Possibilities #5

Yesterday I removed the turquoise vertical strip and resembled the quilt top panel – much happier with the flow across the two sets of strips – they’re not interrupted with that contrasting element that really didn’t work well.

Hodgepodge with turquoise vertical stripe removed, sashing and borders added

The colour was right, though, and I used the turquoise fabric to sash the panel – the narrow contrasting sashing provides closure to the panel and brightens it.

The border – that was a challenge – I had several grey fabrics in my stash – I tried all of them. At one point I thought one of the taupier ones would look OK (I used two different Grunge taupe fabrics in the brightly coloured strips) but in the end I used wide strips from the grey Crackle (Moda) I’ve had in the stash for a while (I thought the fabric pattern was long out of stock but I just found more in a wide range of colours online so I bought two yards to replace the piece I’ve used).

Now on to a backing panel with a wide strip of some kind. How I choose to quilt this will also make a difference to how the final quilt will look – quilting design, thread colour should help tie the elements together as well.

Possibilities #4

Today, I looked at the two sets of discarded strips and decided they could go together and kind of work. The miscut ombre strips needed lengthening to match the pieced strips – I used my last bit of ombre (from the dark brown end) to extend them. I sewed the two sets of strips together this afternoon. The width proportions were the same so I put them together  wide/narrow, wide/narrow until they were assembled.

Hodgepodge

I don’t like the turquoise strip in there, however – I might actually take it out because it interrupts the flow of the strips in both directions. I’ve ended up with a panel 36″ x 43″ – reasonable proportion for a throw/lap quilt with narrow sashing and wide borders added.

Tomorrow I will take out the turquoise strip, then see what I can do about a narrow sashing and a wide border to get me to around 48″-50″ in width, 56″-58″ in length.

And here I am quilting when I intended to be making pants – the corduroy is sitting on the dresser waiting for me to get to it; the pattern is there, too. I wanted to get both pair done by the end of the holidays – nope! It’s quilts instead. Gotta follow the inspiration.

Oh, and I never work on more than a single project at a time, and here I am deeply engrossed in two.

Possibilities #3

This morning I constructed a new black ombre/batik panel (from the fabric I had left over yesterday) and then assembled the convergence. Yesterday when I cut the two parts into strips at the same time, my strips were exactly the same width. But cutting the second panel today meant there were slight variations in the pieced strips so assembling the large panel proved finicky because many of the joins did not align precisely…. I had to make lots of small adjustments.

Convergence Panel Assembled

However, now I’ve got the balance the way I want it with the two darker elements of the ombre opposing one another as are the two contrast fabrics.

The question is where do I go from here. I need a narrow sashing of some kind but I’m not sure what it should be. Also I have no more ombre (I’ve ordered 2m online but it probably won’t arrive for a couple of weeks) to set up wide outside borders to make a decent size throw quilt. Right now the panel is ~36″ x 36″ – I want to end up closer to 60″. That means more piecing of some kind – at the moment I have no idea where to go from here. Next question is whether there is a way to end up with a throw that’s longer than wide – that means doing something asymmetrical with sashing and borders.

The surprise with this piecing is while the ombre shading comes through due to the wider elements constructed from the darker ends of the fabric, it’s actually a rather weak colour flow. The turquoise livens up the panel but now the question is whether I should introduce more fabrics to build around this panel or wait till the ombre fabric arrives and see what I can do with that. Lots of possibilities….

Possibilities #2

Christmas day is just another day. I read the news (stupid way to start the day these days – nothing but seriously ominous views of the world). Then I picked up the strips I constructed yesterday, dug out some grey backing fabric from my backing collection and laid the strips on it – I inverted adjacent strips to mix up the colour and added one narrow contrasting turquoise. Now the strips aren’t fighting the complementary fabric. This is a possible arrangement for a quilt top.

Possibilities 1

But I wondered what it would look like if I kept the strips all in the same direction and skewed them a bit and I think I prefer this layout. I’ll cut off the overhanging bits and resew them at the opposite end so the strips will be the length of the width of fabric. I will mirror strip widths in the interstitial fabric so the assembled top will have a balanced feel.

Possibilities 2

I didn’t stop there. Here is the first pass at the convergence quilt – and I got it wrong! The ombre/turquoise is right but the batik/ombre is backward – I wanted the dark to go from wide to narrow and I inadvertently did the reverse.

