Saturday, March 31, 2012

Playing With Background Fills

I finally quilted some of my doodles onto fabric.  Thank you Ann Fahl for your inspirational tutorial hosted by SewCalGal.  I decided to divide up the space on the fabric with small channels and create designs within the spaces.  Often, background designs need to fit around and within other elements.  This helped me to practice quilting various designs with a little backtracking within a defined space.

Some March doodles.

Thread doodles.
I used King Tut thread, 40 weight, 3 ply, with 50 weight Coats and Clark in the bobbin.  I used the 90/14 topstitch needle that was recommended on the King Tut label.  I'm seeing just how important it is to have samples like this to test tension and threads on a regular basis and as a reminder of designs.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

March Doodles

I borrowed Ann Fahl's book from the local Quilt Guild.  She includes very detailed information about thread sketching as well as thread quilting.  I'm looking forward to playing with some of her techniques.

Throughout March, I've been practicing a variety of doodles that would work for background fills.  Soon, I will combine some of the information from the book and information from Ann Fahl's tutorial on SewCalGal's blog to create a sampler.

Now, on to a few more doodles.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Wavy Feathers

What do people quilt on top of applique blocks?  Deciding what design to quilt was difficult since these applique pieces are quite large.  I didn't think edge stitching alone would look right with this size, so I finally decided to go with heavy quilting within the applique itself.

The center, below, is a simple continuous line motif.  It's a little wobbly, but that's okay. 

Here's a shot of the back.

I think I might need to name this quilt "the tortoise" since it's taking so long to finish.  Oh well, slow and steady.

This Weekend Went By Too Fast

I'm really feeling the loss of that hour with Daylight Savings.  It's been a full weekend though, with presentations hosted by Inspired to Quilt.  One of the presentations was by Frieda Anderson, whose work I really admire.  I have one of her patterns so I spent a little time hunting through fabrics for just the right colours.

Some of these might work, but I may need to go on a little shopping trip.

This is the PDF pattern that arrived by email.  It's pages and pages, with nicely detailed instructions.  I'm really looking forward to playing with this.  There are several patterns of Frieda's that I like.  She also sells kits with fabric that she has hand dyed.  Some of her PDF patterns are on sale right now for as low as $5.00.  I'm just so impressed by how accessible the internet has made the quilting world.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

A Little More Free Motion Quilting

These sample blocks are providing lots of opportunities to try different stitches.  Here are a couple photos of two of the blocks that are finished.

This block is framed by the same feather design that I have used throughout and free-motion stitched in the ditch.  I usually use a walking foot to do straight stitches but decided that I needed to get comfortable moving side to side and diagonally when ditch quilting.  Moving diagonally was especially difficult. 

Here's a back view of the SID work as well as the back of the cornerstone block next to the pineapple block.

This bow tie block is also framed by the feathers.  I quilted the small feather motifs in the background and stitched in the ditch to move from background space to background space.

The bow ties needed something too, so I made loops within each.

I like how the back of this block looks.

It's becoming much less stressful to do free motion work and I'm finding I'm not fighting the bulk of the quilt like I did in the past.  I'm learning to bunch it up around the needle much more. 

Two more blocks to tackle, then the outside border.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

A Good Fit

I've wanted a sewing table for some time now.  I thought I would be able to cut a hole in an existing fiber board table, but it just wasn't quite the right shape.  The hinge and the supports made it impossible to adapt to my needs, so I relented and purchased this small Horn Cabinet.

It's the smallest one they make, but it fits perfectly in this corner of what is now the piano/office/storage/sewing room.  I like that my quilts can be contained on the table by two walls.

I'm still using my sewing machine extension table , but have ordered an insert that will fit around the sewing machine when it is lowered to create a flat sewing surface.  No more excuses.  Time to tackle the UFO pile.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

A Finish

Late last night, I completed the last stitch on this little whole-cloth quilt.  I really enjoyed working on this.  It's the right size for thorough and sustained practice but not too overwhelming.  Thank you to Diane Gaudynski for her tutorial on how to create feathers with an echo and for her images of an echoed background.  Thank you as well to SewCalGal for hosting the challenges.  I look forward to the March challenge.

When I had created the spine, my echoing was a little uneven, but once I added the feathers, it became impossible to see where the spine narrows and widens.  I still find echoing the outside of the feathers very challenging, but I'm determined to continue practicing.  Now, on the the March challenge with Ann Fahl.