Sunday, January 22, 2017

Next......

Now that my quilt is finished and hung.....

...it was time to attack the huge job of cleaning my studio. I tend to not worry about what it looks like while I'm working, knowing that I will clean it up after each finish. 

As I sorted through the fabrics I counted 132 different fabrics that I had pulled in making this quilt....

The big trick now is to get them all back into the boxes. Some of these fabrics have been out of their storage containers for over a year and other things have taken their place so it was a bit of a struggle to get everything in. But after 20 minutes or so of pushing and pulling I was able to get all of the boxes closed (well, sort of) and on the shelf.

I set up my quilting area, starting with my the table leaf and then adding another small table to the side just to give this big quilt enough support......

I spent a few minutes cleaning my machine and oiling it.....

It has been a long time since I have had a machine that needs oil so I am having to get used to remembering to do it.  One of the reviews that I read said that it was a thirsty machine, and I think that's a good description of it. While I was oiling  the bobbin case area I noticed a thread that had gotten tangled in there, so I spent about 30 minutes trying to remove that thread. It was finally accomplish with the use of a pair of needle nose pliers from the garage.
As I was cleaning, I also noticed this hook on my machine.....

For the last 5 months I have been carefully threading the thread THRU the hole without realizing that there was this guide that meant the thread can be slid into the hole rather than threading.....OY VEY!!!!  This makes threading SO much faster!!!
The next project is the queen size pineapple quilt that I pieced a couple years ago and I've been waiting to quilt. I had some time to work on it in December and played with various quilting ideas.   The one that I liked best was quilting long lines leading into the red highlighted area. I first marked a series of lines and quilted those so the quilt was well held together. Then I started adding additional lines leading from the outside borders in as well. I marked the entire quilt and started the quilting process but felt like things were being too even and maybe I wanted a little more non-symmetry with it.

So I sprayed it down with water and removed all of the blue lines that I had already put on. I then started re-drawing the lines but again they still seem to be very symmetrical.   So I have now decided to draw some of the lines, quilt a little, draw some more lines, and quilt some more, and just see how it turns out. 


My gut feeling is that I will end up with symmetry!!!

Since the quilt contains every color in the rainbow spectrum, I am quilting it using variegated Maxi-Llock thread in each of the colorways.....



Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Now comes the critique!!!

 

Now that I have finished the quilt.....

.....I wanted to look back and critique the process that I used. 

 I was excited to try Susan Carlson's technique and I really like the flexibility and spontaneity that it allowed. However I am not super happy with the raw edges that it leaves. Perhaps I should have used more glue but am glad that I didn't because, when I started quilting, the thread would shred when I hit spots that had more glue. 

Since this is a very organic structure I am not too worried about the thread but I wouldn't want to use the technique on certain other pieces. The bottom line is that I think I will continue to use the technique but will mix it with a fusible web at times. 

On the positive, the hand of the fabric is better than with a fusible. 

I also enjoyed using various paints to slightly change the color of the stones and REALLY enjoyed using sponges to apply those paints.   As a matter of fact, without having done this first, I would never have thought to use the sponges to paint the trees on the "No Fishing" quilt.


 So the question is what to do next.... 

 I am in the middle of quilting my Queen size Pineapple quilt and want to have it finished for the upcoming show so that will be my next project, but what after that??

 I am pretty sure that I want to pursue more of these pictorial quilts from our travels. Michael suggested doing one based on the fishermen pulling their nets in....


 I am drawn to the way that all of their legs are in the same position. 

I also thought about this photo of our trek guide, Badri, making a water buffalo very happy.. 


The look on the buffalo's face is one of pure enjoyment!!! 


I have also thought about the pack horses that we saw on the Nepal trek.....


 The sound of the bells around their necks will stay with me for a long time.


 Then there is this photo of Chinese women enjoying their morning exercises....

 I love the positioning of their bodies and the parasols 


So I will now head off to quilt and ponder what will come next.


Michael is also going to be looking for a new project soon.   Today he finished all of the leather work and just has the staining to do......

....and yes, he does have his next project picked out!!!




Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Fun With Flags!!!

Frances M. Arnold

Presents

FUN WITH FLAGS.....

 If you are a "Big Bang Theory" fan you will understand this....if not, well you should be!!!!

As I was nearing the end of my quilting, I started thinking again about the prayer flags that I wanted to add.   If you remember, my original idea was something like this.....

And, although I like the look, I really wanted something that provided more perspective.  As I was showing my friend, Anita, the quilt, I noticed that one of my inspiration photos, hanging next to the quilt, had a wonderful series of flags.



SO.....the original flags were taken off of the design wall and I started working on how to work these new flags!!   The first step was to get a pattern that was the right size.   I did this by making a line drawing of the flags.....


.... and then enlarging them using my printer.  When I pinned them up, I knew that I was on to something.....


Hmmmm....this definitely shows promise!!!!

I really wanted the flags to be 3 dimensional (at least the larger ones) so I fused two pieces of fabric together, cut out the flag and then painted the edges with Fray Check.  The smaller ones were simply fused together.


