Friday, February 10, 2017

No Triangles Allowed

168 half-square triangle blocks, sashed on two sides only
This week saw the finish of a quilt made with the 21 squares from Island Batik's Seashore collection by Kathy Engle for Tamarinis, which were included in the November Quilty Box curated by Tammy Silvers.

All sashing was cut from my Hoffman batik stash.

The design is called Half-Square Triangle Variation, by Rita Hodge of Red Pepper Quilts, and is in The Quilters Planner 2017 by Stephanie Palmer.

For me, this is as close as it's come to working with triangles in a quilt project--something I've said I'll never do--and of course no triangles were actually cut or sewn here. Yay! And, whew!

Using the pre-cut squares, I was able to cut smaller squares that were still 1/4" larger than the pattern specifications. This only added 3 inches of width and 3-3/4 inches of length to the quilt, but I wanted it as large as possible without making the sashing any wider.

One of my favorite parts of planning the layout was arranging 1-inch paper copies of the blocks--all 168 of them, plus a dozen blocks cut from some undersea fabric in my stash, totaling the 180 blocks called for in the pattern (12 x 15 blocks)--on paper with a 1-inch grid (hand-penciled with my quilting ruler).

This arrangement didn't make the grade.

This one did.

A photo of the final arrangement was taken for piecing order reference, and printed out on a full page. That worked really well for keeping track of the blocks as they were sewn together, because I'm very visual (aren't most quilters?) and for me this works better than choosing the right block from numbered stacks. (I am guaranteed to get something out of order doing it that way.)

As the blocks were sewn together, they were checked off on the paper photo, and the white paper 'ruler' was moved down to the next row. And so on.

(I did letter each sewn row with one little piece of masking tape.)

All in all, this quilt was a quick one to piece. And there's no border...just binding.

60 by 75 inches

This is probably headed for The Center for Women and Families. I'm thinking it might be a child's quilt, for a twin bed.

Have a great weekend!


p.s. No doubt I'll wind up working with triangles at some point just because I said I woudn't. Also, after going to all the trouble of penciling a 1-inch grid with a ruler, I remembered I have a whole tablet of 1-inch grid paper. Doh! and Duh!

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Mystery Solved!

Last time, I posted these photos of some strange designs that showed up on one of my fabric pieces when I was painting skies.

This was quite a mystery, as it was the only piece out of the six painted that was left to dry in the bedroom, and it was the only piece that ended up with these diamond shapes on it. My theory was that maybe the quartz crystals hanging in my windows projected refracted light on the fabric, moving across it as the daylight shifted and changed. After all, the paint (Setacolor transparent) is light sensitive. The more light there is on the fabric as it dries, the more intensely the color develops.

And then, one of my blog readers, Vicki W., left a comment that really got my attention. She said the pattern reminded her of paper towels.

BINGO!! I had completely forgotten until then, but coincidentally this was the only piece that was too wet when I finished painting it. Thinking there wasn't much to lose, as it looked pretty bad anyway, I had blotted the excess moisture from it with paper towels.

So, after seeing Vicki's comment, I immediately checked my paper towel roll...and sure enough, there it was...the same dotted lines in the shape of diamonds! (The fact that they were dotted was, admittedly, a flaw in my crystal theory.)

So, mystery solved. Thank you, Vicki--not only for coming up with the solution, but because now I have some new (for me) ideas regarding deliberate manipulation with painted wet fabric. Also, I just might play around with sunlight projection through those crystals and see what happens!


Sunday, January 22, 2017

The Good, the Bad and the Mysterious

Last week some sky fabric was painted.

Here are the last three pieces (roughly 18 x 26 inches), out of a total of six. I'm pretty happy with them.

As for the first three I painted, In my defense, I've only painted sky pieces once before, and that was two or three years ago, so I expected a re-learning curve...and I got it. Pretty bad, huh.

What I did not expect was this, the very first piece I painted last week and the only one that was left in my bedroom to dry:

Here's a closer look:

Do you see what I see? A diamond-like pattern formed on this piece of fabric as it dried. And for the life of me, I can't explain how it got there.

This piece was painted on fabric cut from the same bolt as the other pieces. Beneath it was a vinyl-covered foamcore board identical to the ones under the other pieces.

The only difference is, again, I left it in my bedroom to dry. All other pieces were left to dry in the basement under fluorescent lights.

At this point I should mention that the paints I used are heliographic....light sensitive. They must have light as they dry, or they will turn pale and dull. And in my bedroom, only a little natural light was coming through the two windows, and no sunlight--it was a very overcast day. This easily explains the pale, lackluster appearance of the painted fabric, as far as color. But what caused these diamond-shaped patterns to develop...patterns which would require extra light to appear more colorful than the background? Your guess is as good as mine. There is nothing I can find in my bedroom that would account for this spontaneous design--which would have to be caused by a specific pattern of light shining on the fabric. No sun, no direct light anywhere in the room, and no patterns like these anywhere in the room to bounce any extra light onto the fabric. And no one, not even I, had been in the room the entire time.

A thought just now occurred to me. There is a quartz crystal hanging high up in each window. Each crystal is about 2 inches long. Could the daylight, which is always changing and moving, have been refracting through the crystals and projecting a specific pattern onto the fabric (which was roughly ten feet away and lying on the floor)? Then, moving on as the light shifted, projecting that pattern again and again across the fabric? Some of the shapes do appear to overlap. If that's what is going on here, it would mean that these light patterns are in my bedroom all the time--but I can't see them. Wow!!

Any thoughts?

Have a great week.



Thursday, January 12, 2017

Fall-ing Behind

With the holidays behind us, there's been a little more time to work on quilts. Two bed quilts are currently being pieced with Quilty Box fabric selections (more about those another time).

In the meantime, some progress has been made on the woodland landscape shown in my last blog post.

Branches and shading will be added after the foreground is covered. Can you spot all three critters?
All of the batik at the bottom will be covered eventually. It's been slow going, not just because of the holidays, but because there aren't nearly as many appropriate fabrics in my stash as I thought there were for a fall scene. But I'm determined to make it work without buying more fabric.

As VVHH begins his recovery from spinal fusion surgery this week, it's hard to say how much studio time will happen in January. Fortunately there's no deadline on any of these!

Happy New Year!