[personal profile] emmne
It has proven a little more complicated than I expected, partly because I had no idea what I was doing when I started, and I had not intention of having a back entirely made of 4 !/2 blocks. I've decided along the way that color blocks of about 5 or 6 blocks per row is good for the fabric mix I ended up with, and that's how big the backing blocks will be for the quilt-as-I-go stage. Machine sewing has helped especially for the initial strips, but sewing between the raised seams is no easy matter on the machine and would be easier if somewhat slower to do that part by hand.

It has been an interesting color exercise. I thought the least of my colors was greens, but I think it was an illusion due to the lack of variety - I had lots of scraps of the same greens, mostly solid, slightly bluish green, but overall there is lots of it, so I have made only one block of black and gray fabrics, but three blocks of greens and I'm not sure I'm done with them, yet. And that's not counting the certain spectrum of green fabrics that are waiting for me to remake an old green applique crazy quilt. The color blocks will be shifting in color from dark to light, blues to yellows, yellows to roses to purples. It's a true rag quilt to the degree of being years of leftover fabrics and not a purposeful selection. I have too much of certain fabrics I am working on finding ways to use up, not enough of pattern ones that will help blend colors that don't go well, but maximizing the mix within similar groups, the slow rainbow progressions have meant that so far I've only rejected a couple of fabrics that didn't look good next to anything else in the group.

I don't know that I would make another one, but I like to try at least all the basic types of quilts, and I hadn't done a rag quilt before but like the fluffy look of some of those I've seen. I don't care for the ones that have very short, tight seams, as if they were trying to look like chanile (sp?). It looks like I will not have lots of leftovers, so what I do end up with will probably be pillow shams or pillow cases, depending on how many I end up with, the fabrics, and the color spectrum. If it is much of the heavier fabrics, I'll make it a sham for a decorative pillow, as they don't make the best direct sleeping. A proper pillow case should be a light, smooth cotton weave or flannel, not cordiroy or denim or polyester, and this quilt has them all.
[personal profile] emmne
My quilt group has been doing a Round Robin. We each picked out own theme and will end up with a quilt that all the participants contributed one or more squares to. I didn't realize how many different definitions of "theme" there might be. Some chose a fabric theme, like 30s prints or juvenile, in any scrappy design for a sampler. Some chose a focus fabric to match, again in a sampler. I chose a season, to offer the option of color or fabric print or picture pattern. someone else chose an animal and a color, to allow either for maximum flexibility. Someone picked a pattern that everyone was to follow in any fabric.

What followed was almost as much re-interpretation as the starting theme. The animal/color theme is resulting in a batik sub-theme that wasn't even suggested, to good but unexpected effect. The 30s prints, perhaps the first that necessitated buying a bit of fabric, has prevailed in several of the packages that allowed any fabric. The samplers have followed a sub-theme of simple or complex, fully symmetric or wide variety according to what the first couple of participants chose to do.

The results have been great: fairly cohesive groups of squares, lessons in fabric types, color-matching, pattern research, a new curious-trick pattern, subtle colors and bright colors and ideas for our own quilts. All skill levels were allowed and encouraged, and most allowed a range of techniques including applique, paper-piecing, traditional patterns, simple patterns, without requiring anything in particular.

What kind of quilt-of-the-month or other exchanges do you do? How do they work?
[personal profile] emmne
Bring summer into winter with a lap quilt of summer colors in patterns or blocks reminicent of flowers, grass, or summer activities and sports.

Rag Quilt

Jul. 9th, 2013 08:42 pm
[personal profile] emmne
Summer time is sewing time (when even sitting next to the sewing machine isn't too hot) and I have a couple going. One is a Rag quilt. In this case, more true than some. Over the past year, as I ended up with leftovers not much more than a 4 1/2 inch strip, or lots of irregular scraps from fussy cutting, I cut it into 4 1/2 inch squares or strips and added them to a pile. I have pretty bit pile so sorted them loosely by color family (blues, browns, rose-pink-red, mostly white, mostly black, a few greens, yellow-orange-cream), grabbed a pile and started sewing with about 1 inch seams. It is more challenging than one would think, mostly because I have to break all my hard earned sewing habits, stop, put back sides together, sew, do it again.

