Shining Star

A week or so ago, I showed you some batiks I was playing with for a block exchange. I was playing with not only color, but value of the batiks as well. Here are the blocks I made:
and a test of the light-medium-medium dark-dark values of the blocks:
Not bad. This block is from an EQ5 library, I’m not sure it has a name, but I’m calling this quilt the Freedom Star Quilt. Here is one 9.5″ block by itself:
And this is the layout I am playing around with after gathering up all 49 blocks (there are 48 here, one will make the label on the reverse):I’m testing some border batiks as well, not sure I’m satisfied with any of these (the dark one on the far right is actually the backing fabric):And a test of the values of the quilt top:What do you think, any opinions on these border fabrics (double click the photo to enlarge it if you need a better view):


Eat your peas and carrots

…and peaches, and bananas, and blueberries…and…. I’m calling this one my Hungry Quilt, for now anyway. It was made from my stack of Kyle’s Marketplace (RJR Fabrics) fat quarters that my Mom bought me as a gift a few years ago.

I finished this top in November at my guild retreat, but I never showed it to you! It’s made from Sarah Fielke’s Strawberry Fields pattern in the first Material Obsession book. When I saw this pattern, I knew it was perfect for showcasing these great, realistic, fruit and veggie prints that I couldn’t bear to cut up into small pieces.

I’m backing it with with a large piece of cherry themed fabric and some red and green fruit and veggie prints from the front, since I failed to buy a big enough piece of backing fabric. Again.

I love this quilt. It has to be one of my favorites. I can’t wait to see it quilted! The border is fun, I used part of the stripe from the Very Hungry Caterpillar line to fussy cut a fun border. I almost didn’t have enough of this, either, which is why the polka dot cornerstones got added!

This also makes me think of Spring and Summer, and let me tell you, I have never been so anxious to see Spring as I am this year!

Playing with Color

Do you find choosing colors for a new project easy? Challenging? Frustrating? Fun? A necessary evil? I actually really enjoy it. But I’m a born artist, and color comes naturally to me. Often I don’t even give a selection a second thought, I just know it works, or doesn’t.

As a quilt shop employee, I see people struggle with color choices, deliberate long and hard over whether a fabric goes with another fabric, agonize over their choices. That I don’t understand, but I can appreciate that we all don’t see things the same way. I have a brother who has some color-blindness. He doesn’t differentiate between blue/brown/purple, to him they are all the same thing. I cannot fathom what it is like to not see color, or at least, not see all colors.

I’m working on a block exchange this week that requires using batiks; a light, a light-medium, a medium, and a dark. With batik colors, it is hard to determine what tone or shade they are, sometimes, and that is what got me thinking about this post.

I picked out these batiks and laid them out into what I thought fit my four color shades I needed.

Then I switched my camera to black-and-white, and shot them again:

Not bad, but I saw some shades that I didn’t think contrasting quite enough, so I moved them around and shot them again:

Much better, but I still see some lack of contrast between the two middle rows, so more tweaking. I finally got fours rows of clearly differentiated shades of grey, I was happy with it, so I then cut my blocks out to sew together tonight.

Your black-and-white mode on your camera, or in your photo editing software, is a great way to test the value of your quilt fabrics/blocks for contrast, as well as define shades of your colored fabrics.

Color refers to the wavelength of the light, where it falls on the spectrum; red, blue, green, etc. Shade refers to how dark the color is, to make a color darker, you add black to it. Tint refers to how light the color is, to tint a color, you add white. Tone is a little more challenging, it refers to the blueness of a blue, the redness of a red, etc. For instance, you can have a true, pure blue, or a blue that has a yellow tone; the more of one color you add to the first, the more you alter the tone.

I’ve been playing with another color-filled quilt this week, getting this one ready to go off to the long-arm quilter. It’s full of every color of the rainbow…
No worries about enough contrast in that one!

Have you struggled with contrast, shade and color selection in your projects? Do you give much thought to it? How do you work towards a satisfying final product in terms of color and contrast? I’d love to hear your thoughts!

Spring 2009 Virtual Quilt Festival

Amy is hosting a virtual Quilt Show this week. Here is my entry…sure to win Best of Show. (Just kidding, I’m really not that cocky! But since it’s a virtual world…a girl can dream, right?!) I chose this quilt as my entry into Amy’s “Festival” because it was my first true “art quilt” and I truly love how it turned out. The batiks blend together beautifully, I used alot of thread painting and quilting techniques I had not tried before and the overall product is, in my humble opinion, stunning. Here is it’s story:

My sweetie is a major fan of Django Reinhardt, a gypsy jazz musician from Belgium, who died in 1953. In addition to idolizing Django, he plays the guitar (a Martin that he refers to as “The Grail”) and the mandolin. I made him this art quilt for Christmas 2005. The name of the quilt is “Gypsy Django”.
The guitar in the quilt is created from the jazz guitar that Sweetie owned at the time, prior to purchasing The Grail and selling all other “inferior” guitars in his possession. The two mandolins are also his, the inlay one was his grandfather’s, and the “triangular” one he made himself.
This is the mandolin his grandfather owned and played, it’s beautiful, with a mother-of-pearl inlaid butterfly, and m-of-p inlay around the edges and on the neck. It’s a true work of art and is proudly displayed on the mantel.
We aren’t sure how old the mandolin is, or where it came from, but he has this photo of his grandfather (on the left) playing this very mandolin in the very early 20th Century:
The mandolin he made himself hangs on the bedroom wall when not in use.
I used a batik on the back and binding as well. This was my first foray into “creative” quilt labels. Now, go see Amy and enjoy the rest of the “show”! Oh! One more thing…go check out this birthday giveaway:

The icing on the cupcake

Lorraine has received her cupcake goodies, so now I can post shots of what I made for/sent to her. First of all, I found some very cute cupcake paper liners, a bath cupcake for a relaxing fizzy bath , in “pink champagne” scent or flavor, a cupcake cookbook, every good cook should have one, and a cupcake card that I added an applique to, to match the apron I made.

And of course, the apron:

made from a Butterick See & Sew pattern, #B5125, it was easy to make except for the fact that I had to hem it by hand (not a big hand-sewing fan, unless it’s applique or embroidery), but that made it look nicer, and Lorraine likes it alot, so it’s worth every stitch!

The applique is my own design addition, complete with a cherry on top!
Maggy tried this out, too. What is it with animals and some new textile laying around?!?
Lorraine’s final surprise was the Batik Star that I first blogged about on July 11th, as part of my UFQ series. She was the only one to comment and suggested I “join a small quilt swap..or send it to me [her]…lol”. So, I finished it, and I did. Send it to her. See what a nice compliment can get you around here?

I had a lot of fun with this swap, getting to “know” Lorraine, and seeing some of the clever gifts people came up with across blogland for their partners.


Yes! One of my twenty (20) unfinished projects is DONE. FINIS. COMPLETE. UFQ #6, the Batik Star is now done:

I used Cassie’s fabulous tutorial for No-Snit Binding (my first attempt!) and it went very well. I need a little improvement to get the back to look as good as Cassie’s do, but overall, a great technique.

Here is a shot trying to show my quilting and the butterfly batik I put on the back:

This past weekend was lovely here in Iowa. I spent Saturday with my sister and her adorable nine-month old son. Sunday, I went to a family reunion in Northeast Iowa and had the pleasure of driving by some of the barn quilts of Grundy County:

I’m partial to the crossed canoes block, as you know…

Happy August to you! I’m getting ready for another retreat this weekend…more UFO’s to knock off the list!