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Elefantino

LITTLE ELEPHANT. I saw this sculpture by Fausto Melotti on-line and decided to interpret it into a small art quilt (started in May). Someone must have bought this sculpture, made in brass wire, about 15-inches tall–I can no longer find a picture. Anyway, our Modern Quilt Guild had a speaker last year who used a lot of bias tape, so I decided to make some myself for the basic elephant shape. This is the actual color–for some reason, the color faded out as I zoomed in.

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Echo quilting:P1100476

It looks like the elephant is spraying water–a happy accident.

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Before I started quilting, I added elements similar to the original sculpture, using a shisha mirror surrounded by crochet for the eye, a yo-yo, another circle with embroidered lines and colonial knots, and finally one large circle with encrusted beading. I left the front foot loose for dimension.

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I finished the echo-quilting in October, bound the quilt, stitched two rows of big stitches inside the body, and decided to rice-stitch the remainder of the body, which was just a little puffy. We had had a big-stitch quilting workshop earlier in the year and I came home with the better part of a spool of green perle cotton thread. Of course, I ran out of thread. Months later I found some more thread, albeit just a tad lighter than the original, but it was the same weight. Hey, from 5-feet, no one will be the wiser. I finally finished the stitching yesterday. Here is the completed quilt. It maketh me happy. FINISHED ELEFANTINO (20.5 x 16.25 inches):

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Gotta go–walking with the Bella Vista Walks group at Lake Bella Vista before it gets too hot. Stay tuned for more quilting hi-jinks.

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Before it’s too late.

 

 

Self-Portrait

It will be a busy start to the week (husband has cataract surgery) so here’s a quick update on  my self-portrait. All of the quilting is finished.

Quilting finished

Quilting finished

I did some close lines of stitching with Yenmet in the white areas to take up any slack for beading. This will be my usual encrusted beading. In this case, I load three beads at a time and completely fill in an area. After three sets of three beads, I tie a knot. I use a beading needle and Superior Bottom Line thread. Here’s my snow queen on my “Frozen” quilt. Bugle beads with seed beads on each end form the curved stripe down the middle. Loose bugle bead fringe forms the hair.

FrozenFin

Frozen

I have plenty of handwork for the waiting room–the binding on the Christmas quilt. Have a great week.

Quilting on Fun Friday

In case you’re new to my blog, Fun Friday happens almost every week. The routine is to put all ongoing projects away and just mess around in my studio and/or take off for awhile on some kind of artist’s date. Last week, I met a friend at Crystal Bridges for the new American Made Exhibit, showing pieces from the American Folk Art Museum in New York. We had a blast and I have my photos all loaded and titled so I’ll get back to you on that next week.

This week I decided that since my Christmas quilt is finished except for hand sewing the binding down and blocking the quilt, I would finish weaving in all the thread ends on my Self-Portrait II quilt. After that I used my practice piece to try some more trapunto before applying it to my portrait. The first time I did this technique, I had a scrap of really high-loft batting someone had given me. I only needed one layer but the high-loft batting I have now is half as thick, so I used two pieces.

Two layers high-loft batting

Two layers high-loft batting

Since I have already stitched my pieces down, I just restitched with very light Superior Monopoly filament thread. I use a #70/11 quilting needle with this thread and prefer it to nylon thread because it is more heat resistant and does not yellow or get brittle. Next, trim the top layer of batting close to the stitching and then carefully trim away the second layer. Grade the seam allowance and be careful to not cut into your project.

Trimming batting

Trimming batting

Add regular batting and a backing and either stipple or echo quilt around your trapunto shape.

Warm n Natural batting and backing

Warm n Natural batting and cotton backing

Back of trapunto after quilting

Back of trapunto after quilting

Trapunto practice

Trapunto practice

Next I used trapunto to give more dimension to the facial features (lips, nose and eyes). I used three layers of high-loft batting for the eyes.

