After many years and several setbacks, a friend from high school is finally receiving her MA in TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages). Hooray!! Of course, I have to make a graduation quilt to celebrate!
She’s quite a geeky lady of her own, and is particularly into fish, especially ancient ones. When I asked her what species would be good to include on a quilt, she mentioned that she would love to see a set of creatures from the Burgess Shale, which is a set of ancient fossils. She even sent me a link to a website containing information on all of the little critters whose fossils were found at this site, and I can’t help but think that they’re all cute in a geeky way.
So I have two options: make something “serious,” probably in earth tones and batiks, depicting these critters in rock formations… or something “fun,” in bright colors. Guess which I’m going with???
Somehow, I came across the idea of conveying her love of ancient critters by doing something along the lines of a teenybopper magazine cover, but with fossilized specimens instead of Justin Beiber.
I swear, where I come up with these things, I have NO clue. But she LOVES the idea, so it’s time for me to set out designing the whole thing.
I worked up a quick doodle of a few critters, but I still need to figure out how to arrange everything. (Apologies for the quick, low-contrast pic, I had to turn the flash off and Photoshop will only let me tweak contrast so far!)
I know how I plan to do the background, and place things on top of it, putting appliqué of the various critters on top of some little colored starbursts (just a quick MS Paint doodle here):
Overall, I think this is going to be a fun project, very silly in some ways, but I think the composition of it is good from an artistic standpoint, and it will be good practice for my appliqué skills before I launch face-first into that Hildebrandt Star Wars quilt.
Got one other project (another graduation quilt to finish), the pink/black/white quilt that I’ve TOTALLY decided to re-do:
Unfortunately, my quilting has been somewhat slow lately as the tendonitis in my wrist has decided to flare up yet again, but I start physical therapy on Monday so we’ll see what happens with that. Hopefully I can get back to quilting soon!!
Welcome to my stop on the “World of Geekcraft” blog tour! This has been a great project that I’m SUPER excited to be a part of! There are so many great projects in the book that I plan on tackling, including:
- Oregon Trail cross-stitch (we played this game ALL THE TIME in the school computer lab back in the ’80s!)
- LilyPad Arduno cake (my dad is an engineer and I’d LOVE to make this one for his birthday!)
- Crochet tribbles (though I’m not sure I could keep these away from my doggies)
- D20 earrings (wheee, an excuse to buy some new sparkly dice!)
The book is an amazing collaboration of a lot of great crafty minds, and Susan has done a great job of coming up with a huge cross-section of geek topics. Gaming, TV, movies, and more are all represented in this book, giving you an opportunity to make something for any geek in your life!
My contribution to the book was my Einstein-message Morse code quilt:
“The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious.” -Albert Einstein
This is actually the second quilt I’ve made with a Morse code theme. The first was done as a gift for my little brother when he graduated from high school and headed off to get his engineering degree:
Remember all semicolons
Document as you go
Do (Mt.) Dew, not drugs
Change passwords and underwear often
Fight for great justice
The concept for the quilt is actually pretty simple: you assemble some strips and squares, which is no hard feat for anyone with much quilting experience. Turn the piece sideways, read the pieces like dots and dashes, and you’ve got yourself a hidden code!
World of Geekcraft contains a map and exact instructions for making a quilt with the Einstein quote. But if you’d like to make a quilt with a customized message, mapping out the design isn’t that hard at all! All you’ll need is a Morse code chart, some graph paper, and different-colored markers or colored pencils. I posted some instructions a while back on this post, I spent several hours of trial and error to get my message to fit the size of quilt I wanted and to make sure the design was visually pleasing, but the actual process isn’t that hard to get down at all.
“Happy Birthday” spelled out in morse code dots and dashes in four colors.
Thanks very much for checking out my blog, and feel free to look at some of my other projects! In the meantime, stop by Indie Fixx tomorrow for the next stop on the blog tour!
Taking a brief break from my Looong List of Projects to make some smaller items. I found a super-cute wallet pattern on Etsy, so I’ve been making a few up as gifts for friends and family.
I picked up a fat quarter bundle to play with, and I have a few other FQ’s set aside from my semi-abandoned table-runner-pattern project, so I’ve got enough to make several of these this week… assuming my sewing machine starts to behave. (Having some major problems with thread tension, and I’ve got a ticket in to Brother customer support to see if they have any ideas for me.)
This has been a very nice little diversion, but it’s time to get back to quilting, as I have a project “due” the Friday before Mother’s Day, which only gives me a few weeks to finish off a lap size quilt. Hopefully I’ll be feeling better (mentally) in the next few days, due to some medication issues I’ve been sort of out-of-it for a while, and that’ll help my productivity a bit as well.
