Saturday, November 28, 2020

WIPs and New Braiding

Since finishing three quilts in the past week (ah, such a good feeling), I've turned my attention back to WIPs. 

The first one I started working on after retreat is Italica, my second patterned improv quilt that's a result of my "Linear Blocks" virtual workshop with Maria Shell @talesofastitcher. 

Italica is pieced with six large "Old Italian" blocks, but at 45" X 72" it isn't wide enough to be a completed quilt top. So after browsing further through Maria's book Improv Patchwork, I decided to make herringbones (pages 72-73 in the book) for each side. Each herringbone block measure 8½" X 11½" unfinished, and I need nine of them for each side. 

This patterned improv continues to be a very messy effort - meaning that I end up creating more scraps every time I cut a strip of fabric to piece. Though I've even pieced a few strips, I don't know how I'll ever use-up all the scraps I make! I wonder if Maria thinks this is a problem... and what she does about it. 

Peg loom weaving my 67-yard ball of stripped, pieced and bias-tape-folded yellow fabric into a chair pad was quick work after stopping at JoAnn Fabrics to buy a second ball of Wool Ease for the warp.

This is the fourth of four pads for our dining room chairs that used up a total of approximately 9¾ yards of stashed fabric. We have two more chairs, which are seldom-used, but I may make a couple more sometime down the road.

Friday evening's virtual workshop with Ilka White was great! Ilka teaches how to turn old fabrics like clothing, tablecloths, sheets and other clothes into a beautiful rag rug. I was so excited about learning how to do this, and I wasn't at all disappointed. Ilka is a skilled and patient instructor, who definitely knows a lot about braided rugs. Once you know the basics, the possibilities are endless. I wish I could share all the pictures she showed of different rugs - color combos, zig-zag designs, and patterns. Just fabulous! 

I began the workshop at 8:30 PM with these supplies: A tablecloth and king-sized sheet from Goodwill (for about $10); a clipboard; crochet hook; and fabric scissors. That's it!

When the workshop concluded at 11:35 PM, I was so pumped up from the fun of realizing "I can do this!" that it was after 1 AM until I fell asleep. When I woke at 6 AM, my first thoughts flew to the wee rug I've begun. The clipboard is meant to hold the fabric and keep the piece flat as braiding begins. 

Working on it this week will be a treat, as I expect to add more colors and more rags to braid six, then eight, then ten rags (and more) at a time. When the 15 of us in the workshop meet again next Friday night, I'm looking forward to seeing everyone's progress, and will be ready to soak in more information about this enjoyable craft.

Interestingly, only two of us are from the US; the other person lives in San Francisco. One attendee is Canadian. The rest are Australians, and you know how I love listening to a beautiful Aussie accent... I "reckon" you do! 😄

If you're looking for a virtual workshop - one with a fabulous instructor (she knows Zoom and how to utilize her camera), and minimal supplies (fabric!) - I highly recommend Ilka's "Braided Rag Rug" workshop. It's definitely worth two late nights.

Book Recommendation

My pace of audiobook listening has slowed since quilt retreat and finishing a Netflix series. But I finished Commonwealth by Ann Patchette. Actually, I sort of slogged through it. Though fans of Ann Patchett give her high marks, this book didn't resonate with me.

The story is about two couples in California, both with children. The husbands are acquainted through work. One husband is attracted to the other's wife; divorces ensue; families split between California and Virginia, and consequently shuttle between the two places; and the children each have tragic and sad experiences and emotions to deal with. The author focuses in turn on each of the adult children who replay their childhoods and attempt to determine how and what went wrong. So it's about sisters and brothers and step-sisters, and the dynamics and problems of mixed families.

Linda's score: 3.7/5.0

It's time to go braiding! I hope you have something fun to spend your time on. Linda


Frédérique said...

I love your improv blocks! A lot of new scraps to use too 😉

Martha said...

Wow Linda!!! You amaze me!!! Love everything you're doing!!! Those chair pads are genious!! I am going to look into how to create them for sure-so perfect for wooden seats. I am excited to see your rag rug done so I shall be watching!!! Hope you had a lovely Thanksgiving!! Ours was quieter than normal, but good as always.

The Joyful Quilter said...

Congrats on finishing your yellow chair pad, Linda! So glad to hear that you enjoyed your braiding class. Looking forward to seeing your progress.

Nancy said...

Oh the brading looks like such fun! And all that texture is apparent already. The chair pad turned out nicely, too. Two more would be a good thing- what colors this time? You've been Zooming your way to lots of good fun!

Betty C said...

All these projects are very inspiring. I know what you mean about creating scraps! I bet you will figure out a good way to use them. Oh, the chair pads. Those are cool.

Debbie said...

So glad you enjoyed your class. Looking forward to seeing more next week.

Anne / Springleaf Studios said...

I can only imagine how wonderful your chair pads look with your table setting of Fiesta Ware. Seems like it uses up lots of fabric. Good for you being able to use it in this way. Look forward to seeing the full improv top . . . the herringbone sides are sure a fun addition.

Deb said...

The chair pads are lovely and will certainly go with your lovely dishes and table. How nice that you were able to find something so enjoyable online. I am also grateful for those classes and have signed up for two to begin in early winter. Thanks for sharing.

Mary Puckett said...

I get a kick out of seeing your scrap pile! And it looks as if the braiding is a good break from the improv :)

Quilting Babcia said...

You are really on a roll with trying new techniques and crafts! Love the chair pads, they're so bright and cheery and perfectly matched with your Fiestaware. I could see your current Old Italian block quilt becoming a festive table covering too. The scraps are building up to an overflowing volcano in one corner of the room, considering I've made a lot of scrappy quilts this year, what gives?!

KaHolly said...

Such a diverse array of new projects! Kirsten saw your latest IG post and said, “Linda is just so cute!” She is so right! Love your little dress!

Elizabeth said...

Your projects are very inspiring, and the rug workshop sounds like fun.
A good use for small scraps is a free pattern for a pouf (aka ottoman) from Closet Core Patterns. Made from larger scraps and filled with smaller scraps.

FlourishingPalms said...

Hi Elizabeth! You're a no-reply commenter, so I'm unable to respond to you via email, but I wanted to say thanks for your comment. And, say thanks for suggesting a way to use scraps. Actually, I've already made an ottoman, and don't have the need for another. But it sounds like a good scrap-buster! I appreciate your suggestion.


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