Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Green Barn, On the Ground

I was having a conversation with a friend over the weekend about how you just have to keep trying things to find what works. In the case of the photo above, the big fabric of the leaves on the right, was just too overpowering.

This green background looks better. You can see I'm working out the base of the barn.

Here I've got the bottom part of the barn worked out. It's not sewn to the background yet, but that's coming later. I solved the problem by making the ground NOT in Winter.

Sunday, February 26, 2017

The Green Barn, Continued

Last June I was working on this Green Barn, based on a real barn in my town. I hadn't sewn a lot of these pieces together, but when my pal Julie Sefton asked if she could borrow this panel and another for a class is teaching in April, I figured I better get going.

I couldn't find all the green pieces (because, you know, I was cleaning the studio...) so I did the best I could.

This is the inspiration barn, and as you can see it has two levels, with a ramp up to the big door. This picture was taken in winter (duh). So OK, how do I convey that so it makes sense to the viewer? I'm also not sure I want to make a 3-D barn, although that might make more sense

Because this isn't doing anything for me.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017


I finally got my act together and sent for all the ribbons from the AQS shows my quilts were entered in last year. I've got to put them up on the wall.
The Studio is looking better. At least there isn't any more fabric on the floor.

 This is all I have left to sort. After that it's dust and vacuum. Then I have to prepare the backings for the Fruit Loops and Treasure Trove quilts.

Sometimes you have to admit the inevitable. Remember the line from the movie JAWS where the guy says, "You need a bigger boat?" Well, in my case, I needed a bigger bin for my black and white scraps.

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Time to Clean the Studio

It's time to clean the studio.

When I have to push stuff around to cut a piece of fabric, it's time to clean.

When a whole table is taken over by something..

and I have to watch where I step,

I know it's time to clean the studio.

While the repairman installed the new hot water heater yesterday I cleaned, dusted and vacuumed the rest of the house. The studio is all that remains. (Well, actually I want to rearrange the furniture in the office, but I can't do that on my own, so it will have to wait a couple of weeks.)

I am also working on a tutorial a bout using the triangle slabs that made these three quilts, so that will be my primary focus once the studio is complete.

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Rain May Fall, with update

Into every life a little rain must fall and today it's falling in mine.

I turned on the hot water in the shower yesterday and black water came out. It ran clean after a few minutes, but when I looked at the water heater later it was definitely tilted.  Turns out it's leaking and the water had damaged the floor underneath so it was no longer stable.

this is the old one
So today I'm getting a new one installed. Sigh.


this is the new one
 So the guy came about 10 AM. He said, "Yup, you need a new tank this one is leaking." After we chatted a minute he said, "I can do it today," and he gave me a price at least a quarter of what I had expected, so I said "Sure."

"I have to go get some stuff, and then I'll have to drain the old tank before I can remove it, but it shouldn't take more than a couple hours or so."

It's not quite 3 PM as I write this and the job is done. I cannot tell you how thrilled I am.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Scrap Slab Triangle Quilts

Here are the three scrap slab (trying saying THAT three times fast) quilts:

Fruit Loops, Nov-Dec 2016

Treasure Trove, Dec 2016

Snow Day, Jan - Feb 2017

All are made with one block, a colored scrappy slab built triangle and two side triangles in black on white.

And I used these templates.

A reminder that you can click the photos to enlarge, and then click again to supersize so you can see all the gory details.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Snow Day Details

I thought you might like a couple of Snow Day close ups.

I like that the quilt has a fox in it.

Here's the obligatory crumpled shot (another nod to my pal Julie)

Here's the finished flimsy.

Tomorrow, I will post photos of all three scrap slab triangle quilts.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Snow Day


Thank you to all who commented yesterday. What a wonderful selection of names for this quilt. In the end, there was one that completely encapsulated all this quilt was about without getting too obscure or too cute. That was "Snow Day."

I am adding a border of random lengths of black and white fabrics that aren't too dark. The binding will also be a black and white fabric, but a mostly white one, and I've decided to have one slice of a bright color somewhere on the binding, just to keep up this idea of colors appearing and disappearing between the gusts of snow and the wind blowing the tree branches.

Monday, February 13, 2017

Suggestions, Please

I am good at a few things. I can draw, I can paint, I can cook and I can sew. I'm a good teacher, a good Geek and a good mother. I'm good at figuring things out and solving puzzles. After that, it all goes to pot, not that I much care. I've always been contrary.

One of the things I suck at is naming. I can never come up with good names for my quilts, and this quilt is no exception.

