Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Project Week

The week has been a rather uneventful one, which I can't decide is a blessing or a curse.  I sat up Saturday night and watched all three of "The Mummy" movies and basted my monstrous heron quilt.  Wow were my fingers sore... I may have over basted (can you do that?).  I used every pin I had (approx 550-600).  I then brought the whole based unwieldy mess to the quilt shop because I forgot to pick out thread for the damn thing... It was kind of funny walking in buried under a mound of fabric stating my need for thread, I could see the crazy reflected in their eyes... my sleeveless skull shirt was perhaps a poor wardrobe choice, but honestly I haven't gotten to laundry for a while.  Once they figured out I didn't have a rocket launcher folded into the quilt I was carrying, we were friends, and hunting for thread together.  I found almost everything I was looking for and headed out to complete other errands (like getting laundry soap).  Now the 'heron from hell' quilt I have hanging on my banister is using it proverbial eyes to dare me to try and quilt it... I'm scared.

I have conveniently switched my attention to some other projects for a while.  I'm not big on UFO's in so far as I don't really have any.  I have one quilt that is waiting to be basted, but otherwise I have no UFO's.  So I know that it will take me a couple days (or a week) to get my courage up again and I'm sure I will get back to the heron.  A friend of mine from Dawson Creek gave me some fabric a couple months ago and I have been uncertain what to do with it for the past while, but with a heron haunting my dreams I decided to give tote bags a try.  I made one for each of my daughters and boy was it fun.  I think I will make a couple more for some gifts for later in the year.

The town I live in has about 5000 people, and boasts the smallest town in Canada with a Wal-Mart.  Well, due to the small population, I'm sure that everyone in town knows that I'm painting my house all the colours of the rainbow... mostly because I have been appropriating paint chips... lots of them.  Now I can't remember where I got the idea but it is not my original idea, to use paint chips as a colour wheel.  Sounds like a good idea until you look like a thief.  Anyhow I have almost all the chips from a single line of paint, and one day soon I will put them together in a way that makes some sort of sense.

And the last thing I'm working on is coming up with an idea for these fabrics, I'm not really into buying any more fabric.  So it's being a bit of a challenge.  Well that was my week.  I'm linking up to The Needle And  Thread Network. http://needleandthreadnetwork.blogspot.ca/2012/08/wip-wednesday-54-tn.html

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

The Everest of Quilts (a personal tale)

I have completely finished the top of my Heron quilt (aka: The Big One).  If you haven't read about this specific headache of mine before now I will catch you up to speed; I promised a quilt to my mother which I had no idea how to start, never mind complete.  My last post was two weeks ago, at which time I made a phone call to my mother which went basically like this:

Me: "So do you care about the quilt being square?"
Mom: "Well..."
Me: "Do you want a proper size quilt or a square one!?!"
Mom: "I think I should say... proper size?"
Me: "Good." (insert crazy voice) "Cuz you know it's visually square." 

I had a wicked jog in the background which was causing me no end of frustration, and it seemed the more I "squared" the quilt, the weirder everything got.  I ended up just taking the bloody thing apart and fixing the jog (it really wasn't as hard as I'm portraying, but I have no friends here yet so I have to make my own drama).  Then I told my husband that unless he helped me make my quilt properly square he wasn't going to benefit from my services... of making dinner.  So anyhow, now I have a perfectly square background to work with.  Once you go square you won't ever go back... to... not square.  O.K, lame joke, but you know what I mean.  I'm not sure how other people would square their project like this but obviously I used painter's tape and a husband to do it.  So it was time to start the applique and, quite honestly, I was ready for something I knew I could do.  With both my husband and my father vying for the credit of coming up with the silhouette idea, I've decided just to take all the credit and say that the idea was brewing in my mind from the first. 

I did the applique using freezer paper cut-outs and turning the edges under (turn applique?).  It's stitched down using clear thread and a blanket type stitch.  The wind kinda blew the quilt a bit during the photo, and I couldn't push my husband any further into helping me, because taking a picture is soooo much work... I'll leave it at that, he's a pretty good sport. So you can imagine my elation of having the hard part over, or at least it seems that way when you finish the top... kind of like having a baby, it's so beauitful and wonderful.  Then it starts to cry, and you realize the work as just begun (I wonder if this quilt is enough for my mom?).  I have no idea how I'm going to quilt this, yet.  But before I get into that I need a border, or three.  My foray into the quilt shop left me reeling with consumer's remorse and abject terror that I was going to ruin my hard work with a terrible border choice.  At the same time, I ALWAYS feel this way so I just bit the bullet and tackled the borders.

96" x 84"

I'm pretty happy with the results of the quilt top.  I have my backing and batting ready to go so I can baste this behemoth whenever my courage returns.  Plus, I think I'm going to need some time to really think over what kind of designs I should quilt this thing in.  I need to keep in mind that the quilt is meant for a bed and so the quilting cannot be too dense, which is a shame because I would love to just quilt the hell out of this thing.    On a side note, I finished this little quilt for a friend's new little boy.  I'm also linking up to The Needle and Thread Network. http://needleandthreadnetwork.blogspot.ca/

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Background Complete

So I have been working like a maniac trying to make some progress on 'The Big One' , which is a project I committed myself to with no understanding as to how complicated such an undertaking could possibly be.  But with extensive research, Suzanne type help, and trial and error.  I am proud to say that the hardest part is complete.  I present the 'as good as it gets' background. So the background measures approximately 54x64 inches and has a little jog in the thing, but lies what I like to call 'visually square', hahaha.  As previously mentioned in a passed post my camera isn't the best and it's hard to see the vast array of unlikely patterns that make up this thing.  I would like to verify that all clashes or mind boggling colour choices may be chalked up to my mothers unique style as this quilt is being specifically made for her.  I personally like posts that are photo rich, so here is a little photo diary of how I put this bloody thing together.
Cut our water pieces from freezer paper template

Ironed pieces from template onto selected fabric

Cut out around selected fabric, note to self; leave larger allowance around template pieces

Clip valleys of fabric for easy and smooth turn

I used a paintbrush to brush on some spray starch to help hold the turn
I used a comination of small applique iron and larger hot iron to iron seams over

Once all pieces were turned and pinned up to design wall, time to put them together! 
here are some of my pieces lined up on the fusible stabilizer stuff (I think the stuff you  would us in collars of shirts?), I found it at my local sewing shop.  It's only fusible on one side. 

Here is the water all fused together and ready to reveal the fabric.  I know there are other ways to do this so you can see what you are doing but I really enjoyed a little mystery. 

Sorry about the fuzzy photo, but here is the idea of stitching the pieces down, I used an invisible thread and a blanket type stitch. 

Go little Brother machine! This is the machine I use mostly. 

Ta Da! 
I have learned so much during this process, and if you want to make a background like this I recommend that you plan, plan, plan, and then scrap that plan and plan again (that's what I did and it worked out OK).  Anyhow I hope to have the applique heron ready to go in the next week, but I just may take a break instead and quilt a quilt for a couple of special little babies that I didn't get to hold because of my moving from British Columbia to Saskatchewan this summer :(.  I wish I could meet you Zoe and Trent.