Saturday, July 31, 2010

Let's Grow Roses

Modified "blocky" roseYou may know this as block as a Liberated Rose, a Log Cabin Rose or just a Wonky Rose . . . any and all those adjectives apply. Here are my notes for how I construct this free-pieced block.

When choosing fabrics for this block,  more is more.  For the August Block Lotto, the guidelines specify that you must use at least 3 different fabrics for the rose, but no one need stop at three.  This is a great opportunity to use small or odd-shaped scraps.  I started with a piles of scraps, sorted by color to make rose blocks for a border of a quilt in progress.

In this block, we are creating an abstraction of a living, growing flower.  Although there are exceptions, most real roses grow in colors of closely related shades and my recommendation (a requirement for the Lotto) is that all the fabrics in the flower should be variations of the same color.

Another characteristic of this block is that we're creating the illusion of curved petals around a center, using only straight lines and straight seams.  As you make the block, you'll need to play with angles and colors to create a block that says, "rose" when you look at it . . . and not "log cabin."

Making the Block

Begin with a non-square
Begin at the center with a non-square. I like triangles and pentagons, though the angles and sides do NOT need to be the same. Four-sided squares and rectangles may exist in nature but rarely in the center of flowers.

If you begin with a 5-sided pentagon-like center, avoid any square cornered "house" shapes.

Adding "petals" to the center
Add strips in log cabin fashion, by starting on any side, then adding to the next adjacent side, working your way around (which direction doesn't matter–just keep moving around the block in the same direction).

A good reason for add the strips in a consistent way around the block is that it gives you an opportunity to create the illusion of curved petals by using the same fabric on 2-3 adjacent sides ONLY. Few roses look like bullseyes, so avoid using the same fabric all the way around the center. 
Some example blocks in progressWhatever the shape of your center, after you have added all but the last log on the first round, you can always tell where the next log goes by looking for the side that has 2 seams intersecting it.  In the two blocks in progress here, the one on the left was made correctly and you can see that the next log will be added to the lower left side.  I lost my way on the block on the right, as evidences by the bottom edge which as three seams intersecting it.  Ooops.  If you goof, it's not fatal, just pick a direction and carefully add the next round of strips.

About Petal/Log stripsThe strips (or logs or petals) that you add do not need to be carefully cut . . . and in fact will look more organic if they are not a consistent width.

Use up your odd-shaped scraps, off cuts. If you add straight (even width) strips, consider trim them at angles after they've been sewn to the block so that your rose block grows in an irregular, organic way.

Also feel free to trim the block-in-progress if the shape starts to look wrong to you.  I thought the block below was looking too oblong, so I chopped it.

Too Elongated Trimming a block in progress

As my blocks grew, I found it useful to have a reference for the target size. These blocks are 9 1/2-inches (to finish at 9 inches). If you have a square ruler that's the size you need, great ... otherwise, a paper template will do. I repurposed the cover of a magazine, trimmed to size.

Create a Target Using the target template

When you decide your rose is finished, lay it on the template to decide on it's orientation and add green fabrics to make the block square. Trim to size and you're done!

Rose with "Leaves" added

Always keep in mind that you can, at any point in the process, re-shape your rose. After I finished the block on the left, I thought it looked too blocky and so I added some more angles at the bottom and filled the space with green.

It's never to late to trim Modified "blocky" rose

Here's 20 of the rose blocks made by Andi, Caroline, Ginny, Kate, Kathie, Kim and Pat

Kate's Rose #9Kate's Rose #8Kate's Rose #7Kate's Rose #6
Kate's Rose #5Kate's Rose #4Kate's Rose #3Kate's Rose #2
Kate's Rose #1Pat's Rose #2Pat's Rose #1GInny's Rose #1
Andrea's Rose #1Kathie's Rose #2Kathie's Rose #1Kim's Rose #1
Caroline's Rose #2Kim's Rose #3Kim's Rose #2Caroline's Rose #1

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Silver linings

A long time ago,  a friend told me that I was so good at finding the silver lining, he wondered if I purposely chased the clouds . . .

