Monday, February 01, 2010

QAWM: Day two

My darker blocks are showing more contrast with the lighter pastels and greens. I placed about half of all of the blocks up and after I took a photo I noticed that there was a secondary pattern in one corner, the lower left. The red stripe was accidentally connecting. Oooh. That is cool, so I rearranged some of the blocks to see if I could continue that zigzaggyness.

I rearranged the blocks in the middle rows which was enough to convince me that this simple change in block orientation would work even if the strip color changed. What fun!

So here's the totals. I made 30 big blocks of lights/mediums and 30 big block of darks. Each was divided into four, making 240 small blocks. Good thing I didn't decide to do that from the start, or it would have seem like an impossibly taxing assignment. Having done it, I know it wasn't.

Anonymous said...
I was hoping for something more unconventional, something more Melody.

My response is that I can't do Melody using a majority of prints. And prints is what I want to use up. When one looks at the work I have done over these 28+  years it is clear that my work uses hand dyed fabrics and non-traditional designs. Patterning is made from my fused details which make it specifically mine. With fabric that is already patterned and not solid, I can't inject my personality. And also these prints don't have that watercolored look that my dyed fabric has which is also a mark of my work.
In search of a more arty look I went to my pal Sandi Cummings book, Thinking Outside the Block which gave me oodles of wonderful ideas for mixing traditional blocks (of prints) with hand dyed fabrics. I know now what I will do with the next quilt top that I make in this marathon of piecing.

On another note, I mentioned that I had dark and twisty reasons for not using this print fabric for all these years, and I think I can explain a bit of my resistance. For one thing I was intent on focusing on my own designs which is exactly what I just tried to explain above. And I didn't feel I had the time to divert my attention from my own work to make something that wasn't going to promote my career. Now that I am retired and stuck indoors because of the cold snowy weather, it seemed like the perfect time to let go of all those negatives and embrace the fun of quilting with no ulterior/business motives other than to play with fabric. I didn't want to struggle to come up with a stellar innovative design idea. That would have put me in an unwelcomed dither. Simple is best anyway, and somehow I managed to screw that up the first day as it was!
I don't want to state a destination for the tops I will be making either. That is something for another day. I feel great having made a dent in my small print collection, and as I have accumulated a small amount of leftovers already I can see some small works coming out of this too, which coincidentally will be more like what I usually do.

I will be setting these blocks on point which means that the edges need to be filled with triangular shapes. I knew there was a sort of formula for cutting these to size so I went to my longtime quilting guru, quilter extraordinare, Wanda Hanson and asked for advice. Here are her wonderful directions:

Hi Mel,

If you add 1.25” to the diagonal measurement of your blocks, cut squares that size and slice them diagonally both directions (makes 4 triangles) you will have triangles with the straight of grain on the long edge which you want on the outside edge of a quilt. I like a float of the setting triangle fabric so I cut them 2” bigger than the diagonal measurement.
There is also a ruler available with instructions from the Little Foot people. With it you can cut a strip of fabric and cut your triangles from the strip.
I just saw that I had headed these last two posts with QWAM instead of QAWM. Duh! I fixed it.


  1. You said "...let go of all the negatives and embrace the fun..." My twinnie sister and I struggle with doing just that. Painting is not our medium, but we each started an altered book/journal and gave ourselves permission to play WITHOUT AN ULTERIOR MOTIVE OR DEADLINE. It didn't have to be fit to sell or exhibit. We painted for several hours and had a ball. Some of the pages weren't half bad. Go for it!!!

  2. Anonymous7:20 PM

    Oh, the neat zig zags! HOw fun to see those form! Yay for design walls!

  3. I disagree with anonymous. I think it is good to see that Melody shows the flexibility to be more conventional too and despite the printed fabrics, Melody's style still shines through.

  4. Teresa9:13 PM

    What a difference a day makes!!! Love the new look!

  5. I LOVE the fact that you use your own hand dyes and have made that your calling card!
    Like I said, you have an artists eye, and working with your own materials makes your work unique! But really, using the prints in the way you have really shows how versatile you are...
    I love it!
    Wish I had time to jump in

  6. I think it's great that you're having fun! And I think "QWAM" is easier to say than "QAWM"!

  7. I'm liken this! Lots of color and pattern.

  8. Anonymous5:25 AM

    Good post and this mail helped me alot in my college assignement. Gratefulness you on your information.

  9. Darn, another inspiration for my own quilts. Glad to see you having fun. After all there are no more classes and you made plenty of art quilts, now is the time for fun quilts. I have been resistant to dyeing and loved printed fabric. Now I am also planning on trying my hand at dyeing. It is all part of the continuum of expanding and growing, sometimes in unexpected ways. Bonnie Bus

  10. I'm getting really interested in hand-dyeing fabric, but I have a huge stash of printed fabric that I really need to work through first. I love what you're doing with this design. I may play around with it once my current projects are done.

  11. Great color, Great pattern, great happiness. Thanks for sharing your beautiful palette with us today.


  12. Woohoo. It's really bubbling along now. Even with prints it still looks very Mel to me.

  13. Anonymous2:28 PM

    Hi Melody, Lots of fun following this. What did the advice from Wanda mean when she said, 'add 1.25 inches to the diagonal measurement of your blocks. Can you alter your original measurements to reflect that? Are you doing that? Lauren

  14. Lauren, She was talking about the spaces left open when blocks are set on point. Those spaces are usually filled with triangular pieces, and one wants to have them large enough to extend to straighten the edges.
    I don't have to alter my blocks at all. This is only for the edge blocks, which I haven't made yet.

  15. the neat zig zags! HOw fun to see those form! Yay for design walls!

    Work from home India


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