Sunday, July 31, 2016

When An Idea Hits You ~ Go With It!

This is for real!  You know how you always have something to do?  A deadline, a WIP, blocks to piece, dinner to make, and idea to explore, but something comes up and changes your entire schedule?!  You know!  

I am totally putting the blame on Debbie at A Quilter's Table for yoinking me away from my schedule!  Kidding, of course!  The Crosscut Quilt-along on Instagram, hosted by Debbie, was actually the diversion I needed!   A quilt-along that was, and low pressure!

Crosscut Quilt
20" x 20"
After all the blocks were finished and the rows assembled, I found I liked it just the way it was! And I have to cut it up?

I was hesitant at first because once you start there's no turning back!  And really, it is worth it!    

After day four, I couldn't help myself.  I needed to finish this quilt.  Not because I was tired or it, of over it...I was excited to see the results.  The results even shocked me.  Me!

I sliced and diced my squares, arranged and rearranged until I came up with the ideal (to me) layout.  The blocks were sewn together again and I was frothing at the bit to quilt it. And then... Screech!!!!  To a halt!!!!

I had an idea!  Heaven help me!  Where these thoughts and ideas come from is any ones guess, but it happened.  I enjoy putting the unexpected in quilting or trying something different.  

What I did, and it's nothing new in the land of quilting, is to insert and accentuate a detail.  I wanted dimension that reflected the block.  Most would call it Trapunto Quilting, basically stuffed or padded quilting.

I didn't find out the 'proper' method for doing Trapunto Quilting, not me!  I just made it up as I went along.

What did I do?  From scraps of batting, I cut two 2" strips batting, folding each strip so there were basically three layers and zig zag stitched from end to end to secure the strip together.

Once I decided where I wanted to place the 'X', I had to decide how I would keep the strips in place.  There were a couple of options from machine stitching, hand stitching to glue basting.  I went with the glue.

I put a fine line of glue under the strips and used a hot dry iron to set the glue.  I wasn't sure if it would work on batting, but it did.  The strips are secure and there won't be any shifting at all.  

After pinning the layers together, it was time to 'let the quilting begin'!  Something I was really looking forward to.  Would this unconventional method work? 

Yes!  This is the result I wanted!  A raised, defined element that works with the original design and gives amazing dimension.  

I first quilted as close to the batting strips as possible, and then quilted each section.  Doing the dense quilting accentuated the 'X' even more.  

Even before washing the detail is there, but I knew after washing and drying it would be even better.  No question.    

The back shows the quilting detail, the raised strips much better than the front.  It's kind of crazy!

This did not disappoint!  In one of the low volume fabrics there was a small touch of green, so I added a tiny piece of green to the binding.

I want to thank Debbie for hosting this quilt-along!  For making it a fun event, one that took me away from my every day responsibilities for just a moment!

I plan on exploring this 'stuffed quilt' detail even more.  I'm wondering what it would look like if I rolled it instead of folded it?  Mixing it with hand quilting, or more machine quilting?  Glue basting it or stitching it?  

Have you done this before?  Something similar?  I'm always looking to push the limits, thinking outside the box, pushing the boundaries!  I may not have done the traditional Trapunto method, but what I did worked for me. 

If we never pushed and experimented, we would never learn.   Or have all these wonderful new methods and techniques!


Thursday, July 28, 2016

The Infamous Six Minute Circle

I've done my share of Drunkard's Path blocks, but I sometimes have trouble getting the seams to line up perfectly when putting the four pieces together.  It works, they just take a fair amount of fussing involved.  

When I came across the Six Minute Circle video by Dale Fleming,  I knew I needed to give it a try.  Yesterday I finally got that chance.  Whether you are wanting perfectly round circles, organic circles, or even half circles, you really need to check out the video. 

I grabbed some of my Shibori hand dyed fabric and linen pieces and set out to see what all the fuss was about!  Right off the bat I knew I wasn't going to do perfect circles.  I free hand cut a shape I was happy with.  Looks like an egg to me...guess that would be an oval!

It's all about the freezer paper!  Who would have ever thought that would have a place in quilting?! 

You decide on the size of your blocks, circle and how much background space you want around the center shape.  Since I was just 'playing', I made two different sizes.  

