesn't jump out at me, maybe I will like it.  I've studied some more recent Baltimore style quilts that incorporated this idea.

Then I found examples that had sashing made from the background, which looks like no sashing, but does space the blocks out a bit more so that they are not "doing battle with each other."  That started looking very elegant to me.  Then I stumbled on this roman knot inner border idea.

This would have no applique border...just lots of (hopefully) stunning hand quilting (and mitered outer borders)...hmmm...

Then I wondered about a very subtle, thin, light brown sashing AND this roman knot idea...hmmm, may be getting busy again.

Then I thought about a wider sashing, but still with the thin subtle brown strips and a cornerstone, accompanied by a more traditional scallop outer border...or a vine...

With this idea, I would get thin strips of background on each side of the light brown, which would make the blocks not crowd so much against each other.  But, it is also busy...what to do, what to do...

Then I thought about spacing the blocks out with sashing made from background fabric, then add an inner border around all the blocks of some kind...plain strip or sawtooth, followed by a more traditional appliqued outer border (I don't have the inner border doodled in below, but it is there, in my brain...).

I was sad to have to reject the blocks that had the G and F clef signs and the lyre in them.  I could introduce those ideas in an appliqued outer border, either with a vine or scallop motif.  What do you think of the heart motif?
It is actually an F clef, with its mirror image, as a very crude doodle.  These clefs are asymmetrical and difficult to use unless you get creative...

So there I am...basically thinking of either plan A...

Or some version of plan B...

That is where I  Who knows where I will be tomorrow...(maybe plan C).


We got a little bit of ice and some snow in southeast lower Michigan last night, so my daughter is enjoying a snow day from high school and an unplanned 3-day weekend (if fact, I think she is still in bed, tut-tut).  Good luck to everyone who will be getting a bigger dose of snow, wind, and misery today, tonight, and tomorrow.

In stitches,