A QAL Project For Me, Day 10


 

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Anticipation!

I looked forward to returning to my studio today.  My mood was extra perky because the clouds were gone and the sun was brightly shining. I just love it when the light filters through my studio window. The glow of the bright rays and their warmth always makes me smile.

Day 10

My goal for today was to create new building blocks to fill in some of the holes in my design. I also had plans to manipulate the arrangement of my blocks. The process of moving them around obviously won’t stop until I start to stitch them together. The farther I get into my project the harder it is to see big changes.

Parts Department

I have a large volume of scraps stockpiled in baskets and tubs just waiting to be added to an art piece. Sometimes I think I pay more attention to them than I do my neatly stacked and folded fabrics.

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Storage Area

Perhaps it’s because the contents in my cubby holes serve two purposes,

inventory and

decoration.

I love to surround myself with bright colors. My home glows with pizazz from my many art pieces and the carefully chosen collectibles. In my studio, my neatly pressed fabrics help to add the punch of color I crave.

A decrease in my inventory would mean a reduction in the colors on display. Of course I could always remedy that with additional trips to the fabric store. But, on the other hand, that would mean I have to spend more money and spending more money is something I hope to curtail. The scraps of fabric, while quite colorful all on their own, don’t provide as much of an artistic impact. Besides cutting into a scrap is much less traumatic that a whole piece of cloth.

Todays Specimens

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On Day 1  I experimented with the construction of angled strips using Cindy Grisdela’s book Artful Improv: Explore Color Recipes, Building Blocks & Free-Motion Quilting. From several of the blocks I cut a thin strip and set them aside for future pieces.

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Mystery QAL Day 10 Block Harvest

I used those strips to create the center section for the block in the top left corner. I’m  amazed at how interesting it turned out. The other five blocks were also made with scraps from my baskets.

Color Value

Pictured above are my color and mono tone photos from yesterday. The photos show areas of concentrated dark values. To make my piece more appealing I needed to insert blocks with lighter tones to break up those areas.

Some of the blocks I create are random sizes while others were made with a definite size in mind. All of the units I made today were meant to fill specific areas so their sizes were predetermined. Their color values were pre-planned as well.

These new blocks were made to help breakup yesterdays problem areas. I inserted them into my art piece then took another set of photos.

Here’s how my piece looked after they were incorporated. The addition of the lighter colors helped to break up the overly dark areas.

A Different Plain

Without my saying so, I’m sure you have noticed that my photos were displayed horizontally rather than vertically. I did this because I like to be able to see them on a different plane. This gives me the opportunity to visualize things differently and perhaps notice other problem areas.

My design wall is way too big to turn the other way. It is much easier to rotate a photo than it is to move my board. Besides, if I did try to turn the board I have a hunch many of my units would fall off; creating yet another problem. Then I definitely would see things in a whole new way.

Aside from color value, I also like to analyze the direction of my blocks. Ideally I would have a good mix of both horizontal as well as portrait. My eyes don’t always catch this with a portrait photo. Many times I’m so focused on color and their values that I forget to look at block orientation. The horizontal photo makes me look at things differently and helps me to focus on portrait vs. landscape.

Judging by the photos above I think I have a pretty good mix. There are perhaps a few more that register as landscape but I think I can live with that for now. Especially since I’m not quite finished with my design. This gives me something to keep in the back of my mind, however.

Now What?

So far today I have made six new blocks, reorganized the block arrangement and analyzed my landscape vs. portrait orientation. Left to consider is my color values. Next I will compare yesterday’s photo with today’s.

 

Looking at the two photos I can see that many of the blocks have been moved to new locations. Moving them around and adding in the six new units has drastically improved the appearance. The ratio of lights, mediums and darks has started to even out as well. With a more even blend my eyes move about more freely and that’s exactly what I want to achieve. Woohoo! I think I am on to something. FINALLY! 🙂

Awesome!

This is an awesome place to call it a day! Before I do that let me share two more photos.

This side-by-side comparison provides a look at the end-of-day photos from yesterday and today. I definitely like today’s much better! It looks so much more organized and restful.

Thank You!

You have been such a trooper for allowing me to bend your ear. Thank You! I look forward to our next get-together. I am so excited because we are getting so close to the end.

Talk with you soon!

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Surprise!


My hubby and I recently celebrated a significant anniversary. On that special day we were at our little cabin in the woods. Since we were unavailable to celebrate with others no parties were planned.

This past Friday night we were invited to attend a birthday party for a family member. The only instructions we were given was to arrive at 5:45 pm. All offers to contribute food for the gathering were turned down. After accepting the answers I never gave it any more thought.

