Friday, December 27, 2013

Weekly Report 2013 - 12/27

Florence Trefethen,
the blog author's mother.




Family lore has it that during the depression my grandmother, Emma Newman, would take her two daughters to the department store to look at dresses. They would point out their favorite dresses. Then Emma would whip out a notebook and pencil from her purse, draw a quick sketch or two and make some notes. Next they would head off to the fabric store to pick the fabric necessary for Emma to recreate the selected dresses. 

The picture to the left is of my mother, Florence Trefethen circa 1945. I don't know if Emma made Florence's dress or not, but it wouldn't surprise me. The Newman sisters were known for being fashionably dressed despite economic hardship and post war deprivation. Flossie, as I called my mother told that story about Emma as an example of how her mother would embarrass her. I suspect she also told it with pride. When I was a child Flossie would periodically whip up a suit from a Vogue pattern. However, as the books in the photo attest she was more academically inclined and as money became less tight bought all her clothes. I have made a few clothing items but I never mastered the art of fitting clothing. Honestly, it doesn't call to me, especially since it is less expensive and much more time efficient to buy clothes these days than in generations past. Yet this week I realized that I inherited Emma's ability to look at a pattern and recreate it!

If you read last week's posting you might recall I was in desperate need of a Christmas miracle. It came, at least in my not so humble opinion. This freed me up to relax and just enjoy my studio time with no pressing need to do more than play and test theories. Here is how the week went:

1) Jazz Trio - Resolve the curtain debacle. - Done!

Jazz Trio with a new set of curtains.

2) Leah Day's weekly assignments:

a) Foundation Piecing - 

i) Baste the face to the quilt. - Not yet.
ii) Finish  piecing the goddess's body "fabric" with the basted hexagons. - Done! 

The next set of hexagons pinned to Express Your Love II's
quilt top. They still need to be turned under around the
body template and then positioned with more accuracy.

b) Free Motion Quilting - Done!

After struggling to rectify the curtain debacle it was pure joy to create this tangled string of Christmas lights. Of course it could be untangled and quilted on a Christmas tree quilt. Wouldn't that be fun?

Tangled Lights in Leah Day's latest FMQ motif.
3) Visioning Project - Do the final assignment from my Photoshop Elements class and take the final exam. - Done! I even have my certificate to prove it. If you need further proof check out the picture of my mother at the top of the blog. I used the elliptical tool and set it  to circle to select the portion of the picture to include. Next I selected the inverse of that and cut it away. Finally, I sized the picture to be web friendly. It took just a couple minutes.


4) Enjoy a traditional roast beef dinner on Christmas. - Done! I took Christmas Day off. I didn't even handle e-mail. The prime rib with glazed brussel sprouts, baked sweet potato and panna cotta for dessert was a rare and delicious treat.


5) In the spirit of the holidays I decided to give in to my urge to make a tumbling block quilt. I knew I didn't want to deal with all those Y seams and thus began the great google search to find that easy method I just knew existed. The method was easy to find, but not the measurements. This is when I put on my Emma Newman thinking cap and by the second try I had the math worked out.


Tumbling Blocks I - with approximately 20%
of the blocks cut, partially seamed and
tentatively laid out on my design wall.
It will be a crib sized quilt when it is done.

Tips, Thoughts and Techniques:

Marci Baker has written ABC 3-D Tumbling Blocks and she has a YouTube Video where she demonstrates this technique but does not give the math. My tips are that the light strip needs to be cut 0.5" larger than the medium and dark strips AND that the finished hexagon size (or cube/block size) is the same dimension as the light strip. So, if your light strip is cut at 2" then finished block is 2" and the medium and dark strips are cut at 1.5".

My heart is tugging me to work on Tumbling Blocks I, but I have an obligation to finish Jazz Trio. I am also starting my LifeBook 2014 class on the first of the New Year. With so many projects I am going to have no problem keeping myself busy next week. Here is the game plan:

1) Jazz Trio - Add the figures to the stage.

