Tuesday, May 10, 2016

"A Nut With Bolts" and more...

Two more LITTLE TREASURES 6-inch blocks done!  I call this one "A Nut With Bolts."

As I am trying to only use reproduction fabrics, I was limited in choices of fresh-tone fabrics.  I chose one that was the right hue, but it had a design on it that was too strong.  I tried the trick of using the wrong side of the fabric...but the little design shows through, which looks a little weird.

She looks a little bruised!

This next one is from the Flowers (2) bundle of patterns.  It is called "Althea Branch."

Just a few more blocks to stitch and I will be caught up!

In stitches,
Teresa   :o)

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Pondering, pondering the center medallion block possibilities...

I am still pondering how to proceed with an interrupted block swap that I have been doing with my friends, Ola and Mary.  They are awesome piecers and I was assigned to do the applique blocks.  I guess they did not want pieced blocks with cut off points, etc.

I have them on my design wall.  For the first few swaps, I used 6-inch applique block designs by Lori Smith for my offerings.  Then I tried drafting my own.

I love the pieced blocks thus far, but with my parents' accident and the move to Alabama, the swap seems interrupted and probably finished.

I really enjoyed coming up with the applique designs, then making three of them.

1)  Remember I had a block published a Quiltmaker 100 Blocks magazine in the last year or so?  I was thinking about doing that block in repro fabrics (here's the version that was in the magazine...lots of bright yellow, pink, red and orange).  Definitely NOT reproduction fabrics...

This block is in the possession of Quiltmaker Magazine...I wonder what they do with all of them?  Maybe they make a quilt from the 100 blocks for each edition of the magazine (this block was in Edition #10), set 10 x 10 blocks.  They wanted us to sign the blocks...they must have had something in mind.

Wait a minute!  I think I prepped one of these blocks in repro fabrics that I never stitched down.  I took a picture...now where did I tuck the actual block during the move...hmm...

I remember putting it somewhere "safe."  That means I won't find it for a while.

It is a little Christmas-y looking in the red and green...I may prep another one, which may be easier than finding the missing block...I KNOW where to find the pattern sketch.

2)  I was thinking of drafting something antique-looking, maybe a little Phoebe-ish.  This is the center of a Phoebe quilt, if you aren't familiar with it.

Phoebe quilt:

Something like that would be very pastoral and traditional...

3)  I have some sketches I drew of our family when I was working on my "Civil War Bride" quilt.  I ended up replacing 10 of the 20 blocks from Corliss Searcy's pattern to make the quilt more my own.  I used this family "portrait" block in that quilt.  But there are others...

4)  And then there is this block I drew of a flower vase...it doesn't have a lot of personality, but it might fit the bill.  I have been prepping the flower motifs to stitch together before stitching it to the background (so I can cut the background away later, if I choose). 

The larger rose blossom is almost as big as one entire little 6-inch block that I've been working on recently.  This block will finish about 16 inches, so, as Bernie says, it seems YUGE! (as compared to my recent output...)

It is a real challenge to make anything more complicated than folk art pictures with reproduction fabrics.  The designs are distracting, most have a design that is too large-scale for subtle shading and little pieces, and the colors seem dull and lifeless.  

I messed around for two hours before deciding on the fabrics for this 15-piece rose (plus the six leaves)!  Thank goodness I had true reds, dark reds, orange reds, pinkish reds, and brick reds in my stash.  

It is unfortunate to spend time drawing a complicated rose only to have the fabric choices all "read" as the same red and just make the whole thing look like a big red blob!  

Maybe that is why so many intricate, antique red/green applique quilts have fairly simple flower blossoms.  They had so few fabric choices 'back then' to distinguish each flower petal...so why bother?

I think I am leaning toward this block.  At any rate, I will make it then put it all up on a design wall and ponder the results.  I will be in and out for a few days, so I hope to get it all glue-basted to the background today or tonight.

I have a few more LITTLE TREASURES 6-inch blocks glue-basted and ready for some serious hand-applique stitching time (and embroidery stitching) as well...

Thank you for your hugs and prayers this week...I felt every one!

In stitches,
Teresa  :o)

Monday, May 2, 2016

I think and draw faster than I stitch...

I have had the applique done on these 6-inch LITTLE TREASURE blocks for a while, but I finally got around to getting the embroidery done.  They are destined for my Repro Madness quilt made up of swap blocks in reproduction fabrics.

I was tempted to ink the writing instead with a Pigma pen, but went with embroidery at the last minute.  The writing is so small, but I have not played much with inking stuff, so I decided to play it safe.

Do any of you ink details on your applique blocks?  Is there something better to use than a Pigma pen?  I have several classic Baltimore Applique books (I love Elly Sienkiewicz!) where wonderful flower details, shading and writing are added to blocks by inking.  I need to be brave and try it!  I have only done this on quilt labels...

(The patterns for these two blocks are available in the LITTLE TREASURES - Misc (1) bundle offered in my web store.  I almost have a second Misc bundle and a group of Dog and Cat designs almost ready to go!)

I can't believe Riley is finishing up her first year of college this week.  It seems like only yesterday that the stork delivered her!

I got more practice last night in making French knots as I finished this next block.  I also had a freak eyeglasses incident.  I was just sitting there, stitching and watching a little TV, when PWOING...a loose screw must have fallen out of the right side of my glasses, the frame popped open, and out plopped my lens!

We search in vain for the screw in the carpet, found another pair of glasses to scavenge, and managed to cobble things back together.  I cannot see the side of a barn without them, I am so near-sighted.  I am glad I wasn't driving or somewhere on the property by myself when it happened!

Good thing I go to the eye doctor this afternoon!

Anyway, it is good to have these two important blocks finished for my quilt.

I counted up my blocks last night, and I have really boogered myself...I am going to have to make some pieced 6-inch blocks for the balance to come out correctly on this quilt setting.  I am not the speedy, perfect piecer that many of you are, so it will be a challenge.  

It will be good for me, but I am not as fast with the piecing as I am with the hand applique.  It will also not be as portable, and I am really needing portable projects for the next month or so.

I also glue-prepped a little stack of more 6-inch blocks this weekend so I have lots of stitching to do!

We are having a thoughtful week.  Today marks a year since my dear mother-in-law passed away, and tomorrow is the 2-year anniversary of my parents' fatal car accident.  

I am still sifting their belongings as I continue to blend our households.  It is a blessing to live in this house they built and care for the treasure forest legacy that I share with six siblings.  It is a constant reminder of their love and care, both for us and the earth, but some days it is still a bit heavy.

Their roses are blooming now, just as they were when I drove all night from Michigan to get here after the accident.  I miss them so much.

In stitches,
Teresa   :o)