Thursday, November 28, 2013

Top Ten Thanks

I am thankful for many, many things but for this blog it seems appropriate to express thanks for those things around quilting and fiber arts; I am thankful today--and every day:

1) for Family, whose support is ever-present:  for Mom and Dad, who taught me that I could do whatever I set out to do--and respected that I could decide what that was; for my siblings, who love me in spite of myself and encourage me in ways large and small (and always "have my back");

2) for Mom, who taught me to sew, knit, crochet, embroider--among many other things;

3) for Friends, who help me to laugh, who hold my hand when I need to cry, and who just seem to always be there when I need them;

4) for all the Quilters and Fibert Artists, beginners to masters, who inspire me every day with their talent and creativity;

5) for Quilters and Fiber Artitsts who give of their time and talent to those who need kindness and comfort;

6) for Quilt Shop Owners and Staff, who have shared so much and given me so much;

7) for Designers of all those gorgeous fabrics and fibers with which we get to work;

8) for Inventors who create the technology that makes it all easier, from rotary cutters (and rulers!) to longarm machines to beautiful and functional spindles, wheels, and looms;

9) for the Internet and the World Wide Web, which give us ready access to an unimaginable wealth of resources and opportunities for sharing and inspiration;

10) for all the People in the world who love quilts and knitted, crocheted, spun and woven pieces.

I am thankful for it all, and especially for all of you; Happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Ten for Ten

I'm 10 for 10 on my 10 for 10 challenge! 

A few weeks ago I challenged myself to design 10 quilts from 10" squares.  (All right, I already had a couple of designs completed, and one pattern published, with another in the works.)

I confess that I actually designed 15 or 20 quilts over the course of those weeks, but I decided it would be nice to actually LIKE all the designs, so it took some time and I learned a few more things to put in my designing toolbox.  You likely have learned other things, or things diametrically opposed to what I found works for me.  Then again, maybe these same things won't work for me next week.  That's the fun of designing, isn't it?

Here are 3 methods I used to get at the initial designs:

1) Pull out some 10" squares, cut them up and sew them in different ways.  Or, sew them and cut them up in different ways.  Putz.  Play. Toss them out and start again.

2) Start with a design in EQ, and then try to figure out how to piece it.  This one can be rather fun, but it can also be rather frustrating.  I'm pretty much math- capable but when you start doing seams on top of seams on top of seams on top of inserts on top of diagonal seams, well....then it's off to method #1.  Pull out the squares and just start putzing away on them until it comes out as you envisioned it--or something close to it.

3) Picture something in your head, then try to make it work using either method 1 or method 2.  What you see in your head at 3 a.m. does not necessarily translate into a usable or attractive end.  Sometimes it's just ghastly. 

Some of the time it works out just as you planned, and sometimes it doesn't, but even then a little more hacking, er, cutting and sewing yields a serendipitous prize.  I won't show you the piece from the original thought process (I think it was merely dull, not ghastly) but here's what happened when I did some more cutting; it wasn't square because of the cutting, so I just kept make slices and inserts until it was square, and then did some rearranging.  These are test blocks, and don't necessarily use the fabrics I would choose for the end.   So, this is #7.2, after 7.1 alpha test (and beta, for that matter) failed:

I'm not sure what my next design challenge will be; half of my 10 for 10 designs are pieced now, and others will be pieced over the next few weeks.  But in the meantime, what shall the next challenge be?  Any ideas for me?