I finished the hand work last evening on this project – what started out to be a central motif for a medallion quilt, turned into a wall art piece.
Finished Wall Art Piece
I added the bright, strong narrow outer border and finished with an embroidered signature (on the bottom right side) and hidden bindings. Finished size: 20″ x 24″ – a good size for a wall hanging.
Today, I assembled the blocks for the original lap quilt project – a simple but colourful construction which I began at the sewing retreat. The half-square triangles used in the wall hanging came from the corner offcuts from the quilt blocks so you can tell how small the half-square triangles really are.
My intention is to add a 3″ light grey border using one of the paler fabrics from the panel with no narrow border but I’ll see over the weekend when I get back to this whether that will seem right, or not.
Same fabrics, two very different feels. That’s what I love about working with textiles – I’m never sure how any project will turn out – I start with an idea, a stack of fabrics I think will work together, and see what emerges.
This project is totally unexpected – I thought I was starting a much larger quilt by building a central block on which I was going to improvise further. The responses I got to the panel were interesting, however – suggesting this was a complete piece as it was.
Worth considering. If it was a piece on its own it still felt unfinished to me – I thought it needed another narrowish border. After auditioning quite a few fabrics from my stash I decided this wild, vibrant batik (which I used in the blocks themselves) was precisely what the emerging piece needed.
I mitred the corners because if this is a wall art piece it needs the finesse of mitres and I’ve overcome the butted piecing of the grey border by stitching in the ditch in both directions creating the illusion of squares in the corners.
I’m not finished stitching in the ditch – I stitched the borders and began on the diagonals. I will continue that tomorrow, emphasizing the squares on-point and the triangles.
It’s so interesting how I start in one direction and find I’m actually going in another – totally unexpected, and yet interesting. It’s about colour, it’s about shape, it’s about visual impact.
I’m not going to do a standard quilt binding – definitely a hidden binding since the outer border stands comfortably alone. The challenge will be establishing a seam allowance that successfully fudges the slight shortfall in a few spots and yet manages to catch the border fabric so it won’t pull out and fray and leave enough width to the border for it to look even.
We’ll see where this goes.
I’m posting instructions for making zippered bags since I’ve received requests about how I make my bags.
I make zippered bags two ways – one using zipper tape which gives a very nice finish to the bag:
Zippered Bag Constructed Using Zipper Tape
I also make bags using zippers:
Zippered Bag Constructed Using A Zipper
The bags look similar, however, I prefer using zipper tape because it simplifies the process.
I purchase my zipper tape from The Zipper Lady who sells the tape by the yard in a gazillion colours – she also sells zipper pulls.
She has video demonstrating how to put the slides onto the tape.
Hope this helps you out.
A month ago when I had shopped at Have A Yarn in Mahone Bay, I came home with a ball of Lang “Happy Stripes” Twin Soxx ombre sock yarn. You can see the colour gradation in the finished socks but it wasn’t really visible as I was working on them since the colour change is so gradual. The single repeat actually gets a lot lighter but the sock foot stops at 50 rows past the gusset because that’s all the socks need to fit someone wearing a size 7 1/2 – size 8 shoe.
Decided to use the striped yarn to complete the toe in order to get the lightest pattern repeat possible.
I have enough yarn left over to make a pair of legs – just have to find a complementary yarn so I can knit a full pair of socks!
Just on the phone with a very close friend who thought my medallion panel was striking just as it is – make an effective wall art piece, she thought.
Medallion Quilt – Centre
I certainly wasn’t seeing it that way – in my head I was working on something much larger. Now I have to rethink the whole thing. Maybe just one more border in a darker grey to finish it off?
When I got home from my sewing weekend I showed my niece my stash of small zippered bags. Offered her one, she took two. She was going out that evening for dinner with a friend whose daughter was having a birthday – she took one for Fiona and another for her sister Dana. I took another and put a birthday gift in it for a friend of mine. Now I was down five bags from the collection intended to be for Christmas gifts.
My niece sees me put the gift in a bag and asks if I would make ten bags for her to use as gifts – she’ll pay me, she offers.
Can’t say no to a request like that, so after she left for Toronto the next day, I dug out what fabric I had left over from the original batch, prepared 10 more bags, sat down and stitched them up over the next two days.
Zippered Bags For Maxelle
Past Thursday, I packaged them up and sent them off to Toronto – as a gift for my niece. What am I going to charge her? $5 is too little and $10 is too much to ask her (although were I selling the bags at a craft fair I’d charge $10 for the smaller size, $12 for the larger ones). I was using leftover bits of fabric and batting, I buy zipper tape by the yard, so while I have an idea as to what my materials might cost there’s still nothing much to reimburse me for my time. Better a gift to my niece than try figuring out what to charge her.
