October half done already?

/ Friday 15 October 2010 /

How on earth can it be possible that October is half finished already?  Yikes!  Gosh, time is passing so quickly I better not waste another minute before sharing some updates.  So, first, I want to show you the luscious set of five Kaffe Fassett FQs that I won from Krista over at Poppyprint.  Are these not just perfect for the season?  I have been petting them ever since I opened the package this afternoon.  And how do you like my photostyling skills, with these fake but artistic leaves?  Move over, Annie Leibowitz!
I've been working on my kaleidoscope quilt, and I thought I'd show you how it's going.
More kaleidos
First, I need to express how much more difficult it is than I thought it was going to be!  The block isn't too hard, but placing the colours is awesomely difficult.  Well, it's making the blocks with the right colours that is challenging, and having to plan and piece at the same time.  Because you probably know that fools rush in where angels fear to tread, and since I am no angel, you know what that makes me.  If I had installed EQ7, which is sitting patiently in its box, I could have printed off all the info about how many blocks of this and that description I needed before I started cutting and making HSTs.  But no - I was so proud of figuring out that the blocks are simply setting squares and 12-piece kaleidos, that I jumped right in the deep end and started sewing away.

Thing is, it's actually pretty complicated (for my poor, aging noggin, at any rate), since the primary pattern that emerges is a ring of four star points, while each point is made up of one half of a kaleido block.  In the picture below you can see how this works.  My table isn't big enough to show many blocks, but you can get the idea.  You can see that the other half of a kaleido is part of the ring of star points for an adjacent block.

This means that you need to know what fabric the adjacent stars are going to be made of before you commit to making the kaleidos for any given block.  Of course, those adjacent stars are also made of blocks that are part of adjacent blocks, and so on.  I resorted to old-fashioned paper and coloured pencils to work it out.  Of course I don't have pencil colours that resemble the ones that I'm using in the quilt, so I have an elaborate system of notes and numbers.
Head breaking design sheet
The downside to this, besides being time-consuming, is that there's limited opportunity for auditioning different layouts of the colours for the star points.  I try to keep clear in my mind what fabrics are next to what while I am piecing the blocks, but it's not easy.  Never mind, I don't think it's possible for these fabrics to fight with each other, and I'll be happy however it falls out.   One thing I can change is the setting blocks. I have opted to use both off-whites and light tans from the French General lines, and I'm happy with that.  There are, however, some patterns that might turn out to be too busy for the setting squares, like the one below.  I may go a little more restrained here - but this can wait until I get my vinyl tablecloth design wall up to get a larger perspective.
Print too big?
Finally, I don't only quilt and teach prospective teachers.  I also read books.  And I picked up some new reads today that I thought I would share.  I got this great-looking book, Inside of a Dog, by Alexandra Horowitz,  a cognitive psychologist, who writes about "what dogs see, smell and know".  I think I am going to like this author, because the flyleaf says that before she became a psychologist, she worked as a lexicographer at Merriam-Webster (awesome word nerd), and the title of the book is taken from my favourite Groucho Marx quote, which has been in my email .sig for ten years:  "Outside of a dog, a book is man's best friend.  Inside of a dog, it's too dark to read."  So you know she's gotta be funny.
Book shopping 2
I also got Homer and Langley, by E.L. Doctorow.  I've been waiting for it to come out in paper.  It's about the Collyer brothers, who were compulsive hoarders who died in 1947 amid tons of refuse. I can't stand the lurid reality shows about hoarders, but I am looking forward to Doctorow's usual nuanced treatment of historical characters.
Book shopping 1
And because I am a quilter, I couldn't pass up this great book by Boo Davis, Dare to Be Square.  Owls and skulls!  Great fun!
Book shopping 3
Finally, since I was taking pictures of books, I thought I would show you this one.  I didn't get it today, but it was lying around on the table, and I thought it was worth making a recommendation. Just forget about the "Jewish" part of this title.  If you are a slow-cooker fan, there are some really stellar recipes inside the Jewish Slow Cooker.
Worth it.
And, last but not least, how about a little song?  I was knocked out by this series of music videos - a Symphony of Science - by John Boswell.  I saw one of these first on Grey Cat Quilts the other day, and found them all so inspiring.  I hope you do, too!


{ Stray Stitches (Linda G) } on: 15 October 2010 at 19:14 said...

Your quilt is like trying to put together a jigsaw puzzle before you have all of the pieces. I look forward to seeing it when you are finished!

{ Lindsay } on: 15 October 2010 at 20:07 said...

Your quilt is looking amazing!! Another one I covet!

{ beth } on: 15 October 2010 at 22:25 said...

what a nice post. Your quilt will be stunning and the video was very interesting. thanks for sharing it.

{ Cheryl Arkison } on: 17 October 2010 at 10:26 said...

Well, sometimes it can be good to challenge ourselves, even if that challenge means preplanning and structure!

My vote is to keep those busier background blocks. It will look incredible.

{ Dee } on: 18 October 2010 at 08:40 said...

trying to wrap my head around the quilt blocks, books and video!

I need a Tylenol! LOL

I love the quilt though, no matter how you do it!

{ Claudia } on: 18 October 2010 at 17:49 said...

Pretty fabrics. Are these all from the same line? I like the linen-y look of the neutrals. I'm having the same layout challenge with my similar block quilt (coffins). I have my work laid out on a flannel sheet. I think we both a proper display board.

{ ParisMaddy } on: 20 October 2010 at 16:01 said...

Busy, busy, there's so much to comment on. Between the ruler and your excellent tutorial it's certainly simplified this difficult block. I took a class years ago for that plate block but the way she taught us the center point wasn't flattened out.

Thanks for the book list---I'm always looking for new reads and dog books are always uniquely fun.

Love your blog.

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