Friday, August 17, 2018

A Coxcomb for Linda Brannock's Flowers Quilt

"Coxcomb and Hearts" is the title of this block for Linda Brannock's Flowers quilt. 

appliqued Coxcomb and Hearts for Linda Brannock's Flowers Quilt

I think this was the hardest block so far.  Those jagged outside edges of the leaves were so challenging for me.  At the inner points there was nearly no fabric to turn under on the sides.  Whew!  I didn't succeed very well but I'll take the results this time (and work to do better next time).

Coxcomb (also written cockscomb), or celosia cristata by its Latin name, is an interesting flower which often looks like it is made of ruffles gathered into a little vase that is the stem.  The fresh flowers are fairly stiff and somewhat bristly and they can be dried to use in everlasting bouquets and arrangements.  There are several varieties which vary somewhat in shape and color.  The flowers are usually in the red/rose range but I chose the coloring in the one below for my block. 


The fabric color I chose is not spot on to duplicate this flower; is, perhaps, a little too bright; and probably not primitive at all.  I'm hoping the pattern will carry the primitive look.

This is a group photo of my completed blocks so far.

applique flowers for Linda Brannock's Flowers Quilt

I can see how important it will be to carefully choose the colors I use in the triangle/squares sashing to help unify the blocks.  Yikes!  Will it work?!

I'm linking this post to Finished or Not Friday at Busy Hands Quilts.  Thanks for hosting, Myra.

--Nancy.
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Monday, August 13, 2018

The Lure of Online Fabric Shops

I've been searching for reproduction grey fabric for my "Blue and Gray" Civil War quilt.  It's a fabric that's hard to find locally.  Imagine my joy at seeing several offerings at an online shop.  There were five to choose from, then only four because I deliberated.  I've purchased fabric online before (from five different shops) and have always been disappointed.  Either the quality is not what I expected or the color doesn't match what I see on my computer screen.  But these fabrics, well, I was sure they would work.  How far wrong could one go with grey? 


I bought a yard of two of the horizontal greys on the bottom and a yard and a half of the top grey fabric in the photo above.  The anticipation was great.  I knew August was already busy but to have the grey fabric on hand, washed, dried, pressed, and ready to cut -- the lure was not to be ignored.

The package arrived and when I opened it and saw two greys that leaned so strongly toward purple that I couldn't (and can't) bring myself to call them grey, the disappointment set in.  The top grey may work but it truly leans toward green.  The greys in the lower half of the photo are the ones I'd already purchased.

I don't know why I don't learn.  I suspect it's the lure of quality, name-brand fabrics at great prices and the beautiful (but inaccurate) colors that draw me to online fabric shops.

I need to remind myself why I should not buy fabrics online.
  • The colors.  The colors shown online are not true.  They vary from one monitor to another.  Really, fabrics in real life vary in color depending on the light, so why should I expect anything different from photographs of fabrics online.  And yet, the colors of fabrics in online photos are different than I see in real life when the fabrics arrive, even when I look at them in different lights. 
  • The hand.  One can't tell how the fabric feels when buying online, whether it falls and folds gently or whether it's thick and stiff, or possibly thin, whether the surface is smooth, or even how smooth it is.  No matter how much I love the print or color of a fabric, if it doesn't feel comfortable to my hand, I don't want to use it.
  • The quality.  I've noticed that different lines of fabric from the same manufacturer vary in quality, especially when it comes to the hand of fabric.  One line may be smooth, soft, and flexible while another line may be thinner, less smooth, or even somewhat stiff.

It's frustrating to buy fabric that I can't use for its intended purpose.  It's even more frustrating to have spent money on fabric that's not quite what I expected.  I see only two ways around this problem.
  1. Do not buy fabric online.
  2. Buy online only after having seen the same fabric at a fabric shop.
Now, to figure out how to use those purple fabrics.  (If only purple were not one of my least-favorite colors.)

Do you buy fabric online?  If so, what tips do you have to be sure you're satisfied with your purchases?

--Nancy.
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Monday, August 6, 2018

To Do in August

August is shaping up to be a jam-packed month (though not because I'm making jam, because I'm not).  On my schedule ...

