Wednesday, September 23, 2015

A "Wild" Start and Finish

Yesterday, I started and almost finished my quilt for the book "Wild." Yes, you read that correctly!!! I finished stitching the label and sleeve today!

Rules of the group are. . . pretty much there aren't rules; but, you are encouraged to make at least one quilt a year. One or more members sign up to choose the book. They lead the discussions and determine where we reveal. Often we rent a meeting space for a couple hours and have a potluck; but, we have had high teas, met at restaurants that served dishes that went with the book too.

We started meeting in September of 2007 and we call ourselves, "Thread Tales." We number about 40 with 12-20 people producing something for each reveal. We have our book discussions at a Barnes and Noble. I haven't made quilts for all of the books we have read; but, I have made quite a few! If you would like me to share past book club quilts, let me know by leaving a comment! By the way, Ripples was a book club quilt!

The book we discussed in July was "Wild" by Cheryl Strayed. In August, we shared the imagery that might work for a reveal project. The project produced isn't always a quilt! It could be a pillow, a bag, a game, a coat, a . . .well, you get the idea!!! The reveal is the last Wednesday of September. We are having a potluck and I'm READY!! (I also made something else. . .but, will save that for another blog!!!)

I have too much green in my scrap drawer to close it easily so that became the source of my fabric. Well, I still can't close the green drawer; but, I'm three pieces of fabric lighter! My quilt measures 4 1/2" x 13 5/8". It is this size because that was the size of the left over polyester piece of batting I wanted to use! 

It has no piecing. Rather, I used Carol Ann Waugh's technique of using machine decorative stitches. It is a technique that I've wanted to try for years; but, haven't. She is the Stupendous Stitching teacher.

I picked threads that contrasted with the background fabric and selected some other fibers I might use. 

Then it was stitch using a few of the many machine decorative stitches that are on my machine. It was hard to not go back and free motion quilt!!!!

It was fun and I'm sorry that I limited myself to such a small size. . .although finished feels GREAT!!! I did chicken out and didn't use the fibers to try my hand at stab stitching. I'll save that experience for another project.

The back of the piece uses another green fabric. I picked up this 9x30 inch strip from the free table at our guild. It was luscious. I wanted the back to be the same fabric so I used smaller pieces to stitch a facing which finished the edge. I watched Vikki Pignatelli on episode 102 of "The Quilt Show"  where she demonstrated how to make a curved facing. I used a third fabric (left over from my package wall hanging) for the sleeve.
This is the label. I'm curious, how do you label your projects? I name each of my projects and then include a little information. Sometimes it is the time it took, what inspired the project, what materials I used and who received it. I also include the size. This year, I started a different numbering system. #920159 stands for: The first nine means I made it in September. 2015 is the year and the last 9 is the projects I completed this year. "Paths" is the ninth! Previously, I listed the date. I found people would ask me what I completed recently when I exhibited an older work. I've noticed that painters sign their work; but, it isn't dated so I've decided to follow suit! Also, it is the third in a series of "line" pieces I felt I needed to create. I've had fun exploring line in quilts. 

Thanks for dropping by for a visit. If you want me to share some other book quilts, let me know so in the comments! 

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Words--The Finish!!

The wall hanging is FINISHED!!!!!! I named it Joyful One.

A little quilting on the packages. . .straight lines that followed the print. Remember, I challenged myself to use the pebble design and variations of it for the background quilting. The reason I chose pebbles because the pebbles shape reminded me of big fat snowflakes falling. That polka dot sashing makes me think of snowflakes. I stitched tear drops or paisleys on this package. Instead of making a roundish circle, I made a teardrop shape.
I followed the outline of the snowmen in the  print below. Next, I took the circles and made them swirl.

I quilted a grid on this print. Notice that all the ribbons are stitched similarly. Finally, I varied the paisleys and circles. . .sort of merged them together to get a circle within a circle!

It is easier to see the quilting on the back. On the right, is the paisley background.Then I decided to finish the sashing and border with actual pebbles.

