Wednesday, September 18, 2013


33" x 35"
Hand Dyed and Commercial Cottons
Fused and Machine Quilted

For most of the quilting, I used black thread.  But for the center where the arcs didn't intersect, I decided  to see how white thread would look.
I like how it kinda disappears.

This is a new way of quilting for me.  I really enjoyed both the process and the result.  I will be doing more of this in the future.

Wednesday, April 04, 2012

Blogging from my Phone

I seem to have a lot of down time at work, so I thought I'd try a little experiment.

Now I just need to figure out how to get my words where I want them in relation to the pictures.

But as you can see, I have begun the quilting. The going is slow as I really need to concentrate while I'm doing free motion, and that can't happen when there are people in my world.

But I'm pleased so far.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Top Finished

After having a run-around morning, I had several hours all afternoon to work on the quilt.
I finished to branches on the right side of the tree and then had the daunting task of cutting the pattern for the "crown" or top of the tree.

I wont lie to you; it took me about 45 minutes to cut this out, and I wasn't even done then!  I still had plenty of little fiddly bits to go in and remove.  But it wasn't an unpleasant thing to do.  I was listening to NPR podcasts and just working away.  

And then, suddenly, as if by magic, I had the fabric piece cut out and the tree was finished.

Just kidding.  That took a long time, too.  

Then I ran into a problem.

Without thinking about the consequences, I fused every branch all the way down to the pattern.  I could have just fused the branch to the trunk, but I just had to see how close I was to the original drawing.  And then, when it came time to transfer the fabric to the quilt, it frayed as I was pulling it up from the backing paper.  I had to go REAL SLOW, and then I had to trim some of the frayed bits away.  Live and learn.

But all is well that ends well.  And now I just have to put a back on it and quilt it.  
I had a fuzzy intention of making a quilt every month, but now I have two quilt tops that are unfinished and I think I will readjust my goal and try to finish both by the end of this month.

My cousin Celeste asked a question in yesterday's post:

What kind of fabric are you using for the sun rays that makes it appear transparent? I love that effect.

I am using all hand-dyed fabrics by Melody Johnson, of course.  These are getting to be in short supply, so I will be making my own very soon.  But it's merely a matter of using lighter values that gives the look of transparency.  

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Playing Catch Up

I had a small illness last month that caused me to have a break in continuity in my blogging.  And then it felt like I was playing catch up for so long!  But I'm well and have made some progress that I can't wait to show you!

I have finally finished filling in the background.  I think it was not too difficult, but would have been easier if I was working larger than 18x24"  Also, since I had to wait for the correct fabric colors until I could see my sister, I started filling in the background in a sort of random way.  It would have been better to start with the sun (or the middle) and worked my way out from there.  
But whatever, I am very pleased with the result.  The colors make me very happy, although they are a bit brighter in this picture than in real life.  

This is just a reminder of my inspiration photo.  

And so, now to fill in that fiddly tree.

For this part, I am actually building right onto my drawing.  I don't think it will matter if the marker lines transfer to this fabric as it is so dark.  

I have been doing a branch a day, roughly.  It's no so bad, cutting out these curlicues, as I thought it would be.  I'm at that point, seems like it happens at lease once during the construction process, where I have to ignore that little voice of discouragement and keep plodding on.  We've all been there.  I've been there before and I know it will happen again.  Useless little voice.  Why don't you go play somewhere else?

Sunday, February 19, 2012

WIP Update

I have been very diligent all week, getting up an hour early to work on this quilt every day.  As you can see, I have almost completely filled in the swirly clouds.  I had to wait a bit for my sister to make a visit to town and bring me some more lovely pastels, which have been added and are exactly what I needed.  But I was thinking the finishing of the top would take place this weekend.

And here it is, Sunday night, and I haven't been in the studio all weekend!  I guess my goal is not going to  be reached, what with Downton Abbey coming up in a couple hours and I still have some laundry to do.
But probably this week will see me completing at least the sky, if not the whole top.

Not being a big pastel loving person, I sure am pleased with the colors in this quilt.  I guess there is a time and a place for every color, right?

I'm also thinking this quilt would be excellent made large.  Right now it's about 18x24."  Manageable, but not too dramatic.  I just may be making this again.

This is a partial explanation why nothing got done this weekend.  My daughter's school put on this production, only 1 in 4 schools in the nation chosen by Disney to perform it.  And she was in the musical, of course.  So we have been to see it every night.  It was wonderful, the cast and everyone did a great job, but I will be glad for my daughter to get her life back.  It was a ton of work!  But worth every minute.

Here's a bird picture:
Chloe blending into the background, almost.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

A Correction: How I Should Work

After my previous post was viewed by my sister, she reminded me that there was a better way to work and that I was doing it wrong.  What I mean is this:

Trace the pattern piece on the exact line it is drawn on the pattern.  Do not give any extra space for overlap.  Then fuse the pattern piece pencil line down onto the back of the fabric.  You can see I use just the point of my stick iron to accomplish this.  

Then you can cut the shape out with very sharp fabric scissors, giving extra fabric where you need to overlap.  I also am careful to not fuse the pattern paper to the edge of the fabric.

What you are trying to avoid is having to remove the fused backing paper from the edge of your fabric.  This can cause the fabric to fray as you will inevitably stretch the cut edge.  So even if I cut my fabric to the exact size and shape of the pattern piece, since I don't fuse to the edges, I don't have to worry about the fabric fraying.
I also avoid getting the wonder under on my iron, mostly.

Also, it is a good idea to check your pattern pieces against your work before you fuse the fabric to the back.  

Here is a WIP shot.  I am loving this quilt!

Sunday, February 12, 2012

How I work

Now that I have a pleasing composition with which to work, I begin by choosing the fabrics I want to use.

Usually, I am not very enamored with pastels.  But I believe I will need to use some to get this right.  I have very limited choices for colors in my own stash, but I happen to know somebody who loves pastels and probably has plenty.  Hint hint.  That pink color needs to be fused, but this is good because I use the release paper from the wonder under for the next step, and I need a big piece.

I cut a piece of the release paper a little larger than my original drawing.  I will be fusing my fabric to this piece.  I don't just fuse onto the drawing because the permanent marker will transfer to the back of the fabric if I do.  Learned that the hard way. 
Next, I trace the pattern pieces, using still more release paper, and then cut the pieces out.  This step requires making the decision of whether the particular piece you are cutting will go over or under the adjacent pieces.  In this case, I traced the pattern piece a little larger than the lines I drew because I intend it to go under the pieces around it.

Next I iron the pattern paper, with the pencil side down, onto the back of the pre-fused fabric.  If I ironed it pencil side up, the piece would be the mirror image of what I needed, so this step requires some mental gymnastics to remember to do it right.  
I have a pair of very sharp scissors to cut the pattern pieces from the fabric.  I'm sure I will rely on these scissors a lot when it comes time to cut out the tree pieces.
I always check to see that my borders fall where they should before I remove the backing paper and fuse the fabric down.  Sometimes things shift and if I remember to do this with the paper tracing before I cut the fabric, that's even better.  
And so, I'm off to building February's quilt.

But I want you to know that I had very little to do with this:

All I did was mention donuts in my post yesterday.  That's all it took.  My DH found a recipe for Bisquick donuts.  He made them in my electric skillet.  They are, by far, the best homemade donuts I've ever eaten.
Back to the gym tomorrow!