Friday, November 30, 2012

Food Friday--CSA in Review

This week I decided to just post a general reflection on my experience doing the CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) for the first time last summer (2012). Spoiler alert: I've already sent in my subscription payment for summer 2013. So that tells you something.

Here is what I learned by participating in a CSA:

1. Summer is actually several seasons. Rather than just looking at mid-June to the end of August as one big block of summer, I became much more aware of how the growing season shifts and changes every few weeks. I was much more connected to the passage of time--in a good way! We shortchange our earth when we only subdivide it into four main climate categories: spring, summer, fall, winter. I learned to think in terms of "green leafy things season," "beet season," "zucchini season" (okay, "zucchini millenium"), and so forth. When the acorn squash started showing up, I knew we were moving into fall even though it was still quite warm out in these parts.
       I grew up on a small one-family farm--I grew up eating fresh produce from the garden, my mother canned everything and made homemade bread, and my father made homemade maple syrup. We were a real back-to-nature-movement family. So I'm probably more tied to the land than the average folk my age. But you don't pay that much attention when you're a kid. Now I was paying attention, and it was pretty dang cool. Somehow, it made summer seem to last longer.

2. A little produce can go a long way. At the beginning of the summer we were getting one bag full of stuff. By mid-summer, I was hauling a couple of overfull, incredibly heavy bags plus a few other containers to try to get everything home. I did fairly well keeping up with it, except for when I was on the road. The fam wasn't good at using fresh produce if I wasn't around to force the issue. There were two memorable occasions when I had to toss out a lot of stuff that had gone bad before I had the time to deal with it.
     The reality is, with my job and summer schedule, I just don't have time do canning. That would the ideal, of course. However, until such a time as I'm no longer on the road several weeks out of the growing season, I have begun exploring vacuum sealers and may be able to quickly seal and freeze or refrigerate produce so I can work it into my schedule more easily. I'll come up with something.

3. It's an extraordinarily creative endeavor, finding recipes and inspiration for using (1) vegetables you've never worked with before (yes, I mean you, kale), and (2) vegetables you're getting week after week and are thinking you'll scream if you see another one (stop trying to hide, zucchini--you know who I'm talking about). I had a blast! I was tossing combinations that I'd never tried before into the pan just to see what would happen. I'd wander through my spice cupboard, sniffing spices to see what smelled right for whatever concoction I was working on. Some were more successful than others, but they were all a blast to do!

4. Purple green beans and bell peppers are just fun. 'Nuff said.

So, yes, I'm doing the CSA again next year. And having done it once, I'll be fore-armed with some tried-and-true recipes to turn to while I'm working new ones in. I'll also hopefully be fore-armed with better long-term storage methods so I'll be able to have the benefit of my CSA well into the winter months.

I would adore finding a dairy CSA that's got goat cheese involved. Now that would be heaven!

Check out your area--see if you have a CSA near you. Give it a shot! If you're single or a couple or a very small family, you might want to talk to a neighbor or friend to see if you want to share a subscription the first summer, until you get a feel for how much produce you'll be getting. Each CSA works differently, so be sure you read the information thoroughly. Check Local Harvest for more information about what a CSA is, how they work in general, and listings of CSAs in your area. (And no, this is not a paid endorsement! That's how I found my CSA, and I also check it for area farmers' markets and the like. It's a great resource.)

It's not too early to start thinking about what you'll be eating next summer. In fact, I can't think of anything better to do when the snow starts blowing!

Monday, November 26, 2012

Easy Street Week 1 Progress Report

Easy Street Week 1
Bonnie Hunter's Easy Street Mystery Quilt progress week 1: four patches. I'm still poking away but hope to finish them up later tonight. Fun so far!

Check back here to see links to the Flickr group and Threadbias group we've got set up to track our progress.

I've linked up to Bonnie's blog!

Sunday, November 25, 2012

#BFSI In Review

Friday was, yes, our Black Friday Sew-In! Woot! And a great time was had by all. The giveaway on my blog was great fun--loved reading everyone's responses! Congratulations to Brenda J (The Quilt Show subscription) and  Fiber of All Sorts (The Fat Quarter Shop certificate), the lucky winners of my blog giveaway!

Thanks to all the other bloggers who hosted their own giveaways and linked up here. It made the party even bigger!

And even more--I did four mini-giveaway challenges via Twitter through the day. Posted those winners via Twitter. Again, I loved reading everyone's responses to my questions!

What else did I get done on Black Friday, besides hang out on Twitter? (By the way, for me "BFSI lasted through Sunday morning--other than some Christmas decorating and going to a movie with the fam, I basically hung out in my sewing room most of the weekend--so this is a tally of everything done from Friday morning until this writing.)