First.  A coxcomb for Linda Brannock's Flowers quilt.  Below, I'm auditioning fabrics.  Maybe the coral is a little too bright....  It looks less so during the day in natural light, brighter with a flash or at night.  I'll audition more tomorrow.


Second.  Sections for Sweet Land of Liberty for Lori's sew-along at Humble Quilts.  This month we're making three uneven stars; a long, narrow flag; a liberty/angel with "freedom" appliqued; a log cabin block with a crow; and two small embroidered birds.  I hope these go quickly for me and that I don't agonize over fabric choices.

Which reminds me that I don't want to embroider for this quilt so I want to iron a piece of muslin onto freezer paper, then try out three different pens to see which writes best and which is indelible after washing several times.  There's no way to tell about whether they will harm fabric over time. 

Third.  Everyday Patchwork blocks will be getting borders this month.  It is my One Monthly Goal so that will definitely get done.  I'm looking forward to seeing how borders will enhance these blocks.


Fourth.  I need to choose a pattern for a quilt for grandbaby boy.  I asked my daughter about color and, again, she said green.  I need to clarify whether she's thinking about green and light or all green or something else.  Tonight I went through some of my saved patterns and noticed these, depending on her preference.


And last night I started sketching out a few possible patterns.  With only three months to make, quilt, and bind this quilt, I need something that won't take too long to make, but I don't want it to look like I took the easy way out and just stitched large pieces of fabric together.  I know none of these blocks says "baby" but that's because I have yet to find a pattern for a "baby" quilt that I love and would want to make.


I saw the pattern below at a link on one of Angela's soscrappy link-ups.  It was not in green but another color.  The blocks used three or four fabrics in the same color with varying shades/tones.  I thought it might work in green. 


Fifth.  We were just recently called as service missionaries for our church.  The training is time-consuming and it feels like my poor old brain is, well, old, and my memory becoming dull.  After training we'll serve 12 to 20 hours per week for a year or two.    

And Sixth.  My husband will have another surgery on his foot sometime in the next few weeks.  I don't think his walking will be limited post-surgery but I'm not sure.

What an August!  I hope your August is great.

I'm linking this post to
> Show and Tell Monday at Small Quilts and Doll Quilts
> Main Crush Monday at Cooking Up Quilts
> Moving It Forward Monday at Em's Scrapbag
Thanks for hosting, ladies.

--Nancy.
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Saturday, August 4, 2018

My August One Monthly Goal

These blocks for Cheri Payne's Everyday Patchwork have been languishing for a month or two, patiently awaiting the next step, which is . . .


. . . to add a 1" border to each of these blocks.  Not the same fabric, but fabric that sets off each block.  It should be fun.  Maybe not quick -- because I don't have many 1½" strips already cut which means I'll be choosing fabric, cutting, measuring, pinning and sewing -- but definitely fun.

So that's my One Monthly Goal for August.

I'm linking this post to One Monthly Goal-August Goal Link-up at Elm Street Quilts.  Thanks for hosting, Patty.

--Nancy.
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Friday, August 3, 2018

Bromeliad, for Linda Brannock's Flowers Quilt

Typical of flowers, don't you like how this one leans right just a little?  This block is such a simple one--five or six fabrics, four large shapes, and 14 small circles.  And the stitching of it was fairly simple.  But my approach to choosing fabrics was not.

Bromeliad for Linda Brannock's Flowers Quilt

I looked at bromeliads online to see what the real flowers look like and decided I'd like to use orange-to-red for the flower itself and green for the "leaves."  So I chose the fabrics for the center sections and stitched them.  Those finished, I auditioned fabric for the leaves, stitched them; then fabrics for the circles, etc.  That worked pretty well, until I needed to choose fabric for the vase.  By then I was boxed in.  I sensed that the fabric needed to be medium to dark but what color to use?  Did I have a fabric that would work? 


I auditioned several dozen fabrics (but only photographed some) until I finally came upon the one in the first photo, above.  (Thank you, Janet.)  It may not be "perfect" but I think it works.  Please tell me you audition lots of fabrics before deciding which to use.  I can't be the only one to do this, can I?

Linda Brannock's Flowers quilt
These blocks will be sashed with half-square triangles in two different sizes.  In the Facebook group for this sew along we've been encouraged to sew enough triangles together to use between the first four blocks so they can be sewn together as a unit.

