Picking up An Old Quilt Project

December 9th, 2017

Remember this quilt top center?  I am going on almost 1 1/2 years since I first started making blocks for the center section of this quilt.  This past summer, I appliqued/embroidered the first border area and I finally added them on last week.  Here is what the top looked like at the end of last weekend:

Ooh-la-la!!  I am simultaneously excited and scared as I am moving ahead on this project.  Excited because the drama of these appliques against the stark black fabric backdrop makes my heart flutter.  Scared because I think I should quilt it with black thread and I know this will be a nightmare for me vision-wise!  My vision is actually pretty good for someone my age, but seeing tiny stitches of black thread on black fabric will be really, really, tough for these old eyes.  I am plodding ahead, though, and am now working on the next applique border section.  This shot below is the first of the 4 outermost border sections:

I need to add another dark blue border before the final applique border, but the end is in sight!

Today’s Sewing Fun

December 5th, 2017
I’ve been playing around with some basic leaf shapes with embroidered details, kind of like a basic leaf “sampler.”  I’m on the 2nd round of stitch-outs for them.  These are the first 6 out of 15 total:
This next one is my favorite of this group:
This next one is my LEAST favorite, although I think it would look better if I hadn’t outlined it with such a high contrast thread:
This next one is another fav…I think it’s because I really like the edge-finishing stitched design:
Just 2 more:
Once I get the rest of the 15 leaves done, my plan is to stitch these out using wool for my applique shapes.  Think of the textures!

Another “Kissed by a Butterfly” Quilt

December 4th, 2017

The photo above is of the original “Kissed by a Butterfly” quilt.  I love how it came out and I think a big part of what makes the quilt nice is the striking colors of the hand dyed fabric in the center block.  Shortly after I made it, I started a second version of the same quilt, but it’s made in commercial fabrics with more “pastel-ish” colors.  I am not a fan of pastels, so working on this quilt became quite a chore.  I pieced the top except for that last border and then set it aside.  It sat, waiting to be completed, for several months, and I finally picked it up again last month.  Here is a shot of it on my basing wall:

I like the embroidered details on the butterfly applique shapes, but that’s kind of the end of what I like about the quilt top:

I started quilting this center block.  I began by adding a ruler work framework along the seam line.  In this shot, the first row of the framework is in and I’ve filled in 4 of the spaces underneath the framework:

…and in this next shot, the remaining spaces have also been filled in with a featherette inside each:

I added a circular ruler work framework  that rotates around the center applique wreath, then filled each triangle with a small featherette.  This left a small adjacent space that I filled with a different featherette.  I used 2 different thread colors to differentiate them better:

This close-up shot is a better illustration of what I was trying to do:

Then I got bored and moved to a different part of the quilt!  More on this later…

Finito!

October 25th, 2017
fern-tr-rev
 
 
The table runner above probably looks kind of familiar, but it’s actually a first.  It’s a variation of  a fern table runner I made a few months ago, but it’s a bit wider and the distance between the 2 sides of ferns is a bit wider as well.  Here’s a close up of this new one:
 
fern-tr-rev1-closeup
The ruler work was all done using the PTD 12 arc ruler and the main thread is Glide.  The loop-d-loop in the background edges was done using Invisifil.  This was because I just wanted a texture there and wanted to avoid drawing attention to that stitching.  This next shot shows the 2 table runners next to one another:
 
fern-tr-together
I am chuckling because I can hardly tell them apart when they’re together, yet I was REALLY bothered by the width of that first table runner and that’s what made me re-create it with a different layout!  Here’s a closeup of the two together:
 
fern-tr-together-closeup
I still like the wider one better, even though the difference is kind of subtle!   This is a machine embroidery applique design (meaning it’s done on an embroidery machine) that I originally designed as a border design but I like how the design works with the mirror image ferns across from one another.  I’m hoping to have this pattern available by Christmas.

Starting a New Quilt Project

October 21st, 2017
There’s nothing quite as invigorating as beginning a new quit project. I’ve had the center part of this quilt in my head for a few months now, but couldn’t allow myself to begin working on it until I had finished up some other work. Now I can really plow into this! I started by cutting out applique shapes with my Sizzix Big Shot:
 
cutting-shapes
(This was early on…I cut a WHOLE lot more than this, but it went very quickly using a steel rule die.)  My background fabrics were the hand dyed fabrics I dyed recently.  Here are my 3 center panels once they’d been backed with a lightweight interfacing and cut to size:
 
wall
(For what it’s worth, I always fuse a lightweight interfacing onto the back of any fabric I’m going to embroider, but cotton sateen is a good fabric to ALWAYS fuse to lightweight stabilizer, even when you’re not going to embroider it.  It’s a twill fabric and can be a bit of a “shape-shifter,” if you know what I mean.  Once you back it with interfacing, it will not change shapes on you.)
 
Next up, I fired up the old embroidery machines and started many, many hoopings of machine embroidery applique.  You can see one of the panels in the next shot as I’m still adding to it:
 
panels-green-1
This first panel has jade swags and dark blue flowers.  It’s my favorite one.  This second panel has turquoise swags and purply/blue flowers.  I’m not as in love with this one:
 
panels-green-2
I can’t believe I got this far already, but I’ve finished the MEA on the first 2 panels!!  Here is a shot of them next to one another on my design wall:
 
panels-1_2
The Dijon mustard fabric in between them is in the “auditioning phase”…not sure that is a “go” or not just yet.  The third panel will also have jade swags and dark blue flowers.  I won’t be able to work on this again for a week, but I’m feeling totally “juiced up” by how far I’ve gotten so far.  Here’s a closer up shot that is very off-kilter:
 
panels-1_2-cu