Friday, June 14, 2013

Down (and Back Up) to Business

As mentioned in the update at the bottom of my last post (What a Blockhead, Charlie Brown), my mostly free-motion quilt Lida Luna got blocked in the end, though not nearly as thoroughly as it would have been had Lida the bird not been attached to it already.

She's protected here with about 6 cotton and linen hankies (my press cloths), as is the Angelina fiber moon and its tulle halo. I kept the iron as far away from Lida as possible but managed to get most of any excess fullness shrunk out of the background. I couldn't really tell how flat the whole piece would end up until after the excess batting, backing and top were trimmed from the edges. Here it is (below) with the first two edges done, and you can already see that it probably won't be a total disaster.

There's only one area, about 6 inches in length and fortunately near the edge, where the fullness didn't shrink out entirely. I'll try to ease it flat when I sew the binding on. That's really all I can do at this point, and it will probably be okay. Other than that, the quilt squared up nicely after its final trim.
This brings me to my not-so-favorite part of finishing quilts: choosing the binding. The cool thing is, for the first time ever, I have an actual design wall! My VVHH (very versatile handy husband) finished making the panels Saturday out of some corrugated board, styrofoam insulation panels, and cotton batting. By that afternoon, the design wall was up!
By Sunday morning it was down. Like, on the floor. Long story short, duct tape ain't what it used to be. But the 3M mounting pads were still proudly stuck on the wall--all 28 of them--as if to say, "Hey, we did our job."
So up the stairs came VVHH with the drill and electric screwdriver, some really long screws, and even--get this--some little white plastic covers to hide the screw-heads. Problem solved. (Only one patch job was needed, after the drill bit bent a little and chewed up some of the design wall cover. I whipped out a small square of fresh cotton batting and some Nancy's Notions mending tape. Second problem solved.) And no one will ever know those mounting pads are still on the wall!
My first color choice for Lida Luna's binding was solid black, which naturally looks pretty good around a nearly achromatic quilt, but before cutting up my black batik, I'm trying one other thing. The strips in this photo are cut from the leftover gradient fabric I used for the water in the quilt.

If I can get the light, medium and dark areas placed just right around the quilt, I'll piece them all together into one long binding strip, and away we'll go. Otherwise, it's back to black.

Meanwhile, after a day of going nearly cross-eyed arranging those black, gray and white gradient strips, I turned to some color work for a break.

If you're interested in color theory, Gloria Loughman's book Radiant Landscapes goes into more detail than any of the Landscape Quilting books I've found so far. For the first time, I took an in-depth look at the color wheel that's been sitting in my drawer for over a year and noticed all the ways it can be used. After making a color chart of all these color pencils (none of them are exactly the color of the paint on the pencil, of course), I began charting some of the color combinations Gloria talks about, starting with split complementary, shown below. It's been a fun and educational project, but now the binding strips are calling me back to the design wall.

Hooking up with Leah Day's FMQ Friday post--she's got a new project started and has made tremendous progress on the stunningly gorgeous Duchess Reigns. Check out her other links, as well, along with her reader hookups. Also hopping over to Sarah's Whoop Whoop Friday post and hooking up, since I'm whooping about my design wall. Take a look at the feathers she stitched this week, and her beautiful stack of quilts headed for orphans in Ethiopia. Too cool!
Speaking of cool, you folks who are living in the roasting zones try to stay that way--cool, that is. We hit almost 100 Thursday, and some places went over it. Be safe--stay inside with your AC/fan and quilt away!


  1. Replies
    1. Thanks, Susan! Getting anxious to finish it.

  2. The landscape quilt is a stunner. I'm sitting here with my mouth hung open it is that wonderful.

    I've tried and tried and tried to do color theory. If the class didn't put me to sleep (a real problem with a recent attempt at Craftsy) it just goes in one ear and out the other. So mostly I'm still winging it.

    1. Thanks so much, Stella! Yeah, I'm beginning to realize that I'm probably more instinctive with color theory than I thought, so probably won't spend a whole lot more time on it. The thing I really have the most trouble with is color values. I tend to gravitate toward mid-tones and darks, very few lights in my stash. That's something I want to address eventually in a post.


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