Friday, May 30, 2014

Into the Light

Coming out of hibernation with a new landscape quilt, I just realized it has no title. And no sleeve. Oh well, maybe next week. :)

The stitching is as usual free motion, organically following the lines of each element on the quilt. This project was inspired by a yard of a Hoffman batik--which absolutely begged to be both sea and sky:

The lighthouse and cliff came from a panel from the "Wind and Waves" collection by Wilmington Fabrics. I was less than enamored of/with the original sky and water, so away it went into the scrap drawer.

The trees behind the house were pretty sparse and undefined in the panel, and after cutting away the sky, there really needed to be more of them. A search through my fat quarters turned up only one fabric that depicted evergreens in the proper scale for that part of the scene. They were fussy cut after hand-pressing onto Steam-a-Seam Lite 2, then fused to the quilt top.

Funny thing, a few months back I had almost relegated these trees to the Christmas fabric stash, after deciding they looked a bit too 'cartoony' for a landscape quilt. Glad I didn't, or I'd never have found them! They worked perfectly, even picking up the gold cast in the sky. You just never know.

The ship is a favorite element of mine, one I've used before in a quilt called The Tower. It came from a $2.00 pair of curtains picked up at a local Goodwill Store. Lots more ships to go!

The ocean waves were cut from this wonderful Robert Kaufman fabric, which is yardage I try to keep on hand and have used in a previous quilt, titled The View from Merlin's Cave (see the cover photo on the Linda's Landscapes page on Facebook).

The moon was cut from this gorgeous Stonehenge fabric by Northcott Mills, and overshadowed by blue-green tulle.

The moonlit path on the ocean was stitched with Sulky's Holoshimmer, my favorite thread for highlighting water. Silver was used on the background water, dark pewter on the foreground.

The seafoam at the water's edge is a scrap of polyester batting, stitched down with a wide-spaced stipple and a size 11 topstitch needle to prevent obvious holes (all other quilting was done with a size 14 topstitch needle). Note: in my test sample, the free-motion disc foot smashed the batting flat. Figuring the little circular metal free-motion foot wouldn't skim over the fluffy batting, I opted for no foot at all. Needless to say, I was concerned about keeping my fingers away from the needle. That's when the bicycle clip idea came in handy again. (See the blog post titled Everything Plus the Girl.)

The three different rock fabrics were quilted as they were, with no embellishment except for the black tulle used to shade the foreground. (That's rare for me; on rocks, I usually go crazy with paint markers.)

Probably the first lighthouse ever to have emergency surgery.

There was only one serious issue. Because the sky was quilted horizontally, the lighthouse (being tall and vertical) developed some horizontal saggy areas. Ever seen a puckered lighthouse? Not a pretty sight.

Since I hadn't planned on quilting it--nor would that have solved the problem, as it was backed with fusible web, keeping it pretty stiff--I had to stuff it. You can kind of tell in this photo. I had never tried trapunto from the back, which I understand is the original method. The backing fabric, batting and background fabric were carefully slit with a sharp seam ripper, allowing me to poke polyester fill under the lighthouse fabric as far as it could go at both ends. Then the slit was 'Fray-Checked' and stitched closed.

When blocking the quilt, I was careful to avoid that area.

Hooking up here with Leah Day's FMQ Project linkup -- the last one, by the way, as she's doing the linkups differently from now on. Also linking in to Sarah Craig's Whoop Whoop Friday blog. Do yourself a favor and check out these two blogs, along with their reader hookups. Lots of inspiration to take you into your weekend!

And on that note, have a great one~~


Sunday, May 11, 2014

Odds & Ends (& beginnings)

In the three weeks since finishing The Visit, the Kentucky Derby has come and gone, my sister came to visit, and the studio got cleaned. Everything but this in-progress lighthouse project was tidied up and put away, a process that also helps clean out the cobwebs in my brain and get the creativity flowing better.

While my sister was here, we stopped in at the antique/consignment/thrift shop just around the corner from my neighborhood, and found this pretty wooden wine rack with a drawer. Obviously, I had another use for it (although it's been pointed out to me that there are still a couple of spaces available for wine ;). All of the things stored here get used at various times during designing landscape quilts, and were originally stored upright in a tacky corrugated box with dividers (that kept collapsing). This drawer is the perfect size to hold marking pens and chalk, as well as gluesticks and masking tape.

Speaking of great finds, after finding those 5 beautiful yards of cotton/poly blend (mostly cotton) in the basement a few weeks back, I used it for joining-strips and binding on the quilt-as-you-go blocks. The color could not have been more perfect, and running across this fabric after having stashed and forgotten it years ago was surely no coincidence.

The backs of the blocks aren't arranged exactly the way I'd like, but after two hours of switching them around, the front of the quilt started getting out of balance--too much orange in one area, or all the purples in one corner, etc. So I went with this. It's just for us, anyway. I wouldn't give this to anyone else, with all the wonkiness in it (which I like). Plus, two seams already popped during washing and had to be appliqued over. Apparently I didn't always pay close enough attention to the underneath seam allowances when I was laying down the strips. Yikes! I'll be watching for more. Lesson learned.

Another project, just begun, involves these two fabrics...

1980s abstract upholstery fabric, by Dupont Teflon (!!)
Lewis & Clark journals print cotton

...and this image, first enlarged on 1-inch graph paper and then traced on tear-away stabilizer.

The original plan for the upholstery fabric was to make it a stormy sky in a landscape (turned sideways, it looks like rain is coming down). But when I turned it the way it's shown in the photo, something entirely different popped out at me. Eh, we'll see how it goes....

Hope all you moms are having a wonderful Mother's Day! I received these two stunning gifts. I don't normally blog about my gifts, but these are original works of art and deserve a shout-out.

This hand-blown wine glass from my son Alex and his wife Shannon, made in Hebron from recycled glass, came from Just Creations, a shop here in town that is a "not-for-profit international crafts marketplace." They "provide marketing assistance to low-income craftspeople in more than 30 developing nations."  How cool is that? The glass is opaque in the shadows, translucent in the light. If you put it in a window, you can see the sunlight glowing through it. Just gorgeous!
And this incredibly beautiful piece on the right, a resin pyramid encasing recycled metals, rose petals and crystals, among other things, was made by my younger son, Aaron. The base is about 5 inches square. He has just begun working with resin (can you believe it?), and has several other ideas on the burner for more pieces. This one changes appearance depending upon the light it's in and what it's sitting on. Every time you examine it, you see something different. I'm fascinated by it, and can't wait to see the other pieces he crafts.

That's it for now, except to say, for those of you who asked me, I've decided to enter The Visit in the next AQS show, which happens to be in Chattanooga (the deadline was extended to this Wednesday, May 14.) I won't know until late June or early July whether it's accepted. Please cross your fingers for the girl (no longer) in the drawer.  :)  A lot depends on the quality of the photos I submit, which is a little nerve-wracking. Oddly enough, the photo that started this whole project was taken in Chattanooga, at Point Park on Lookout Mountain. Think any of the locals would recognize it in the quilt? I wonder...

Linking up with Leah Day's FMQ Project blog. She's binding her 365 quilt, AND she and husband Josh are heading to Pittsburg PA for Spring Quilt Market next week.

Have a great week!