Sunday, May 15, 2016

Leftover Lizards

WARNING: If you are not a lizard-lover, get out now, while you still can!

Technically, it's geckos being featured here, but I do love any kind of lizard or lizard-type reptile. Except Komodo Dragons. I just can't find anything endearing about a prehistoric lizard monster that can poison me to death with one bite. But the rest of them are just plain cute, imo. In fact my favorite Mother's Day present ever was a pair of anoles, who lived in a beautiful terrarium in our family room until one of them escaped and wasn't found until six months later, dried to a crisp behind the pinball machine. By that time I was tired of catching crickets and moths to feed them, so anole number 2 went back to the pet shop.

But I digress. About three years ago, I started what I call my personal 'mandala wall quilt,' which was to feature--you guessed it: lizards. Or rather, geckos.

(This was before the upstairs was made into a quilt studio. At that time, all designing took place on the bed and the dining room table.)

Two geckos were left over from that project, and instead of tossing them into the 'un-used element' drawer, I fused them onto a pretty fat-quarter from my stash.

Then they were put in the closet to become my first UFO...until a couple of weeks ago. Now they're a FO.

Kissing Geckos

This one shows the quilting a little better:

All stitching in the interior, including satin stitch and couching, was done in free motion, feed dogs down.

The 24-weight metallic rayon thread under the couching is free-motion bobbin work, as are the spirals. The couching came as an afterthought, when I realized the metallic thread wasn't showing up very well (although it does look more bling-y in the right light).

The border was stitched with a built-in machine stitch, feed dogs up, dual feed foot on. I left long thread tails at the corners and finished the stitching by hand, as the stops and starts for this stitch didn't line up well (which I found out by testing on a scrap).

And now for the cuteness factor:

How can anyone not love those pointy little heads, and those sticky little toes???

If you love lizards, no doubt you agree. If you aren't a lizard-lover, but you managed to get all the way to the end of this post, geckos--I mean, kudos--to you!!  :)


Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Loose Ends

The last three weeks have been a time to tie up loose ends:

1. Giving the blue jay a focus in Asters. (Click to enlarge.)

The joined acorns were cut from a printed cotton. The single acorn was put together and painted on wood-grain-patterned fabric with fusible web backing.

2. Label made and sewn onto Nordic Night.

For this one, I used a photo taken before the horses and the tree were added, and the quilt top was still on the design wall. I love doing this as a bit of a surprise for the buyer of the quilt. It's a good reminder that the finished work is a collection of many fabric elements and that it didn't just all come together overnight.

3. Label made and sewn onto Mallards.

For this one, a photo from the finished quilt was used.

4. Sewing together every leftover scrap of sky fabric I had.

This may have been one of my goofier ideas. It took a whole lot of trimming, piecing and pressing.

This sky conglomeration may need to be turned upside down to make sense in a landscape--oranges at the bottom. We'll see what happens with this, if anything.

5. Rescuing a UFO from the closet (and actually doing something with it).

Progress has been made since then, but I'm not really looking for stellar results. Just having fun with it, and hoping it turns out pretty. Working title is "Kissing Geckos."

6. Finally managing to take a straight-on shot of Asters in its entirety (including acorns).

In the end, it was photographed on the floor, the only place I could get far enough away from it to take a decent shot. I almost cut off the top, but it's actually all there.

7. Giving Asters a haircut and a shave...speaking of loose ends. Or in other words, trimming loose fibers from the raw applique edges and oh-so-carefully sticky-rolling lint off the quilt.

[Also, browning out two little lines of light-blue thread on the tree branches (hence, the brown Sharpie). Sometimes it's a lot more practical, when quilting, to cross on over into another area instead of breaking thread or going way, way around the thing you're crossing. As long as the thread is lighter than the thing you're crossing, you're good. Just remember to color the thread later. Cheating? Nope. Just common sense.]

8. Packing up Asters for shipping. Yep, it leaves here tonight and will hang in my sister-in-law's house in Maine. I'm pretty happy that this particular quilt isn't leaving the family.

Have a great weekend, everyone, and if you're betting on a horse in the Kentucky Derby, best of luck!