Here is the back after stitching around the circle.  You have two options when pressing your seams.  If you press them out, like I did, the front looks pieced.  If you press the seam towards the center, the block looks more like applique.  How about that?!

The tutorial has you cutting two pieces of fabric, one for the background and one for the circle. Both are the same size.  I actually didn't do that because I didn't want to 'waste' my hand dyed fabric.  I did make sure that it covered the center and all around the turned back area that the tutorial shows.  

Also, they took longer than six minutes!  And you can expect that if it's your first time trying this method.  Next time I will change from my walking foot to a zipper foot when sewing around the corner.  I was experimenting so I left my dual feed foot on.  Not a good idea.  

There are possibilities here and I really like that!  Have you used this method?  Or do you have a different technique you use?

If you haven't heard, Debbie at A Quilter's Table is doing Crosscut Quilt-Along on Instagram. I jumped in!  It was too irresistible!  By the end of the I will have a gorgeous mini quilt!  

If you aren't able to join in but would like to learn, she has a great tutorial for the Crosscut Block here.

Every day this week she has step to complete.  I picked pink, only because I rarely use pink in anything except on my toenails!

This was the end of day of day two.  Day three...slice it up!!  Seriously...YIKES!  Courage is needed!  It's been fun and who doesn't love a quick quilt-along?!


Monday, July 25, 2016

Graphic In Nature

Do you ever wonder where the time goes?  Either it flies by or drags along.  Summertime has a way of blurring time and making the days all run together!  

I finished this quilt top three weeks ago, but it seems much longer.   Graphic Nature (AKA: Graphic Second Chance Quilt) was put aside waiting for me to find the gumption to finalize the quilting design. 

Graphic In Nature
39 1/2" x 52 1/2"
The graphic design still makes me happy.  A little color, black, white, along with the crisp clean layout is a pleasing aesthetic to me. 

I struggle on quilting this.  I asked myself over and over 'how, what and why' over and over, never really getting a good answer.  One idea was to stitch in the ditch around the blocks, I did.  I tiny bit of free motion quilting inside the blank squares, done.  Three fourths of the quilt has random width of horizontal lines, the last quarter is vertical lines much like a column chart.  

I haven't played with a backing for a while, so this one got the VIP treatment.  Use some fabric, use some scraps and 'make it work'!  I must have turned a corner!  I was ripping fabric left and right without a care in the world, not my normal practice!

The top color is Kona Ice Frappe, the middle Kona Sour Apple and the bottom is New Spray Green.  Another win win on the row of blocks on the back!  I've had that text print squirreled away waiting for the right project, this was it!

The black binding surprised me!  I like how it frames the backing, but love how it blends in with some of the blocks on the front.  You'd almost think I planned that, which I didn't!

The new bundle of joy!  
You know the feeling I'm talking about!  Finished, washed and folded...and done!

Truth is I'm not blown away with the quilting I did on this one.  Apparently on the day of quilting, my mojo took the day off!  I can beat myself up or I can try harder on the next one! Have you ever felt like that?  

I was disappointed in myself for a while, but it didn't last long this time...highly unusual! 


Saturday, July 23, 2016

Texture Abound! A New Past Time

I absolutely love having a project to work on in the evenings.  Maybe hand sewing a binding on a finished quilt or a fun English Paper Piece project.  Yet more times than not, I'm dead in the water! No quilt, no EPP, nothing to keep my hands busy.  Now I have one more 'thing' to fill those evenings.  Hand quilting!!  

15 1/2" x 15 1/2" Wall Hanging
I know, hand quilting has been around as long as dirt!  It wasn't until recently that I started browsing Instagram, Blogs and Pinterest admiring all the different styles and techniques.  

While working on the last surprise gift for my daughter, this wall hanging, I decided I was going to do a little needle work to see what all the fuss was about.

If the block looks familiar, that's because it's one of last blocks I made for the Epic Sampler BOM.  I added a border around the entire block, extending the coral orange to the edges. The border increased the size slightly from 12" to 15 1/2".  

Before hand quilting entered my mind, I knew some good old fashioned straight line quilting was exactly what it needed.  You cannot go wrong with tight straight line quilting!

The 'X' through the center has three different thread colors:  yellow, blue and green.  All three colors converging to create the perfect grid!