Some in the group have chosen to use the same or similar colors for all their blocks.  But there are others, like me, who are using a broader range of colors.  Which leaves me wondering how to choose fabrics and colors for the triangles when I don't know what fabrics I'll use for the rest of the blocks.

I think it will be time-consuming (a bear!) to cut and sew so many triangles after all the blocks are sewn, but if I begin before the quilt is finished, I wonder how I could distribute the colors evenly, unless I limit the colors for the sashing to a narrow range of colors that are not necessarily the colors in the quilt blocks.

I laid out the four blocks I've made. 


blocks for Linda Brannock's Flowers quilt

I wasn't sure how well they would work together because of the colors I chose.  I think they'll be okay.  I think the sashing will give each of them enough space to shine.  I know I'll need to somehow balance the backgrounds so I have another one or two medium ones like the one in the upper right.  And I think I'll need to carefully choose the colors for the rest of the flowers, too.  You can see how I tend toward red.  But then maybe red will be the dominant color of this quilt....

I'm linking this post to
> Finished or Not Friday at Busy Hands Quilts
> Thank Goodness It's Finished Friday (TGIFF) at Anja Quilts
> Can I Get a Whoop Whoop? at Confessions of a Fabric Addict
> BOMs Away at What a Hoot!
Thank you for hosting, ladies.

--Nancy.
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Friday, July 27, 2018

Victory Bowl and Liberty Fish, Plus a Few Stars

I can hardly believe I've finished this month's section of Sweet Land of Liberty before the end of the month!  (I'm participating in Lori's quilt-along at Humble Quilts).  Of course, I have a ways to go before I'm caught up -- about four months' worth to go!

variation of Victory Bowl and Liberty Fish from Cheri Payne's Sweet Land of Liberty
These were fun blocks to make.  I love practically everything about them, something I don't often say.  The bowl fabric -- gosh, it's beautiful in person  -- is almost copper in color.  (The line is where the fabric was folded.  It will quilt out.)   It's a color I love but rarely find.  This fabric came from a thrift store shirt.  And the flowers:  unusually bold of me to put that lighter fabric behind the deeper striped fabric.  The doves fabric came from part of a sheet pressed into use for a round tablecloth.  They are not quite white, leaning just slightly, just barely toward peach/coral/pink.  Maybe noticeable in the photo when compared to the much whiter "liberty" fabric.

I like the flag and fish almost as much as the bowl.  The fish's tail is a little wavy but I know that will quilt out.  The tail and head were my first time sewing curves for a quilt block.  Not exactly a great success but I wasn't about to redo them.  Those letters are a lot out of kilter, maybe the only part of this block I'm not thrilled with but, again, I'm not about to change them.  (At least not yet.)

While I was working on the flag the beautiful song "America" came to mind and I envisioned some of the lyrics -- spacious skies, amber waves of grain, purple mountains....  I especially love the phrase, "Confirm thy soul in self control."  Gosh, wouldn't America be a grander place if we all had a little more self control?

I read Robin's post about her interpretation of this block.  She stitched a tree and added the words, "Let music swell the breeze and ring from all the trees sweet freedom's song."  I couldn't remember those lyrics in "America" and suddenly realized the theme of this quilt is not "America" but "My Country 'Tis of Thee," which is just as beautiful (though I like the tune for "America" better).

And here are the five pieced stars.  These look a little cloudy, washed out even, in the photo.  I left them wider than 5½" because I'm still hoping to add enough width to have a quilt that's about 64" wide.  I don't know if/how these colors will work with the other blocks and will make others if they don't.


Finishing these stars and the two sections of Sweet Land of Liberty, above, completes my One Monthly Goal for July.

Now I'm on to Bromeliad for my version of Linda Brannock's Flowers quilt.


Fabrics for consideration....  These may change completely by tomorrow afternoon.

I hope you have a great weekend.

Nancy.