I took an April Cornell charm pack (Portugal) I've owned for several years...
 ....made some 9-patch blocks out of it....

...and then turned it into this Disappearing 9-Patch.

The astoundingly oversized borders are because I'm making this a wheelchair quilt to donate to a local nursing facility and the one charm pack only makes a 26"x26" square center. Wheelchair quilts should be in the neighborhood of 36"x45" so I added 5" borders (finished) to either side and 9" borders (finished) to the top and bottom. Normally not a design choice I'd make but I think it works okay. I didn't have another charm pack that coordinated and I also didn't want to cut just a few squares from yardage in my stash, so I went with the honking-big-border technique. And hey, I got to use another yard out of my stash for the borders, 2 1/2 yards for backing and another part of a yard for binding. Big stash-busting happening this past weekend!

Disappearing 9-patches are fun. I'm already digging into the rest of my charm pack collection to see what ones I might work with next--they make very fast donation quilts! This only took about 90 minutes total to get to this stage. Since I'm just going to meander-quilt it, it won't take any time at all to finish completely.

Then, rather on a whim, I pulled another set of fabric off my shelf that's been there for a few years. I fell in love with a vendor's booth the last time I was in Houston in 2008. She did all her own hand-dyed fabrics with various surface treatments--super cool stuff. I bought a roughly one yard piece of fabric and then several small pieces that each had leaves stamped onto them. No idea what I was going to do with them, which is why they sat.

Finally today I just bit the bullet, did some arranging, lightly fused them into place as a basting method, pulled some yarn apart to make it a little thinner, then did some stitching and embellishing. I also loved the frayed edge of the background fabric so I frayed all the pieces to give it all a very organic, rough-hewn look.

It's not really a quilt since there's no batting, backing, or quilting. Let's call it a tapestry.

Leaf details 1

 Leaf details 2

I can't put a hanging sleeve on it because stitching would show through front so I need to find a hanging device with hooks that fits the mood of the piece.

And then I finished something I'd been playing with for a bit.

Karen Lee Carter teaches a dimensional flower technique that I've been wanting to try. Since this was a test piece I used some scrap fabric for it, so my fussy-cut flower (center) has a part of another flower overlapping the leaf. That particular fabric doesn't have any whole flowers untouched so it doesn't work well for fussy-cutting. Again, test piece, didn't worry too much. I did some satin-stitching for the first time--need to practice more on that. Then I also used it to test another technique I saw in Quilting Arts Magazine: cut a hole in the center of something and sew across it to create a web effect. Very cool!

Detail of dimensional flower

Detail of webby hole in the middle.

Love both techniques!

I also put together a few new "quilt sandwiches" to practice my FMQ on, and the rest of the time I spent poking away at Easy Street Week 1. I'll put pictures in the Flickr and Threadbias groups tomorrow (Monday) and be linking up to Bonnie's blog then. 

I had a very productive long weekend. What about you?

Friday, November 23, 2012

Black Friday Sew-in Giveaway! #BFSI

This giveaway is now closed!

I am in the process of being in contact with the winners and will announce them later!


It's Black Friday again here in the U.S.--the day after Thanksgiving when retailers publicize huge "door-busting" sales to entice as many shoppers through their doors as possible. Lots of people look forward to Black Friday for months, plan their holiday shopping lists around the sales they'll find, and strategize for how to get first dibs on their chosen items. I have a friend for whom heading out to Black Friday sales with her sister is just as much part of the family celebration of Thanksgiving as the meal the day before is.

For me, it sounds like the seventh level of hell.

I'm not a big fan of crowds in general, and crowds whipped into a frenzy of wanting to be first in line at the cash register is even more unsettling for me. I'd much rather unwind after hosting the dinner the day before by hanging out in my sewing room and petting fabric.

So I invite you to stay in with me and sew! 

Even if you do head out for some shopping, check in during the day or put your feet up with tea (or whatever your recovery beverage of choice is) and catch up with what's been happening with #BFSI.

On Twitter, we'll be posting pictures of our progress, asking for advice, cheering one another on, talking about the many ways we're eating turkey leftovers, and in general hanging out and having fun. Just use the hashtag #BFSI. You can also use Tweetchat to track all the tweets in one place:

Meanwhile, back at the blog, I'm hosting a giveaway today to make it even more fun to just stay home!

