Sunday, 30 April 2017

Improv Chinese Coins: a finish: "Season of mists ..."



The AHIQ  invitation for the first quarter was to use Chinese coins as the basis of a quilt. They could be developed in any way we wanted as long as Chinese Coins were the starting point.


Ann gave links to some examples, which I found inspiring and which led to some left-over batik jelly roll strips being sewn together, without any definite plan. I then cut free-hand through  the whole thing intending to rotate one piece and then sew them together again. 

As there was an odd number of strips, after rotation the middle one stayed in the middle which didn't look good to me so I turned the pieces back to the original position to insert another strip of batik. Firstly I cut through the panels to make a branching structure. Sewing the inserts in the side panels was tricky: bias strips would have worked better, but I was using 2.5" jelly roll strips, so cutting on the bias was not an option. The vertical insert naturally went in much more easily. 

This was beginning to resemble a tree, or magma rising through the Earth's crust. I settled on a tree,


 with leaves:


The leaves in the photo above are double-sided and I sewed them down with a zig-zag stitch along the central nerve of the leaf. Others are single fabric and machine appliquéd directly onto the background with blanket stitch.

The 3-D effect of the leaves is clearer in this photo


  



Material: 
Top: assorted batik scraps
Wadding: pieced scraps of cotton wadding
Backing: pieced scraps
Thread: background Aurifil 40 wt.; leaves Aurifil 50 wt in colours matching the leaves.
Dimensions: 19" x 16.5"
I'm linking up to
AHIQ
Click on the button to see more improvised Chinese Coins.

Happy sewing

Marly.

Saturday, 22 April 2017

From 9-patches to Wonky Stars

Each month Angela at soscrappy gives a colour for the Rainbow Scrap Challenge, and this month's colour could be the rainbow itself. It's multi-coloured scraps of fabric in this month's challenge. I've passed on this one, as I have very few multi-coloured fabrics, and they don't qualify as scraps.

Instead I've been trying to catch up on the previous months with purple:



and red:



wonky star blocks.

These started with the nine patches I made in February and March, to which I added more coloured squares and the white wonky stars. My plan is to continue using the colour of the month to make eight more 14" blocks this year. I hope to keep repetition of fabrics within the block to a minimum, but supplies are limited - 48 different fabrics in one colour is asking a lot!

Right after my last post I finished the red scrap basket, which now contains my red scraps.







Pattern from Fiona at Bubz Rugz.
Measurements:
height:  7.75"
base:     7"x 8"


Talking of scraps, which we do every Saturday in the RSC link-up, on 8 April I attended a lecture and a workshop by Jen Kingwell. Yes really, the Australian diva of scraps visited my home town in the little old Netherlands to intoduce a group of some 20 interested ladies from all over The Netherlands to her way of working, and especially to her pattern "Utah".

Most of Jen's quilts are sewn entirely by hand, and the Utah units are no exception: within the units all seams are curves which I've decided are easier done by hand, but I shall be joining the resulting 4" squares by machine!
Jen Kingwell pointing out the details of her quilt "Halo"

The lecture included a guided tour round her quilts which were on display in the exhibition area. Hearing first-hand what the inspiration was and how they all came together was truly inspiring. I am writing a post on the exhibition and my progress with the "Utah" blocks (of which this is an extract) and will publish it in a few days.

I'm linking to

SoScrappy   and   Quilting is more fun than Housework

so pop in there to see more delightful scraps.

Happy sewing

Marly.

Saturday, 1 April 2017

Marching through red


March's colour in the RSC was red, and I've been "seeing red" all month without getting angry!

These red nine-patches are from 2" strips, mostly left from Bonnie Hunter's 2015 mystery Aliatare augmented with a few more recent acquisitions. 

Next up are leader and ender hour-glass blocks, also made using 2" strips and cut with the companion angle triangle.


A couple of weeks ago I described the fun I was having making slab blocks using really tiny pieces. Well, here they are again with some larger pieces, layered and quilted ready to be trimmed and then transformed into a scrap basket. 


Not entirely red, but a quilted basket needs contrast, doesn't it? 

I followed a tutorial form Fiona at Bubz Rugz, but while she only took an hour to make hers, I've taken the best part of two weeks and I still haven't finished! Partly because while she appears to have used squares and rectangles, I started with odd shapes. In addition I don't think I've spent more than ten minutes each day at my sewing machine in the last three weeks.