I'm linking this post to
> One Monthly Goal - July link-up at Elm Street Quilts
> Finished or Not Friday and Busy Hands Quilts
> Thank Goodness It's Finished Friday (TGIFF) at Sarah Goer Quilts
> Can I Get a Whoop Whoop? at Confessions of a Fabric Addict
> BOMs Away at What a Hoot!
Thanks for hosting, ladies.
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Friday, July 20, 2018

Gone Fishin'

There's a fish, or maybe a "fish-vane" (as opposed to a weather vane) in one block of the Sweet Land of Liberty quilt.  So I've been fishing for a fish pattern to use.  (Wouldn't it have been fun if I'd photographed these on a blue background?)


I searched "vintage fish illustrations" on google and found some great fish.  I made screenshots of three that I liked, then cropped and printed them.  Then I cut them out to help decide which to use.


They are a little too big for the block but I decided that I could cut on the lines and when I turned the edges under, the fish would be about the right size.


I deliberated which fish to use and finally decided on the first one, above at the top, with the upturned tail and mildly astonished expression.


So I chose fabric -- something that's been in progress since the beginning of the month.  Plaids or prints or plain?  Browns or greys or sea-weedy greens?  Or maybe some other color I saw in the vintage illustrations on google?  I kept leaning toward greens but couldn't commit.  I finally chose this greyish-green and black check for the body and added the other fabrics.


I like this little fish a lot but somehow it doesn't strike me as primitive.  Tomorrow I will make a pattern of the middle fish of the three, use different fabric, and see what I think.  To be really primitive I suppose I should just draw a fish free-hand.

I believe it has always been true that I must see it before I can decide, and sometimes I must also see a photo of it before I can decide, and occasionally I must look at it and the photo of it for days before I decide.  Oh, to have an artist's vision!

Having a fish in this quilt captured my heart.  Isn't fishing one of those great American pastimes?  When I was a child my father bought a wooden boat in need of repair.  After some months of work it was ready and he took me fishing several times a week for four or five summers.  Sometimes we caught nothing, other times we pulled in a fish each time the line went into the water.  Those were the days we didn't want to go home!  It's one of my treasured summertime memories.  You can read a post about it on my other blog if you're interested.

I'm looking forward to seeing how the other fish turns out and which one becomes the fish-vane.

Do you go fishing?

I'm linking this post to 
> Finished or Not Friday at Busy Hands Quilts
> Friday Night Sew-In at Sugarlane Designs 

--Nancy.
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Wednesday, July 18, 2018

A Little of This, a Little of That Sweet Land of Liberty

When you applique by hand do your blocks end up not lying flat?  Like this one?  This is a poor photo with not-quite-right colors but it was the one that showed how it's not flat.


After this photo, I pressed it and most of the "ruffles" came out but there are still a few waves at the edge.  Should I be concerned about them?  Do I need to change how I applique?

I think this block may get two more stars, small ones, but I'm not sure yet.

I finally made one of the pieced stars.  I think they are supposed to be paper-pieced but I just cut a quarter inch around the seams (except on the edges where I added a half inch), and stitched them together.  Below, these are partially stitched with the papers pinned in place so I would get the pieces sewn together correctly.


And this is my first finished star.


It could have been wider but I cut it to 5½" x 7½" as the directions said.  It could have been wider and longer.  I'd like this quilt to finish wider than the ~60" I've heard it will be so perhaps I'll let these stars be wider and add width on other sections of the quilt.

This quilt is fun but it's the craziest way I've ever made a quilt.  Cut a little off here, add a little there, make it fit one way or another.   It's just a bit of a challenge for me with my perfection-leaning tendencies.  Learning lots, though.

While I've been working on this quilt and Linda Brannock's Flowers blocks, I have not been hand quilting.  I fear I will come to the end of the year with nothing but one finished quilt and a few finished tops to show.  That's not bad, I suppose, but I do love those quilted and bound finishes.

I learned a month or two ago that we'll be welcoming a new grandbaby in November so I need to begin thinking of a quilt to make for him/her.  I haven't talked to my daughter for a few weeks because she's been away on vacation but I suspect she knows by now whether the baby is a boy or girl.  When I know that I can decide on a quilt.

I'm linking this post to
> WOW at Esther's Blog
> Let's Bee Social #234 at Sew Fresh Quilts
> Midweek Makers #133 at Quilt Fabrication
> BOMs Away at What a Hoot Quilts

--Nancy.
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