To attach them to the quilt, I put a small strip of Wonder-Under to the top of the flag and then fused it in place.

I found a bit of yarn that worked for the string and finished off the display.




I put the finishing touches on the opening......



After adding some grass quilting around the base of the monument and squaring it up, I could declare it finished!!!!



Tonight as I am finishing the binding, I have to admit that I am sad to see the journey over.   It has been so much a part of my life over the last few months that I feel a  big void.   Michael's answer was to pick another scene and start another one!!!

Speaking of Michael, his leather work is going well with him finishing the outside flap......

.....as well as the main pocket......

He will soon be thru with his project and I have already encouraged him to take his own advice and simply start another one!!!!



Sunday, January 15, 2017

Dueling Hobby Saturday

Yesterday Michael and I both had fun days working on our respective hobbies, in our respective "studios".  

I spent the day upstairs continuing with quilting the monument quilt.....


I love the texture that you can see in this photo!!

Michael, on the other hand, was in his workshop doing some hand work......

.....and learning how to perform a saddle stitch.....

At day's end, we both had achievements.   I had completed the quilting (except for the sky....cant decide what to do there)......

....and Michael had finished sewing the flap on the "Possibles" bag that he is making.....

Such a fun day!!!   And, more dueling is expected this afternoon after Church!!!!!

Friday, January 13, 2017

He's Using WHAT???

Michael has been doing some leather work and recently needed to draw out a strap.... a long, straight line and then another line that was two inches away from the first.   Guess what he used.....


That's right....it is a QUILTING ruler!!!!

He said that it made him a little uncomfortable having it in his shop but he guessed that he could put up with it!   😀

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Nepal Monument.....a continuing saga

If the last post seemed to cut off at a weird point it is because I accidentally published the draft before I got it finished!!   Obviously I am not quite competent with using the Blogger online editor yet!!

I had two more areas of details that needed to be added to the quilt before I could start the quilting process.

The first was to add some "donations" to the monument.   As we walked in the mountains, many of the trekkers would pick up a rock or a flower and put it into the opening of the monuments.  Some of them had wooden rods that people would tie bits of thread or fabric onto.  This is what I want to represent.  After playing around with ways to make small, three-dimensional flowers, this is what I came up with....

I am going to do all of the quilting and then add this after the fact.

The final area that needed some work were the mountains.  Although I like how they look, I felt that they needed some extra details in the large solid areas.    I started out adding small white strips of "snow".....


...and then moved onto adding some darker crevices to the large snow areas.  After a few minutes of cutting out tiny slivers of increasingly grey fabrics I had the idea to just ink them on myself.....



...and of course the next step was to paint in some more of the snow areas.....


 I will add more detail with the quilting!!  So, here are the finished mountains.  I do think that these additions gave it even more depth.


By the way, the white strip under the spire is marking the area that I don't want to quilt so that I can attach the flags.

I got everything basted in place and have started the quilting.   I am quite happy with the texture that is showing up in this process.....


I have also been re-thinking the prayer flags.  My original thought was to leave them flapping in the breeze but I am concerned what will happen to those fabrics once the quilt is stored.  I can imagine that they will get very wrinkled and flatten out.   SO, I am now wondering whether I can applique them down and still have them look "flappy".    Every step of this quilt has been a challenge of some sort so I guess that I will just add this to the list.


......nearing the end now........


Monday, January 9, 2017

Moving forward with the Nepal Monument

I have had some time in the past week to work more on the Nepal Monument....now named "Himalayan Hallows".   When we left it last, it looked like this.....

The next step was to add rocks and other interest to the background grasses.  As I started thinking about this, I decided that I didn't really want to add individual rocks so instead added "rock colored" highlights.  The first one that I put on the wall was this one.....

...but the color wasn't exactly right.  So out came the paints and sponges again....this looks better.....


 Since I liked what I saw, I selected three fabrics and added some paint to each of them.....

'

After adding the highlights, the quilt looked like this.....
Now I needed to think about all of the little bits that would finish the quilt off, starting off with the prayer flags.

The idea behind the prayer flags is that prayers are written on the flag and the fluttering in the breeze sends the prayers winging their way to Buddha.    The color of the flag indicates what the prayer is for......Blue (space), White (air), Red (fire), Green (water), and Yellow (earth).  The flags are always displayed in the same order.

I found fabrics that I felt mirrored the colors of the flags,  I started with a 5 inch square which was much too big.....

 

I cut them down to 4 1/4 inches which still didn't look right and then I realized that they should be  rectangles and not squares......


That was better, but I was still afraid they were  going to take away from the scene. Perhaps I need to make them in pale colors rather than the dark colors, and maybe they are just too big still!!

This is definitely looking better with the smaller flags.......


 I will plan to put fray check around the squares and sew them to the cord before I officially hang them up and for now I need to leave an opening around the spire to attach them after quilting.


More to come.......
 


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