Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Playing & Learning

It's been a whirlwind of quilty activity. It seems that I'm not just hooked on all things quilty, I'm addicted and I love it.  Since my e-learning career seems to be at a standstill (and maybe I need a holiday), I've decided to spend that extra energy on quilting. Wow, I didn't realise how much energy I had!

I have spent the last couple of weeks doing something related to quilting every day. Thanks to Craftsy, I've been practicing free motion quilting on my new-to-me Jag. After seven days in a row, I can safely say that it's all about practice. So far Leah Day has taught me to free motion stipples and paisleys. I made a whole bunch of small practice sandwiches using a huge bag of fabric that I bought for $10. It has all kinds of miss-dyed fabrics. I practiced those curvy “U”s, up, down and sideways. My stippling is coming along nicely.

Next came the paisleys. Leah makes it look so easy as she zips through them, while talking to us! I was having a lot of problems making teardrop shapes, let alone shadowing them and "travelling" across previously quilted lines. Finally one day at lunch time, I spent 20 minutes drawing teardrops and paisleys and my hands got it! My paisleys are not great but they are looking more like paisleys every day.

Then, because practicing free motion quilting isn't really "creating" anything, one evening I decided to challenge myself. I used my bag of scraps to make a landscape. I only dipped into my stash for a piece of stripy orange fabric that was perfect for the setting sun.

First version
Latest version
Once I had cut out and attached the pieces, of course I had to consult my other Craftsy course - Stupendous Stitching: Adventures in Surface Design with Carol Ann Waugh. That should be easy enough except that Carol Ann suggests that we create a stitch bible (I prefer stitch dictionary). Since I’m playing on a new machine, that made too much sense to bypass. I’m now on page 5 of the stitch dictionary. My machine has over 200 stitches and after 5 pages I’m at stitch 38. I did the math – that’s another 27 pages! I’m sure I’ll get it done....in the next few months!

Luckily the appliqué stitch on my machine is in the twenties – so I practiced that stitch on the outline of the trees and the grass. I then added some straight stitches on the trees. I also found another stitch that looks like waves, so they got added to the water. They don’t show up much but now I know how to make them.
Details of the tree trunks
Waves sewn in the water

Last night I spent the evening looking at my Quilting Arts magazines. I've always loved the various quilts but didn't have a clue about going about making them. It was amazing going through these magazines and noticing (and understanding) the types of free motion quilting. It’s like going through life without noticing the colour red – and suddenly seeing it!

I’ll never look at quilts in the same way. That’s what learning is all about!

Thursday, August 08, 2013

Procrastination Over - Quilt on its Way to Denmark

I made it - barely. My brother and his family stayed at our home for a few days before moving to Denmark. We had a lovely visit but I did spend a lot of my time in my quilt studio (bedroom!) quilting.

I should have completed the quilt when they were packing up their belongings to be shipped by container. I can blame procrastination (since that could be my middle name!) but this quilt had a lot of "teachable moments".
Back of the quilt
Back of the quilt

I wanted to make a nice backing for the quilt so I watched the free Craftsy course, Creative Quilt Backs with Elizabeth Hartman. I really like the back that I created, but that did take a few extra days.

In the meantime, I got my new sewing machine, so of course I had to try it out (and continued to procrastinate).

After having coffee with a quilting friend, I realized that I needed to re-base the quilt. It turns out that yes, it does take quite a few tries before getting the quilt flat!

Since I also bought the Craftsy course, Quilting Big Projects on a Small Machine with Ann Petersen, I watched the sections that were relevant to this project. It was very informative and I used several of her suggestions.

Then, when I did a small sample on my new sewing machine (my Jag), I discovered that it insists on very good thread for quilting! Since I have a very small selection of Superior Thread, I had to go to my local quilt shop for the correct colours.

So, I started quilting on Saturday afternoon and finished Monday evening. The quilting pattern in each block, my son's wonderful suggestion, is one square inside another. I attached the binding Monday evening and finished hand sewing it Tuesday afternoon. Not much extra time since they left on Wednesday!
Stitch it: Quilts

The pattern, Scrap Happy, is from Stitch it: Quilts, 16 quilted projects to make for your home by Inspirations books.