Over the past week I have diligently quilted “Full Sail” so I’d have something to talk to you about. Well, it’s almost done, but I want to be sure I’ve done all the quilting I think it needs before I face the edges.
I chose to stick close to my source photo for the quilting lines rather than go off piste clever. KISS and all that. By my count I used eight different threads ranging from off white to steel gray. Most were 50 weight, though one was a 12 weight. For most of the stitching I used the basic machine stitch, though I changed up to a denim stitch for some of the ropes. For the blue sections I threw in some light blue rayon thread for variety, and changed the line spacing a bit.
My big should I/shouldn’t I question is whether to add more quilting to the sail on the right side. Right now it’s the least quilted section, and I like the way the sail seems to billow. I think it’s a good contrast to the more tethered center sail. Maybe I just need to add more to the dark section. Feel free to comment.
Here’s more detail shots.
In earlier posts I forgot to mention that much of the fabric I used was hand dyed by Vicki Welsh. I want to give credit where it’s due.
Sometimes a project starts with one plan and ends up in a very different place. I’m there throughout the creation process, but the results really can be baffling. Case in point, my latest finish.
I take casual photos of scenes, objects, etc., that catch my eye. Occasionally, I decide to base a quilt on a photo. When I saw the setup below on the props table backstage at the theater I was intrigued. I had no idea why the lighting was red and blue, but I loved the hanging row of canteens.
I knew I couldn’t capture the reflections of light off the metal to my satisfaction, but I had hopes of the lighting and the twisted straps. I actually worked up a drawing.
A trawl through my fabric hoard made me realize that the original background color scheme would have to be changed. No problem, I had an intriguing yard of gradient I bought from Vicki Welsh that I wanted to use.
To go with the change in background color I chose various complementary solid color fabrics for the straps and an old (2012) piece of hand dyed fabric I thought looked like a plaid for the canteens. The other bits of fabric were various hand dyed or printed scraps.
I cut off the blackest edge of my background fabric and inserted it in horizontal strips along with another hand dye. I added the straps and bits of “paper” and then quilted all that before I sewed on the canteens. To prevent the background quilting from showing through I backed the canteens with flannel and quilted them individually before I sewed them to the main piece.
The result doesn’t look at all like what I had envisioned. I had hoped for a mysterious effect, but ended up with more of a mildewed canvas tent effect. So, I rolled with it and called it “Camp Memories,” in honor of those nasty childhood treks into the woods with canvas equipment that left my belongings smelling sour for a long time.
One irritating technical aspect of this project was how much some of the solid fabrics in the straps raveled. I used fused raw edge applique and finished the edges with a zigzag, but that didn’t stop the problem. I recall those fabrics were the Craftsy (now Bluprint) house brand, so maybe there was a reason they cost less than name brands. They’re fine for piecing, just not so much for raw edge work. I guess the rough edges contribute to the overall shabby effect. I’m linking to Off the Wall Fridays.
Over the past few years I’ve bought hand dyed fabrics from Vicki Welsh and have been very pleased with them. Recently Vicki did a week of giveaways, which included what she called large scraps. I had the good fortune to win that random giveaway.
I’m delighted with my windfall. My only quibble, which totally works in my favor, is that Vicki and I have very different concepts of large scraps. I received three different hand dyed fabrics that total at least 3 yards. My idea of a large scrap is a fat eighth.
No matter, here’s a glimpse at what I received.
Vicki has in no way solicited (or even hinted at) a plug from me, but I do want to let you all know of a good source for hand dyed fabrics – gradients, shibori, and lots of other special effects. You can get assorted packets or large pieces of fabric.
Here are a few of the pieces I’ve used Vicki’s fabric in.
I assure you it’s much easier to email Vicki than to break out my dye pots and make sure I have enough supplies.
I’m a poster child for the slow quilting movement when it comes to my Moonrise quilt.
It began with dyed scraps Vicki Welsh gave me. I purchased a black gradient from her, as well as a fat quarter pack of grays and put together the top rather quickly.
I made the moons with a drunkards path template I bought years ago. They’re appliqued on and lined with batting to prevent the seams from showing through.
Then the top languished in a closet as I tried to figure out how to quilt it. After I realized I would have to free motion quilt it for the look I wanted, I procrastinated further with a lengthy thread selection process.
I forced myself to sit down and do it, and spent some time ripping stitches out. My biggest hurdle was the metallic and holographic thread I wanted to use for the moons. Even though I used every trick I ever heard of for this type of thread, it still kept breaking and having tension problems.
I think I used about 8 different threads to try to capture the different grays of night clouds.
I deliberately chose a backing fabric that wouldn’t show my quilting errors.
After I finished the quilting I hung the piece over a railing and tried to figure out how to finish the edges. I considered fancy edge treatments that involved silver cording and ribbon, but I ended up going simple with a narrow binding of Grunge fabric. I couldn’t find a silvery gray cord that didn’t look like it was meant for holiday gift wrapping.
