Book Cover – Art Journal

Mely is in an art program, and I often pick up hard cover, spiral-bound art journals for her when they are on sale – she prefers these for sketching. I decided to make a quilted cover for one that I gave her for christmas – it was a bit of a disaster in my opinion, since I can’t figure out it if I like it or not 🙂

Rachel from Stitched in Color has a pretty cool tutorial on making journal covers, which came in handy when I started on this project. I think my problem was editing – I had so many fabrics I wanted to incorporate that reminded me of Mely… especially the Michael Miller hot pink eiffel tower print, and the fussy cuts from Alexander Henry’s “The Ghastlies” line. The purple flames were from the quilt I made for her last birthday, so I wanted to incorporate that as well on the wonderful splotchy, purple print that I settled on as the background fabric.

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Here’s the front cover (above) with the fussy cuts. Close ups of the fussy cuts are below. I used variegated thread from a canadian company called Wonderfil. I picked up several spools  at the Creativ Festival downtown last October, and this was the first time I had a chance to use it.

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IMG_1683Here is the back of the journal cover, and below that the inside flap… I used the blue fabric only because I wanted a contrasting colour – there was so much purple on the front!

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    I was trying to represent the fussy cut grey appliqué bits as grave stones with hellish flames below, and purple ghoulish birds circling above…. Maybe you see it, maybe not?

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The keys are from a scrapbooking kit. I used the pink one on the cover, tucked the rest in the inside flap, as Mely likes key motifs.

The journal cover is functional, although weird looking to me. But Mely loved it, and I guess that’s all that counts 🙂

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Project Phoenix continues – Part 1

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So, life has gotten really busy in the last couple of months. I meant to continue project Phoenix, but quilting time has not materialized. I started a new job in January, following a trip to Carinzia over the holidays. Thought I would share a few pix of the centre panel of the patchwork – the back of it against the light makes me want to do a stained glass quilt 🙂

The interesting thing is that I’ve shown a few people this and they cannot see the bird… this is a bit disappointing. On the other hand, the eventual recipient of this quilt knows this motif (it’s on the wall in his room) 🙂

My dilemma now is how do I finish this – borders, no borders… and I have no idea what I want to do for the quilt back. I have made some star blocks from the same fabrics, that I want to intersperse randomly on the front (this panel needs to grow another 12″ all around before binding).

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Project Wünderkind = Project Phoenix

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This project has changed so many times, and I keep finding fabric that I want to incorporate – somehow. Editing has taken a back seat to whim and fancy. Reason was thrown out the window weeks ago. I’m just going with the flow, and boy, is it scary!

This quilt started off with the idea to represent a far away galaxy from a video game. I bought lots of Stonehenge from Sew Sisters, sand colours for the terrain, blue-ish green for the planets, deep blues for the night sky. I love Stonehenge, the fabric FEELS scrumptious. But then, I changed gears and wanted to do something “techie”. I bought reds, and greens, more blue (!), lots of batiks with geometric patterns.

Then I read Daniel’s blog (Piece and Press). This guy is incredible. Go check out the dinosaur. I’m inspired. This is the challenge I’ve been looking for. But I have no idea how he does this… so I google around, and discover that this is called raw edge reverse appliqué. A couple of YouTube tutorials later, I’m 150% sure I can do this.

So I dive in. head first. ha! what was I thinking? I should have bought that plane ticket to Oakland, and signed up for one of his classes. Raw edge reverse appliqué is time consuming. But more importantly, raw edge reverse appliqué scaled up is really really hard to pull off. [Daniel needs to have a Surgeon General’s Warning pasted on those gorgeous quilts].

I created a paper template of the figure I wanted to represent. I used free software on the web to scale up a digital image to produce a printable PDF – it prints a portion of each image on 8.5×11 paper. Mine was 7×5 = 35 sheets. I numbered the sheets, and taped them together to create the massive template.

I patchworked a scrappy look quilt top of blue fabric – random rectangles and squares of fabric. Then I did a second quilt top using strips of red, yellow and orange – different lengths and widths.

I sandwiched it all together – paper template on top of blue quilt top, with the red underneath the other two layers, and all layers sandwiched with right sides facing up.

Then I sewed through all the layers, using small stitches with blue top thread. I followed the edges of the template. This was really hard to maneuver under a small sewing machine. I ended up working top to bottom, from the edges inwards, which sewing gurus will chastise me for… but I promise, there was no way I could get the fabric/paper sandwich under the machine throat in the centre! As I sewed, i kept ripping away the paper to reduce the bulk. I also did have to stitch in reverse mode on the sewing machine at certain points to complete this step.

After sewing, I carefully ripped the paper away, using tweezers to get at those pesky small bits that get wedged under the stitches. Despite my best efforts, I did loosen some of the stitching, so had to repair those areas with a second round of machine stitching. sigh.

Now the scary bit – cutting away the blue quilt top to reveal the underneath quilt top. I used a seam ripper to make the first incision, but some advice – please (please, please) switch to an appliqué scissors once the hole is made! The seam ripper was doing a good job, until I realized it was catching and ripping through the bottom layer at points. sigh.

I had to make a side trip to my local quilt store with a “quilting emergency” – Judy helped me find the right interfacing to lay on the underside of those rips to stabilize the fabric so I could repair it.

Here’s the kicker. I realise that I absolutely don’t like the raw edges. So I satin stitched the whole thing to conceal the edges. That took hours. and hours. But it helped hide the repaired bits beautifully 😉

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So now I’m at the part where I can cut away the parts of the underneath quilt that don’t show (to reduce bulk) and the continue on to finish the quilt top. Hoping to finish the quilt top this weekend.

iPad Sleeve

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I started blogging in order to keep an online diary of my progress as a quilter. I use my blog to track projects I’m working on, stuff I’ve done, and future ideas to realize. I’m also blogging about purchases, so I can keep track of that – I’m addicted to fabric in a wonderful, terrible way.

I had forgotten about this sleeve I had done about a year and a half ago. It was my first attempt at a zipper, and I you-tubed quite a bit before putting it all together. The fabrics were leftover squares from my sister’s bright and bubbly quilt, and strips of batik from a tonga treats bundle. Lots of colour – not a first for me. But my first attempt at appliqué, and using the fancy stitches on my (then) new sewing machine. I used white thread for the appliqué and variegated thread for the fancy stitches. The case is quilted in long, fairly straight lines, and does provide reasonable protection when I’m traveling.

The zipper is functional, but not very pretty to look at.I could not figure how to reduce the bulk at the zipper ends. However, I’ve learnt a great deal more about sewing zippers since!

The pictures below show the back of the sleeve, the front of the sleeve, and a close up of the stitching using multicoloured thread.

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