The blocks that I've been working on for my piecing group and the background that I dyed for the challenge. Yes, that's right, there are no new blocks since the last time I posted about them. That's because I've been working on this: I used some of the challenge fabric to make the right ear and I will use some more to do the other ear. I'm getting close to finishing her -- I'm excited to see what she's going to look like on the background I dyed especially for her. I was going for a field and sky look.
And I've been working on quilting the tiger quilt. I have finished quilting three of the sampler blocks and done some of three more. No photos of that today. Probably not until it's finished. To see what others are doing click here.
Today I quilted the tigers in the triangles next to the center star. I also did the stitch in the ditch around all the triangles, borders, and blocks. I haven't quilted a large quilt in a while -- finding I need some new muscles to wrestle this baby around under the needle.
Now that everything is stuck together, I can work on individual blocks. Still hoping for some idea epiphany to occur...
I had to get going on this -- it's going to be in a couple of shows as part of a group exhibit soon and it always takes longer than expected to finish anything.
I've been procrastinating -- hoping it would magically quilt itself. Not because I don't like quilting -- as much as I like complicated piecing, I like quilting better. Sometimes. Because this is going to be a "show quilt" and is a pretty traditional quilt, there are more "rules." I don't want the quilt show police coming down on the others in the group for letting me in the show. Let them get mad at someone else.
I outlined the tigers in the center and did a curved bit around all the star "feathers."
I was going to quilt free-form feathers in all that space around the center star. So I got into EQ7 and played around with stencils and even printed some out -- but they didn't look right with all the spiky pieced feathers and tiger motifs.
I wound up tracing the space on parchment paper and doing a sort of spiky leaf and vine. I used chalk to draw the spine of the vine on the quilt so I would have a guide.
I did the quilting much more densely than the drawing -- I was going for a MacTavishy-spiky-viney look. It was very hard to photograph thin (50 wt) black thread on the black fabric.
Those threads are waiting for me to bury them -- I'm not crazy about doing it, but the quilt will look so much better with those ends buried rather than cut.
Then I went back and did a leafy vine thing in the area around the outer star. Now I have to figure out what to do with the rest. The post that shows the whole top is here. I'm open to suggestions!
First I drew the pig on cotton sateen (I used sateen because I wanted a sheen to the finished piece.) Then I sewed on the borders, planning to extend the quilting out into them.
I layered it with cotton batting and did all the stitching with cotton thread. I outlined the pig first, then did the fence. I followed with the mud and sky background. I used threads that were slightly lighter in color than the colors I wanted to finish with.
When all the stitching was done, I colored the pig lightly with my watercolor crayons and went over it with Golden GAC 900 Fabric Painting Medium. Why use this one? Because it was the largest bottle I had (very scientific, I know). I have been working on a test piece using all the textile mediums I have available to me, but I'm not done with it. I'll put together a post with all my findings at some point.
Then, I decided that I wasn't happy with the quilting in the sky and decided to just go in between the lines I had already quilted. I wanted the whole background to be very flat so that the pig would stand out. That was the reason I chose a wool batt and quilted the background elements very densely.
Then I colored the trough and the mud. I found that I had to allow enough time to finish "painting" each section, or there was a line where it dried. I also had to be careful not to use too much medium because if it got too wet, it bled.
After I finished the sky, I let it dry overnight, heat set it, then added some little tufts of grass along the fence.
Of course, all this begs the question: Why use the crayons at all? Why not just use paint? Well, the short answer is: Because it's fun! These crayons rock! And who doesn't like to color?
Actually, I like the look of the water color crayons after the liquid has been applied. Also, it's fun to blend the colors. I didn't like the mud when it was done (too golden), so I added some textile paint over it all to give it that "muddy" feel. I may go over the fence with some white paint to give it a "whitewashed" effect. I haven't quite decided. But these crayons are just another tool in the color tool kit. And a really fun one, I might add.
My dad sent me a digital camera he wasn't using, so I took it on our walk today. I'm still learning how to use it -- I'm probably going to have to take the book and camera outside together and experiment. Above are pictures of wild flowers that grow in the woods between the houses. The last two pics were taken at great personal peril to me because after all the rain and heat of the past few days, the mosquitoes were out in full battle attack mode. Yeeouch! Slap! Slap!
And, of course, the obligatory gratuitous dog shots. Above is "Pepper" the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel who looks like Rosie's mini-me. He's not the least bit intimidated by a big Berner and loves to play with her.
Left is Rosie with a Siberian/mix Rescue who is blind. She's a little skittish, but a real sweetie and Rosie seems to know that she has to play gently with her.
I checked the online forum and discovered the answer to my problem in about two seconds. I wanted to take this:
and turn it into this:
so I could appliqué each bit with a freezer paper template. It's easy when you know how!
Just set your photo into a Custom Set quilt layout sized to the finished size. Click on the photo with the Select tool, go to Print, then Photo. Check the settings and if you like them, click Preview. This will show you the photo tiled for printing on regular 8 1/2 by 11 inch sheets (this also works if you're using those paper backed fabric sheets people sew together for quilts because it has seam allowances and registration marks). Click Print, and voila! Instant pattern in the desired size! Just tape the sheets together, then trace the pieces onto freezer paper for templates. No more driving to the copy store!
I've been working on this:
and it works; but it's fiddly and cumbersome with the small pieces. I was going to write a tutorial on this method, but I'm still not happy with the method for tiny bits. If I can get it to work with the larger pieces, I'll share that. This is all turned edge appliqué -- I am trying to figure out a method using the freezer paper and that magic pen I talked about here.
The day wasn't a total loss because I did view all the videos that come with EQ7 and learned a whole bunch of stuff that will be valuable sometime, I'm sure.
to June. T S Eliot was wrong -- June is the cruelest month. Between all the fiscal year deadlines at my unreal job and the end-of-school-year stuff for my kids -- they're in school, they're out of school, they're in summer school -- I just can't wait for June to end. Of course, we also have more than a few birthdays this month and Father's Day to add to my stress. Unfortunately, with July fourth feeling like it's the middle of summer -- now I feel like half the summer is gone too. Sheesh.
Because today was the first Thursday of the month, I met with my piecing group -- we are doing "Sew Many Blocks" by Bits 'n Pieces. This month's blocks were "Judy in Arabia" and "Gentleman's Fancy."
"Judy in Arabia"
That's mine on the bottom left. These are the first blocks that I can remember where we all chose pretty much the same values for each patch. Check out the fussy cut "four-patch" in the center of the one just above mine -- she actually turned each square into a half square triangle to make that! Very nice!
I didn't do this one. I was short on time all month and I wasn't crazy about it, so I decided to skip it. Seeing it in all the different colors, however, makes me think I might want to make it after all.
Here is one I did in EQ7. Oh! Did I forget to mention that it arrived last week? It's so cool and it's been sitting there teasing me because all I could find the time to do was load it on the computer. I have had no time to play with it. I did this block in about 10 minutes. And that includes the time I spent turning on the computer! Cool beans, huh?