2) Leah Day's weekly assignments:

a) Foundation Piecing - 

i) Baste the face and body to the quilt.
ii) Start piecing the arms from hexagons.

b) Free Motion Quilting

3) LifeBook 2014 - Do this week's assignment.

4) Tumbling Blocks I - Cut out more of the blocks.


I am now linking up to two blogs on Friday's. The first is Leah Day's Free Motion Quilting Project and the second is Nina Marie's Off the Wall Fridays.

14 comments:

  1. I think your painting mistake with Jazz Trio might actually have resulted in improving the quilt because I very much like how the curtains look now! It really adds additional depth.

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    1. I quite agree. That is why when I lecture about my work I link the the various segments of my talk with "there are no mistakes in quilting. There are only learning experiences and creative opportunities." I may tear my hair out whenever I am presented with one of this opportunities, but invariably I grow and 9 times out of 10 the quilt is better for it.

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  2. I missed your last post, Gwyned, but definitely like the way "Jazz" is working; the curtains are just right! I've never made "Tumbling Blocks" -- except as a small sample in English Paper Piecing which, though I seldom do it, would be my approach should I ever want to do it again. Slow...but "pieceful" ;-) Have a Happy New Year!

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    1. Thank you, Margaret. Nothing like the extra oomph of a double layer (actually triple layer) of batting and some sateen fabric for sheen.

      I must say English Paper Piecing of hexagons is growing on me. However, there is a gestation date of April 30th for this particular quilt. Also, I have missed precision piecing on my Bernina. So much of my recent work has been representational and therefore require appliqué that it is a real treat to just piece simple seams.

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  3. I've been obsessed with a tumbling block quilt for several months and am working on it again. It's similar to yours. Isn't it unnerving when you see someone around the world doing something so similar? I haven't shown any pics of it on my blog yet because I wanted to show it finished... great minds...
    LeeAnna Paylor
    lapaylor.blogspot.com

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    1. It is difficult to feel brilliant when you believe you have come up with a unique idea, only to see that someone else has done it. I have had that happen several times during my quilting career. I "invented" watercolor quilts before they were all the rage. Also, I started using a black and white palette almost a decade ago. I have faith that our quilts will look different. Also, mine won't be a show quilt. This is a gift quilt.

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  4. Hello Gwyned,

    You picked the perfect variegated thread for the tangled lights FMQ, and I love the picture of your mother. Ladies managed to look so elegant and glamorous back in the 1940s.

    love,
    Muv

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    1. Thank you, Muv. Yes, fashion was so much more fashionable years ago. Still I am grateful to live in a era of wash and wear and not have to set my hair. Don't even get me started on girdles.

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  5. I've tried making a tumbling block more than once with a few different techniques (before I even knew what a Y-seam was). I ultimately gave up on it every time. I'll check out your link, maybe it is something to go back on the list!

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    1. I have enjoyed optical illusion in 2-D work ever since I first learned of Escher's work. Tumbling blocks are a great way to play with optical illusion, but before someone came up with a way to avoid the Y seams, they just weren't fun to make. Now they are easily accessible to anyone with basic piecing skills. I hope you do take another look at Tumbling Blocks, Susan. I'd love to see what you come up with.

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  6. Hi, Gwyned. I just love grandmother stories (maybe because I am one?). Your Tumbler Block quilt is really interesting--so many possibilities with tumbler blocks. Very exciting way to start the New Year! And may 2014 bring you many exciting creative adventures!
    best, nadia

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    1. Aren't grandmother stories, real or fictious fabulous. Thank you for sharing your thoughts and your kind words.

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  7. You've certainly accomplished a lot in a week.....esp. a busy holiday week!! You have my great admiration!!!

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    1. I have the advantage or disadvantage of not being with family over the holidays. I did take Christmas off, but the rest of the week was free of engagements and obligations. What better to cope with emotions of being away from my children and grandchildren over the holidays than by playing in the studio. We do get together 3 or 4 times a year, just not during the holidays.

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