Saturday, December 31, 2016

Tumbleweed Finish

Technically, I'm not completely finished as I stopped the binding process because I noticed that the light was perfect for taking some pictures of the quilting details.  Good thing I did as the sun went behind a cloud before I got to the full quilt view above.  In case you haven't seen the other posts about it, it is an improv quilt using up the scraps from the Desert Rose. The batting is cotton.  Backing muslin. Fabrics were NOT pre-washed to optimize texture from shrinkage.

About 1/4 way through McTavishing, I regretted the choice.  I like the motion and texture that it adds, but I think it detracts from the motifs it was supposed to show off.  After washing, however, it does highlight the squares.

 All that fuss for this motif, which isn't as noticeable as I would like.  It was totally worth the extra time I took to hand-quilt that inner fill.  In the real world, the texture difference is awesome.
 I really like these 4 fills.  The pebbles really pop, the brickwork is nice texture.  And the feathers.  I finally got them right!
I spent a lot of time fretting over this section.  In the end, I think it turned out really well, with just the right amount of variation in size & texture with the diamonds and pebbles.  The micro-feathers on the top green/brown was just nuts.  No regrets.
 I love these square flowers.  And that I could relax and not worry about perfect  lines on the dark green.  The paisley fill is one of the easiest for me to do and it adds a nice flow-ey feel.

The double leaf on the green/cream is hard to see but it was a new one for me and easy one to pull off.  Love the pebble stem and the wonky leaves.

My quilting theme for 2017 is Surprise Gifts and this is the first to be done with a plan to give it to the unsuspecting recipient sometime in the next few months.

Friday, December 30, 2016


Ever since I went to St Sophia's in Kiev, I've been fostering an idea for a mosaic quilt.  This is as far as I got on Monday. 

My original plan was a full sized quilt which would be a modified portrait of a friend and her husband finishing about 60".  As I started to draw out the draft, it became apparent that the scale I had in mind would make the pieces tiny, under 1/2", instead of the 1" pieces I wouldn't mind working with. 
I had scraps that I saved from the Desert Rose and Tumbleweed quilts that I ironed on to some fusible.   I remember now why I hate raw edge applique.  Many of the small pieces are popping off as I manipulate the fabric during the quilting process.

The weekend is coming up so maybe I'll be able to finish this wall hanging size version and share it within a day or 2.

Monday, December 12, 2016


My Desert Rose Leftovers quilt is progressing well.  I have transitionally named it Tumbleweed.

My experiment using embroidery thread was a success.  I has a wonderful shimmer in full light and is a bit thicker than typical thread.  I did buy embroidery needles and have had no thread specific problems.

The feathers above turned out so well that I officially announce that "I have mastered feathers".

I happen to LOVE this flower for squares.   It's a Lori Kennedy design that I used on Evolution.  My biggest challenge for this square was trying to keep my stitches even and medium in length.  When the stitches are short, they lose the shimmer from the embroidery thread.  I am learning that the fact that the lines aren't straight is no big deal.  After washing, it will look great.
The Ohio Star fussy quilting design turned out well.  Used the green embroidery thread on stars, and matching cream cotton thread on the background.  I was so unhappy with the planned stitching between the pods and the star points that I ripped it out and will be hand quilting that section. Don't judge me.  It's the only way to get both the color and texture that I want.

And then there was this.  It started with me following the swirl on the brown batik.  And it ended in a freaking ridiculous micro-feather.  In 2 colors. The green & brown together is 3 1/2".  I know.

 Here is the party from the back before the last round of Lea Day Paisleys below.
Back to work.  Hopefully some updates and progress in a week. 

Monday, December 5, 2016

Leftovers again

I took a break from the hand quilting to use up some leftovers.  You may remember that I severely over-bought fabric when I was considering changing the dark squares on the Desert Rose quilt.  My original plan was to make 3 giant Ohio Stars with the extra.  Then I realized that I had an abundance of what had been the corner blocks which when joined this way made some dandy 6" green squares.  I decided to keep the stars in proportion with the green squares so they finished at 18".   The pinwheels and squares on point were some leftover HST proving that I can't count when following my own directions.  The varigated looking stripe was made from the stripset remains from the Desert Rose star.  The checker board section is my least favorite, but a quick way to use up the abundance of squares from when I thought I was going to change to the mid brown.  Then I used up the over-cut strips.  And I added some dark brown and lime strips from the stash to balance things out.  This went amazingly fast, a couple hours at a time over the course of a Saturday doing other things.

I spent more time designing a terribly intricate quilting pattern.  I trolled my Pintrest collection of amazing machine quilting and borrowed ideas from multiple people.  Unfortunately, this needs to look symmetrical and the components are repeated 4-8 times in each of 3 blocks.  So I proceeded to work out some rather complex templates.  The star section needed 3 different ones, flipped front to back in order to transfer the whole design.
While my FMQ skills are improving, I was pretty concerned about if I was going to be able to pull off the plan.  I drew up one more to do a test piece.  I am pretty pleased with the feathers.  The pebbles are a little organic, but tolerable.  I need more practice on the swirlies.  And I realize that I will never be able to FMQ a straight line even when it's drawn.  I know there are people who use a ruler for that even with a domestic machine.  I'm not sure I'm that coordinated.

This sample used some wool batting so it has some lovely loft.  The final quilt will have cotton batting, so some of the imperfections with wrinkle away with the shrinkage.

I am hoping to get all more chores and errands done quickly today so I can get started on the quilting.