The Insanity Continues

I skipped last month because I was at camp and forgot to take this project with me.  Oh, well.

This month I have completed two more blocks.

#23 - The Cat in the Hat

#24 - Goofy

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My small group’s current challenge word is “harmony.”  As I was driving home from our meeting I had two phrases pop into my head — “Harmony of the Spheres” and “Simple Harmonic Motion.”  After cruising around on the internet for a while looking at various images I decided to settle on simple harmonic motion (SHM).

At this point I knew pretty much what I wanted – several sine waves superimposed on each other with the sections colored in Mondrian fashion.  The next big thing was to determine what the frequencies of those sine waves should be.

I thought about using a fundamental frequency and its overtones, but instead chose three frequencies whose ratios, 4:5:6, represent a major chord in music.

Once that decision was made it was time to graph my waves and choose my fabrics.  I decided to represent the amplitude of each wave with a primary color and the regions where they overlapped with the appropriate secondary colors.  Since I had no regions where all three colors needed to blend I didn’t have to worry about how to represent that (though I had already decided to use a dark brown if I needed that).

I fused a piece of white fabric to a piece of Timtex, fused the colored sections on top of that, and satin stitched over the raw edges (including the outside edge) with black thread.

Now I simply need to decide which side I want to call “Up.”  Just for fun I think I’ll take a poll.  Please vote on which orientation you like best.





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Yes, I’ve been rather quiet lately, but I hope to correct that.  Last night was my small group meeting and our latest 12 x 12 challenge was due.  The word was bird.  We really outdid ourselves on this one.  Some of the girls even made more than one quilt.

First up to show what they had done was Debra.  She made two quilts.  Her first effort wasn’t working for her so she tossed it aside and tried a new one.  This is what she came up with.

After it was done she decided to revisit her first idea and made it work.  I really haven’t decided which one I like better.

Next we have Brenda W’s entry.

All five of those wings are double sided and really do button/unbutton.  That means you can change them around to suit your mood.  Too cool!

Next Brenda D. showed us a two sided quilt.  This first side is actually the back of the quilt.

She didn’t think anyone would really get it (it’s a statement on why birds should not be allowed to take vacation photos) so she did a second design which is the front of the quilt.Personally, I prefer the back of the quilt.

Alice took a completely different path and gave us a portrait of one of her favorite basketball players.

I took this opportunity to practice a little thread painting.  I tried to convert one of my quilted peacock feathers it something a little more interesting.

Janice gave us a beautiful bird of paradise.

Gailynn’s unfinished entry was a mola.  It had some real dove feathers attached to it.

Becky got really carried away with the theme and brought us three quilts.  The first one was supposed to have a crane’s shadow appliqued over the piece, but when she saw the perfect intersection in the center she just couldn’t bear to bring herself to cover it up!

Her second entry shows a view from above looking down into a bird’s nest.  Yes, those red diamonds are baby bird beaks.  THEY ARE HUNGRY!!

Those are real peacock feathers in this last quilt.  She covered them with tulle and then quilted them into place.Laura was inspired by the painted buntings who visit her bird feeder twice a day.

Sharon’s yard bird has real googly eyes.  I love googly eyes!

Debi gave us an owl petroglyph.  The leaves around the edge are silk leaves that fold over onto the back of the quilt.

Sarah brought us a toucan that isn’t quite finished yet.

Our next challenge word is “harmony.”

After sharing our challenges we moved on to the regular show and share portion of the program.  Debi brought in a piece she’s making for her husband Bart’s office.

Brenda W is tired of her relatives throwing away birthday cards that she pays a lot of money for so this year she decided to make her own cards in hopes they’ll hang on to them.

Becky created this flag as a retirement gift for one of the generals on base who will be retiring in November. 

Can you see the eagle’s head in the blue field?  That was really an accident, but we won’t tell!  8:-)

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Just a Little Off

This month Toni decided she wanted to take a month off from Nearly Insane to work on another project she’s hoping to get done for the state fair.  I, too, needed some extra time for one of my fair projects, but I wasn’t sure I wanted to completely set this one aside even for one month.  As I was mulling it over I remembered that last month I left off with a block nearly done.  Perfect!  I went ahead and worked on my fair project yesterday and then this morning I spent a few minutes finishing off my block.

#22 - Prince Charming

Now I can honestly say I worked on NI this month and I’ll get back into it next month.

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Crazy Days

Yes, Wednesday was Nearly Insane Day this month.  Now that I’ve finished block #18 I feel as though I’m going to be flying through the quilt for a while.  This month I made two blocks, passed a block that was already done, and made progress on a third block.

Completed this week were

#19 - Eeyore

#20 - Cinderella

and then I passed by

#21 - Mike

The next few blocks are very simple in construction so I should get through them very quickly.  I love progress!