I’ve had a copy of Ricky Tims’ “Convergence Quilts” sitting on my bookshelf, and I finally had the opportunity to try the pattern out today. I’m making throw pillows for my parents’ living room, and only had 3 colors to work with, but everything I found on Quilter’s Cache in the right size used more colors than that. So out comes “Convergence Quilts,” and about an hour and a half later, I came up with this:
I love how it looks, and I think it’ll only look better when I get a border on it. (It’s currently about 15″ square, and I know the pillows will need to be bigger than that.) I love the method, it was quick and easy, and I look forward to making three more of these!
The biggest problem with the Hildebrandt poster is reducing the number of colors to a point where there aren’t a bajillion little pieces and hundreds of colors of fabric. Lucky me, my dad has some good Photoshop skills and came up with a method to take care of that! He started by doing Luke and Leia’s clothing, which has the most shading of anything in the picture.
- Eye-dropper the lightest, darkest, and two “in-between” colors
- Gaussian blur at .5 pixels
- Save as a .GIF with a custom palette (and a few other settings)
I could TOTALLY try this out on a small scale using the width of my appliqué fusible, which is about 20″ wide (I think) by printing it sideways on a few pieces of printer paper and taping them together.
Finding the right colors should be a snap with this method, too. I hit up ConnectingThreads.com, one of my favorite quilt-shopping sites, and easily found four colors to match:
This is super-exciting! I have a few other projects that need to be finished before I tackle this, but it might be fun to play with just a little piece of this, say Leia’s skirt, but a project of this scale will probably take me about a year to finish
I think I need to stop collaborating on quilt designs with my dad. We’ve now got the crazy idea to do a large-size quilt using the original Hildebrandt poster for Star Wars! I played around in photoshop enough to flatten out the shapes and reduce the number of colors, so I think I could do it in a palette of 25 fabrics or so. If I were to do it up in a twin size, more or less, the pieces would be large enough to applique fairly easily. Hard part would be cutting out the pieces, so I’d have to break it up into sections and have a B&W version printed on poster paper at Kinko’s.
But still, how freakin’ awesome would that be?
Having lots of fun with the hand-sewing! This is a HUGE change from being tied to my machine, so it’s nice to be able to pick up a few pieces and stitch in bed while I watch TV with my husband. It takes TONS more time, though, so it’s given me a solid appreciation for the quilting skills of my ancestors. So many itty-bitty stitches, and it takes such care to keep them from showing up on the right side of the fabric!!
I’m hoping to get one “ring unit” done by the end of the weekend, especially if I can sew while playing with my GURPS buddies tonight. I’ll need roughly 6 of these, plus a few connector pieces, to do a lap-size quilt. This is only a test, so I’ll have to re-do it, and the “actual” piece may be 150% bigger in order to make it a queen size with the same number of pieces. (Don’t even want to THINK about how many pieces are going to be hand-cut for this thing, though I suspect it’ll be far fewer than some other projects I’ve done.)
The design process on this one has been absolutely fascinating. Dad came up with an idea for a “triple ring” quilt, and I realized how insanely difficult it would be to use so many curved pieces. He then took it into Visio and broke it down into 5 simple shapes, giving us the diagram above. I first tried to break it down into units for regular or paper piecing, but that was a no-go… until I came up with the idea to do it with English paper piecing. EPP is used mostly for hexagon quilts, and it works well for cases where you have a lot of Y-seams and bent seams…. and boy do we ever have lots of those here! It’s requiring me to learn how to do all the fun of hand sewing, but the results so far have been definitely worth it.
The more work I get done on this project, the more excited I get about it. And that’s the best kind of project, right??
With the publication of “World of Geekcraft,” I’ve come up with the harebrained scheme to come up with an ENTIRE BOOK of geeky math-and-science related patterns. My parents, both geeks (obviously) have been great resources for coming up with ideas. My dad, however, went above and beyond the call of duty to work on a design we called “Escher’s Chainmail,” though I think it would be better called a “triple wedding ring.” Dad drafted up a rough pattern in Visio and sent it to me last night, and the more I look at it, the more I think that A) it’s a killer design; B) I think I could pull it off if I made plastic templates, approached the design sensibly, and sewed carefully; C) it’s definitely a unique take on a traditional pattern; and D) This might be a good option for publication as a small book, especially if I could pitch it to Omnigrid and have them make a set of acrylic templates.
The construction would be done very similar to a double wedding ring, with circles and a series of “wedges”, plus there’d be a three-sided middle piece (as opposed to a traditional four-sided curved square shape) in the middle. In my head, the drafting would go something like this:
- Start with the green circles (outlined in purple), and piece those using a series of wedges: one triangular, one sort of rounded/slanted, and one rectangular.
- Then, you’d move on to the “melons” (outline in yellow on the top-left block), which would have a pieced center with triangles, rectangles, and TEENY rectangles at the sides.
- Then you’d piece the red curve the same way you did the green circles and add it to the side of that unit.
- Next up would be the middle of the green rings; you’d start with the curvy-edged hexagon and add the two pieces to the end. That would let you piece all of the green circles.
- Then you’d need to piece the “Z” units (light yellow), which would operate pretty much the same way as the orange pieces.