Archive | April 2014

April: Pam’s Yellow Roses

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I love yellow roses, so when I saw this pattern I knew the color scheme immediately. I am over the moon pleased with the outcome. I found this pattern in a 40% off basket on a trip to Chicago in 2008. Yes, I did the math and it only took 6 years to complete. I bought the fabric locally and started my adventure. Fortunately I was super organized about it and although it some times sat for years untouched, when I did bring it out I was able to pick up where I left off.  This is a picture of my organized mess.

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I first became fascinated with paper piecing when I saw a very intricate quilt of a humming-bird.  I was not a quilter back then, but I would go into the shop where it hung every few months or so just to look at it. Finally I asked how it was done and heard the term “paper piecing” for the first time.  I never did purchase  the pattern so when I saw this one for English Roses by Eileen Sullivan,  I was not about to pass it by.   The shop that displayed the humming-bird quilt is long gone. You can see this and other gorgeous paper pieced patterns here.

Coming up with the quilting took longer than normal for me.  Quilt tops talk to me. No, I am not the quilt whisperer.  Sometime during the process, the quilting style comes to me. When this didn’t happen, I was stumped.  I really wanted to keep the lines straight and not fight the angles of the piecing.  Finally, it came to me.  I was afraid to use some of the standby marking methods, so I went for painter’s tape.  Pinning the tape turned out to be the key.  It is difficult to see, but I put down the tape out in the opposite order of how it was quilted.  I would quilt a line, remove the tape and then quilt to the next line. I started on the far right.

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I really enjoyed the process and yes, I will definitely do this type of piecing again.  It requires staying somewhat organized, referring to a fabric chart constantly, and being focused.  I can do that.  Even in the midst of what most would call a mess, I could put my hands on everything I needed.

Wow, another month done.  This is actually the first UFO that I finished.  The feeling of satisfaction is inspiring.  So far I am 4 for 4.  Now, if I could just be that focused on blogging.

 

 

Becoming An Artist

I was NOT one of those kids that loved Art Class in elementary school.  In fact, I dreaded it. I know, you’re thinking: who ddin’t love art class?  Me.  Honestly, I couldn’t draw.  Horses seemed to be a popular theme among my classmates in elementary school.  My drawings consisted of a house, on a hill, with a tree.  Sometimes I would add a fence.  It always looked like crap.  Then I would add the sun.  A boy showed me how to draw the rays of the sun: long ray, short ray, long ray, short ray.  That image is still fresh in my mind. His name was Peter.  I was very proud of my suns.  But, on a whole; still crap.

You may now be thinking; you shouldn’t be so hard on yourself, it couldn’t have been that bad.  It was that bad and I’m not being hard; just honest.

I was good in math.  This led me down the left-brain road.  It also fit in well with my family.  I liked this road; it made sense to me.  It still does.  My creativity was masked in logic. I was a thinker. Besides, I couldn’t draw so I couldn’t be an artist.  I held that thought for most of my life.

Then I became a sewer and eventually a quilter.  I still thought that I wasn’t artistic.  I was just following a pattern and tweaking it here and there for whatever reason.  I was still a thinker; a creative one. And then one day it dawned on me, I am an artist. I choose the fabrics and I create dimensional art. Whether it is a skirt, a wall hanging, a purse, or a quilt…..it IS a piece of art.  What an eye opener.

I think as an artist.  The room I create in is “My Sewing Studio.”   I push my talent and have taken my craft to new levels. I try different  techniques and experiment on a regular basis. I am beginning to design quilts. Most importantly, I look at things differently.  I pay attention to color and shapes.

I’m still good at math, which ironically is a great talent to have in the sewing world.  I am still a logical thinker.  Again, a talent I tap into frequently.  But I am also creative and use both sides of my brain. I still can’t draw a horse, or a cat, or a flower for that matter.  That’s just fine with me.

 

March: Hunter’s Star

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A few years back I bought a Quiltsmart pattern for a Hunter’s Star and fabric to make it with.  Yes, this ended up in the closet.  So for March, I brought it out.  It is an interesting concept really.  Basically you use a printed fusible interfacing to make the blocks.  Super Duper Simple.

Cut up all the pieces you are going to use.  There are a lot of pieces here folks, so I broke them into stacks of ten to keep up.  This is all the fabric ready to go.

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OH and then you have to cut apart the printed blocks and that was a pain because they are not in straight columns/rows so no rotary cutting. I’m sure this decision was financially based, but it is not a good one.

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Fuse fabric to the foundation.  There are a few steps here so you need to be careful when fusing, because you are leaving the corners bare.  I have an inexpensive iron with a Teflon sole that I use just for fusibles.  If it gets gunky I can wipe if off with a damp paper towel when the iron is cool.

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And then sew along the lines!  How simple is that?

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Finally there is some trimming to do.  I got a little sassy here and paid for it later.  Cut on the lines.  Do not, I repeat, do not trim with the block right side up.  No matter how careful you are, it will haunt you like a like a ghost in October.

Then sew your blocks together and Voila…..another quilt top is done.  It is time to celebrate.  Well, almost time at least.

There were problems where the stars come together.  You have 8 points meeting, plus the added fusible so basically double the fabric; kind of.  I had a difficult time getting the points to lay flat. I swirled, I hammered, I cussed, and then finally I let it go, like a helium balloon.  Originally I was going to put this on the frame, but after I saw it put together I didn’t want to distract from the piecing. Then there was the bulky seam challenge. Finally there was the gorgeous fabric I found for the backing.  I decided to quilt it in the ditch with monofilament thread.

The quilt itself is a little stiff and will probably soften up when washed.  The yellow fabric was way too light for this method.  I know you can’t see it in the picture, but it is very see thru and in some areas I can see the lines of the fusible. All in all, I can’t say I would do it again or any fusible for that matter.  Yes, it is easy and yes, it looks nice. And yes, if I had never done it, I would try it. And finally yes it is a good method for those who do not have the experience or desire to piece the old fashion way.  And by old fashion, I mean with a good machine and a quarter inch foot.

 

I did however come up with a way to make the Hunter’s Star block in my head and if I ever really sit down and do it, I will share.