The first winner will receive a:

$50 gift certificate from Fat Quarter Shop

Woot! Even better--Fat Quarter Shop is having a huge-a-mongous Black Friday sale too! Note that the sale ends at midnight CST Nov 29th, so you'll have time to spend that gift certificate during their sale if we can get everything timed right. Meanwhile, I'm just gonna do some cyber-shopping on Black Friday myself. :-)

Thanks, Fat Quarter Shop, for sponsoring this giveaway!

The second winner will receive a:

Gift certificate for a 6-month membership to The Quilt Show

 (Value $24.95.)

This gift certificate will give you the opportunity to try out The Quilt Show, Web TV for quilters and worldwide quilt community with Alex Anderson and Ricky Tims. Internet "TV" episodes, a daily blog, classrooms, and more. It's a great resource, and this is the perfect way for you to dabble your toes to see if you like it.

By leaving a comment here, you are entering both giveaways--I will choose two winners from the total number of comments. (In other words, I can't separate out who wants which giveaway; I'll just be drawing two winners at random.)

Also, your email address must appear in either in your comment or attached to your profile in order for you to be entered in the giveaway. If I draw your name and don't see an email address, I'll move on to another winner. Please check to be sure your profile includes your email address, or include your email address in your comment below. You may want to write it as "screenname at gmail dot com" to avoid web-crawlers.

To enter the drawing, please leave a comment here answering the following question:

What is one thing you have to be thankful for--quilty-related!--in 2012?

You may have a second chance to win!  
Just leave a second comment that tells me you've subscribed to my podcast (which you can find at or at iTunes).

This giveaway closes at Midnight Eastern Time Friday, November 23rd. (So it's a 24-hour thing!)

Now, guess what else? 

Other bloggers and podcasters are hosting their own giveaways today too! After you've entered my giveaway, use the links below to check out who else is giving great stuff away. Good luck!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Quilt Top Complete and Easy Street Prep

You're Getting Sleepy
"You're Getting Sleepy" (aka Poppies) top complete.

 I've ordered more of the poppies fabric to use as the backing. I didn't have enough of any of the fabrics to piece a backing and I love the poppies fabric enough that I really wanted more of it anyway. Haven't decided how I'm going to approach the quilting yet, so it may be a few more weeks before this gets done.

Meanwhile, just a few days left until Bonnie Hunter posts the first "clue" for the Easy Street Mystery Quilt. I was just checking out the Flickr group to see everyone's fabric choices so far--very cool! Here's the slideshow from the group (if the embed works correctly).

 If you're on Threadbias, be sure to check out the Easy Street group I've started there as well--more pics of fabric choices.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Total Color Tuesday--Skipping About

We're playing hopscotch all over the color wheel this week. Three color harmonies again. The first one is actually pretty closely related to last week's; the second two are related to each other.

Two Colors, Four Colors Apart

 Start somewhere on the color wheel and choose your color. Then count four colors over, and the fifth color would be the other color you would use.

You're pretty close to complementary so you've got the pizzazz of that combination but it's just enough of a tweak to the side to make it a little different.

I could see putting this red-purple and yellow together if I had a variety of tints and shades of  each of them. Could be pretty.

Using the 3-in-1 Color Tool, even at four colors apart the colors are much closer together on the color wheel than on the standard wheel. Divided into 24 segments, five colors apart on this wheel is the equivalent of 2 1/2 colors apart on the standard 12-point wheel.

So starting with yellow again, I land on blue-green for the second color. I dig this combination. Very tropical. It also works nicely because I have a blue-green that includes some yellow hiding in the background, so I could see myself putting these two into a quilt. I'd probably include a nice, bright white. Summer, here I come!

Three Colors, One Color Apart

In other words, choose a color, skip a color, choose a color, skip a color, choose a si do, change partners, do it again...

I decided to stay on one side of the color wheel and did purple, blue, and green. You could, of course, start closer to the turning point and have both warm and cool colors in a single quilt with this color harmony for an entirely different effect.

I wasn't keen on the dark versions of all three colors together, so I decided to play a little more with contrast.

I switched out the dark blue for a light blue. I'm still not keen on this one. That being said, I could see doing something very scrappy with all sorts of purples, blues, and greens on a white background. That would probably work really nicely.

ZING! Here's the same color harmony on the 24-point color wheel. Again, subdivided more, you have less division between colors when you skip around. I ended up with magenta, orange, and red. Wowzer.

On the other hand, black background and you've got something funky going on. Again, with maybe a little more contrast happening (shades and tints of these colors), it could be pretty exciting.

Three Colors and an Accent

In other words, choose a color, skip a color, choose a color, skip a color, choose a color...then take a big leap across the color wheel and find the opposite of that middle color and grab its hand for a grande allemande...

Okay, so that's a little long for a square dance call. But you get the idea.

