Friday, September 21, 2012

Moving forward...

The quilt top is finally right and I have it loaded on Lola to begin the quilting process. I like it much better now as the background fabric is less distracting. You can see the pieced work which is to be the focal point along with the quilting. What do you think?
What do you think? Do you agree with me that it needed to be toned down and allow the piecing to shine? I admit that the new piece of background fabric has the right colors and minimal patterning but it doesn't have the same sheen as the original background piece. It is the same fabric, 50% bamboo/50% cotton, that we always use. I don't know if it is the difference in techniques of the ice dyeing versus the dye bath, but after 2 dye baths I wasn't going to start over again since the colors are really good in this one. I am on a deadline and I couldn't lose another day hoping to get a better piece.

In the meantime, while I was waiting for the dyeing process to process, I worked up a sample piece to try out a design motif and combination of batting.
I used a portion of the fabric that I removed from the quilt top to do this piece. I freehand drew the leaf shapes on the top. I spray basted a layer of Warm and Natural and a layer of Hobbs Heirloom wool together and spray basted the quilt sandwich. Since I used air disappearing marking pen I quilted out the outlines of the shapes so that I had time to go back and fill them in and not worry that I would not be able to see the lines. I quilted the motifs first and then I added the feathers and other grounding motifs around the base of the leaves and once that was done I put the walking foot on my machine and did the outside border lines. I did a set of double lines so that a channel would be formed between them. This gave me my defined limits to the block and I then did the background fills. On the top of the piece I used a repeating leaf motif and on the bottom I used circles and tried to vary the size of them. I used another piece of hand dyed fabric for the binding and I added just a touch of beading to the binding edge. I am really pleased with how this turned out. I am ready now to start the quilting process and incorporate a similar motif as this in it.

There is so much to do in the next week that I will be very busy trying to get it all done and remain calm and collected while doing it.

I hope you all have a wonderful day and practice something that you haven't done in a while. It can be fun when you see the results that you get with a little practice.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Continuing saga of new quilt...

I had planned on having a new photo of the quilt for you today but things did not go as I had hoped. I mentioned yesterday that I was going to reveal what didn't work on this quilt and how I fixed it. Well, I can let you know what didn't work but I am still in the process of fixing it.

Here is the photo of the quilt.
I love the colors of the background fabric and it was spectacular but it detracted from the pieced block section. You did not look at the piecing as much as all the colors and patterns in the background. I knew it needed to be a more subdued patterning and coloring for the background. This is more in line with what I wanted the background to be like.
Little pops of color would be ok but I did not like the big bold bands of colors that the original piece had. I also wanted to keep it more in the fallish colors. So I went to my stash to see what I might have. Unfortunately I am quite limited on my larger pieces of hand dyeds. I have very few pieces that are over 1 yard lengths. I tried several pieces to see how they worked. This is called auditioning. The first piece had the right colors but it still was too much pattern to distract the eye.
I could have used the top 8-10" but that still would not have been enough. So I moved on to my 2nd piece which I love, just not for this piece, it has a bamboo type leaf motif in the original print that did not take up the dye that would have been cool as this piece is going to definitely have a leaf theme going but the color was all wrong.
Once again, too much difference, I hoped that it would help pick up the blues in the piecing but it just didn't blend in well enough. I needed a player that did not try to steal the scene. Since I did not have anything else large enough that would do I had to go to the dye baths and try to come up with a piece that would work.
Here are my dye buckets,
you (I) can't just do one piece and call it quits. So I pulled out some things that had been lying around that needed dyed and got started. Ok with a little a lot of prodding from my good friend Tina. I dyed the piece for the front, a backing piece, a linen table cloth I bought last weekend for $1.00 and 3 button down shirts of DH that need to be upcycled due to stains.

Unfortunately, my background fabric still did not come out of the dye bath the way I had envisioned it. It was still too patterned and the colors were too drab. So late last evening it went back into another dye bath. It is getting washed up now so I don't have it to show you yet.

In the meantime, I did a practice piece testing out my batting, thread choice and quilting motif I want to incorporate into the quilt when I get to that point.
I like the motif. I am not sure of the batting. I was going to use a combination of Warm and Natural with Hobbs Heirloom wool on top. It is going to be too heavy, so my next test sample will be just the wool batting. Well, my washing machine just buzzed so it is time for me to go look at my fabric and see if I can go ahead and dry it and get it added to my quilt today or if I have to go back to the drawing board dye bath again.

Have a great day and don't let failures discourage you, they just make you dig deeper into yourself to come up with often times a better solution or end product than the first one would have been. There is always more than one way to accomplish something.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

The makings of a new quilt...

I promised that I would share with you my design process while putting together this new quilt. First of all, I want to let you know that my customer came by yesterday morning to pick up her 2 quilts and she loved them. She was so pleased confided she is working on finishing up 2 more and will be bringing them by for me to quilt. Woo Hoo.

So now onto the design process of this new quilt. The inspiration for this quilt came together from the online class I have been taking and some hand dyed fabrics. Angela Walter offered a pattern for a modern quilt that uses primarily solid fabrics to make for the Machine Quilting Negative Space class that is offered through It offers plenty of negative space to allow your quilting to make it shine. So I had a plan. My last batch of ice dyed fabrics gave me most of the materials that I needed to make this quilt.
Here is my starting point.
From one of our dyeing workshops, I created this piece. It started with a piece of hand dyed fabric, laid out, placed a fern leaf over it and sprayed a bleach solution on it to get a bleach discharge image of the fern leaf. This and several pieces of iced dyed fabrics were the jumping off point.