Lips with trapunto

Lips with trapunto

I also stitched between the upper and lower lips for definition.

Nose with trapunto

Nose with trapunto

Before tackling the eyes, I changed out one piece of fabric for the cornea on the left eye.

Left eye

Left eye

New cornea

New cornea

Left eye

Left eye

Eyes with trapunto

Eyes with trapunto

Back, trapunto features

Back, trapunto features

Front, features with trapunto

Front, features with trapunto

Since this is a small project, I decided to just pin the layers together for quilting.

Layered and pinned

Layered and pinned

I echo quilted the pieces around the nose first and then all of the remaining light-pieced fabrics. I used Sulky rayon thread with 70/11 needle for all the lightest pieces and a Superior King Tut variegated thread for the medium fabrics. I’ll continue to use that thread for the remaining fabrics except for the two darkest fabrics in the cheek areas.

Echo quilting around nose

Echo quilting around nose

I also decided to change out two of the neck pieces because all of these fabrics were just too much alike.

Changing neck fabrics

Changing neck fabrics

I also auditioned beads but I’m not happy with the colors–they looked right in the store but not in my studio.

Auditioning beads

Auditioning beads

Too pink.

Auditioning beads

Auditioning beads

I like the colors but they’re all D-size, which may work–will have to put some beading on my practice piece to decide.

All of the light pieces are now quilted so I’ll get back to you tomorrow when the rest of the quilting is finished.

Light pieces echo quilted

Light pieces echo quilted

Detail, echo quilting

Detail, echo quilting

Here’s a sneak preview of American Made.

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Diamond in the Square Quilt, wool (Artist Unidentified),         Large Eagle, paint on wood (Wilhelm Schimmel)

I need to go back and get a close-up of the hand quilting. Oh darn, another Fun Friday for me!

 

Christmas Quilt

Well I decided that there would be no Fun Friday last week and worked on my Christmas quilt.

Block 16

Block 16/16

All of the tree blocks are quilted and I’m practicing some free-motion designs for the border. Here are my practice pieces, starting with poinsettias (used up some pink thread and almost-empty bobbins). I like the poinsettia but not the meandering in-between.

Poinsettia motif

Poinsettia motif

Here are some other designs I’ve started playing with. So far I’m leaning toward the tree/snowflake motifs. The trunk of the trees will come out from the inner seam of the border.

Tagline, practice border quilting, holly, trees/snowflakes

Tagline, practice border quilting, holly, trees/snowflakes

Practice border quilting, trees/presents

Practice border quilting, trees/presents

Practice border quilting, trees/presents

Practice border quilting, trees/presents

Is this pieced binding not cool? Not.

Pieced binding

Pieced binding

Strip piecing

Strip piecing

Well, yes, it’s cool but it’s so not happening. Perhaps if I pressed the seams open (perhaps not). Perhaps if I cut wider strips to begin with (perhaps not). I had to use less than 1/4-inch seam and it tends to stretch funkily–is that even a word. I’ll repurpose this strip-pieced set and go with some Christmas polka dot fabric I have.

Binding fabric

Binding fabric

When I’m not working on the Christmas quilt, I’m spending part of every day weaving in thread ends on Self-Portrait II. I’ll take a break from my pile of Christmas projects as soon as that’s done. I should be able to finish my Christmas tree quilt this week. It’s a busy week–my husband has pre-op for one cataract surgery, I’m teaching a young person to sew, and there will be a new exhibit at Crystal Bridges (American Made Folk Art), which I’ll be previewing on Fun Friday.  All of us local makers are excited. Throw in exercise, cooking, and cleaning and I’ll be ready for another vacation. Till next time, I hope you’re surviving the heat, the floods, the politics, Brexit, and the mayhem and chaos that is our world.

