Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Reruns - Part 2

Eight Pointed Star for One Armed Quilter Thursday, September 18, 2008

Several years ago I was unable to use my left arm and was in considerable pain. I was not recovering and the pain medication was not doing it's job. I knew that doing something positive could help the healing process.

When I couldn't sleep I got up at 4 a.m. and thought about making a Lone Star quilt with strips I had already cut. I went to the computer and using the first colors on the palette designed a Lone Star.I pulled out my box of strips and with one arm began sewing them together.

As I did each step, I noticed I was improving enough to do the next step.After making all the points I looked through my fabric collection and finally found the perfect fabric to finish the quilt.

After completing the first quilt top I realized I had the same background print in another color way.

I created this Broken Star using this fabric as my inspiration

I wanted to do this with a fabric that did not have a quarter circle design.

This quilt was done with a fabric with a linear color striation.

Hope you'll enjoy this puzzle.
Click to Mix and Solve

Monday, June 29, 2009

Where have all the bloggers gone?

I think blog season is something like TV season.
So with that in mind I guess it is time for reruns.
If you've seen these before you can change the channel.
If you are new here you probably have missed some of my early posts.
I will continue to post new blog posts but will intersperse them with some reruns of some of my favorite quilts and stories.


I sometimes introduce myself by saying "My name is Kay, - I don't do bed quilts - Sorensen.

I made an exception to that for the Millennium. I made a king size charm quilt for each of my 8 grandchildren.

Each quilt has 2000 different fabrics with a Millennium Border Print.
I traded fabric with over 350 people from around the world to do the project.

The grandchildren are only allowed to sleep under them on New Year's Eve or other special occasions. Each quilt is accompanied by a Journal so they can record their activities, photos and share where they were each time they use the quilts.

They were started in April 1999 and finished on December 15, 1999.

This would not have been possible if I had not had Sandy Schilawski of Green Bay, Wisconsin quilt them. She did a fantastic job and I really appreciated it.

No one was more amazed than me that I finished all 8 in that period of time!

The photo shows only 1 quilt but there are REALLY 8 - each with different borders and backings, but all with similar color layouts.

When I originally posted this I hadn't started doing puzzles. Now you can do a puzzle from this quilt.
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Friday, June 26, 2009

One design - three variations

This piece of art for the wall uses a lot of different techniques. The center panel was designed with Corel Draw and printed onto fabric. Some of the shells you see on that center panel are real and some are printed. The gold seahorse is a charm. I used a lot of shells in the border. I have used several layers of muslin along with two printed fabrics. The muslin has been stitched and clipped to create texture. the binding is a gunmetal color metallic lame. This was a gift for our friend's wedding.
These are all clickable to enlarge to see the details in the pieces.

On this piece the center panel is painted with acrylic artists paints from a tube thinned with water. I used a gold pen to make some marks on the painted panel. This uses a variety of embellishments but the basic design is the same. I also painted some rattail cord and couched that onto the piece. I taught this in my Smorgasew class. Each student painted a panel in class, coordinated prints and embellishments to use with the panel and then went home with directions and completed the project.

This is the same design again but this one is a heart theme. It is in a private collection. These were so much fun to create.

The puzzle is a star cut for the Starfish art.
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Thursday, June 25, 2009

Compass Rose

Compass Rose is another quilt I mounted on a custom made stretcher frame. There was a misunderstanding about the size so I also have another octagon frame that I will make a quilt to fit.
This was one of Jinny Beyer's seminar block designs at one of her very first Hilton Head Seminars. Of course her block was a square. I drafted the pattern in the size I wanted it to be.
Although I used some traditional calicos in this piece I also used some batiks and other fabrics that were unusual over 25 years ago.
This is hand quilted.

This SEVEN pointed star is a quilt I designed with Corel Draw but never made in fabric. It would be next to impossible to create this one as you see it here in fabric. I did this about 14 years ago when I was having so much fun with Corel Draw I wondered if I would ever make another quilt.
I could not begin to tell you how I did this.
About the only 7 point star quilts I have seen are those where someone started out to make an 8 point star and found the pieces didn't fit so they left one out!

