28 February 2010

more blocks for the quilting bee

Nadia sent out some very cute fabrics and asked us to make simple-yet-modern 12" blocks for her new baby's quilt. One point of reference that she gave was Elizabeth Hartman's style (Oh, Fransson!). Since I have Elizabeth's "Mixed Tape" pattern, I looked through it again to remind myself of the blocks: super straightforward rectangles used to great effect.

I think it is the perfect choice for fabrics like this where you really want to show the fabric and not have too much other distraction.

ETA: Just noticed that there is a new Oh, Fransson! pattern coming out. You can enter for a chance to win a copy here. These patterns are really well written. Very complete and well-illustrated instructions; great for beginners and experienced quilters alike!

26 February 2010

Resists and the Art of the Bargain

It's been a busy week of selling and buying.

My shop has been buzzing with activity because the lovely Shibori Girl told her students about my itajime supplies.  I've been packing envelopes like mad.  Can I just say that I love preparing packages for the mail?  I find it really calming to print out the list, round up the items ordered, figure out the best way to send them, double check everything, and get it all to the post office.  It's the perfectly zen break from my "real job" of writing a dissertation.

These plexiglass shapes are just one type of resist you can use when dyeing fabric.  A "resist" is anything that keeps the dye out of some part of the fabric.  So, here's a pair of plexi circles sandwiching some fabric.  You can seen that between the circles, the fabric has resisted the dye. 

You can also use "found" objects.  This week, in search of more resists and in order to entertain the 2-year-old I was babysitting, I went to The Scrap Box.  As the website will tell you, the scrap box contains "a large assortment of unique materials which manufacturers and businesses would otherwise send to landfills: remnants, samples, seconds, and scraps."
 At the scrap box, you buy things by the bagful.  This is the booty that I picked out:
Less than $5!  I love a bargain.  Some of these will be used as "stamps" for applying paint or wax to fabric.  Others will be used as resists.

In batik, wax is used to resist the dye.  So, sometimes you'll see people saying they used "wax resists" or you'll see a wax marked as appropriate "for use as a resist in batik dyeing."  My wax is currently in UPS's hands, most recently scanned in Illinois, so I expect it will be here Monday.  Then I'm having some friends over and we will get freaky batiky.

With itajime, removing the resists is as simple as releasing the clamps, but with batik, you boil the wax out of the fabric.  So you need a big ol' stockpot just for that purpose.  I've been looking for stockpots in thrift stores for a while now but I had only found one over 10 quarts and the shop wanted $10 for it and it was a gross color and had no lid (I like lids on pots for speeding up the time it takes to boil water.)

I decided to buy a new stockpot and found this beauty at one of the local Asian food markets.
Not bad for $23.00!  I wish I had taken my camera to the market because in addition to all the groceries and produce, they have a sort of "restaurant supply" section and it includes a wok so big you could bathe a kindergartner in it.   I don't know why, but seeing that massive wok always brings a smile to my face.  

Also in the restaurant supply section are those big gray bins restaurants use for busing tables.  I've petted them a few times, but never bought them because (a) for some reason they don't have a pricetag on them and (b) I prefer to use white plastic to dye in as it is easier to see what's going on.  Well, all of a sudden they had WHITE busing bins, so I finally asked the price (just $7-something) and bought a pair.  These will be really useful with I have a lot of clamped bundles to dye!  You can see how much bigger they are than a standard dish pan.  Precious inches!

Anyway, as much as I'm happy to have found the supplies I sought, I'm looking forward to the weekend when I can actually get down to making things.  A few days of shopping can leave me feeling like my hobby is shopping for my hobby.  Which should really be a t-shirt, don't you think?  "my hobby is shopping for my hobby"   : )   Have a good weekend everyone!

ETA: If you are local, the Asian market I'm talking about is Hua Xing on Washtenaw Ave.

24 February 2010

what do you do with your snow?

Stare at it blurry eyed?

Eat it off your mittens?

Build an igloo?

Fortify your home?

22 February 2010

odds and weekends

I usually get things done on the weekend.  Crafty things. Not this weekend.  No, first I was stuck in bed with some crazy bug, then I had to go to work and knuckle down to meet some deadlines.  Booooo....all I got to craft was daydreams.

This week, after months of checking the thrift shops for an electric frying pan I finally found one!  Just $5.99 from the Salvation Army.  And cute, no?
 This means that I'm almost ready to try out some batik!  I need to buy the wax and find a stockpot and then I will be all set.

I'm daydreaming of this making a batik version of this hand-printed textile by Jenny Bergman (you can read about it on True Up.)
If that fabric were for sale, I would buy it in a heartbeat.  Since it is not, I'm going to try a batik version.  Hopefully, it will play nicely with this fabric pile:
 See, daydreaming!

Oh, I guess I did sew one thing...I tried out a 6-minute circle:
You can get a lesson on this method from on hgtv's website.  I found it pretty easy to do and I like how it looks.

I'm wondering if anyone has tried this with ovals?  Egg shapes?  What are the limits?