 

 

Fun Friday

It’s Fun Friday and I can’t decide whether to do whatever I want or to continue working on my Christmas quilt.  I only have two blocks left to do echo quilting on and then the borders, plus I need to figure out how I want to bind it: get more red fabric that matches the border or use scraps of all the other fabrics I used. Here’s my latest block. I was messing with my camera and found a “Happy” setting for color. I thought this was pretty funny but then I am easily amused.

Block 14

Block 14

I made a video yesterday of me quilting. It wasn’t bad except that about 90 percent of it shows my old lady arms and covers up what I’m quilting. I was surprised that I didn’t hate my voiceover. I have an upper Midwestern accent that just will not go away (think Fargo). It was actually kind of fun and I’ll make another one. I’ll be borrowing a video camera from my daughter. My camera worked but I used up the battery rather quickly. And no, you will not see this video but you will see one at some future date. I’ll be wearing long sleeves or maybe I could get one of those faux tattooed sleeves. Here is a still. The color got a little off at some point.

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I was playing around with a new selfie, wearing my patriotic infinity scarf on my head and channeling the Statue of Liberty, with two rows of a Quilt of Valor in the background..

New Statue of Liberty

New Statue of Liberty

New Selfie 6.22.16

New Selfie 6.22.16

I also started teaching a young girl to sew and decided that we should buy fabric of her choice next week and sew a pillowcase. Have you made the magic pillowcase that you turn inside out and there are no raw edged seams? I’ll talk about that next week. Till then, have a great weekend, a Fun Friday, and work on something that makes your heart sing.

Quilts for Pulse

As quilters, we are often asked to make blocks and/or quilts for special causes. Here are two urgent requests. Perhaps you and your guilty friends can help!

The Orlando Modern Quilt Guild is collecting quilts and blocks for the victims of the shooting at Pulse nightclub on June 12. They are asking for 10-1/2 inch rainbow heart blocks and you can find instructions below. Members of my local modern guild will be bringing blocks to our monthly meeting next week–we have a volunteer who will make a finished quilt to donate. Bless you Elizabeth.

http://cluckclucksew.com/2015/01/making-heart-blocks-in-multiple-sizes.html

Animal shelters in Madison, New Jersey, and Fort McMurray, Alberta, Canada, have great need of kennel quilts. The shelter in New Jersey just rescued 250 puppies and fires in Canada have filled their shelters. See the link below for more details and ideas for making 12×18-inch quilts. Also take note of their guidelines, no metallic thread, no bindings, no loose threads.

https://thequiltshow.com/daily-blog/142-newsletter/24716-tqpm-small-kennel-quilt-team-call-for-more-kennel-quilts

Since I had a set of rainbow colored squares from Primrose Gradations, I decided to make 5-1/2 inch heart blocks, four making a 10-1/2 inch block. First I cut out all the pieces, using light neutral scraps for the background.

Pieces for Rainbow Hearts

Pieces for Rainbow Hearts

Next I marked all of the diagonal lines on the background pieces. Sewing squares on the diagonal in the corners of a square is a common method for making Snowball blocks. Mark on sandpaper to keep your square from stretching. I have a sandpaper board that is also a pressing mat. Make your own using some coarse sandpaper.

Marking on Sandpaper

Marking on sandpaper

 

Ready to sew

Ready to sew

TIP: Do not stitch ON the diagonal lines, but just beside them toward the corner. That stitching line takes up space!

In addition, since the bottom squares were large enough, I marked another line 1/2-inch away to make half-square triangles. You can stitch ON this line.

Additional half-square triangle

Additional half-square triangle

Before trimming, make sure that your folded corners go all the way to the edges of the colored fabric or your unit will not be square or large enough. I had to restitch several of these corner units.

Checking corners before trimming

Checking corners before trimming

Sew the two pieces together and you now have a heart block. Make three more and sew those together. Alternate pressing the center seam left and right so that you can nest and match the seams. I pressed the final seam up. Here are my two blocks.

Four 5-inch heart blocks

Four 5-inch heart blocks

Four 5-inch heart blocks

Four 5-inch heart blocks

An alternate way to sew the blocks together.

