Sunday, October 31, 2010

A Chocolate Update

This CHOCOLATE looks good.

I've put together a Picasa page about my trip through CHOCOLATE. You can find it here.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Chocolate Love

See these fun crazy letters for the word CHOCOLATE? While I thought they looked good on paper, they just didn't look that great when placed next to the other colored words in the quilt. I just wasn't feeling the love. They have to go. They may have been good letters, they may have been interesting, but they just didn't continue the vibe I had going on with the rest of the words, so they are "out."

I spent some time last night re-drafting the word on graph paper, making the letters "life size" (about 4")
All the letters I made for CHOCOLATE have to be re-done. Every. Single. Letter.

Even that nifty "A" I made yesterday (it's too big).

As for Project Runway, I thought Mondo was the better designer by far and deserved to win.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Chocolate A

I love this "A" from Chocolate. It's a little eccentric without being totally wacky.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Chocolate, in progress

Making these really wonky letters for CHOCOLATE is really tricky. I like the second "O" better this time around. Looking at the photo, I need to spread the letters apart more. They are too tightly packed. Good thing they aren't sewn down.

***The Project Runway finale is tonight! I will stay up to watch the whole thing!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Chocolate, Revised

The more I looked at the letters I had made for CHOCOLATE, the more I thought they were somewhat plain. I kept remembering what my friend Julie said, that I should "go for it" when I made these words. "Go for broke" is what she meant.

I remembered an article I read about creativity (in the business world, no less.) It said that most groups stopped thinking when they came up with the first idea. The article said you shouldn't stop when you have a good idea, that you should keep thinking of MORE good ideas; that you would then be forced to come up with better ones.

A brown word, CHOCOLATE, made using novelty chocolate themed fabrics - is that really original? Nope. Throughout my colors quilt I have tried to make the style of each word unique in some way. What I had with CHOCOLATE was good, but I wanted it to be better.
I liked some elements of this Showcard Gothic font (above). I liked that the letters were wider at the top than at the bottom. So I played with that a bit, (you will have to click the photo to enlarge, then click it again to see my drawings), but the letters looked like teeth, and that didn't remind me much of chocolate. Then I tried alternating the letters, but they just looked too blocky.
As I looked at the color words I had already sewn, I realized I did not have a word where I mixed up sentence case or the size of letters. I thought that might be a good thing to play with. So I played around a bit more, exaggerating angles and bumping the letters out of their horizontal boundaries a bit. I like this a lot, and it adds a bit of fun to the word.
Here are the first two letters. Yes, that's a piano and a double bass in the "H". Both say JAZZ, which while not necessarily chocolate, definitely say smooth to me. But don't worry, I'm definitely gonna get those chocolate novelty fabrics in there!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Chocolate Sneak Peek

I'm playing with CHOCOLATE. I can have fun fussy-cutting the fabrics, but I think I need to push them a bit more. My son doesn't like my interpretation of this "O", which uses a white chocolate as the center of the "O". He doesn't think it "reads" like an "O" because the chocolate directly above the center has that white swirl. I agree the letter doesn't quite work, but I think it's because it is too big. I'm going to keep tinkering.

Here's a bit of colors trivia. This is how many times each letter of the alphabet appears in the colors quilt.

A 7
B 1
C 4
D 2
E 9
F -
G 4
H 5
I 7
J -
K 1
L 4
M 5
N 6
O 7
P 2
Q 1
R 5
S 2
T 4
U 3
V 1
W 1
X -
Y -
Z -

Monday, October 25, 2010

Dear Anonymous

To all of you with questions...

Vermilion has one "L". Here is the Wikipedia post about Vermilion. I studied Fine Arts in college, then for a while I worked as a buyer for an art supply store. I can spell vermilion. Yes, some color houses spell it with two L's, but in all of the literature I have ever seen, it has one. I checked before I started sewing it up. It's also worth noting that chef Maneet Chauhan, who is currently competing in the Food Network's The Next Iron Chef, is the executive chef of Vermilion in New York City and Chicago. One "l."

*note to Anonymous: If you're Canadian, and you spell "vermillion" with two L's, I get it. Every individual's own language has to take precedence. After all, to the Brits, "color" is "colour." In these cases, neither is spelled incorrectly.

I didn't plan on making all nine-letter words when I started this. It just worked out that way for the first three words, and I thought it was so much fun I decided to stick with it.
Karen S:
The "M" in Champagne was completely, utterly, totally, 100% the trickiest letter I have ever made.

