Friday, May 29, 2015

Traces of Progress

Other than the two days a week that I'm happily watching my sweet baby granddaughter, studio time has been in fairly full swing. Today the two donation quilts were delivered to the Center for Women and Families here in Louisville.

These were number 3 and 4 of the twin-sized quilts made mostly from that huge stash of lightweight upholstery fabrics I spent weeks tearing out of sample books last year and then washed and cut. Last week I turned the remainder of that fabric (hundreds of 11-inch squares and 2- to 3-inch strips) over to someone in our local FreeCycle internet group (a Yahoo group) to use for other projects. That's because these quilts are very much on the heavy side and I'm done with wrestling them through the machine. If they hadn't been QAYG quilts, it would have been impossible.

Anyway, here are some shots of them. Some closeup photos of these rather eclectic blocks are in a previous blog post titled Knights, Castles and Princesses.

Front and back of the quilt done in blues. Had to augment the backing squares with some batiks from my stash.

Front and back of the quilt done in greens. (Thanks to VVHH for being the official quilt holder-upper.)

Here's the blue one on the extra-long twin bed:

Okay! Time to start a new landscape quilt...that's my thing, after all.

Pulled this photo from the archives, a shot we took outside The Overlook Restaurant in Leavenworth, IN. There's a glorious mess of overgrown meadow in it, so some of that will have to be omitted, but I like the birdhouse and the bend of the Ohio River down by that cabin.

Printed a good-quality 4 x 6 color photo for color reference and a black-and-white photo to better see the color values. Then traced the main outlines onto tracing paper with a black marker.

Enlarged the tracing by scanning and printing it out in 3 x 3 page poster format, then taped the 9 pages together to make an actual-size tracing for a roughly 25 x 28-inch quilt.

Ironed a piece of muslin, taped it over the large tracing, and traced again, this time in light pencil. This muslin will be the base of the quilt top and I don't want dark lines showing through any of the raw applique that will come later.

Fused Pellon Featherweight Fusible interfacing to the back of the traced muslin. Took my time and got no bubbles or wrinkles. Yay!

Clipped and taped the interfaced muslin tracing to a drawing board (for easy portability), then cut a piece of upholstery vinyl a bit larger than the pencil boundaries and clipped/taped it over the muslin...

...and traced again. Then I marked areas in red, blue and aqua for offsite (separate) construction. It is much easier to assemble a landscape quilt top in separate units if you have a lot of small pieces in one or more areas.

These are Sharpie permanent markers, so if I mess up or change my mind about line placement on the vinyl overlay, these little guys on the right are my rescuers (a faint trace of the original lines will remain, but not enough to distract me). They also clean my ruler edges after drawing straight lines with a Sharpie--just don't get the alcohol on the ruler markings! It actually smeared some of the white lines and numbers on one of my Creative Grid rulers.

All set to go! The drawing board is now off the cutting table until I'm ready to start gluing and fusing. Meanwhile the cutting table is free for other things.

This is a nice size by the way, since as mentioned already it fits nicely on the drawing board for portability, but also because it's a manageable size for free-motion quilting on a home sewing machine. (Remember, larger landscape quilts can be not only stiff but quite heavy after all the layering and fusing. They can't be bunched up like bed quilts, and they don't move easily without help from the feed dogs--which are not engaged for free motion. That said, if you use built-in stitches and feed dogs for your landscapes instead of free motion, weight is not as much of an issue.)

Next time on the blog, I'll be fusing the sky fabric and constructing units offsite.

Off subject, two more recent photos (see the captions):
Zoe watching helplessly as her nemesis chills out in the flower urn.
Zoe's turn to chill. She's in the chair, Lucy's on the floor and Mokie's on the couch.
Grandma should have been napping, too, instead of snapping (photos).
Back on subject: linking up with Whoop Whoop Fridays, Free Motion Mavericks (the landscape quilt will be free-motion quilted, so hoping Muv will give me a pass :) and WIPs Be Gone. Have fun checking them out and their reader linkups, too.

Have a great weekend!



  1. Lovely quilts for a wonderful cause! Lucky grandma to have time with baby. They grow up fast!

    1. Cathy, thanks, and you are so right--I feel so fortunate to have her with me on a regular basis.

  2. it was almost like working with you. Very clear, very calm. Love the chillin' photo. Take a nap gramdma. LeeAnna at not afraid of color

    1. LeeAnna, tomorrow I'm going to try doing housework while she's in her bouncy chair and see how entertained she is by watching me. LOL

  3. Wonderful quilts and for great causes.

    1. Thanks, it does feel good to be helping out somehow.

  4. Those charity quilts turned out great! Very excited to see a new landscape. :-D

  5. I have a lot of heavy weight decorator fabric so now I know could use them too. Here I thought I'd have to throw them out. Thanks for the info.

    1. Karen, you're welcome, glad you can make use of them!

  6. As a mostly pictorial quilt person myself I do know the "need" to do patchwork every now and then. But then it's nice to get back to the thing that makes those creative juices flow. Thank you for the step by step. Very interesting. are you using the vinyls overlay as a placement guide?

    1. Hi Carol,
      Yes, since once the different fabrics start getting fused or glued to the traced muslin, some of the guidelines disappear under the seam allowances. At that point the vinyl overlay is my go-to. I only do this method when working from a photo. Most of my landscapes are done out of my head, and none of those need a tracing or an overlay. Trouble with that, though, is that perspective can be off a bit and shadows are all guesswork. Ah, well, pros and cons.

  7. THose charity quilts will be much appreciated. Lucky Freecycle reciepient. Thank you for linking to WIPs Be Gone. Lucy looks so cute taking her nap.

  8. Hello Linda,

    Lucy is so tiny! At first glance I thought she was a doll.

    You are really churning out the charity quilts. I have been doing my best to see the lighthouse panels in the blue one - it's deja vu time again. No chance of you doing a landscape quilt of Aberaeron, is there?

    Looking forward to seeing the latest landscape come to life!

    Thank you for linking up with Free Motion Mavericks.

    Love, Muv

    1. Hi Muv,

      Yes, Lucy's only 2-1/2 months, but is actually somewhat tall for her age and has big feet. We suspect she's going to be as tall as her mama (taller than her papa)--and she looks just like her. Wow, Aberaeron, what a beautiful place AND name. Oh, to live in a place with such wild, stunning scenery! Lucy's Mama and Papa are talking about the possibility of moving to Oregon someday...beaches, mountains, etc. all in one state. If I'm still willing to deal with airports by then, my photo archives should be greatly enhanced. Mark and I rarely travel (which is unfortunate for the photo archives), but you can bet the farm that we'd travel, and often, to see our grandbaby and the kids! :)


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