Sunday, November 13, 2016

Featuring Gail--pocket wallet and project

Winner Gail putting her pocket wallet to use! 
Gail, was the winner of the pocket wallet drawing I had back in July. You can read about the drawing here and here. It was a surprise to me that someone near by would win the pocket wallet!

Gail's palette
Gail and I try to get together every other month. We make a day out of it. We catch up with a visit, show and tell, lunch and we often collaborate on a project. On this day, she was inspired by Jean Well's improvisational curved piecing technique and purchased these lovely fabrics from FiddleSticks. Her goal was to create a wall hanging as a gift for a special couple celebrating a mile stone anniversary.

Fiddlesticks is such a cute quilt shop and Cheran Bee, the owner, is a gift to each of us. She really does support whatever project you are making.  She honors each finish with such enthusiasm that you can't wait to go back to her shop to pick supplies to start a new project!

Gail's vision was to stitch these fabrics into a background, add some appliqué, quilt/finish it for a friend's anniversary. She liked the look of  Jean's curved piecing technique; but, like most of us, making that first cut is the hardest.

Cutting a gentle curve. . .free form!

We cut a strip and started the process. A year ago, October, I had taken a class from Jean and had a blast creating. Jean is a wonderful teacher and so approachable. I was sharing Jean's technique with Gail. Sometimes seeing the technique makes more sense than trying to recreate that technique from the text in the book!

Gail also likes to pin. . .with Jean's technique, you don't need many. Line up the edges to get a start and stitch!

Lining up the fabrics for stitching
Gail will tell you that she is a technical expert when it comes to piecing. This "do what you want" approach was scary for her. In a couple of hours, after we had completed the background, she was so full of oohs, ahhhs and "I can't believe I created that! It is so beautiful" comments that I wished Jean would have been there to have heard them!

She pressed after each addition, ooing and aahhing along the way. She kept saying, "I can't believe how pretty that is." And I also heard, "This is fun!"

I agree, fun is IMPORTANT in any part of the process!

Sometimes something old from the stash can be the perfect

She was concerned about what she was going to do for a back. As I listened to Gail, I spied a calico in her stash that was begging to come out to play. I laid it with the other fabrics. I said, "What do you think about using this fabric for a back? It  comes from the era that you are honoring." She agreed!

Getting to this point took Gail less than hours!

She stitched some more. She pressed until she had enough fabrics stitched together for the size of top that she had in mind. Notice how wonky the sides are. This happens when there are sharper curves or multiple curves.

Holding the ruler next to the edge and
chalking the line is a quick squaring
It wasn't a problem to share one way to square the sections. I often use the design wall to chalk a line and then I'll fold the fabric back on that line to see if that is the spot that improves the look of the top.

If the left overs are 3/4 of an inch or larger, I save them. One never knows where a little pop of interest might be needed in a quilt!

Using paper is an inexpensive
method to check scale and
Gail used construction paper cut outs to play with the scale and portion of her trees and figures. I'm liking where she is going with this piece!

The couple that received this like to geocache and that was the activity that Gail wanted to create in this piece.

Trees appliquéd with a narrow
zig zag
This is a photo of the actual trees stitched to the background. I love the dark brown fabric, Gail chose. She made a freezer paper template of each tree and turned the edges of the fabric. Then she removed the template before anchoring it to the background.

A case of the template system not
working well when there are
a lot of tight curves.

That same technique wasn't working for her figures because there were too many sharp points or curved sections. So instead of trying to peel the paper off the fabric all at once, she did the paper removal in small sections and was able to remove the paper template.

All the appliqué is in place!
This is what her piece looked like after she removed the templates from the back of her two figures and flower. I sure encouraged Gail to quilt this piece on her domestic using her walking foot; but, she decided that she would rather do her tried and true method which is by checkbook.

Quilting is my favorite part of the process. Quilting is Gail's least favorite part of the process. She is wise because she recognized this and has a wonderful relationship with a longarm quilter. Gail trusts that the quilting will enhance her project. Quilting by check book allows her to do what she likes to do. . .piece!

So often, people will put the project aside and not finish thinking that they will wait to quilt it when their skills improve. Then, they don't make time to practice. It is hard to improve if you don't plan to practice and then don't follow through with the practice!

The quilted piece
Being realistic is important. Bottom line is that a finished quilt is going to be easier to display than an unfinished top or a package of blocks! I had a teacher who had many favorite sayings. One she said often was, "Finished, is better than perfect!" She had a point!

This is what the quilter did with the quilting. The gentle lines are a good accent for the piece.

Close up of the quilting
The quilting is a little different in each area. Note the quilting on the female figure as well as the dark brown area at the bottom of the piece.

Gail is detailed oriented. She even has some special quilting stitches with the male figure which is honing in on the "coordinates" with his GPS.

She told me that the "era" calico wasn't large enough for the back so she chose one of the fabrics that was left from the project.

Gail's label

She faced the piece because she wanted the wall hanging to be more art like.

I like her label!

Gail gave this to the couple and it was appreciated.

I am honored to have been a consultant on this project!


Unknown said...

I love how this project turned out! It's fun to work with a friend on a piece.

Anonymous said...

Holy Cow--that's me, the winner! And, you nailed it on how we worked together on the Jean Wells piece, Terry. That little project was fun from beginning to end thanks to you. Your patience and expertise are so appreciated.

Gail said...

Nancy, It was fun being the cheerleader! I look forward to working with her again sometime!--Terry said...

Gail, It really was fun to play with you that day back in . . .was that September??? Jean Wells is amazing. Her books are terrific and her techniques really are achievable!--Terry