Saturday, June 17, 2017

Palm trees on the island

While pondering the next steps on Scott's king-size Hawaiian quilt, I decided the nearest island needed some trees at the base of it. I found some fabric in my stash and used the back for the farthest row and the front for the nearest. They look like the trees on some of the actual islands (better than this photo), but most of them have at least a few palm trees. I do not have an embroidery machine, however my Bernina 1630 has a few simple motifs and it suddenly came to mind that one of them is a palm tree! 




I did a practice run, finally remembering to put on the correct foot (#40). Otherwise the tree was lop-sided. This sample is a close close-up as the tree is less than 2" high. I'm using Invisafil so the stitches almost disappear rather than showing up as they do in this picture. I also fiddled around until finding a nice zig-zag that looks better than this photo.

Then I used a permanent marker to fill in the leaves. I'm not sure about thread painting or more painting, but right now, it looks just fine from a few feet back. Here's hoping I don't fall off this learning curve (or ruin the quilt)!


Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Halo and Hawaii

Since the last post, more of those flying geese in quarter circles are finished (but lots of them are not!) Here is what is done so far. They are just pinned on the design wall -- and will have a border between them and the star border. The main fabric is not as yellow as it looks here.



Also progress on Scott's king size. He wanted Hawaii, but I'm taking liberties for both the design and the colors. That aqua blue along with dark green foliage looks too much like a painting on velvet -- as in 'garish' -- even though it looks terrific on Maui. Anyway, these are the background 'islands' with aerial perspective. The white strip will be much narrower, just a contrasting highlight on the water way back there. I've pinned this to the full size pattern that is pinned to a big quilt hanging on my hallway wall. Even this bit was a bit unwieldy, but with practice, it should get easier to manipulate the pieces?


The photo is a bit dark, but you get the idea. Next is the water and sand, then the sky, then the foliage...

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Scott's King-size

Our son Scott is still living under the delusion that his mother can do whatever he asks. His request for a quilt to go on his king-size bed falls into that category. He wants a Hawaiian beach scene, with palm trees. 

For a long time, this was way too threatening to even think about. Then last fall, when we were in Texas visiting our daughter and her hubby, she was working and the house was clean. I hauled out some drawing material and drew several sketches. One seemed to work best. When we got home, I put the drawing into CorelDraw, saved it as a .pdf and took it to Staples. They have a 36" printer so produced for me a full-size pattern. The pattern is too big to work with this part, so I printed it out letter size. You might have to double-click on these to see them better ...




I stuck it up on the wall and shuddered every time I walked by it. But finally decided this will not get made with shuddering. So I opened CD and did a value picture, filling each of the elements in the quilt with an approximate value, only in black, white, and grays. 



And after another few weeks of shuddering, decided to do the same with color. I'd been collecting fabric, but some of it was too gaudy, or the wrong colors. The scrap bins helped. I didn't put all the palm leaves on the bigger trees, but enough to get a feel for what it would look like. Those leaves, because they are against a light sky, needed to be lighter than the other foliage, otherwise the contrast was too much. 

Also, those areas will be a lot bigger so will be pieced for interest sake. Note that the foliage will hang down the sides of the bed, and the beach will be on the top, with some leaves too. I'll be adding more detail, like birds, butterflies, shells, etc. 

Here is what I now have to translate into the enormous size. I told him I wasn't sure I had enough muscles to wrestle with this, but he didn't seem to understand what I was talking about! LOL.


Seriously, I'll need some prayer for this project!

Wednesday, May 24, 2017


While in Italy, I used a small notebook without any capacity to download photos from my camera. Since I took so many, it will take awhile to get them sorted. In the meantime, just wanted to let you know some interesting things we experienced in Tuscany, besides high-priced fabric (see previous post).

- The trees are magnificent. They have more varieties of plant life than any other country. 
- We saw NO dandelions. Their 'weed' is red poppies. Google it. Those red fields are in Tuscany. The poppies grow in fields, roadsides, along train tracks, beautiful!
- Hardly any women wear glasses. Contacts? or good eyes? Don't know.
- Friends warned me about Italian men, now I know why. Hubby and I laughed and laughed. It does not matter how old you are or how old they are - they are charming hopeless flirts. I learned to avoid eye-contact!
- We saw less than ten obese people the whole trip.
- Food is wonderful. Satisfying without putting on pounds. I worried about salt, but Tuscany does not use much, none in their bread at all. I just bought two cookbooks for cooking Eataly!
- Trains are the way to travel. We did have a car for a week, which enabled us to see the rural areas, but parking is expensive and almost impossible to find... only when we prayed!
- The mountains have roads winding from one range to another, but the express routes go right through them. Some tunnels were 2000+ meters. Hundreds of them. All roads are paved and nearly all in great condition.
- We got to wade in the Mediterranean for the first time. 
- Prato is the textile city with a textile museum. Pictures to follow. 


Of course I've no quilting progress to report except one more 5.5" block for the Halo Medallion.

Friday, May 12, 2017

Fabric shopping? I don't think so!



We are enjoying a short vacation in Tuscany. While in Florence, it seemed a good idea to look up fabric shops. In this wonderful city, we found a few that were close by so stopped in...

Image result for casa dei tessuti firenze


You can tell by this picture that this is a posh store. I found the cottons - the lowest price was 38 Euros per meter, or about $60. Nope, not buying that, and it was very light weight, almost sheer.

We moved on. A clerk was sorting small bolts on a table. One was fine mesh like organza with colorful embroidery, very beautiful. He didn't want me to touch it... it was 600 Euros a meter (yes, you read that correctly). We looked around the store. Shirting was about €80 (one zero) but we found some lacy stuff that was €800, which is roughly $1200 a meter, more than that if measured in yards.

Obviously, finding quilters in Tuscany might be a problem... but there is scads of inspiration, not so much in the fabric store but in the centuries old buildings and their ornamentation. I am taking pictures!



Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Progress on Halo Medallion

The little (5") star blocks are done, now I'm working on the flying geese curved ones, which take longer (nearly 50 min each) but are more fun. They are also foundation paper-pieced... and the pattern calls for 36 of them. So far, I have 3.

You may note that I erred on the saw-tooth border, but since I've decided to put an almost invisible heart on my quilts, this one will have four of them to hide those mistakes.



As for other projects, I have the pattern for my son's king-size up on a wall. It is a landscape. The fabrics are in a box. That is progress. I'm still procrastinating because this one will be physically hard, never mind trying to figure out how to do it. Has anyone ever made a raw-edge applique that has to be washed now and then? I'm thinking that is not a good idea, even though it would be easier than piecing this big one. 


Thursday, April 20, 2017

Keeping Busy

I've been working on the Halo Medallion, and also taking a Craftsy class to force me to practice. The medallion quilt is here, and I'm on the round of floating stars. They are 4" with 18 pieces in each one. Cute, but 32 of them is hard on someone who is not crazy about repetition! Indoor lighting for this one. The background is much lighter in real life.



 The Craftsy online class is about mixing motifs to make an interesting all-over pattern. I threw some junk fabric on the longarm which is why this is hard to see. So if you cannot see it -- take my word for it -- I need a lot of practice!