Night Sky

Night Sky – Quilt Top

Here is the completed Night Sky quilt. I finished quilting it yesterday – it wasn’t a simple job because I’d decided to quilt on the diagonal within the flow of the strips which meant I had to keep pinning fabric strips to the edges so I could hoop the pinned layers.

Quilting Detail

I set up a swirl embroidery in two columns, used a variegated thread which blended with the various colours of the strips. I started at the strip end, changing to navy thread when I reached the dark fabric (often in the middle of a quilting run). A fiddly job, to say the least. However, I didn’t want the light thread to interfere with the speckled effect of the navy background. In some sections I had no choice but to carry the light thread into the navy but I hauled out my handy permanent navy marker and darkened the stitching. That worked well.

This was an edge-to-edge design which actually matched up very nicely – I could successfully place the next design and have it line up with the ends of the previous one. The joins are barely noticeable – I can pick out a few but most are perfect alignments.

Night Sky – Quilt Back

I widened the backing by creating a panel from scraps leftover from the Poppy Field quilt inserting a long batik strip of a rather wild palm leaf batik. In the photo it looks black but it’s much more colourful than that with purples, pale greens, pinks which blend with the other small batik samples.

My goal with this quilt was to showcase the beautiful fabrics in the curated set from the jellyroll. In the end I did have to add a few other strips on order to have enough to make the quilt long enough. Finished size: 47″ x 60″ – a good lap size; great for a wall hanging on a large wall!

Re-Vision

Reworked Quilt Top

I was suddenly awake at 7:00 this morning (I normally wake at 8:00). Got out of bed and went to work (before going to the pool at 8:45 as always on a Friday morning).

First, I removed the narrow pumpkin sashing from the two “straight” sides. Then I carefully unstitched the three navy bits in the bottom right corner and replaced each with fabric that blended with the main strip in each location. Now there is no jarring bits of navy in that corner.

So, from “Poppy Field 2”, I can name this piece “Night Sky” which brings out the golden speckle in the navy fabric and implies a city scape below.

I think I’m happier with that. Next on to coming up with an idea for piecing the back.

Fish

Fish 4 & 3 – Finished

For now I have the finished “Fish” pieces 4 & 3 hanging on the closet door. That’s it, I don’t plan on doing any more of these. They’ll go in the closet along with the other “skinny quilts” – I may take them to Parrsboro for the summer exhibit there, we’ll see when I start pulling work from the closet closer to the end of July.

One friend commented she’d put small bubbles coming to the surface – I did think about that for a moment as I was finishing the stitching on Fish 4 – but in the end I left the fish swimming peacefully among the seaweed.

Now back to the partially assembled quilt top. Really!

Corner Filled In

Fish 4

I wasn’t intending to carry on with the “fish” but I’m stuck with the quilt I started so I went to work on another “fish” piece.

Fish #4

Because I’d cut bindings from the leftover piece of purple ombre, the leftover piece was a bit shorter than I wanted it to be, so I added some batik to the dark bottom end of the purple and filled in with seaweed-like shapes.

Not so many fish this time, they’re more spaced out, with one behind the seaweed (which meant I had to stitch it in place before fusing the seaweed to the panel. The other fish are just laying in place for now – I don’t know precisely where I will put them, I’ll know that after thread painting the seaweed elements.

I worked away at my machine yesterday, edge stitching the seaweed then adding three seaweed embroideries for texture. Late last evening, I fused the remaining fish in place.

Seaweed stitched

Next will be to edge stitch the remaining fish and add an eye to each. Again, I think I’m not going to do any background stitching, I like the water-like flow in the ombre print and don’t want to interfere with it.

OK. This really is the last of the fish pieces. REALLY.

Fish 3

Against The Stream #2

I taught a class this week on “Skinny Quilts/Wall Banners” – on constructing simple, fast and easy quilted fabric art pieces. I’d worked on two much more complex pieces recently.

