Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Fooled Ya!

I continue to work on quilting the diamond border on the Heron quilt.  I decided on a larger version of the Sashiko style diamond that I used on the quilt that's on my blog header.  I increased my normal stitching length from about 15 to 12 stitches per inch in the hopes that the stitching would be more noticeable.  Unfortunately, when I'm not paying attention, I revert back so the stitches are sometimes less pronounced than I'd planned.
There are places where the diamond grid got skewed as I was trying to match bottom to sides.  This didn't worry me though since I learned the last time I did this fill that you can fool the brain into thinking it's all the same.  This is one of the most wonky diamonds.  Instead of the sides being equidistant at 2.5" it is 2" one way and 3" the other.  By having that end diamond finish the same size as the others, you don't notice the difference unless you are really, really looking for it.    After I finish this corner (where the difference is mostly) I'll take some better pictures (better light and with my camera instead of phone) to prove the point.  

Friday, October 25, 2013

Bloggers Quilt Festival Hearts Infatuation

It is time again for the Bloggers Quilt Festival at Amy's Creative Side!  I think this is my 7th time participating.  It is so fun to see all the quilts and I even won some thread once.   This year we are to identify which category we want to be listed under.  This is both hand appliqued and hand quilted.  But since I like the prize better for the hand quilted category, please nominate me for that one if you are so inclined.

This quilt started way back in the spring of 2011.  I even created a tutorial on back basting applique while I was working on the first block, which is now the bottom left corner.

The pattern is by Esther Aliu and was a mystery quilt along called Heart's Desire.

Month 2 was supposed to have 4 circle wreaths that surrounded the motif above.  After the first 2, I decided to wait to see the rest of the quilt.  My "Desire" was starting to wane.  Eventually, I put them together in a completely different way.

What had intrigued me from the start was this particular flower.

So I started adding a whole lot of them.

And then some up the left side.
All the elements, leaves, hearts, even the triangle border are all part of the Heart's Desire quilt of Esther's.  I just put them together all wrong.

I created the green border from all the green batiks I'd gathered for the leaves.

I used a variation of trapunto for the center where an extra layer of lofty batting is attached and outlined by machine with wash away thread and the excess cut away.  I went back and hand quilted the design.

Then added rows of straightish lines for fill.

I outlined all the applique.

And added veining for the leaves and some curley q's in green thread.

I was stumped for a long time on the background fill.  I ended up with this sashiko inspired diamond, quilted in fuchsia.

Which I have to say was the right


Monday, October 21, 2013

Hand Quilting

I am now about 30 hours into this quilt.  The background dragonflies took by far the most time.  I'm now working on the border diamond grid.  This is complicated by the fact that my center is an odd measurement.  I have been working on making a fairly even grid and counting on fooling the brain into thinking that my spacing is even.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Skirt Cont...

I do believe that I left off having finished this panel and debating about background fill.

The comments left about stippling detracting from the design reminded me of this practice piece I had done.  It did, indeed, detract from the central design.

I problem that I resolved by keeping the background fill linear.

So I decided to try that on the skirt panels.  I did switch to a grey thread and a walking foot.

To bypass the marking issues, I tried using freezer paper templates.

Didn't really work.

I would be outlining nicely, then the paper would become un-fuzed and I was either running the foot under the paper, or it would randomly run over one of the pointy tips.

The result was 2 side panels that look more like cousins than twins.

After a hot wash and dry, they have some nice texture to them.
Since I don't hate them at this point, I shall continue on.  I've managed to make the whole project more difficult by adding a pocket detail that wasn't in the original skirt, a separating zipper, and a new waist detail.  I am absolutely certain that my plans exceed my abilities.   Stay tuned.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013


And this pause brought to you by the process of cleaning and purging.

This blank space is my imaginary empty spot in my perpetual clutter.

On Monday (my day off) I was going to sew on that skirt project like nobody's business.
But while I was waiting for the stores of my planned errands to open, I started to re-arrange, re-organize and re-cycle the items in my living room.  Short version:  I removed 51 spools of thread from the living and dining room, vanquished to the bins in the sewing room where they were SUPPOSED to be.  (Editor's note, I have only had a sewing room for about a year since eldest daughter moved out, and it has only been functional for a couple months since her belongings which filled half that space were removed.)

For the first time in...forever...the only sewing items in the front half of my house are 1 quilt in lap frame, 1 spool of quilting thread, 1 thimble, 1 pair of scissors and a newly revised mini version bag of emergency hand-quilting items.

My evenings this week have been filled with the processing of the stuff I moved from the living room to alternative spaces.  Bedroom is looking good. There are 4 bags/boxes of items to donate.  Sewing Studio half managed.   Need to sort and send some bins of fabric back to the garage so I have room to work.

I WILL get back to sewing.  But only after the clutter is under control.

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Skirt Update

I do have some progress to show, but it was not without it's challenges.  

After daydreaming about this project all week, I woke up Saturday morning jazzed (chuffed...psyched...) to get started.

I had decided that plastic templates would be the way to go since I would be making 2-4 repeats of most of these designs.

I was so careful to cut them out just inside the tracing lines so I would have accurate templates.

But then I hit a point when I realized that my FMQ is so if-y that it was unlikely to follow those lines very well anyway.

As I was cutting them out I had a tragic realization.  I ALWAYS have yards of black Kona Cotton hanging around the house.  Um. Not today. $#^+!   I'm willing to shift gears, but soon realized that of the 1000 yards of fabric in my stash, I don't have a single piece over 2 yards in a color that A) I will wear B) I can imagine in this design.  And JoAnne's Fabric on Saturday morning is worse than a root-canal with no medication.
After a brief period of panic, I decided that Hancock Fabric might be less painful.

Turns out that I was right.  Quilting cottons 50% off.  As were zippers and Coats & Clark thread.
Instead of a stash buster project, I added 6 yards for this project and 9 yards of white-on-white - my standard quilting background. HOWEVER, I am using stash fabric and batting.  (And if I make it to the red/black version, stash thread.)

And then there was the Marking Saga.  I don't mean to be a drama queen...but really?  I can't find anything that really works on a mid to dark fabric.  I had an insanely expensive white Clover marking pen that I am totally hoping I can find the receipt so I can return it.  I bought it last week for this project thinking I'd be marking on black, and it was an absolute piece of crap.

I pulled out the water soluble blue marker thinking it would work.

Kind of did as long as I had full day light, overhead light, desk lamp, focused LED lamp and the machine light.  And reading glasses.  Double normal strength.

Here is the center front panel of my new skirt.  Since this is a major experiment I am also playing with thread.  I am using a Sulky embroidery thread on the top (with and embroidery needle), and the Coats & Clark on the bobbin.   [this panel has whatever was already on the fuschia bobbin...but the rest will be C&C.]

I did outline stitching on this panel so I can wash them all and get the shrink and texture that I want before I cut out and attach the panels.  I am using Bamboo batting (stash).

My current quilting dilemma is background.  I am thinking that I need to add some sort of stippling so the design will stand out.

So, anyway, welcome to my new 3-D quilt project.