One thing I have noticed about the quilts I have made is many of my best pieces radiated out from the center in a mandala format. I am not currently working in this way.

I am giving us 2 different options for the Compass Rose puzzle tonight - easy and more challenging.

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Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Paisley Star Mandala

This is a quilt that I made in 1982. I had this wonderful paisley fabric from Gutcheon Patchworks. Marti Michell had come out with a set of templates that had various different sizes of a shape on one template. For this quilt I used her diamond, half square triangle and square. You could see through them so it was easy to place them on the same part of the fabric for each paisley. Each shape had the same sizes so I was able to cut all the pieces to fit together correctly. The templates made it so easy to build this stunning quilt. This is a BRC quilt.

I hand quilted this quilt. It is 36 inches square. I am including this close up so you can see how close the quilting is. You will probably have to click on it to enlarge it to see this. I quilted around the paisleys but in the other areas of the quilt the quilting is about 1/8" inch apart. After spending so much time doing this amount of quilting I realized it didn't even show on the patterned fabric. It did create the texture I wanted though.

I mounted this quilt on a wood stretcher frame made to fit the quilt. I did no quilting in the border as I used a unique way of attaching this.
I first stapled the back of the quilt to the stretcher frame. I placed an extra layer of thick batting in the border area and then stretched the front of the border and stapled it the the frame. It was a lot of work but created a very special effect.

The puzzle is the quilt you have just seen.
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Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Turning Point is made from 4 rectangular blocks. I have also used this block in another quilt with a totally different effect. Originally I had intended to fill in the center but after several tries the quilt told me it didn't need or want a center.

This is one of the 4 blocks and you can see the 3 curved sections that make up the block. Each section was constructed using my Tubular Spiral Patchwork method.
Someone suggested it could be work as a poncho so just for the fun of it I modeled it over a royal blue jumpsuit one time!

Blooming Balloon was the other quilt that started with the same block. I made several alterations to the block but it still has the same basic block as the starting point. This is composed of 2 mirror image blocks.

Tonight's puzzle is one block from Turning Point.
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Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Tessellations by my students

I came up with a way of doing interesting tessellations. The students didn't sew them together, they fused them to a background. This allowed them the freedom to create shapes that would be next to impossible to piece.
I am showing you several without names. When I am teaching it is difficult to get time to take photos, much less get the names recorded. If anyone sees your work please let me know and I'll add your name to it.

These are all works in progress. The students get enough information to finish their work and also to be able to repeat the technique again with different shapes, colors and sizes.

This particular tessellation looks like birds. Generally I suggest just cutting and playing and eventually you will come up with something you like.

The artist who used tessellations most was Escher. One famous tessellation by him consists of birds that change to fish as the design progresses across the surface.
The shape doesn't change - just the details he has drawn/painted on them.

I hope you can see how interesting this piece is in spite of my poor photography. When rushing to get things photographed I don't have the skills nor time to get the best photos but I still like to record students work when possible.

This work is by Suzie McCormack and she has already chosen a background/border fabric.

Tessellations are a very interesting process, fun and so much easier than they look. I have also seen some instructions to do them that make them super difficult and something I think that most people would avoid at all costs!

There are several pieces in my The Colors Of My Life series that are tessellations designed simply with squares.

The choice of a puzzle tonight was easy - birds and with a bird cut!
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Tuesday, June 16, 2009

One thing leads to another - and another

I seem to be going backwards with the things I have been showing recently. The Origami bow tie I showed you in my Gradual Gradation series was done after these two quilts.
This was my first Origami bow tie quilt. It is a quilt I started with a bag of squares that were already cut. It is a very traditional type quilt, although the bow ties have a third dimension. It has 3 borders - the first a narrow strip of a border print, the second a pieced border using the remaining squares and the final border is a wider strip of the border print. It was so much fun to make.