She should get them next week. I told her to make sure she tells her friends where she got the bags! I’m sure whoever gets one will enjoy having it. You can’t have too many small zippered bags for carrying stuff, right?
Funny what calls out to you when you sit down to work. The small triangular cut-offs from the Nine Shades Of Grey quilt said “Play with me” – so I did. I began by sewing them together into half-square triangles, then laying them out in blocks, formed rows, and stitched the rows together. I was trying to mix up the colours so they weren’t adjacent (and I was pretty successful doing that). I ended up with an 8 X 10 array with a bordered square on point in the centre. My piecing isn’t perfect but it’s close enough to live with as it is.
Medallion Quilt – Centre
Once I had the small half-square triangles sewn into a panel, I decided to enclose it with a narrow border rather then a wider one. Had I been doing a wall panel, I’d have used the golden fabric as a piping, but I thought for a quilt it probably needed to be a narrow strip of accent fabric. And then the medium mottled grey seemed to settle the whole panel down – it’s strong enough to stand out and yet sets up the yellow which brings out the golden shades in the batiks.
I have no idea where to go next! Medallion quilts are usually square, but for a comfortable throw/lap quilt it wants to be longer than wider so I went for a rectangular panel. I will see if it’s possible to increase the length with perhaps two insert rows in top and bottom edges as I build the quilt borders out.
Time to look at Medallion quilts and see what inspiration I can find for taking this quilt further. I think I want to keep the “Nine Shades Of Grey” idea going in this project which means whatever I do next should use the grey fabrics extensively with perhaps just hints of the bright batiks – who knows….
Here is one of the quilt tops I worked on during the weekend. I stitched and trimmed 95 blocks – this layout uses 88 (8 x 11 will stitch up to 44″ x 60.5″ with a 3″ border I will end up at 50″ x 66.5″ – a good lap size quilt).
Nine Shades Of Grey
The point of the quilt top was to assemble something fairly simple that I could do in that sewing retreat setting without having to focus carefully on what I was doing. I had five bright batik fabrics to allocate to ten blocks each of the nine grey fabrics – I thought that would give me plenty of latitude. Was I wrong.
Distributing the grey tones wasn’t so difficult but the batik triangles in the corners? Very difficult to get them to work out – still not completely happy with how some of the adjacent triangles are from the same fabric! I’m leaving the blocks on the floor for now so I can walk past it and think about how to exchange some of them.
Then I decided I would insert a single block of each batik fabric with a different grey corner – the question became where to put them and how to align them. I’ve decided the array looks best with the grey corners facing in the opposite direction to the bright corners.
That’s it for today. I see what I think in the daylight tomorrow.
This weekend I’m at scenic White Point Resort two hours from home sewing with 27 other women all busy at work.
White Point Beach
Yesterday was a stormy day with lots of surf. Today just a calm ripple. Too cold to be sitting watching incoming waves.
Busy At Work
Can you imagine – we’ve just lost power! Disaster! Sewing machines dead, iron cooling. Thank goodness it’s a bright sunny day (if cold) so there’s lots of light to keep cutting and placing and pinning, all important prep work.
Zippered Bags For Christmas Gifts
I managed to complete 30 zippered bags for Christmas gifts yesterday. I’d had them all cut out – outer fabric, batting, lining, zipper tape, grosgrain tape for the tabs – all I needed was to assemble the bags. Done before supper time.
I’d prepped two quilts before coming – I started working on them last evening. When power returns, I’ll carry on. Blocks for one are constructed and ready to be sewn together. I’m more or less half way through the blocks for the second quilt.
I leave around noon tomorrow. I will have accomplished quite a bit.
The remaining skinny quilts/banners are finished. I hand stitched the hidden bindings on the back of each hanging and added a sleeve for hanging it.
I’m happy with the combination of background fabrics and the appliqués – a close look shows I managed the edge stitching precisely. I like the quiet background and strong appliqué colours in this panel.
Skinny Quilt II
I wasn’t sure how I felt about the bright colours in this second banner but now that it’s completed I like the profusion of “dots” in the appliqué fabrics, echoed by the two small circles to fill in the space on the right. In the right location this could be an interesting accent piece.
Skinny Quilt III
I’m less happy with this banner – now that it’s finished I can see my idea to increase the spacing while decreasing the circle size didn’t work so well and I didn’t see, until now, that I have an inbuilt curve to the left! I think I chalk this one up to experiment and construct another to take its place.
Skinny Quilt IV
That’s what’s so interesting about improvising – I’m always amazed by how most of the time my experiments turn out well. It’s not that this one didn’t have potential – it’s just that I didn’t see the “flaws” until it was actually finished and hung on the door. It’s a lesson that I need to be a tad more detached and analytical when looking at these pieces at a distance.