Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Madness in my methods

Sue asked how I am constructing these skinny landscapes. The ocean one from the book "Skinny Quilts & Table Runners" is sewn right to the batting. You cut all the strips first, get them organized the way you want, and press the edges... from the horizon down about halfway, you press the top of the strips under and stitch them close to the edge. About halfway down, you start working from the sand and press the bottom edge under and topstitch. One strip in the middle is pressed on both edges. It goes together very quickly once the decisions are made.

The fence is made with edges turned under and stitched down, and the wire and grass is just drawn on with thread. It needs more quilting lines in the sky, water and clouds, and some shells added, maybe some birds too.

I've also decided the water layers on the horizon are too dark so am putting tulle over it. I'm amazed at that... it modifies the color but is almost invisible. It is not on in this picture... next time you can see the difference.

I started the mountain one first, but after reading the directions for the ocean quilt. I don't like raw-edge applique or satin stitch. So I made a freezer paper pattern and cut each section from it, allowing 1/4" all around. Then I used my little iron (or my big one) and pressed under a seam allowance where it was needed. I left it unpressed wherever something else would overlap. Then I used matching thread and sewed close to the folded edge, again sewing the pieces right on to the batting. I started with the sky and the farthest away objects.

I know, this all sounds like a lot of work, but it gives me the look I want. I use a Bernina 1630 which makes thread-swapping very quick, and had my Babylock Quilter's Choice Professional threaded up too and in free-motion mode. Then whatever one had the best thread color already in it was the machine I used. If a change was needed, I used the Bernina.

I did stick the large tree in the mountain quilt on raw edge because the edges of a fir tree look better that way. I've been doing some thread "drawing" and will post a closeup when my mountains start looking like rocks.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Progress Report

Check my PhD page for at least one better picture of these skinny quilts, and progess on the ocean one... it now has a sand dune and fence. Lots of thread work and quilting yet needed.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Skinnies in progress

The mountain quilt is coming along. I moved the tree I'd planned for the left side to the right, and may put another smaller one on the left into that lighter patch where it will show better.

This other one is basically the quilt in that book "Skinny Quilts an
d Table Runners" but my version needs more sand... so I am putting a lighter sand dune at the bottom and some fence, sort of like the picture pinned at the bottom of this picture, only a bit larger. This one will also have some glimpses of gold lame on the edges of some of the 'waves' along with beads, etc. and lace for the foam at the waterline on the shore.

This one is quick (but I'm not - notice it still has
pins holding it together instead of thread) and anyone could make it. Five of us did this much on Monday evening, and a few actually sewed down the strips in the water. I talked too much, but it will be finished soon.

Sorry, the photos are small. I pulled them a bit bigger, but that made them blurry too. When they are finished, I'll post bigger, clearer pictures. Right now, I'm Scottish with the alloted space - grin!

Monday, March 23, 2009

Skinny mountains in progress

Snow most of yesterday kept me inside and at my sewing machine, so these skinny mountains got a few more layers.

The freezer paper pattern is pinned to the bottom so you cannot see the rest of the water. The bottom needs only a
few more background pieces, then I'll put on some trees and do thread-play to bring out the rocks, etc. in the landscape.

The sun is shining so maybe I will not have to shovel the driveway (it faces south). My DH is golfing in AZ but when I shoveled yesterday so I could get out to go to church, my neighbor came over and helped me. Cool!

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Another top done

This one is ready to put on the EQ-16. The sashing is one of the fabrics in the blocks, but the binding is not. This method (see previous post) uses up all the fat quarters, but one fabric was a bigger piece that looked good in the mix, so I had enough for the sashing. Unfortunately, it was about 4" short of having enough for binding, and rather than fiddle with piecing the binding, I found a darker piece that looks okay. It blends better in real life than in the upper left of this photo.

We had a lovely spring day yesterday, and today it is snowing. What is that? I put away my winter coat, so must have caused the whole thing! Since my DH is in Arizona golfing (how rude - smile), I have to clear the driveway myself. Sigh. Of course I'd rather be quilting — or loafing in the sun in Phoenix.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

FQ and landscape quilts

This week has been hectic, but I'm making progress on two quilts. The first one is an idea from the book, "Fast Quilts from Fat Quarters" by Barbara Chainey. I've adapted the blocks from the book, but this one is fun and easy to match points, etc. The finished quilt will have sashing, but the one in the book uses black... ugh. All I see is sashing in that one. So I may put a medium tone fabric such as what is between the two finished blocks on the top, just so these blocks get all the attention. Each finishes to 12" and I used 10 different fabrics.

This skinny quilt is an idea prompted by a book called "Skinny Quilts and Table Runners" (various contributors), but my own design from a sketch that I've been holding on to for years! I'm also making up the method as I go.

The blue pieces on the bottom are water. This will have reedy 'islands' and more trees, etc. to fill in the space nearest the POV. It will be quilted to make the rocks look rockier, and so on.

This one will finish to 12" x 48" and is an experiment for a larger one that will be more complicated.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Glad that my plants are clueless

Today our weather broke several records. It was -32° C when I got up this morning, with a wind. However, the sun shone brightly and warmed it up to -24° so who can complain? I spent the day helping someone get to the hospital, so didn't accomplish a thing except my dusting and taking these pictures.

The Amaryllis and the Christmas Cactus have NO CLUE what time of year it is or what the weather is doing - they are just doing their thing. The Amaryllis looks even a bit sassy in that top photo. It popped into bloom this morning and both of these plants are happy spots in and otherwise brutally cold day.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Snow, Stripes, and Skinny

The days fly by when you are having fun! Photos below are my "fun," at least one of them. The snowy picture is Friday morning. We expected a spring day and had 6" snow in three hours, starting with gigantic flakes about 3" apart so it was hard to see across the street. By the time I found my camera, it lightened up a bit. This is out the front window. Since then, winds have made huge mounds everywhere, and travel is exciting, to say the least.

The second one is from all the leftovers from the quilt I made for my brother and his wife, "A Garden Path." Someone suggested that I call this one "By His Stripes" from an Old Testament verse about Christ. Since it is only about 32" square, I decided to quilt a Rose of Sharon motif on it. Well, I've learned that formal quilting and I do not get along very well. It came out like my usual quilting, which I affectionately call scribble quilting. I like it, sort of sketchy. Anyway, the design covers the quilt.

Then I got the brain wave to try a Shiva paint stick on it. The photo looks better than the real thing (I think) and I did the middle only, since I don't know what I am doing. I wanted to highlight the entire Rose of Sharon, but am not sure that I like it. Since this will be an Easter table center... and I can always put a big pot of something on top of that center. Opinions and advice are welcome.

The third picture is my skinny mountains landscape. It shows the little sketch, the bigger one (in which the left tree needs to be re-proportioned) and some fabric choices. This was a week or so ago. I've since put those fabrics in place and have the water sewn down.

The design on the bottom part is pickier, but I'm having fun with this, making up my construction techniques as I go. So far, no fusibles. I don't like "lick and stick" so will see if I can assemble it without any. Not likely. Those marsh areas in the water are two picky - unless I applique them. Anyway, a photo will follow, but right now, I've too much else happening. I hope to be back in a day or two... but I am not totally off the radar. I am reading blogs every day!!