The binding is pieced with one section of coral at the top.  Why not be different?!  Or maybe I was being lazy!!  At this point I thought I was finished.  

...and then the hand quilting bug bit...

What I'm about to attempt has never been attempted by me before.  Which means I certainly didn't have any supplies either!  I was lucky enough to find some DMC Perle Cotton in my daughters stash and the fun began.  

The plan is simple, simple, simple.  A straight running stitch.  From what I have seen in my internet travels, the running stitch is the one that interests me the most.  It appears simple, yet creates the most amazing texture.  

After spending a few nights doing hand quilting the end finally came, much to my disappointment.  I'm looking forward to taking on a larger project and learning along the way!  More perle cotton and proper needles!

After washing, the surface texture was even more impressive!    

Who is a hand quilter?  Sashiko stitcher?  What is the one piece of advice you would share with a beginner hand quilter?  I love having one more tool in my tool box!  Learning something new ain't so bad either!


Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Spewing Butterflies ~ A Pillow

I had a plan.  Pin baste and quilt my Kona Highlight quilt and get it off my design wall. Unfortunately, I didn't have the right backing.  It's on order and I'm patiently waiting for it to arrive.  

With spare time on my hands, I was looking through my box of 5" blocks (cut from left over scraps) and came across three pretty butterflies.  They have hovered in my stash for years, literally years!  I kept pushing them aside not wanting to do anything with them and certainly not wanting to through them away!  Heaven forbid!

12" Spewing Butterflies
The colors match perfectly fine with the Birthday Quilt I made for my daughter a few months back, and since she is moving into her new place...I decided to whip up a little surprise for her!  A pillow!  A small pillow ~ it's 12" square.  

Once I decided the layout, I fused the butterflies to the background fabric.  I used Pellon Wonder Under (#805R) because that's what I had on hand.  Everything in this pillow is something I had on hand, no special treatment just because it was for my daughter!  With the butterflies fused to the fabric, it was ready to quilt.

I think the stitch I used around the edges is called a blanket stitch, its one I use nearly every time I do applique, which isn't very often.  

Now you see why I call this pillow 'Spewing Butterflies'!  The lines coming from the butterflies represent antennas, lots of antennas!

The rest of the pillow, I free motion quilted wild loops.  What do you call that?!  Loopy loops? Meandering loops?  Let's just say it was a good try and move on!

After I wash and dry, all was good again!  I was shocked that there wasn't even the slightest fraying around the butterflies.  Is it the Pellon?  

The back is 'Wanderer' by April Rhodes.  One of the many fat quarters I had left over from the Birthday Quilt.  I went with an envelope closure because with a fat quarter that was the best I could do!

The good news, she loved her pillow and it sits upon her bed on top of her quilt!  I really spoil that girl!  The truth is, this is really super 'cutsie'!  Which I'm not known for!  Fun and fast was just what I needed at the moment! 

I have one more surprise for her...see...spoiled!  It's my first hand quilting project which I'm still working on, but I'm super excited about it!  Here's a sneak peek!

Do you applique?  What do you use when doing applique for the fusing part?  


Sunday, July 17, 2016

The Epic Saga Continues!

I might be a little proud of myself, after all, I am staying caught up with Epic Sampler Block of the Month this year. It is a surprise, and maybe takes the sting out of the fact that I haven't even looked at my Skill Builder BOM ~ Technicolor Galaxy in months!  I suppose I need to revisit that one in the very near future!

I'm anxious to see how it all comes and my rainbow take on it.  I truly won't know until it's finished!

Another month, three more blocks.  Rumor has it we have nine blocks left to go!  I can see the finish line!

What I have loved the most about this BOM is all the paper piecing.  Seriously!  If you know me, know my blog, I thrive on improv and the unconventional.  So, how does one go from that to the precision of paper piecing?  Total opposites?  Maybe it's the precision, or the amazing shapes and designs...either way I have come to love paper piecing.  Putting myself in one category has never been a goal, it's all about creativity in my humble opinion!  

Without further ado, let's check out the blocks, shall we?!

Here we have 'Bow Tie Mania', this 12" block features a combination of purple and light grey. Traditionally pieced, with my fingers crossed every time I make a block for this rainbow vision I have!  I just do not know if it will come together!