We left for the party early, stopping along the way to pick up a few items at a local store. When we arrived at the party the driveway was already filled with cars. All of them were familiar. Being the last ones to arrive seemed a bit odd.

The two of us entered the home together. After removing our shoes we rounded the corner to the kitchen. From the kitchen we could see a room filled with decorations, flowers and guests. The color theme of the party was obviously red because almost all of the attendees were wearing red. The decorations and flowers were primarily red as well. We didn’t put two and two together until an explanation was provided for the color theme. As the realization set in we were overjoyed! How awesome to be surprised and acknowledged for our amazing milestone.

There was a time when we never thought we would make it this far. My hubby has had cancer two times. With the first occurrence we were told not to expect him to live more than ten years. He has now surpassed that milestone by five. Thankfully we have lived to experience this anniversary and will hopefully celebrate many, many more.

To our family and friends that follow my blog we extend a huge THANK YOU! We feel blessed to be honored with such an amazing show of love!

Here for your enjoyment is photos of the beautiful flowers we received.

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Day Five: Last Day!


The fifth and last day of my quilting retreat finally arrived. By this time I was exhausted. Most of the spring in my step had pretty much disappeared and my mind felt a bit foggy and sluggish. But with only half a day left I had much I wanted to accomplish, so there was no time to waste.

When I turned off my sewing machine the day before I had stitched together twenty-four of the forty-eight flower blocks needed for the Harvest Melody Quilt. With my confidence high that I could finish the remaining blocks before it was time to leave I wasted no time getting started.

One by one I pulled together the units that made up each flower, then stitched and pressed their seams. With a whopping ten minutes to spare I finished the very last one. I was also able to cut and stack the spacer rectangles that would be inserted between each of the flowers.

While I was not able to get the Harvest Melody Quilt top assembled nor any progress made on the French Cottage Garden Quilt I was still very pleased with my accomplishments. I had finished way more that I had thought possible so how could I be disappointed. Here’s a photo of the stacked flower blocks.

I hope to get the Harvest Melody Quilt top completed very soon. Some how I will have to sandwich it in between the five quilts I have waiting to be longarm quilted, my husband’s upcoming surgery and a week-long visit with my grandchildren. On top of that, when I arrived home yesterday, I was sad to discover that I had the early signs of another cold. The germs that were setting in would present yet another challenge. Oh well! One thing at a time.

As I pulled into our driveway, at the end of my journey, I was warmly greeted by my husband. He was standing outside watching my progress on his Find Friends app. After sharing a warm embrace my husband and daughter quickly unpacked the car. Before I knew it my belongings were distributed to their intended locations. I was also pleasantly surprised to find that my husband had vacuumed all of the floors and did a bit of tidying up. How awesome! Thanks sweetie!

Well that’s a wrap! I will update you on the progress I make while adding the finishing touches to each of my Mom’s quilts. Who knows…I may even revisit the French Cottage Garden Quilt.

I had a wonderful time at my quilting retreat. Woodland Ridge Retreat center is a fabulous facility. If you ever have the chance to attend a class or want to schedule your own retreat I would highly recommend it! You won’t be disappointed!

If you would like to read all of the posts associated with my retreat, here are the links

Getting Ready

My Bags Are  Packed

Phew

Day Two

Day Three

Day Four

Many thanks for stopping by! I appreciate your interest!

Cindy Anderson

Deb’s Baby Quilt


Deb G, the queen of tee-shirt quilts, was at it again. Deb and I have been working together for several years. With the exception of one or two items, the subject of most of her quilts is tee-shirts. For her family, she is the go-to-person. She takes her family’s treasured shirts and turns them into works of art.

Late last fall she delivered a quilt top that was earmarked as a baby quilt. Now when I think of baby quilts I think of pastel colored fabrics stitched together using a pattern. This quilt top did not in any way fit my stereotype. Rather than using store bought fabrics and a pattern Deb used tee-shirts and her own imagination to assemble the pieces.The quilt that resulted from her efforts would have more meaning to the receiving family than any other option she could have used.

The theme of this quilt was baseball. As you will see from the photos below she inserted her own flair by making a few blocks inspired by her creative imagination. Look closely and you will find the two blocks I am referring to. On one of them she made her own baseball out of white fabric then added hand stitching mimicking that found on a traditional baseball. The other block sports a baseball glove and a baseball bat. To add even more flair Deb used fabric printed to look like grass for the sashing between the shirts. This was one well-though out quilt.

