Interior Design Notes

This syndicated article by Melissa Rayworth of Associated Press appeared in our local paper yesterday.

Here is what Meredith Heron has to say about natural light and colour, especially wall colour:

The natural light in a room impacts how a pastel colour actually appears, says Heron. East-facing windows bring a cool, blue light during the day, while west-facing windows bring in a redder light in the afternoon and at sunset. Heron says south-facing windows tend to offer a yellower light.

“My rule of thumb is to avoid the pastels that correspond to the direction of the light,” she says. “So no pinks in a western-facing room or they will look like something out of an antacid commercial.” Likewise, avoid pastel yellow in a south-facing room and blue in an east-facing one.***

*** My personal opinion is you cannot go wrong with blue, because it is easy to pop in some contrasting pops of warm colours such as orange, brown, tan or coral.

Notice she does not say anything about northern light, which is the best light for art studios — and something I still miss from my last apartment which had wide open northern light not overlooked or overshadowed by other buildings.

I have made many decorating faux pas over the course of a lifetime of moves.  Of course some mistakes are rooted in the time the decorating was done — like trying to coordinate pink roses on a white background with a slightly different pink with silvery white polka dots (my childhood room in the 50s before designers were offering really coordinated collections — I was just ahead of my time!), or setting a trend for orange drapes in the 70s.  We lived in a downtown neighborhood where all the homes were right at the street so you could not help but notice what drapes everyone had.  At first people thought ours were weird but within a few months everyone else had orange drapes too!

Batik Mystery Quilt Finished!

front  IMG_0637I started this quilt an embarrassingly long time ago at a Guild mystery quilt workshop led by Arlene MacKenzie and Kelly English.  We were to bring a bunch of coordinating fat quarters plus one metre of another fabric.   I had enough batiks on hand that all I had to do was buy a metre of the dark green inner border and set aside a pile of other batik (mostly yardage).

Biggest challenge before the workshop?  Not cutting into the dark green for other projects.

The great thing about an Arlene and Kelly workshop is that they really give individual attention.  Even before we made the disappearing 9-patch in the centre medallion, Kelly was going round the tables, asking each of us  which of our fabrics we really wanted to show off and advising which ones to set aside for later blocks where larger pieces would be needed.

So everyone got to make a unique quilt, (except one enthusiastic over-achiever who went home and started a second mystery quilt using different fabrics in the week between the two classes)  and I don’t think anyone was left with the feeling they would have made vastly different design decisions than they did.

So, what do you think?  Have you done a mystery quilt and were you happy with it?  Would you do it again?

FABRIC NOTES:

We are so blessed that Bib N’Tucker has the biggest batik selection in western Canada — and is poised to open in more spacious premises very soon.

The back is home to fabric that’s just too gorgeous to ever think of cutting, with a few batik leftovers making up the difference. IMG_0638This is a hand-dyed print from Africa which I bought from Pippa Moore of  Kitambaa

detail of the back

IMG_0639shows the African design with Zentangle-esque pattern elements, which has been overdyed with a low-immersion technique.  and showing Arlene’s beautiful long-arm quilting too.  This was too gorgeous to attempt to do on my home sewing machine.

How not to Quilt # 2

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The moment three-quarters of the way through quilting the improv dragonfly started in Katie Pedersen’s workshop when I realized that the white on white fabric I was “using up” as backing was sandwiched printed side in …

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Here you can see how the back of this piece will look (the flipped over triangle at the bottom of the photo).

Well, at least it’s not an alphabet print, so let’s not tell anyone, shall we?

I have extensive stash of white on white, cream on cream, off white on off white prints.  Great for overdyeing either on their own or as part of a finished quilt, as Ana Buzzalino does, not so great when trying to make more modern-looking quilts.  But also good for backing.

Does anyone else have this problem of old-fashi?  What do you do?

Batik Slab Tote Finished!

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Leading up to the big reveal of the quilt that goes inside this …

I put this together with leftovers from the quilt itself plus some other batiks and hand dyes.  It’s a little smaller than a pillowcase and plenty big enough to take a large nap quilt with room for a book or other small items that might be needed.