Convergence II

Doesn’t look awful like this but the balance is not what I was aiming for – I wanted the two dark parts of the ombre to be at opposite corners from one another. I must have laid the ombre/batik panel upside down when I cut the strips. Fortunately, I have another dark ombre piece and enough of the batik to recut/resew/and recut those strips – wasn’t planning on having to do that, however.

This is one of those times it’s a good idea to stop and walk away from it all. Take a breath and come at it again tomorrow.

Season’s greeting to anyone who has bothered reading this far.

Possibilities #1

That pile of fabrics with the Ombre fabric as central has been calling out to me. So this morning I decided to have a go. My idea was to keep the ombre as intact as possible and to set up some kind of convergence idea using the other blending/contrasting fabrics.

Well that didn’t work! The strips of contrast fabrics kill the ombre – they’re way too strong; they overwhelm the ombre fabric. I’ve gathered them up and put them aside to use them in something else.

Ombre Idea #1

So then back to Ricky Tims basic convergence quilt idea – four squares of blending/contrasting fabric which are cut into graduated strips, sewn together in one direction, then sliced again in graduated strips and stitched once more. The question is what will go with the two blocks of the ombre.

I tried a light and dark turquoise – the darker fabric is lifeless against the ombre.

Possible Ombre Idea #2

The lovely lined fabric doesn’t have near enough contrast to work at all.

Ombre Idea #3

For the moment I’m contemplating this selection – the turquoise should make the overall assembly bright and the paler batik blends reasonably well with the two halves of the  ombre fabric…

Ombre Idea #4

I will walk around that for a day or so before cutting further – at the same time going through my stash again to see if I have any other fabrics that might work better.

My first convergence quilt had strong contrasts and worked out well.

Convergence Quilt #1

The contrasts with the ombre fabric aren’t so defined although the ombre sets up a workable contrast in two quadrants. The challenge is finding appropriate fabrics for the other two quadrants.

Convergence Quilt – in progress

This convergence quilt in progress was created in a class I taught a year or so ago – the participant had two lovely contrasting ombre fabrics which blended together amazingly well. I don’t have a second ombre so I’m trying to set up the contrasts another way.

This is how improvisation works – one idea doesn’t pan out, you try another until something just feels right. I’m working on the feels right part – not there yet!

Possibilities…

I’ve had this piece of ombre fabric sitting around for a while – I bought a metre at the time because I liked how the colours shaded from grey to brownish. I had nothing to go with it; I just put it away.

Today I was at Sew With Vision (my local Pfaff/Husqvarna dealer and fabric shop) to pick up a new foot for my Pfaff embroidery machine and there were two stacks of recently arrived fabric sitting on the edge of the cutting table. I wasn’t thinking about the ombre fabric but no sooner had Cathy cut me 1/2 m of three of them (grey circles, brown circles and grey/beige with metallic lines) that I remembered the ombre and realized they’d go together.

Ombre Fabric With Possible Companions

I came home, and went through my stash and came up with some other fabrics I had on hand and pulled them out. Looks like “dots” were calling to me. The greys (sitting at the brown end of the ombre) need one more darker grey to pick up the darkest grey shades at the nearer end of the ombre. Probably could also use one more tan-ish fabric as well. AND I need some kind of contrast – I’m auditioning the turquoise/yellow batik but that may not be what I want. I may have to take the pile to Sew With Vision to see if there’s anything else there that works with the greys and browns and beiges that will bring those colours to life.

And what might I do with them? Not a clue, yet!

Here’s where I need to browse pictures of modern quilts to see if anything presents an idea. I always thought the ombre might be used in another convergence quilt, but this collection of fabrics doesn’t lend itself to that. Nope, at this moment, I have no idea what shape this quilt will take. Just need to sleep on it, walk around the fabrics for several days – something will suggest itself….

Purple Passion – Finished

The quilt turned out a bit larger than I usually make – the addition of the drop shadow sashing added 2.5″ to the width and 3.5″ to the length and the outer border added another 6″ – finished size: 54″x 72″. But the drop shadow sashing was needed to brighten the whole thing and make it less “pink” and the top needed the wide outer border to give the quilt definition.

In the end I did quilt-in-the-ditch along the sashing and the drop shadow. I quilted with a block single run embroidery. The border was also quilted with a long, narrow embroidery which turned out well. I used a purple variegated Sulky 30wt cotton. (Can be annoying because if you don’t use a 90 top stitch needle the thread is prone to fraying and breaking. I used a 90 stop stitch needle and I still had some breaking.) However, the quilting went relatively smoothly overall.

