Sunday, July 31, 2011

¿Dónde están las reglas?

Translation: Where are the rules?

Usually I finish my quilts fairly quickly, but I needed fabric for binding.
I had intended to bind the quilt with the same fabric I used to bind the White Rules. (These gold scallops) I even ordered the fabric from an on-line quilt store, but after THREE WEEKS of hearing NOTHING from the vendor about delivery (even though I sent TWO emails and left TWO phone messages), I called my credit card company and discovered the money hadn't even been charged to my account. So I "cancelled" the order, and went to the lqs and bought fabric for the hanging sleeveand fabric for the binding.So this quilt should be finished soon.

Tomorrow, the Red Letter Along continues with the letter Q!

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Friday Color

This is a bouquet of herbs I picked for my desk at work. There's Thai Basil, Genovese Basil, Dill, Mint, Greek Oregano, Parsley, Thyme, Lemon Thyme and a few Nasturtium blossoms. This is also a great example of how complementary colors play against each other. This Red-Orange flower isn't the perfect complement to the green herbs, but it's enough to make the flowers practically sizzle with intensity. Simultaneous Contrast can't be photographed. What you see on your computer is a pale imitation of the real thing. Do a Google image search on Complementary Colors and Simultaneous Contrast to see other examples.

One of my favorite paintings at the Currier Museum of Art is another good example.


I've been a fan of Project Runway since the very beginning. Season 9 started last night. I won't spill any beans in case you haven't seen it, but I think it's going to be a good season.

My Favorite P

This is my son, and the name panel he made last Christmas. He'd never used a sewing machine before. If he can do it, you can do it.
To make a P, you'll need a small piece of your background fabric, about 1-1/2" by 3". Add your letter fabrics around on three sides, add a big piece to the bottom, and then an upright on the left.
There are lots of ways to make your P unique. One of my favorites is to make the lower bar come back to the upgright at an angle, like this blue one.There are lots of ways to make your letters unique.That's it for this week. I've been extremely busy at work. We're replacing all our servers, moving all the data to another server, updating our Accounting and Manufacturing, and Email software, utilizing virtual servers and virtual storage. If you know what all that means, you know how big a job it is. If you don't understand all that, just try to imagine moving a tractor trailer full of stuff from one eighteen wheeler to another as both are driving on a highway at 80 miles an hour without dropping or damaging anything.

Look for my interpretation of Q on Monday. I have also had several off-line questions about knowing how I keep my letters about the same size. I am hoping to be able to address that issue over the weekend.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

O... my goodness!

An O is easy to make. Start with a small background square, and sew your letter fabric all around on all sides.Sewing it together is easy. It's trimming it that makes it so much fun. Where do you want that hole in the O to be?

O... the possibilities...And then, of course, you can tinker with the shape of the O...And remember, letters work together to form WORDS. This DOG is from The Brown Fox quilt. Doesn't the low hole in the O help make the word look slow and lazy? Here we've got two O's next to each other. Two identical O's side by side wouldn't have been particularly interesting.

So have some fun. Make your O with LOTS of extra letter fabric so you can trim it down later.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

the Nth Degree

This N is 16" tall, WAY too big for the Red Letter quilt, but it's a good example of how to choose fabrics for a multi-fabric letter based on more than just color. The prints all have circular and rounded elements, so they "relate" to each other. You see their similarities more than their differences at first, then you look closer. The yellow fabric in the dot of the exclamation mark is swirly too!Every piece of art needs a way to draw the viewer in, to keep the viewer's attention. Things that are too much the same, or too "matchy-matchy" don't always do that. I like to keep my viewers guessing. I want them to look closer, to find the surprises I've hidden.
For the red N, I've cut five strips, red: 2-1/2", 2-1/4", 1-1/2" x 7" long; and two background strips, 2-1/2" and 1-1/4" by 7" long.
Slice the wide background fabric on an angle, and insert the skinny red piece between them. Then add the wider strips on either side. The extra background piece is the spacer.
If I make strips long (or tall), I can make the letter and have enough "play" to make the letter the height I want.
Here are some N's.
You can vary the N by making the uprights thick or thin, or a combination of both, and you can make the diagonal skinny or fat, or at a steep or shallow angle. Lay extra strips of your background fabric over your letter to visualize what it might look like before you sew components together. Move them around until you find an arrangement that suits you.
Clare,YES! Like Julie, I do refer to Tonya's book often.

Julie, YES! Making letters small is a lot trickier than making them larger.

Judy, YES! Black and white on green makes a fun quilt! Check out my Daft Zebras quilt.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Mmmm... Monday!

The M looks complicated, but don't let it intimidate you. It starts with two strips of fabric sewn to a triangular piece of your background fabric to make a V shape.
Add some background fabric to either side of the middle "V", then sew your letter fabric uprights to either side of that.This yellow M from my sampler quilt, Letters From Home, is OK, but the V almost looks like a hammock. There isn't enough of it connected to the uprights on either side.Here the green V is well anchored to the uprights on either side. That middle V shape can touch the baseline if you like.The strips can be both thick and thin.
The center V shape can be wonky, as in the above examples, or more regular and precise, like these below.In this blue M, I wanted the fabrics to make the letter look like the fabric was folded over itself. The strips are all on the wide side, and all the elements have the same "weight."This M from No Rules for Julie is one of my all time favorites. The strips are thinner and the letter is narrower.
Make your center V shape, then move the uprights on either side around until the letter M looks appealing to you. Then sew the strips. Don't be afraid to play with it a bit first.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Butterfly Birthday

Every year to celebrate my birthday, I spend a day with my son. I prefer time with him in lieu of a gift. This year I told him I wanted to be inside where it was cool.

After a lunch of sushi, and a visit to my favorite chocolatier, he brought me to The Butterfly Place.

It's a sun-filled atrium filled with butterflies. It was not air-conditioned.
You can see hundreds of butterflies, but you can't touch them. In this photo of my son, he's aiming at a butterfly in the lower right, but a yellow one is flying nearby. I was glad a had a camera with a huge memory card, and had brought my spare battery, because I took lots of pictures. Most of them looked like this...(a butterfly was there a second ago)and this. (Drat!)But if you get lucky, you get pictures like this, of butterflies resting.
There are lots of beautiful flowers, like this hibiscus.You have look carefully, because sometimes the butterflies blend in.
or look like flowers.
But the one butterfly you really want to photograph is the big Blue Morpho, who will fly inches away from your head in a looping up and down motion. This butterfly is gigantic, about seven inches across, and rarely sits still with its wings open so you can photograph the stunning iridescent blue. Mostly, you'll get pictures like this.
and this. Here are four Blue Morphos, resting. Patience and luck may reward you.If you get REALLY lucky, a butterfly might land on your hat, so you can get a good picture.or not.After our visit to The Butterfly Place, my son and I had dinner at a restaurant called 900 Degrees. It was spectacular. Then we went to see the last Harry Potter movie.

We had a great day!

(You can read about last year's day here.)