Back to the Drawing Board

August 6th, 2017
 
 
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I made this table runner last week.  It is actually made from a border design I made about a year ago and I’ve meant to adapt it into a table runner all these months but never got around to it.  It’s a machine embroidery applique design and it’s nice because it takes about 35 minutes to stitch each fern so you can get a fair amount of other sewing work done while it’s stitching out.  I’m not sure that the layout is quite right, though.   I normally verify that my applique shape placement is aesthetically pleasing by stitching  a mock-up of the placement outlines of applique shapes onto muslin, but I skipped that step.  This is another one of those “don’t do it” moments when you have to painfully re-learn that there’s a good reason for most of one’s “double-checking” routines!  I am in the process of making a revised version of this with a slight variation in the placement of the ferns.  I’ll post a side-by-side comparison in a couple weeks once it’s done.
 
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This was very fun to quilt and that part was very quick.  I used my PTD12 arc ruler to do the ruler work framing.  The fill-in is featherettes and the goal is to completely “use up” the available space within the ruler work framework.  The photos below show my strategy for doing this.  In this next shot, you can see that I have horizontal/vertical lines denoting my center point and axes.  Here is the first “quadrant” of the featherette being stitched using those guidelines:
 
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…and here the first “quadrant” of the featherette has been stitched and I’m moving on the the adjacent “quadrant” of the featherette:
 
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Here’s an example of the center featherette once it’s been stitched:
 
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The space between the ruler work design and the fern appliques is filled by stitching plumes that stretch from the ruler work to just next to the applique shapes.  Even though these plumes keep changing size/proportion, it works visually and you “believe” the end design:
 
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I use that same “bump-back” method to fill the 1/2 inch channel by the edges of the table runner with a long, skinny featherette:
 
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These featherettes are all made using the bump-back feather method.  If you’re interested in how to create featherettes, I wrote a nice blog post explaining it awhile back and you can find it by clicking here.  Alternately, you can learn about how to quilt featherettes in my Craftsy class.  We are now selling the DVD for my Craftsy class called “Ultimate Free Motion Feathers:”
 
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…and you can find it in our online store by clicking here.  There’s a lot of feather info on this DVD that is not on any of my Free Motion Fun With Feathers DVD, so it’s worth it to check it out.
 

Complex Ruler Work Frame Designs and a Short Video

August 1st, 2017

 

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Complex ruler work framing designs actually start out as very basic ruler work designs.  It’s really hard to take a good photo of red fabric and the center block in the above photo is in deeply saturated reds and oranges.  You can get a bit better sense of the framework design in this next close up shot:

 

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Here is how the center block of the above quilt began:

 

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This is all very basic arc ruler work, where a series of 2-tiered tapered swags were stitched using 2 arc rulers with different curves.  The framework becomes more complex by:

-filling in some of the “empty spaces” created in the ruler work framework; and

-adding level after level of new ruler work framework to what has already been stitched.

I make up these added levels as I go.  You can see that there’s a lot more available “real estate” to be filled in each of the 4 corners:

 

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In the shot below, you can see that fill-in work has occurred and I’ve used a heart shape to create a “template” for some swirl hearts that will have plumes spring from them:

 

 

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This next shot shows a little more progress in a corner:

 

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…and here the background fill surrounding the corner frame designs has been added:

 

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It has been glorious quilting this hand dyed cotton sateen, and it makes me feel like I need to get back to using more hand dyed fabrics.  In the meantime, Ern and I shot a teensy bit of quilting on this quilt as we made a short video about quilt suspension.  Here it is:

Flanged Binding

July 25th, 2017
 
I bound my small donation quilt last week, it measures 25 in x 25 inches:
 
 
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I used a binding technique I’ve never tried before.  This is a binding that has a flange that’s actually part of the binding itself.  I followed a tutorial that can be found by clicking here. 
 My highlight fabric, or flange fabric (solid orange) was cut at 1.75 inches wide and my “regular” binding fabric was cut at 1.5 inches wide.  They were sewn together with a 1/4 inch seam:
 
 
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…and once they are pressed with good sides facing outward, you can get a sense of how the binding will actually appear:
 
 
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The binding is then sewn to the wrong side of the quilt:
 
 
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…and then it’s turned around and stitched down to the good side of the quilt.  My only regret is that I was on a hurry, so I left pins in place.  You can see in the photo below that this results in a not so even width of flange:
 
 
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Next time, I will remove all pins before I stitch and I’ll slow down and make a better effort to stitch right at the ditch.  Still, for my first attempt, this was a good experience.
 
 
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Trapuntoed Dresden Plate Wall Hanging

July 15th, 2017
 
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I outlined the steps to creating a trapunto layer in my last post.  That means I began this next phase by quilting curvy swirl chains inside each blade of the Dreden plate as you can see below:
 
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I then quilted a feather inside the center circle and in the photo below you can see that I hyperquilted it:
 
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Here’s what things looked like once the trapuntoed Dresden plate had all its decorative FMQing completed:
 
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It’s actually much easier to see all the quilting from the backside:
 
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I placed it into the final quilt sandwich and then began by outlining all the applique pieces with invisible thread.  You can just barely start to see the texture developing in this next shot:
 
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…and here all the pieces have been outlined with invisible thread and I’ve marked soap lines that will be my guides for stitching a feather frame surrounding the Dresden plate:
 
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This next shot shows the feathers once they’ve been stitched:
 
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And this last shot shows the feathers after hyperquilting:
 
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Wonder how long it will take me to get around to adding that binding…

Making Something out of Leftovers from Other Leftovers

July 4th, 2017
 
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I cut a lot of squares for another chevron quilt last week, then used the small pieces at the end of each strip to cut fans for a Dresden plate quilt.  I was so excited by working with these beautiful Kaffe Fassett fabrics that I cut up far more fans than I needed for the Dresden plate quilt I wanted to make.  The Asheville Quilt Guild always has a small quilt auction to raise money each fall, so I stitched up a 25 in square block to donate.  The shot above shows the beginnings of it.  I’m hand appliquing the Dresden plates for my “real quilt,” and thought I’d machine applique it on my donation quilt.  These are fairly large Dresden plates; I think they measure about 19 inches in diameter.  You can see in the shot below that in my haste, I didn’t make the world’s greatest choice about the color of the thread or the size of blanket stitch:
 
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Oh well, chalk that up to being in too much of a hurry.  In this next shot, you can see that I fused a layer of interfacing to the back side:
 
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This was to stabilize it so the edge stitching wouldn’t cause any puckering.  Next up, I cut away the background fabric that falls inside the applique:
 
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And just for fun, I decided to add a layer of trapunto.  I zig-zagged a couple of batting scraps together for the trapunto layer:
 
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…and then used invisible thread in my top needle to attach the batting to the applique section.  In this last shot you can see the backside after the batting has been cut away:
 
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Now the fun part can begin!  I am hoping to get this quilted within the next week, so stay tuned!