Color Wheel Central….part 2

When I left you yesterday I had finally sewn all of the inner strips together to form the inside square of the quilt. I did not add the final dark fabric to it since I knew that it would make the applique harder. Instead, I just pinned it to the design wall so that I could get an idea of what it would look like……

Now it was time to start placing the “Catherine Wheel” circles that will be hand appliqued. I knew that I needed to be careful placing the circles so that the arc was consistent from row to row. To solve that problem I pinned the first three arcs into place……

…..and drew a paper pattern from the middle row……

I cut this pattern out of cardboard and used it to place the other rows……

I used a Wash-out marker to draw around the circles so that I could easily place them as I worked thru the hand applique……

My concern was that the Red and Green arcs seemed to not fit as well. I was having to adjust the circle spacing to make them fit, but I finished it up anyway and was happy with how it looked……

I removed everything from the design wall and as I was getting ready to take out the last few pins, I noticed it…….

Do you see it?

The strips on the bottom left and top right are 2 inches smaller than the other ones!!!! No wonder I was having trouble fitting all of the circles into the space!!

So, I picked out both of those seams and added 2 inch strips to the outside…..

Once again there are now MORE seams for me to applique over!!!

At this point I was so disgusted that I washed off the markings for those two sets of arcs and put everything away for the day!! But that night I pulled it out and started the applique circles on the 6 arcs that are correct.

The applique process has been relaxing and, so far, I am happy with what how it looks…..

Today we packed for a 4 week trip in Europe (hubby works and I play), and I am not planning to take this project with me. But it WILL be here when I return and hopefully, I will be able to “sort-of” finish it up!!!

More to come….

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Color Wheel Central….or the Comedy of Quilting Errors!!

If you have been reading this blog in the past few months, you may be wondering exactly what happened to the Color wheel quilt. I can assure you that it is still in process!! I was super excited when the fabrics that I had ordered arrived……

They are so much better than the pieces that I tried to dye for myself!!

This quilt has been a “sort-of” quilt…… I “sort of” knew how I was going to lay it out and I “sort of” knew how I was going to attach the squiggles, and I “sort of” knew how I was going to position the Catherine Wheel circles and I have “NO IDEA” what I am going to add in the outer corners…..but that is getting ahead of myself!!! Back to the “sort-of ‘s”!!

The first thing that I needed to do was to figure out the exact size of the squiggle square because that would determine the dimensions of my inside square. I started laying it out on the floor but…..

….I couldn’t make it square to save my soul!!! I would carefully adjust one side and corner, only to have the other side not fit!! ARGHHHHH!!!

If only there was some way that I could square up the sides???? Oh yeah, I have a laser square…..let’s try that!!!

And, amazingly, I had a good square laid out in just a few minutes……

A quick measurement of the center square (47 inches) and I was ready to start cutting background fabrics…..and things started going wrong!!!

This is the layout that I was thinking about…..

I want the squiggle to be on the darkest fabric and will want at least 2 inches on either side of it. So, if I take 4 inches off of the inside square measurement, I need the center piecing to be 43 inches. These 43 inches will be split between 3 fabrics…..say 14.5 inches each.

Do you see my mistake???? There are actually FIVE strips in the inner square and not 3. So now I have cut all of the fabrics too wide….YIKES!!!

I trimmed them back down to the needed size and started working from the inside out.

The first step was to applique the inner color wheel. I had a “sort-of” idea about how to do this using bias binding to cover the edges. My plan was to machine sew the inside edge and then hand stitch the outside edges. BUT…..no matter how hard I tried on my practice piece, I could not get it to lay flat…..the binding would pull the circle in and cause it to puff out……

At least I had the foresight to practice my technique prior to working on the actual piece!!! After several tries, I decided to change tracks and applique BOTH sides of the bias tape which meant that I could make everything lay flat. I accomplished this by glue basting the bias tape all the way around the circle before I ever started stitching…..

However, I did manage to cut the bias tape too short the first time and didn’t leave enough to join it back together…..ARGH!!! At last I had it finished…..

