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.
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.
This past couple of weeks I’ve been teaching a class on improvising wall art and I’ve been working on four Skinny Quilts/Banners myself as part of that project. The other day when I finished embellishing each panel (although I still have to bind each one), I thought about another project that might interest the gals.
Last spring I attempted a watercolour quilt – made from many 2″ blocks cut from small print floral fabrics to use the colour in the squares to “paint” a canvas. I have many bags filled with 2″ squares (light, medium, dark) and thought this might be an idea to interest the women.
I laid out an array (9 x 12) creating a colour flow across the surface, stitched the pieces together and took it to class yesterday to share with the women. Today, I decided to finish the piece with a narrow inner border, a piped border, and a wider dark border. I’ve added a hidden binding and backing – I just need to do the hand stitching to tack the binding in place.
The photo doesn’t do the panel justice – the prints are all quite sharp and showcase the colour flow rather better than the photo would suggest. Looks like this might be a go for January. The women all thought it would be fun to attempt something like this.
Finished this quilt this afternoon. I’ve been working steadily on it since early last week. First doing all the edge stitching on the appliqué (154 fused elements), adding the borders, setting up the quilt, then quilting the “blocks”.
I’d created a single run design (enlarged and modified from a previous quilt [there’s a l-o-n-g story here about embroidery software not working after upgrading my iMac OS to Catalina!]) for a 227mm x 227mm block – it was four circles in a 2×2 array which meant I needed to embroider/quilt 30 repeats and then do 5 more half-block embroideries to complete the centre panel. I used the half-block motif scaled in width to accommodate the 3″ border. In all, it took 4 days to do all the quilting.
Here’s the pieced back – I didn’t have quite enough of the dark blue fabric so added in a block of the main fabric, along with the longitudinal stripes.
You can sort of see the quilt block as it sits over 4 of the underlayer blocks – it’s a curved pinwheel which was large enough to overlap the appliqué circles and follow the curves of the “x” pieces.
The finishing was interrupted on Tuesday because I had to spend the day preparing for an art quilt class I was teaching on Wednesday. I finally got to binding the quilt this afternoon.
The quilt is finished, label and all.
This is the completely edge-stitched, bordered top panel.
The photo doesn’t do this panel justice – I have nowhere to hang it and photograph it in a way that allows me to align it perfectly. I laid it on my bed and adjusted the sides as best as I could with my photo software. But you get the idea here.
The narrow chartreuse inner border was a good idea – it brings out the brighter greens. The wider darker blue grunge border stabilizes the blues in the panel. I’m also happy with the subtle diagonal flow in parts of the piece.
Now to build a back
Fabrics For The Backing
These are the two main fabrics I’m planning on using – I also want to build in a bit of piecing using the blues and greens from the top. That’s a job for tomorrow.
Yesterday I sat down at my iMac to play with my Pfaff TruE3 embroidery software to discover it won’t run on my recently updated operating system!
The first line problem is the dongle driver which is incompatible with Catalina (the new OS 10.15); there may be problems further in I don’t know about and can’t know about until I get past the registering of the dongle.
It infuriates me – I bought the software for a whopping amount of money a year and a half ago and now I can’t use it. I immediately contacted Pfaff TruE3 Embroidery Software support who replied they had no information on whether the dongle manufacturer was planning a dongle driver update! TruE3 was only compatible with Mojave (10.14). No help there, obviously.
So by the weekend I’m in a bind – I can stitch out embroideries I’ve already created but I can’t modify them to any great extent and I can’t create anything new.
I’m going to have to ask around among the women I know who have invested in Premiere+ and see if I can spend a bit of time on their computer creating a design to quilt this new quilt with – that’s if that software will actually run on an updated Mac!
I’m making headway – I’ve got all the circles edge stitched and about 2/3 of the Xs – It’s taken me several hours each of the last three days to get this far. Tomorrow afternoon I hope to be able to finish the remaining Xs.
Circles Appliqué Quilt – Edge Stitching
I’m stitching using embroidery rayon (in many different colours to more or less match the fabric I’m stitching – the stitch is a narrow blanket stitch (l: 2mm, w: 1.5mm) making sure I’m using the needle down position so I can pivot the fabric to keep the stitching along the raw edge.
Once I’ve finished the edge stitching, I will add a narrow chartreuse inner border, and a navy/teale grunge outer border to finish the top. I have fabrics for the second side – I will do some piecing as I assemble it so my narrow width of fabric can be extended to fit the width of the quilt.
What I have no idea about is how to quilt the sandwich! The last time I did a quilt like this I simply stitched the underlying block edges as squares through the circles and Xs. However, this time the arrangement of circles and Xs doesn’t lend itself to that. I’ve discussed ideas with several people and heard many suggestions. Were I doing the quilting on a long-arm quilter I’d just do some open curvilinear design but I will be stitching in the hoop so I need to come up with some kind of “block” idea that will fit within my 360mm x 200mm hoop. (I have a large reversible hoop but I’ve learned the hard way that whatever design I create has to not cross the centre line.) I need to let this percolate for the next week or so when I’ll be ready to do the quilting.
I spent the better part of the day hand stitching the hidden bindings on the back of each panel – took over an hour each and left a small hole in the middle finger on my right hand in spite of the small metal thimble disc (Ultra Thimble) I had stuck to my finger. (The hole will take a day or two to heal.)
Three Hangings – Completed 10″ x 42″
I made a point of matching the hidden bindings with the front of each hanging so that when they’re on the wall the fabric at the edge is consistent with the panel itself.
Back of Panels
I am definitely pleased with how these panels turned out – they feel refined, sort of elegant. I must find a location to hang at least one of them somewhere in my apartment! That will be a challenge because there isn’t much wall space left.