Pathway Ends….
Aug 3rd, 2017 by Wendy

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I have a variety of round trip loops for my morning walks, depending how far or which direction I want to go. One way to get home is the path that announces “Pathway Ends”.

The path ends, but there are trails through the woods leading back to my house. Or I could turn around and circle back on another path to home.

It reminded me of developing an idea for a quilt. Sometimes we do hit a dead end. We can give up, turn around, or find another way.

I’ve been playing around for over a year now with what I call the “interlocked braid” pattern. I’ve seen it called “fence rail” and “herringbone”. This old pattern (over 100 years) got revamped in the last 30 years or so with the French braid version, eliminating the “interlock” feature & the partial seam construction.

I’ve been exploring the idea, looking for variations that make me smile. I’ve hit some dead ends, circled back around, looked for other options- all to find the path that is right for me and my inner vision.

Here are the variations since June 2016–

• I didn’t like the chunky size of the first rectangle. • I made the rectangle skinnier and added a black/white print edging. This helps tame the chaos of the prints and creates a continuous colored zigzag line. • I tried adding areas of the same color rectangle- oh, that idea went nowhere! • Most recently I added the same fabric in one continuous zigzag. I like the way it looks! Judith in Portland (@judithquinngarnett on Instagram and blackdogdesignpdx.com) worked her photoshop magic to show me a larger sample. I really like it!

What will happen next? I hope it doesn’t take a year to find out!!!

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OUCH!
Jan 20th, 2011 by Wendy

On Tuesday, an MRI revealed a list of all things wrong with my shoulder. If things continue, surgery may be in my future, but for now, a deep joint injection should buy some time and relief from the painful symptoms. After surviving the injection, the doctor said “Oh, by the way, you won’t be able to use your arm for a few days.” HUH? Something he might have mentioned first, not that it would have made a difference. Just when is it convenient not to use your arm?

With one arm immobilized, I took some time between ice pack sessions to layout my finished ‘lime green/tomato red’ triangle units for the “bamboo” quilt top layout. I made enough blocks for two quilt tops, each with 10 blocks across and 10 blocks down.  I love it already, even without the vertical sashing strips.

I love this pattern: “Bamboo and Pinwheels, Two Quilts in One Pattern” by Diana McClun and Laura Nownes (on sale everywhere). This amazing block goes together lickety-split-fast. But wait, there’s more! Make one block, get two quilt tops- cut each block on the diagonal and separate into two piles. Half the blocks make the bamboo layout (see photo) while the other half make the pinwheel layout (stay tuned). Note: for 100 blocks each, you’ll need to make 200 original blocks.

The pattern recommends strict value placement- all very light in the narrow strips and all medium and dark in the wider strips. But I’ve disregarded any value placement at all. In 2008, I contrasted color (and nothing else) with my strips. This time around, I contrasted print size and color. The narrow strips use smaller and more repeat type prints, while the wider strips use big and more randomly spaced print patterns. Both strips have an equal number of reds, greens, and go-next-door & across-the-street colors. Most of my values fall around the medium range, but there are a few extremes in both directions. P.S. I used about 150 different fabrics for this quilt.

Traditional quilt patterns rely on value placement to make the pattern itself clear, but also to create strong secondary patterns. When there is no value placement, or when the values hover around the medium range, the pattern and secondary patterns blur. This is one way to play with a traditional block pattern- blur the value placements, and use a LOT of fabrics. Who could argue with that?

Saturday Circles
May 29th, 2010 by Wendy

I’m turning squares into circles. It’s a Saturday thing. Next comes the bias tape, for bias covered curves (instead of piecing the curve)!

May 29: Straw Into Gold

More Sewing in the No Planning Zone
May 25th, 2010 by Wendy

I originally thought I’d play around in the No Planning Zone for a few days, but of course, it always takes longer than we think. If we knew how much time and trouble was in front of us, would we embark on new adventures?

I tried dark blue sashing strips, but I didn’t like it. The blue is too dark and looks like the bars of a jail cell. My beautiful blocks look like they are serving time behind bars!

I had two fabrics leftover from the $3 scrap bag, so I tried them. I love the way my Circling the Square blocks have been set free. I’m estimating the quilt will measure 45″ by 65″ with these blocks- I think I should call it quits here. Besides, the $3 scrap bag is just about empty.