Now I realize I should have taken a photo of the other side too, oh well.  I constructed this by sewing the slab into a long rectangle, folding it in half and sewing up the two side seams.  The lizard tote was folded the other way and I had to sew across the bottom and up one side seam.  Because this will be a functioning tote as the quilt will be carried around, I took care to keep the lighter colours at the top of the bag as the darker colours can withstand being set down better.

The whole tote and the handles are stuffed with batting and quilted with trilobal variegated thread which has a beautiful sheen.

Hmm, I could see getting into more totes and the like, there’s something very satisfying about functional objects that you make yourself!  I’m still going to do art pieces but sometimes the gap between the inner vision and the ultimate object is so vast.

Book Bag Finished!

Before making a tote bag for a quilt, I thought practicing would be a good idea.

We all have particular mental blocks and challenges and I can easily get myself confused when it comes to sewing things properly.  I know I could easily sew something inside out with twisted handles, or somehow have the handles stuck inside the body of the bag.  And once confused it can be hard to get back on track.

IMG_0626IMG_0627Since this was to be for the use of younger people, I searched my stash for something with kid appeal that wasn’t too girly or babyish and that would not show every mark.  This fabric seemed to fit the bill and also the critters aren’t directional.

This bag has just one side seam, which means a directional fabric would actually have been okay.  The side seam in fact makes this a nice bag for books, it’s that bit easier to slide them in and out.  And the striped lining is cool.

All in all I’m quite pleased with this, even the handles are lined with batting and quilted.

It’s functional so in my book although the fabric is traditional, it’s modern because of the emphasis on “get ‘er done!” and “make something useful!”

Call for Entries – Digital Alchemy – Juried Exhibition @ International Quilt Market Houston

canvas

My Warhol hot lichen, on sale at Spoonflower, where I go by wordnerd411

Jane Dunnewold is the creative force behind this first ever exploration of how quilters are using digitally printed fabrics from print on demand companies such as Spoonflower.  Of course Spoonflower is the leading company in this groundbreaking field, and they are co-sponsoring the exhibition.  It will premiere at the 2015 International Quilt Market and Festival in Houston this fall.

Jane has put a link to the pdf of the call for entry here.

Details of size, etc. are all on the pdf.  Worth calling out:

Quilts must be made from at least 50% digitally printed fabric.  It is not a requirement that fabric be designed by the quiltmaker, but the designer must be credited.

The other pertinent rule is no online/social media sharing of work in progress until acceptance and rejection notices have been delivered.

Submissions open March 1 to April 5.

Spoonflower turns orders around fast so even if there’s nothing lurking in your stash of too beautiful to cut, you’ve got time to design and order your own fabric — trust me on this, it’s not hard — or just go shopping for other designers’ fabrics.

Since this is for a quilt show (as opposed to bed quilts) you don’t have to confine yourself to cotton.  Spoonflower can print designs onto silk, jersey and now even Minky (think pushing the envelope with soft fuzzy baby blankets in non traditional colours and designs).  Of course quilts have to be quilted and quilting on Minky might be a bit challenging, but interesting.

How not to Quilt # 1

IMG_0609The pen on the top is a Frixion.

The other pen is a regular ballpoint  I enjoy writing with because the ink is the same luscious turquoise as the pen barrel, and the same colour as the Frixion ink.

Marks on fabric or paper made by the Frixion can be erased with heat, either by pressing or using the eraser on the end of the pen (which apparently works because of the heat it generates when you rub it on paper).

As you can see, I was making binding and thought I was using the Frixion pen to draw the stitching lines.

Mistakes: Opportunities:

  1. Sewing  the wrong side to the right side instead of right sides together
  2. Not having locked my beloved turquoise ballpoint away before starting to sew

Oh well, at least it’s binding so I can make sure the ballpoint goes on the inside.   I have pinned a scrap of bright fabric by the line so I can be certain of doing that.

By the way, although Frixion pens are handy things to have around, the lines can reappear if the fabric is exposed to freezing temperatures, although they fade once the fabric is at normal temperature.

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