Kew Quilt – Fabric Selection

Okay….pattern is made. Now comes the fun part of choosing colors. I will say again that it is so sweet to be able to see all of my fabric at one time…..

….especially those that don’t fit naturally into one color family.

When I was telling my friend Linda about my ideas for this quilt, I said that it was going to be abstract with bright colors. But, as I thought more about it, I just wasn’t sure. Here are some of the questions that went thru my mind…..

  • Make it abstract with colors?
  • Solids or prints?
  • “Crazy” print in the windows?
  • Gradation colors coming up the sides?
  • Gradations in “steps”?
  • Gradations in “windows”?

As I pondered the last two questions, I came to a decision that I really wanted to do gradations in the steps and windows. As I looked further at the design, my resolve became even firmer AND I decided that I wanted to keep the center section in blacks and greys. I can always add some color to the outside rigging, making long strings of color….but that decision can wait!!

Now I needed to put together the gradations of blacks and greys. I started with grey and made a layout of what I “thought” was a good gradation…..

Normally, I would look thru these with my value finder….

….but for some reason it has gone missing!!!

Instead, I took the above photo and edited it to black and white…..

Okay….I see a few that need to be moved.

After repeating this procedure several times, I came up with a decent gradation…..

Next, I did the same thing with the blacks…..

Since the gradation will be from light to dark with BOTH sets of fabrics, I needed to put them side by side to see how they looked…..

The final step was to use the Q-Pins (that I reviewed HERE) to mark the fabrics so that I can keep them in the correct order…..

NOW comes the REALLY fun part…..how am I going to put this top together???

My new “thinker” quilt!!

When I posted the Inspiration Tuesday photo last week…..

…..I mentioned that it really was calling to me. I kept thinking about it more and more so this weekend, I made a start on the project.

My first task was to put the photo into Photoshop and start cleaning it up as much as I could. I started by applying the “Poster Edge” Filter to help further define the lines…..

photo with Poster Edge Filter applied

I knew that I didn’t need the lights that ran along the top so I started by roughly erasing those….

Finally, I knew that I didn’t want the hooked lines that ran out from the middle ladder, so it was off with their heads…..

When I was happy with the clean-up job, I put the photo into Powerpoint so that I could play with the sizing a bit. I made the photo 6inches by 9 inches and then printed it out using the poster function. This enlarged the photo so that it was printed on a 3×3 page grid, making the finished product about 18 x 30 inches…..

I cut out and taped the 9 pages together…..

….and voila….my full size pattern was born!!

Now, you may have noted that the orientation of the photo has changed. When I printed out a full size photo, Michael and I both looked at it and decided that it needed to be upside down…..

It was simply too top-heavy in the original version.

I started looking at the full-size pattern and realized that there were other unnecessary lines so I started cleaning up some more…..using correction tape this time!!….

So, the final pattern is ready to go…..

Now comes the fun part……

It’s Monthly Audit time!!

Well, July is over and, oh my, has it been a crazy month. I had lots of goals and, fortunately I did accomplish a few of them.

One goal was to publish at least 10 posts. On this front, I outdid myself by publishing 23!!!

Another goal was to cook something new each week and I really funked out on this one. I did enjoy using the ice cream maker, especially the luscious chocolate recipe, and I did pull out one old recipe and we found that we had forgotten how much we enjoyed “Mexican Beef and Cornbread”…..

Don’t you love the iconic Corning Ware bowl that we have had for 43 years!!!

It was a great meal when paired with a salad with Thousand Island Dressing…..

July was a heavy month for accounting work and I soldiered thru, getting almost everything finished by the 31st.

I did have one quilting victory when I “LET IT GO” and got rid of a UFO that had been on my mind for a bunch of years!!

We had our hurriedly planned trip to Texas which proved to be an amazing and much needed getaway!!!

Finally, my major quilting goal was to get the final corner of the Color wheel quilt appliqued so that I can put the top together. And I did TRY but honestly ended up spending more time writing blog posts at night than appliquéing!!

Toward the end, I was “Sewing like the wind”……

….but I went to bed on Friday night with 7 more circles to finish!!

Now that I have used the phrase “Sewing like the wind”, I am reminded of this clip from “Three Amigos”…..

But, honestly, if I am going to talk about “Three Amigos” I have to add this scene…..

Steve Martin is a hoot!!!

Our son, Brian, used to LOVE this scene and would howl with laughter when it came on.