….but then realized that the yellow had to be on point and not on the square side of the block.

At this point I need to say…..I promise that I am smart, although you couldn’t prove it with this day’s work!!!!

Instead of re-doing the applique, I ended up adding corners to each of the sides to put the color wheel in the proper perspective……

So much for not having many seams to applique over!!!

I will leave this disaster here for now and continue with “Comedy of Errors” in tomorrow’s post!!

Coloring on…..

While I am waiting for the purchased fabric to arrive, I decided to do a few other things to get ready for the next stage in this quilt.

I had finally finished preparing all of the circles and stacked them up ready for use……

I love how the colors pop, even though I can only see the turned under edges!!

The next step was to trim the “squiggle” down so that I can attach it to the background using bias tape. I started to trim right on the line, but instead decided to leave about 1/8th of an inch on the edge…..

The next step was to remove the Golden Threads paper that I had used as a base for the piecing……..

It is hard to believe that it has taken this much time to do work that will fit in a few zip lock bags!!!

One of my friends, Janelle, has been reading this blog and found a fabric that she thought might encourage and inspire me and she sweetly brought it to the latest guild meeting……

It really does give me some ideas about how to fill the corners of the quilt…..isn’t that what quilting friends are for!!!!!

 

 

 

It worked…..sort of……

After my poor dyeing experience on Thursday, I was not deterred and decided that I WOULD figure out how to do a gradation dye. And I did…..sort of!!!

As I researched the “how-to’s” further, I realized that I had probably added too much dye powder to begin with and then left it in the activation bath for way too long, especially since that bath was supposed to deepen and darken the dye!!!

So, on Saturday morning, I started over again, but on a MUCH smaller scale…..

I only let the fabric dye for about 15 minutes in total, with the center area only being in the dye for about 5 minutes. When I added the activator, I continued to dip the fabric rather than letting it all sit in the dye bath, and I only activated for about 5 minutes…..

When I started the rinsing process, I was encouraged with the difference in colors that I could see……

….and when I hung it on the design wall, there was a definite gradation…….

The only problem is that I really don’t like the dullness of the color!!! But, I really DO like the way that THIS fabric looks……

And, I still want to try to do some sort of gradation in the center section…..something along this line……

So, I thought that maybe I had other black/grey fabrics that would work, but we all know just how many different colors of black exist in this world. These are a few in my stash…..

So, I bit the bullet and got online to order several black and grey shades from the same collection…..Moda Marbles!!

I will wait (hopefully patiently) while they arrive and then I can continue on my Color Wheel journey!!!

This time I listened!!

A couple of posts back, I talked about not listening to that small voice that tells you that you are doing something wrong.

Well, I did it again!!!! But this time I actually listened to my inner self and stopped before it got too far along and was able to fix it without too much trouble.

I decided that the problem was occurring because I was trying to add too many fabrics into each section so I would cut them smaller and smaller and it was easy to get the angle wrong. To combat that I decided to limit the number of fabrics to 20 in each section.

After I selected the fabrics for a section, I laid them out…..

and matched them to the color wheel……

If they lean to the previous color then I move them to the front of the piecing lineup and if they point to the next color they move to the back. Then it is a matter of intermixing the dark and lighter fabrics and get to sewing….

One of the things that bothered me early on in the sewing process was that I was sewing over and over thru a scrap piece of fabric…..

…..and it seemed like such a waste!!! So, I pulled out my 1.5 inch scrap squares and started making four patches (ala Bonnie Hunter)……

I ended up with about 75 – two inch four patches to use in some future unknown project!! I know that it slowed up the sewing process and was probably silly to do, but it did make me feel better!!

Before long I was finished with the “squiggle” part of the quilt……

….and started the process of trying to winnow down my ideas about what to put in the center of this colorful square. At one point I was thinking about appliqued 70’s type flowers but decided that it was too much of a departure from the Squiggle. Then I thought about piecing some sort of blocks in that area, but again it just didn’t seem right. Michael suggested that I have circles moving across the quilt, changing in colors from one side to the other. He even wanted one color to be “eaten” by the other color…..sort of like a Pac-man.

