Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Done! 200 pieces..........

The cutting is done!  There are 196 pieces in the trial mock up and there should be 4 left over but somewhere along the line I misplaced a piece.  It isn't perfect by any means especially in the blend from orange into rust/brown.  As I have said before I consider this a starter kit to which pieces from a personal stash need to be added.  When I am making a wallhanging with 196 squares in it, I usually have 250-300 choices that I can pick through to get a really good blend.  So what that means is from a kit of 200 pieces I might only be making a piece 13 squares by 13 squares (169 squares). 

Monday, July 30, 2012

A LOT of progress....

Yesterday was the first day I met my goal of cutting 40 fabrics in one day for the kits.  I'm up to 175 pieces now and have about 14 more pieces chosen.  The last 11 are the critical choices to fill in the gaps.  I am doing this test piece 14 pc. x 14 pc. which uses 196 of the 200 pieces in the kit.  As I have mentioned before I consider this kit a starter pack to add your own fabric stash pieces to.
My wastebasket by my studio cutter is full.  I will go through the scraps and cut off any larger usuable pieces before I pitch the rest.  On second thought maybe I should save those skinny pieces and do some weaving for fabric postcards. Maybe I need my head examined because there is still plenty of yardage to play with on the shelves.
I don't always get the pile of fabric centered over the die and that leaves a wider edge occasionally.  I think I can use those pieces in my mini quilts like the ones I made last month.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Lime green coleus, kit progress.........

The lime green coleus is positively neon this summer.  I keep cuttings over the winter to plant in the spring and it never gets this luminous in the house.  We have finally gotten a break from the heat and will be in the mid 80s most of the week....if the weathermen have it right!  One day has 90 predicted but that sounds cool compared to the weather we have had so far this summer. 
I got 35 more fabrics cut for the kits so I'm at 135.  Are you tired of hearing about this?  I will probably move the oranges over a little to the right as I cut more fabrics.  Some that I'm auditioning are pictured below.

Here are 2 that won't be in the kits.  They are still folded like they are on a bolt and that is about 1 yard of the one on the left and about 3/4 yard of the one on the right so you can see how large the pattern is.  They are from the 1990s when batiks were new on the scene.  I believe they are Hoffman batiks.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Choosing, cutting, pretty plants.....

I'm up to 100 pc. cut and 4 more candidates waiting until this morning.
I decided to start building a colorwash out of what I already have cut and that will help me decide what needs to be cut next.  There are lots more needed between the blue and purple.  I could just cut 200 random pieces and hope they work but I would rather have 200 that have a pretty good chance as a starter kit.  I will pull rust, brown, and red today as well as looking for fill in pieces where I see gaps.
My neighbor and I decided I have a Philip Jacobs coleus.  If you aren't familiar with his fabric you could go to this site and see a few of them.
This is the whole plant in one of my mirror image pots that go in front of my garage.  This one was left in the sun more days and the other was dragged into the garage on the hottest days.
This is the one that took shelter in the garage and didn't suffer in the heat as much. They looked alike at the beginning of the season.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Neat piles.......

Someone asked me on my blog one time how I kept my fabric so neat on the shelves.  You can see the pastels are very neat and the browns below are a little messier.
The answer is that when I need some fabric from a shelf I bring the whole pile down to my sewing cabinet so I can go through it one piece at a time.  Then I restack the pieces I'm not using very neatly and replace them on the shelf.
The pile that was on the table is now neatly back in place.
This is the batch I pulled out to cut into the batik kits.
I cut 35 more fabrics yesterday, up to 85 total now.

We got 15 minutes of rain yesterday so I pushed all of the pots out far enough from the garage to get wet.  I have to document what a wet driveway looks like since most of the storms have missed us or have occurred at night and the driveway is already dry by morning since it was a light rain.
A goldfinch came by right after it finished raining.  He was pretty wet.  You can see raindrops hanging from the flower petals.
A few minutes later Mrs. Finch joined him for a treat of coneflower seeds.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Yes it was hot......

