I’ve been taking an online iPhone Photography Course for the past couple of months. I always have my phone/camera with me so I’m making a point of taking some photos every day.
The first lessons had to do with learning about the iPhone camera features – and there are a lot of them. Next, the lessons moved onto to general photography principles – how to establish a focal element, leading lines, balance in the image…. Followed by, editing.
I took the photo above early last week (nearly two weeks ago) on my walk to the neighbourhood high school. The crab apple blooms were just out. I liked the light and shadow on the flowers as well as the texture of the bark. I cropped the original image and strengthened the contrast between sun and shadow but I did little else with the image.
Here’s another shot from the same tree. In this one you can see the dark red colour of the pistil at the centre of the flowers. I took this photo in “portrait” mode which sharpened the foreground and blurred the background. That let me consider some dramatic editing:
Editing with the iPhone provides an amazing array of options, with the Photos app itself as well as any number of photo editing apps. Because I took the photo in “portrait” mode, using the Photos app on the phone, I was able to darken out the background while brightening the foreground to create quite a striking image.
I’ve been having lots of fun exploring with the camera. Not every photo is outstanding, but the iPhone is capable of taking good photos. I’m working at getting better at it. It all takes time, however, what with sewing and knitting, and a bit of house cleaning, grocery shopping. While we’ve been locked down, I’ve had no shortage of interests to occupy me – there’re just aren’t enough hours in the day to get to everything I want to do.
Just finished. I wasn’t sure it was all going to work but it has.
If you click on the image above you will see the quilting detail. I thought about some kind of detailed quilting design but there were two problems. First, I didn’t have a hoop large enough to manage any kind of large block and there isn’t a really clear hexagonal shape to work with, even if I did. I defaulted to a diamond shape which is all I could accommodate. Second, any kind of detailed quilting, like I used on the previous diamond quilts, was going to detract from the effect of the rising, interconnected, vertical elements of the quilt design.
In the end I quilted the “diamonds” using a straight line design alternating the direction of the diamonds to fit into the overall array of interconnected elements.
Then what to do with the borders? I decided to use a rather dense floral quilt design; I set up a modified version which I used to fill in the half-diamond elements top and bottom. That decision turned out well.
I assembled a double strip of pieced strips to allow me to widen the backing enough to fit the quilt top. I bordered the insert strip with unequal strips of a light batik which blended nicely.
I finished the quilt with a narrow 1/4″ conventional quilt binding using 1 1/2″ strips from some Skyline fabric still in my stash which let me get away without having to piece a gazillion tiny leftovers from the Kaffe Fassett Collective fabrics. The binding finishes the quilt hinting at the colours in the main panel.
So, the quilt is done. I started playing with the idea on May 6 – so 2 1/2 weeks is the time it took me to construct, quilt, and complete the project. I’ve had a lot of uninterrupted time to sew since we’ve been on COVID-19 lockdown here in NS since April 25 (we expect to remain locked down until at least the middle of June – maybe longer because while new case counts aren’t going up to any degree, they’re not going down, either!).
Now it’s time to turn my attention to sewing some summer clothes – a couple of dresses, maybe a jean jacket, some linen pull-on pants. I have the fabric on hand. I’ll start by washing it all tomorrow.
Redone – I removed the side border, extended the top and bottom borders, and added the 8th column.
I’m much happier with the balance. I understand why most people who make this quilt top choose to straighten the top and bottom edges but I find the zigzag edge an interesting detail.
So the top is now complete.
Next, the quilt back. I have to pull out the Kaffe Fassett Collective fabric leftovers and see what I can do with them. I have lots of the backing fabric (Ruby Star Society Speckled Metallic Navy 2021). I was able to pick up 3m on Wednesday at my local fabric store.
I thought I had the top finished – I’d added the 7th column, finished off the ends with border fabric, and sewed a border all around.
I liked how the border accented the flow of the colour in the panel, I was fine with the finished size (~48″ x 66″). EXCEPT I was NOT happy with the partial points on the bottom left and top right!
That’s solvable one of two ways: either by cutting off the top and bottom point elements; or by adding the 8th column on the right:
I’m leaning toward the second option – I’d like the quilt top to be larger rather than smaller; I also like the top/bottom points – even if they don’t match they are complementary.
So my plan is to add the 8th column tomorrow – it means redoing the top and bottom borders because they will need to be wider to accommodate the extra column width (the length of the side border remains the same).
I didn’t want to add the 8th column – it makes the overall panel close to square (remember I don’t have enough fabric scraps to add a row (or two) to the bottom). I will do that, though, because the unattached points top and bottom are just too jarring – the top and bottom need to be symmetrical (if different).
It also means I have to come up with some kind of idea for a strip for the back – if I’d not used the 8th column on the top, I would’ve inserted it into the back. Now I need to go through the Kaffe Fassett Collective leftover fabric and come up with something that complements the quilt top.
Just finished assembling two more columns and attaching them to the previous two. This represents half of the quilt top. The top and the bottom need to be trimmed. I’d love to be able to add half blocks to the top and bottom edges but I just don’t have enough scraps of all of the fabrics to make 16 more triangles.
I’m understanding the design better now – all of the light (L) pieces have ended up on the left of the verticals, the dark (D) pieces are on the right; and the medium (M) have become the horizontal elements. Very interesting; I didn’t understand that when I started. With that information in hand I’d think about the order in which I laid out the fabrics so related fabrics would form both the light and dark portions of the verticals. That’s if I ever consider repeating this design!
