I LOVE talking about blocks, studying blocks, and playing with them in Photoshop... I am always on a quest for great blocks and trying to figure out what makes them so great ... So I started this companion blog that will be devoted to this quest. But also check out my regular blog at http://olderrose.blogspot.com

Monday, July 28, 2014

Two cents for Brenda

This is where Brenda is at with her cottage block and she is hoping to hide the white sky with her tree...but the tree is overwhelming the cottage.

Without the big tree you can see the problem with the sky.  It is white because the painting was scanned to silk and the blue sky just disappears on the silk...  Without the tree you can see the dilemma with the sky...

I can certainly identify with this problem because I had the exact same situation with my cottage but it was a relatively easy fix... My block came home like this.

But I just separated the cottage from the foundation and cut around the roof (leaving a 1/2" seam allowance), folded it forward and put in a new sky on the foundation and folded the roof back and folded  the seam allowance under and stitched the roof down...  Mine is still a UFO in the foreground and is waiting patiently...

So if Brenda fixed her sky the same way and added lots of green foliage to frame the house, her block would be like this...

At this point I would like to mention something else... Unless the colors are really saturated on the original image, the silk fabric result is faded and dull.  So I went back in with just inexpensive colored pencils and brightened the colors of my cottage  a lot.  I would recommend Brenda do the same...making the shadows and windows darker and heightening all the details.  Otherwise it will look washed out against  the floral fabrics...

I loved Brenda's little red tree and think she should put it in again BUT behind the fence and next to the house... The flowers from the house outward along the path need to be larger compared to the size of the shrubbery at the base of the house.

There were problems when both trees were there before.  Besides overwhelming the house they paralleled each other which did nothing for either tree and the large tree needs to be grounded.  I really want the lovely little red tree to have its own space.

And as Judith Montano says, a tree in the foreground really adds dimension. But now it can be moved to the side and not have to hide the white sky and the little red tree is framed by the large tree and the house. ... The large tree really needed  proper roots to ground it.  Seeing both trees adjacent to each other really add dimension..

But other things can be added to the front for dimension also... like a stone wall, arbor, fence, bird bath or bird house.

So Brenda has a fabulous start and it was just the sky that was thwarting her efforts.  It will be a real gem when done...  Thanks Brenda for letting me play a bit with it..

So that's my
for Brenda
And it's been a long time since I did one...

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Lisa A. Fan2 RR block

I chose the center portion Lisa Alf's fan block and I finished it yesterday...

The metallic  thread I used for the butterflies picked up the glitz in Lisa's fabric just as I hoped it would..

When you view it with just one fan finished, the motif sort of overwhelmed the fan.... but when you visualize what it looks like with all the fans finished, it will be in balance.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Now the butterflies!!!

I have made some progress on Lisa's RR block.  I decided I'd better do the butterflies  before I add any more flowers or foliage...

No matter when vision I have when I start I ALWAYS  modify and change as I go along.  I wanted simply-shaped black and pink butterflies elaborately stitched or beaded.

But in reality they are going to have to be much smaller than I had originally thought so will not be as detailed as I had hoped.... 

I love all the glitz in this block and so have decided to use Krenik metallic threads in black and 2 shades of pink for the butterflies.  I am doing them off block and will applique them on...  Then I will go back in and fill in the floral motif... 

Monday, March 24, 2014

1,2,3, prick did the trick!

This worked so well I am cross posting this tip from my other blog!

In order for my suffrage quilt to qualify for entry in some shows it must be quilted through at least 3 layers... so I set about to do that.
To have virtually NO stitching be visible on top of the quilt.
All the stitching showing on the back of the quilt to be tiny, even, and visible.
I haven't hand quilted like this for 30 years...
My hands are crippled and my eyes are shot.
When I inserted the needle in with teeny stitch on top I couldn't see where to come up. (I started using transparent thread but it reflected light so I took it all out and went to black thread.)

So here is what I did:

I decided to use tiger tape (9 stripes to an inch) as a guide as I use it on my CQ seams and love it.
At first I tried using my thumbnail on the reentry mark. But if I lost focus and moved my finger at all I lost my reentry point...

So after I brought my needle up, I counted over 3 strips and made a prick... went down on the next mark and up on the mark with the prick.  Even if I left the frame I could always come back and see where I was. 

At first I actually counted 1,2,3, prick but soon it came automatically and the quilting went quite rapidly.  You can see a strip here with the pricks and how visible they are.  I could reuse a pricked strip 2 or three times.

This morning I took it off the frame to rotate it as I have problem stitching vertically and am quite pleased with the result. There is NOT A SINGLE QUILTING STITCH visible on top of the quilt but all the quilting on the back of the quilt is even and tiny. Well quite good enough considering....

With my eyesight problems I can definitely see a use of pricking strips in CQ seam work.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Which way is up????

 Once I have an idea  (like the bird on Judy’s block)) I post it on the blog before I stitch so the block owner has a chance to see it and to give any input.. I wanted Judy to see what I was going to do before I actually did it. 
 The question arose if the placement of the bird affected the directionality of the block..  When I posted the block "on point" it looks like it might have done just that... But in actuality  it mattered not what position you put the fan..  I think it is because birds aren't "grounded" and are fluid in space.
  I always try to run things by the blog owners if I’m doing anything that might need approval.. ex:  I recently contacted Lisa Alff about adding colors besides black to the center of her block... good communication never hurts.

 How you are going to use your RRs is important.  Is it going to be a gift to someone else, part of a hanging etc.  If you know this may affect what stitchers do. I speak from experience that the more explicit you are in your booklet the happier you are with the results.
When I get a block returned that I'm not happy with it is always because I wasn't specific enough in my little booklet about what I wanted... 

sometimes you don't know until it happens... It is never too late to add to your directions...  On the same note things can be changed as a   block goes along...or when it comes home.  My most important advice:  "Remember the last person to work on any block is the owner and we don't want her to feel guilty about any changes she makes!!!!"


Monday, March 17, 2014

In the pink!!!

Lisa's block has arrived... She put 4 fans on one block so since there are 5 in the RR someone gets to work the center and I am looking forward to doing it... I'm thinking flowers and butterflies and want to bring in other colors as well as use the dramatic black accent that Judy started... 

I remembered seeing a sane quilt pattern that had butterflies with fan-like wings on black which will be perfect... 
If others follow the black on the fans, the finished block should look something like this!!!   I think it will be gorgeous.  I will have to wait a week or so to start until I finish the suffrage quilt...

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Judy's Block in Fans2 DYB

I am always disciplined in sticking close to the colors that the block owner has chosen...in this case lots of blues.  You can be assured that whatever you do will not disappoint them.. There are times I may want to try something wild and crazy but I do it on my own blocks to be safe...  I mention this because I have had blocks returned that will be unusable because of the colors used... When in doubt.... play it safe!!!