Fourth and Last Block!

May 28th, 2011

I started on that 4th block today and the photo above is the center quilting. This is only a block but there’s a trapunto layer underneath the flower section, so I’m quilting the entire flower while it’s still in the block stage. I used Signature Variegated Trilobal Polyester thread for that section, and I’ve found that when they tell you on the spool that you need to use a size 100/16 Topstitch needle, they really mean it! I flipped to Robison Anton solid gold rayon (24 Karat Gold, my favorite color of all time) for the smallest petals near the center:

Once everything is in the final quilt sandwich, I’ll stitch just inside the edges of all those small petals with Monopoly Invisible Thread by Superior Threads, but for now, I’m doing decorative stitching. Next up, I did the EKG edge finishing design in a solid turquoise thread on the next layer of purple/blue petals:

…and this is what the backside of the block looked like at that point:

And here’s a shot after I’d just begun stitching a swirly flourish inside each of the largest petals. I have to say, this design is really fun to stitch:

It feels good to be moving this project along, but now that I’m close to having all 4 blocks completed, I’m re-thinking my original plan for joining them. I may need to return to another half-done project in the meantime to give myself some time to think this over. In the meantime, Happy Memorial Day!

Quick Note

May 23rd, 2011

I haven’t had much time to sew this last week, but remember that purple flower block from last week?

Well, I just had to go back and hyperquilt those feathers; the flower just seemed so empty without it:

Here’s a closeup of some of the petals:

I like that flower sooo much better now…I guess I’m a sucker for gold rayon thread on purple fabric! And I’ve just barely started a new piece for hand embroidery. This is National NonWoven’s wool/rayon blend in the background with a bamboo/rayon blend felt I dyed for the feather/stem:

I’m using some of the hand dyed cotton threads I’ve dyed over the last few years:

It’s not looking like much yet, but I have plans…

Re-Uniting with an Old Friend

May 18th, 2011

Do you remember this quilt block from a few months ago? This is one of 4 blocks from a quilt I began a few months ago, just for the fun of it. Here’s a closeup of those swirled petals; they are my favorite part of this flower:

This 4-block quilt got started because I’d accumulated a lot of “waste” from die-cutting and I wanted to use up all those cast-off pieces of fabric already bonded to fusible web. One of my favorite cutting dies for using up waste is:

The petals come in 4 different sizes and I can pretty much always get 1-3 petals out of any cast-off piece. I collect all these “stray”petals and once I have enough, I start fusing them together into a flower shape. Here’s another block from that quilt that I finished a few months ago:

…and here’s a closeup of its center. I’ve been trying to stitch different designs inside the center circle and the surrounding small petals:

When I got to the large petals (those are not die-cut petals; they’re very large and I traced the shapes onto Wonder Under and then fused/cut the fabric with scissors), I stitched some stylized vein lines inside them:

I just wasn’t happy with them, though. They seemed pretty boring, so I went back in and stitched some inlining with solid gold rayon thread:

and now I like them much better! This leads me up to today, when I had the chance to work on block #3, for the first time in many months:

Here’s a closeup of its center stitching. All I did was stitch wavy lines that intersect at the perpendicular level:

(Can you tell I was running out of ideas?!) I kind of have a like/dislike thing going with satin stitching. Sometimes, it just seems like a boring way to finish an edge, but other times, I really like the power of that solid line. I really like the intensity of the thick turquoise edging on these outer petals:

All of these flowers have been trapuntoed, so here’s what the backside looked like at this point:

So the next step was to cut away all the excess batting outside the flower. I use those blunt-tipped child’s scissors for this step. I may be kidding myself, but I feel like I’m less likely to accidentally cut into my background fabric with them:

…and here are the petals once I added some feathers inside them:

…and now for block #4…(actually, it’ll be awhile because I left that block in North Carolina!)

Quilt Market!

May 15th, 2011

I’m in beautiful Salt Lake City, Utah for Quilt Market and if you’ve never been here, it’s really a beautiful place. Snow covered mountains surround the city and there’s a nice, peaceful, vibe to the area. Here’s what our booth looked like when we first arrived:

Isn’t that a cold, dreery looking space?! Here’s a shot of it once it was close to being set up (note that the overhead lights are all off, so it’s much darker than during the actual quilt market:

The Mormon Tabernacle is just a few blocks away from the convention center, and there are lovely gardens that surround it where you can just walk around and take it all in:

(Check out all those irises on the left side that are just ready to explode open…gosh I wish I could see that!) One of the other really nice things I’ve gotten to do this Market is to meet Sarah Vedeler. If you haven’t seen her work, it is a feast for the eyes! She creates digitized embroidery designs for applique work, and her quilts are just lovely. I wish I had taken a photo of her latest “Go Bloom” creation because the colors are great and the meticulous detail in her thread work is eye candy! Best of all, you could win all the different components to create this quilt yourself by going to her blog and answering a simple question. You’ve got nothing to lose and everything to gain, so hop right over here!

The Last Mile

May 7th, 2011

We’re finally entering the home stretch of preparations for Quilt Market and there is a light at the end of the tunnel…in just a couple of weeks, I’ll be able to quilt purely for the fun of it, and I can’t wait!! I have a couple of old, unfinished projects that I’m eager to get back to as well as tons of new ones that have me chomping at the bit!! Here’s a bit of what I’ve been working on this week…

This is a table runner (or door banner) with coordinating place mats called “Feathers A La Carte.” Ernie thought of that name in about 3 seconds and I love it! I wasted a lot of time shooting photos of it and never did get a photo that came anything close to the real colors. Here’s another shot of it on our dining room table:

I rarely make anything but quilts, so it was gratifying to start and finish a project so quickly. The pattern for this should be available in the next week. I also made some headway quilting my die sampler quilt. Here’s a shot of the bottom bird panel as I had just started adding some background quilting:

Do you see that blue print fabric that’s folded over on the far right? That’s the binding. I am rushing to make a deadline, so the machine portion of the binding is already on when only about 20% of the actual quilting is done. I do this a lot when there’s a gun pointed at my head to finish a quilt fast. When I brought it downstairs tonight, about 30% of the quilting was done but I was able to bind 3 of the 4 sides of it tonight. It works ok to do things in this order if you’ve done a really great job of basting the quilt, and that’s another thing I love about spray basting. Here’s a better shot (more realistic colors) of half that panel as it sits folded and waiting for hand-binding:

I finished in-lining the last of the applique shapes on this quilt tonight and my last 2 blocks were wreath blocks. I cheat as I move from one plume to the next. If you look really closely, you can see the tiny Invisifil threads that travel between plumes:

The only downside to this is trying to see all those tiny threads later when you go back to snip them! Excuse me now; I’ve got a lot of threads to snip!