Quilt Top

I’m pleased with how the quilt back turned out as well – the large pieces of fabric with narrow contrast elements plus the pieced strip worked out well and the horizontal stripe adds more interest. I must say, I like the Grunge (Moda) fabrics – the tonal quality of them adds lots of life to a fabric, very useful for quilt backing.

Quilt Back

You won’t notice it but I added a piece of the turquoise contrast fabric to the binding “just because”.

That’s quilt #5 since August – five quilts/four months – not bad. That’s it for quilts at the moment – now onto a Kantha jacket for a friend, then a couple of pairs of cords for me and a wall art piece based on a photo I took in Italy in April. No end of projects, just not enough time.

Sweet Kugel Time Again

It’s time to make my mother’s sweet kugel again – it’s a once a year thing which I bake around Christmas time. I’m a week early this year mostly because I’ve committed to making four and I wanted to get them done and in the freezer so I can cross them off my “to-do” list.

Sweet Kugel In The Oven

This year I had help – I was mentioning today would be kugel making day and Deb thought it would be interesting – I Invited her to help me make them. With two of us preparing the dough, slicing the apples, rolling dough… we were done the whole production in just over an hour including the clean up!

I took the kugels out of the baking dishes before they were fully cooled because the juices get very thick when cold and I wanted the pastry to fall out onto waxed paper when I inverted the dishes. They’re all wrapped and in the freezer and the dishes washed and put away.

A brief recap: this dish is made with a sticky stretchy dough – flour, a beaten egg, 1/4 c vegetable oil, 3/4 c water (pinch of salt). Once rolled out it’s covered with cinnamon/sugar, strawberry jam, cranberry sauce (with berries), finely sliced apples, raisins. Then you fold the dough edges over the filling, gingerly pick it up and plop it in to a greased baking dish bottom side up, sprinkle more cinnamon/sugar on top, bake at 425 for 15-20 minutes (until top starts to brown) then reduce heat to 325 and bake another hour, hour and a quarter, covered. The kitchen smells wonderful by the time the kugels are baked.

I described in detail how the kugels are made and provided the recipe two years ago. I made them the same way this time.

Wonderful with poultry.

I had one in my freezer from last year and when my friend Elayne was visiting late summer I was looking for a dessert and decided to defrost it and we had it with ice cream so while the dish is intended to be served as a savoury – it’s also a lovely dessert!

Sparkle Socks II

This is the latest pair of socks – finished last evening. I bought two balls of Opal sparkle yarn and have now knit both. I like the stripes in this yarn and I like the wee bit of glitter the “fifth” ply provides.

Sparkle Socks – Pink

Because of where in the variegation the toe fell, I decided to finish the toe without changing yarns. Worked out nicely.

I’ve picked out the yarn for the next pair of socks which I’ll start this evening.

Purple Passion – Quilt Back

Assembled the back for Purple Passion yesterday. The point was to use up leftovers and retain enough of the purple grunge fabric to be able to bind the quilt without having to buy more fabric!

Purple Passion – Quilt Back

I used leftover blocks from the quilt top, cut in half to assemble the narrow pieced strip, then used large blocks of the leftover fabrics to create a wide strip. I decided this time not to insert the strip but to use it as a panel on one side, instead.

Then I set up the quilt sandwich – I’ve described how I do this somewhere in the blog but can’t find the specific post. When I started quilting, I would tape the quilt back to the floor, lay the batting on top, then position the quilt top, smooth out the whole thing and pin.

Pinning The Quilt Sandwich

But getting up and down has become difficult – it’s an age thing – and one day I tried rolling each layer on a pool noodle, and working on my dining room table. That made assembling the quilt sandwich quite a bit easier.

One day it dawned on me that 1 x 4 boards would provide some weight and allow me to apply a bit of tension to each layer as I progressively pinned the sandwich. That’s what you see here. Each layer is rolled on a board, the layers placed on top of one another. I will pin the exposed layers, roll that part up and continue pinning until I’ve reached the other end, taking care to keep the quilt back as smooth as possible. I’m working on my cutting table which is a good height for this step – I don’t have to bend over as I did on my dining room table – much easier on my back.

I’m now ready to begin pinning. Once that’s done, I will stitch-in-the-ditch to stabilize the sashing and outline the narrow drop shadow border. Then I’ll quilt each block once I’ve created an embroidery for this quilt.