4 quilts under 1 roof

IMG_2367 It’s a rare thing to have one of my quilts nearby, let alone four! The kids were over one weekend, and brought their quilts for their visiting grandparents to see. I had just finished the madras plaid quilt for my niece, and my first quilt resides here… so i took an opportunity to snap a quick shot of all 4 on the windowsill. From left to right – madras plaid quilt, suburban dis”track”tion quilt, phoenix quilt, “have mercy on me” quilt 🙂

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Project Phoenix Part 6 – Go with the Flo’

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It’s finally finished. After washing it, And defuzzing it, there were threads to snip, and repairs, sigh… it seems the the some of the seams around the points of those paper pieced stars got loosened in the wash… not enough seam allowance was given… it future I will be extra generous about that.

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The two shots above show the finished front and back. And yes, the back is wonky. I don’t know how I managed that, as I measured everything before sandwiching the quilt. I gave it away today to the intended recipient, who really likes it. I love it. It was a real challenge, and I had a really great time doing it. some frustration, some tears, some hesitation, sure. Was it what I had envisioned? Not at all, since I kept changing my mind all the time! But it was refreshing to see an idea evolve, twisting and changing to something wonderful. I have realized that, in the creative process, I had to let go and be flexible in order to overcome difficulty. I guess, I’ve learned that I actually can create something if I just let myself Go With The Flo’ 🙂

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Phoenix Quilt continues – Part 5

20130505-233152.jpg Managed to complete the back of the quilt today. I wanted to incorporate the stars (above) which I had originally sewn for the quilt front into the quilt back. Lots of scraps, lots of colour, and I even threw on a new print… a strip from a fat quarter of Space Invaders themed fabric, which I had picked up at Creativ Festival. I know, I know… I said I would not buy any more fabric for this quilt, but who can resist something as nostalgic as space invaders?

Here’s the back, not as yet squared up. I’m pretty happy with the bright colour, especially as I had a chance to use all those 2.5 inch strips of that yummy orange hawaiian print – I had originally cut that for the borders on the front, and changed my mind at the last moment.

20130505-233343.jpg The quilt sandwich is now pinned together, and I’ve started machine quilting. Hope I have some time this week to work on it.

Phoenix Quilt continues – Part 4

How many times will I change my mind? I completed 3 of the 4 two inch “floorboard” borders, and cut the orange and red Hawaiian print for the 4th. I laid it all out, and decided I did not love it. So I’ve decided to try something completely different. I have this gorgeous green, black and white African print which I’ve mixed with a green, yellow and black numbers print (the “matrix” print) to create a final border. Here’s a snapshot of the border strips laid out next to the quilt top. I plan to sew them on during the week… I believe it will work, although none of the green fabric is referenced in the quilt top. So it’s risky – but I’m gonna try anyway. If it does not work, I can always pull out my trusty seam ripper 🙂

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Project Phoenix continues – Part 3

I’m psyched! I had a really productive day yesterday. After squaring up the centre panel, I added 2 sets of blue pieced borders, that extend the panel by a few inches and subtly frame the Phoenix centerpiece.

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Then I took stock of my stash. I had dreams of a wide substantial border, but I don’t seem to have enough of any one fabric to make a statement. Then I thought, why not mix several reds to make a modern pieced border of 2 inch wide (finished) strips? I got the idea from floor boards, often set in random lengths, but even widths. I’ve finished 2 “rounds” already, and am eyeing a gorgeous orangey-red hawaiian print for my next 2 inch border. Mind the poor lighting, it was really late – hopefully I will get better light soon to show off the stunning reds in the “floorboard” pieced border.

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I have some ripping planned first, as I found more of the purplish red circular batik (in the left corner of the photo) – much nicer than the smaller circular orange and red batik that’s in the bottom border of the quilt.

Project Phoenix continues – Part 2

One of my struggles with this quilt is a constraint that I cannot buy any more fabric for this quilt. I’ve bought tonnes of fabric towards this quilt, and I’ve got to make it work with what I have. I had an Ohio star sewn in at the top right of the existing quilt top, and while it was gorgeous, it just did not work. So, I ripped it out and replaced it with more blue random patchwork. The picture below shows the quilt top with ripped out section, and a righteous mess on the living room floor as I pulled out tonnes of fabric to audition for borders.

my plan for today is to resist other projects, and focus on moving this quilt top along. It’s time to make this a reality. Wish me luck!

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UFOs – one too many

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UFOs or WIPs? who am I kidding? I was sketching an idea for a new quilt, and suddenly felt the need to make a list. This list has been on my mind for a few days… I sorted my stash, and did a little cleanup of my workspace this weekend. I found…. things. projects. unfinished projects. stashed in containers or bags, waiting to be picked up and continued. I’d like to be optimistic and call them works in progress, but let’s face it, that’s a bit of a stretch.

The Phoenix quilt was supposed to be a Christmas gift. if I can get moving on it, it will be a birthday present. I have less than a month. the good news is that I figured out what was the problem with the project, and have ripped out some of the patchwork and replaced it with more blue batik. I auditioned some reds for borders, and hopefully can get things back on track.

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.