Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Experimental results

How is your week going?  I have a nice pile of books and notes from my library time last week, *plus* all of the shutters are now painted and re-hung on the house.  They look amazing, and it makes the rest of the house look like it got a paint job.  I am so happy with how it turned out, though it was very, very warm and just a bit humid.  But now it's done and I probably don't have to do it again for several years.  The books, though, I have some serious plans for.

Some of you may remember that I started making sailboats out of leftover half square triangles a little bit ago.  I had planned to make them into a baby quilt, but then I had another idea:

Not a great picture, but yes, I want to make a word quilt with them.  I have a great sentence to put with the boats, but as you can see, I'm having some trouble with the letters.  Really, with the size of the letters.  Okay, and some of the shapes, too:

No clue what happened with that S!  I've been wanting to make a whole word quilt for a long time, and I have three really good ideas, but one thing and another has held me back.  I've done some words, so I've made a bunch of letters, but unfortunately I can't show you any of them because they're names of real people.  I have really only done capital letters, too, and now I'm thinking that I want at least some of these letters to be lower case, for design purposes if nothing else.

See how those letters are all inconsistent sizes and just look odd?  The "o" may be on steroids or something!  And what happened with the "y"?  No idea.  I think my way forward here is more practice.  I need to make some smaller pieces to get more practice with the letters and get them to be consistent sizes.  Thankfully, though, making some small pieces sounds like something I'll enjoy, and it sounds like a good use of sewing time, which I confess has been in short supply lately.  Oh, and I'll make some more sailboats, too!

So that was my failed experiment for this week, but I do also want to talk about an experiment that has really worked out well for me-- daylight light bulbs.  Friends, I had no idea what a huge difference these would make in my life.  I haven't given any thought to light bulbs in literally decades, but now I am so sorry that I waited so long to pay attention.

I took the advice of many people and also did some research and tried a bunch of different bulbs.  Some of them were very expensive and some were cheaper, but all of them were much, much better than the regular soft white bulbs I had been using.  I tried several brands, but I ended up returning most and keeping these:

I kept these mainly because they were the cheapest, to be honest.  I paid $3.82 each at the Walmart near me.  There was not that much difference in the light put out by the different bulbs, but there were huge differences in price.  Some of them were as much as $11 each! These put out a wonderful light that is a lot like natural daylight, and is bright and clean.  It's amazing how great everything looks, plus the colors look clearer and fabrics match a lot better.  And they lift my spirits, which is really the best thing!

One thing to look for is daylight bulbs, not full-spectrum bulbs.  Full-spectrum did not put out a great light, and I thought the daylight bulbs were brighter and cleaner.  Also, there are both dimmable bulbs and non-dimmable bulbs, and the non-dimmable ones are much cheaper (but obviously don't work with dimmer switches).  I used these in the sewing room and liked them so much that I got some for the garage, too. And now I want them in the kitchen!

I also got a light therapy box-- which I love-- but that's another post!  It's THIS one, which is cheap and puts out a nice light on rainy days.  I know I'm probably not using it correctly, but it feels good to have it on when it's gross outside.  I've even taken it with me to the library, which is somewhat dark, especially in the section I mostly use.

So there are the results of two experiments!   I'll be thinking up some kind of saying or phrase that I can practice making letters with while I finish up quilting the Harry Potter quilt.  If you have a good suggestion, be sure to let me know!

Sharing at Let's Bee Social.


Libby in TN said...

Did you know there are daylight fluorescents, too? They make a big difference in color quality.

Jo said...

I love my room to be bright when I sew.
I love using this pattern for my letters, abc, quilt. Not sure of the size you are using but it might help

Quiltdivajulie said...

Two sources for lettering - Tonya's book Word Play Quilts (ebook only through publisher Martingale's website) and Bee in the Bonnet's lettering book - just depending on the look you want in your letters (liberated or proper). (and I ordered one of those portable lights for our son's apartment - bright now but not so bright once summer ends)

Cheryl's Teapots2Quilting said...

I draw my letters on graph paper. I can put in HST's for the corners, too.

Frédérique said...

Thanks for sharing your light experimentation, I think I will need a good one too! Is it bad if letters are not "square", they look wonky and cute like that ;)

Danice G said...

The letters do look great wonky. Very cute sail boat blocks. Yes, the daylight bulbs do really make a huge difference. Those standard 60 watt ones just don't seem to illuminate well for up-close work and they cast an orange glare.

JanineMarie said...

Yay, you, getting all that work done. Painting (or replacing) shutters is on our to-do list, but somehow it’s been shoved off until next year. Your letters look like a fun project. I like things precise for myself, so I design letters on graph paper and paper piece when I can. But I do like wonky letters that other people make. I think the trick is to make sure they do look wonky—with a variety of sizes and skinny/thick. So just let go and have fun! Thanks for your observations about lightbulbs. We’ve messed with lighting since the curlicue bulbs came out (a disaster for us). We finally found bathroom bulbs we like (although every skin flaw shows now), but are still figuring out others without breaking the bank. We’ll have to look into daylights.

Unknown said...

I love the ship theme. You know...SHIP happens! Hahaha! My high school mascot was the shipbuilders or SHIPS in Manitowoc, WI. Great pattern for little one’s bedroom quilts! Glad to hear you got your shutters painted. I think I need pictures!

Preeti said...

Your house is now ship shape :-D Sorry could not resist that one. I have made one quilt that used letters and it did take a few attempts, especially K. That was a problem child. On the other hand, as long as the K looks like a K, wonkiness is not an issue. Let it be - have fun. The next one will be better :-)

Louise said...

I'm so glad you're feeling better with the right lights! We have a lot of recessed LED lights in the boat and DH can't understand why I have STRONG preferences for some and not others. It's hard to describe to someone who doesn't see it! Your sailboats are coming right along, wonky letters and all. I like them wonky, but you have to stitch what makes YOU happy :)

Kate said...

I have two daylight spectrum lamps in the sewing room. They are bright and make taking good photos so much easier. Glad you found something to raise your energy levels on those dull and dreary days.