I know that my talent for finding the positive side of almost ANY situation generally serves me well.  I truly feel LUCKY that my brakes failed when they did yesterday–before I had hopped back on the highway–and that I was able to pull into a shopping center parking lot with a lot of space. It could have been so much uglier than sitting in the hot sun for an hour waiting for the tow truck and dealing with unpleasant brake shop company.

I have been walking around with my June lotto blocks for a while.  I didn't want them to get lost in the move . . . but I didn't think far enough a head to consider that I might not be able to easily put my hands on the box of kraft envelopes that I like to use to mail fabric/quilt blocks.  On Monday, I unpacked some funky stationary and envelopes and decided it would do.

Post Office SignI had driven past the Post Office, so I knew it was only a few blocks away.   Today, while my vehicle is still in the shop, I decided that I could walk to the post office and mail my very very late lotto blocks to Cory, Pat and Rho.  And so I did.

I got there in 10 minutes.

When I walk, I see so much more than I ever notice whizzing by in the car.  Today was no exception.  In the little strip, along with the post office are a bakery-cafe, a drug store, a haircutter, a liquor store, a UPS-DHL shipping place and more.  All good things to know about and to have nearby.

A great big grocery store within walking distanceBut the best find was what I glimpsed behind the post office . . . a great big HEB grocery store.  After I had mailed off my lotto blocks to the June winners, I had to make a detour to check it out.  One of the few things I have missed about the itty bitty loft in Dalals was the grocery store on the ground floor of the building, even though, over the 18 months I lived there, the selection became even more limited and the prices sky-rocketed.  But this is a ginormous grocery with a huge wine section, a beautiful big produce section and fresh sushi!  It really felt like a silvery lining.

I picked up some ripe tomatoes and an avocado to add to my salad for lunch today and was a happy camper.

Speaking of tomatoes, look what I found sitting on a sunny sidewalk during my trip.

Tomatoes drying on a sidewalk

Is someone trying to tell me something?

When I took out the trash this morning, I noticed this bumper sticker . . .  blown into my path by the big storms yesterday.

Found Object

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

I've Got Bad News and Good News

First the bad news ...

Bad News

Despite a sizeable investment for which I was told my entire brake system had been replaced last year ... I found myself without brakes and learned that the brake LINES had not yet been replaced.

A friend gave me a ride home from the brake shop and I found the good news of the day in an email from Robyn: I won the Quilt Le Tour de France Giveaway on her blog, Coffee & Cotton.

At home, I'm still unpacking–I'm almost ready to figure out where all the fabric goes . . . and Grace has found a new obsession: the fireplace.

Grace, obsessed with the Fireplace Grace on the Mantle

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Carrots, Potatoes and Other Found Objects

Did you guess what the potatoes and carrots were for?

Batik Class Samples

They were used as stamps in a Batik workshop with Malka Dubrawsky . . . along with bell peppers, potato mashers, cardboard tubes and rectangle "stamps" and a few traditional wooden and copper stamps for batik. These are the fabrics I patterned in the workshop.

It was a great break during the unpacking and I know I want to do more of this.  It was so much fun.

Monday, July 26, 2010

I am moving (in) slowly

Johnny stands watchMoving is progressing slowly after an adverse reaction to all the chemicals in my freshly cleaned, painted and carpeted apartment knocked me flat and now have me moving slowly.

The cats have returned from kitty summer camp at my friend's house and are part of the unpacking crew. Johnny regularly stands guard at the doors and windows to warn of birds and squirrels that may be coming too close–I've also seen deer in the neighborhood, but I don't think he has . . . yet.

Grace helps make the bed
Grace has been more actively helping with the move in process. She immediately fell back into her habit of helping make the bed and stepped up to help organize inside the closets . . . and even took it upon herself when I was unpacking books to suggest which shelves I should fill next.

