Monday, June 15, 2015

Squirrel! A Finish all the same! :)

Squirrel? Yup. I saw one and got sidetracked. . . tends to happen a lot these days :) I was happily quilting along on Nod to Gees Bend when the paint dried . . . Paint? Yes, remember these?

Well, the paint was dry so they had to be cut out right? . . . and then I had to start playing with them right? . . . Yes! :) So here are a bunch of process pictures. And the final piece. Sit back and enjoy the show. . . picture heavy, word light . . . until you get to the end of course ;)

And the back. This is a piece of Voile left over from the backing of the Rose Linen quilt. Yes, I know, I have not done any updates on this in awhile. . . that would be because I saw a couple of squirrels and have not gotten back to it. . . soon. Very.Soon.

The quilt finishes at 21"x17" and I used only three threads. Aurifil (red) in 40 wt, Isacord (copper) in 50 wt, and Aurifil  (yellow) in 40 wt.

The red piece is from a fat quarter bundle purchased through Massdrop (Seriously need to stop looking at their emails!! It is is obvs that I have NO self control when it comes to their offerings....). I know it is from a line called Plaster of Paris, I have no idea what color it is. The purple pieces were painted (Shiva Iridescent Paintsticks) on a fat quarter of purple Kona. . . color? Ummm. . . not.a.clue.

This is my practice piece. I learned a LOT! While I have not painted another set, I am planning the next go around :) Here is what I learned:

The pieces were first backed with Steam A Seam II. I've never used it before this. I figured how hard can it be? . . . Well, thinking about the process and what exactly the product does, might have been a good idea. . . I cut a piece the same size as the fat quarter and figured I'd just cut the pieces out after this step was done. Glad I did it this way - cutting out those pieces more than once would not have been fun. First glitch. . . Ummm, I almost didn't share this because well, I feel more than a little foolish BUT in the interest of staying humble and hoping someone might learn from it. . . I started ironing and it wasn't sticking. . . so I held the iron longer. . . still not sticking. . . did I get defective product?? . . . What is the problem?? Steam a Seam has paper on BOTH sides. . . removal of one side is required prior to ironing. DUH! Also, if you repeat my blunder. . . it's a good idea to wait until all that previous ironing has cooled before you rip off the first sheet to expose the actual product. I'll leave it to your imagination as to what happens if it's not back to room temperature. . . Yes, it's as bad as you imagine!

That disaster is over, time to cut out the pieces. I think the best way to go for this (as confirmed by my friend, Wendy) would be a clear acrylic ruler and a rotary cutter. Marked rulers don't work very well because you can't see what's under the ruler as well as you would if the ruler was completely clear. I didn't have one so decided to use my scissors . . . Probably not the best idea especially if you are aiming for perfection/accuracy. Things aren't going to line up well if the pieces aren't accurately cut. . . Lesson learned. Clear ruler on order ;) Also, this was the part of the process that was the least amount of fun. And I'm putting that nicely. This part sucked IMHO. But the results are so amazing, must do another!

Time to play! When the other side of the Steam a Seam is removed, the piece has just enough stickiness to it to stay exactly where you put it. . . and if you don't like where you put it, just move it, it will still stick! Perfect for trying to determine layout and perfect for not having anything move while getting the piece back to the iron. I did mark some registration marks on the quilt before I started this. Marked center. Marked a circle in the center and also marked a line corner to corner and then another half way between the center and corner from opposite corner to opposite corner to mark diagonals. Additional registration marks that would have been helpful? Because of this layout, a couple of circles radiating out from the center.

This is the first time I have ever done aaakkkk plique. . . That is a real term, coined by Sandra, I believe :)I have to say. . . it wasn't so bad! I kind of liked it. . . and I learned a lot about the decorative stitches on my machine - not one of which I had used up to this point. . . don't judge ;). I learned much about turning corners, stitching around curves and generally making the machine stitch where I wanted it to stitch. It's not even close to perfect (not that I thought it would be) but it turned out way better than I thought it would :) I decided to sandwich the quilt and then do the applique stitches. It is worth noting that I would not have had to do this step - the Steam A Seam will hold the pieces in place through washing . . . but it needed stitches right?? :)

I used a short ruler for the echos around the pieces. I've never done that before, it worked really well! Again, more practice is needed but provided a little more consistency in the width of the echos. I will be doing that again. I learned that little trick from watching Gina Perkes doing a demo at the Phoenix Quilt Guild quilt show. She of course makes everything look very easy. This actually was :)

Have you ever looked at a quilting design and thought "I really like that, I don't think I would ever get it to look right...." I have said that many times about the design I used on the background. I was shocked. This is a very forgiving design. I was surprised by that. I toyed with many ideas for the background quilting. I did this in one of the smaller areas (third picture) first. Looked at it for a couple of hours, asked opinions and then decided to keep going. I'm glad I did. I'd probably still be ripping that area had I not pushed through :)