I wanted something simple to show the women in the class. I wanted whatever they tackled to be pieced/stitched in a day. Hence the “Fish”.

The night before class, I pulled the ombre pieces I had in my stash (from a Ryan McKenna kit I’d bought but never used five or more years ago), chose the purple one because it was an uncut 1/2 yd piece and cut an 11 1/2″ piece WOF. Next I gathered together the last of the “fish” scraps I’d saved from the Double Vision quilt – A Study in Blue and Green I’d made in 2019.

Quilt Top – Double Vision 2019

I positioned a dozen fish on the ombre fabric (they already had fusible web on the back), pressed them into position, cut a piece of batting and took it to class along with eight other banners I have in my closet so the gals could see a range of possible appliqué work.

Yesterday, I edged stitched the fish and added an eye to each. I thought about embroidering some seaweed at the bottom of the panel but the ombre fabric has a soothing “water” movement to the pattern and I decided that rather than embellish the background, I’d leave well enough alone.

I sewed on a hidden binding and added a backing muslin this morning, pinning the binding in place. I still have to add a hanging sleeve and hand stitch the binding in place but the hanging is now complete.

The women managed to piece a background (as I had done on the two banners above), cut out appliqués, fuse them in place (we discussed matters like colour, value, complexity of pattern, etc when choosing both the background and appliqué fabrics), then began the edge stitching.

I usually do this class as a two day affair but we were doing it on a single day. Had it been a two day class, I’d have had the gals practice edge stitching on curves but there wasn’t time so they went at it on their banner pieces. One had an open toed foot, luckily we were able to find another in the shop for the second machine – what a difference being able to see where your needle is in relation to the appliqué fabric! It takes a bit of practice to get the eye/hand/foot coordination to sew accurately at the fabric edge. Then the issue of editing the various decorative stitches to get a suitable width/length so the stitching shows, but doesn’t dominate the work, arose. Stitch selection and editing takes practice and judgement as well. We didn’t have time to develop a stitch sampler with notations – that would have required another couple of hours – we went with what was expedient.

The gals made significant headway and their technique improved significantly as they went along. Toward the end of the afternoon we stopped and examined how I’d done the finishing work on my textile pieces. I’ve sent them the directions for completing their wall hangings. Now it’s up to them. I’ve asked for photos of the completed work.

That’s the last of my “fish”; I still have a bag full of circles in many sizes waiting to be used.

Gathering No Moss – In Progress

1/2 Done

I have just finished the 15th block for the Gathering No Moss (Kaffe Fassett) quilt. That’s half way. The block, by the way, is called a “rolling stone” – hence Fassett’s choice of name for the quilt.

Once people figured out the “quilt along” on Facebook (a “private” group for those who purchased the quilt kit) was mostly about us commenting on (and sharing photos of) our progress, the traffic has died down. I had decided to purchase the kit and join the quilt-along because I thought Fassett would discuss his decision-making regarding fabric design and choices for the quilt in some depth. Doesn’t appear to be the case. Had I realized that, I likely would have just deconstructed the quilt from the photo and done it in some colour set from fabrics I had in my stash and could pick up from The Woolworks in Mahone Bay. I wouldn’t have bought the kit.

Oh, well, I won’t do this another time. I have a greater sense of satisfaction when I’ve worked out how to construct a quilt from a photo and chosen my own fabrics, as I did with the Escher quilt. That was a real challenge and I was very pleased with the outcome. Here, although the quilt block is an easy one, it is fiddly – the four corners take time to construct – add one triangle, press, add the opposite triangle, press, add a side triangle, press, add final triangle, press – and hope you’re close enough to square that they will assemble with the rest of the block without too much distortion. But overall, there isn’t much challenge to the quilt once you figure out how to construct the block. In this case, I chose to change the block size, which required some testing out to make sure my pieces would match up, and I’ve changed some of the colour selections, but it’s still the “Gathering No Moss” quilt. Far less challenging than most of the quilting I’m used to doing.