The "A" was one of the easiest letters, actually, after I realized the letter is a 60-degree triangle. However, I did have to rip it apart at least once.

Janet, Derby & Ducky:
Yes I know Champagne is bubbly and has lots of curves, but these letters are made without patterns or templates (one of my rules) and I thought mine just looked lousy. Since I make the rules, I can break them.

Anonymous 2:
Yeah, the champagne glass shape would have been good, but I didn't have any letters that could use it, and since the quilt will be only letters and nothing else (no hearts, butterflies or other elements) I had to leave that idea out. But yes, I did think about it.

I studied lettering in college, and it's nice to hear from somebody else who understands about kerning. Making letters out of fabric, however, makes kerning really tough (seam allowances get in the way), and sometimes I just say "to hell with it." I do the best I can.

Hawaii-Five-O is only good for occupying the mind while ironing, otherwise I agree with you, it's rather mediocre, and I'm already getting tired of the variations on "book him, Dano."

On Project Runway, Gosh, I can't stand Gretchen. I think they screwed up there. I found a PR fansite and 78% of voters thought she shouldn't be going to Fashion Week. Needless to say, I'm one of them.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

CHAMPAGNE, part two

Well, here it is, the finished version of CHAMPAGNE. I am very happy with it, and will trim it out and add the upper and lower strips a bit later.
How did I get to this? My son was over for dinner last night and saw the word and knew I didn't like it.

The old version, (below) the one with the C, P and G I disliked, looked clunky and ugly. The word Champagne, evokes lightness and joy. I didn't want the quilt to be marred by a word I didn't like.My son studied the word, which was on the wall with all the others.

"Mom," he said, "You don't have any curves anywhere. None of your other R's,G's, C's or O's have curves." He pointed them out. "Your B doesn't have any curves.""Does the word champagne really have to have curves?"

He was right. Gosh, I love that kid!

Saturday, October 23, 2010


Well, here's CHAMPAGNE. (You can/should click the image to enlarge, and then click again for more detail.) I love all the letters that don't have curves.

The "G" isn't bad, I'm worried it's too pink. The "C" is a do-over, and the "P" suffers from an unfortunate visual association.

Time to leave it up on the wall for a few days.

Friday, October 22, 2010

H - A - M - N - E

Here are a few letters from CHAMPAGNE.

"H" was a piece of cake to make, that is, if you are accustomed to making something 1/4" wide.

"A," was a lot harder than it looks. The only thing that made it easier is it is a perfect 60-degree angle.Here are a few more.... (sorry for the lousy photos, there's not a lot of light)
"M"was ridiculously difficult (and that tail will disappear once the letter gets sewn to a long border strip).

"E," harder than it looks to get it right. (Actually the wide part needs to be thinner.)

"N" was actually the easiest letter so far, and those tails above and below will disappear as well when the letter is joined to a larger panel.

Each letter, btw, required some ripping and resewing.

One more "A" to make, then the struggle with C, P and G.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Pushing the Envelope

One of my least favorite "colors" is beige. CHAMPAGNE can't be pure white because the background of the quilt is white. So it's going to have to beige or at least "read" as creamy, beige-ish. I've got some ideas to relieve beige-boredom, and you can see one of them here, in this attempt at a "C" in a Broadway-style font.

I don't mind the fabric, and I like the "font" but this one needs a bit of work. I'm not worried or stressed or aggravated. This is pushing the envelope, this is experimenting. And you never know what happens until you try. So I'm actually pleased with this attempt.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Inspiration and Ideas

The next word in the sequence for the color words quilt is CHAMPAGNE. Fizzy, bubbly, fun, light, celebratory...

So my question to myself is how do I show that? I've already made 7 words, how can I make this one just a bit different from all the others?Rather than reinvent the wheel, I decided to see what the word looked like in different fonts, and the easiest way to do that was just to open my word processing program on my computer and try some.

Obviously, working in fabric would make some of these virtually impossible, but there are a few interesting things to notice. Look at the uppercase M. Sometimes that middle piece touches the bottom line, and sometimes it doesn't.In this one, notice the really thin font (Papyrus. You can click the photos to enlarge, and then click again for more detail). Notice how the crossbar for the H is very high, but for the A it is very low. The loop on the P is tiny, and high up, and the cross bar on the E is high up too. Those help the letters feel light.

