Tuesday, July 17, 2012

The Working Curve

Works in progress mostly this week.  I started quilting my wonky squares quilt, with an excessively complicated butterfly design.  This was the first time I actually marked the entire surface of the quilt.  I'm not entirely happy with how it's turning out but I think it may have something to do with how messy the top looks with all the lines drawn on it.  Here is a photo of the finished quilt top before marking.  I explained how I made this quilt in my post last week.  Any how onwards and forwards.  I'm missing my guild like only a quilter can.  I have so many things I would like to bounce off them!  My husband is as nice as they come but still a poor substitute for the ladies.  Gwen (a woman from my guild in Dawson Creek) gave me some 5" squares a couple months ago saying she didn't really have a plan for them and if I would use them I was welcome to them.  I totally jumped on the opportunity like any good vulture and squirreled them away with thoughts of a disappearing nine-patch brewing in my flighty little mind.  Well I saw my opportunity and went for it.  The photos are not that good (my camera is one of those indestructible ones that mostly takes utilitarian photos, since I literally break everything).   But you get the idea here.

All of the squres that Gwen gave me were of a bright baltic nature. So I paired them with a straight black and, ta-da, instant coolness. I love how it looks a complete mess. The great thing about doing this type of disappearing nine-patch is that even if none of the seams really line up it doesn't really matter. I did however read in the last while that some quilters always iron their seams open. I decided to give this a try... Although I haven't quilted this yet I can tell that, bar the wrinkles in the photo, the quilt does lay flatter. Is this worth the pain of pressing the seams open, and watching that they don't fold EVERY TIME YOU SEW ANOTHER SEAM?!? I'm not too sure. If I may pose a question to anyone reading this: Do you iron your seams open? Why? Any suggestions for a quilting design?

I have also decided to start working on 'The Big One' (dun dun dun) again. Here is a link to the first post of this ridiculous, "eyes too big for my plate" project http://www.quiltingcurve.blogspot.ca/2012/05/big-one.html. Due to our moving across the damn country (well two provinces over), I had to restart drawing the background. I'm happy redoing this though because I feel that I have learned so much more about quilting in the last couple months that a restart was needed (not boding well for a couple months down the road is it?). Anyhow I approached the project with fresh eyes, and new bigger, better ideas! Oh crap I'm so in over my head... Anyhow the idea is to have a Heron standing in water surrounded by water grass and dragonflys, with the glorious sunset behind it. Not too original but a pretty picture no less. Step one: build background out of freezer paper.

So here I am in all my glorious 'I've been at home for three days' wardrobe. I had to tape the freezer paper together to get the size I need this darn thing to be. Yes, I realize this is industrial freezer paper, but my town hardly has 5,000 people and this stuff was hard enough to find. Anyhow, here is a close up so you can see how small and frustrating these pieces are going to be. Oh well, as Willy Wonka once said, 'Little surprises everywhere but nothing dangerous".

The next design hurdle I have to jump through would be the Heron. A bird of awesome grace and hilarious gawkiness, I'm going for grace...
After hours of forcing my control- impaired hands to draw, I came to this final design for the Heron... Yes, there is a body and legs but I like the head best.
Which finally brings me to the end of my current progress. I told my lovely husband as much when he arrived home from an excessively long day at his new job... He replied that he thought that the whole thing was going to be too busy and I should just put the heron, grass, and dragon flies in silhouette. Well, why didn't I think of that? Oh yeah, because Mom (for whom the quilt is for) wanted it to be in colour. I promptly called mom and told her my husband's smart-ass idea. She responded with a irritatingly open-mind saying "That might be nice". So anyhow, I haven't dropped the idea of having a full colour, detail-rich Heron, but I thought I would ask for your opinions on the matter? I will continue to build the background and post photos when it's done, but what do you think? Colour or Silhouette?

Linking up for the first time ever since I just figured out how to do this... I hope



  1. I think the heron in silhouette might be very effective as you will have lots going on in the background.

  2. that is a wonderful big project you are taking on - good luck with it! I love the idea of all the detail, but silhouettes are very cool, too! I'me not much help, am I???
    Oh and depending on what I'm working on and how bulky it is, i may or may not press my seams open!!! :)

  3. Sounds like you are keeping busy in your new home! No sewing groups there? Pressing seams!! A topic for all quilters! it really depends on the project for me. If there are alot of converging seams, I press open. But it sure is alot easier to press to the side!
    Aren't husbands wonderful. One simple comment and our plans are turned upside down! I'd keep the silhouette idea as a "back-up" plan!

  4. Well, you could just purchase one of the many heron quilt wall hanging patterns that are out there in the quilt market and use it as your guide. Enlarge it, change it to suit yourself, but at least it's done for you.
    It's a large undertaking and welcome to the world of quilting.

  5. Wow, you are fully engaged on a number of things. Good for you. Things often unfold as you work on them so I imagine good ideas will be happening as you progress.

  6. I can't wait to see the progress on this quilt , it sounds wonderful and I love Herons.

  7. Pressing seams is a question often asked by quilter, and yes, pressing open does mean that the quilt lays flatter and converging seams don't have such a big "bump". But the reason for pressing seams to the side is not only is it easier but it is stronger over all on the quilt. The folded seam allowance adds strength to the seams AND it also prevents 'bearding' which is when the batting comes through the quilt in wispy bits as the quilt ages and as it is washed. I say press to the side for quilts that will be used, press open if the quilt will be stored in a closet or hung on a wall. I have only been making quilts for 40 years or so

    I do like your black and batiks disappearing nine patch. I am thinking of doing one soon and may just follow your lead and add more of one contrast like that in the quilt.

  8. No help with your heron quilt from me, but I just love your disappearing nine-patch with black, and 95% of my seams are pressed to one side. I mostly appreciate that they are less likely to become undone with all the handling that way. I only press them open to reduce bulk in star points etc.

  9. I just want to see the Heron finished! I can't imagine all the work you are doing here.

  10. Wow, what an industrious person you are!! You clearly want to do the details of the heron. Why not unbusy the background somewhat. Love the d9p quilt. I iron seams to one side. You don't want the batting to be peeking out if your tension is loose or something, but if there's going to be a lump, you do what must be done to make it less. Do you like your new place?

    1. I like my new home I'm just working our the social details... like making friends :D

  11. Your quilts are great!! I would suggest something kind of “organic” (such a trendy word I know but what can I say) for the quilting on your disappearing nine patch. Maybe big, overlapping leaves with some meandering or echo quilting in-between? Or, circles that ripple like pond water? And how about a monochromatic color scheme for the heron-ie, all shades of blue? You have a nice selection of middle blues, so all you would need are some lights and darks. You could also draw the heron on fabric, fuse or applique it on a background pieced in color. (I have to admit, I would be prone to fusing the whole project.) I am sure you will have a great time creating and the projects will turn out wonderful!

  12. I love the picture of the Heron! It's a really cool drawing. I press to the sides too, for all of the same reasons as already mentioned. The only time I press open is when I have joined pieces to make the binding. But having said that, I also reduce the stitch length considerably so that no bearding happens and to increase its strength at that seam.

  13. I press to the side for some things and open for others. I just did a drunkard's path top and decided to try pressing the 1/4 circles to the side and everything else open. We'll see what happens after the quilting is done.

    On another note, my family lives an 1 1/2 from you (they all moved out of Ontario and left me here). My Mom is big into quilting, I'll see if she knows of a quilting group close to you.