Monday, April 20, 2015

La Passacaglia - The Beginning

A few weeks ago, I blogged about my latest obsession quilt love, the La Passacaglia quilt from Millefiore Quilts by Willyne Hammerstein.  I started my project last week and have the center of Rosette #1 finished.  

Here's the center star; those bobbins on the right give you an idea of the size.  The pieces are tiny.

I did a lot of fussy cutting for this one.  It is time consuming but I like the look it gives, especially for the central 5-pointed star.  

This project will be entirely hand pieced, using the English Paper Piecing (EPP) method.  I will probably work on a machine pieced project at the same time, because sometimes you need to finish something in less than 2 years!

Monday, April 6, 2015

Little Butterflies - Project Update

I don't like to have too many quilt projects going at once so before beginning my EPP project, I thought it best to finish Little Butterflies.  In my last post on this project, I had decided to machine applique the blocks using fusible web and invisible thread (Superior Threads Mono Poly).  That decision worked out well and it didn't take long to get all 35 blocks finished. 

Here they are sewn together.  Right now, the top is 30" by 42" but I plan to add a narrow border, probably in the background color.  Then I will hand quilt it to finish.  

The original pattern from Laundry Basket Quilts has you cutting your background squares 5" but I wanted my butterflies to be a little less crowded together so cut my backgrounds 6.5" square.  When I started, I thought I might trim them before sewing together but after trying a few layouts, I decided to keep the blocks at the larger size.  

As you might have noticed, I used a variety of neutral tone-on-tone prints for the background, seven different fabrics in total from my stash.  I used a set of Bali Pop batik strips from Hoffman for the butterfly wings and a very dark brown for the body (with dark brown matching thread to applique the bodies), I drew the antennae with a permanent pen (Pigma Micron).  You don't need a jelly roll to make a quilt this size; a couple of charm packs would be enough fabric.

There is also a larger version of this pattern, with the butterflies cut from layer cake squares.  The fabrics used in the original design are from the line Sticks & Stones, which is supposed to be in stores this month.

Between this top to quilt, a finished quilt to bind, and my EPP project, I have a lot of handwork ahead!

Friday, April 3, 2015

Friday Find - the KonMari Method

I've been doing some business travel recently (the reason for my extended absence from the blog; lots of work, not much quilting) and on a flight last week, I read this book:

The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, by Marie Kondo. It is subtitled, the Japanese art of decluttering and organizing, but really focuses on decluttering.  If you are looking for organizing tricks and clever items that will allow you to cram more into your closets and cupboards, this is not your book. Instead, Marie Kondo's philosophy is to get rid of the stuff that does not give you joy.  

I found it a fast, easy read and at the end, I immediately wanted to tackle my clutter.  Unfortunately, I was in an aluminum tube somewhere in the air over the mid-West so the sorting had to wait until the weekend.  But I started last Saturday and sorted my current wardrobe (fall/winter clothing), with the aim of tackling my spring/summer clothing this weekend or next, depending on whether the forecast indicates it is safe to put my sweaters away for the season.  I have bags of stuff to take to the thrift shop and much more attractive looking and functional closets.  

The author's advice is to tackle decluttering by category, starting with clothing and ending with hobby items.  I'm sure I'll have plenty of quilting stuff to cull, but will cover office paper, books, and kitchen stuff first, so it will be awhile before I get to my sewing space.  

In the meantime, if your stuff has taken over, I recommend you sit down with The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up and adopt the KonMari method for yourself.

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Latest Quilt Crush

Oh, the dangers of Pinterest!

I was wasting time amusing myself, letting one pin lead to another, then another, when I stumbled upon this image and then this one. Oh my, instant quilt crush!  I had to know more.  Several hours of internet research later, I found out the answer:  Millefiori Quilts by Willyne Hammerstein.  

I bought the book.

It arrived in the mail.  Wowza, it takes about a gazillion teensy pieces and is English paper-pieced.  I had serious doubts but the design kept calling my name.  I could not get it out of my head.  I searched online for more images and started following the Instagram feeds of quilters working on their own versions.  Falling more deeply in love....

I gave in and ordered the supplies:  almost 3000 little pieces of paper, acrylic templates for cutting fabric, and some glue pens.  

Desperately wanting to get started but afraid of embarking on an UFO.  I pulled fabric from my stash, let it sit in a pile for frequent contemplation.  Liking the idea even more....

It's time to start.  Wish me luck!  The quilt is called La Passacaglia. Google La Passacaglia quilt for lots of eye candy or check out my Pinterest board.  But don't say I didn't warn you.  

Thursday, March 5, 2015

3 Sisters Aster Manor Destash Sale

Something more to destash from my collection; this one is almost like a kit.  I am a big fan of 3 Sisters fabric for Moda and have bought heavily from many of their collections.  When Aster Manor came out, I bought everything to make a Carolina Patchworks pattern called Cottage Maze, using a layer cake of Aster Manor, with yardage from the line for background, backing, and binding. It has sat in its sack ever since.  It needs a new home.

Included is a layer cake of Aster Manor by  3 Sisters for Moda (prints in shades of brown,
 coral, pink, and ecru), 4 3/4 yards of solid for the contrast and sashing, 
1/3 yard brown tone-on-tone for the sashing corner stones, 
5/8 yard brown leaf print for the binding, and 
4 3/4 yard large floral print for the backing.

Price is $125, which includes domestic postage.  SOLD

I'll throw in the pattern and the thread if you want them.

If you would like to purchase this, leave a comment telling me and I will send you an invoice via Paypal.  Just be sure you are not "no reply" in Blogger/Google so I can respond to your comment via email.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Fourth Time is the Charm

Thank you for all the advice you left in the comments on my applique post of last week.  Clear thread - that's the answer!  I even had some on hand, bought several years ago at a quilt show.  So now I'm using Superior Thread Mono Poly and am very happy with the results.  It is a very fine, clear polyester monofilament thread.

I put the thread on my machine then played around with some different stitches, stitch lengths and widths, and thread tension, until I found the combination I like best.  I'm using the hem stitch (#7 on Bernina 440Q) with stitch width of 2 and length of 1 and I loosened the thread tension so the bobbin thread doesn't get pulled up to the front.  I have ecru Aurifil thread in the bobbin.  

So far, so good, and I'm well on my way with the blocks.  I'm on the lookout for some dark brown batik fabric for the body section and may use matching thread for that work.

Friday, February 27, 2015

Applique, Three Ways

Last fall, I bought a pattern called Little Butterflies, from Laundry Basket Quilts, along with a Bali Pop to make it with.  The pattern calls for fusible applique, but I planned to convert it to needle turn and make it my portable hand project for however long it would take to finish.

Here is my first block, hand appliqued using the needle turn method.  

Two issues:  the butterfly's body was hard to do (very small - the entire butterfly fits on a 5" square) and looks a bit wonky, and it took a long time.  Also, I have another hand project in mind and so don't need this to be my hand project of the year.  So I thought I'd give fusible a try and see how it turned out.  

Block 2, fused using Steam A Seam 2 then stitched with a small zigzag stitch on my sewing machine.

Not terrible but the stitches are visible.  Of course, with practice I could probably improve my technique.  What else can I try?

Block 3, fused, then stitched with what I call a hem stitch; #7 on my Bernina using a width of 2 and a length of 1 (very tiny).  I experimented with a variety of stitch sizes and this worked best.  A narrower stitch did not seem secure.  

The stitches are still visible but could be less so with better matching thread and improved technique.  I don't think anyone will notice the stitches after quilting and when hung on the wall, unless they are really looking for them.  I think I'll go with this one.  


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