I auditioned several pieces of fabric looking for the piece that contrasted and complimented the fern print nicely. It needed to share some common colors but also had to be darker to give the contrast that was needed. You can see similar colors in the strips as in the fern print, the pink and blue and even a bit of green. The strips are 2 1/2" strips. All I did to the fern print was square it up and trimmed off about an inch at the top that was unnecessary. The dimensions are 10 1/2" x 35". I hung this on the design wall and the other blocks were made to compliment this as it is the main focal piece of the quilt. I continued to make blocks of various sizes and construction to build the pieced composition around that center block while maintaining the contrast between light and dark.
I continued to play making improvisational blocks, changing the size and featuring some interesting fabrics in the inner squares. Once I had the blocks made I arranged them in a pleasing composition.
I then began adding connecting strips.
These are also 2 1/2" strips. I continued to work along connecting everything.

I am going to leave the rest of the design process for tomorrow as I have a little more work to do. I will share what worked and what didn't and how I "hopefully" can correct it in tomorrow's post. Yes even I have some things that don't work out well the first time. I must say that I am getting very eager to get to the quilting part of this quilt. I have some great ideas in store for that also. I hope you will check out tomorrow's post for the continuing story of how this quilt came to be and to see the completed quilt top.

Have a great day and don't let those ideas that you have percolating in your brain go. Get busy and accomplish something great. You won't know how it is going to turn out until you try it.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Time to play...

Some people may say that is what I do all the time is play but it is hard work too. I am very fortunate to be able to do something that I love to do everyday as my work. I finished up this gorgeous quilt yesterday and am so pleased with the results.
There are 4 very large stars. I didn't measure them but they must be at least 36" each star. The colors have me so ready for fall. I love the texture that the quilting created. You can see the detailing of the quilting from the back better as it is a more solid background fabric.
When I flipped it up to check out the back for loose threads I was stunned by how beautiful the back was. This is one reason that I love whole cloth quilts so much. You get to see all that beautiful quilting without a lot of other stuff distracting the eye.

So I mentioned now it is time to play. Let me explain. I took an online class by Angela Walters on and I have been enjoying it so much and I want a quilt to play with all the ideas that are floating in my head. So on Friday night I got the bright idea to use Angela's free quilt pattern that is offered with the class to create my own quilt using my hand dyed fabrics and especially one piece that was hand dyed, and bleach discharged using a fern leaf as a stencil. I am going to use my iced dyed fabric for the background of the quilt. The kicker is that I want to have this done to enter into our group's quilt show that is on the 29th. Ok that is 11 days away. I had to complete the quilting on the above mentioned quilt before I could start this new one for me. So today, I get to start the new quilt. I will try to do follow up posts this week on how and why I chose to do what and where on this quilt. So here we go with a challenge of can I get this quilt done by the 28th actually, because that is the day of set up for the show. I now have 10 days to complete this task. How many of you out there think I can do it and that it will be as phenomenal as I see it in my head? Let me know who out there thinks I can do it.

Have a great day and set yourself some goals that are going to stretch you and push you a little further than you think you can go or outside your comfort zone. Let me see a show of hands if you are ready for some growing and stretching.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Lots accomplished...

I have lots of photos of things that got accomplished over the weekend. First off, Friday morning, we had 4 visitors in our yard, up close and personal.
The 4th deer was rather elusive. I couldn't get him in the photos except for one I had his rump. The deer are frequently in our yard but we have never seen them this close to the house before.

Lots of quilting got done. Here are some photos of some pieces that will be donated to charity. I used them to practice my online lessons on.
This one I practiced swirls in the border.
The back detail gives the best overall view of the quilting.

This little piece was a 9 patch made of 4 patch blocks. Pretty cute.
I used a floral motif that resembles chrysanthemums for the outer border.
I quilted those two pieces on my DHM and this next piece I quilted on my longarm. I love the texture. This piece finished up the length that I needed for my 3rd ceiling panel.

On Saturday I went with Tina to a local quilt shop to help her spend her money that she won at the fair for having the Best of Show quilt and Judges choice quilt. She found some wonderful fabrics and goodies that she needed and I didn't buy a thing, except a linen table cloth at a local fleatique for $1.00.
Then we had lunch and stopped at a friends antique shop on the way home.

Once back home I put this quilt on Lola's frame so I could get started quilting it.
It is beautiful and it is getting me in the mood for Fall.
I am doing alternating fills in the stars triangles. Here are some detail shots of that.
I am doing repetitive lines in the star points to draw your eye in and out and then 2 different fills in the inner portions of the stars, the swirls in one and paisleys with circles in the other and alternating them.
Here is the border motif.

Last but not least, DH helped me hang my 3rd ceiling panel up. I am loving the texture on the ceiling and the cabana stripe effect that I am getting.
I also took a 50 minute walk at Lake Wilhelm with M-I-L. We ran into 4 people that I knew while on the walk. It was a beautiful evening, cool, sunny and peaceful.

I pray that you will all have a wonderful day and that you accomplish all that you desire. Be a blessing today to someone who needs a helping hand.