This quilt was made for my son's office. He asked for a blue and burgundy quilt and I was sick of working with those colors. I enjoyed making this quilt because I was able to be creative with the fabrics I picked. The fabrics I selected were cotton prints that I could actually imagine being used for some unique bow ties. The background squares were fabrics that resembled men's dress shirting. The border is a dark gray wool flannel, typical of a men's suit. I call it "Bow Ties for Business". No - he has never worn a bow tie!

Tonight's puzzle is a section of Bow Ties for Business.
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Monday, June 15, 2009

See How My Garden Grows (In fabric of course!)

See How My Garden Grows is a tesselation. I learned Jinny Beyer's method of doing tesselations and after figuring out I needed to do a tesselation starting with a triangle to get the calla lily effect I wanted there was no holding me back. I quickly drafted the pattern, chose fabric, stacked the fabric and cut several layers at a time. I eyeballed the seam allowance.
I was bound determined I would have several blocks pieced between the time I left the afternoon session and I returned that evening. I did. The only drawback to using this super quick method was accuracy was not as great as it should have been.
I was still able to make the 12 blocks, sew them together, design a border and attach it.
When I got it all pieced I'll have to admit the quilt had hills and valleys. What to do, what to do?
My solution was to use 2 layers of Hobb's wool batting and distribute the fullness throughout the quilt, hoping to quilt our the excess.
I'd like to share some closeups of the quilting with you as I feel the quilting designs really enhanced the design of this quilt.

Each block consists of a leaf and a small amount of the flamingo color background fabric. This also lets you see a closeup of a block. If you click to enlarge this you will see the quilting even better.

The quilt started with the patterned fabric. I dye painted it in a class with Judy Walter about 20 years ago. It was less that a half yard. The flamingo color fabric is a nice weight of cotton sateen decorator fabric. The value gradation of greens are from Jinny Beyer's Palette collection. The 2 darkest greens are from another fabric line.

Using 2 layers of batting definitely gave some depth and dimension to my quilting and allows you to see it very clearly. Probably the irregular surface also contributed to the depth of the quilting design. However I do not plan on doing a hills and valleys quilt top anytime soon again.
When the quilt was completed, but before it was bound, I wet it thoroughly and pinned it to my design wall to block it. Then I trimmed and bound it. I am pleased with the finished work even though the journey was anything but smooth.

Tonight's puzzle uses my favorite cut - lizzards!
Click to Mix and Solve

Sunday, June 14, 2009

An optical illusion with Gradual Gradations 4

Gradual Gradations 4 uses that pink again but this time I've combined it with blue for a very different look.
This optical illusion effect has the light value of each color in the middle. I hope it gives you the effect that it is bulging.
I did this with strip piecing but if you were to ask me how I did it I really don't remember exactly how I did it. I am sure I did draft this one on graph paper before I executed it and probably made "notes to self" about what I thought I should do to make this happen.
This fabric has allowed me to do a lot of create a lot of different effects in my work. This is not the last you will see of creations using where my mirror image hand dyed gradation fabric.
The very simple machine quilting on this piece enhances what is happening with the optical illusion.

I thought it would be fun to play with Corel Photo Paint and create a more extreme bulging effect. This effect could NOT be created with strip piecing!

And of course Gradual Gradtion 4 is the puzzle this time.
Click to Mix and Solve

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Gradual Gradations 6 & who has the prettiest peonies?

Gradual Gradations 6 uses exactly the same fabrics as I used in Gradual Gradations 5.
You can see how the gray shades one way and the pink the opposite.
I did some creative things with the borders, partially neccesitated by the amount of fabric I had available.
I think you will be able to see what I did and better appreciate the way I used the fabrics in the border if you click on this to enlarge it.

This quilt is what I call an Origami Bow Tie. It does not require sewing into corners or Y seams.

