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The Circle Games

My version of The Circle Games top is finished (original pattern by Jen Kingwell).  Next step is to thread baste it as I plan to hand quilt it.  The picture isn’t the greatest as the light wasn’t cooperating this morning.  I enjoyed doing the appliquéd circles in the border.  Another needle turn appliqué project is in my future – first I want to finish my Sue Spargo Magnolia.

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Mr. W’s 2nd pair of socks are finished.  Pretty darn sure that this will be my last pair of socks.  Working with 2mm needles causes neck pain.  He loves them which makes the neck pain well worth it.

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I am going to a quilt retreat later this year.  The organisers asked if I would be willing to put together a non-quilting project for their members to work on if they didn’t have any UFOs (SERIOUSLY?!).  Anyway, I did 3 samples for them to choose from; a bag (‘3 fabric, 10 step tote’ by Inspired Wren), a sewing mat/coverup (called an ‘Undercover Maker Mat’ by Lillyella) and a needle case.  Patterns for the first 2 are **free** patterns from Craftsy and the needle case is a modification from a magazine pattern.

 

And finally, I am on the look-out for this fabric for a friend of mine.  If you have any in your stash, especially if you are in Australia and would be willing to sell it, she’d greatly appreciate it.  It’s a Lecien print from the line called Repro Old New 30’s.  We’ve found some coordinating prints from the line – and some with different background color but this one must have been popular because we haven’t been able to source the blue/aqua background print.

 

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Dust if you must

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I love this poem by Rose Milligan

Dust if you must, but wouldn’t it be better
To paint a picture or write a letter,
Bake a cake or plant a seed,
Ponder the difference between want and need?
Dust if you must, but there’s not much time,
With rivers to swim and mountains to climb,
Music to hear, and books to read,
Friends to cherish and life to lead.
Dust if you must, but the world’s out there,
With the sun in your eyes, the wind in your hair,
A flutter of snow, a shower of rain.
This day will not come round again.
Dust if you must, but bear in mind,
Old age will come and it’s not kind.
And when you go – and go you must –
You, yourself, will make more dust.
Enjoy your moments!
dust if you must

April this -n- that

Here’s what I’ve been working on:

Bro’s and Sista’s (Brother’s and Sister’s from the book Kindred Spirits (Yellow Creek Quilt Designs) – It’s ready to hand quilt.  It’s sitting in the tv room waiting for me.  It’s ALMOST cool enough in the evenings to sit with this BAQ on my lap.  I’ll be using Big Stitch technique with size 12 Finca perle cotton thread.  Circles.  Freeform circles.  Last night while catching up on my blogs, I ran across the idea from Tim Latimer Quilts.  Time to start forming a callous on my naughty finger again.  This is a King Size so I’m guessing it will take me all winter.

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Mr. W’s favorite reading chair has sprung a leak so I’m thinking to make a slipcover for it from an extra quilt.

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Below are the blocks I have so far for The Splendid Sampler quilt by Jane Davidson & Pat Sloan.  They are 6.5 inch blocks.  Two per week for a year.  Did I mention **free**?  I’m using batiks from my scrap bag.

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Below is my version of The Circle Games by Jen Kingwell.  Two borders finished (appliqué circles) two to go.  I’m really enjoying the appliqué work.  Think I need to find another appliqué project once this one is finished.  I’m tempted to start on the Quilty 365 project – or perhaps my version of it.

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Next we have my next 2 projects from Sherri Lynn Wood‘s book on Improv quilting.  The first one is called Rhythmic Grid and the second one Patchwork Doodle.  They are both in the preliminary stages on the design wall.

And finally, we have my version of Sue Spargo‘s Magnolia.  Again, two borders finished, two to go.  This quilt is such a RIOT of color but I’m really liking it.  I am enjoying learning new embroidery stitches from Sue’s book Creative Stitching.  I’ve also been drooling while looking at her book Stitches to Savor – an amazing coffee table book of her work.

 

Score 2 – Strings

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Strings – 30×36

At the risk of repeating myself, one of the most inspiring quilt books I’ve bought in a long time is Sherri Lynn Wood’s book called Improv Handbook for Modern Quilters.  It resides on the arm of the couch in front of the TV and I thumb through it several times a week.

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I have been doing freeform quilt work for years – but this book brings together a lot of ideas I haven’t explored before.  I am motivated to work through all the ‘scores’ in this book in 2016 and have just finished Score 2 – Strings.

