Here is a photo of the first quilt I ever pieced. I wanted to learn how to use the advanced features of auto fitting and cross hatching of the Innova Autopilot and I was bored with using el cheapo walmart $2 sale fabric whole cloth practice quilt sandwiches. So I decided to use a quilt top that I had made which I didn’t care if it got messed up. Having been in my closet for about three years, when I got past the initial learning phase with my longarm, I thought that my first piecing should be my first long arming too (especially since it wouldn’t bother me if I messed it up.) While pretty colors, this color combo just isn’t me. And neither is the calico print type of fabric. I had also screwed up in cutting and had to substitute some of the fabric (the aqua squares). So, I had never bothered to finish it by quilting the top to batting and a back. I bought the quilt pattern and kit on sale, because I wanted to learn how to piece and this looked kinda intermediate in difficulty. Turns out the directions were great and so it was pretty easy to make. It was from a kit put together at The Quilt Haus in New Braunfels, Texas. The pattern is Starshine by Creative Sewlutions. It is also the most difficult quilt that I quilted on my Innova Longarm so far.
I saw this lovely quilt made from neutral fabrics that really wowed me. I was in Austin at a quilt fabric shop on Andersen Lane named of all things, the Quilt Store.
Sounds like something I’d do. I’d name my shop something easy to find and super related to what was found inside the shop.
This quilt was absolutely lovely. It was also really simple. Just a lot of quarter square triangles from the same fabric sewn into blocks. The triangle were turned so the pattern formed pyramids. The entire quilt is made of three fabrics. Two fabrics made up the border and binding. The third fabric used as the majority of the top is what made the quilt so special. It is striped. That was the –shh– secret that made it look so complicated and wonderful.
I found a similar batik fabric I was drooling over that was stripped with wonderful earthy tones of dark purple, delicious dark chocolate, warm bronze, flowing watery dark turquoise, and yummy dark green olive. If this fabric were a food palette, I’d be eating all over it. Lund Studios probably makes my favorite batiks.
I love their batiks so much that Lund Studios is probably singly responsible for my having to join FSA (fabric sluts anonymous).
I’ve had two Princess Mirah batik jelly rolls in her red, white, and black color scheme for a couple of years. I couldn’t decide what to do with them. Next week my Innova longarm is arriving and I have been putting together a bunch of tops in advance because I know I’ll go longarm crazy for a few months. Since I need more tops, these two jelly rolls are going to be used today! I have decided to not follow a pattern and just do whatever comes to mind with these.
I started by separating out the red strips, and cutting about a quarter of them in half lengthwise. Then I sewed together randomly chosen strips of black and white fabric strips and inset red a skinny red strip randomly. I just used one red per four of the black and white strips.
Now I have a slight problem. I only had enough black and white strips to make six of these long units. I want to cut them into squares and I am going to need way more to have enough for a quilt. What to do? I do have a lot of plain black fabric that I was going to use in another quilt back. I think I can use it for smashing on this top. But I need more blacks. So I’ll do,the same thing with the red jelly roll strips and take my last two black and white strips cut on half to do a reverse scheme. That will get me some more coordinating blocks. (I ended up with three units that were mostly red.)
Hmm. I think a bunch of square blocks made up of these units might be boring. So lets chop them up and add a slash of red. I do have all those left over half strips to use up. First I need to figure out what size my blocks need to be. The ends of my striped units are jagged because the lengths of the jelly rolls strips were not the same. The shortest strip was 43.5 inches. 43 minus the selvedges. So I think Imcan get 5 eight and a half inch blocks from each unit. Now I’m gonna be adding some to each block since I want to put random slashes of contrast in them so maybe I can get a little more .nah.. Lets go w five. Off the bat they will be a little taller (9.25) than wide (8.5). But I’ll add more with the slashed and I’ll need to square them up. Let’s see what happens.
[to be continued]
My friend, Layne, posts all kinds of wonderful pictures on her Facebook account. She shared a wonderful hummingbird feeding from a flower last week. I decided today, my first full day off in six weeks that I’d do it up in fabric.
I like how it turned out though there are some things I would redo a little differently. I learn a little from each piece that I create. I would cut my layers of fabric more carefully and closer to,the stitching line. I would also take more time during the couching step. I would also,use a more appropriate foot for my machine. I left my two favorite couching feet at the shop. So, I made do ny using a 3/8 inch rolled hemmer foot instead. It worked great for guiding the yarn and thread, but it would have worked better with fuzzier or thicker yarn.
So, I learned that a hemmer foot will,work for couching. It doesn’t turn corners well. It needs to have its channel filled up. And, I had fun anyway and made a pretty geegaw for my sewing room.
I wish i remembered whose blog I saw an example of this technique on… I read about it and tried it during some design exploration exercises. Basically you use a very near color to create a feeling of motion and or depth. I used a slightly lighter blue and a slightly paler yellow for the swoop of air across the top. The batting has been added at this point too. It’ll help hold any Hans stitching I’m gonna do.
I took a picture of the freezer paper drawing with my ipad. Then I tried out some ideas by coloring in the sketch on my ipad. I liked the look of this one and decided that I’d go with it, if I had the fabrics for it in my stash.
The middle of the night sketch was really rough, but it was enough to remind me of my thought image. So I improved upon it. I drew this on freezer paper. The kind of freezer paper that is plastic on one side and rough bright white paper on the other. I like the size of the freezer paper and I can tear off as short or long a piece as I want. Plus it’s great for foundation paper peicing. I use it to cover countertops to keep them clean from wet messes. Truly freezer paper is probably the most versatile tool for any kind of crafter or artist. And it’s pretty cheap too!
About the same time I drew this idea out, I found a book which really lit up my world. The book was Rose Hughe’s Dream Landscape book about art quilts and her methods. I thought it was the perfect thing to try to make my idea a reality. I modified my sketch and also made a copy of it at full size to match the exact size of the window based on her book.
I had procrastinated with that window and had it in a closet. About a week before this ‘sketching moment’ I had finally hung that window frame up. Now I had to look at it several times a day since it was stationed right above the loo.
In the middle of the night I often wake from a dream and think I’d like to remember it. Sometimes ideas are so strong that I can’t really get back to sleep sometimes. Sometimes the ideas that wake me are solutions to difficult technical problems I was wrestling with during the previous day. My subconscious often solved problems while I slept. So, years ago, I started keeping a notepad by the bed to write them down. I found it’s much easier to get back to sleep this way. I don’t worry that I might ‘forget’ before morning if I fall asleep again.
My husband and I had been talking about our wedding under a large oak tree before sleeping that night. This simple sketch was an idea that struck me for the window on the wall in the wee hours of the next morning.
This interestingly shaped arched window was purchased at a garden center in the heart of Gruene, Texas, about two years go. I thought it would look magnificent in my bathroom where I had a vertical blank spot. Actually all the walls were quite barren as I hadn’t decided what to decorate with in that bathroom. I couldn’t stand the idea of sea shells or a water related theme. It seems so mundane and overdone to me for a bathroom. I wanted something else. At the time I found this frame, I thought it was unique and one of a kind. Since then, I have seen this window and some that are very similar at different gardens and nurseries in Texas. They are really interesting to me though. I love the idea of a window and the concept of framing things in the imagination. With a blank window on a wall, you can put anything you imagine in your mind into that window. Being a romantic and a reader, I would imagine all kinds of things in that window each time I looked at it.