Alternate setting

Alternate setting

I have not decided what to do with my half-square triangles (hsts) yet–probably cut out squares from the leftovers to make star blocks–but here are some ideas for half-square triangles. Throw your hsts up on the design wall and play!

Rainbow pinwheels

Rainbow pinwheels

Rainbow half-square triangles

Rainbow ribbons

Rainbow flying geese

Rainbow flying geese in rainbow order

I have been trying to quilt one block a day on my Christmas quilt. Maybe I will be ready to quilt the borders by the 4th of July. Ten more blocks to go. Some quilters roll their quilts to fit inside the bed but I just bunch mine up. If there is a lot of quilt in front of the machine, I just push it forward with my chest as I quilt to keep it from hanging over the edge of the table and causing drag.

Quilting Block 6

Quilting Block 6

Sometimes I follow the edge of my ruler to even up my quilting lines if my echo quilting has gotten a little off.

Checking alignment

Checking alignment

Block #6

Block #6

Till next time, may all your seams be straight and your blocks be square.

 

 

 

The Black Widow Spider Quilt Project

I finished the Black Widow Spider Quilt (She’s Come Undone) the end of April, but didn’t post about it.  Sometimes I feel like I’ve come undone, but it’s just that I’m working on rebranding myself and my blog and it’s not only time consuming, but frustrating. Back in April I decided to quilt a spider web on this project and used paper to get started. This paper is used for this purpose and for paper-piecing projects.  It’s very lightweight and tears away easily so I thought I’d try it. First I drew some spokes and extended the lines using a water-soluble marker.

Quilting paper

Quilting paper

http://www.goldenthreads.com/

Check out the paper at the above link. I found my at a quilt show so try your local quilt shop or Amazon.

Marking spokes for spider web quilting

Marking spokes for spider web quilting

Spokes in silver thread

Spokes in silver thread

Tear away every other one

Tear away every other one

If you tear down a spider’s web enough times it will kind of drive the spider over the edge and its web will become erratic. I knew that if I just kept quilting instead of taking break that my quilting would become erratic and it did, which was the effect I wanted. I know, I can be perverse at times. Here is the quilting, front and back. When quilting with fine metallic or clear thread, you can sometimes end up with a mess–or if you’re not careful when winding a bobbin.

Tangled web of thread

Tangled web of thread

I used Superior Metallic Silver on top and cotton thread in the bobbin. I used up a gradated piece of gray for the back and pieced the binding, still trying to use up black and red scraps. Another project finished, except for the label. I almost have a sheet of labels to print out so it will happen before summer’s end. After your project is quilted, spray water on the blue marking lines and let dry. Sometimes you will need to do this a couple of times to get all the marks out–be sure the marks are gone before exposing the quilt to heat or the marks can become permanent.

Spider web detail

Spider web detail

Spider web quilting-reverse

Spider web quilting-reverse

Black Widow (She's Come Undone)

Black Widow (She’s Come Undone)

Real spider stories: One of my earliest memories is of finding a black widow in the backyard when we still lived in Virginia.

My daughter used to reenact Medieval battles with the SCA (Society for Creative Anachronism) and was about to put on a helmet when she noticed a thick spider web that had formed overnight–Black widow in Arizona. And here in Arkansas, we need to watch for the brown recluse. They do not build webs but lurk in dark corners and piles of leaves. Get thee to emergency if you are ever bitten by one.

We had spiders in our basement in Minnesota and one spring I was doing deep cleaning and every night the spiders kept getting larger in my dreams. By the last night, this spider jumped up on a chair with GIANT mums and it was just as huge–I quit cleaning in the basement for awhile.

That’s enough of that–I’m getting the creepy crawlies. May all your dreams be pleasant and your spider encounters harmless. My next post I’ll finish up with Self-Portrait 1, which is not being entered in ANY contests. Sometimes things do not work out as planned and it’s back to the drawing board.