Back to the standard color wheel: I started with my three original colors: purple, blue, and green. That makes the accent color orange (the opposite of the middle color, blue).

This time I went into my fat quarter collection and I was able to put together four fat quarters I could easily imagine putting together in a quilt. Some of that is, of course, that my blue fabric also has green and hints of orange, so it pulls everything together.

This combination, I dig.

For the 24 point color wheel, the accent color becomes aqua green.

I've been in a very aqua and turquoise mode lately, so I have plenty of that in my stash suddenly. I used the same red, orange, and magenta fat quarters from earlier and pulled an aqua-green fat quarter to go with them. These particular values of these colors are a little intense but, you know, it would work on a black background? I could see something really interesting that was primarily the warm colors with just little bitty pops of the cool sprinkled through it. It would still be intense, but could be really eye catching.

Play time!

Your turn! As usual, link up your blog posts as you play with these color harmonies. Let me know what you think--have you, or would you,actually use any of these types of harmonies in a quilt?

Monday, November 19, 2012

Slow Quilt Monday--Consider Color

If you follow my blog or podcast, you'll know that at the moment I'm not particularly in a slow quilt mode. Several months of no-time-to-quilt makes Sandy a pent-up-quilter-ready-to-explode-with-fabric. I'm compensating for the dry period now by churning out several immediate-gratification projects. I'll get over myself soon enough and return to former ways. But even while I'm spinning through a variety of projects, my brain is actually still in slow quilt mode. I'm still pondering and brewing. I have some mental quilts I've been working on for some time. I believe after the holidays I'll be going back to having things hanging on my design wall that are talking to me.

My Design Study Group is drawing near to the end of the Lorraine Torrance book Fearless Design for Every Quilter that we've been using for the last year or so. Admittedly, we didn't follow the process to the letter. Sometimes we did homework, sometimes we did the homework assignment right in our session together. Sometimes we said we were going to do homework and didn't. You know how that goes. Sometimes we critiqued, most times we just oohed and aahed. And laughed. Always laughed.

The group has said it wants to continue. And as we discussed how we might continue, the overwhelming interest was in working more with color. We're starting to explore what books we might decide to work through next. One of our members showed me a book at our guild meeting this week that I fell in love with. I think it's a definite contender. I also think it must come to live with me. Time to head to Joanns (where she told me she got it) with a coupon to see if I can do better than Amazon pricing.

So for today's Slow Quilt Monday post, I'm thinking color. With the work we've done in the Design Study Group, and with my Total Color Tuesday posts, I have been challenged to look at color combinations I wouldn't normally consider. I want to keep pushing that. So this week, as part of my Slow Quilt Movement process, I'll be paying close attention to color in the world. As our leaves disappear and the usual winter grayness descends on my area, I'll be looking for monochromatic color schemes in my backyard--the play of neutrals as things hunker down for winter. When I go to my stash, I'll continue to pull out the color wheel and play with creating color combinations from my fabric, just to see what it would look like if....

If you're needing a little slow quilting in your life, I encourage you to join me in just paying attention to color this week. Pull out your colored pencils and make some sketches, using colors you wouldn't normally use. Play with your stash. Take pictures of your yard and look at the palettes that appear. When you catch yourself staring off into space at work, let your eyes land on something and consider what color that thing is, and what colors you might put with it. Dream in color.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Starting to Plan for #BFSI

Friday is my now-annual Black Friday Sew-In, or #BFSI. (Last year I named it the Anti-Black Friday Sew-In which more completely captures my feelings about the day but I'm trying to minimize character count for Twitter purposes.) I'll be doing some fun giveaways and I've invited other podcasters and bloggers to join in as well--I've been hearing rumors of plans so I think it'll be a great day!

But the purpose of the day is really to stay in and sew, so I'm starting to make plans for what I might do. Part of me wants to work on current projects or UFOs, of course, but part of me also really loves the thought of finishing an entire top, beginning to end, in one day, for a donation quilt. I did that last year (mostly in one day) for Boxing Day Sew In (#BDSI). It was a hoot.

If that's what I do, I'm thinking I may play with the disappearing 9-patch design. It's been around awhile. If you're not familiar with it, Missouri Star Quilt Company has a nice, brief tutorial on it.

I've got charm packs galore, plus lots of my own charm squares I've cut from scraps, although no baby-style so I'd be making a lap quilt for an adult. Maybe most appropriate for a wheelchair quilt? Our guild collects a variety of sizes for a variety of places so I'm sure I could find a willing taker. Anyway, that's a thought.

