Saturday, August 31, 2013

once upon a time... {in a forest}

How hard to realize that every camp of men or beast has this glorious starry firmament for a roof! In such places standing alone on the mountaintop, it is easy to realize that whatever special nests we make — leaves and moss like the marmots and the birds, or tents or piled stone — we all dwell in a house of one room — the world with the firmament for its roof -- and are sailing the celestial spaces without leaving any track. 
John Muir,  John of the Mountains:  The Unpublished Journals of John Muir (1938)

...And wilderness week is finally winding down ;)  {Not a moment too soon!}

Short story short, I stumbled across this quote by self-proclaimed "poetico-trampo-geologist-botanist and ornithologist-naturalist etc. etc. !!!!" John Muir while perusing outdoors-inspired prose the other week.  And fell in love.  And decided to incorporate it into this quilt.

Short story long, I always wanted my muted forest to feel like a storytime quilt, but otherwise I had absolutely no idea how to go about assembly or quilting (and that was assuming my machine could manage the wicked thick seams to begin with!).  Once I abandoned the original Ringle/Kerr "Once upon a time" layout concept, I decided to preserve the narrative spirit of that design by using some sort of "text quilting."  

I quilted the letters (helvetica neue black condensed) using Aurifil 2000 (blocks+borders were pieced using 2024).

Alas, how quickly it occurred to me that I had no idea what that text should say.  I suppose I could've composed an original tale, but {fortunately} I first consulted google and found someone (read:  a legend) who captured my sentiments better than I ever could have hoped to.  

Those black+white striped stamen (I think that's what they are?) might be my favorite detail.

To me, Mr. Muir's words deeply resonate with my philosopher-environmentalist soul.

But I know they're not for everyone.

(When I read this to my dad, he paused for a moment before responding, "Well what the heck is that about?"  ...We're alike in too many ways to count, he and I, but really, sometimes I'm more like the orange that fell from an apple tree.)

I cut 12" triangles from some leftover strip-pieced sections used to "frame" each block, and paired them with my go-to organic bamboo goodness.
...Then I realized I had omitted the final border from my calculations and added some opal owl grain in violet ;)

So if you, too, are less than moved by the message, I hope you'll still enjoy the imagery:  a camp of forest creatures surrounded by one glorious {stitched} starry sky for a roof:

The end. ;)

Edited to note:  I've moved the pre-quilting close-ups here and have updated the remainder of this post with new photographs.

Follow on Bloglovin

Thursday, August 29, 2013

blah blah forest blah blah

Evidently it's "Forest Week" here at the house of {no} hats ;)  After picking up the Forest QAL project in April and setting it aside until August, I'm elated to have something to show after hours (...upon hours) of sewing these twelve impossibly "intermediately" difficult blocks:

Ta da!

P.S. The colors are slightly more saturated than they appear in the photo, I just didn't want to mess with color correction at the moment (...Now if only there were a magical FMQ fairy in this "ethereal" forest to quilt this for me!)

Linking up with Needle and Thread Thursday ;)

Friday, August 23, 2013

...and jay makes a {full} forest.

(Y'know, to the extent a forest can truly "reach capacity.")

This past week has been quite productive for this little forest-o'-mine.  Joining the first three and middle six friends are the FINAL THREE (eep!):

 11 pine marten

With all twelve blocks stitched and pressed, it looks like there's lots of paper-picking in my future (read:  weekend).  {Why oh why didn't I invest in something that washes out?!  Sidebar:  does anyone know if that actually exists?}  

Linking up with Kristy of Quiet Play ;)  If you haven't already, you've got to check out her latest pattern -- a pink unicorn!

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

the neglected {but slightly more populated} forest

These blocks haven't gotten much love lately.  Which is sad, because the designs really are quite lovable.  So the past few days, I decided to change that (hey, maybe seeing Jess's brilliant leaflet idea come to life this past week was just the inspiration I needed!)

You can read more about the Forest QAL here, and the roots of my own little muted forest (including the first three blocks) here.  So, without further ado, joining these woodsy ranks are...

04 maple {silver} fox

06 {glowing green} roaring deer

07 slow coming spring*

*I am in love.  I think I could might make a whole quilt out of these liverworts and snails (what can I say? My grandmother was Polish and I just love Julianna's inspiration for the block).

