Iris

Yesterday, I enlarged and printed both the iris and its leaves on fabric then applied some Steam-a-Seam2 Lite (fusible web) to the back so the iris could be fused to the watercolour panel background. Last evening I fussy cut the iris, the bud, and the leaves.

Complete except for hidden binding

This morning I fused the appliqué elements to the panel, then thread painted them, taking care to edge stitch everything so the appliqué won’t lift  over time.

Iris – Thread Painting

Because the appliqué elements are rather small they didn’t want a great deal of stitching but I did want to work in a bit of shading on the leaves and on the flower – not so much that I obscured the shading within the appliqué.

I added a signature along the right side, then applied three border sections – first a narrow inner binding of natural raw silk, then small dotted green piping, last a 3″ purple grunge outer border.

All that’s left to do is add the hidden binding (I do have a small amount of purple grunge left but I’ll see if I can pick up 1/2m more because it’s a very useful colour to have on hand). Once the bindings are attached, I’ll insert a muslin backing and hand stitch the bindings in place on the back.

I will leave the piece as it is – while I can still lift the border to reveal the inner border construction. That will allow me to show the gals how I align the narrow border, and piping as I explain how I do it.

Yet Another Watercolour Piece

So I can demonstrate on Wednesday how I finish a hanging, I had to produce another panel for class. I had a clear idea of what I wanted to construct – a colour shading from dark purple in one bottom corner to very light in the opposite one. That was easier said than done – I had no suitable precut light colour squares; instead, I had to go back to my stash and pull out both large and small cuts of fabric in very pale colours that would blend with the purple range I was building. After considerable hunting and cutting, I was finally able to assemble a complete panel.

Once laid out, I stitched the rows (first sewing the 8″ panels together, then cutting apart each row, starting at one end, sewing and pressing each seam open).

Rows Sewn Together (Back)

Next I stitched the columns, again by cutting apart and sewing each column one at a time beginning on one side.

Columns Stitched, Seams Pressed Open

I pressed the seams open as I went along – first finger pressing, then pressing with the iron.

Completed Panel

I’m now ready to add a fused appliqué to the pale side of the panel – that’s for tomorrow. Once the appliqué is fused and thread painted, I will be ready to demonstrate how to add the three finishing layers on Wednesday.

Two Skinny Quilts – Finished

School Of Fish #2

School Of Fish #2

Finished with a hidden binding and backing fabric. I like this one even more than the original. I think the ombre fabrics create a feeling of water and notice the single fish swimming against the school…. But that’s it for fish – I have no more in my bag of fusible scraps.

Skinny Quilt #4 – An Update

Skinny Quilt IV – Straightened

I wasn’t happy with this banner – it wasn’t quite square and it showed when the piece was hanging. Yesterday, I took it apart so I could straighten the sides and while I had the backing and binding off, I decided to remove the smallest blue circle – first, because it was the wrong colour – it didn’t really show up – and second, it was the eighth circle and an odd number is more pleasing. Now the yellow in the top large circle is now echoed in the small one and your eye moves between the two and is then drawn into the complexity of the fabric design of the other circles. A better balance.

Best of all, the banner is now square so it hangs straight and I can include it I the banner/skinny quilt collection.

Skinny Quilts/Wall Banners

I’m not sure what to call these wall art pieces – they’re narrow raw-edge appliqué quilts constructed from a simple pieced background with a few fused top elements. It’s the simplicity of them that captured me in the first place and I decided to offer the idea as a class.

The class was yesterday.

To prepare for the class, I set up four skinny quilts as examples. I’d sewn backgrounds using narrowish width of fabric cuts from complementary fabrics and then cut out and arranged on each some shapes (to which I’d already added fusible web).

Panel #1: Diamonds.

I’d cut out more diamonds but decided to go with fewer and to bring the viewer’s eye toward the the bottom of the panel I added a single slightly smaller diamond.

Diamonds

Panel #2: Cascading Circles

From small scraps I cut out colourful circles in decreasing diameter, then fused them on the centre in increasing distance from one another to simulate a cascade.

Cascading Circles

Panel #3: Squares

With this panel I decided to keep the squares the same size, but when I laid out the squares I thought a couple of smaller squares top and bottom would balance the array. Then, as I was fusing the squares in place I decided to fill in the gap near the bottom right of the arrangement with two different small blue circles. I’m still deliberating whether or not to add something nearer the bottom of the panel.

Squares

Panel #4: A School Of Fish

The fish were leftover pieces I’d saved from the just finished quilt. As I was cutting out the “X” pieces I realized I was creating “Fish” shapes which I saved thinking I’d find a use for them at some point. It turned out the light coloured fabric was short a few inches from a full width of fabric panel so I added in the dark blue piece (also a leftover from the just finished quilt). The school of fish is swimming at the bottom of the panel.

Fish

The women in the class had a great day – the projects were simple enough for them to create the background panel, decide on some kind of appliqué, edge stitch the fused pieces, add batting and backing fabric, then sew on hidden binding strips on all four sides.

Not everybody got as far as the binding strips (everybody did finish the edge stitching of the appliqué) but Azar managed to complete her panel – she just has to hand stitch the hidden binding on the back and she’s ready to hang it.

Azar’s Skinny Art Quilt

The other women are joining me next Wednesday for a “come and sew” session where I can help them complete their panels. I hate leaving a class with another UFO and no idea how to finish the project.

I didn’t have a “pattern” or set of instructions for making a skinny quilt – the point of the project was to encourage the women to take an idea and improvise on it – to look at the fabrics they have on hand, set up a background, and add something simple, but elegant on top, do a bit of stitching/embroidery, then do an elegant finishing to create a piece of art.

Next week, I may set up one of the high-end embroidery machines in the shop to embroider signatures on each of their pieces – works of art, are after all, signed. I sign and date all of my wall art work!

Quilt On The Go – Finished!

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.

Quilt Top

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.

Quilt Back

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.

Quilting Detail

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.

Quilt On The Go – VI

This is the completely edge-stitched, bordered top panel.

Bordered 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!

Quilt On The Go – V

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.