Another thought is, truly, to knock out some UFOs. Here's my current UFO list:
1. Poppies--needs borders, backing, quilting, binding
2. Momufo Flower quilt--needs borders and backing (sending out for quilting)--I've not posted about this one yet because I'm waiting for the "big reveal." I worked on it during my vacation at the family cottage last August. The whole story will come out when it's done.
3. Vickie's Peacock--needs backing, quilting, binding
4. Guild Medallion Challenge--needs backing, quilting, binding
5. Stash Mystery Challenge quilt--needs a whole lot!
6. Hexies--so far, only cut and marked. Needs even more than #5
7. Jelly Roll Sampler--still in piecing phase
8. Guild BOM--still in piecing phase
and now I've added 9. Stack the Deck for niece and 10. Something for nephew--still just in my head, though, so not sure it counts as a UFO. Is there an IOUF category? Intended Objects UnFinished? (Pronounce it like "OOF!" and you're not too far off the mark.)

I guess I should start paying attention to my UFO list. I'd gotten it way down to only having two or three UFOs but now I've been doing more experimental things and my UFOs have been multiplying while my back was turned. They have a way of doing that, you know--sneaky boogers.

Oh, and I'll have some blocks to do for the Easy Street Mystery Quilt. Woot! (Check out pics as we go at the Flickr group.)

So, if you're planning on getting something done over the coming holiday weekend here in the U.S., or the regular weekend everywhere else in the world, what's on your list to do? Let us know your plans!

Friday, November 16, 2012

Food Friday--Corn Chowder

All right, already, Lori, I'm posting the dang recipe!

Actually, a few of you have pointed out that although I raved several times last summer about my corn chowder made with my CSA corn, I neglected to ever let you in on the party by posting the recipe. My apologies. My only excuse is that I was too busy eating corn chowder to get to my blog. Man, it was great corn chowder. Admittedly, some of that greatness was probably due to the incredible corn we got from the CSA. But still, you can easily make this chowder with the frozen stuff from the grocery store. It just won't taste quite as fresh and, well, wonderful.

I believe the original recipe came from Food Network. I tweaked it a little.

Photo Aug 28, 2012, 9:50 PM

Corn Chowder 

  • 2 tbs butter 
  • Olive oil 
  • 1 onion, diced 
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced 
  • 6 sprigs fresh thyme, leaves only 
  • 1/4 c all-purpose flour 
  • 6 c canned vegetable stock (I used chicken if my vegetarian daughter wasn't home; gives it just a little extra flavor) 
  • 2 c whole or 1% milk (original recipe uses heavy cream; I was trying to cut fat a little)
  • 2 potatoes, peeled and diced (russet work best--you want them to break down a little)
  • 6 ears corn* (or a bag of frozen corn)
  • salt and pepper 
  • 1/4 c chopped fresh parsley leaves (optional--we're not fans of parsley so I usually opted out)

  • Heat the butter and 1 tbs olive oil in a soup pot over medium heat. Add onion and cook until soft, 8-10 minutes. Add thyme leaves about halfway through. Add minced garlic right at the end--the garlic should only cook about a minute or so or it may overcook and get bitter.
  • Dust vegetables with flour and stir to coat everything well. Feel free to let the flour "toast" just a hair but be careful not to let it scorch on the bottom. Pour in the stock and bring to a boil.
  • Add the cream/milk and potatoes, bring to a boil and boil hard for about 7 minutes, until the potatoes break down to thicken soup.
  • Cut the corn kernels off the cob and add to the soup. Season with salt and pepper and simmer until the corn is soft, about 10-12 minutes. Stir in parsley and sprinkle just a little more olive oil+ over the top just before serving.

*Recipe doesn't require corn to be cooked. However, most often I was making this with leftover corn on the cob from dinner the night before so mine was already cooked. I didn't have any problem with the corn getting mushy.
+Are you a fan of flavored olive oils? This is a good opportunity to play with one. Just make sure it's a lightly flavored one as the corn chowder could easily get overpowered with anything strong.

And a Second Recipe If You Want It: Chicken Pot Pie

And by the way, just for another little treat since I've gone awhile without doing a Food Friday--I made myself Chicken Pot Pie last night. Very tasty! It took longer than the recipe said, so allow a little over an hour total for making this. I added some thyme and ground sage, although I don't think it really needs it.

Boy, do I wish I owned ramekins, though. Would've been better to be able to make single servings of this since I'm the only one in the house that eats it. Now I'll be reheating the leavings in the pie plate. For days.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

A Finish! 9-Patch Pizzazz

No, sweetheart. I'm not trying to take a picture of you. 