In this last one, check out the triangle shape used as the crossbar in the letter A (in Showcard Gothic). That has potential!

I'm not sure what I'm going to do yet, but I have a treasure trove of ideas to play with.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Decisions, Decisions...

Not quite sure how I will arrange the words. I shouldn't even be worrying yet as I still have two more words to make. I want the very last word to be CHOCOLATE because I think it will be a fun surprise when you get to the end.

I was at the LQS this past Saturday and it hit me... I'm going to have to find an appropriate backing fabric for this quilt!

Should be interesting.

Monday, October 18, 2010

The Big W

Of all the letters, I think making the uppercase W is the trickiest. It seems to take the most fabric, and it occupies the most space.It is one of the letters I like the most. I make two V's and then set them side by side. Much trickery and some geometry is involved.
Then I set my rule on top and determine how to trim it. I also use strips of fabric to isolate the letter, but I have removed them in the photo.
W, all ready to join the others.

Sunday, October 17, 2010


Seven down, two to go. Sorry this picture isn't in better focus... I am really really happy with this so far.

Saturday, October 16, 2010


Nothing relieves my stress like sewing. It's been "one of those weeks" at work, and there were a million other things going on, so I really needed to spend some time working in the sewing studio.

Here is the nine-letter word, NIGHTHAWK. The letters haven't been sewn together yet. This is quite a big word, bigger than the other colors.
I had been stuck on what "style" letters to do with this word (and the white and brown), but my friend Julie set me straight. She told me to quit stressing, and said "mix it up" and "utilize the power of your fabrics."
She was right. (you can click the pictures to enlarge)
I am particularly proud of the "K."

Friday, October 15, 2010

Freudian Friday

The word I am making for Black is NIGHTHAWK, not Blackhawk.


Oh well. Another letter for the Misfits pile!

Thursday, October 14, 2010


I've ridiculously busy with all kinds of stuff. Here's a picture of the Maple tree in our back yard, taken through my kitchen window the other morning.

I do not get tired of looking at the leaves change colors every year. You can click the photo to enlarge.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Astrid's Quilt

Astrid asked for a throw quilt for her living room. Astrid wanted creams and colors. She isn't a fan of pink, and preferred strong colors over pastels. She liked the Sunshine Quilt I made for my son, so this is the same Slashed Squares design. The quilt is about 70" square.

Here the quilt is in the shade, on the grass.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

A Finish for Astrid

This is a quilt I am making for my friend Astrid. I got it all bound last night, and will try to take some pictures of the quilt in natural light today, and then I'll send the quilt to her. She's quite looking forward to it, as it was 37F (3C) at her house yesterday morning!

I even washed this quilt so it would be crinkly.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Six by Nine

Here's MALACHITE all sewn up and trimmed. At this point, the rows are not sewn together. I may rearrange them. (you can click the photo to enlarge)

Yesterday I was trying to figure out if I -really- needed to add White, Black and Brown. Thinking about how yesterday was 10-10-10 made me think about how my color words had nine letters each, and if I used nine words, the quilt would be Nine by Nine, or Nine Squared.

I have decided the final three colors, Black, White and Brown. They will be:

NIGHTHAWK (gives me a W and a K)

CHAMPAGNE (ok, it isn't white, but you get the idea)

CHOCOLATE (too damn perfect to ignore)

I am making the letters for CHOCOLATE, and all I have is plain, ordinary browns. If anybody has chocolate-themed fabrics, I'd love to swap. Letters don't need much fabric - a 4-1/2" wide strip about 20" long is more than enough for any letter (except maybe a W). Email me at patcherymenagerie AT gmail DOT com. Thanks.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Nine Letter Words on 10/10/10

You guys are terrific! I loved LIQUORICE, but here in the USA it is spelled LICORICE.

Dear Selvage Fairy, I already have a Q in TURQUOISE.

FUNNELWEB is a bit on the obscure side. I had similar problems with GYRFALCON.

PANTHERES (French version plural) would be good, but the words can't be 9 letters simply by being plural.

NIGHTHAWK, from Hopper's painting would be good, and has the added advantage of including a W and a K, which do not appear in my words as yet.

OBSIDIAN, has only 8 letters.

HOWEVER.... (7 letters)

I googled nine-letter words, and in addition to finding a link to one of my previous posts, deep in the list I found this: a Scrabble list of nine-letter words. OMIGOODNESS! You have to check it out, just because it is so amazing. I spent about twenty minutes browsing...