Swirls with the pebbles
Circles within circles

Then it was on to add the label. This is going to be a Christmas gift!

It is GREAT to have a FINISHED project!!!

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Words about Words--The Sequel

Last week, I promised an update on my package wall hanging. First, I was successful with embroidering the words for the outer two borders. I backed the fabric with soft fuse which is a pellon product to initially stabilize the cotton. I spray basted the soft fused cotton to the hooped cut away stabilizer and placed two strips of medium weight tear away to the back of the cut away. Then I embroidered. 

My lesson at Quilting Delights was in valuable when it came time to rehoop. I learned how to make a cross hair to be my registration mark so I could line up the next stitching. Almost as important was learning how to program the machine to show me where the first stitch of the design would be. Lining up the center of the cross hair with that first stitch made each rehooping easy. The positioning also meant that the words lined up perfectly!

For each of the hoopings the estimated stitching time from the machine was 24-30 minutes. While the machine stitched, I made a couple pillow cases. Now, it definitely takes me more than half an hour to make two pillow cases and I almost finished when the machine finished stitching. So on the next hooping, I started a stop watch to time the stitching. Guess what I learned? It was about an hour and a half for the machine to finish the hooping so I learned that the estimated time can be way off!

There were nine total hoopings for the border so it took me a lot longer to stitch than I had anticipated! While the machine stitched, I made lots more string blocks for the string geese project. I actually had this left over from a two gallon plastic bag of strings. I still have a two gallon plastic bag of strings left to play with. It felt great to have one bag empty! But, I digress!!!

When the machine finished stitching and I removed the project from the hoop, the stitching was beautiful. It was flat with nary a pucker. However, when I removed the tear away and the cut away, the piece puckered. This puckering leads me to conclude that the heaviness of the embroidery coupled with the rigidness of the cotton is what causes the puckering. The section of the project backed with the soft fuse did pucker less. Unfortunately, I didn't take any photos to share here!

This week, I've been quilting the wall hanging. I challenged myself to take the basic pebble pattern and change it for the whole piece. Check back next week to see if I was able to stay true to the challenge!

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Words about Words!!!

At the beginning of August, I picked up a set blocks from my UFO pile. I had won these blocks through a Block Of the Month (BOM) activity at my guild at least two Decembers ago. The block was a Christmas package. I stitched a couple and then not long after, I managed to squeeze seven more out of the fabrics I had in my stash. I liked them so well, I decided to keep the nine blocks. Then I had none for the block contest so I made three more blocks! I haven't set the nine blocks; but, that is a story for another blog!

I won these six blocks. My plan was to make them into two wall hangings. I decided to use my machine embroidery to insert words between the blocks as well as in the outer border. 

I want to machine embroider words on a border on another WIP. So this would be a good practice project.

I gave myself three days to complete the words and a week to quilt, bind, label and sleeve one of the wall hangings. After three weeks, I'm was still struggling with words!!!

I have had words about words!!! I have learned that for small letters-- these are about 3/4 of an inch tall--step fill patterns don't show and that the satin stitch looks cleaner. The photo on the left is an example of a practice stitch to see what color thread and pattern I liked best.

I decided would try stitching a border. This is practice fabric that is pictured. I had challenges trying to position the next stitching with the previous stitching line when I rehooped the design.

Thanks to JoJo Hall,  I learned that words look better when the letters are spaced more like one would write them. 

Unfortunately, I wasn't able to get my machine to cut the jump stitches between the letters so I cut these stitches at the end. I did stitch the short words (Joy, Love, Hope, Peace) and insert them into the blocks as sashing strips.

I liked it and thought that I could stop here; but I wanted a border on the outer edges so I tried another sample. I was getting closer, but still far away from being happy with the results.

I scheduled an appointment with the owner of Quilting Delights  to help me achieve the results that I have pictured in my head. After a two and a half hour one on one class, I think I'm a few stitch outs from success. Check back next week to view my progress.

Words are hard!!!!