There it is, as best I can do with no portable quilt hangers (aka people) in the house when I was taking the picture. A handy armchair had to do. Hopefully I'll get a better picture for my files later. Here it is, the 9-Patch Pizzazz finished and washed. It's been lightly quilted with a ribbon design vertically down the seams between each row which you can't really see in this picture, but they pick up on the ribbons that appear in the focus fabric. The quilt has been now renamed "Faith, Hope, and Love." If you missed previous posts, that's an adaptation of the Scripture verse that appears in some of the blocks.

Tomorrow night, back to Poppies, a.k.a. "You're Getting Sleepy". I might be able to get that top completed, including borders, in one evening--I don't have a lot left to do. Then I can start working on the Stack the Deck quilt while I'm debating how to quilt Poppies. I'm kinda sorta wishing I had a longarm machine in my basement. Shhh. I didn't say that.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Total Color Tuesday--Twosies All Around

We're doing three, count 'em, three color harmonies this week! They're all closely related, so just follow along in your songbook and we'll all hit the same note at the end.

Two Colors, One Color Apart

This one is pretty easy to figure out. Choose a color, skip a color, find the other color.

In some regards, this has a very similar effect as analagous colors would. You're still pretty dang close to one another on the color wheel, so you're related. But you're just far enough apart to create a little bit more visual pizzazz.

In my example here (let's look at the standard 12-point color wheel first), I started with purple, skipped over red-purple, and went right to red. If we'd included the red-purple in there, we'd have an analogous harmony.  It would be all sorts of calming, as analagous can tend to be. But by ripping out the center color and leaving the two outies, you get rid of a bit of the calm and find yourself feeling just a little bit zingy.

Pulling fabrics from my stash, here are my purple and red examples. I do actually really appreciate a good purple and red combination. If I used these two fabrics I'd want some blenders, or perhaps just shades and tones, to give it a little more interest. Or maybe just combining these with a bright white (if I wanted excitement) or a light gray (if I wanted to tone things down a bit). Pairing it with black would be heading in the direction of an Amish effect.

If you go back up to the first picture you'll see I also included the 3-in-1 Color Tool version of skipping a color. As always, since that's a 24-point color wheel, the two colors are a whole lot closer together. In that color wheel, violet and purple are the two colors and there isn't quite as much separating them visually.

I'm not sure I would do a quilt only using these colors, although honestly it just comes across to me as a straight-up analogous pair. This one doesn't jazz me as much.



Two Colors, Two Colors Apart

Next color harmony: Start with one color, hopscotch across two colors, then land with both feet on the third color. Bingo.

So now you've increased your contrast between the two colors and added just a little more zing. This one probably pushes our color boundaries a little more than others--it's not a combination we normally think of when we look at our color wheels. But with a good mix of shades, tints, and tones, or balanced out with some neutrals, this could still be a very effective color scheme.

Pictured--12-point color wheel and 24-point color wheel. I stayed with purple as my starting point both times. (Note here: The color I think of as purple, and is most often referred to as purple on the 12-point color wheel, is labeled "violet" in the 24-point wheel. I decided not to get overly sticky about terminology or I'd drive myself nuts. Feel free to mentally translate if you prefer one term or another. I know technically they're two different colors, that purple and that violet, but in the quilting world, I'm used to seeing what I call purple referred to as purple, so I'm rolling with it.)

 In my scenario with the 12-point wheel, my two colors are therefor purple (hop skip) and red-orange. Oooh. Jazzy.

By the way, have you ever noticed how hard it is to distinguish red from red-orange in your stash sometimes? The fabric I pulled as an exemplar here I always just think of as red, until I hold it up to my color wheel. Nope, guess it's actually red-orange. But if I held it up to another red-orange fabric, it would likely look more true-red. So color is often quite relative.
 Here's my sample for the 24-point color wheel. Starting with purple (oops, violet), skipping a couple of colors in the same direction as above lands me on fuschia. Boy, was I a fan of fuschia in college. It was all the thing back then, and I wore a lot of it!

Not so much anymore. I seem to be in a turquoise phase this year. But I digress.

I do like purple and fuschia together. In fact, I believe I wore a lot of purple and fuschia together in college. You might be able to recall what time period that was. For those of you alive back then, anyway...

And Finally, Two Colors/Two Colors and a Jazzy Friend

So for this one, we stick with the above color harmony but then jump directly across the color wheel and find the opposite. 

Okay, so it's a little tricky to find the opposite when there isn't a direct line. Color Magic for Quilters suggests you draw a line from your first two colors into the center of the color wheel, and then draw the tail of the "Y" from that center point to find your opposite color. Hmmm. To tell the truth, I couldn't exactly decide if I was going green, or yellow-green. It could actually be that I'm going somewhere in that spectrum of green to yellow-green. (Or it could've been that I was doing this at midnight and getting a little loopy with sleepiness.)

