Thursday, September 22, 2011

Harmony on the Homefront: a Material Mavens quilt

    My friend, Alice, founded an international 12" x 12" art quilt group blog, Material Mavens. I had given her a book for her birthday about a similar group which lit a fire in her. She is quite the organizer.

     Our first challenge was to make a quilt about "harmony." On September 15, we all revealed our quilts and a new theme was chosen for the next two months.

Home Harmony
        My journal quilt design developed this way:  Three things happened at once. My accuquilt cutter arrived. Joe and I were babysitting the grandchildren while their parents moved their home to another state.  I needed to think "harmony."

       I was excited to try the cutting machine and placed an inexpensive blended roll of batiks into the chopper to get numerous triangles and many squares of two sizes. In creating the quilt, I limited myself to what was available in this particular stash of batiks.

       Off and on, the children concentrated to make houses of squares and rectangles. They had "house" on the mind and organized a tabletop of multi-colored homes (small square and triangle on big square as in the center).  Harmony, however imperfect (I put the house on in the wrong direction) prevailed in several directions. This two-sided quilt is an homage to that time, the youngsters' design, and my new helper, the fabric cutting machine.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Snappy Bags inspire at my Journal Quilt Connection

   Last night the Journal Quilt Connection met to show the journal quilts we had been working on since summer. At the end of the meeting, Rita showed about 15 very graphic snappy bags she had made. I forgot to take a photo, but today I searched on-line for a pattern.  I had to make one. Her bags are better!
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      I found that Nancy has posted a tutorial at her Tattered Garden blog, and a school in Utah has written up the directions.

     So, taking it easy today, I whipped up a  snappy bag. They are so clever. You merely pull on the tabs on both sides to open and they snap back to close! Click on the colored links in the paragraph above for instructions to try one!

Monday, September 12, 2011

School for learning: a journal quilt

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   The Journal Quilt Connection meets this week. I needed to make a quilt with a school theme, one quite appropriate for September. I just couldn't get started. I thought of my upcoming trip for a reunion with friends with whom I began elementary school  in Amarillo. The grandchildren were starting new schools in their new state. I wondered about new courses for everyone, my boys in NYC and Joe and myself.
   I was blocked. But to get started, I set out a sky background over batting and cut the two to 14" x 14." That would be the big sky of Amarillo, the Southwest and memories of school, first through 12th grade.
    Blank. I brought in Kaffe Fassett fabric pencils. Buying my school supplies (pencils and paper) was so exciting back in the 40's. I wasn't interested in clothes, just drawing. Where to put the pencils? I found black board fabric and sweet memories of lettering. But how to compose?
    The 9/11 tenth anniversary memorials were on tv and my piece came together. I ironed Wonder Under to the fabrics and cut them out, ironed them on, and quilted them to the batting. The backing was put on at the end and brought around the sides and stitched as I watched the memorials on television or listened on the radio.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Lettering Headers: fabric penmanship

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      The Material Mavens, my talented Texas 12" x 12" quilt group, was inspired by Jamie Fingal Designs' lettering at her blog. We wrote her for advice. The generous quilter she is, Jamie sent advice. Each in our group has been given a letter to fashion for our moniker at our MM blog. I drew the L.

      Listening to President Obama's wonderful Jobs Act talk to Congress, I cut and ironed away. I was assigned an L which I found on my computer software. I printed it, traced and cut it out a little bit bigger to fit onto a 4" x 5" piece of fabric. At first it looked too skinny. I traced the letter onto the back of freezer paper and cut out the letter.

      I didn't know what colors to choose among my fabrics but I thought a more solid pattern should be the letter. Something wider in design would be the background. It is good I made two choices since I now see one of mine resembles Andrea's lined fabric background.  On the piece of letter fabric I ironed Wonder Under to the back, ironed on the freezer paper L, and then cut out the letter to iron on the chosen background.

      I now see Jamie uses different colors for background and letter. I must learn to prepare more thoroughly, but I got the letters made and will send them off in the mail to Alice in Texas where she will assemble all our letters to spell out Material Mavens.  Be sure to visit Jamie's blog Twisted Sister!