My niece went “Wow!” when she saw a picture of the Escher Quilt and said she’d love to have one. I might just consider buying a kit to simplify choosing fabrics and laying them out so they create the colour flow which the original quilt displays. I’m just not sure I’m up for tackling this project again!
Colourful. Cheerful. I’ve stuck them in the stash for now. I don’t really need another pair of socks although I love the colours. For no explicable reason I decided to continue the pattern into the toe instead of changing to the contrast colour I used for the cuff and heel.
I just finished the first column pair using all 16 triangles (twice):
I will end up with an almost square quilt top – 48 wide x ~ 52 long. I can’t add more elements to lengthen each column because I’ve run out of some of the fabrics. So this is it. I could change the width/length ratio by assembling just 7 columns instead of 8; that’s a possibility – and then add a dark 3 1/2″ border to extend the size. I’ll make that decision after I have the 128 triangles sewn together.
I’m more pleased than I thought I would be – the Escher illusion works better than I expected it to, given I wasn’t completely lucky with my fabric colour placement – but the interwoven branching columns stand out clearly.
I just finished the last set of the 16 triangles for this quilt top. The connections now all work – after taking apart four block sets yesterday and rebuilding them clockwise this morning!
It’s hard to tell from the photo how the connections flow (I just realized looking at the photo closely, that I will have to redo that final set on the top left – it’s going counterclockwise! #$^%!)
I was expecting the triangles to align in a single long strip, but instead the connections form a double set of four pairs which will repeat twice to form the strip – the fabrics at the top matching the ones at the bottom.
I’m now seeing some significant differences with what I was trying to do and what I now have. The original Escher Quilt by Chris Weinhold, uses Kaffe Fassett small prints – my fabrics are mostly large scale prints – makes a difference – the small scale prints show the matching better. Also, while I’ve figured out the blocks and how they go together, I didn’t take into account the actual colour flow well enough. We’ll see how this all looks once I’ve sewn the top together but the illusion may not work as well as I expected it to.
Now it’s just a matter of sewing triangles together in columns, then sewing the columns together.
I’ll start that tomorrow – AFTER I take apart the last triangle and remake it!
As I worked away at the triangle blocks for the Escher quilt I ran into a snag – I could line up the first few blocks but then I had trouble finding the next in the series. I’m pretty sure my numbers will work – but I certainly had a problem somewhere.
I could align the dark circle fabric from the first to the second triangle, I could also align the join with the yellow fabric on the right (the 2nd and 3rd stack), and even match up the red fabric above that on the left, but I reached an impasse after the 5th block! The next matching block took me back to stack A at the bottom – which it shouldn’t have done. The stacks should line up in a continuous line – all 16 of them.
I finally figured out, after spending a large part of the morning pouring over pictures of the Escher quilt and checking that I’d set up the stacks according to the table I’d been able to create from what another quilter had posted, that the third set of blocks from the bottom was pieced counterclockwise instead of clockwise!
It turns out that four of the five finished stacks of triangles which build with the triangle on the right were sewn together counterclockwise – light strip attached to triangle, medium strip to that seam, dark strip to the remaining side – NOPE – should have been light attached to triangle, DARK next, and finally the medium – to give a clockwise rotation.
Out came my seam ripper. I disassembled four sets of (8) triangles; I restitched one. I’ll get to the remaining three tomorrow. I have my fingers crossed the numbers in the table I generated from photos are correct, and once I’ve resewn those three sets of triangles with the correct rotation, the remaining unsewn blocks (6) will align correctly once I’ve assesmbled them.
Yesterday I organized my fabric into eight sets of three groupings – light, medium, dark. I cut 2″ strips from each and cut the trapezoid shapes (16 from each fabric) plus the small dark triangles for the centre of the block. (In a couple of blocks I ran out of fabric and had to fill in a couple of trapezoids with as close a colour match as I could – it will be interesting to see where they show up in the layout).
Next step was to group these trapezoids into groups of three for each block (a dark, a medium, a light). Before I did that I spent quite a bit of time looking at photos of the the quilt in progress which I found online in order to sort out the groupings. Then I set up the blocks – two sets – one which starts with the triangle on the right side of the light piece; the other with the triangle on the left side of the light piece.
These are the blocks with the triangle on the right. There is a complementary set with the triangle on the left.
In the afternoon I stitched block “A”, then block “B” and placed them together so the dark fabric forms the wide 120° angle – the two triangles at the bottom of the stack below. I also did the “C” stack but that triangle fits in somewhere else.
The next triangle needed to join the light vertical on the “B” block turned out to be block “M” followed by “L”, then “K”.
To see how this array would look like sewn together I stitched one of each together.
You can’t really see the optical illusion yet – I need to construct the second column and join it to column #1. At the moment I’ll continue constructing all the blocks then lay out the first column (it uses all 16 triangle blocks). I don’t yet know where the second column actually begins – the order of the blocks will be the same, but it will start at another place and until I get all the blocks stitched, I’m not going to know where column #2 begins.
In any case, I’ve set up a chart showing the fabrics in each triangle block – there are no duplicates, but the linkages become apparent. It will be a matter of just laying out the matching pieces to create the structure of the interlocked elements.
Now, it’s just a matter of carrying on with block construction. I’ve got six block sets done – that leaves a dozen to go and then I can set up the columns….