So while this quilt, which is all sewn up, was inspired by the winter woods, I'm not sure naming it something winter related is really the way to go. (Then again, I could be wrong.) I need your help. What should this quilt be called? Leave your suggestion in the comments, and let's avoid the corny, unoriginal, predictable or trite, so please don't say "heartbeat", Zig Zag" or "ripples."

Hey, I said I was contrary.


Sunday, February 12, 2017

Two by Two and Doobie Doobie Do

My Mother always freaks out about what I do. "Lynne, you make quilts, you blog, you WORK, and you COOK." Yeah, well, I like to eat well, what can I say. So I got up yesterday and made some granola (because I can make it better, cheaper and healthier than I can buy it), then I cooked up some farro (love it in grain salads, which I will have for lunch this week), made two loaves of bread (again, better, cheaper, healthier than the stuff at the store), made some onion jam (great on sandwiches, pizza and pasta; again, part of the menu plan for the week), some sesame noodles, and then because I wanted something different, some salted caramel brownies. (Mine probably weren't cooked enough, but I never made this recipe before. Still they are damn good. I'll bring them to work and pass them around.) After I did all the dishes, I made the bed took a shower and then went into the studio to start sewing up the blocks for the Winter Whatever Quilt. Having done all that cooking ensured two things: 1. I didn't have to feel guilty for spending the rest of the day sewing; 2. I'd have something to eat whenever I got hungry. I didn't have to stop to cook. I do this cooking thing every single weekend, (obviously with different items) and I have done it for years. It makes the rest of my life easier. I'm not quite sure why my Mom freaks out about it. Later today I'll put a couple of lamb shanks on the stove to braise all afternoon. I'll have an easy dinner and leftovers for another meal this week.

Basically, I think (and plan). I'm always thinking. Part of this is making my life easier, so that's why I do it. To me, it's no big deal. I also love to cook, so for me this isn't work.

I started taking the blocks off the design wall, trimmed them up, paired them, and sewed them together.

yadda yadda yadda.

I have six vertical rows sewn together.

My friend the Selvage Fairy wrote to me and said this quilt didn't so much remind her of trees as it did ripples of water, even though she likes it anyway.

I do too, and the ripples thing works too.

Friday, February 10, 2017

Winter Woodland

Gosh, snow days are so much fun. I got up, made a cup of hot chocolate (I do not drink coffee) and went into the studio and got right to work. I started placing the black and white side triangles next to the scrappy slab triangles.  Yes, I placed one at a time, and none of them were random.  Every now and again I'd walk across the room to see what it looked like. I even - gasp - unsewed some of the darker black and white side triangles from their blocks and replaced them with lighter versions.

After another hour, I had filled up all the spaces. So I took a break, got dressed, changed the sheets, did the laundry, had breakfast and tinkered with my computer. (I needed to delete some unnecessary files and I ran a temp file cleaner. I was able to reclaim over 27 GB of hard drive space. Yay me.)

 I made lunch, made a couple of phone calls and then got back to work. I think it's a good idea to let some time pass between the time you think you have something good and the time you do your next step. So when you go back into the studio, you notice things you might want to change. I did see a few things that needed modifying, so I did that. (I removed one of the bright orange pairs, swapped a light pair and moved the purple pair, among other things.)

I spent the rest of the afternoon sewing the triangles and the side triangles into blocks. (Those half triangles at the top and the bottom will be trimmed away.) I do see something I want to change before I declare this the final version, but so far, I like it.

There's only one tiny problem, and it exists only in my head. I showed the photo to my son. He appeared troubled. "Imagine being in the woods in winter," I said, "the sun is shining through the branches and you see the snow and the shadows on the ground. You see the brown leaves on the ground where the snow has melted. Occasionally you see a bird flying through the scene."

"Oh! As soon as you explained it, I got it," he said.

Yeah, so that's my problem. I don't want to have to EXPLAIN it. As far as I am concerned the artwork should speak on its own. (Hence the working title, "Winter Woodland.")

Anyway. Time for another mental break AWAY from the quilt.

**BTW, the weather guys originally said we were to get between 4 - 8" of snow yesterday. We got over 13". This was the inspiration view about four o'clock Thursday afternoon.

 And this, after I did a bit of tinkering, and then undid the tinkering, and then tinkered in another area, is, I think, almost, the final version.

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Winter Wonder

I got home from work last night, made a quick dinner and went right into the sewing studio. By 9 PM I had made a lot of white & colored triangle slabs. I put them up on the design wall, as you can see.