Lastly the Jacob's Ladder blocks have not incresed in the last two weeks; they are as they were in my last post. Thanks to Chantal I now have the correct name though: Hovering Hawk. 
Hovering Hawk
Thank you Chantal! Thank you too to everyone who made a suggestion about the name; you were all pretty close, usually with just a slight difference in the orientation of the small triangles.

Saturday I'll be linking up to

 SoScrappy
 Click on the button to see more red fun.

Happy sewing

Marly.

Friday, 31 March 2017

Improv Chinese Coins

Ann and Kaya who host the Ad Hoc Improv Quilters (AHIQ) suggested making improvised Chinese Coins this quarter. My Chinese Coins have looked like this for about two weeks now: the coins (that I showed last month) and a tree,

inserted tree: bias cut fabric would have been better; fitting the branches in distorted the background.
and some double-sided leaves to attach once I've quilted it.

Double-sided leaves: some finished, others simply fused and waiting to be zig-zagged together. More needed.
"Once I've quilted it" being an important phrase here - for me, deciding on a quilting motif is always a challenge and inevitably leads to procrastination.
It's completely put together from scraps. Not only the top, but also the wadding:
 and the backing are pieced:

The leaves are strengthened with double-sided fusible interfacing, so I'll be able to attach them along the central nerve or at one end allowing the underside to be partly visible. I'm hoping they will appear to "float" but it's important I think to get the rest quilted first.

The strata in the background, the "coins", are from a 2.5 inch fabric roll. Having joined them together I cut them in half intending to turn one half upside down and go from there. However that didn't work because with an uneven number of strata the middle one stayed in the middle, and didn't look good. Here followed some pondering and turning pieces round, trying more fabrics before I decided to leave the orientaion af the strata as it was and insert a strip. This became the trunk of the tree, but only after I had inserted branches into the two panels. The trunk and branches are made from a 2.5 inch strip cut longways freehand. Using a "jelly roll" meant I couldn't cut the strip on the bias which would have been easier to insert; it was quite a struggle forcing the straight fabric into the cuts I had made.

While thinking about quilting this mini I also made a few more coin blocks on a different scale. (I needed a rest from all that thinking!)

These strings are six inches long, and of varying width. I've decided to make a rainbow collection of them, following the Rainbow Scrap Challenge colour each month; although this month's colour has been red and not yellow/orange! Even choosing the colour was ad hoc! The number I make each month will depend on how many scraps I have in the colour of the month that are at least six inches long. In my view a piece of fabric is only a scrap if it is really really small. I've no idea how they will all come together over the year.

There isn't really much to show here for two whole months' work, is there? Still, I'm working on it and have learnt plenty. I'm looking forward to next quarter's invitation, and hoping I can push my limits even fuurther.

I'm linking up to
AHIQ 
Click on the button to see some improv masterpieces.

Happy sewing

Marly.
 

Saturday, 11 March 2017

RSC 17 Looking for red


Angela at Soscrappy has given red as the colour for this month's scraps. Time to look out red scraps.

I have a bucket under my cutting table for the bits I don't want on the table. This bucket


was full, that is piled up and overflowing, of pieces of assorted colours and sizes. I spent a couple of hours yesterday evening separating

strings


from crumbs


from larger pieces


but hardly made a difference to the bucket.

Unfortunately I didn't find any red strings, just a couple of strips from which I could cut 2" squares
However, I found a few red triangles, probably the cut off corners of stitch and flip blocks, and some extremely odd shapes from which I cut the jagged edges.



Now I'm off to make crumb blocks from this treasure trove!

That was yesterday, ... and here they are!


These crumb blocks are destined to go onto a QAYG  basket for red scraps, but more about that later.
My plan is to make a basket each month and put that bucket back to its original use: hand laundry!

Last week I showed my outsize Jacob's Ladder blocks and now I have made three from the "other" Jacob's Ladder pattern that I had drawn from a photo by Sharon Mck Mason at 24 Quilts and which originated in "Better Homes and Gardens" but I don't know when. Incidentally I don't think it bears much resemblance to the original Jacob's Ladder, except for the diagonal line of squares; if anyone knows this block by another name please let me know.


For size comparison here are the blocks together:


I'm linking this to 

grab button for SoScrappy       

 Click on the button to see more photos of scrappy patchwork.

Happy sewing

Marly.

Saturday, 4 March 2017

RSC 17 February aqua

Angela at soscrappy gave aqua as the colour for February and this week I made a few more 9-patches and some half hour-glass blocks as leaders and enders
 
Leaders and Enders!
and a couple of Jacob's Ladder blocks.