You may have noticed many of my quilts are not a regular shape. Although this is a perfect square it hangs on the diagonal and was designed to hang this way. To hang an irregular shape quilt I put a pocket on the top half of the back of a double layer of fabric. It is attached to the quilt when I attach the binding. I put two small buttonholes near the top of the pocket. I cut a piece of foam core board to the exact size and shape of the pocket. I put two small holes in the foam core in the exact same place as the bottonholes. When the foam core is inserted in the pocket it can be hung on 2 nails or hooks.

Tip: If you make a square quilt and are not satisfied with the composition try hanging it on the diagonal. Often this is just enough to make a so so quilt a stunner.

So many of us are enjoying peonies and lilacs in different parts of the country right now. When they did our most recent landscaping they planted peonies without asking us what color we would like. I was so disappointed when they planted white and pink. Red or rose peonies have always been my favorites. Since these grow on the side of our house without windows this is only about the 3rd time in 10 years I have been able to pick a bouquest before they wilted. I forget they are there. I will have to admit they are lovely and make a beautiful bouquet.
If I want to see rose and red peonies all we have to do is look across the street at our neighbors yard. They have an ever changing show of different flowers from earliest spring through fall.

I hope you enjoy tonight's puzzle. I don't think this one is too hard. We'll see though when "I" try to do it!
Click to Mix and Solve

Friday, June 12, 2009

Unique ways to display your quilts

When getting ready for an open studio I had to find as many places to display quilts as I could. Silent Movie is hanging on a tension rod that is wedged between the sides of a shelving unit.
This has deep shelves that always looks cluttered so I have left this in place both as a decorative accessory in the room and to hide the clutter. You wouldn't believe what is behind it! This is hand quilted.

Gradual Gradations 5 is done with my mirror gradation hand dyed fabric. It covers the TV, photo albums, tapes, etc in the guest room cabinet.
If you look at the vertical strips in the quilt you can see how the fabric changes from dark to light and back again to dark. You may find it easier to see this if you click on the quilt to enlarge it.
I took advantage of the unique value gradation in this fabric to create this piece. Within the 9 patch blocks the gray changes from dark at the top to light in the middle to dark at the bottom just like the vertical strips. The hot pink changes from light at the top to dark in the middle to light at the bottom. This is another way of using intersecting fields of color. The light background is a batik fabric.

Don't ask how I dye this fabric - you really don't want to know. It is way too much work, needs to have special equipment built and wastes a ton of dye. I will continue to work with the pieces I have already dyed but have no intention of dyeing this way again.

Neither of these quilts were designed and made for these particular spaces. They just happened to fit them.

Gradual Gradations 5 is tonight's puzzle.
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Thursday, June 11, 2009

It's time for big fresh juicy strawberries! and......

It's fresh strawberry time. I just couldn't eat these without putting them on my scanner and making a picture of them. Eventually they will be printed onto fabric and used in a quilt. Grandma couldn't do that!

Then I decided to scan the leaves that were falling off my croton plant. I have several scans of these leaves which will be so much fun to use in a quilt someday.

Next came a rose that I wanted to remember before it lost it's petals.
My plan is to print these designs on smooth white cotton or silk, back the fabric with a fusible, cut out the images and fuse them to a background to create a quilt.
I also have the option of enlarging or reducing the size of these images which means I can make them larger than life or miniature size.
This is just another way the computer has changed what we are able to do when making a quilt.

Tonight's puzzle is a bouquet of the roses I scanned. I don't think this one will lend itself to cutting out flowers but that doesn't mean there may not be another way to use it.
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Wednesday, June 10, 2009

What's black and white and a little red all over?

This quilt is part of a series of quilt kits I did called Historic Concepts - Contemporary Systems.
I was inspired by antique quilts I found in magazines for most of the quilts. I used quick piecing instructions in the kits. I had several people who bought the kits and taught themselves to quilt by making them. Black and White Nine Patch Star is hand quilted.

I played around with a section of the quilt in Corel Photo Paint so you can see the quilting motif I designed for the elongated hexagon.

Enjoy the star cut with the star quilt!
Click to Mix and Solve