Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Bins and Bottlenecks

A few weeks ago, I decided that I wanted to get back to work on a more formal quilt, and leave the StormQuilts be for a little bit. But that didn't work out. It turned out that I had so many StormQuilts laid out but not quilted that I didn't have any safety pins left to get the backing and binding on the quilt I wanted to make progress on, Devil's Claw.

One solution, obviously, would have been to go out and buy some more safety pins, but that seemed like it would just be contributing to my habit of leaving things half-finished. So I took the other approach, and jumped back into quilting on the StormQuilts. And, it's been going pretty well. I've got one that's finished, another that's finished except for the thread-burying, and one that is 3/4 quilted. I'll get some pictures of those to you next time.

Meanwhile, I went on an excursion to address another bottleneck -- battings for the StormQuilts. I made another excursion down to "The Bins," our Goodwill Outlet Store that blurs the line between rummage sale shopping and dumpster diving. For a pittance, I filled the back of my truck with blankets, fleeces, heavy flannel sheets, and mattress pads that seemed too damaged or discolored to find a new home in their first life. Two of the blankets were faded commercial quilts, the kind that are made on the cheap in China and sold in department stores. I like the idea of using a worn-out commercial quilt as the batting in a StormQuilt -- it's a nice twist on the historical practice of using old quilts to bat the new.

The heap of scrap batting, after washing, burying my ironing board and sewing table:

The heap of scrap batting, tamed, pressed, and folded:

Saturday, March 21, 2009

More Fun With Corduroy

Well, you can't use all your scrap corduroy replicating famous works of art, of course. Here's a quick face I made with other pieces from my Big Birthday Box o'Corduroy.

Like a lot of my quilts it's an "original design" that I doodled out on scratch paper -- but, since it's so simple, I'm sure that tens of thousands of other people have had the same idea before me. Probably it's a traditional quilt pattern with a long-established name. Possibly you are itching to tell me what its name is in the comments, even now.

Kind of a handsome one, I think. It's officially designated StormQuilt #11.

Speaking of How Hard It Is to Do Something Original...

I've been walking around all week feeling I was possibly the cleverest person ever born to have thought of replicating an abstract painting with scrap fabric. Well, of course I'm not the first person to think of that. It turns out, in fact, that frequent commentor Jovaliquilts' daughter did the same thing for her first ever quilt. Also, Jovali Jr. did a better job than me of matching the colors of her original (although, to be fair to myself, I guess I wasn't really worried about color matching).

Here is Jovali Jr.'s quilt....

and Here is the painting she replicated, Ellsworth Kelly's Colors for a Large Wall.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Neoplasticism 2.0

Synchronicity, part 1

So last summer Mrs.5000 found this big box of scrap corduroy for a buck at a garage sale and hefted it home a good mile or something so she could give it to me for my birthday. Mrs.5000 understands me.

Meanwhile, in 1921, Piet Mondrian painted one of his famous grids of rectangles and primary colors. (Neoplasticism, I think the genre is called. The de Stijl movement! i iz likes art history.) This particular one is usually called Composition in Red, Yellow, Blue, and Black.

Thesis, Antithesis, Synthesis

And so eventually the idea of "What shall I do with the corduroy?" rattling around in my head ran up hard against the idea of "you know, of all the painting genres, the de Stijl stuff is the one that would be most susceptable to a treatment in quilt form. From that collision was born a Bee in my Bonnet*, which involved compulsive internet searches for the simpler of Mondrian's work and appraising sorting of my corduroy trove.

Once I found Composition, I transferred its grid onto graph paper, made some very rough color equivalences, and started cutting. And when I say "rough" color equivalences, I mean a not-as-light-as-it-could be grey for white, burgandy for red, golden tan for yellow, and a dark, greenish blue for blue.

Nevertheless, I am very happy with my little "Mondrian Quilt" face. Indeed, I bet its one of the best adaptations of Mondrian in scrap corduroy to have been achieved on the West Coast this year!

Next question: how am I going to quilt this sucker? I guess I'll have to try to be guided by the obvious question: How would Mondrian quilt it?


The is the 100th State of the Craft post. Huzzah!

Sunday, March 08, 2009

Arguably, It's Time to Get Organized

I've been a very different kind of quilter this year than I was in 2007-2008. Last year, I was all about putting quilts in shows and being part of the community, and I had this detailed work plan that I actually followed. This year, I haven't even been attending Guild meetings, let alone putting pieces in shows. I haven't been nearly as interested as creating my best work, but rather on just playing around with recycled materials. And although I've still been quilting, it has been sporadic and on random projects, sometimes new ideas that I just plunged halfway into as soon as I had them. All this has been to such an extent, in fact, that I had lost track of how many projects were even in the hopper.

I spent a half hour this afternoon doing a little project census, and the results are sobering. In addition to about 20 "regular" projects in progress, I've got a whopping seven (7) StormQuilts in some stage of assembly. Which is kind of crazy. But now at least I have a list of what I'm working on, and can maybe concentrate my efforts a little bit.

This beast over on the right is the face for SQ10, which I made about a month ago. It was jointly inspired by Quilty's success with using t-shirt fabric and a purge of my overflowing drawer of well-past-prime shirts. I had no interest in preserving the designs on the shirts as such, so just cut all of the useable fabric into 8 1/2" squares. I do like the way that the ghosts of the lettering and logos from the shirts creates a little extra visual interest, though.

As you'd expect from t-shirt fabric, there is some serious limpness going on here. I will need to back it with something relatively stiff, I think, to keep the end product from being a completely shapeless mass.