Sunday 25 October 2015

Uniting The Kona Nerds

One of the most exciting things about a project like this is watching it come together. The blocks are morphing into a whole...all the bits are becoming one. The idea is turning into reality.

All these blocks are random sizes, designs and colours. Believe it or not, making it work mathematically is easier than making it work visually.  Getting the layout right takes a lot of shuffling, and in this case it also needed a little input. My first layout looked like this:

At the time I was satisfied with the arrangement and I could easily see how it was going to fit together. When I layed the blocks out I was more concerned with the "fitting together" than the visual aesthetic of the layout. I asked my friend Lynne Tyler, over at The Patchery Menagerie, about a couple of things that had me scratching my head and she came back to me with more than I bargained for! Lots of really good pointers and constructive suggestions were in her email, I was so grateful.

It wasn't at all that she was telling me I had done something wrong, but she pointed out several areas that could be better. So, after chewing on her notes for a bit I took a big breath and started shuffling things around again. I tweaked my layout without compromising my entire initial design and landed here:

If you look at the photo you can see that I had already started to piece the blocks in the upper portion together when these changes were made. I moved a couple things but left the bulk of what had been sewn in place. You can also see that my measuring tape is laying on there...I was getting ready to build the top row and needed  a target height for it. The changes made in the position of some of the blocks really make this more visually appealing...and, the fish is no longer swimming off of the quilt. (Thank you Lynne! )

A couple gals have been wondering how I would go about building the flimsy and making it all fit is certainly a challenge. When I look at the blocks in a layout like this my minds eye breaks them down into what I can build into sections by adding in chunks, patchwork and pieces to get me to the target size. Sections become building blocks and then it's like just fit them in.

This should give you an idea of how I see the building blocks in my minds eye
even though this photo was taken before I rearranged the blocks.

Some people would draw it out on graph paper and figure it all out beforehand. I am not that person. I tend to fly by the seat of my pants...just keep on adding on, cutting planning, just measuring as I go and adjusting accordingly. Sometimes my calculations are better than others, but then again, I never was a great math student. This was the easiest way to find out how tall that top row of patchwork had to be to end up level with the top of the JUNGLE block after all the piecing below had been stitched into one big piece.

After a little trip to our LQS to get a nice stack of Kona Kandy to use for the "fitting in" I finished up the top section of the flimsy. While I am determined to use up a lot of scraps from my basket to make the fillers I do plan to use this particular range of colours for the bulk of the supporting patchwork and I didn't have enough to do the job. Besides...who doesn't love pulling a couple dozen bolts of Kona and making the cutting clerk a little cross eyed from time to time?

When I get the whole top together I'll be sure to fill you in on all the fabulous artists who sent along all the different blocks... aren't they great?? Only another half a flimsy to go! I can't wait!  Oh, and I'll also sit down with the Kona colour chart and figure out just how many colours of the 303 are represented in this puppy. Any guesses?

As an aside...while I was getting the photos ready to write this post Not-So-Little PurpleBoots carved up his giant pumpkin...all by himself. This is the finest one yet, I guess his hand has the strength to carve steadily now and his eye knows where it's heading.

Clearly a small bit of his mother's creative spirit exists within the giant frame of that boy... the doctor pegged him at 5'10" this week. It's official: the 14 year old is taller than me, a whole inch taller than me.


The couple chunks of Halloween fabric I picked up today at the LQS will have to soothe my "short" mothers soul. How do these kids grow up so damn fast??

Friday 23 October 2015

Hello My Name Is...

Kona Nerd, of course!

I have been playing with ideas in my head for Project: Kona Nerds, Unite! fairly steadily for the last couple months. Lot's of blocks have come my way and I have to start figuring out how they're all going to play together.

I decided I wanted to make one final block as an anchor for this project,  so I set off on an epic journey of sketching and applique that landed me squarely in my happy place. I just love this block. This block is going to be the focal point on the front; not exactly a medallion, but a spot for the eye to land in a sea of busy words and colours so it had to be perfect.

It didn't come easy... getting the letters right was tricky. I was able to generate the print text up top by printing an enlarged copy of an actual label. But the cursive lettering...oh my...I am simply not computer savvy enough for this kind of work. I printed what was probably 5 or 6 versions of scripty fonts without hitting the mark in my minds eye. Of course, because I am my own worst enemy, this meant I had no choice but to draw the letters myself. All I can say is Thank God for erasers and take out pizza. A brain on fire moment cannot be interrupted with trivial things like feeding one's family or scrubbing pots.

It took a while to get them "just right" but as soon as I saw the shape emerge in my sketching I knew I had it. I also knew that machine applique was going to be a lesson in patience with all those nice curvy bits & pointy corners but I stayed the course, pivoted my little heart out and got it done. Voodoo Duck laments my current frequent use of fusible webbing, he says it robs him of his sense of job security. I managed to insist that he is more than a stitch recipe holder and that his pins were invaluable to the project to secure the tear away stabilizer behind the stitching area. Silly Duck, what would we ever do without pins?!?

There are lots of Kona colours being represented in the quilt now... I haven't counted, but there are 9 colours in this block alone! The fabulous peachy pink lettering packs quite a "punch", don't ya think?

Thursday 22 October 2015

On The Road in Amherst

Weeks have a tendency to fly by, eh? All my planning and plotting to get Project: Kona Nerds Unite! finished up in time for the Fiber Art Festival in Amherst last weekend failed but I was able to send along some of my other pieces instead to be part of our guilds fabulous display in the Amherst Town Hall. The festival came and went so fast and what a time it was!! I met lots of people, saw lots of fun things, did a little fabric shopping, hung out with my quilty peeps,  and really enjoyed myself. It was satisfying to see 5 pieces of my work hanging in our show, I hadn't participated in anything like this ever before. I forgot to take photos but not to worry...there are lots of them floating around. I was lucky enough to tag along with my friend Adrienne for the weekend and she got lots of photos so you can see and read about our fun at the festival on her blogpost over at Chezzetcook Modern Quilts. There are also tales of our weekend on the blogs of several guild mates, so hop on over to Maritime Modern Quilt Guild's Blog and have yourself a gander.

The only photo I took was this one and it's not the greatest shot...the sun wasn't cooperative that morning. Some visitors knew my work from this blog and guessed I was the blogger by my pigtails. Clearly I should've worn my purple boots and then they'd have known me for sure!