27 Mar

Fliegenpilz III (The Latest Mushroom Quilt)

You know when you can’t decide on something and then you ask for someone’s opinion and then are disappointed if they don’t give the answer you wanted and so “poof” you have your answer?

I was hoping that would happen with my mushroom quilt. But, no. It didn’t. Everyone’s help was equally appealing. After much internal debate with me, myself and I, we decided that, although the Fairy Ring was conceptually awesome, the row of mushrooms better showcased the ‘shrooms, and looked a bit more modern. I resigned myself to buying more fabric and took the plunge to actually purchase backing fabric too (it totally cracked me up that the burgundy with green polka dots that was just perfect ended up being a Kaffe Fasset print!).

I did use a strip to separate the mushrooms from the strips — jumbo red ric-rac! It has the necessary contrast, and just the right whimsy to compliment the mushrooms. I mean really, when you are working with wonky polka dot mushrooms, you can’t take yourself too seriously

I almost convinced myself that I should overdye the strippy side just out of curiosity, but I wimped out and cut a bunch of the strips thinner instead. There was a lot of cutting and re-sewing and cutting and re-sewing. There are some sections that I don’t think are as successful as they could be, but it’s destined to be a utilitarian quilt and at some point, I just wanted it done. I kinda wished the near solid was the larger half, but it was the perfect color (and had groovy flowers on it that picked up on the quilt’s whimsy without being too cute) and the shop had a very limited amount. It’s a print from a Christmas kitty collection a year or two ago, so I didn’t feel like going on a quest for more.

The Fairy Ring still lives, but you can’t really see it in the photos. I quilted an arc about six inches wide with red thread where I had intended the ring to be on the original quilt layout. Inside the ring, I quilted free form circles in green and outside the ring I echoed the strips with parallel lines, also in green. It’s subtle, but it’s there in spirit.

I tried a couple of gadgets on this quilt. A column in the latest Quilter’s Newsletter Magazine made light fun of wearing a toilet paper tube as a necklace to facilitate sewing the binding on a quilt. Sure, it looks ridiculous, but man if it isn’t incredibly helpful! Speaking of binding, this is the first quilt I’ve made with rounded corners. For a softer look, it’s great. I think I make pretty good corners, but I sure didn’t miss them this time around. I also used my new (as of Christmas) laser level square both when I blocked the quilt (before binding) and when I squared up the quilt to be bound. How did I ever live without this? Thank you Nadine for turning me on to this indispensable hardware store find!

19 Feb

Me Versus the Scrap Bin

It was touch and go for a while, but I think I have the better of the scrap bin. I’m not a control freak, but I do like to know where to look to find things.

I think that’s what was bugging me about the scrap bin. It was so full and compressed that I never knew what might surface. My stash busting log cabin blocks have definitely made a dent in the scraps, but now that the bin contents are no longer compressed, it’s still pretty full in there. I have a Plan B though.

Plan A was for log cabin blocks on point. In the Amish quilt I saw (from the exhibit “Diamonds and Rows: Quilts from the Schlumberger Collection,” sorry, no picture of the actual quilt) the logs were pretty plain and the centers stood out in vertical rows. I had hoped maybe that would happen with my scrap quilt as the green centers were the only constant. It didn’t. But that’s OK. In retrospect, I think every other log cabin may have had a non-contrasting center in the original (by Kathy Lapp, circa 1920).

Things I noticed while making my scrap quilt:

More is definitely more. When the blocks were small with only one or two rounds of logs, they looked hideous. You noticed all the clashing colors and patterns. With four or five go rounds, it all blends together into scrappy goodness.

I had a lot more red scraps than I remembered. This was a fortuitous because I think all the red looks great with the green centers (complimentary colors all you color wheel-phobes out there).

The centers (or negative space if it’s a spiderweb quilt) need to be STRONG to not get lost amongst all the varied scraps. Red is a classic scrap quilt puller-together, but I think this green works well too, as would a bright cobalt or aqua or orange!

This is not a project for the faint of heart (see the need for strong color above) or those who like control and matchy-matchyness. I went nearly completely random here. The only time I’d swap out strips was if the length was too short and I could see a smaller block within the next few down the line, or if the same fabrics ended up right next to each other (same fabrics on different sides of a block, or with a log or two in between was perfectly acceptable). I made no attempt to organize by darks and lights, by colors, or to make a concentric pattern.

I laid all my blocks out last night and saw a gypsy tablecloth, or skirt, or drapes, or something. So that’s what it will be. I’m not even going to make corner or setting triangles — this will have the zig-zag edge you see in the photo. I might try to find some picot/lace edging though. I have to research a little on the ins and outs (pun intended) of finishing off this kind of shape.

Plan B: I think that my stuffed drawer of decent sized pieces of purple fabric is the answer to the scrap bin of now quite tiny pieces. I really enjoyed the liberated stars I made for my Brushfire Quilt project blocks, so while I’m on a roll, I think I will cut a bunch of purples into small squares and make scrappy stars with (hopefully a lot) of the lighter bits still in the scrap bin.