In any case, I pulled a green from my stash to accent my original purple and red-orange pairing. Looking at it, my green could just as easily be seen as yellow-green. Or somewhere between the two. This is where color theory becomes less of a science and more of an art.

The 24-point color wheel is even more problematic, trying to figure out exactly which color is directly across. Besides, mine's really really small and I was having problems seeing by then.

I ended up with violet, fuschia, and yellow-green set here. Eye-popping. Would be a really fun kids' quilt or teenage girl quilt!




Play time!

Your turn! As usual, link up your blog posts as you play with these color harmonies. Let me know what you think--have you, or would you,actually use either of these types of harmonies in a quilt?

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Friday, November 9, 2012

Succumbing to Peer Pressure on Easy Street

So a few Twitter folks talked me into it. They talked me into walking down Easy Street with Bonnie Hunter and the crew.
Today I simply dug out my probable fabrics. May still swap some out. I still have a couple of weeks to live with them until it starts.

Care to join along?

Katie of Katie's Quilting Corner, Pam of Hip to Be a Square, and I have a Flickr group for anyone who wants to walk on Easy Street with us.

I've also set up a group in Threadbias (because you can post pics to Flickr and then simply import them into your Threadbias account--easy peasy to post them in two places at once).

Tomorrow is my sew day with my guild peeps. I've made pumpkin bisque with smoked gouda for our potluck lunch. I really have to remember to post that recipe someday. I guess I should start doing Food Fridays again, eh?

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Of Pizzazz and Possibilities (and Soup)

Of Pizzazz

The center is pieced! Woot!

Debating borders. I have two fabrics left from this set that haven't been used yet. Both give some very interesting possibilities, but would take some finagling.

But maybe I don't want borders at all. I like the sort of vague ambiguity it leaves as it sort of wanders off the edge with no defined end.

I might ultimately want it bigger, though, so it can be more easily used as a cuddle quilt.


Of Possibilities

So here's the thing. I've already got a line-up of projects I want to do. The bins are sitting coaxingly on the floor near my sewing room door, just waiting for me to grab-and-go.

And yet...people are talking about Easy Street.

Who started this in my head? It was (like so many things) a conversation on Twitter among some of my tweeps. Was it @ddrquilter? Perhaps @Quiltedmagnolia? Or should I blame @quiltcabana? I know not to blame @Craftygardenmom due to her very succinct, but unrepeatable response indicating that clearly they had tempted her as well as she wasn't any too keen on it. I came in very late to the conversation--just to catch enough to get me thinking. And heading to Bonnie Hunter's website "Quiltville." And checking out her new mystery quilt that starts this month.

Kate from my guild did Orca Bay last year. It was gorgeous. But I'd watched her working on it at a retreat or two and had followed a lot of blogs of folks working on it--I know it was hard work! My first thought when I heard folks talking about Bonnie's new mystery quilt was, "I don't want to get into that. I have other things I want to get done!"

And yet Bonnie promises this one is going to be easier than Orca Bay. So maybe I could work on it and still have a life.

I emailed Kate to find out how she liked doing Orca Bay. So now she's working me over too: "Do it, do it, do it!"

Still haven't decided. I do, after all, still have those other projects in bins. Staring at me.

(And Soup)

Homemade chicken and rice soup tonight.

'Nuff said.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Banned Book Challenge Giveaway Winner Announced

Tanesha of CraftyGardenMom and I had a ball co-hosting the Banned Book Challenge Giveaway. Let me just start by saying, however, that Tanesha definitely wins on having the best blog posts about it! I was so tied up in my travel schedule during the challenge that I wasn't able to hold up my end of the stick as capably. However, never fear: We're already making plans for next year! Woot woot!

So, get out there and start reading some banned books!

I want to point you in the direction of Tanesha's blog post announcing her winner, and she also gave a very nice list of all who entered. Be sure you read it!

Meanwhile, my winner is (using the random number generator): SewExcitedQuilts! Jackie, woot! And I guess you were probably wondering what you were winning. Jackie, I'll be sending you a...

$25 gift certificate to

As always, my rule is you have to send me pictures of whatever you make with the fabrics you win in any of my giveaways. I'll expect those pictures next week. Tee hee.

It was so much fun seeing how everyone interpreted their books and the inspiration for this challenge. I want to thank fionaogre, cyprium_misty, marisa-dot-onebyone, sewexcitedquilts, marissa_l (give the kids hugs from me!), jenny, and landscapelady (Tanesha's winner) for playing along. I also want to send a huge big thank you out to Tanesha for jumping on this idea and really running with it. It was so much fun working with you on this, Tanesha. and I've already got next year's on my calendar. Yes, we WILL plan ahead next time!

