Friday, February 25, 2011

An Appraisal

Recently I posted about quilt appraisals.  Road to California offers a chance for an appraisal while your quilt is on display there, so I had Peppermint Stars appraised. This is a replacement cost appraisal for insurance purposes,  the cost to have the quilt made again with similar materials and by quilter(s) of "similar skill and reputation." A market value appraisal might be different.

My result is as described by our guild speaker:  the two page report is totally objective, including things like size of blocks and borders, the colors, the patterns, the layout, type of fabric, quilting design, batting fiber, etc.  There are no judge-type comments at all.  The only subjective comment concerns the difficulty of the pieced design and quilting patterns.  As for the value assigned, I'll just say that I wouldn't be likely to buy this quilt!

The up side:  It's gratifying to see a nice monetary value on something you made, and to know that if something happens to it, you've got compensation.  It's also interesting to think that someone actually spent a lot of time examining the quilt.  (The judges apparently did not.)  The down side:  when I sent the quilt to the Smoky Mountain guild show, I insured it for its appraised value.  The resulting shipping cost made my jaw drop.  Homeowner's insurance covers the quilt in the home, but I'm not sure about en route to a show.  Before I do this again, I'll need to find out.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Using Value

I've been having so much fun working on my joke challenge quilt!  Most of the motifs that make up the picture are done now, and just need fine tuning before I begin to stitch them together and do the final assembly.  Then the quilting--like Scarlet O'Hara, I'll think about that tomorrow.

Here you can see my fabrics for this project sorted by value dark, medium, light in the back, with the multicolors on the upper left. I approached fabric choices for this a bit differently.  I chose a color plan, and made a sketch, but instead of planning what color each piece should be, I only planned what value it should be.  I wanted to be sure to get enough contrast in the focal points to let those shapes stand out, and less contrast in more secondary areas.

I found this a very satisfying way to work.  It's somehow simpler to look for a dark fabric than wonder whether I want a blue or a green or an orange, and it makes sorting the fabric easier too when I'm working with a large number of possible choices.  As I went along, I did consider color, making sure that the different colors are spread around in a pleasing way.

By coincidence, Libby of Creative Endeavors has been working with values in her painting projects, and it seems to be working well for her.
We'll see how this works for me, but so far, I'm pleased.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

While stitching lots of little letters...

I learned something.  Last summer I discovered that if you hold the bobbin thread when you start to zig-zag, the Janome pulls the knot to the back.  Now I discovered something even better.  If you DO NOTHING, don't touch any thread, both threads and the knot go to the back.  Isn't that great?  The only problem is that I have such a habit of holding a thread, it's hard not to do it.  But I'm learning.  So much faster, which is a blessing for this project.

Also, I'm wondering why Superior Threads makes their Mono-poly thread only in a very dark smoke or clear.  Neither color blends well on a medium fabric.  The Coats and Clark nylon that I no longer use blended better.

Finally, I just wasted some time looking at H of Paducah's on-line sale.  The sale batiks are beautiful.  I know what I said about batiks a while back, but these really are lovely, and with prices going up, it's a good opportunity.  I'm resisting.  I'll use my Christmas gift certificate on wool batting instead, but that's boring, isn't it?

Friday, February 11, 2011

Designing and Decisions

I don't know if I like this stage of a project or not.  Sometimes it's fun--there's a real surge of adrenaline; but then sometimes the decisions just tie me up in knots.

Here's where I am on the joke challenge quilt.  I'm stuck on the background fabric, not able to find exactly what I visualize.  The one on the right seems a bit bright, and also dark enough that having visibility for the center elements may be a problem.  They'll need to be either dark or light, not medium.  The one on the left has a flower sprig, which isn't right for the mood or theme.  I know it is only visible close up, but still it bothers me.  I'm not quite willing to try a couple more fabric shops, but maybe I will.  On the other hand, maybe I'll just say,  "Oh, well," and go with it.  See what I mean about indecision?

This is probably the only post about this quilt since it should be a surprise.  It's hard not to be able to post what you're working on, isn't it?

Tuesday, February 08, 2011

The retreat was delightful:  a warm, sunny room with a view of snow covered woods and fields, good food,  good company and plenty of time to sew.  What could be better?

I've finished 18 (out of 72)  of the Greek key blocks, and started making some of Mary Lou Weidman's Hoochey Mama blocks.  Her method produces straight edges, which means the finished blocks are more stable than other wonky methods where you just piece and hack.  These are fun, but not particularly fast to make.  I need at least six or seven more to get a good range of color and to make a border of the right length.   So with two unfinished projects, I probably won't be posting finished work for a while.

One thing that is finished, however, is the Interpret This! Challenge.  Debra posted an excellent summary of the project with links to everyone's work, and you can just scroll down and read our final comments too.  I hope you'll visit this site if you haven't yet.

Thursday, February 03, 2011

Time to Retreat!

Assuming the roads in Michigan are plowed, I'm packing for retreat.  Here's my project stash:

The batiks in the back are for the Athena's Puzzle block, good for brainless sewing.  The front piles are for a new project, a Mary Lou Weidman style "story quilt".   It's for a guild challenge:  the punch line of a joke.  Now there's a challenge!  But I do have an idea, and while it will stretch my drawing skills to their pathetic limit, I'm giving it a shot.  This weekend I hope to do some of the wacky border blocks, and then develop the center later.

I'm also planning to finish this little thing for Alzheimers'  quilts.

In my stash was a scrap of fabric with faux blue-work flower designs that I've always thought would make a sweet little miniature.  So here it is.  Miniature, or potholder?  Will curved bound edges help, or just add to the potholder look?  You can cast your vote here.

As soon as I finish organizing, I'm off to the grocery.  In case you haven't heard, we've had a massive snowstorm, and I'm afraid the choice of fruit for the fruit salad I'm supposed to make may be slim.  We'll see.