Then I started thinking about Catherine Wheels…..circular fireworks used in England, especially when celebrating Guy Fawkes day…..

I first thought about piecing a center something like this…..

…..but I was concerned that the weight of the center piecing would overtake the color squiggle.

However, I really liked the circular look of the Catherine Wheel so started thinking of something along these lines……

I was initially thinking about having 24 arcs….one for each color in the wheel, but then I decided that it would be too cluttered. Also, I wasn’t really looking forward to appliqueing over 200 circles!!! Then there was the issue of how the arcs would work up into the corners. My solution to all of these problems was to just do 12 arcs….four sets of 3 each.

Now my only problem is to see whether or not I can actually plan, prepare and hand applique all of those circles…….time will tell!!!

That Niggly Voice…..

You know how you are sewing along and something just doesn’t feel right? But you ignore the feeling and keep on working!!! That is what happened to me this week.

I had been busy with work deadlines the past two weeks so hadn’t found much time to be progressing with my Color Wheel quilt, so I started trying to do 15 or 20 minutes each morning. One of those mornings I was working along and ended up having to take a couple of stitching lines out and irreparably tore the foundation paper so I added more paper to the back and kept on going.

But as I would sew off of the edge, I was having to sew over lots of edges that I hadn’t had to do before. I was excited to be getting something done so decided that it was okay and just kept going……WRONG!!!

So…..I finished up the blue side and was happy with how it looked…..

On Saturday I started working on the green side and, for some reason, had a look at the finished blue section. The first thing that I realized was that I had sewn the sections together in the wrong order which is why there isn’t a lot of definition between the colors.

Then I had another look at it and realized that the slant of the strips was not correct in one particular area…..

Gee I wish that I had listened to my inner voice!!!!

So, 1 hour later I had made the needed corrections and was ready to move forward with the green side.

It also looks so much better now because the colors actually flow from one color to another!!

The moral of this story……

….and LISTEN to yourself!!!!

Lessons learned

As I was posting the last blog about this quilt-in-progress, I realized that the background for the “squiggle” HAD to be black. Now maybe I will change my mind when I get over to the cooler colors but it sure looks good here…..

Then I got to playing on Electric Quilt (which I am NOT very good at) and came up with the idea of using gradations of black to white in the design as well. I am thinking something like this…..

….where the squiggle is on the black and the other designs (whatever they end up being) are on the gradations. As I lay awake thinking about it, I started to come up with other ways that the gradation could be achieved. Maybe with smaller strips of color, showing many more strata in the gradation or maybe with improvisational piecing where the colors slowly meld and move to the center or out to the edge. Who knows!!!

As I am working on my color extravaganza, I am definitely learning a lot about myself and my stash!! First of all, I LOVE MAGENTA colors and have WAY too many fabrics in that range.

Secondly, I have a different view of the names of some of these colors…..

For example, the “Purple” in the color wheel is what I would consider to be a pink and, in fact, most of those fabrics were in one of my “Pink” boxes, and the “Red-Violet” colors are what I would call Purple. I have also found “Violet” fabrics in the Blue boxes and Blue fabrics in the Purple boxes and “Pink fabrics in the Red box. I guess that it proves how much difference the surrounding fabric makes to how we “read” each color!!

Piecing for the weekend provided another 1/4 of the Color wheel finished and almost another season of “The Great British Baking Show” watched!! I did realize that I hadn’t proportioned the colors properly on this second side so I have ended up with a few more inches of “Red-Violet that I had originally planned. Hopefully it will not be too noticeable in the long run.

As I have moved from color to color, I have been pulling fabrics out of scrap drawers and fabric bins and I hadn’t really realized just how much of a mess I had created. But then this happened…..

…and I needed to get the painters tape to fix it, but where was the tape……

Fortunately it was found underneath a stack of fabrics but this has encouraged me to do a bit of cleaning up before I tackle the Blues and Greens of the color wheel.