12" Jacob's Ladder blocks, pattern from Quilter's Cache

I'm not really happy with these for my rainbow project this year because the blocks are too big and the pieces are too big: 4.5" strips don't count as scraps in my book, at least not in the length they need to be here. Bad choice!

However I did find a photo on Internet, labelled Jacob's Ladder, but a 4-patch variation with small triangles and lending itself much better to using scraps. I have drawn the pattern,



and shall be making it each month using either 2" or 2.5" strips in the month's colour for the "ladder" and another for the corner squares. Nothing to show yet but let's hope that this works!

The two blocks I have just made are going into the orphan box, but I plan on using them in a blue/teal/green and white quilt, and that won't come from my scrap box!

I'm looking forward to March's colour which is still a mystery now RED.

Linking on Saturday to
SoScrappy
Click on the button to see more scrap fun.

Happy sewing

Marly.

Tuesday, 28 February 2017

AHIQ Challenge: Chinese Coins

Kaya and Ann at the Ad Hoc Improv Quilters have devised challenges for this year, and the first one, I discovered this past week, is Chinese Coins. (That will teach me to concentrate on sewing for two and a half months and neglect Blogland!) Now I've seen a few Chinese Coins Quilts in blog posts since I started quilting five years ago, but was never really impressed! Sorry! I must have been looking in the wrong place because Ann gave links to some amazingly dynamic stacks of coins, a far cry from the piles of jelly roll cut-offs I've seen before.

So what did I do? I found some 2½" batik strips, from a roll of  pre-cut 2½" batik strips (a jelly roll in all but name!), stacked them, cut through the stack at 17" and sewed them together along the long sides with the darkest at the bottom and the lightest at the top. How boring!



I didn't choose the brightest of colours but stuck with earth tones. I'm thinking the Earth and Mother Nature, sedimentary rocks, peat cuttings. Colour-wise rather like an early Van Gogh, before he went off to the South of France and discovered irises and sunflowers!

If I read the challenge instructions properly I've got one more month to make this into something. Something, that is, other than the resemblance of a stack of peat propped up to dry!

I'm linking to
AHIQ 
Click on the button to see more improvised Chinese Coins. I am sure there will some amazing variations on the theme.

Happy sewing

Marly.

Saturday, 25 February 2017

RSC 2016 finished top and a start on RSC 2017

Each month Angela gives a colour and worldwide lots of quilters start sewing their scraps in that colour. February's colour is teal/aqua. I wonder what next month's colour will be.

I finished the Bears Paws blocks and have started on some nine-patches in aqua/turquoise/teal




and in purple (January's colour):



Most effort this week, however, went into putting my blocks from last year's challenge together. I decided last week to add "frames" rather than sashing, and give the blocks a frame of in total 6" if you add left and right together: 4" on one side and 2" on the opposite side, or 3"on both sides.


Thus each block went from 14" square to 20.75" square. I changed the relative positions of the wide and narrow pieces in each block. I had intended to put those larger blocks together randomly, but was afraid the empty spaces would become too unevenly distributed. So began my planning headache! The only constant is in the corners; a two inch frame in the corner to help define the whole as a square and hopefully to prevent the appearance of sagging. (I wish that was always so easy!)


Now I have to think of a name. Hmm ... Rainbow Bears?, ... Multi-coloured Bears?, ... Bears in the Paint pot? Any ideas?

I'm linking up this week to: 
 SoScrappy                            http://celticthistlestitches.blogspot.nl/2017/02/a-boutis-liscious-finish-for-tgiff.html

Click on the buttons to see more from scraps and a lot of finishes.

Happy sewing

Marly

Sunday, 19 February 2017

RSC 16 The last of the Bear's Paws


Each month Angela gives a colour and worldwide lots of quilters start sewing their scraps in that colour. February's colour is teal/aqua, and as I only needed two more bear's paw sections to  finish my RSC quilt from last year, aqua they are!


Here they are with the two remaining purple paws from last week:

The block that didn't make it into the quilt top, but will be incorporated into the back somehow.

And here are the other nine blocks, not yet in their final placement:


These blocks measure 14" square as they are; 13.5" in the final setting

I got so much advice last week about the sashing colour, for which I'm very grateful. Here's a peek at the final block, not with sashing as I suggested last week, but framed.



Maybe there'll be a finished top before the end of this month.

I'm linking up to:

SoScrappy      Quilting is more fun than Housework
Click on the buttons, to see more scraps made beautiful.

Enjoy your week, wherever you are.

Happy sewing

Marly.