Crunch Time

>> Sunday, March 24, 2013

When I was in college (in the olden days), the dining halls had a bread table, and on the bread table sat a box of matzah -- presumably left over from Passover and set out until consumed. During my first year, I learned that there were people who actually liked matzah. This was a revelation, as I could not fathom how one could enjoy the taste of cardboard. It turns out that when one does not eat it for 8 days every spring, one can like it. I mean, it still boggles my mind, as I limit my matzah consumption to small amounts on Passover, but still, there's something in there for the psychologists to think about.

A friend recently enlisted my help in a gift project, and to help her, I realized I needed to figure out how to piece certain Hebrew letters, notably the tzadik (above). Rather than make a lonely letter, I decided to make a word -- matzah -- and then make it into a matzah cover. This was timely, since Passover starts tomorrow night. I kept things simple and made white letters and used a blue/green ombre fabric (Marimekko scraps). I wanted the quilting to evoke matzah (which is sort of grid-like in appearance) without sewing over the letters. I tried out some straight-edge free-motion quilting which, I learned, is harder than curvy free-motion work. Or maybe I just need more practice. I like the effect, imperfectly sharp lines and all.

I dug into my scrap bin for the back and played around with some improv curves. I think I might make a bigger quilt with curvy columns. Usually I choose my binding to make a quilt pop, but this time I decided to emphasize the ombre fabric and use it to bind the quilt. It blends along some edges and pops along others. I like it.


A Little Garnish

>> Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Frozen snow adorns the landscape. Lest you think this is a good thing, it is not. It's icy, rigid, and ugly. Also, it's March, and this sort of stubborn snow seems unnecessary. It's time for spring, mud and all. I assume that's why I've developed a regular hankering for radishes. They're sprightly and crunchy and colorful, and the big log pink and green log cabin in the middle of snowy white cotton sort of reminds me of them.

The resemblance is obvious, no? This square started as an scrap-busting coaster project, until I realized I don't really like making fabric coasters. They're small, kind of annoying, and the ratio of time spent to fulfillment is terribly low. So I abandoned that plan, and made a baby quilt instead. One big block, lots of negative space, and some delicate loop quilting, and the ratio of time spent to fulfillment was so much better. I've also developed an appreciation for chartreuse. It's not a color I particularly love or to which I gravitate, but I like it with these bright pinks -- or with turquoise and navy.

This photo session -- which admittedly transpired in January or possibly even late December -- produced an abysmal array of images of the quilt back. Most of them were blurry -- and not in an artsy, fun, instagrammy sort of way. Nevertheless, I'd been looking for the perfect project for this Erin McMorris Wildwood print. It seemed best used as a large slab but pink/grey/chartreuse is not a color combination I'm accustomed to using; thus it sat on the shelf under consideration for several years before nabbing a spot on the back of this quilt. A little light green binding later, the quilt was done and shipped off to northern California where winter is sort of like spring in Michigan.


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