If you're curious, the black and white quilt on the bed is a sampler made from the blocks from the first year of the Block Lotto in  2002.  All the 12-inch blocks were made from patterns on Marcia Hohn's Quilter's Cache web site.  You can see the complete list of those 2002 lotto blocks (with links to the patterns) on the 2002 Block Index page. Did you notice that Grace likes basket blocks, too ;-)

Grace organizing the closet Grace in the bookcase

I took a break yesterday evening to learn something new. I'll blog about it more later . . . but for now, I'll share that there was produce involved.

Smart PotatoesWe never figured out what made those Smart Baking Potatoes so smart, but they seemed to work just fine in spite of it.

Below is a photo of a carrot in action.

More Veggies

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Happy National Ice Cream Day

Did you know that today is National Ice Cream Day?

I have a pint of Karamel Sutra in the freezer, ready to celebrate getting the bookcases set up and ALL the books unpacked.

In other moving news, I've misplaced my camera.  I was using it to document existing wear and tear in the new apartment and I have no idea where it is now . . .  it's a little crazy-making.

Here's an iPhone photo of my amusing companion during the extra Austin-Dallas-Austin round trip I had to make because the movers showed up with a too small truck.  She amused the young woman working the drive through window when I stopped for something to eat around midnight in Waco, too.

A friend's son who is moving soon came by to pick up my empty boxes.  I promised him more soon, so it's back to the books and bookshelves for me. 

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Moving Update

All my belongings and I are now in Austin, I have internet and am now facing a sea of boxes and the challenge of finding a place for everything and putting everything in its place.  The cats are still at kitty summer camp at a friend's house and endearing themcelves to her.  She's teaching them new tricks:  Johnny now knows how to turn a door knob and open doors . . . and precautions had to been taken to keep him from doing so at will after he wandered out of his designated area at 2:00 AM and was first confronted by the cat of the house and then, after he was put back and escaped again at 2:45 AM and decided to wander downstairs, the dogs of the house.  Johnny is a very social cat ;-)

I'll be back soon with my moving story: the good, bad and truly ugly–with photos . . . if I can just remember where I put my camera.  Sigh . . .

Friday, July 09, 2010

Whatever Happened To . . .

A Journal Quilt, RepurposedWhen a few quilters mentioned that their quilts were in the July auction for the Alzheimer's Art Quilt Initiative . . . I started wondering whatever happened to the little quilt I had sent to them at the end of January.

When it sat in the "waiting for assignment" area for a few months, I assumed it would be going to one of the big shows in the Spring . . . and figured it had been sold by now.   So I went looking for it, first in the sold quilts (not there), then in the waiting for assignment quilts (not there), then in the quilts being "hoarded" for the Houston show (not there, either). 

There was an area for quilts being considered for a new exhibit  . . . and that's where I found it.  I was shocked and pleased–especially since I had not submitted the quilt for consideration.  Someone had seen something worth sharing.  It was an honor to be considered.  Then, earlier this week, I went back to see if they had finalized the list and all the quilts (including mine) were gone with a message that the finalists would be notified by email–as I had no email, I figured my quilt had not made the cut.

This morning, I received email letting me know that my quilt will be included in the new traveling exhibit. It is one of 53 quilts that will hang in between quilts made of 10,000 purple patches that honor individuals who have/had Alzheimer's (or a related dementia) in an exhibit called "Alzheimer's Illustrated: From Heartbreak to Hope." It will begin traveling in January 2011. 

I remember seeing the purple patches at guild meetings in Lansing, Michigan and again–after I moved–in Dallas, Texas.  I'm looking forward to seeing how they have been assembled and the impact of 10,000 purple patches, filled with personal messages. 

For a while, you can see all the quilts that will be included in the exhibit here.  And don't forget to take a look at the quilts in the July auction. The deadline for the auction is tomorrow.  If I had a job, I'd definitely be joining the bidding on Fannie Narte's Remember Us #5927.

If you have made a quilt for Priority:Alzheimer's and are wondering whatever happened to it, don't follow my example to track it down and start looking everywhere  . . .   you can simply put the quilt number in the search box on the site to find it.  (Yes, I did feel pretty stupid when I realized that.)

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