Monday, November 29, 2010

Monday Aftermath

This is my design wall today.  The frog quilt is still up there because I haven't gotten around to sewing together the backing pieces.

I don't know why, but it seems much harder to piece the backing than it does to piece any kind of block.

I didn't participate in Design Wall Monday last week because my wall was the same as the week before and I didn't think we needed more shots of the frog-quilt-in-progress.  But this week, a couple of blocks have joined the frog quilt top.  They are from my First Thursday Piecers Group (from now on referred to as "2011 BOM Group").

We are using this book. Because of another engagement, I skipped the meeting when it was decided.  It seems to be a pretty good book -- some of the blocks are easy and some more challenging.  Because the people in this group run the gamut from beginners to advanced, I think it's a good choice.   I like that this book contains a number of different layouts and instructions.

So I couldn't wait until next year (or until I finished this year's) and started a couple of blocks.  I'm still playing around with the background on the bottom two.

To see other design walls, click here to go to Judy's blog.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Finished Some Baby Quilts

Before one of the babies is walking!
My daughter donated the poodle from her personal collection when she saw the dolly quilt.
This was a Valori Wells pattern and fabrics that were purchased for me to make for my favorite nephew's new daughter a couple of years ago.  I made the top and got busy so I set it aside.
Then, the little girl got a new brother.  Yikes!  So I got busy and finished this for her.
I made this for her new little brother (who is not walking yet, thank you very much).

I made this dolly quilt out of the scraps from the little girl quilt.
And because I know that Beth will ask, here are the backs of the quilts.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Finally Did Some Dyeing

For one reason or another this summer, I did very little dyeing.  It's one of those things that really fills some kind of need for me.  And I finally got to fulfill it.

These are gradations I did in an attempt to get lime green and I got some really neat colors.
This was lemon yellow to sky blue.  This creates a really nice lime green.    I skipped the plain yellow and blue and went right for the blended colors.  The piece on the far left in this photo is not really part of the gradation, but I like the way it looks with the other greens.
This was golden yellow to sky blue.  I like this -- it's not really lime green -- more of teal and aqua.
And these light colors are from diluting the droplets that cling to the sides of the mixing containers after I pour out the dye.  They are actually much lighter than they look on my monitor.
I also bought some scarf blanks in various silks and silk/rayon blend to test.  This is a silk/rayon blend velvet.
This is a silk/rayon blend cut velvet.  I love that the leaves are so much brighter.  I used fuchsia and a couple of different yellows for the scarves.

Monday, November 22, 2010

March BJP is Finished

"Lion and Lamb"
4.5" x 4"

This is my Bead Journal Project for March.  Yeah, I know it's a tiny bit late...

I took strips of fake fur and glued them to a piece of Peltex cut into a shoe shape, then attached the beads for a claw and a hoof.  I added some beads in the furry parts for random sparkle.  If you click on the picture, you can see them a bit better.  They do kind of disappear into the fur.

I have started April -- it's a different shoe.  Stay tuned...

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Some 'Splainin'

Or:  Here's where I croak out a mea culpa (sorry, I just couldn't resist).

It has come to my attention that my previous post was unclear.  I am currently blaming blogger because  it took forever for my pictures to load.  So long, that I almost gave up and deleted the whole thing.
But I didn't.  So now I have to explain myself.  The reason I didn't want to stitch the batting to the frog was mainly because I didn't want to have to cut away the excess.  I also didn't want that extra stitching around the edge because I had already stitched down the edges with this fancy stitch.
Here is a closer view -- I left the pictures large, so you can click on them for a closer view.  I didn't want to use the fancy stitch on the batting because I'm afraid that the needle or thread would have pulled the batting up onto the front.  And since I will be stitching around the frogs when I do the quilting, I didn't want too many lines of stitching around them.

One way to eliminate the excess stitching is to use water soluble thread, but that adds the step of rinsing and I didn't want to have to do that.
I finished all the frogs -- here is a picture of the whole quilt top on my design wall -- now it's ready to be layered and quilted.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Frogs, Stitches, and Trapunto

Today my design wall is on the machine.

I stitched around all the fused frogs, then decided to do a little trapunto with the threadwork.  Normally, when one does trapunto, a piece of batting is placed behind the shape and stitched around.  Then the excess batting has to be oh-so-carefully trimmed away.  And sad is the snipper who snips too close and cuts a hole in the quilt while removing the excess.

There has to be a better way.  Especially with these small frogs and their tiny appendages.  So I tried ironing my freezer paper shape to the batting -- I'm using wool for these --and then cutting it out.  This worked fine until I tried to remove my stencil from the batting -- it didn't want to let go.