Typically Deb chooses one color of thread and one stitch pattern for me to use when quilting her projects. For this one she got very creative. Instead of one color of thread we used four and instead of one stitch pattern we used two.

Here’s how Deb’s baby quilt looked when it was finished.

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So what do you think? Does it look as spectacular as I described? Doesn’t Deb deserve a round of applause for a job well done!

Thanks readers for taking the time to read this post. I appreciate your visit. I know your free time is valuable and most likely in high demand. If you have a few more minutes to spare, how about sharing your thoughts on this quilt. Perhaps you would even like to make an inquiry about having your special project longarm quilted by me. Whatever the case, leave a comment.

Cindy Anderson of In A Stitch Quilting

Day Four


You know how it is when you make plans to get away. All the excitement gets you pumped up with anticipation. Then the day of departure finally arrives and you can’t believe it’s actually time to go. You arrive at your destination, settle in, and watch as your experience unfolds. Before you know it the special event is almost over and you wonder where the time went.

Saturday, aka Day Four, I woke up in just that state of mind. With only one full day of my five day retreat left it hit me…where had the time gone? Obviously most of it was spent focused on finishing my Mom’s five quilts. But yet it just seemed so hard to believe that my retreat was almost over.

All of my companions were just as wrapped up in their projects as I was. It was absolutely amazing to watch as their works of art unfolded. They were incredibly talented quilters and I stood in awe at what they were able to accomplish. I felt so blessed to be immersed in their process.

With only one full day left I had to maintain my intense focus if I was going to be able to meet my goal. While finishing my Mom’s five in-progress quilts was a mountainous task it was attainable. Well at least I hoped it was!?!

On Friday I was very fortunate to get a deep-tissue massage. There was a group of ladies that were housed in the other wing of the retreat center. They had arranged for a masous to come and perform massages on Thursday. Once our group found out about the masous there was an overwhelming enthusiasm to ask her to return on Friday. Thankfully she agreed to come back. There were a limited number of openings available and I obtained one of those appointments.

The massage, as deep-tissue massages go, was quite painful yet relaxing. I had no idea my upper body muscles were so tangled up in knots. Thinking back over the number of quilts I had recently worked with, on my longarm quilt machine, it actually made sense. The physical movements my body goes through while manipulating my machine do tend to fatigue my muscles. The fatigue is obviously accumulative and I was totally unaware of the impact it was having on me.

When the massage was over the masous told me she was afraid she wasn’t going to be able to work all of the knots out. Some of them were so deep they were hard to get to. She was very pleased to announce that she had been successful. I know how it feels when a tough task is finally accomplished and you can stand back in amazement.

Saturday morning I focused my attention on measuring up and adding the red borders around the Stars and Stripes Table Topper. In no time I had them cut and stitched to the outer edges. Here’s how the table topper looked when I was finished.

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Stars and Stripes Table Topper

There were now three quilts left to do, two that could be quite complicated and one that I knew was going to be super easy. Bet you can figure out what one I chose! That’s right! You guessed it! The super easy one.

My Mom’s third semi-finished quilt is called the American Flag Picnic Throw. The pattern was printed on a half sheet of tan paper. The instructions were super, super easy to follow. So easy that I had the picnic throw cut and stitched together in about an hour. Here’s the third item on my list of finished projects.

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American Flag Picnic Quilt Throw

Now it was time to decide which of the two more involved quilts I wanted to tackle. My choices were these.

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Harrest Melody Quilt

The Harvest Melody Quilt and the

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French Cottage Garden Quilt.

Before making my decision I opened each of the bags that contained the patterns. I wanted to learn just how involved they were and their state of completion. The French Cottage Garden Quilt was easy to eliminate because it involved embroidery. There was no way I was even remotely interested in doing that so I pushed that one aside.

The Harvest Melody was designed by my sister Pat Farnsworth and Lisa Ippolito in August of 2001. After exploring the progress my Mom had made it was evident that the majority of the pattern had already been cut out and many of the individual leaves and stems had been assembled. Here’s a photo of the mockup my Mom had made.

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Harvest Melody Quilt Sections

Left to do was the stitching together of the individual sections into a completed leaf.

After making certain that there were enough of each of the units I began stitching random colors together. By the time I called it quits for the day I had assembled twenty-four of the flowers. With the pattern designed for forty-eight that meant I had twenty-five to go. I felt confident those twenty-five could easily be finished on my fifth and final day.

Thanks for you interest in my retreat experience and for stopping by. I know your time is very valuable and in short supply!

Cindy Anderson