So, in case you don't know, a rag quilt is a quilt with inside-out seams, which make for a fluffy fringy top of varying degrees. (I've seen some with such small seams, it's hardly worth the bother, and some where there was so much fluff/seam allowance, the base fabric colors didn't matter. It was all the whitish backs of cotton prints showing. I'm assembling by blocks, top only, and plan to quilt as I go thereafter, maybe to a back, batting and front, maybe to a back plus a batting made of old towels, which should help the fluffiness and not need a surface between the blocks and the batting (for where it might show between blocks if I don't quilt all the way to the edges from both sides). It is common to have a back of blocks, maybe even down to the 4 1/2 or other piece size, and sew all the layers like piecing, with no separate quilting, but I'm picturing slightly poofy centers to the 4 1/2 squares, between the zig-zag cut fringes, so quilting of some degree, maybe even stuffing a bit with scrap batting or pillow stuffing.

I haven't decided quite what i will do with the colored blocks yet. Probably see how many blocks they make, then decide how to combine the leftovers, again depending on numbers of each color, to see if they are like half blocks or just onesy twosys for a center block, or some combination suggestive of a pattern or progression.
[personal profile] emmne
Prompt: Find a star block you haven't tried before.

Large block variation: consider using several small stars to make a larger block, sampler-style

Designer's challenge: integrate two star block patterns into a single, more complex star
[personal profile] emmne
I was thinking of some series to post and have a mystery quilt that might work but I have to work out how to get the pictures on line. If someone comes across this post and doesn't mind sending me a snail mail address, I'll send it as paper. meanwhile, I'll talk about my favorite topic, which is designing crazy quilts. I've done all kinds, including when I was cluelessly figuring out quilting without class or teacher. (My first quilt is diamond shaped because I didn't know how to square off). A couple of them are true patchworks: an old blanket or a couple of old beach towels appliqued with patches until one side is covered with patches and the other side has either scrap of the base material from trimming off the uneven edges or some closely matching material to peed the back the same color as the original.

Usually I pick a color theme: blue, green, and stick mostly to that with just enough variety to brighten it up. Mostly I pick very close range of blues, solids and patterns, but lately I've been looking at some scrappy quilts that are less close, yet still of a theme, a rainbow of blues you might say, with a rainbow of crams or some other color, matching or contrasting but subtlely so. I'm redoing green quilt that shrank a lot, expanding and flattening the pieces that didn't shrink as much. That I'll keep to the current country green as closely as possible, but the one after that will be more variable shades in the same family, maybe pinks with peach and rose and maroon, or blues from bluegreen to violet to sky blue to navy and see how much color a single color can handle. With that in mind, I've been shopping for fat quarters with patterns but less strong contrasts. Not my usual for shopping, but mostly because I didn't know what to do with them rather than because I didn't like them. With the mixed color patterns, I can more easily incorporate my overstocked stash of solids, perhaps.

Anyway, maybe I'll talk more about that in future posts. i do love a crazy quilt and they offer so many possibilities.
[personal profile] emmne
I blogged about the concept of concept crafts and my idea for a weather journal quilt on my blog, at:  http://home.earthlink.net/~wyverns/2013.01.01_arch.html

in sum, the idea is to "join the fun" or do something "with" friends wherein everyone does the same thing but gets different results, in this case by using the weather as the decision maker for design.  It was originally conceived as a knitting project, but translates and happily expands into quilting.  My quilting concept has several variations.  The one that follows the scarf design most closely is stripes formed by two rows of squares.  Each pair of squares together defines the weather of the day.  Each double row defines the weather of the month, and the trend in weather forms the design for the year.

The other design concept, more easily rendered as "block of the month" with either paired rectangles or half-square triangles.  My main hesitation over it was how to capture the flow of the weather from month to month, but I got an idea for that today: instead of arranging each month like a calendar, start in one corner, go pack and forth diagonally to the other corner for the month, then start the next block in the nearest corner.

I'm not planning to start any new quilts until it's too warm to lap quilt, so I was considering other years that I could do, like my birth year and the year I graduated from college, one for each half of a quilt of four rows of six blocks with a thin sashing around each block.  That still leaves some range for the half square triangles (or bow ties).

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