Bow Tie Mania - 12"
We have 'Star of Awesome' next.  Paper pieced  12" block.  This one is a favorite of mine. I had extra paper templates left over that I used for one of my Secret Surprise quilts!  

Star of Awesome - 12"
It looks like blue and black, but it isn't!  This one is all about the blues...singing the blues, perhaps!

I'll finish with another paper pieced 12" block, aptly named 'Spider Web'.  I'm good with spider webs, just not the spider part.  Being from Tennessee, I can't help but worry about the infamous Brown Recluse spider!  I won't bother you Mr. Brown Recluse, if you don't bother me! 

Spider Web - 12"
Can you see the end coming?!  I can't wait to get some yellow added to this mix!  

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Raw I ~ Beyond Scraps. Borderline CRazY!

I'm going to say up front ... this is probably the craziest, insane, bizarre, brainsick, psychotic, certifiable thing I have ever attempted in quilting!  Using scraps gives me a certain pride, you know, making something from a pile of bits and pieces.  

Define scraps?  When is small too small, or when does a scrap become useless?  A few weeks ago I would have given one answer, today ... I am almost ashamed to say, there is no scrap too small!  

When life gives you lemons, you make lemonade.  When life gives you scraps, you make a quilt?!

18" x 20"
Let me take you on a trip inside my head.  Several weeks ago I had a beautiful pile of hand dyed 'shavings' from half square triangles.  A beautiful bowl of ... crap, garbage, unusable slices of beauty!

I looked at this pile, and wondered what could a creative person do with it?  Initially, I thought nothing.  How could you even sew these together?  You couldn't!  But there had to be some use for them.  (my brain is going in to overload) 

If you are not familiar with Mister Domestic or t_Jaye on Instagram, please take the time to check them out.  Both take bias strips and weave them into the most amazing pieces.  This is where I found my inspiration, my crazy inspiration for this mini quilt.  

What started as an experiment, soon became an obsession!  Raw Edge Weaving.  Could I really weave these pieces into blocks?  One block led to another, and another and another! Before long I had a pile of 2 1/4" - 2 1/2"  blocks.

Mister Domestic and t_jaye, they know exactly what they are doing and where they are going. With me, I was just going!  I liken it to english paper piecing.  I love having something that keeps my hands busy during the evening.  Sewing on a binding or EPP.  I was so addicted after my first weave...I seriously couldn't stop.  

Raw Edge Weaving
My blocks varied after weaving.  It depended on the size of shavings I was using.  In fact, I wasn't even thinking about size...does it really matter?!

With I finished each block, I fused it with a light weight interfacing and stitched just less than 1/4" around the block to keep it together.

The blocks were set aside until I could figure out what to do with them.  That day finally came.

Starting with 1/2" pieces of fabric, I pieced strips together with good old Kona Snow.  I knew using such skinny strips that the lines would be far from perfect, completely intentional.  

The 'X's were hopefully going to be another element that would bring this piece together.  

I played, rearranged and played some more until I found what worked for me.    

The lines on the left represent the first step in weaving.  Strips.  The 'X's became the process of weaving.  Interlacing the fabrics together.  A loose interpretation, but it is improv after all!

I was sure this was it, finished and I was pleased.  Or so I thought.  After posting a picture on Instagram,  someone commented that they thought the strip separating the panels interrupted the flow.  Hmmm...which made me rethink that decision.  I went to bed thinking about it.  And woke up thinking about it.  I love feedback, it is always welcome in my book!

I was determined to figure out this puzzle, new ideas were brewing and I had to see it through.

I spent the morning fiddling.  Adding and subtracting, slicing and dicing.  For some reason I needed or really, really wanted that strip separating the panels.  

Free motion quilting was my weapon of choice here.  With the funky lines and crazy weave, I knew my skill (not perfect) would fit right in.

Grid, matchstick, ghost quilting.  It fit.  The questionable strip...I tackled that with a woven diamond.  

The pieced binding was the final straw.  As you can see it is not perfect and very bulky. 

The back shows the quilting detail better.  I finished with my usual method for hanging and called it done!  

I think the boundaries have been sufficiently pushed!  It's exciting when an idea or insane idea comes together!