Saturday, June 23, 2018

Bookcase Start

 I started this project with the fabrics I had collected for the Cookbook section.  This is "Pies".  Partially because I found good fabric for this and also because it's a memorial for my dad.  He loved pies.  It was the cooking I perfected in my youth.

I learned a few things from this section.  1) I think there is too much height variation b/w the books.  In real life, I would have put the tall things and short things together.  2) Just b/c you have it doesn't mean you need to use it.  In retrospect, there is too much yellow/tan in this section for it to be interesting.  I added a few darker neutrals, but it could have used more.

I am much happier with the next section of "Entree" cookbooks.  Better color variation.  Retrospectively, a thin bit of solid with some contrast would make the others stand out more.  Concepts to remember for the next sections.

I rather like the jar of marmalade.  I'll improve the jar lid with quilting.

I like the tipped books.  But next time I will take the extra step to tip each one, not a duo.

So I moved on to the paperbacks section.  Selvage edges which I usually use to tie up tomatoes in the garden.  I cut them wide with a bit of the print remaining.  Sewed them onto a 3" black strip then cut into strips.

Sewed them together, making it a point to starch and trim to square up every 3-4 strips.  These are typically 1/8" seams to take advantage of the selvage prints.  Learning from previous mistakes, I kept all of these top distance variations w/i  1/2 inch, but more typically 1/4" variation from it's neighbor.

For beginner sewists (ROBIN), that narrow of a seam allowance is pretty tricky.

But I am super Happy Chuffed Psyched about how this turned out!
When I sewed the selvages to the black strip, I tried to make the most interesting bits show near the top.  The Chicken and Flower color dots are my favorite!

I am just winging it on this project, but have several friends who are doing this project at the same time, so I hope to keep giving insights and ideas so you don't have to make the same mistakes I do, and hopefully benefit from my happy results.

Monday, June 4, 2018

Destiny Finish

 Destiny is done! My sweet leftoversfor my dear friend Vicki.
 Machine quilted with my favorite square flowers with wine colored thread.
 And some green feathers outside.  Resulting in a very calm monochrome back that can be swapped out if the front feels too busy.  Love you sis.  Can't wait for this to be at your house.

Saturday, May 19, 2018


 I had a lot of weird leftovers from the Popsicle quilt.  The tie dyed fabric that I bought for popsicle drips being the strangest.  The color combinations result it a lot of very muddy areas, and I prefer fabric in bright, clear colors.  I decided that I should find a way to work them into one quilt.  When I designed the quilt concept, however, I had mis-remembered all the colors.  It is evolving into a random squares with 4 patch.  And the yellowish tan leftovers do help the others work better together.
This quilt's name is Destiny.  Because I'm making it for my friend Destiny.  They share many of the same qualities.  1) Getting a mis-match group to play nicely together 2) Maybe spilled a little bit of wine 3) This is now how I imagined things to work out 4) True friends are blessings  5) The more variety in the blocks around you, the better everything turns out  6) When it's done it'll be a hug on demand from me.

Monday, May 7, 2018

Wrapping Up The Quilting

 Finished with the quilting with the exception of a little section in the upper right, and the borders.
 Orange popsicle finished first with a mix of 1/8" dense quilting and cm wide stips.
 I really struggled with finishing the piecing on this upper corner, but happy with how it turned out.  The giant cosmos were a sudden inspiration, and perhaps my favorite quilting out of everything.  And I quilted in my signature above the stick.
 Because of the variety of density in the quilting, not to mention that the quilt was pretty puckery after pieceing, this lower talk bubble was super puffy.   I spent an afternoon hand stippling it into submission.
 Some fun fills to add texture.
 Purple Pirate
 A quote about the ancestors that the artist of the painting and I share.
And subtle detals of cartoons behind the cellophane.

My last decision to make is how to quilt the pink borders.  Planning on feathers on the blue.

Monday, April 30, 2018

Popsicle Quilting

A week ago, my Tuesday staff meeting got cancelled so I got a bonus afternoon of sewing and finished the piecing on the Popsicles quilt.  I spent the next couple evenings trying to square up the edges and contemplating borders. I had planned on adding more white applique highlights, something I forgot about the evening I was motivated to sandwich the quilt.

I was envisioning Blue-Fuschia-Peach.
I had the blue and fuschia in the stash.
Peach was missing and problematic.  This was to pale to give contrast to the pale sections.

 So off to the quilt shop.   But nothing in the tone I envisioned.  These were the only peaches that weren't super pale, and then the contrast of the fuschia disappeared.

 I played with lime as an inner border, but it seemed too yellow compared to the others.
 In the end, I swapped the Fuchia for a purple that ends up looking black, brown or magenta depending upon the light.  I was very concerned about the outer edges flaring too much b/c of the bias edges.  I also got excited about a time saving idea, that in the end added 1.5 hours of ripping and re-sewing.

Surveyed the thread stash and found that I had 70% of what I needed.  My friend Beve dropped by with some of the missing colors for the outer borders. 

 So far, I have 2 session of quilting.  Round 1 was stitching in the ditch to outline major sections to help stabilize the quilt, get rid of the pins and figure out how I'm going to manage all the puckers.  The upper photo is 2 hours worth of FMQ.  Below is a close-up showing where I'm trying variations to thread color and density of quilting to try to make some highlights from the original painting.

And the final picture in this round is the quilting from the back.  About 5 hours total so far.

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Popsicle WIP

 I made progress over the weekend.  I did complete the joining center section of the orange popsicle and joined all the parts that I had previously completed for the lower left third of the quilt.  There are definitely some bumps and puckers that even copious amounts of spray starch and an iron didn't fix.  Will have to quilt them out.
 I already had the red popsicle, and a couple lower triangles of details done.  I added the stick & shadow, the blue filler with the melty look, and finished  a cartoon panel. Auditioning tie-dyes for the upper filler sections.
I am particularly pleased with the fussy cut hair on both of these characters. 
And I'm more than a little amused at how much time I put into replicating what probably took just a few minutes for the artist to create. 

Saturday, April 14, 2018

Popsicles UFO

 I started this quilt 8 years ago.  It is Terrece Beesley's " Popsicles Momsicles" watercolor.
I was pondering why something I love so much became a UFO.   I think I know the answer.
 1) Size.  This is roughly 70" square.  Working on the outer edges is pretty easy, but when it comes to the center, both pattern pieces need to be taped together and the only place big enough is the living room.  Taking up a public space for an extended period of time, removed from the sewing machine, was a barrier.
 2) Technique.  When I started this, it was my plan for all the linear section to be pieced. This involved a lot of very fussy tracing and piecing to try to exactly replicate the original.  You can see that in the photos above and below.  Which is weird b/c I like to applique, and there are many other finished details that are applique.
 Last time I worked on it (a year ago?), I did let go of the original technique and started focusing on capturing the intent of the details instead.  The upper raspberry popsicle was focused on piecing to capture the shading, and applique for the shape.  I'll finish the orange popsicle now by making it in big chunks of orange and going back to applique the white reflections.
Good news is that my machine quilting skills have improved over this 8 years, so I am really looking forward to quilting it, and now have the ability to add a very interesting layer of quilting texture that I think will improve the finished piece.  I'll keep you  posted.