Here is the panel at noon – with four rows now completed.

2/3 Finished

This time I worked on an entire row at the same time doing what’s called “chain piecing” – taking great pains to keep the elements in the order I’d planned on them having! At the bottom, second block from the right – not sure about this one. I want that centre where it is but the large blue and white dotted fabrics together are rather loud. Given the symmetry I set up, that pairing was bound to happen since I had five light and five dark fabrics.

Enough for today. On to other tasks.

Kaffe Fassett Quilt Along

In January I did something I have never done – I signed up to do a quilt along – this one with Kaffe Fassett. He (and the rest of the collective) have created a quartet of queen size quilts – same pattern but available in four different colour combinations. The quilt block resembles a cog wheel hence the name of the quilt: Gathering No Moss.

The project began when I received an email from Hyggeligt Fabrics in St, Mary’s Ontario advertising the quilt along. Over the years I’ve collected Kaffe Fassett fabrics – my diamond quilts, the Escher quilt all used fabrics from Free Spirit which produces and sells the Kaffe Fassett Collective collections. In years past, I’ve attended a lecture or two of his which I found underwhelming, but I’ve also watched Fassett lead a weekend workshop several years ago on YouTube from which I learned a lot.

I liked the “Delft” fabric collection well enough that I decided to buy the Gathering No Moss fabrics and join the quilt along. The zoom lectures begin on Wednesday – Aug 4 – on Facebook (why there of all places – I try to stay off Facebook). In any case, my fabric bundle from Hyggeligt Fabrics arrived last week. It’s a lovely collection of fabrics. The instructions are for a 77″ x 92″ quilt – a 5 x 6 array of blocks. I decided to keep the array, but downsize the blocks.

The intended quilt block is a 13 1/2″ square:

The 13 1/2″ block / an 8 1/2″ adaptation

I did a mock-up of the intended block but I wanted to make a smaller throw size quilt so I downsized the blocks which turned into a block a bit smaller than I wanted. [ A finished 9″ block x 5 = 45″ plus 1.25″ x 6 for the sashing = 7.5″ will give me a finished width of 52 1/2″ – a largish throw quilt.]

A 9 1/2″ block

Once I’d figured out the block construction and had dimensions for the 9 1/2″ block I was going to make, I got to work on the Delft fabrics. I simplified the instructions – rather than work with the chart describing what to cut from which fabric, I sorted the fabrics into light/dark and medium. The centre blocks I cut from the small medium colour fabrics; then I cut rectangles and squares for the corner blocks from the darks; finally I cut rectangles and squares (which I cut into half-square triangles) from the lights. The cutting went reasonably quickly.

I carefully laid out the centre blocks in a numerical order – Row 1: 1,2,3,4,5; Row 2: 2,3,4,5,1, etc, until I had six rows of five blocks. While I liked the colour of the Delft fabrics I thought the quilt could use a bit of additional colour – I went through my stash of Kaffe Fassett fabrics picking six bright ones, cut a centre square from each which I then substituted into the array on my table – one in each row.

Next I laid out the pieces from the dark fabrics B,C,D,E,F and the light fabrics G,H,I,J,K in an array and began placing dark/light pairs on top of the centre squares – using a similar shifting pairing so that in the end each block will be unique.

Quilt Construction Begins

You can see the lovely blue and “white” fabrics in the collection. I have so far completed six blocks. The remaining 24 are laid out in position on my cutting table. It takes me about 20 minutes to construct a block so I will need to work on these for the next few days. There’s sashing to insert between the blocks which will tie the whole quilt together – I just haven’t decided what width to use – I’ll make that decision when I have all 30 blocks laid out.

I knew from the beginning I wasn’t likely to follow the instructions. I like the block, so I decided to use it instead of creating something else. Deconstructing the block from the images of the Gathering No Moss quilt was straightforward. I will tune in on Wednesday to see what Fassett has to say – I’m sure I can learn some interesting things from him about colour flow and placement. I’ll report back as I make progress on the project.