Also, I had been using a “spacer” after every strip was sewn onto the foundation…..

This was fine and was certainly fast, but the more I sewed, the more it started to bug me. So, in good old “Bonnie Hunter” fashion, I pulled out my 1-1/2 inch squares and started sewing a light and dark square together with each pass……

YES, it takes more time and NO, I don’t have any idea what I will do with them, but it sure makes me feel good to see this little pile growing…..

I am thinking that, at some point, I will start sewing them into four-patches. Surely I will need a 4-inch four patch at sometime in my future!!!

Here is the finished product for the weekend……

The only problem is that as I finish out the on-point square, it sure makes the inside square look BIG. WHAT am I going to put there…..only time will tell!!!!! But in the meantime, I am going to keep coloring along!!

Crayon Box Quilting

One of my goals for this year is to put together some new talks that could be presented to guilds. When I was in the Quilt Judging class we spent quite a bit of time talking about colors and using a color wheel. This got me to thinking about using the color wheel as a jumping off point for a new presentation.

Several years ago we had purchased a book by Victoria Finlay called “Color….a Natural History of the Palette”…..

In it, she talks about the various colors, giving histories of how and where they were developed. It has been interesting to learn more in depth information, although some of it is a bit weird and sad!! For example, “Lead White”, was made by applying vinegar or another acid onto lead panels.   The corrosive action would leave a white deposit of lead carbonate.  This deposit was powdered and left to dry in the sun.  Unfortunately, Lead white was poisonous if swallowed and many early artists were affected.   It was even used in women’s makeup for many years and many died from lead poisoning.

But enough about White….this blog is about color!!

I started looking for a good color wheel to purchase and landed on “C&T PUBLISHING Notions Essential Color Wheel Companion”……

It is 12 inches in diameter which is a great size to work with!! On the outside, the colors are divided into 24 segments while the inner radii show the various tints and shades of those main colors.

Now…moving onto the quilt part of this blog…..

A few weeks ago I was reading a copy of McCalls Quilting Magazine and this quilt caught my eye……

I really liked the idea of making something that could use up a bunch of the scraps that I have been saving and also liked having some open spaces to add quilting texture to. As I thought further, I decided to make a color wheel quilt, forcing me to learn more about color by actually using it!!!

I made some changes to the pattern shown here, including making it much larger and also using bias binding to finish the edges of the strips.

I then delved into my “string” bin and began sorting the appropriate sized strings into color groups…..

…..that looks like a good start!!

Then I took the color wheel and began splitting the colors into sections, starting with the first 6 colors….Yellow thru Orange Red…..

The generous size of the color wheel became important when I started pulling fabrics from my fabric boxes. It was easy to slide the wheel down the folds of fabrics and look for ones that matched best…….

Before I started piecing each section, I lined strips of the color up on the design wall to see if it looked okay……

I quickly learned that I should NOT use the rotary cutter to trim up the edges on the pieced design…..it is TOO easy for it to slip on the many seams and actually cut into the piece…..yes, this came from a learning curve!!! Instead I used a super sharp pair of scissors to do the trimming, although I didn’t trim it all the way to the edge. I will do that just before I applique it onto the background.

After a day of sewing, I had completed a quarter of the colors and I love how it looks…..

….although I cant decide what color to use for the background…..

That is only ONE of the unknowns in this project,. Others include….

  • what am I going to put inside the on-point square…. more squiggly lines, circles, starbursts, applique flowers, etc.?
  • am I going to hand applique the bias tape on or do it by machine?
  • do I want to do a gradation background, or even alternate between blacks, greys and whites….or other colors?
  • what sort of quilting do I want to do?
  • what do I want to add to the outside triangles?

I truly enjoyed looking for the differences in colors and actually got to the point that I could distinguish Orange-Yellow from Yellow-Orange!!!

Anyway, it is off to a good start. It would actually be further along, but I started binge watching the “Great British Bake Off” and kept stopping to watch and enjoy!!!

I will leave you with this quote from Georgia O’Keefe…..