Saturday, June 15, 2019

Done and Done

This week it's an overdue finish for the third (and last!) triple-arch window quilt, Forest Villa.

Here are some closeups:

As I finished this landscape quilt, it suddenly occurred to me that I had packed the previous arched-window quilt, Wooded Villa, for shipping without sewing a hanging sleeve on it. If that doesn't prove I was ready to be done with this series, I don't know what does!

Next week, a finish for the undersea quilt.

Have a wonderful weekend!


Thursday, June 6, 2019

Geeking Out

You know you're a fabric geek when you freak out upon seeing a character in Outlander wearing something you've only ever seen in your stash...

...Murtagh!! In season two, episode six, Suzette dresses him in a luxurious waistcoat for the ball at the Palace of Versailles. When I first saw it, I rewound the dvd and paused it to make sure...and it is the same, or nearly the same, bird fabric (in a different color) as the ones from my upholstery sample books! Shiny fabric (I don't remember what type) with beautifully embroidered birds all over it. I still don't know what I'll do with them (the pieces are only about 8" x 10", if that).

On the quilting front, I just received the binding fabric for Forest Villa (the last triple-arch window quilt) and am waiting for the binding fabric for the underwater scene, which is now quilted, blocked and trimmed. Meanwhile, there's a new lake/sailboat scene on the design board, incorporating an interesting stripey batik I've always wanted to use for water.

Have a great weekend!


Friday, May 31, 2019

Before and After

You might say it's been a before-and-after week.

The third triple-arched window quilt has been blocked, and just needs squaring, trimming and binding. Fabric for the binding had to be ordered--nothing in the stash worked. Anyway, here's another great example of what a difference blocking makes. I never get tired of saying that, and really I don't have to...the photos say it all.


AFTER...and yes, it stays that way!
'Nuff said. Except this: I used to block quilts with a grab-bag of things like corrugated boxes or cutting mats plus flannel-backed vinyl tablecloths and folded sheets, both flannel and cotton. Everything but the box or cutting mat would have to be smoothed as much as possible (I refuse to iron sheets) before pinning the quilt down through it all with t-pins.

And then last year I saw these on a knitting podcast...

...and I'll never go back. These are WONDERFUL. T-pins come with them, and easily pierce the semi-firm rubber foam. I bought two sets (a total of 18 interlocking pieces) so that I can put together a blocking mat large enough for a good-sized landscape quilt or for all the knitted pieces of a sweater at once. Great for either a table or the floor, and you can use steam to block (iron hovering only--no pressing). Here are a couple of photos of the mat in action (click to enlarge):

Left: Laying out the third triple-arched window quilt.

Right: Front piece of NaCraga, an Aran sweater pattern by Alice Starmore.

On to project two: The underwater scene background is quilted now--though not at all densely, in order to keep it from shrinking too much vertically. Otherwise the placement of all the fish and turtles would have changed considerably and they would have been more crowded.

Before quilting
After quilting

You might have to click on each one of these to see any change, but the second one is quilted. I loved the variegated background so much that I wanted no change in appearance after quilting it. So I visually divided it into nine vertical sections (marked with horizontal pins in the photo below) and matched each one as best I could to one of my Isacord thread colors. It worked out pretty well.

Next comes the gluing and fusing. I took several closeups of the layout so that I can put all the fish, turtles and plants back where they were (see previous blog post). I still like the look and don't plan on changing anything.

Have a great weekend!


Thursday, May 23, 2019

Diving In

The fact that it took only 45 minutes to steam-press yardage and design an underwater scene from the fabrics auditioned in the last post (the fish and turtles had already been cut out) just proves how desperately change was needed. I dove in headfirst, cutting the plants lickety-split with a rotary cutter, and making myself quickly pin the fish and turtles to the quilt top at random, instead of taking an hour or two to think about where to put each one. That was a first for me.

Everything is only pinned to the board here.
Also for the first time, I plan to quilt the entire background before adding all the applique (I usually fuse/glue everything down and quilt around it all), using the dual feed foot instead of free motion to make the quilting easier on my neck and shoulders. The plants will also be edged in satin stitch using dual feed, while the fish and turtles will be quilted in free motion.

Meanwhile, the third triple-arch window quilt now has satin-stitch on the arch edges, and the wall is underway. It will probably take another two afternoons to finish outlining each stone. Then it's time to block, trim and bind the quilt. Hallelujah!!

You can sort of tell which stones are outlined and which aren't yet.
Have a great weekend, and for the U.S. a meaningful holiday as we remember those who have died while serving our country.