Sewing in the No Planning Zone…
May 22nd, 2010 by Wendy

I needed too much concentration to work on the free motion sea creatures and I am still looking for a quarter-circle template to work on a quilt for my friend Krista, so I started this adventure with a $3 bag of scraps purchased at the Stitching Post. I’m raiding my Tub ‘O Strips, a big plastic container filled with every leftover strip and scrap I used to toss out. There is no planning ahead.

I’ll tell you why I like planning ahead. One, I explore and play and try out things in my mind. I’m very visual and this works for me. Two, I don’t like to get boxed into a corner. If I think things through first, I can avoid dead ends. Three, it’s how my mind works, so of course, it seems “right” to me. Or should I say it seems “left” to me- left brained that is.

I did run into a dead end while trying to make the outer round of blocks for this quilt. The first were too big- just out of scale (no photo). I cut them into smaller units. These looked too busy. Actually, they looked like the fabrics were held in place at gunpoint. They did not want to be there (see photo). When Pat called to say she was making those scrappy string pieced blocks I taught in a workshop a few years ago, I remembered that this thought had crossed my mind before I started constructing the more complicated blocks.

Maybe I wanted to try something new; maybe I didn’t think it through enough since I’m in the No Planning Zone. Maybe I should try these blocks- I did and I love them (see Saturday Circles, May 22). Message to Krista: I’m just going to make my own template with cardboard and get going on your quilt! And: I have an idea to share with you after I get the blocks zigzagged!

Saturday Circles
Apr 10th, 2010 by Wendy

My Dad liked to go on “junkets”. While others do errands, my Dad ventured on small travel adventures. He usually came home with only items on the list, but sometimes, he jaunted through the front door, wearing an impeccable three-piece suit, with a new treasure. He used to say, “it reached out and grabbed me”. In other words, he had no choice!

What is choice? I heard about research in which opinions were swayed by whether the person had just held a cup of hot or cold coffee. If this is true, how do we make important decisions? Form rational opinions?

On a recent trip to our locally owned Newport Market in Bend, these two plates reached out and grabbed me. Everything about these little dishes felt compelling: the colors, the designs, the glazes. In my defense, I did ask myself how I would use them, but I already knew I’d be happy just seeing the little bowls in my everyday environment.

April 10: Choice vs Impulse

Yellow Fever, Part 2
Mar 19th, 2010 by Wendy

Like the character Toad, found in the children’s book, Wind in the Willows (by Kenneth Grahame, ©1908), I tend to get obsessed about things. Like Toad, I go from obsession to obsession.

A few years ago I needed a bumper sticker that read “Makes frequent stops to photograph car rims”.

Now I’m braking to photograph yellow stuff. Or rather, in this case, I yelled for the driver of the car to stop, pull over, let me out!

Start looking for yourself. Yellow Stuff is Everywhere! Maybe that should be my new bumper sticker….

Saturday Circles
Feb 21st, 2010 by Wendy

Bobbins make my world go around. With the bobbin held in the bobbin case, the hook race arcs back and forth, forming lock stitches at a dizzying rate of about 800 stitches per minute. While my sewing machine performs these hundreds of small miracles every minute- perfectly formed stitches- I perceive my quilting progress at the slow rate of about 18 inches a day.

Circles on the bobbins, circle motions in the bobbin case, cycles of the creative process repeat themselves with each project, the rotation of the earth, the revolving of planets around the sun, galaxies spinning around the universe, time marching on a circular path from October 10th to October 10th and I get a year older with each orbit. The wonder of life in our universe is everywhere.

February 20: Mysteries of the Multiverse

Saturday Circles
Feb 13th, 2010 by Wendy

I have bags and bags of “yellow stuff”, collected for a color challenge quilt. Instead of using the actual objects, I scanned and printed the images on fabric.

I’m sure I have another yellow quilt in me…maybe two or three. In the meantime, I’ll enjoy the textures of my Yellow Stuff.

February 13: Yellow Stuff

Zebra’s Are Tall & Social
Jan 21st, 2010 by Wendy

I entered this little 8 1/2″ by 11″ quilt, “Zebra”, into the Quilting Arts Magazine quilt challenge. The zebra is a tall (about 6 feet), social animal that travels in herds. The stripes of the zebra are unique to each animal, like fingerprints for us. I’m tall (also 6 feet), social and am frequently seen in herds of humans. And I have my own unique viewpoint.

Oh- didn’t someone say “I’m unique, just like everybody else?”

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