Thursday, October 22, 2009

Christmas Quilts - Part 3

I was playing with the layout the blocks for the Christmas lap quilt on Tuesday and thought I had it. So I took a picture of if yesterday evening so I could make a post here and when I looked at the picture I realized that I didn't have the red and cream coloured 4 patch blocks right. Can you see what's wrong with the placement of them in this picture? (click on it for a larger version)

Did you figure it out. Well all the red blocks with gold metallic are on the left hand side of the 4 patch placement and all the non metallic red blocks are on the right hand side of the 4 patch block placement. They should have been placed so that they were alternating as in the picture below.

I've had this happen to me a couple of times when I've looked at the design wall and thought everything was good only to take a picture, look at it and see that something wasn't quite right with the placement of my blocks. I'm really glad that I take pictures of all my quilts in various stages of completeness and study them to see how things look before I start sewing. Last thing I want to be doing is sitting down to an evening with the seam ripper.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Kaffe Fassett - Part 2

Yesterday was the Kaffe Fassett workshop at the Creative Festival and this is what I have to show for my 6 hours.

By no means do I have a finished top ready to sew and I still have to add a couple more rows to this quilt before I will have the size that I need. I was going through my stash of fabrics today and I think I may have found a couple of things that will work. I didn't have time to cut the half triangles so that very outer border fabric I just pinned so that you could see what it would look like. The column of diamonds that are next to it will all the way around the whole quilt as the diamond border followed by the striped fabric.

So the scoop on this workshop is if I had the magic crystal ball and could see what would transpire in the 6 hours I would not pay the $150 plus purchase the book and over 20 different fabrics.

I'm not sure where Kaffe is coming from, but he isn't a teacher. There was no discussion about how he develops his quilts, his use of colour, what works, what doesn't and there were no handouts. We were just let loose with our fabrics and told to put something together. He would come by every now and then and just say that something was either too light, too dark, the wrong size of print, or just didn't work and would go on to someone else. His assistant Brandon Malby was much more helpful in that he would at least show you some options of what might work in place of the things that Kaffe said didn't work. Eventually people got the idea of what didn't work because the same things would keep coming up and up. But there never really was a sense of what works and why it works.

Over the course of the 6 hours there were certain things that I picked up after hearing/seeing about either my quilt and/or other people’s quilts and they are:

- Stick either with lights, mid-tones or darks within the colour palette that you have selected, but don’t mix all of them together. Many of us ended up discarding our lightest fabrics.
- Even though we were using bold prints, you have to make sure that there is still enough variation between the types of bold prints. They shouldn't all look the same both from the type of print and the various colours/shades in each the fabric.
- When you pick your colour palette, you still need some other colour(s) at various points to give the design some punch. There were a couple of brown toned quilts that he made the people put some red fabrics into the mix, and one gal’s red quilt got a print that had red with lime green in it for punch. What ever your punch colour is, it also has to be a mid-tone if you are using mid-tones, dark if dark, or light if light.
- Be careful of the border fabrics so that they compliment the quilt and don’t look like a frame around the quilt
- Also when you have picked your colour palette make sure that all the fabrics are not “matchy matchy” to each other. So if you picked green, you have emerald green, and jade green and moss green and grass green etc. and that the prints do have other colours to add some interest.

For the last hour he did go around and critique all the quilt designs and it seemed that he liked what come out of every one's process. But again there didn't seem to be a lot of knowledge passed on as to why things worked, more like this goes well with that. But was it the colour of one fabric with the design of another, the intensity of the colours, the addition of other colours, a lot was just not very effectively communicated.

This will be packed away for the time being since I have several projects that are currently on the go and need to be finished up before the end of the year. I will resurrect this one sometime in the new year.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Creative Festival - Maggie Vanderweit Workshop

Today I was at the Creative Festival for a workshop with Maggie Vanderweit called Painting with Threads. Below is my one and only piece that I was able to make in a 6 hour workshop. I really like the way it turned out. This particular piece is using a dissolvable stabilizer. I used Solvy, placing a layer of decorative yarns, ribbon, organza, etc. between sheets of the stabilizer and then hooping it and then free motion stitching it. I used a Sulky holographic thread in copper on the outer edge followed by various rayon threads and then finished it with the copper thread in the middle. Once you are done stitching the piece, you wash out the stabilizer and this is the finished result. I'm not sure what the next step will be for this piece, but I really like the end result.