Okay, I've been brewing some thoughts about my 2013 challenge giveaways. So be listening in on my next few podcast episodes as I start giving you information about the next one. You can probably guess what it is--it's almost a new year, hint hint.

Total Color Tuesday--Splits and Points

Happy election day! Have you voted? 

I looked ahead at how many color harmonies we still had to go in this book, and there are a lot. So the rest of these posts will be looking at two or three at a time. Mostly, those pairing/triplings will be very related color harmonies that are simply variations on each other. These two for this week, however, are two distinct color harmonies.

Splitting the Opposite

Making alien antennae with my color wheel. 'Cause that's how I roll.

This one is a variation on the basic complementary scheme, in which you choose one color and then jump across the color wheel to find its opposite. This time, however, when you find the opposite, you use the color to each side of it rather than using the complementary itself. This way you still get the excitement of the complementary harmony (which tends to be visually energetic), but more interest using more colors.

So, in my case, I started with purple, and then moved across to yellow. If I were to use this scheme, then, I'd be making a quilt with purple, yellow-green, and yellow-orange.

Rummaging through my stash, I came up with an approximation of what that might look like.

I have this wonderful purple print that someday I'll actually use.

In itself, it pretty much encapsulates this color harmonie, although there's some deeper reds and a straight-up yellow in there as well. I know in the past I tried not to cheat like this, but I just don't have a big enough stash to be a purist all the time!

So the green on the left is about as close to yellow-green as my stash gets, and then the yellow-orange on the right is my close-enough there as well. It's a little more yellow than orange, but it's pretty close

Using the Joen Wolfrom 3-in-1 Color Tool was fairly problematic for me again--it leads towards a much tighter mix of colors than what my stash can handle.

But hey, I got to play with chartreuse! (I've heard rumor that it's Frances of Off-Kilter Quilt's favorite color. Tee hee.)

I did actually have something that could be considered chartreuse in my stash. Go figure.

I think I came pretty close on these, didn't I? I'd never make a quilt out of this particular set of fabrics, though. I'd want to work with a wider selection to make this color harmony really sing.

Four Points on a Square

Issue an all points bulletin!

Yep, we're using compass points here, although you could choose any four colors, as long as they're equally distributed around the wheel. Technical term: tetrad. Roll that one out at a party to impress the troops, as my high school history teacher used to say.

This time, of course, you're combining two sets of complementary colors. So you've got some visual pizzazz again, but more variation for interest.

For simplicity's sake I started again with purple and yellow, since that's how I started above. This time, though, you would use the yellow, and then you'd also be using blue-green and red-orange.

I find this an odd combination. I think I'd like it better if I shifted everything one to the right--red-violet, orange, yellow-green, and blue. But that's just me.

I messed and messed and messed with this one, and just couldn't find a combination of fabrics in my stash that would work in the four colors the color wheel indicated.

Here's my best attempt. Ick.

This is one that I'd definitely have to take the color wheel into a quilt shop to find four fabrics that really work well together.

The Wolfrom Wheel (that's got a better ring to it, doesn't it?) actually worked in my favor this time--I liked the particular hues this one indicated together much better.

Violet, aqua green, red, and yellow. I could dig this.

Play time!

Your turn! As usual, link up your blog posts as you play with these color harmonies. Let me know what you think--have you, or would you,actually use either of these types of harmonies in a quilt?

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Sunday Progress--9-Patch Pizzazz

It was a quiet Sunday morning. We had our first snow. Sam was pensive as he watched. 
Later, we cleaned. I knew it was time to stop cleaning when blocks from my design wall decided to leap directly into the path of the oncoming vacuum cleaner.

By the time I'd hauled the vacuum all over the second floor, plus cleaned out a closet and two vanity cabinets and hauled all resulting garbage (it's been awhile) to the garage, I wasn't sure I was up to sewing. 

So I organized myself. 

This design means you can't sew blocks in rows. You must chunk. Jaye would be happy. 
 I just need to plan that out so I don't end up accidentally having set-in seams anywhere. 

Then I decided to do myself the favor of figuring out my seam pressing in advance too.

Those Fons & Porter directional pins have come in handy many a time. No, you don't absolutely have to press seams in opposite directions, but it sure can help.

I did get two chunks sewn, but I'm calling it quits for the day. It's a quiet, cold evening; time to sit in front of the fireplace with a quilt magazine or two while dinner's in the oven.