Tuesday, June 24, 2014

warm colors

This is the second use-up-the-orange-pink-yellow-scraps small (not tiny) quilt. While I love curves, playing with some spikes was overdue. These squares are built with the reverse appliqué technique, so the pointy parts are easier to turn. Now I just have to make 32 more of them.

FloatingLeafTinyQuilts is moving into a new living space, so play time is a bit fragmented right now. Looking forward to getting settled and finishing these scrappy quilts. Enough is enough.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

layout options

Here is the circle quilt I'm playing with. When building a quilt with blocks, the block design can be independent from the layout design. There are traditional designs like Monkey Wrench and Storm at Sea that have specific layouts that make up the pattern, but many block-based quilts can be arranged in different layouts.

While I had sketched out this design initially with all the blocks arranged in the same orientation, I am not sure I like it that way. 

Here are the three basic options to put these blocks together:

1. Aligned in the same direction

2. Alternating blocks (checker board)

3. Alternate rows

I'll continue to ponder.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

playing all over

I made a quilt last decade for some friends that started with some gorgeous hand-dyed fabric. I love working with hand-dyed fabric because of the subtle variations in the color saturation. I don't love it enough to make any. I've tried and it's too messy an operation for me. I had a steady supplier in those days and made several quilts with her fabric, but she's moved on to other pursuits. I love her fabric so much that I want to use it all up completely, down to the 1.5 inch squares. I still have a big bag of fabric left from the last purchase.

Quilts made from scraps, while very traditional, can be ugly. One has to be careful to make an interesting pattern and use fabrics that have some relation to each other. In this case, the fabric was already chosen to mesh together, but the design had to be new. There is not much point to making (yet another) quilt with plain squares of fabric sewn together. I love circles set in squares, but even that motif can get old. I decided to cut these and use the seams to switch colors. There's another layer of small circles that will be added in the centers. I'll post some finished blocks next.

I'm playing with the last of this bag of yellows, oranges and pinks. I added some greys to wake up the monotony a bit. I cut out and basted two small (40" x 40") block-based quilts last week and am steadily doing the appliqué, a few blocks a day. One quilt is made with circles, the other has some spikes. The bag now contains 1/4 yard each of a light pink and a light yellow and a bunch of really tiny pieces of the other hues. I'm not sure what those will turn into, but I'll finish these first.

Here's FLTQ in full assembly mode with the circle quilt in progress, all over the cabin.

I wanted to play with the intersection of the seam lines. Each block is pieced randomly, so the circles are off-center.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

a tiny mural

Every once in awhile, someone actually wants a tiny quilt. Our daughter has a new house and not too many things hanging on the wall. This is sized to go on the wall space over the bed. Now she has one fewer blank wall to stare at.

This quilt was wicked fun to make because it used so many different fabrics and took longer than the tiny ones I've been making for awhile. It got me started on some other bigger projects. One difficulty working in this scale was that I kept having to roll the fabric sections so I could sew in the middle of the piece.  I can see the advantage of keeping individual sections small and then piecing finished sections together later. Oh, wait, that's the whole allure of a block-based quilt. From practicality comes tradition.   

We took some scuba vacations when our kids were teenagers. Our daughter took to the underwater like she was born there. I tried to evoke those underwater adventures with this tiny quilt. 

Sweet dreams!

"Underwater dreams" 
2014, 15" x 60", hand appliquéd and hand quilted. Clearly, I don't have enough room on the boat to get a good photo.

Sunday, June 1, 2014

trip report - Chrysler Museum, Norfolk VA

Coming home! We lived in Norfolk for three years while fitting out our boat, Red Ranger. We lived about a 6-minute walk from the famed Chrysler Museum, home of one of the nation's best glass collections. We took advantage of the proximity and became members, attending their weekly evening wine/cheese/music mixers in the summer, the monthly book club, yoga class on Friday mornings in the main court, and lots of visits to the main exhibits. I even read this history on how the collection began.

The new glass studio was built while we were living here and it has become a great focal point for locals and tourists to interact with the museum. The studio has free lunchtime demonstrations which are awesome and lots of classes on the many aspects of glass-making. And just a shout-out to the director, Charlotte Potter, who moved into our old apartment when we left. Check out her TED talk.

Just as we were leaving, the museum closed for a major renovation. Museums take a big risk when they contemplate a lengthy closure and expensive renovation. Members get whiny that they can't use their privileges, regular attendees find other things to do, the community moves on and forgets the museum. Numbers will tell, but in my opinion, the CM absolutely pulled it off.

I stopped in on a Friday morning to take a tour of the re-designed space. There was a bus load of senior citizens and a big class of high school seniors and many other small groups wandering around with me. It's still free (donation-based) to get in, which is wonderful. I'm happy to chip in.

The space and curation are top-notch. They moved collections around, so instead of a room of art nouveau furniture, the pieces are placed amidst the glass collection pieces that are contemporary. A modern sculpture of a horse is included in a gallery of older paintings and sculpture depicting subjects involving horses. The Tiffany collection was brought out of a cavernous, quiet space into the light. The pieces seem to float right with the viewer, where they used to be distant and dark. 

They also have a gallery devoted to viewer favorites on a rotating basis. It was great to see the comments on why the piece speaks to that voter next to the art that was chosen. I love the interaction between community and museum that generates the contents of that gallery. It will be interesting to see its collection change based on community input. There is a big board on the second floor with paper and colored pencils under a banner asking "What did you discover today?" The board is full of people's comments and sketches. 

I love this museum! If you haven't visited the NEW Chrysler Museum, get yourself over there. It's a pleasure to view the old favorite pieces in new spaces, some beautiful new acquisitions, and to see the interplay between community and art.

This is a big cityscape bowl. You are encouraged to take pictures of the collection, but I forgot to note the artist.