Here are just a -few- of the words that caught my attention, and not all of them are black..




DRIFTWOOD (this says GRAY to me, though)


HOMICIDAL (good word, but kinda grisly)


MONADNOCK (there is a mountain about an hour's drive away from my house that is called Mt Monadnock)



QUICKSAND (can you image the top half of the letters visible and the bottom half cut off?)

SACRILEGE (what can I say? I was raised Catholic)

SOAPSTONE (I'm pretty sure soapstone can be black, but this word says WHITE to me.)


XYLOPHONE (This is awesome... can you see this one in black-and-white fabrics...)

but the absolute BEST discovery, wasn't a black word at all. It was...


Saturday, October 9, 2010


This is what you can do when you catch up with... Top Chef Just Desserts (glad HE went home, was disappointed in HER); Project Runway (can I tell you how much I dislike Gretchen?)and Hawaii Five-O (this is shaping up to be my guilty pleasure.)

The letters in MALACHITE are about 4-1/2" tall, and have not been trimmed down to size or sewn together.

I am REALLY liking this quilt. It will be -just- words. No flowers, no butterflies, no birds, no houses, no rows of multi-colored marquee dots.

I will make WHITE, BLACK and BROWN to follow, in that sequence. The only reason I am going to include brown is that I found a PERFECT word for it.

(Tomorrow I will tell you about the nine-letter word bonanza I found!)

Friday, October 8, 2010

Help Needed: Black

My plan for green was MALACHITE, but Chris came up with GUACAMOLE and that sounds terrifically fun! I'm still leaning towards MALACHITE, but GUACAMOLE is tempting... particularly because I love Guacamole.

You all give me such great ideas... here's your chance...

for WHITE, I will be using the word ALABASTER.

But I am still waffling about my selection for BLACK. I had settled on GYRFALCON, except that I have to keep explaining it.

Turquoise is a blue stone
Augergine is the French word for eggplant
Vermilion is a red pigment
Persimmon is an orange colored fruit
Goldenrod is a yellow flower
Malachite is a green stone (Guacamole is a green food)
Alabaster is a whitish stone

I need a nine-letter word for something BLACK, but it can't have the word BLACK in it. It doesn't have to be brain-dead obvious, it should actually be a little bit obscure.

You know, Serendipity is a wonderful thing... I just thought of the famous Edward Hopper painting Nighthawks, (bigger image here.)

Can you come up with something?

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Quick Brown Fox at Home

To those of you wondering if the Quick Brown Fox could -possibly- look as good in real life as in the pictures Chris took...

the answer is most definitively... YES!

I love everything about the quilting. I love the thread Chris used. I love the swirls. I love that she outlined every element. I love the way she treated the flowers, and the bird, and the butterflies. I love the quilting in the Fox and the Dog. I love the lazy dog's eyelid. I -adore- the butterfly on his nose...

I am really, really, really happy with it.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

A Nine Letter Word for Green

Hmm... Let me see...

ARTICHOKE (already have an "A" vegetable)

ASPARAGUS (see above)

VIRIDIAN (not enough letters)

EMERALD (still not enough letters)



JUNIPER (nope, only 7 letters)

hmm... perhaps...



(c'mon, it's easy; and don't be too literal) You can work it out.

Monday, October 4, 2010

The Quick Brown Fox is Quilted!

The Quick Brown Fox is on his way back to me. Chris has done a spectacular job quilting it. Here is a sneak peek.
I want her to post about it first, so you'll have to check her blog to see the first pictures.

I have learned to give Chris Carte Blanche when she quilts my quilts. Which is to say I put my flimsies in a box and mail them halfway across the USA to her and let her do whatever she thinks is best.

She's never let me down.

This Fox rocks!

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Colors Lined Up

I have sewn the letters of "goldenrod" together. So far I like the way it is looking
Here are the duds so far this round...
There's nothing really wrong with any of them, they just didn't work in the words for which they were originally intended..

Saturday, October 2, 2010


For me, the best stress relief is spending time in the sewing studio. Here are the letters for GOLDENROD. I haven't trimmed them down, or sewn them together yet.

I had wanted each word to have a different style and feeling about them. So far, I think that is the case, and I am rather pleased.

You can click the photo to enlarge.


This is the beginning of GOLDENROD. These letters haven't been trimmed or sewn together yet.