This sucker was NOT flat when I finished -! One of the things that needs to be dealt with when quilting this heavily. Here's what I did - and it worked really well! First I pinned the quilt to my design wall, getting it as flat as I could. Then I steamed it. HEAVILY. Then I left it pinned up until it dried. It still had a few places where it did not want to lay flat. I laid it out on the ironing table and steamed the crap out of it again, this time ironing a little as I went. The batting in this is wool. Wool batting does NOT like a hot iron. It flattens out and nothing I have tried brings it back to the loft levels it had pre iron encounter. If you know a trick around this - please share!! Anyway, after going over it, letting it dry, repeat, repeat, it is laying very flat. I didn't think it was going to be possible. I wish I had a picture of how wonky it was. . . . alas, I did not photograph it. Oh, and I did this AFTER I put the binding on.

So there you have it! There were more lessons with this quilt, I'll spare you. . . this post is way too long already! This week it is back to work on quilting Nod to Gees Bend. And I may have pulled fabric for a new quilt. . . yes. I did. I pulled fabric for a new quilt. . . The question is, will the quilting be done prior to me starting that quilt??? . . . . I don't think that would be a safe bet ;) Stay tuned, I'll post in a day or two - even if it is just the fabric pull :)

Linking up with Beth for MCM and Judy for DWM! Also linking up with Amanda Jean for Finish it up Friday. Check out all the eye candy out there!!

Until next time, keep on quilting!
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  1. It turned out so awesome! Makes me want to break out my paints right now and play with them (while everything in my sewing room is covered in apparel sewing, ha). I've used the same blocking technique with good results, though I don't know if it was with wool batting or not.

  2. Nice! I took a quilting class and learned a whole bunch. I really like your quilt! I think I would not have been able to stop from quilting the puff a bright contrasting color...of course then no puff...hmmmmm... hard to say which I would like better. Well I guess I must give it a try :) Now see what you've done?? ROFLOL. Ya its all your fault...NOT!! Another profect.

  3. I never think to block my quilts before I bind them - that might help me out in the future if I ever remember to do it in that order. I like to get my quilts pretty damp and then squash them under heavy books to dry - but that only really works for smaller quilts and I haven't needed to do that for a larger quilt yet.

    I love how this turned out, Judy - the quilting is amazing and really showcases the pretty painted fabric!

  4. ooooh so pretty, I really like it, you did a wonderful job!

  5. I like your results on this, but even more I like all your experimenting and learning. Can't wait to see what you do next

  6. I'm happy to know you see squirrels. :) For a learning project it turned out absolutely fantastic.

  7. Those two pieces are absolutely gorgeous and you have made me want to try out all of these techniques! I also have never tried the decorative stitches on my machine and have barely done any may be time to change that. Thanks for the inspiration!

    I would post with my Wordpress ID:, but blogspot is having none of it. Usually in these cases I just skip commenting after 3-4 tries , but your quilts are so beautiful I decided I had to comment, even if it meant using G+ to comment with.

  8. Yesterday I was in my sewing room, looked out the window and there was a squirrel AND a baby about sidetracked! By a REAL squirrel....too funny! I love this piece Judy - it looks like it was so much fun to do. The quilting is fabulous, as always! Thanks for linking up to Main Crush Monday. :)

  9. THis piece is stunning. I'm sorry you had so many problems but it was definitely worth it xx

  10. I really like the way you quilted this piece with the yellow thread. To treat this as a whole cloth piece was a great idea!

  11. Oh but what a preeeetttty squirrel!! That is just amazing!

  12. Love the Doug reference! I hadn't thought of pebbles for framing before - it looks great! I had to block a quilt once - had help with the steaming and it really did help with helping it hang straighter in the end.

  13. Your perseverance really paid off Judy - this piece is very artistic and beautiful!
    Yup Sandra coined the term Aaackk-plique... hee hee, what a riot!

  14. STUNNING!!! I love how you've used your machine's embroidery stitches for the appliqué.

  15. Ah, so this is what you've been up to. I like the light Steam a Seam for applique. It is fun once you get used to it and it allows you to try a lot of shapes that are difficult to piece.

  16. Ha! I like the movement of the background motif, so am glad you went for it. You probably WOULD still be ripping if you hadn't carried on - amazing how ten minutes of quilting translates to hours and hours of ripping.
    Isn't it fun to come home from a show and try out the new ideas you spotted? FUN!!! Your shopping bag certainly filled up with some interesting goodies. Maybe after your longarm class you will change your mind again about that purchase. It does take a bit of practice, but with your skills, it wouldn't take you long to catch on to a new way of working. (You would just have to play on it all the time if you brought one home - a real hardship haha).


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