I actually used this technique to get Michael’s attention one time….I was in the library on the second floor of a hotel in Shanghai and it was open to the lobby below. I saw Michael walk in the front door and wanted him to know where I was, so I started calling “lookuphere….lookuphere”. After a few seconds of puzzlement, he looked up and gave me a big smile!! I am sure that the other Chinese students in the area thought that we were crazy!!

All in all, it has been a sweet month, even if I didn’t do lots on my “to-do” list. Today, as I plan for August, I am excited about the things to come!!!

A little scrap piecing

I have spent a lot of time thinking about what I want my next big project will be. I heard someone describe this as having a project that takes up a large portion of your mind, as opposed to something that you can basically do in your sleep.

So, while I was waiting and thinking, I knew that it was important to keep my hands busy with some type of fiber work. I looked thru lots of scrap quilt ideas and found Bonnie Hunter’s “Carolina Chain”…..

I liked the sparkle in the quilt and decided to give it a try. I pulled out all of my 2 inch strips and started cutting blocks.

As I put them up on the design wall, I just wasn’t impressed!!!

It didn’t have her sparkle and, frankly, I didn’t have the fabrics that I would need to make it have that special feeling.

SO…..instead of turning it into a Queen size quilt, I decided to make it a smaller Charity quilt.

I did like it better after I added the deep blue setting triangles…..

It needed that dark edge to pull the design back into the center.

But, I think that the addition of the final border made a huge difference…..

I like it much better now, but not enough to keep on making them!!!

If you want to give it a try, it is a simple pattern that you can access on the C&T website

But, there is an upside…..I THINK that I have figured out what my next “full brain” project will be!!!

Stay Tuned……..

Thank you!!

I wanted to make something to send to Darlene, who had so graciously invited us into her home and family!! She and I had talked about an affinity for sunflowers so that made the idea a no-brainer!!

I first picked a background fabric and some 3 inch squares to play with…..

When I laid them out in the basic shape, I got excited about how it could look…..

I cut out the pieces and laid it out again before fusing……

Next I wanted to add a narrow border of some sort so auditioned several different possibilities….

….but none were that exciting.

Then I decided to pull out the color wheel and look for a color opposite to the background and found…..

Now that is an idea that I really like!!!

Then, I decided to only put it on two sides of the piece to balance it better.

Now it was time to add some oomph to the sunflower and I enjoyed enhancing it with machine embellishments and hand embroidery…..

The final touch was to quilt the background and add a binding…..

The red border is a little wonky (and for some reason it isn’t this noticeable in the actual piece) but, overall, I am happy with this quick and easy Thank you gift!!!

Inspiration Tuesday

How about this for some geometric inspiration……

This photo was taken inside one of the greenhouses at Kew Gardens in London.

We were there for Michael to speak to a group of scientists and had spent the night with two of them. That morning, as we all walked into the back gate of Kew, one of our hosts asked what my plans were. I said that I was going to stick around the area until the gardens opened. He said that there was no reason to wait and that I could enter at the back and wander by myself!!!

SO….I had almost two lovely hours to stroll thru the area without any other visitors…..just me, my camera and the odd gardener!!! It was heaven!!!

BUT….back to the inspiration. It would be fun to use this as a pattern for a quilt using blocks of color and trying to get the perspective to work!!

And now as I think about it more I am getting really excited about this one. Who knows, maybe it will be my new “BIG” project!!!

Dak the orphaned Addax

This is Dak……

She is an orphaned Addax Antelope that Dan Cabela found abandoned in the pasture of Asante, his Exotic Game Ranch in the hill country of Texas. Dan watched her over the course of a day and waited to see if the Mom would come back and take over raising her new calf but she never showed up. True to his nature, he bundled her up and brought her into their personal residence area so that he and his wife Darlene could raise her.

When we first drove into the yard we were greeted by this energetic animal and laughed heartily as she danced around us just wanting to say hello…….

The next afternoon, we happened to be there at “feeding time” (now up to every 8 hours). Darlene prepared the “formula” and I had a wonderful time feeding her…..

As Dan noted, not many people can say that they have done this!!!

We tried to get her to pose with us after dinner, but she simply wasn’t interested……

Later that evening she apparently still equated me with food and decided that my shirt looked like a bunch of leaves. It was fun to watch her nibble along the base of the shirt…..

She will live with Dan and Darlene for about 6 more weeks and then will be reintroduced into the herd.

I love that this sweet couple have taken on such a wonderful project to protect the endangered wildlife of Africa……

Our time with them was a perfect ending to a fun and relaxing trip to Austin, Texas!!!