Wednesday, September 26, 2007

A Test

I was able to spend a couple of hours today making a test of how the ghost orchid might look in applique. It comes out to about 14 x 18 inches, and there is more color and pattern in the fabrics than shows in the photo; colors lean more to greenish and yellowish whites too. I'm fairly satisfied with the shapes, but there would need to be more detail on petals and sepals, with more fabrics used and with machine embroidery. In addition, I have no idea of a composition for this thing, or not much idea anyway. I'll let this marinate for a while and then maybe do a test pieced block. I'm feeling less and less inclined for piecing though, since I don't think I can spend that much time. Thanks for everyone's comments and ideas.

After posting, it is clear to me that this thing needs major jazzing up--different fabrics (which will mean shopping, I think), lots of interesting stitching, something. Insipid is the word that comes to mind. Oh, well--it's only a rough draft.

Friday, September 21, 2007


I have to go to Chicago to play Grandma tomorrow, and then I have to go to Missouri to do eldercare, and then Grandma again... So I don't get much chance to be "quilt artist". But I have been thinking about an orchid quilt, and just to see what anyone thinks I'll throw out some ideas. I imagine most people doing a "pretty" orchid in classic pinks and lavenders, so wanting to do something different, I'm drawn to the ghost orchid, which is certainly different looking.

There's more information at this link. This is a fascinating flower in more ways than just its appearance.

I can't decide whether to try a Ruth McDowell style pieced block or the relatively simple machine applique style that I've done before. I've already drafted a pieced block which I think I can do, but how I will translate one or two blocks into an interesting composition, I don't know, and they're so complicated I don't want to make one and then have to discard it. The applique is much simpler, but when I visualize it, it doesn't seem very interesting. The problem with using this orchid in a design is the lack of color; it might be striking and unusual, or it might be drab. The quilt doesn't have to be realistic, but still, one of the main qualities of the ghost orchid is its mysterious quality, and I think it should stay white or almost white. I've pulled fabrics ranging from white through pale greenish yellows and, and for the background, dark greenish grays with a bit of purple, and this doesn't look bad. I obviously won't be doing something immediately, so maybe inspiration will strike me. Maybe the fact that I can't commit, means there's something better out there. If anyone has any thoughts, let me know.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

They're Here!

This is Aidan Michael, 6.25 pounds, who has reddish blond hair, and Conor Robert, 7+ pounds, with dark curly hair, both beautiful. They were born Tuesday, Sept. 18, three weeks premature (hard to believe with those weights) and everyone is doing well. I visited yesterday, and will go back to stay for a few days this weekend when they come home. There will be grandmother tag-team for a while until things are a bit settled. Right now the babies are sleeping almost constantly in their burrito wrap, with now and then a squinty eyed look at the world, but things will get livelier soon.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Works in Progress

Here are all the Ruth McDowell sample blocks. The arrangement may be changed, and I'm only auditioning that center square. It was great fun to make these, challenging, but not impossible. The circle and the square are not appliqued, but actually set into the background piece. That was much easier than I would have thought. Some of those sharp curves in the upper left hand block were a bear, however, and they're not smooth enough to pass close scrutiny. Making a pattern of my own and keeping all the pieces straight is rather mind-bloggling. I'm not sure if I'll try it.

And this is the new border fabric for the exchange block quilt. It will require piecing, since JoAnn's didn't have enough, but I'm not concerned about that, I think, and I like it better than the original choice. Thanks for the input, everyone. You made me think about it more than I would have otherwise. That's what blogs are for, right?

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Orchid Quilt

A member of my Michigan guild who spends the winter in Florida is organizing a quilt show to coincide with the World Orchid Society conference in Miami next January. Quilts need to represent orchids in some way. Sorry to be vague, but she was a bit vague also. I think the show is totally open in terms of technique, etc., but there is a size limit; recommended size is about 40 by 45 inches, but the limits are slightly larger and smaller. It is not a juried show, but pictures of the finished quilt or WIP are due in December, and the quilt itself must be shipped in mid-January. If anyone would like contact information for the organizer, let me know. I spent some time yesterday looking at photographs of orchids, and I must say that although I've never been particularly struck by them, they're certainly an amazing flower. I'm thinking about doing something for this show. We'll see.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Next Step

I've put the inner border on this exchange block quilt, and am auditioning the next two borders. I'm not sure that I now like the multi-print fabric I originally planned to use as a border because the colors don't seem to work. There is a blue in the focus fabric, but it barely shows, and the blue blocks seem to come out of nowhere. The dark green might be better, but I don't have enough of it to make a wider border, and this is intended to be a stash project. Any thoughts, anyone? Maybe I'm thinking too much about something that is just a very basic, finish-the-UFO project.

Monday, September 03, 2007

I wish everyone who has a picnic or beach outing planned for Labor Day could have the kind of weather we're having. It's going to be a perfect day here, but we have no plans. Bob has classes, and I hope to accomplish some sewing. Here's the progress on my exchange block quilt.
Here is the entire layout with border fabrics being auditioned.

Here are two rows of blocks sewn together with the "corner cutter" pieces added to form that little green diagonal square.
I thought the smaller green square helped to break up the "bullseye" effect of that pattern and tied in the border fabric, but I'm not sure now. Perhaps a sash in the same color would have been good. But I don't have fabric for that, and one goal here was to use only my stash, so I think I'm going to continue sewing the blocks together and see. I don't have much emotional or financial involvement in this quilt; done is good, in this case.