Project Hiatus

Everything is packed.
I decided to chill for these  few remaining days before my trip.
Since my work table has turned into my packing-for -vacation table, I really can’t work on any projects.
The next best thing is to design NEW projects!

Abbie, from Sparkle On! with Abbie posted an invitation to join a Christmas QAL.
I have never done a mystery quilt,and I am still considering doing this.
One of the perks, besides the fun in working with this group of creative people, would be the chance to learn/practice some different techniques.
Abbie did get me thinking ahead on seasonal projects.
I am usually a last-minute type of person.

During this self-imposed hiatus from working on projects, I decided to design an autumn quilt.
Autumn is my favorite season, even though in my  area of Texas, autumn is a bit different.
I remember dragging books about fall, and setting up scarecrows,  baskets of leaves, pumpkins, and other autumn goodies to my classroom for the children to experience autumn.
The room was turned into an Autumn Festival, even though the outside temperature was still 90 degrees and above.
On one particularly hot, September afternoon, I was standing outside with my students who were waiting to be picked up after school. One of my students started shrieking with delight when she saw a dried, dead, brown leaf fall to her feet. She shouted, “You were right, Mrs. Cunningham, it IS autumn.”
I loved her enthusiasm!

As I was saying, before I bird-walked off topic, I do love autumn.
I’ve been wanting to make an autumn quilt for some time.
Some shops already have gorgeous fabric that just shout, “Autumn!”.
These are some of my quick design sketches.

This is already larger than I want, so I would adjust this to something more like a lap throw.
The second border would be made of multi-color nine patch blocks.

The leaves would be made of different autumn colored fabric on beige, with a gold-ish border.
I would cut the block in a wonky fashion and set the blocks in different directions as part of a tumbling leaves design.
The four corners would probably be paper pieced blocks of an owl, a squirrel, an acorn, and maybe a field mouse or pumpkin.
I found these free paper pieced patterns on Craftsy.

Owl   Pattern on Craftsy
This is more of a Halloween background so I would change that up a bit.

Squirrel Pattern on Craftsy

I found these squirrel blocks on Sew Fresh Quilts .
These are definitely beyond my skills, but I just thought they were great blocks.

These are just preliminary thoughts on a quilt I might or might not make.
I just enjoy fooling around with designs.

Oh, by the way, my Brack Pack friends and I are taking a road trip to Crystal Bridges in November.
We should see some beautiful autumn foilage.

As usual, I got side-tracked and started looking through Lucinda Ganderton’s book, Block a Day.
It is the Bird Block, block #77.
It was fun playing around with this block.
I have two sketches using this block in two different directions.

There are still a couple of more days of waiting and preparing for my trip, so I have time to play with some more designs.

 

Oh, and aren’t these cute?
I found these luggage tags and thought they would be just right for our trip.
The purple and blue stripes are for my granddaughter.
The polka-dots are mine.

If this post seems to be “all over the place”, it is because I am “all over the place”…more so than usual!

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Art vs. Design

de·sign
dəˈzīn/

noun
1. a plan or drawing produced to show the look and function or workings of a building, garment, or other object before it is built or made.

art
ärt

noun
1. the expression or application of human creative skill and imagination, typically in a visual form such as painting or sculpture, producing works to be appreciated primarily for their beauty or emotional power

I guess I should have read the definition of design before I started this Quilt of Valor.
My plan-as-I-go design technique is not going anywhere.
However, I am finding inspiration in the “art” of the quilt so far.
I love the bright, patriotic fabric. I am excited about creating something that I hope will project an”emotional ” empowerment for the recipient of this quilt.
So, I agree with the words of David Hockney, (artist, draughtsman, photographer):

          Art has to move you and design does not, unless it’s a good design for a bus.

To date, I have made a 56″ x 56″ center square.

My current plan is to build the quilt vertically with another sash and a row of 8″ blocks on the top and bottom.
   
A few months ago, I found this Scrappy Flag Quilt free block pattern on Craftsy.
It was designed by Diane Knott.
There were some red and white scraps in my stash box that came in handy.
The blue is a remnant from the fabric I used for the big star block.
I don’t know exactly how these 8″ blocks will work into the design, but they will not go to waste if there is a change in my plans. I can always use them in some other quilt or donate them to the QOV group.

Flying Geese

Even though it is said that the flying geese block is a remarkably simple block “ ,
I have always found it to be challenging.
In fact, I scrapped one of my first quilts because I found the flying geese too frustrating.
(I later used the fabric for a quilt that didn’t require flying geese.)
So, when I designed the Texas Wildflower quilt that requires 20 flying geese blocks, I questioned my sanity.

Previously, I had been using the rotary method for making the geese blocks.
I also tried making templates.
Neither method produced an accurate flying geese block.

A few weeks ago, I purchased a Bloc_Loc Flying Geese ruler from the Mesquite Bean Shop.
It turns out to be one of the best purchases I have made.
I had been following directions from other sources and cutting exactly a 3.5″  x 3.5″ square and a 3.5″ x 6.5″ rectangle.
The directions for the Bloc_Loc called for cutting a 3.75″ x 3.75″ square and a 3.75″ x 6.75″ rectangle.
This made all the difference.
I also saved fabric by making a half-square triangle as I made the flying geese square.

The other area that I researched before I started this quilt, was how to press seams.
I always press seams as I sew.
I previously used Best Press, and then I switched to steam.
However, I noticed that my seams were still a bit off.
After reading an article on Craftsy, I think I finally found the best way to press the seams.
I am still using steam, but I no longer iron the seam…I press the seam.
Also, I had never set the stitches before I pressed.
I know this is not news to all of you experts out there, but it was news to me. 🙂

My goal for today was to make the 20 flying geese and cut the squares necessary to make the Variable Star block.
I also wanted to make the four vertical strip blocks.
I was able to get this done.

I discovered that the fabric I chose for one of these vertical strips had a large floral design.
It is perfect for the border and the background for the star block, but I thought it was out of proportion for the vertical strip block. I purchased some mixed blue and red flower, which is not from the Moda VIII line.
I am not that happy with it, but it is more proportionate for this block.

Vertical Strips Block


Best tool ever!
  
I might use these half-square triangles for the backing.
I have to see what remnants I have left before I can decide how to piece the backing.

This isn’t pieced yet.
Tomorrow, I will cut the photos from Richard Reynolds.
I just wanted to see what the block will look like when finished.
The bluebonnet will be the center block.

We are supposed to get hit with a big rain storm tonight and tomorrow.
Hopefully the power won’t go out and I can spend time on the quilt.