Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Oops Clarified

I had comments from people who didn't see my mistake yesterday.  That's understandable since the blocks faded into the white design wall.  So here it is in all its glory.  I hope this doesn't happen again, but it's tough to keep the orientation straight with a long row, and they will get longer.  The weird triangle has been ripped and turned and all is well. I do like the way this is looking so far, so I'll be doing more today.

Monday, April 22, 2013


I finished the side and corner setting triangles, laid the blocks out on the bed, and started sewing them together.  I foolishly thought they would be easy to put together, but I find that I have to press the seams open because of the bulk where the blocks come together.  What a pain, especially on something large like this.

After two hours, I happily sewed two rows together, put them on the wall to admire, and  you see the result.  Grrr. Time to rip.  Fortunately, it's trivial.  Carry on.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013


I'm finishing several days of Nanny duty with my grandsons today, and hope to be back in the routine tomorrow. It's been fun. I find that I can relax and enjoy time with them without impatiently thinking of other things I should do or want to do, as I did with my own boys. Possibly one should regret having the slightly scattered approach to motherhood, but actually, I don't. I think it's inevitable. Mothers are busier, and part of being a grandmother is a clearer realization of how precious childhood is.

Before leaving to come to Chicago I took my sewing machine for routine maintenance so that it would be ready when I get home. I finally worked out a border design for the vintage block project, all the blocks and most of the side triangles are pieced, so I hope to plow through and finish it quickly.

In other areas its busy too. My husband is retiring soon, and we're planning next steps. As an emeritus he can keep an office, write, and keep involved. He wants to do this, but we are also thinking of buying a place in Chicago. The question is whether to make the move immediately, or have two places for a while. Problems either way, as you can imagine. I'm trying not to stress.

Meanwhile, here we are at Easter brunch. Not a good picture of anyone really, but we're happy! It was a great day.

Monday, April 08, 2013


Quilters should enjoy Blendoku, a terrific game for Apple and Android devices that teaches about color.  I first read about it on Dena Crain's blog, downloaded it, and have been playing it quite a bit since.  You can see a screen shot on Dena's blog, or at Googleplay.  It's also at the Apple app store.

The object is to move colored squares so the the colors blend smoothly.  It starts simply, using different values of one color or different tones of the same color, then moves to analogous colors. Then it becomes more difficult, asking you to move across the color wheel to blend two complementary hues, using the grays and browns in between.  If anybody is familiar with Jinny Beyer's old book, Color Confidence for Quilters, you will recognize the process.

I found it fun, and it has to sharpen my eye for those strange grayed colors that I have trouble with.  Take a look if you've got the right kind of device for it.  One suggestion: the developers have tried to jazz it up by putting in the competitive element of trying to beat the "world average" time.  I think it's better to ignore that, take your time, and try to see the concept at work.  I also like to study the finished product a bit.  But then, I may be just a nerd at heart!

Saturday, April 06, 2013

Some garment Sewing

I took time off from the old blocks to make a bridal shower gift. This is the shower gift to accompany a wedding gift of serving pieces in the couple's silver pattern (shipped to their home). My aim was a cute hostess or party apron. I might have succeeded if the apron hasn't turned out so big!  The bride is slimmer than I, and I have the ties wrapped all the way around and tied in the front.  Why, oh why, didn't I check the size by holding the pattern up to my body before?

Well, it's still cute, I hope, and maybe it's actually functional. And the other gift is very nice.

It's been a long time since I used a garment pattern and I found it very frustrating: so many pieces, such complicated organization of the instructions, those wide seam allowances.  In addition patterns are amazingly expensive, serious sticker shock to me.  So I don't think I'll be making my own clothes any time soon.

Wednesday, April 03, 2013

Blocks Finished--Almost

Twenty-four of the twenty-five vintage blocks are now framed. Here are sixteen on the design wall, taken with the camera turned to give an idea of the look when they're joined diagonally. I'll also piece a bit of the frame on the setting triangles to finish the design. Unsure about the border so far.

This is posted using the iPad Blogger ap because I messed up the desktop computer with the world's stupidest move. It was on April Fools Day, appropriately enough, but it's no joke. Maybe some day I'll fess up to it, but not now.

Monday, April 01, 2013

Patterns Aplenty

Last September, we visited the Alhambra, a 12th century Moorish fortress and palace in Granada, Spain.  The Alhambra is famous for the beautiful intricate patterns in tiles and molded plaster, and is a treasure of ideas that would translate into fabric.  The variety is dizzying:  I gave up trying to photograph each one.  Here are just a few:

These  examples show the richness of the effect.  There is often a layering of more than one tile pattern and plaster designs on the same surface.

A detail of the plaster:  the plaster designs are usually trees and flowers, mixed with calligraphy.

Here's one of the tile patterns.  This supposedly has no repeat.

There are many variations on six sided stars like this, both in plaster and in tile.

Even something as simple as the grill on a door makes a wonderful design.  Wouldn't this be an unusual setting for simple fabric squares?

Another simple one, but isn't it a great interlocking pattern?

This pattern is unusual for the Alhambra, both because it is painted, and because the four sided pattern doesn't seem to have been as popular.

And finally, this photo has it all, tile, plaster and those wonderful grill patterns too.

 My husband and I spent two afternoons there.  I hope you can see why.

Next time, back to some fabric work in progress, I hope.