08 red {striped} panda

10 {pink+tan} squirrel {clutching onto an AMH nut ;)}

12 {muted but patriotic} trillium

With nine of twelve blocks down, this quiet little forest has tripled in size in about as many days.  I know I haven't tackled Joanna's jay just yet, but dare I say I'm starting to see the forest for the trees? ;)

Speaking of stragglers, these three creatures are currently on the cutting table:
05 eurasian jay
09 fern flower
11 pine marten

More soon!  {Working on a deadline always helps, doesn't it?} Linking up with Lee at freshly pieced :)

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

tiny-ness take two: round vs. square?

So perhaps you noticed my little foray into miniature foundation paper piecing last week and dismissed me as having gone off the deep end.  The following post is probably not for you ;)

For those of you intrigued by the madness, I have a question for you.  When it comes to 4⅛" stones as far as the eye can see... round or square? (imperfections included)

Sidebar:  I've removed the dresden gradient from the equation because that's not quite what I had in mind for this particular project (though thanks to everyone's encouragement it's definitely on the wish {wait} list).

And to the extent context is helpful, there will still be a gradient involved (it'll just be not-so-gray), and I'll be replacing the square blocks in a traditional pattern with these diamond blocks.  Lots of them.

Now, which (if either) would catch your eye scattered in a queen king size quilt?

Thanks, friends!

P.S.  For those of you who've taken the time to comment the past week I wanted to let you know I am totally smitten with your kind words and am thrilled to say I'll be doing much more sewing+email catch-up (and a little less toddler-chasing) in the very near future :)
P.P.S.  Linking up with Lee!

Friday, August 9, 2013

diamond dresden

I've had an idea brewing in my head for quite some time now involving a fair amount of pretty teensy paper piecing.  So this ~4", 96-piece diamond {centered in a gray (yes, with an "a"!) dresden} is something of a test run to see whether I'll be able to manage the task without going completely mad.

...Jury's still deliberating.

Happily rejoining Kristy's Paper Piecing Party.  If I do decide to carry out this idea (rationality is hardly my strong suit when it comes to creative endeavors), I'm guessing she'll have to set up a cot for this party guest ;)

Thursday, August 8, 2013

bloom. boom. bordered. bound.

Have you heard of freshly pieced's Bloom Bloom Pow QA?  It was such a joy to make.  I sped through the bleaching (optional) + piecing back in May, then came to a pretty serious halt until a few weeks (months?) back.

What can I say?  The moment Lee mentioned incorporating those lovely zigzag scraps into the finished quilt, I thought to myself:  "Challenge accepted."  ...And then realized it really was a bit of a challenge!  I ended up adding three skinny borders to the top.  (The scrappy binding makes for a fourth.)

Just browsing through these shots makes me happy.  Okay, so maybe the location has something to do with it ;)  Either way, these warm and sunny colors are a welcome change from my cool color crutch.

I followed Lee's lead on the quilting, using the seams as a guide for straight lines (how predictable am I?) in Aurifil 2000.  I thought about something a little more dense (à la Lady Harvatine's Log Pyramid quilt) but I'm liking the more loosely quilted style.  It has a certain softness to it, don't you think?

Speaking of soft, I used an off-white, twin-sized linen sheet from Williams Sonoma outlet for the backing (thank you Tanger for amazing deals, all the time).  I think I paid $10 for it last summer.

It is delightfully silky, and (added bonus!) a perfect match to Aurifil 2021.  {Then again, what isn't? ;)}

...Now if you'll excuse me, that chair has my name on it!

finish it up friday {hallelujah!)

Edited to add:  You can check out other quilty friends' takes on Lee's design here!

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

binding and being a {beach} bum ;)

After weeks away from the house of {no} hats, I'm *this* close to being able to share a finish (let alone something!)

Why the sparse summer sewing?  While my creative wishlist has certainly jumped a few notches on my priority list (good riddance, bar study!), so has the enjoy-it-while-you-can side of life...

For the next couple weeks, I'll be doing just that ;)  (Well, that, and catching up with my four-digit blog reader feed... eep!)

So how do you strike a balance?

linking up with WIP Wednesday :)