Monday, September 25, 2017

first quilt

Maybe I should say my first FINISHED quilt. I have another quilt I started when I was about six years old that's still not done. Maybe someday?

This one is done though. It's mostly made of charm packs of Tabby Road by Tula Pink. I wanted to concentrate on the assembly of the quilt rather than cutting fabric so I started with pre-cut fabric. I've learned a lot about modern quilting tools and machine quilting and have added a lot of new words to my vocabulary. I also learned you have to invest a lot of money to get started in this particular practice. Kind of like furnishing a woodworking shop, which is something else I'm working on.

This is a crib size quilt. I wanted to start small to get the feel of everything. It's the first project I've done on my new sewing machine, so I was learning how to operate the machine as I went. I had to buy a walking foot for the machine, because it didn't come with one. The quilting is minimal on this quilt. I didn't plan ahead for it, so after everything was pieced I couldn't find a thread color that would look good on all the squares. I finally just stitched in the ditch around each square. My stitching wasn't very straight and a lot of the stitches are alongside the ditch rather than in it.

As a rank beginner, I relied on  this quilting book & online tutorials to figure out all the steps needed to finish the quilt.

Trouble is, there are a lot of different ways to do things. How to decide which method? For example, at left is the quilt before binding. The tutorial I watched recommended cutting the backing and batting 8 inches wider and longer than the pieced part and I don't know why. The process of pinning the sandwich went well, but I ended up cutting off all that extra material. Seemed wasteful to me.

I did better with a wonderful tutorial by Leah Day on how to machine bind a quilt. She made it so simple!

Now I just need to wash the quilt and send it to its new home.

PS There's still plenty of time to join Hanna's DIY postcard swap.

Make and send ten postcards and get ten cards delivered to your own mailbox.

Saturday, September 23, 2017

the box of magic clippings

It looks like it's been 8 months since I posted anything on this blog. I thought my genealogical reboot would get the the words flowing through my fingers, but it didn't. Maybe I need to write about something a little more artsy - like Hanna's annual fall postcard swap.

Hanna has hosted this DIY postcard swap twice a year for over ten years I think, and whenever I've participated it seems to give a real boost to my creativity. This year, however, I didn't feel very creative & I wasn't sure I would be able to create ten postcards from scratch, so before I signed up for the swap I decided to dig through a couple of my boxes of old clippings to see if there was any magic left. I'm happy to report there is.

One of the fun things about this swap is seeing other people's creative processes. It's a puzzling thing the way the mind works. I've described my process before, but I'm taking another look at it now.

Collage is my method of choice for making postcards. Below is a glimpse into one of my boxes of clippings from magazines, ads, and other paper media. I have four old 10x10 inch Kodak boxes that once contained round slide trays. Now they are filled with clippings of birds, small landscapes, faces I like, and all kinds of colorful this and thats. They're not organized. I tried that once and it didn't work well for me. I prefer the randomness created by a messy collection of dissimilar parts.

I usually use cardboard cut from cereal boxes or six-packs of Texas beer as a base for my cards and I like to have a few cut to size before I start dipping into my collection of paper clippings. It helps me see how a piece will fit onto a finished postcard. On the table to the right of my Kodak box I have a few pieces I've been arranging on some pre-cut cards.

I pretty much just start fishing out clippings from the box and spreading them out on the table until a couple of things seem to go together. Usually it's color combinations that catch my eye. This yellow bird, below, looked so bright against the dark cityscape I thought they belonged together. The cityscape was big enough to cover an entire card, so it'll be the background. I played with positioning the bird in different places and then started looking for other colorful pieces that might work as part of the composition. Sometimes I think of silly captions and I'll look for a clipping that adds to what I'm thinking. I have a caption for this postcard already, but I'm not telling what it is, at least not just yet.

Wouldn't you like to get ten handmade cards in the mail?

Go HERE to learn more about Hanna's international postcard swap.