My library doesn't have this book (Pieced Curves So Simple: The 6-Minute Circle and Other Time-Saving Delights) but I filled out an inter-library loan request, so maybe I'll be able to check it out soon.

21 February 2010

new shapes in the shop

Look, itty bitty little circles squares and triangles!
 They are really cute. 2" squares, circles, and triangles.  Funny how shrinking something down just a smidge can make me go "awwwww...." 

Avaliable in pairs and in a bundle from my etsy shop.

18 February 2010

The Quiet Quilt

I love a good snowfall.
I love how it blankets everything, quieting it down and smoothing it out.
It calms me.

This little stinker loves snow, too.

But for different reasons.

Rock on, Buzz!

As this snow fell last week, I looked out my window and said to myself, "I've got to finish the binding on the Quiet Quilt, it will look perfect if I photograph it out in this snow."
And so I did.

I present to you, the Quiet Quilt:

The design is mine.  The choice in fabrics was inspired by Malka Dubrawsky's "low volume" work (which I have mentioned before and you can read about here).

I paid a local long arm quilter to do the quilting for me.  Lovely work, no? 

So tell, me, what do you think of the lack of balance in this quilt?

"Balance" is one of the traditional quilting obsessions that I sometimes wonder about.  I mean, why does everything have to be balanced? 

I see people talking about balancing geometric patchwork with curvy quilting.

I see people struggling to balance the distribution of hue and saturation as they arrange fabrics within a block and blocks within a quilt top.

There is the continual reliance on symmetry, another type of balance.

When I was laying out the Quiet Quilt and I landed on this configuration, I could immediately see that it wasn't balanced.  But I really liked it.  So I made no attempt to balance it.  Not it terms of color distribution, not in terms of value, not even in terms of where a particular print popped up.  All of these elements are clumpily, lumpily, unevenly distributed.  And the design is not symmetrical.  So so wrong.  And yet, to me, right.
Is the drive for balance something modern quilters might be willing to question?  Next time you are playing around with a quilt, will you give some unbalanced arrangements a go?

16 February 2010

Quilting Bees and Guilds

If you read many quilting blogs, you've probably noticed all the buzz about The Modern Quilt Guild.

Man-o-man do I wish there was one in my area. Unfortunately, there isn't, and I can't see myself starting one because chances are very high that I will be moving to a new city in the next six months. : /
But maybe my new locale will have one! : )

If you are like me, feeling guild-less, but unable to do much about it, perhaps you would enjoy a quilting bee. Elizabeth Hartman of Oh, Fransson! recently wrote a great post about online quilting bees.  It includes lots of great information on where to find one, how to choose one, and what to expect; go ahead and read it over there.

I joined a quilting bee this year. Specifically, Common Threads.

It has been a lot of fun so far, especially since this bee is full of people that just throw out a general idea of what they want and a few guidelines and let the bee members run with it...to me, that's the point of having other people involved, for their creativity more than their labor.

December was Carissa's month. She asked for bookshelf blocks, constructed of scraps and white. She sent out the white to everyone and scraps to those who asked for them. I have a drawer full of scraps so I just needed the white.

I had too much fun, putting these together. I kept thinking about what sort of books would have these fabrics for covers and then I started putting the "books" with "similar topics" together.   Thus, we have a section of cook books...

gardening books, and books on mid-century modern design.

In this photograph, the books to the left and the right are novels. Those in the center have titles like "Parenting Your Teen." Oh dear.

Jacquie is working on a cross quilt and sent out reds and whites. No funny stories to go along with these, but they do make me laugh because I was watching "Lost" while piecing them and every time I see them I think about "Lost" and how someone described it as similar to "getting really drunk and reading a choose-your-own-adventure book from back to front."

14 February 2010

Happy Valentine's Day!

And Happy Chinese New Year! It is a bright and beautiful day in Michigan; I hope that wherever you are it is equally lovely.

I used Random.org to generate a winner for my giveaway and #4 was selected. #4 is "mams"! Mams, please email me (the link is in the right-hand corner) and I will let you know how to choose your shapes!

Also, I've got the new badges made for the Fresh Modern Quilts flickr group (the first three badges are posted here).

The new badges feature quilts from the Fresh Modern Quilts group and were selected by group members.
Here are the original images:
DeeRoo G's cheerful charmer...
I'm also lovin' wavy lines!!

One Shabby Chick's gray beauty...

and Sames5's gorgeous mini quilt
STUD Feb (theme: Anything Goes) sent

Here are the new badges in three sizes. I did my best to add the text in a way that wasn't too intrusive.

Fresh Modern Quilts on flickr
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Fresh Modern Quilts on flickr
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Fresh Modern Quilts on flickr
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Fresh Modern Quilts on flickr
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Fresh Modern Quilts on flickr
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Fresh Modern Quilts on flickr
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Fresh Modern Quilts on flickr
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Fresh Modern Quilts on flickr
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Fresh Modern Quilts on flickr
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