Sunday, August 14, 2011

Hexie Fever

I discovered this installation by Crystal Gregory  called "Foot Traffic" long before I was aware of the hexie craze. It was commissioned by the NYC Department of Transportation and is on the overpass at the Lincoln Road train station near Prospect Park.

Don't miss the train!
In crochet parlance these hexagons are called "granny squares".  I am old enough to remember the sixties when making them was all the rage. My friends and I sewed them into afghans and other hideous things that we eventually gave away.   The patchwork hexies created by Lynne and friends may be stylish first cousins to these "squares" but the only thing they have in common with them is that they are both polygons.  Lynne has posted tutorials of lots of different methods for making these at lilysquilts.blogspot.   They seem to be contagious. You can even hex-along.

Sue thinks she's got a a pincushion thing going on . I am hoping it isn't as catching as hexie's  cause I've caught the bug. Which one?  Only time will tell. 

I don't own the AccuQuilt dies, so I made a template for the equilateral triangles (4 5/8" per side  may have been a bit too large) and followed Feed Dog's directions to make my own hexie pincushion.
I had been saving this scrap for something special. 
It went on the bottom of the pincushion, which was not pieced.
Birds, Feathers, Fish and Flowers, these are a few of my favorite things.
I stuffed it with wool roving, from my spinning stash.
Looks like there will be more hex blocks in my future!

Monday, August 8, 2011

The Lilies are Blooming - A Challenging Block

 This week's Civil War block, Carolina Lily was not too easy at all.  It involved the dreaded Y- seam. Three of them.  I found great directions at CT Publishing and got to work.  It took several attempts to get them right, and it is almost perfect.
Mark seams 

The trick was beginning and ending exactly 1/4" in from edge
and backstitching to secure

I added a bit of gold to my flower

the last seam

Viola! I mean Carolina Lily 

Friday, August 5, 2011

Jill of All Trades and Mistress of None

Small Blog Meet

Because Lynne remembers when her blog was new and she had only a few followers, she wants to help us new bloggers. She has defined new as less than 20 followers, so I certainly fit the description. And I know a few of you, dear readers, do too. Sounds like fun. Check out lilysquilts for info.
She gave an assignment: tell a little bit about ourselves and our quilting.  Here goes!

I never thought I would be a quilter. I was sure I didn't have the patience or the time. Then, I learned to quilt, discovered patience and hardly ever say never anymore because ... well, you never know.

I like Traditional Blocks in Reproduction Fabrics 
Contemporary Fabrics in Living Color
 Hand Quilting

Hand quilting can be pretty challenging in Summer especially when  the quilt is for a bed .  So I reserve that task for Winter and very special quilts that I hope will be used gently and loved for a long time.
I haven't mastered free motion quilting and I doubt I ever will, but I've gotten pretty adept at manipulating a walking foot and burying all those ends back into the batting without losing my mind. I send larger quilts that I want finished quickly out to one of the many fine machine quilters who do it for a living.

 This results in more time to make more things and do other things like blog and go to work. Which is a good thing too as it supports my passion for classes, retreats, fabric and dye for colors that I can't find in stores.
Because I can't imagine a world without COLOR, BB, my Cocker Spaniel
and my muse, Celeste. 
Although I learned to sew as a child, I've been a quilter for only about a dozen years.  As I continue to explore, I am learning skills that enable me to get the quilts in my head into my hands.  I've learned to trust that the perfect fabric, a friend’s advice, or a quilt at a show will be just the inspiration I need to move forward on a project.  Works in Progress are GOOD for the soul. Without them, I wouldn't experience that magical turning point - the epiphany - that occurs when I realize just what I need to do.    
I am certain of one thing - not only does it take a lifetime to make a quilt, it takes the whole village to make a quilter. 
I'm a regular quilter who finds joy in the journey and I think I may be much like you. I hope you'll join me.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Summer Challenges

 My Guild has a summer challenge. Last year it was Architecture Inspired Quilts.

I took this photo of one of the many bridges over the Chicago River early last summer.  I was intrigued by the way the light reflected the surreal color of the water onto the girders above my tour boat. 
After an intense week long workshop with Judy Crow, I thought I might be able to interpret the image for the Guild’s Architectural Challenge.  When I started sewing, I was filled with uncertainty and doubt.  I felt like I was wasting time and getting nowhere.  But I kept at it, dyeing fabrics, cutting and sewing fabric strips, re-slicing them to make new cloth, and inserting more lines and shapes until I was satisfied with the representation. I machine quilted the details that were too small to piece.

Water Under the Bridge
This year the summer challenge is to create a 20" by 20" quilt based on Botany. It is one of my favorite subjects.



bleeding hearts

sidewalk sunflower

roadside zinnias 

japanese maple

Last year I grew passionflowers on my rear deck.  This year I am growing them on the front stoop. They send out lovely tendrils that wind along the wrought iron railing.  There are lots of buds getting ready to pop.  I have an idea in my head and have started dyeing fabric again.  I'm not sure if I am up to the task, but I sure am excited about trying.