So I settled for just cutting out a rough shape.  I sprayed the back of the frog/quilt lightly with temporary adhesive; then, using the stitches around the shape as a guide, I placed my piece of batting on the back of the frog.

From the front, I did my thread sketching, but I did not stitch around the edge of the frog.  I stitched only the parts that would give my frog depth.  I used a couple of different colors of thread and my freemotion foot.  I was careful to feel the batting underneath with my hand to make sure it stayed in place as I stitched.

Here is a view of the backside -- with no trimming necessary.

Flush with my success, I tried another.

I like this method a lot -- the only tricky thing is to make sure that the batting doesn't get pushed aside when doing the thread work.  I ironed the batting before I cut out the shapes -- the flatter it was, the easier it was to cut into the shapes.  Next, I'll finish the other three frogs, then layer and quilt as usual.  I will stitch around the edges of the frogs then and there won't be any threads to try to stitch on top of or to remove.

To see what other people are doing today on their design walls, click here to go to Judy's blog.

Friday, November 12, 2010

February BJP is Finished

"Come To Me Pump"

I know it's a little past February, but it's finished.  And I have already started March.  My goal for this month was to use different colored beads to show depth.  Hence, the white beads for highlights.  I'm not sure it was successful -- to me, the white beads just look like stripes.  Maybe if I had just used lighter colored red beads like I did on the toe.  Or maybe I should have used some of the white beads on the highlights on the toe.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Frogs and More on Design Wall Monday

This is on my design wall today.  Off to the right are the frogs I did in the previous post.  This quilt is the result from last Thursday when I went to Monroe, Wisconsin, and met with the Very Friendly Ladies for a class taught by Klaudeen Hansen.

This is the pattern we did.   I love the sample quilt she made (I even offered to take it home with me and take very good care of it, but, sadly, no dice).  I think it looks more like a pond than pie, so I made some frogs to fuse to the top.   I tried it with the green in the center, but it looks better with blue.

To see more design walls, click here to go to Judy's blog.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Frogs, Stencils, and Inks

I needed some frogs for a project I'm doing.  So I found some copyright-free pictures and traced them onto freezer paper.

I cut them out and ironed them to some lime green fabric.  I got out my Tsukineko inks and those Fantastix "coloring tools" and inked in the frogs.

Then I heat set the inks with a hot iron and added fusible to the back side.  I removed all the paper and cut them out with my favorite sharp scissors.  Here they are stuck to my design wall.  I think I'm going to need at least one more frog for this project.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Bloggers Quilt Festival!

My entry for the Fall 2010 Blogger's Quilt Festival is Flora!

"Flora Checks In"
24" x 24"

I made this for a challenge using this fabric.  This is so not my style that it truly was challenging.  I used it for the ears and cut out individual flowers for fusing.  

Flora's face is all turned edge appliqué.  I created a pattern from a photo of a cow that I took last summer.  The ears were covered with thread after appliqué and before layering and quilting so that they would stand out from the background.

The background was hand-dyed especially for this -- I was going for a field and sky look.

For more detail shots and more information about Flora, click here and here.

To see more Blogger's Quilt Festival quilts, click here.  There are lots and lots of really beautiful quilts -- it's well worth the time to check them all out.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Catching Up With Stuff - Quilts, Hand-Dyes, and Cattle

Last week, I went to the only Waunakee in the world for the St. John's Piecemakers quilt show.  I have been going for years because I know a bunch of the ladies in the group, but this year I had a quilt in the show.  They were kind enough to invite us non-members to exhibit our "Pieceful Nights" quilts and they hung mine right in front!  I forgot to take a picture because I saw my friend Chris of Dye Candy in her booth and forgot all about my old quilt!
Here is a picture of Chris in her booth.  She had the most wonderful earrings for sale, so I spent my fabric money on them instead. They are on display on the table at the lower right hand side of the photo.  She has great hand-dyes -- you can purchase them here.

There were a lot of nice quilts (besides mine).  This has always been a nice little show -- but it seemed even better than usual this year -- no, not just because my quilt was in it...

And long time readers may remember my attempts to photograph these long-horned cattle.  Well, this past spring, I found out something about them -- they're cows!  Yep, they had babies.  And they left even more quickly when I came out with my camera.
But on Friday, they were much friendlier.
This one was hanging out near the fence and kindly allowed me to photograph her.
In fact, she came even closer when I switched my attentions to her herd-mate.  Yikes!  Those horns look sharp!  I hope the fence is strong...