Escher Quilt – Finished

Escher Quilt – Finished size: 53″ x 67″

Just finished. I wasn’t sure it was all going to work but it has.

If you click on the image above you will see the quilting detail. I thought about some kind of detailed quilting design but there were two problems. First, I didn’t have a hoop large enough to manage any kind of large block and there isn’t a really clear hexagonal shape to work with, even if I did. I defaulted to a diamond shape which is all I could accommodate. Second, any kind of detailed quilting, like I used on the previous diamond quilts, was going to detract from the effect of the rising, interconnected, vertical elements of the quilt design.

In the end I quilted the “diamonds” using a straight line design alternating the direction of the diamonds to fit into the overall array of interconnected elements.

Quilting Detail

Then what to do with the borders? I decided to use a rather dense floral quilt design; I set up a modified version which I used to fill in the half-diamond elements top and bottom. That decision turned out well.

Quilt Back

I assembled a double strip of pieced strips to allow me to widen the backing enough to fit the quilt top. I bordered the insert strip with unequal strips of a light batik which blended nicely.

I finished the quilt with a narrow 1/4″ conventional quilt binding using 1 1/2″ strips from some Skyline fabric still in my stash which let me get away without having to piece a gazillion tiny leftovers from the Kaffe Fassett Collective fabrics. The binding finishes the quilt hinting at the colours in the main panel.

So, the quilt is done. I started playing with the idea on May 6 – so 2 1/2 weeks is the time it took me to construct, quilt, and complete the project. I’ve had a lot of uninterrupted time to sew since we’ve been on COVID-19 lockdown here in NS since April 25 (we expect to remain locked down until at least the middle of June – maybe longer because while new case counts aren’t going up to any degree, they’re not going down, either!).

Now it’s time to turn my attention to sewing some summer clothes – a couple of dresses, maybe a jean jacket, some linen pull-on pants. I have the fabric on hand. I’ll start by washing it all tomorrow.

Escher Quilt – 7

Redone – I removed the side border, extended the top and bottom borders, and added the 8th column.

Escher Quilt Top – Redone

I’m much happier with the balance. I understand why most people who make this quilt top choose to straighten the top and bottom edges but I find the zigzag edge an interesting detail.

So the top is now complete.

Next, the quilt back. I have to pull out the Kaffe Fassett Collective fabric leftovers and see what I can do with them. I have lots of the backing fabric (Ruby Star Society Speckled Metallic Navy 2021). I was able to pick up 3m on Wednesday at my local fabric store.

So now full steam ahead….

Escher Quilt – 6

I thought I had the top finished – I’d added the 7th column, finished off the ends with border fabric, and sewed a border all around.

Escher Quilt Top – Almost Completed

I liked how the border accented the flow of the colour in the panel, I was fine with the finished size (~48″ x 66″). EXCEPT I was NOT happy with the partial points on the bottom left and top right!

That’s solvable one of two ways: either by cutting off the top and bottom point elements; or by adding the 8th column on the right:

Escher Quilt Top With 8th Column To Be Added On Right

I’m leaning toward the second option – I’d like the quilt top to be larger rather than smaller; I also like the top/bottom points – even if they don’t match they are complementary.

So my plan is to add the 8th column tomorrow – it means redoing the top and bottom borders because they will need to be wider to accommodate the extra column width (the length of the side border remains the same).

I didn’t want to add the 8th column – it makes the overall panel close to square (remember I don’t have enough fabric scraps to add a row (or two) to the bottom). I will do that, though, because the unattached points top and bottom are just too jarring – the top and bottom need to be symmetrical (if different).

It also means I have to come up with some kind of idea for a strip for the back – if I’d not used the 8th column on the top, I would’ve inserted it into the back. Now I need to go through the Kaffe Fassett Collective leftover fabric and come up with something that complements the quilt top.