Thursday, September 22, 2016

Finally over the procrastination and planning

My favourite quilting retreat space
Life is good! I spent the first evening of my quilting retreat, starting this post while sipping a gin and tonic, and enjoying the rewards of a day spent working on my Art with Fabric piece.

In last week's post, I was procrastinating by planning my project. Although it was procrastination, it was well worth it. I was able to figure out roughly how to tackle this project.
Art with Fabric blog hop

I received all of the fabrics that I ordered. Look at these beautiful colours! If you want to enhance your stash, try making a multi-coloured stained glass window! I got the Kona cottons from Mad About Patchwork and some lovely Whisper Whites - Ultra Whites from Flare Fabrics. After washing everything, I had no excuses left!

This fabric rainbow makes me happy :-)

It was time to start. I brought my supplies downstairs to the kitchen table and made my calculations for the project based on my submission to the Colour Unboxed fibre art exhibition. The final size will be 30" by 40" (ish). Bigger than my usual art quilts but small enough to be manageable on my machine. Anything bigger and I'll need a large studio!

Supplies for drafting the window

I started drafting the stained glass window on freezer paper; the circular part at the top of the window and then the next four rows of colour. It took me a few hours but since I had practiced drawing and colouring it, this part went fairly quickly.

The first two rows drafter onto freezer paper

Once finished, I hung the draft in front of our French windows to photograph. I sent the entire plan to my girlfriend who is a stained glass artist. I'm happy to say that there was only one minor adjustment to make. Of course, I'm adjusting as I'm making the quilt, but at least I know that I'm following proper stained glass principles.

Draft of the stained glass window pattern on freezer paper
If you're not familiar with the properties of freezer paper, let me enlighten you! I imagine it must be good in the freezer, but it's amazing for quilting. You draw on the flat side, cut out the image from the freezer paper and the iron the shiny side to your fabric. This project would be much more difficult without freezer paper!

I started by numbering all of the pieces in the first section and then cutting them. Before ironing the pieces to the fabric, I take a picture so that I can put the puzzle back together again.

The pieces are cut and will eventually be ironed to the fabrics

The pieces are put back in order 
I completed the top circular part of the window before leaving for the retreat. Since I want the background to represent the sandstone wall, I added the brown behind the circular piece before placing the stained glass pieces. The sides will be easy to add because they're straight, but I really didn't want to add the circular part afterwards. It's important to keep the potential complications to a minimum!

Choosing, cutting and placing the fabrics
I continued the process with the second row, learning as I went along (you can read about this below). At the retreat, I have a small table where I cut and piece my fabrics. You can see my IPod in the background. That were I check to make sure that I'm putting the puzzle back together properly.

I work in sections. Now all the pieces have been cut and are ready to be placed.

When I finished sections 1 and 2, I took out the ruler to make sure that I'm still on track. Yikes - it looks like I have some minor adjustments to make at the bottom of row 2. It's OK if the pieces are too long since they can be clipped or covered, but too short is not an option.

Rows 1 and 2 
Since I'm making this up as I go along, I just kept at it. Now my stained glass has two new pieces.

What I learned:

  • I was thrilled when I stopped procrastinating and finally started the project. Why, oh why do I keep doing this?
  • The quilting retreat was a last minute thing. The Universe provided when I needed it! Thank you. I am very grateful :-)
  • For the first circular row I just placed and sewed the fabric directly on my background. I found it slightly hard to manage.
  • For the beginning of the second row, I put a little bit of Heat and Bond Light at the back of my fabric. That helped but I needed more of it.
  • By the end of the second row, I was on a roll. I still don't cover my entire piece with Heat and Bond Light but I put more on and this definitely helps.
  • At about the middle of the second row, I realized that my pieces were getting bigger because I was adding an eight to a quarter of an inch but not butting the pieces together. Good thing I figured that out before I ironed them all down.
  • It's tricky putting these together because you don't want to have spaces between the pieces but you don't want too much overlap. I'm now cutting the left side on the pattern line but adding the extra fabric to the right side so that the next piece will overlap. I just have to adjust this occasionally because the pieces are all different shapes.
  • I'm finding it hard not to make the pieces all perfect and attacking the fraying threads. I need to remind myself often that I will be covering the seams with something to represent the lead cane. Since I still have a lot of work to do on this quilt, the fraying will get just leave it!!!

I have to get back to the third row now. I hope to post something in the next few days on my progress.

Check out what everyone is doing through these linky parties: Let's Bee Social, Midweek Makers, Needle and Thread Thursday, MOP Monday, Off the Wall Friday, Can I get a Whoop Whoop? Main Crush Monday, Linky Tuesday, Fabric Tuesday,


  1. Congrats on a great start! Would putting the puzzle back together help if you made tick marks across the cutting lines? Looking forward to a great finish - thanks for linking up at Midweek Makers

  2. Thanks Susan. I haven't stopped since I finally started! That's a good idea but I end up having to put the puzzle back together about three times - to trim, to add fusible stuff to the back and the final time before fusing. There must be an easier way but it worked and that part is done. Thanks,


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