I don't know what the "official" temperature was yesterday but my car thermometer said 101 degrees on my way home from lunch after class.  I went out to put fresh water in the birdbaths around 4 and it was like a furnace outside.
I did have 5 wonderful students in my class yesterday.  We had a nice cool classroom so all was well.  Last night I cut 15 more fabrics for the batik kits so I'm at 50 which means I'm 1/4 of the way done with them.  It takes a long time to choose the fabrics for a good assortment so I'll be working on the next 40 fabrics today.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Cutting, class, cute bird..........

I finally made the first cuts on the batik kits.  I have 35 fabrics cut and 5 more ready to press and cut.  It was getting warm in the basement with the iron on so I gave up after the 9 p.m. news last night.
Today I am teaching my color class.  I had 7 kits leftover from NC and I had 7 students signed up.  2 called last night with husband health situations and cancelled so I hope I have 5 students when I get there this morning.
I saw a goldfinch outside my kitchen window on a coneflower but by the time I got my camera he had flown to one of the volunteer sunflowers.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Wiped out..........

Call me a wimp if you like, but this heat is getting to me.  98 degrees yesterday, 90 today, 100 tomorrow.  We get a few hours reprieve and then right back into the furnace.  My plants in pots have spent as much time in the garage as out front because they would never survive being baked for hours every single day.  I was simply wiped out by the time I got home from church sewing circle.  Of course it didn't help that I got a headache on the other side of my head yesterday (left side Sat., right side Mon.).  I sewed a few more triangle squares last night just so I could hear the hum of the machine.  Enough whining, I have to be productive today for my sanity if nothing else.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Travel size pillows....

This was my trial pillowcase to fit the little travel pillows which are half the size of a regular pillow.  It really need to be about 1" longer.  My church's sewing circle is making these for a local Head Start program for migrant workers' children. 
I went through my fabrics looking for ones that will appeal to small children and used 12.5 yards out of my stash.  There are 18 kits piled here.  I added 2 after I took the photo.  The contrasting cuff fabrics are folded inside each one.  I made sure that every pillowcase is different.  There are 8 striped ones on the bottom from the same fabric but there are 8 different cuff fabrics.  This way they will be able to identify their own.  We will complete them this afternoon for distribution this week.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Colorwash batik fabrics.......

I woke up with a headache yesterday, not a bad one but an irritating one.  I lost a day of cutting because of it.  I was able to pull fabrics to prepare for cutting though.  I don't always use all of the ones I pull.  I make that decision once I start cutting.
Here are 2 examples of fabrics that work great in the colorwash because of all of the different cuts you will get in one strip, but they don't work well in kits because I categorize the fabrics by color to get an even balance, and each kit would have these in a different place.  This is the type of fabric you need to cut for yourself to add into a kit you purchase.
Every 2 weeks I have to stop whatever I am working on, clean off the cutting table, and work on the church projects.  Today I have to search through my kid prints and cut 20 pillowcases for the travel size pillows.  We will work on them tomorrow at sewing circle.  It is supposed to be 100 degrees tomorrow, not a great day to have to leave the house.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

It was a busy day.......

I made a couple trips to the post office with colorwash kits yesterday, put away the pile of fabric from the kits I had already cut and pulled batiks to cut.  I packed a box with scraps and fabrics I no longer needed to send to a couple of elementary school art teachers that I met in NC in June.  Finally last night I was ready to cut some more triangles for the zig zag quilt.  I started pressing them and when I yawned about the 5th time I decided it was bedtime.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Break time...........

I needed a break from cutting so I sewed some more blocks for this quilt.  I was thinking oh how boring as I'm putting pieces up on the wall but when I looked at it through the camera I like it.  I'm trying to place the values so it looks like a folded strip, kind of 3-D.  I don't have enough of the right value changes cut yet so I pulled a bunch more fabrics to cut into triangles today.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Testing 1 - 2- 3...

I took the kit that I showed this morning and did a test run to see how successful the kit is.  I do consider these kits to be starter packs and that they definitely need a little input from your own stash.  Since some of the prints are larger, not every kit has the same motif in the print so there is no way a kit can be a 'paint by number' - if you are old enough to know what I'm talking about.  I do my best to put a good assortment of values and colors in the kits.  I used 196 of the 200 pieces in the kit for this sample and it isn't perfect.  I would definitely go to my fabric stash and look for a better value/color piece for a couple places.