Now you may wonder, did this really take me 6 hours to make. No, this piece took just over 2 hours to do. So what happened with the rest of the time. Maggie did a bit of talking and some demos throughout the 6 hours but unfortunately over half the class was having technically issues with the sewing machines that were provided by Pfaff including me. I wasted over 2 hours trying to sort through some nasty tension issues and this was with a brand new computerized machine. And if the machine wasn't having tension problems then it was breaking needles and thread at an alarming rate. There was a lot of frustration in the room, and several folks left a couple of hours before the end of the class.

This was my first time ever taking a class at the Creative Festival, and one of the selling features was not having to lug your sewing machine along with all your other supplies. Well this proved to be anything but a plus. I still have the Kaffe Fassett Workshop on Saturday but I have a funny feeling that this will be the first and last time that I will be taking anything at the Creative Festival. I will give you my final take on the festival after Saturday's workshop.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Kaffe Fassett - part 1

First I hope for those who were celebrating holidays this past weekend (Thanksgiving in Canada and Columbus Day in the US) that everyone enjoyed themselves. I was up north with friends for our traditional turkey feast. It was wonderful. The weather was a bit cool, we did get some sun, but it also rained some and on Sunday it tried to snow but the ground was too warm so it melted as soon as it landed.

I was up around Horseshoe Valley area and the fall colours there were mostly yellows and oranges, not much red. What is actually interesting is that some of the best fall colours can be found right here in Toronto along the Don Valley. This is a picture from my balcony window over looking one of the ravines along the upper Don Valley and the colours are just starting.

Next Saturday is the Kaffe Fassett workshop and I knew that I had better get a good part of my diamond blocks cut out because this past week I was just starting to use my hand again and I knew that I couldn't go for an intense cutting spree at a workshop. I still don't have all my diamonds cut, but probably about 80 - 85% and that took a good 8 hours over the holiday weekend. Yes I took my fabric up with me. It's a good thing I did, because the workshop is only 6 hours, so there would be no way that I would get stuff completed at this rate.

Below are the diamonds that I have already cut out laid against 3 different backgrounds. One of the background fabrics will actually become a border of diamonds that will go all the way around the rows of each of the already cut diamonds. So the background fabric won't really be sashing between the various diamonds but will surround the diamonds as a border. The only reason I laid it out this way was because it was quick and easy and gave me an idea of what things might look like.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Update & Friday Block Party

I haven't done much quilting for the past 2 weeks. The previous week I was down to London Ont., to visit my mom and some of my friends so that weekend was shot in terms of sewing. This past Friday I had to go and get an injection for a trigger finger and I thought I would only be out of commission for 1 day like I was a couple of years ago. But the doctor gave me a different medication because the trigger finger returned and I'm out of commission for 1 week so not much sewing till the end of this week.

What I did do was start looking at all the Friday Block Party (FBP) blocks that I have and see what I could do with them. My 10" blocks (with the exception of one) are all done in a solid turquoise, a dark blue abstract peony flower pattern and a motley pink to turquoise batik. Below are 9 of the 10 blocks that I have in this combination of fabrics.

Donna who hosts the FBP has started to sew up some of her blocks and decided to make hers all a standard 14" by sewing sashing around each and then square them off. She is planning on then doing a quilt as you go quilt. I thought that this was a really good idea so I'm now looking to see what I have in sashing. I found a Kaufman Fusion fabric that I think will work for this set, but the picture below it came out a bit bright. Fergie was helping with the layout but I guess she had enough and decided it was time to wash her paws.

This is more the true colour of the fabric and it really sets off the blocks nicely. I tried lighter coloured fabrics and the blocks looked too washed out. I also tried a dark blue and it seemed too harsh. With these blocks I think I will take them to a 12" finished size.

I also have a bunch 12" blocks from the FBP but those are all various colours. I'm still looking at what would work for those. I tried some neutrals and they were OK. I might try a soft blue or soft aqua and see how that would look.

I also have some 8" and 9" blocks, but at this time those are going to remain my orphan blocks.