Let me know if you need any silver ribbon. I may have just the thing as I bought several possibilities at Joann Fabric.
My quilting bucket list has long included doing a quilt series. I’d occasionally consider some likely subjects for a series, but never settled on anything. Then, what I view as a series just happened.
Ever since I was lucky enough to win a stuffed envelope of Vicki Welsh’s muslin strips from her dyeing business I’ve been using them up. I made a baby quilt for my great niece Olivia with some bright paired rectangles and used black and gray strips in my Moon Rising top. (It awaits quilting.)
Casting about for an easy project (it’s my way of taking a breather from more detailed work) I remembered I had a bunch of leftover rectangles. I sewed some together with the idea of making a four patch design, and even tried a disappearing four patch, but found I needed more color contrast for that to work. The rectangles had too much white space to clearly delineate a pattern.
Somewhat dismayed that my easy project wasn’t so easy, I started grouping my patches by color affinity. And then the idea for a series began.
I realized that I had four palettes, each roughly corresponding to a season of the year. I sewed the four patches together in long, thin strips and bordered the strips with narrow coordinating borders. Then I added much wider borders to emphasize the appropriate season.
As you can see, there’s no fancy piecing going on. I wanted to feature the wonderful color variations in the fabrics. Each panel is about 20 by 30 inches. I plan to use an overall leaf quilting design and I may face, rather than bind, the edges.
I thought these could be used on a table in the corresponding season or hung individually or all together. At one point I tried to combine the panels into a single top, but decided each season needed its own space. To every season there is a time…
I just have to face it, I’m a new project junkie. I love the thrill the glimmer of a quilt idea brings, the pops of what-if ideas, and then the excited hunt through my fabric stash for possibilities. Sometimes I even do sketches.
Right now I’m in the throes of two color heavy designs. By that I mean they’re all about the color; the designs themselves are pretty simple.
“Moon Rise” has been nudging my mind since the night I saw a full moon slide in and out of clouds. At first I planned to incorporate bare tree branches and all sorts of tricky shading and overlays. After I slapped a yard of black gradient fabric up on the wall and pinned strips of mottled black hand dyes (thank you, Vicki Welsh) on top I decided that simple might be a better way to go. Then I saw this pattern by RaNae Merrill called Beyond Horizons and decided to try something similar.
Here’s what I have so far.
“Subtle Points” grew out of a personal challenge to use colors that are on my “do not call” list. Some hand dyes on old linens and silk and a half yard of McKenna Ryan fabric set the color scheme. More grays from Vicki Welsh (it seems I bought a lot of gray) along with a Kaffe Fassett shot cotton that was advertised as chartreuse (it isn’t) will provide contrast of some sort at the edges.
I dropped the blue fabric on the lower right, fused my silk to knit interfacing and started cutting triangles. The idea came from a pattern called Pyramid Scheme in the December/January 2013 Quilt Magazine, but I changed the triangle size and color scheme. Also, the magazine’s quilt has a more regular light/dark block setting than I plan.
Next I started sewing on the outer edge strips that will finish at one inch. The triangles themselves should finish at 5 inches. Right now everything’s up on the wall in the rough order in which the triangles were pieced.
I look forward to lots of fun playing with this arrangement.
The other day I came home to find a package from Vicki Welsh propped by my front door. I chortled with glee as I ripped open the package, which I knew contained a bunch of hand dyed Catena fabric scraps I had won on Vicki’s blog. Somehow she had managed to stuff all this fabric in a USPS priority mail envelope! I’m impressed at her stuffing abilities since three days ago I barely fit two small (tiny even) quilts in the same size mailing envelope.
What especially delighted me were all these moody payne’s gray scraps. I hope to make a quilt depicting moonlight reflected on clouds so these bits of fabric will be a great starting point. I’ve been contemplating a gradient in these colors that Vicki offers in her Etsy shop.
But wait, there’s more. Here’s a large pile of fabric rectangles Vicki had sewn together but hadn’t used. And another pile of rectangles that hadn’t been sewn.
Then there are narrow strips of all sorts of colors. What a range!
And, if that weren’t enough for one day, I happened to stop by the Friends of the Library shop and lucked into these two books, which cost me a total of $1.60, including tax. I don’t think the Deb Karasik book had ever been opened.
Yup, if fabric is involved it’s easy to make me happy. Thanks for making my day, Vicki.
And here’s some examples of fussy cutting from other block party participants.
My takeaway from Vicki’s post is to be more mindful of the cool effects possible with traditional block patterns using fabric placement. And maybe I’ll get back to my Paula Nadelstern workshop materials. Now where did I put that fabric I bought for my puzzle blocks? It’s probably with the workshop’s handouts, wherever they are.