Then I had to cut some side triangles from the white and black fabrics I bought recently. After I did that I sewed them to the white colored triangles and threw them up on the design wall.

I'm liking where this is going. I will be adding the side triangles to the blocks and then I'll start moving things around with an eye to a final design. There are some of the light green blocks that were left over from Fruit Loops that I don't like here, and will make replacements for those tomorrow, and some of the orange blocks are too much one color, and I may replace those too. We'll see, but by that that time it will be more of a block by block thing. I'll redistribute colors and patterns, and I'm pretty sure I won't add the black and white side triangles randomly.

We're expecting the big snowstorm that's been walloping the midwest tomorrow. We may get between 6 - 12 inches of snow that will start during the morning commute and go right through the evening commute, with whiteout conditions along the way. I'll be staying home and I plan to be in the studio working. I may feel the need to bake some cookies because, hey, what's better than being inside watching the snow fall than the aroma of good things baking?

Wednesday, February 8, 2017


I have been making more blue slabs and cutting more blue triangles.  Really.

 But looking back at my inspiration, I thought, there's a lot of space that's empty, and I am working to fill up all my space with colored triangles.  What if I didn't?

So for grins and giggles I filled up some of the space with white with colored prints triangle slabs. They would have the same black and white side triangles as the rest of the quilt, but having this "empty" space would allow my colors to twinkle, and would suggest the dappled light of a woodland area.

Here are a couple of the white triangle slabs.  Now this could fail dramatically, but I won't know for sure until I try, and I won't even know that until I...

Make. More. Blocks.


And then I'll have to surround them with the black and white side triangles...

And then I'll have to move them around on the design wall...

And then I'll have to add some black and white side triangles to the white slabs and see if the idea works or if I have rocks in my head.

You know what I think, really?

I think it could work.

Because I WANT that empty space to stay empty. And I WANT that unexpected jolt of... Oh, there's nothing there. Oh wait. There IS something there.


And because, no I couldn't resist (because I can resist everything but temptation...)


Monday, February 6, 2017

New England Patriots are Super Bowl Champs!

Maybe you don't know, but I am a big fan of the New England Patriots. I've watched the Pats since the 1970's, and I was watching the game in 2001 when Tom Brady took over for Drew Bledsoe.

I've watched faithfully ever since. Four Super Bowl wins, two heartbreaking Super Bowl losses. Last night it looked to be another loss as we were down 21-3 at halftime. The Pats were down 25 points, but they came back to tie the game and then win in overtime, 34-28.

I was so full of nervous energy all day on Sunday I couldn't even sew. I puttered around the house, baking bread and a lemon pound cake, doing the laundry, the checkbook, and that kind of stuff. I even bought an official Tom Brady #12 jersey. (yeah, I know.)

Now the Patriots (whom Millie calls "the guys named Pat") have won more Super Bowls than anybody else, and although we in New England have long thought we have the best quarterback ever, now the whole world knows.

Sunday, February 5, 2017


I made some green and brown triangles and a few orange ones yesterday, and placed them on the design wall. I will be making more light blue blocks today, and I want a couple of yellow ones also.

I think I've got the color scheme down though. When I stood in front of my design wall yesterday and turned to my left, I saw this.

Since I already had the black and white and light blue, I thought it would be interesting to continue the "earth" color theme - green, browns, golds with some warmer colors thrown in. That's why I made the scrap triangles I did. Nothing is carved in stone, though. Just because this is where I am now doesn't mean this is the way it will finish out, so I'm still working. I don't want the quilt to be too dark, and the black and white fabrics will have a lot to do with that.

My friend the Selvage Fairy mentioned the other day that a lot of the black and whites were kinda dark. Well, when I add the black and whites to the triangle slabs, I generally do it randomly. But I'll save about a third of the blocks until I lay them out on the design wall, and then add the black and white side triangle fabrics depending on what the quilt needs, to avoid areas of too much black.

I did buy a few more black and whites, as you can see in the photo above. I tried to get BWs with not a lot of black in them, but they are surprisingly hard to find. 

My studio doesn't have great light for photographing quilts. At night there isn't enough light in that corner, so colors show up as too dark and during the day, the room is filled with light because it faces south, and the lights are blown out and there's a shadow across the top of the design wall.  In real life the colors in the quilt are not as dark as they look here.

I've said it several times in this post: "I'm not quite there yet." I'm not 100% convinced this is what I want. But I'm willing to keep pushing, and I'm willing to keep trying and experimenting until I get something that really sings for me. And if I have to rip it out and start over, then I'll do it.