I started with a bag of Reece Scannell shot cottons that I bought at a quilt show several years ago.  This bag contained 2-4 inch off-cut pieces the width of the fabric.

First job was to separate these fabrics into colors.  Next, per instructions for score 2, I decided on 3 combinations of colors.  I went with 1) high contrast, which ended up being primarily purples and yellows 2)neutrals and 3) low contrast/analagous, primarily oranges, golds and reds.  I discarded the beige/white fabrics.

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Cutting (without a ruler) I sliced the strips to 18″ lengths and 1-3″ widths.  Off to the sewing machine, I made 3 separate strip sets.  I LOVE the way the curves developed.  And, I loved the WHIRL and HUM of my sewing machine as I mindlessly sewed the strips together!

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Hanging the 3 strip sets onto my design mattress, my initial thought was that I didn’t think the neutral set went with the other two sets.  I posted this picture to Sherri’s Facebook group – and although I wasn’t exactly looking for opinions, I had several people suggest I give it a whirl with all 3 strip sets.  So, I did.

The cutting and design process was the MOST fun.  After I had a fairly appealing layout, I auditioned the beige/white strips and some dark brown strips thinking that might add to the design.  I ended up liking it WITHOUT the additional strips.  I probably spent about 5-6 days cutting and thinking and rearranging until I arrived at what I thought was a good arrangement.

While working on the final arrangement, the thought kept coming to mind “how do I know when it’s finished?”.  Funnily enough – that’s the same thought I have when I paint.  And I think that’s a thought that many artistic people sit with.  How DO you know when a piece is done?  I guess it’s done when you say it’s done, right?  Students of an art class I once attended joked(?) occasionally that their art wasn’t done until the teacher SAID it was done.  That never really sat comfortably with me.  Yes – the teacher had more experience – but did that necessarily mean that she knew best about someone else’s work?

 

Once I had the top finished, I found some butt-ugly fabric in my bin and quickly pin basted the quilt.  My quilting plan was to once again try free-motion quilted concentric circles.  I thought briefly about doing the concentric circles with the walking foot but thought the free form might continue the improv/wonky style.  BAD MOVE.  I HATE my concentric circles.  I have tried several times before to do concentric circles using free-motion technique and I’m just not good at it.  My circles are NOT circular.  Note to self:  next time you decide to do free form concentric circles….DON’T!

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I added some spirals to the outside and then called it good enough.  I used my favourite facing tutorial from Terry Aske to finished the edges.  The only part of this wallhanging where I used a ruler was for the upper edge of the quilt as I wanted that dead-on straight.  The sides and the bottom I cut with the rotary cutter without a ruler so there is a slight curve.

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All in all, I really like this quilt!   That surprises me.   It isn’t a color palette that I would instantly gravitate toward but you know what?  It feels like art to me.  And, whether it lines a dog kennel, is rolled up on a shelf or hangs on a wall – it really doesn’t matter to me because I had so much fun making it.  It seriously had me smiling every time I worked on it.  There was an excitement factor to making it that I am struggling to communicate.

I’ve already started on my next score.  Well….truth be told, I have 3 going right now.  Yes…..I said three!  K3’s quilt includes multiple scores, plus I have started a Patchwork Doodle using Japanese taupes and the third one is called Rhythmic Grid using my retro crumb blocks.  Stay tuned for more WHACK-JOB quilting…..I’m on a roll.

Gypsy Wife 2 Finish

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Another finish.  Gypsy Wife 2 was made from the duplicate blocks I made when I did the original Gypsy Wife quilt.  My intent on this design was to have plenty of negative space to practice my free motion quilting.

I’m pleased with the results.  Especially with my FMQ work.

A few things I might have done differently….1) maybe made it shorter?  It seems a little LONG – but since it’s just a curl-up quilt, it’s not a big issue.  2)  If I had thought about it, and if I would have had the UUMMMPH to do it, I might have done black binding around the black area instead of using the same color around the entire quilt.  I think I was just ready for this to be finished and didn’t want to fiddle-fart around with the binding.

Again, I used the 50/50 bamboo/cotton batting.  And, I used large pieces of fabric from my stash for the back.

Destination unknown.  As I was quilting it, I was thinking about my niece’s husband and how he makes me smile with some of his un-conventional behaviours (like mowing his lawn in circles!).  This might be his GOOD DADDY quilt.

 

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