It was a 3 Dr. Pepper day..........

I found 20 more fabrics and cut them and I think I have 200 now.  I will double check my count this morning.  I always lay out one kit in color groups and value order so I can see what I still need to fill in for value and color gaps.  It took 3 Dr. Peppers to get it done yesterday.  Back in the day, you know before the middle age sag started (I'm 71), I used to drink 6 cans of pop (soda) a day.  I have never drank coffee or tea and prefer a cold drink with carbonation.  I knew lots of people who drank in excess of 6 cups of coffee with cream and sugar every day so I didn't consider what I was doing an excess.  Add 30 years, and now I have to deprive myself of all of the good stuff because just looking at it puts on the pounds.  I only allow myself 2 cans of Dr. Pepper a day now but yesterday I had to go over the limit.  I'm ready to start in on the batik kits now.  I'll try to keep my drinking under control with that kit.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

An escape from work......

I cut 10 more fabrics for the kits, at 180 now, 20 to go.  By late afternoon I was ready for a break from searching for the rest of the fabrics.  I have been wanting to cut into this gray dotted fabric and I knew I wanted to pair it with Kaffe, Jacobs and Mabley fabrics.  I went with the 4" finished triangle and started cutting.  I will do a little cutting for this each day and when I have time to get serious about it, it will be all ready to sew and play with it on the design wall.
The design opportunities will be many but it may end up a zig zag.
Now that I have a project to play with, the work hours won't seem so bad.  I know there will be reward time every day.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Playing with blocks.......

I got 25 fabrics cut yesterday for the kits and then I needed to do something else.  I knew I had a bin of Strips that Sizzle blocks from a couple years ago to play with.  These 2 groups only had 12 blocks each so they will probably become table runners.
These 2 groups have more blocks, probably enough for lap size quilts.  Here is a link to some layouts I tried with the 2 groups together in the same quilt.  If you want to see more play with the blocks and students' blocks, click on Strips that Sizzle on my Label list on the right sidebar.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Choosing fabrics, cutting, wonkies again.....

It takes a long time to choose all of the fabrics for a colorwash kit.  As I am cutting I have one kit laid out in color groups so I can see which ones are still short and which have enough.  This is the next batch to cut.

Above are some of the fabrics that I have already cut and groups of 145 squares.  55 fabrics to go and I have 30 chosen.

I added 4 more rounds to Wonky 5.
This shot is for perspective of size.  The design wall is 7' tall and 8' wide and these are numbers 5 and 4 on the left and 1 on the right.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

3 more rounds......

I did lots more cutting and only a little bit of sewing.  I have added 3 more rounds but I see I need to be more careful with the widths and put some wide ones on the left and narrow on the right to even this out.  I'm going to put another pieced border on and I'm letting some ideas roam around in my head until I make a decision.
I'm going to teach one more session of my Color Class here in Sandwich IL on Wed. July 25th.  I can take 3 more students so if there is anyone in this area interested, my email link is on the right sidebar.  This is the class that explores color, value, and blend while playing with a kit of 100 squares of fabric and some color wheel wedges.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

No sew day........

Despite the lack of rain, the front garden looks pretty good.  It is overgrown and was due for a make over but because I was gone at the prime time to tackle it and then the drought set in, it's a good thing it was left alone.  Because it is so crowded, the small plants are shaded and doing well.  The tall ones are the drought resistant ones so they thrive too.
The black eyed Susan blossoms are pretty puny this year however.
As bad as the hostas look this year, they are still sending up flower stalks.  This one is in a pot and will get planted in the back garden in the fall before the first frost.
For the last few years I have been taking cuttings off my coleus plants in the fall and keeping them alive in water all winter.  Then in the early summer I plant them in pots and they become big bushy plants.  I could plant them in pots in the house but I'm usually too lazy to do it and they stay in the jar with a little water to cover the new roots for 7-8 months.
I got some cutting done for my kits yesterday but no sewing.  I think I need to spend a day working on my Wonky 1-5 pieces.