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Taking My Own Advice

I’ll start off by mentioning that I did not forget to post the results of our “Doorway” challenge.  When we had our meeting last week Tommy Lou’s air conditioner was on the fritz so we met in her sun room which has its own stand alone unit.  This threw us off just enough that not one single person thought to get out her camera and take pictures.  I’ll get what pictures I can at the guild meeting next week and show them.

During the past week I managed to quilt several wall hangings in preparation for the state fair.  Two of them are also class samples and the third one is for my friend Wendi.  It uses some machine embroidered blocks that our friend Luci made.  She stitched up a set for me and a set for Wendi.

To avoid making the same quilt twice I cut my blocks into a different shape than I did Wendi’s.

My original plan was to use completely different fabrics and piecing designs to come up with a completely different quilt, but while I was working on Wendi’s I kept seeing the same fabrics and basic designs with my blocks.  As I was quilting it dawned on me that regardless of what I do with my blocks I have a series of two related quilts here.  After this revelation I decided to stop fighting the images in my mind and go for it.  This is a grand opportunity to see what a simple shift in geometry does to the design process.  And I have the added challenge of figuring out how to make that eight fold symmetry fabric work in a six fold symmetry design!

All I need now is the time to work on my quilt.

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The current 12″ x 12″ challenge for my small group (due this coming Tuesday) is doorway.  My poor little brain spent the first month or so agonizing over what to do.  Did I want something literal?  Something symbolic?  Something totally unexpected?  I just couldn’t decide.

Early in June I went to Tulsa with my friend Janice (also a member of my small group) for a judge’s critique of this year’s Fiberworks show.  Between the critique and the conversations Janice and I had I was left with a great deal to think about regarding these challenges.  This thinking left me with a new, and I hope better, perspective on the project.

One of the first conclusions I came to is that I should really consider these challenges as opportunities to practice.  I’ve always known that they are, but now it’s going to be a major focus of the project rather than a convenient benefit.  Practice can come in the form of trying out a new technique or simply seeing if a mental image translates to fabric in the way I intended.  This project did both.

We also discussed the value of working in series.  It’s something I really need to put more effort into.  I have a tendency to feel like I’m becoming a one trick pony when I work in a series, but that just isn’t true.  In reality, it’s another method of practice.  And all pieces in a series do not have to resemble each other.  Example: How many different ways can I interpret the theme “doorway?”

With all of those thoughts rattling around inside my head I worked to get myself focused on the challenge.  What would I like to try?  What have I been wanting to do, but never took the time to do?  Could I fit it into a 12″ x 12″ format?

I’ve always been intrigued by the quilts of Dilys Fronks and thought this might be a good time to try one.  As I was browsing through the internet looking for a wrought iron design I liked I started thinking that maybe I’d like to use an art deco style design.  This caused me to remember that I’ve also wanted to try a Frank Lloyd Wright style quilt.

This second idea appealed to me even more as my friend Wendi, who does stained glass,  and I have been wanting to create a quilt and a window from the same design.  We’ve been discussing it for years, but that’s all the further we’ve gotten.

I decided to let these thoughts cook in the back of my head for a day or two as I moved on to other things.  The next thing was to play with some rulers I had bought on a recent trip.  It occurred to me that I could kill two birds with one stone by using these to make my window design easier to create.  Instead of having to do all that intricate piecing I could just fuse, cut, fold, and then simulate the leading with a machine satin stitch.  Much faster and easier!  A design was born.

I knew that if I liked this technique I could use it to create a larger show piece.  Rather than try to draw up a small design that would fit entirely within my 12″ x 12″ space I decided to draw on the scale I would want for my larger piece and just use a portion of that in this quilt.  Doing so would give me a better feel for how things were going to work.

I started by drawing up my design on paper.

After figuring out the placement on my main piece of fabric I did the fusing and cutting.

I immediately noticed my first real problem.  The fabric that I fused to the back side is visible.  Black batting made the colors seem to bleed through even brighter, and light colored batting made them shadow through dark.  I found a scrap of Quilters Dream Green (it’s just about the same color as the background on the website) that helped to minimize the problem.

After transferring the leading lines to the fabric I was ready to start sewing.  I went with a dark brown thread because I liked the way it looked better than a lead gray thread.  I decided to stitch through the batting, but not the backing fabric.  Satin stitch is never very pretty on the back side and I didn’t want it showing on my quilt.  I was hoping that the batting would be a strong enough stabilizer for the work, but I was wrong.

This picture wasn’t taken until I had the piece partially quilted.  Fortunately, the quilting flattened the fabric back out again, but the satin stitching remained a bit bubbly and uneven.  I’m either going to have to do a lot of practicing with my satin stitch before I do this again or I’m going to have to resort to a different technique.

I’m very happy with the general design of this piece, but I’m very glad I chose to practice on something small instead of investing my energy in a large quilt!

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