Sunday, June 25, 2017

Hen and Chicks

Said the first little chicken,
With a strange little squirm,
"I wish I could find
A fat little worm."

Said the next little chicken,
With an odd little shrug:
"I wish I could find
A fat little bug."

Said a third little chicken,
With a small sigh of grief,
"I wish I could find
A green little leaf!"

Said the fourth little chicken,
With a faint little moan,
"I wish I could find
A wee gravel stone."

"Now, see here!" said the mother,
From the green garden patch,
"If you want any breakfast,
Just come here and scratch!" 

My daughter Diane has a most exciting WIP; she is expecting a baby girl in October. Upon hearing the news, I wanted to plan and make the best and most adorable baby quilt. After considering Diane's favorite color (red) and a favorite pet (chickens) I decided on a pattern featuring hens and chicks, found here at  Sew Fresh Quilts. Lorna, the pattern designer, shows several color ideas that are modern and cheerful. I opted for more realistic colors and used some super fun Moda samples I have. I like the technique that Lorna uses, pieced shapes and triangles sewn on the diagonal and trimmed. Easy and precise.

The first two sets of hens and chicks, life size.
I decided on a soft grey background for a modern look and to soften the colors. I had fun looking at different hens and chicks, and choosing fabrics that gave variety and fanciness seen in a flock of chickens.  Here are the blocks, awaiting a few chick heads and rooster legs.

Fancy wings and a big rooster in the center.

The hen on the bottom left has eggs instead of chicks, and the fabric is sparkly. Diane and I talked about a 3-dimensional rooster tail for textural interest. I played around and came up with prairie points. Durable, and fun.

I set my reading glasses under the points to show the 3-D effect.

Yes, a green rooster. His comb and wattle are black. The tail and wattle were my designs.

I set a goal to finish this quilt in time for the Council Quilt Show which has the theme this year, "Feathered Friends." It was good to have a goal, the quilt is finished way ahead of the baby's birth. I used other ideas from Lorna of Sew Fresh Quilts, wavy line quilting, and a flanged binding. The binding is attached exclusively by machine. Here is the quilt at the quilt show:

Ready to welcome baby.
The back of the quilt is a fabric line named, "Babes in Farmland" by Timeless Treasures. I bought 5 yards. 5 yards. Keep in mind, the baby quilt is 40" x 50." That is how I buy fabric.

cute details.

 I also made a challenge block with the same theme, "Feathered Friends," and blue green fabric as the challenge focus fabric. My block is entitled, "Gertrude McFuzz," after the Dr. Seuss book about the little bird with a plain tail, who wanted a fancy tail and ate pill berries until her tail grew too big for her to fly. I used a paper pieced pattern called Teeny Tiny Feather and a bird block from Sophie Junction. The bird pattern is found on her blog. And, the pill berry bush is my improv from a Gwen Marston class.

A bird after my own heart, eating pill berries to make herself feel better. 
How is your summer shaping up?

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Word for the Day

I have been committed (yes, it's true but this time I mean MY intention, not other peoples') to daily writing ala  The Artist's Way. But my faithful and patient blog, named after yours truly has been sorely neglected for a very long time. I have been waiting for just the right inspiration when I know it happens in the writing, not so that I will be inspired to write. I have been writing longhand every morning and coming up with ideas. The discipline is in the doing. Procrastination comes from perfectionism, waiting for everything to be JUST RIGHT. I still struggle with artistic anorexia, avoiding the creating while wanting to have created. Sometimes I get epic shit done despite my best avoidance.

Here are some of the projects I have been working on since my last post:

I finished two UFOs this spring and entered them in the Palouse Patchers quilt show in Moscow in April. Some of us took a road trip to see the show. This is "Strawberry Ice Cream," my wonky churn dash made from blocks I received when I was in Stash Bee, an online block exchange. I quilted it on my domestic machine with lots of straight line grids.

Wearing a glove so that I can touch the quilts: I chose a fancy satin dress up glove. 
 The silk folded log cabin quilt was hand pieced by someone's grandma in the 1940's and 50's. These were the throw away ugly blocks. I can't resist a challenge like that and laid this blocks out in a streak of lightening pattern. Some colors are both lights and darks. The silk was pieced onto flour sacks and I hated to cover them up. One sack had a harvester carrying a sheave of wheat. But, it had to get covered up to become a quilt. I hand quilted the hell out of this quilt and it glows with inner light. Kaffe artisan fabric made a perfect binding, blue grey with wild bright flowers.
Here I am with the one that almost got away.
This little charmer is a study in purple. I have always liked the Chinese Puzzle block. I made this from leftover half square triangles. I put a flanged binding on it to use a teensy strip of mustard for neutral pushing. I love the effect. Here is a simple tutorial for flanged bindings. Super quick and easy way to bind.
Another creation that doesn't want to be adopted out.

Truly Scrumptious.

I held my second Spontaneous Outdoor Quilt Show but was preempted by Mr. Thimblepie, who had to water the garden. I was crushed. Couldn't it have waited a few hours? I loved seeing how prolific I have been, my inner artist was thrilled.

I learned a new word: ootheca. It is the egg case of praying mantis. Mr. Thimblepie redeemed himself by noticing and calling me out to witness this hatching. The little guys scatter so quickly, and we won't see them again until they are at least double that size. A hummingbird came nearby to watch the hatch but I needed some photos so no snacks for him.

About 4 mm long.
What is happening in your neck of the woods?