Friday, April 11, 2008

Spring Sprouts

This week was a typical midwestern spring... 65 degrees and sunny one day and cold with driving rain the next. The weekend was wonderfully warm and bright and the whole world was optimistic again. Happy crocus and enthusiastic daylily sprouts poked through the thick cover of oak leaves.

Our property is divided between areas of native prairie and sections of cultivated garden. Every spring Greg burns the prairie, a ritual of renewal. But the timing must be right. If you wait a day or two too long, you risk singeing the new growth and this weekend seemed to be the perfect time. It is a dramatic and exhausting event because you must guide and contain the fire. And the results are always a bit shocking. The once wildly textured landscape is suddenly black and bare- as if a meteor has crashed on your lawn and disintegrated everything in sight!

But when you look closely at the sooty remains, tiny buds and shoots are peeking through. You can't beat spring in the lands of four seasons. It's always worth the wait!

Daylilies are always one of the first plants to break the surface each spring and I am always amazed by their hardy life force and lovely growth pattern of alternating leaves. Infact, I admire their energy and design so much that I once made a giant quilt based on those tiny tufts of life, Tree of Life: Spring.

As Greg was out of doors this weekend I was in the studio, as usual. I'd been wanting to try a LeMoyne Star quilt with the Hothouse fabrics, thinking that the symmetry of several designs would work nicely. But I have never made a star quilt before, so I thought of my friend, Jan Krentz, who is the Queen of Diamonds and discovered she has designed a wonderful "fast 2 cut" large diamond ruler, the Fussy Cutter Ruler, 45 degree Diamond Guide.

Jan's ruler is perfect for working with large patterned symmetrical fabrics like mine. When the fabric is wild it needs to be used in big pieces with simple piecing because the fabric is the star of the show. Along with the Diamond Ruler all I needed was a 9" square and a 9" half square triangle. Here you can see the beginning of the first star, next to last weeks project on the work wall. I started by fussy cutting the Ruffle fabric and exciting relationships started happening right away. I was hooked! So I just kept fussy cutting and building on with other symmetrical fabrics from the same colorway.

I have to admit that this piece is hard to absorb up close. But when you stand back the kaleidoscopic effect is awesome. I was having so much fun that I took it's picture to record the placement of the pieces and started another one immediately.

By this time I knew how to position it on my wall so it was straight. This one is quieter and kind of sunny because of the turquoise and yellow tufts of grass throughout. I am planning to miter the corners

For the first top I used 3 yards of Tree of Life, 3 1/2 yards of Lily Pad, 2 yards of Ruffles and 2/3 yard of blue for the border. For the second I used 3 yards of Cabochon, 3 1/2 yards of Lily Pad and 5 yards of Grass.

I can't wait to start another quilt top, but in the mean time I have other things to look forward to, as well!

1 comment:

Laurie said...

Those LeMoyne stars are COOL! I will have to check out Jan's template. I did an online class with her on Quilt University and LOVED it...In fact, I used your fabric for the star...I just love your fabrics and am working on a king quilt for our bed! here's a link to my lonestar:

Thanks for your great fabrics Jane!